Kenneth Branagh joins the Oxfordians in denying Shakespeare's authorship of his plays

To be or not to be a plonker, Kenneth!

Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh has joined the Oxfordians.

He admits he is beginning to be swayed by the theory that the true author of Shakespeare's plays was not William Shakespeare but the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere.

Well we all knew he was a "luvy" and "Oxfordian" sounds similarly posh so it suits the guy to be one. (I doubt if he would have agreed with the proposition if the proposed author was from Liverpool however...."Branagh becomes a Scouser" does not have the same ring to it.)

Yes, all this "Oxfordian" stuff is based on nothing more than snobbishness. Indeed he is quoted as saying " There is room for reasonable doubt. De Vere is the latest and the hottest candidate. There is a convincing argument that only a nobleman like him could write of exotic settings and that William Shakespeare was a simple country boy."

Branagh, who has been Oscar nominated three times for his work on Shakespearian films, added: "I am fascinated by all the speculation. If someone could find conclusive proof that Shakespeare wasn't the author of the plays then it would cause a seismic shock not least to the economy of Stratford-upon-Avon." More >

I have dealt with the Oxfordian argument on another page but I will paraphrase my previous argument :

No matter that Kurt Vonnegut Jr had not visited the planet Titan before writing The Sirens of Titan, nor that HG Wells had not seen a Martian spaceship before writing the War of the Worlds. No, Mr Branagh, there is such a thing as imagination, and Shakespeare had it in abundance.

Again, as with the United States' Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, it all boils down to the "deniers" believing that only a person as posh as themselves could possibly have been as clever as themselves.

I also include another defence of the Bard from Howard Kissel writing for the New York Daily News Blog.

"A very straightforward reason to question the Oxford theory is that (de Vere) died in 1604, well before Shakespeare stopped writing.

There is documentary evidence that Shakespeare wrote "The Tempest" in 1611. Let's say the Earl of Oxford left a batch of plays in a safe deposit box to be produced in the years after his death.

How could he have predicted the severe change in theatrical taste during that period? Around the time he died London was enjoying sardonic satires like "TImon of Athens" and "Troilus and Cressida" and John Marston's "The Malcontent."

By the end of the decade the vogue was for fantasy-romances like "Cymbeline," "The Winter's Tale" and "The Tempest."

Did de Vere have a prescient sense that this trend would develop? There is plenty of documentary evidence for the dating of Shakespeare's output."

Read more >

Follow this link to another defence of William Shakespeare's authorship >

The First Shakespeare Theatre Uncovered >   The Plot >

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