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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Did this woman write Shakespeare’s works?


Was the Bard a Woman?
A new contender for authorship of Shakespeare's works

By Anne Underwood

June 28 issue - For more than 150 years, literary sleuths have questioned whether William Shakespeare—a man with a grammar-school education, at best—could possibly have penned some of the greatest works in the English language. "You can be born with intelligence, but you can't be born with book learning," says Mark Rylance, Shakespearean actor and artistic director of the Globe Theatre in London. But if Shakespeare didn't write the plays, who did? Dozens of candidates have been proposed, most of them men. But at a conference of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust in London next week, American writer Robin Williams will argue that the true bard was a woman—Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke.

Sidney (as her biographers call her) is a logical suspect. Sister of the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney, she was a poet herself and one of the best-educated woman in England, along with Elizabeth I. Perhaps not surprisingly, her name has surfaced before as a possible collaborator on Shakespeare's plays, although never until now as a candidate in her own right. Scholars are unlikely to be persuaded. "The very fact that there are so many candidates is almost a proof that none of them is the author," says Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon. But that doesn't deter Williams. "One homicide detective told me, 'You're using the same reasoning we use to track down murderers'," she says.

In short, Mary Sidney had the motive, means and opportunity to write the plays. At her home in Wiltshire, she fostered a literary circle whose mission was to elevate English literature—a strong motive. Gary Waller, a Sidney scholar at Purchase College in New York, has called her salon "a seedbed of literary revolution" and Sidney herself "the first major female literary figure in England." With her vast library, education and command of foreign languages, Sidney also had the means to create the works. And with her extensive connections in the literary world, she had opportunity to smuggle the plays to theater companies. Perhaps it's just coincidence, but the first eight Shakespeare plays were published anonymously—"and three of them," says Williams, "provocatively note on the title page that they were produced by Pembroke's Men, the acting company that Mary Sidney and her husband sponsored."

Sidney-as-Bard would solve a number of riddles, argues Williams. It would explain why Shakespeare wrote love sonnets to a younger man. (Sidney had a younger lover, Matthew Lister.) It could clarify why the first compilation of Shakespeare's plays, the First Folio of 1623, was dedicated to the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery (her sons). And it would explain Ben Jonson's First Folio eulogy to the "sweet swan of Avon." Sidney had an estate on the River Avon—and her personal symbol was the swan. "There are swans in the lace collar and cuffs of her last portrait," Williams notes.

Even her dates dovetail with Shakespeare's—which is more than one can say of some of the other candidates. Edward de Vere, widely regarded as the leading contender, died 12 years before Shakespeare, requiring a revisionist chronology of the plays. And to embrace Christopher Marlowe, one has to believe that he faked his murder in 1593 and escaped to the European continent. "But there is growing evidence for this," says Michael Frohnsdorff, head of the Marlowe Society, adding that a new commemorative window in Westminster Abbey gives Marlowe's dates as "1564-1593?" Sidney's are more straightforward. She was born three years before Shakespeare and died five years after. When she suffered a series of personal losses, the plays turned darker. "It all fits," says Williams.

Case closed? Not yet. As intriguing as Williams's argument is, her evidence is circumstantial. Proof, says Sidney biographer Margaret Hannay, "would require things like letters from contemporaries praising 'Mary Sidney's Hamlet'." Until that proof turns up, scholars will stand by the man from Stratford. But that won't stop mystery lovers from trying to unseat him. The intrigue could prove as immortal as the works of the Bard—whoever he or she really was.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

Note: I know you may have found this long, but isn't it interesting?

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No post is long if it's educational Dina. I really enjoyed reading this. To me the evidence seems to fit nicely. I found it interesting learning that he wrote a sonnet to a younger man, interested because my sister told me today that he was believed to be bi sexual. I wonder if the sonnet is the reason for such thoughts. What I don't agree with though, is the one guy saying "you can be born with intellegence but not ...." There are numerous success stories of poeple who changed the world, and they did badly at school (or weren't schooled as much). Best example is Einstein, he learned all his math after he first thought of relativity... I hope this comment wasn't too long ;P

Very provocative. Another example of "the best man for the job" may be a woman. Omar mentioned Einstein, I wonder if he read an article a couple of weeks ago that attributed much of Einsteins' work to his wife, who was a mathematician.
I enjoy your work. Regards, Greg

My German friend told me that Shakespear actually had some learning exposure in the Arab world. And so they termed him Sheik-spear? hehe But really if you read Tempest it does give you the sense that the ideas are from Surah Baqarah.It depicts the types of people:The baseless, the learned, hypocrites,etc.

Very interesting…
Even though many men hate to admit it, but this is a proof that “behind every successful man there is a woman”

Greg, thanks for the info. I find that kinda funny, since Einstein came up with the ideas of Special Relativity while he was working in a Swiss patent office.. I'm not sure if he was married at the time

i still think he wrote them

Me too, there's always such theories concerning celebrities.

Omar, Firedawg, Nurhan, Baher- Thank you all for your comments :) I found this article very intriguing. It always crossed my mind when I was studying Shakespeare’s works that how can a man with no formal education be capable of such ingenious writings? So this article seemed to answer lots of questions I had. But being the idealist I am I still like to believe that Shakespeare wrote them.

Lightspeech- This is the first time I’ve heard of anything like that! I will ask one of my university professors about this.

Rami- Yisslam timmak ;P Being a girl I like to believe that!

I think this man's work is wonderful. It's very poetic and romantic. The article doesn't really surprise me because they do say behind every successful man is a woman. At least I'd like to believe that. :P

Speaking of Shakespear check out this peice of information that I totally find interesting...


What do you think?

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your Designer/Architect
as well as your audience.

Please remember to never
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existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
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harvest. A time to kill and
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and a time to mend. A time
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speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,

'Thought & Humor'
Cyber-Humor & Cyber-Thought
Harvard Humor Club

Yeah, please let me know if it's true! But no doubt about it. The Arab world was once a great learning center! ok take care..

p.s. pssst sorry for the inconvenience...my addy's been changed...long story...

I have heard that theory, but I have also seen the possibility of Elizabeth or a Lady, devere, or pembroke who lover of shakespeare had mingled sonnets in the alleged shakespearean Sonnets, and written so much like a Lady, it had almost to be a lady writing the Poetry and characteristics and information in Sonnets tied it to the queen the Real Royal one or High Born Duchess or Baroness anyway Lady Nobility, and so it was more believable to me tbat it was a Lady Written not necessarily a Homosexual Actor although the manner and mode of speaking could have been done in actual or simulated homosexual manner as feminine and possibly genuine homosexual manner, who knows, but one thing I say, NEWS WEEK HAS POSSIBLY SIMULATED AND LOOSELY PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE THIS WEEK WHICH COST LIVES AND OR ENDANGERED LIVES OF U.S. SOLDIERS AND PUTTING IN DISREPAIR SOME HONORABLE ACTIONS BY OUR PRESIDENT AND THUS UNDONE SEVERAL YEARS OF HARD WORK BY FALSE PUBLISHING, NOT THE FIRST TIME I THINK, AND THEY SAY SOME ACTIVISTS ARE INCITING RIOTS THERE, THERE HAVE BEEN CASES WHERE SOME SO CALLED AMERICANS HAVE DONE SO ON OTHER OCCASIONS, AND THERE IS ONE, WHERE CRAIG LIVINGSTONE, A PERSON IN CLINTON'S FIRST ADMINISTRATION WENT TO A COUNTRY WHERE CUBAN DICTATOR HAS SENT GUERRILLAS AT THE SAME TIME APPARENTLY AS THIS MAN WAS THERE, IN ANGOLA, ALLEGEDLY TO DEMOCRATIZE ANGOLA, AND IF SO, SINCE HE IS DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE, ALLEGEDLY SO, HE ALSO WAS IN OFFICE WHERE 900 FBI FILES STORED ILLEGALLY, SO WHAT WAS HE DOING IN ANGOLA, AND IS IT DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES INCITING RIOTS IN AFGANISTAN, IS THIS AN OBJECTIVE OF HIGHER DEMOCRATIC PARTY EXECUTIVES AND WHY DO WE NEED A DEMOCRATIC PARTY CIA, JUST WONDERED, HEH HEH,

Sara: That's an interesting article, especially the bit about Othello. By the way I like Sheikh Hamzeh Youssef.

Howdy: Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it :)

Lightspeech: Don't worry, I got the new address for your blog :)

Ehem...many people say it was philosopher francis bacon who wrote all the big Willie's works. Some even say the Will man never existed..francis bacon invented him

why? shakespear seeems to be full of scientific critical spirit and francis bacon at the same time was the greatest defeder of this method and a prominent philosopher. Shakespear was uneducated yet his works are full of references and many to bacon's ideas. All this talk of bacon makes me hungry..

Yeah, I thought you'd find this article interesting. I also like Shiekh Hamza Yusuf. I met him in Ramadan in the UAE... He's a great guy... I really hope that many people will get to meet him. He's really something special.

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