Just who is the man, the writer of celebrated plays, William Shakespeare? In today’s world would a publisher even consider his writings for publication? From my own experiences with publishers I do wonder. Publishers like to put authors into boxes, this author writes sci-fi, that author writes romantic novels, another crime thrillers, each writer must have a genre.
Each of Shakespeare’s plays are different; he writes comedies, romances, dramas and fantasy plays, so he fits in no box.
But who was William Shakespeare? Many people have written books on him but as John Michell points out in his book ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare?’, there are not too many actual known facts on the man.
What is known is the date of his wedding to Anne Hathaway, and his death day. Very little else is recorded. We know nothing of his education and it is often asked how did this man of humble beginnings and who was apparently not very well educated write plays that are considered to be the greatest in the English language?
The scholarly debate over his penmanship has been around for years, there are many candidates for the true authorship of the plays. Three names are thrown into the ring; Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlow and Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. John Michell puts forward all the arguments in his book but does not specify who he thinks actually wrote the plays.
The complete works of Shakespeare are still studied today and I am confident that not a day passes without a Shakespeare play being performed somewhere. Whoever the author William Shakespeare was, he understood politics, history and how society operated from the lives of royalty to the politics of leadership to the lives of the everyday people and the other worlds of the small folk, the faeries.
His plays are accessible to all and popular for TV, radio and the big screen, countless amateur dramatic societies put on a Shakespeare production and actors and directors love to tackle a Shakespeare script. Many are inspired by the works of Shakespeare
One such director is Jude Cowan Montague whose recently released production is ‘The Scottingham play’, a spooky version of the play that should not be named and can be watched here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Iwe4ygLg4
This is a follow on from her successful film ‘Mottingham Night’s Dream’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RJmhs0fO2I
William Shakespeare, whoever you were, may his plays continue to inspire writers everywhere.