So, coursebook preparation, eh? It takes a lot longer than you ever think and there is always the threat of violating copyright law (which I’m not the biggest fan of, I have to say) when you provide readings. Thus I’m now behind on a whole lot of things, some of which are vitally important and others just annoying.
One of the topics I am touching upon in my up-coming course (enrol now!) is the authorship question in re Shakespeare. I call it a literary Conspiracy Theory; some of the theories advanced to support, say, the de Vere claim to the ‘Shakespeare’ canon, claim that certain members of Elizabethian England deliberately hid the nature of the true author of the plays. It’s all very ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (or ‘Angels and Demons,’ which is a better book and yes, that isn’t saying much) (another topic I am touching upon in the course) and it usefully extends Conspiracy Theories into the domain of real academic research rather than the usual suspicion that it is only small men in anoraks who indulge such fantasies.
It’s a fascinating debate; the supporters of de Vere get especially vexed about people assuming Shakespeare wrote his own canon. The Bacon hypothesis seems a little self-defeating, what with Bacon having admitted to knowing and liking Shakespeare, and the Marlow claim requires some kind of alternate history where he fakes his own death. IÂ heard somewhere recently that the theory that the language-use comparison between Bacon and Shakespeare that supposedly showed that Bacon either wrote the canon (or Shakespeare wrote Bacon; it does swing both ways) was debunked and the author closest in style to Shakespeare is no other than Jackie Collins (or someone like that; can anyone confirm this; I can’t find a citation (as of yet)).
Frankly, this stuff makes the Priory of Sion debate look positively tame. Except that Sion has the Cagoule connection and might well be one of the motivating factors behind the EU… But you’ll have to enrol to hear more about that, won’t you.