Myth of the Month 10: Who Was Shakespeare? pt. 1: The Monument and the Man
Who was William Shakespeare? He is far more elusive, and his life more obscure, than his fans and biographers will admit. We consider the massive, bloated mythology that has built up around the great Bard over the centuries, and then examine the remarkably scant surviving documentary records from the writer’s own lifetime, which tend to paint a both bizarre and unflattering picture. The first of three installments examining the reality of Shakespeare.
Myth of the Month 10: Who Was Shakespeare? — pt. 2: “Comfort and Despair”
What do Shakespeare’s sonnets actually say? What can they tell us about the life or character of the man who penned them? Not only romantic and philosophical, the sonnets are erotic, desperate, and often angry, laced with shocking sexual imagery and emotional confession; as a group, they break all conventions of Elizabethan poetry, and trace the ghostly outline of two passionate affairs — one a brief, tawdry fling with a mature voluptuous woman, and one a long, fraught relationship with an androgynous young man. This will be followed by a discussion of the publication of the sonnets, the possible identities of the “Dark Lady” and “Fair Youth,” and their relation to the plays; and then by a discussion for patrons only of the “authorship controversy.”
Myth of the Month 10: Who Was Shakespeare? — pt. 3: “The Maiden’s Organ”
How could Shakespeare have possibly allowed his sonnets — personal, sexual, and often scandalous — to be published? I advance my own theory to account for the printing of the most shocking book of poetry in the history of literature, and discuss the possibilities as to the identities of the alluring Young Man and Dark Lady. Finally, we consider the light that the Sonnets shed upon Shakespeare’s plays, particularly his obsession with gender ambiguity and androgyny.
Unlocked: Myth of the Month 10, pt. 4: the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy
Unlocked for the public, after one year for patrons only, the final lecture of the series on Shakespeare: Could it be that “Shakespeare” wasn’t Shakespeare? — That someone else, perhaps a highly-educated aristocrat, actually wrote the works attributed to the actor from Stratford? Am I a crackpot for even entertaining such a ridiculous idea? We consider the evidence. I know this is an absurdly long one, but forgive me, it was so much fun to research and record.