No Question of Authorship; Viewpoint

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Dear Editor, Professor Dobson (Post October 27 ) argues that the film Anonymous is merely a B movie. Sadly it is much more than this, and certainly not true that director Roland Emmerich has underlined the Oxfordian case.

The mainstream supporters of the Earl of Oxford as Shakespeare see the movie as profoundly dangerous, as the English de Vere society has made clear. They loathe the suggestion that their man committed incest with Queen Elizabeth. As to the issue of why people ask why Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, the reality is that a powerful conspiracy theory has been developed which undermines the whole history of the Elizabethan period.

As James Shapiro said last year in his excellent book Contested Will, the authorship question is dominated by the denial camp - nine out of the ten websites he consulted said that Shakespeare was not the author. Shapiro has also pointed out that the film has insulted Queen Elizabeth I as much as Shakespeare. It portrays her as a sexually promiscuous jezebel who bore secret children. In fact the Prince Tudor theory on which the film is based provides the title for the film. The Earl of Oxford had to be anonymous because he was the son of the Queen and the unknown heir to the throne. This ludicrous conspiracy theory has gained support largely because the academic community has ignored it.

Alas ignoring absurdity only allows it to gain supporters. Fortunately there is something of a sea change taking place, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is taking efforts to counter the denial camp particularly in the form of Anonymous.

It has set up a useful blog site and the ebook Shakespeare Strikes Back is a good starting point for discussion. Sadly the reason Emmerich got the financial backing to make the film is that the Sony corporation could see there was an audience for it. …