The Authorship of Shakespeare

The Authorship of Shakespeare

The Authorship of Shakespeare

The Authorship of Shakespeare

Excerpt

" Hamlet. Why look you there. . . . My father in his habit as he lived."

EVERY writer who wishes to write about the man William Shakespeare longs, but longs in vain, to see him "in his habit as he lived," to tell his story with the wealth of intimate detail that is expected in the biographies of famous men. Nowadays literary men and people of the theatre are idolized. Their voices are on the radio, their faces on television and in the movies. Their goings and comings are reported as news, and the public knows, or thinks it knows, their tastes in breakfast food, beverages, cigarettes, and women (or men, as the case may be). They are public characters, lionized and, on occasion, mobbed by ecstatic admirers.

To imagine a society in which there were no actresses, in which actors were scarcely respectable, and in which literary men were for the most part either wealthy amateurs or impoverished professionals -- to imagine, in a word, the kind of society in which Shakespeare lived -- is difficult indeed.

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