Sunday, 25 September 2016
This week in nothing less than a pronounced change in tack for our usual horseshitting about, we tackle one of the big literary questions of the day. No, not whether it was ever acceptable for grown humans to read Wizard books or badly written porn on public transport but the stickier question of ownership over the work of a young lad from the West Midlands.
Ask the average man who wrote the plays entitled Hamlet, Romeo And Juliet, King Lear and Othello, and in most cases he'll snap confidently back with "The immortal Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon." Ask him about the authorship of the Shakespearean sonnets and see if you don't get the same reply. Now put these questions to to certain literary detectives who seem to crop up every now and again over the years, and don't be surprised if you get answers like Sir Frances Bacon, Ben Johnson, Queen Elizabeth and possibly even Jack Charlton. The most recent of these theories is to be found in a book I have just read that attempts to prove conclusively that the real author of Shakespeare's works was Christopher Marlow.
The book makes a very convincing case, and when I got through reading it I was not sure if Shakespeare was Marlowe or Marlowe Shakespeare or what. I know this, I would not liked to have cashed cheques for either one of them - and I like their work. No, in trying to keep the the above mentioned theory in perspective, my first question is this: If Marlow wrote Shakespeare's works, who wrote Marlowe's? The answer to this lies in the fact that Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway. This we know to be factual. However, under the new theory, it is actually Marlowe who was married to Anne Hathaway, a match which caused Shakespeare no end of grief, as they would not let him in the house. One fateful day, in a jealous rage over who held the lower number in a bakery que, Marlow was slain - slain or whisked away in disguise to avoid charges of heresy, a most serious crime punishable by slaying or whisking away or both.
It was at this point that Marlowe's young wife took up the pen and continued to write the plays and sonnets we all know and avoid today. But allow me to clarify. We all realise Shakespeare (Marlowe) borrowed his plots from the ancients (moderns): however, when the time came to return the plots to the ancients he had used them up and was forced to flee the country under the assumed name of William Bard (Hence the term "Immortal Bard") in and effort to avoid debtors prison (hence the term "Debtor's Prison") Here Sir Frances Bacon enters into the frame innit. Bacon was an innovator of the times who was working on advanced methods of refrigeration. Legend has it he died attempting to refrigerate a chicken.Apparently the chicken pushed first. In an effort to conceal Marlowe from Shakespeare, should they prove to be the same person , had adopted the fictitious name Alexander Pope, who was actually Pope Alexander, head of the Roman Catholic Church and currently in exile owing to the invasion of Italy by the Bards, last of the nomadic hordes (the Bards gave us the term "immortal bard") , and years before had galloped off to London, where Raleigh awaited death in the tower.
The mystery deepens for, as this goes on, Ben Johnson stages a mock funeral for Marlowe, convincing a minor poet to take his place for the burial. Ben Johnson is not to be confused with Samuel Johnson. He was Samuel Johnson. Samuel Johnson was not. Samuel Johnson was Samuel Pepys. Peyps was actually Raleigh, who had escaped from the tower to write Paradise Lost under the name of John Milton, a poet who because of blindness was accidentally hanged under the name of John Swift. This all becomes clearer when we realise that George Elliot was a Woman.
Proceeding from this then, King Lear is not a play by Shakespeare but a satirical but a satirical revue by Chaucer, originally titled 'Everyone Loves a Gobby Northerner', which contains in it a clue to the man who killed Marlowe, a man known around Elizabethan times (Elizabeth Barret Browning) as 'Old Vic'. Old Vic became more familiar to us later as Victor Hugo, who wrote 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame', which most students of literature feel is merely 'Coriolanus' with a few obvious changes. (Say them both fast.)
We wonder then, was Lewis Carroll caricaturing the whole situation when he wrote Alice In Wonderland? The March Hare was Shakespeare, the Mad Hatter, Marlowe, and the Doormouse, Bacon-or the March Hare, Marlowe-or Carroll, Bacon and the Doormouse Marlowe-or Alice was Shakespeare-or Bacon-or Carroll was the Mad Hatter. A pity Carroll is not still alive today to settle it. Or Bacon. Or Marlowe. Or Shakespeare. The point is, if you're going to move, notify your post office. Unless you don't give a shit about posterity.
Till net time.
Big love. Mark. X