Haiku Review: Anonymous

30 Oct

Once again, there are some slight spoilerinos coming below, so I’ll do a little preventative blather up here so that they don’t appear all squished in the feed.

After seeing this movie on Saturday, I’ve been on a little kick researching this whole question of Shakespeare’s authorship. It’s a fascinating question, and although I’m new to all the arguments, I do find some of them infuriating, especially one of the most common – that Shakespeare had only a grammar school education, which couldn’t possibly account for the breadth of his knowledge. I hate this argument; while I would never be one to downplay the importance of education, I think it’s clear enough that whoever wrote these plays was a genius, to a level that no level of education could be responsible for. I could go to school every single day with the great masters of my time, for the rest of my life, and not write Hamlet. On the flipside, someone with only a few months of formal education went on to, oh, invent the electric lightbulb, although Edison was probably just a front for someone too, amiright? Anyhoo, you’ll see if you watch the movie that it’s not so much interested in making a case as it is illustrating a hypothetical – to me it felt the same as watching a movie that posited the scenario that JFK was shot by alien strippers, and then proceeded to illustrate what that would have looked like. But the whole thing is certainly an interesting google.

Alright, blathering done, finally the aristocrat who secretly writes all my haiku has provided me with the latest, and here they are:

The Earl of Oxford
A heavy hand with genius
And with guyliner.


Queen Elizabeth
You can’t tell which sons are yours?


Technical question –
Can someone who can read not write?
For real, I’m asking.


In any era
Seek the most tormented lot,
And find the writers.


Oh, Anonymous.
Duncan’s first night chez Macbeth
Was more fun than you.


One Response to “Haiku Review: Anonymous”

  1. William Ray October 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    I sympathize with your reasoning that higher education does not a great writer make. But the saga of who wrote the Shakespeare canon is a factual one, not a debate about principles. Genius can do much, and besides that, genius is in great part huge passion and commitment to one’s work. But neither grammar school education (if there were any in this case), nor surpassing genius can substitute for 200 foreign language sources referred to in the Shakespeare works. They were not available in England when Shakspere and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, were alive. You had to know five languages. Oxford knew all. Thus logic has us trapped against the wall. The locutions found in those moving poems and plays were taught in the higher levels, some not until the last two years of college. But they are there–apostrophe, acephalus, alliosis, epimone, epistrophe, syncope, epizeuxis, diacope, anadiplosis, anacouluthon, antimetabole, polysyndeton, polyptoton, and two hundred other forms and figures learned and practiced until rhetorically mastered. Shakspere could have learned all those languages and skills. But the family business was money-lending and grain sales, and he made his stash doing that and investing in theater and concessions. He wasn’t no Shakespeare. But his name turned out to give him immortality when Oxford, the mind behind his pseudonym, told the trash on his class and government with parables of power, and got his name sliced off his life’s work. There is more to the story than official histories let us think. The movie tries, but no movie can tell on the tragedies of an age. You have to read Shakespeare for that.

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