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Detobel translates Krippendorff comments

Our German correspondent Robert Detobel reports that after a hiatus in December, the reviews of Kurt Kreiler’s Oxford biography The Man who Invented Shakespeare have resumed with an article by Ekkehart Krippendorff in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a newspaper with the widest coverage in Germany of almost half a million readers daily.

From the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Tuesday, 5  January 2010
(Article not yet online; we’ll post the URL if it becomes available.)

“Who wrote William Shakespeare’s dramas? News from the opposition against Stratford: Kurt Kreiler’s biography of the Elizabethan aristocrat Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford”
By Ekkehart Krippendorff

Selections of Krippendorff’s article are translated below by Robert Detobel:

The plain title with which is announced a book on “Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford”,  a rather not so well known figure in this country, carries the notion, still provocative to a broad public, that William Shakespeare, praised as the greatest among the great poet-dramatists, is an “invention”, concealing another author, even that seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The meanwhile over three hundred fifty years old Stratfordian camp with its multi-million funded bardolatry reacts bitterly against this and other suspicions which have proved impossible to quell during about the last 150 years…

Unconcealed is the identity to Kurt Kreiler, the author of this remarkable biography…

Who was learned how?

No one doubts that this William Shakespeare (in different spellings) of Stratford-on-Avon has existed – birth and death certificates (1564-1616), business transactions in land and houses, his presence in the world of the London theatre, his marriage with a woman eight years older than he in Stratford with whom he had two surviving children, all this is documented beyond doubt. But that the son of a glover of humble rural origins and with a modest school education until the age of twelve would become a much performed and subsequently much printed poet and dramatist  in London, without a writing loving and gossipy sixteenth and seventeenth-century society with its numerous literary circles ever taking notice of this author, who has left us no authentic trace of a holograph, with his two illiterate daughters, who in his last will bequeathed his second-best bed to his wife but does not mention any rights in his works or any books he would have possessed, at whose death, contrary to that of many of his fellow-poets, no commemoration appeared, as if he had never existed – all this and much more (though much more is not known of him) makes the attribution of (at least) thirty-seven plays, the sonnets and the epic poems to him highly dubious…

Small wonder then that at some point in time his authorship was questioned. One of the first prominent doubters was Mark Twain…

How to explain that his first inquisitive biographer, who, less than a century after his death,  had systematically searched Stratford and vicinity for literary traces and oral witnesses had to be content with nothing else than the works…

In 1920 Thomas Looney identified Shakespeare as Edward de Vere. In 1923 in Germany, Sigmund Freud, a fervent reader of Shakespeare, on reading Looney’s book, became so convinced of Edward de Vere that even shortly before his death professed himself an “Oxfordian”, much to the chagrin of the Stratfordian camp…

Whoever Shakespeare was, the debate will not abate.

About Linda Theil

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