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Talking Shakespeare

Notes from a Journey


Louis Fantasia

Talking Shakespeare is a collection of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and politics and their impact in the world today. Originally given as provocative talks on Shakespeare at some of the most prestigious universities, conferences, and theatres around the world, they reflect on the author’s more than thirty-year career as a producer, director and educator. The essays provide a unique and personal look into multiple aspects of Shakespeare’s world—and ours.


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Chapter 6. Shak-spear, Stratford, and Star Trek


· 6 · SHAK- SPEAR, STRATFORD, AND STAR TREK (Given, in slightly differing forms, at various Shakespeare “authorship” panels, 2009–14) Whenever I am asked to engage in the Shakespeare “Authorship” question, I feel a bit like those White House economists who went on Fox News during the 2008 recession to argue with Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. They argued, obviously fruitlessly, that if we hadn’t put a seven- or eight- billion- dollar stim- ulus package together, we wouldn’t have been able to get our money out of our ATMs the next morning, and we would have been on the verge of financial meltdown. First, it’s hard to prove a negative, such as Shakespeare is not Bacon, Mar- lowe or de Vere. Second, despite the accuracy of Occam’s Razor— that the first cut is closest to the truth— some people still refuse to believe the simplest and most obvious truths, that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, and seek out conspiracy theories, hidden ciphers and all the rest, no matter what the facts may be. I’m going to deal in four or five basic areas in my brief defense of West- ern civilization today. If you want to read for yourself the massive amount of evidence— family histories, legal documents, contracts, loans Shakespeare made, references other writers made to him, and the topical references in his plays (many of which appear after Marlowe and de Vere were dead, by the Shak- spear, Stratford, and Star Trek 66 TALKING SHAKESPEARE way)—I recommend Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare,...

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