Ann Hath a Way, still

In the Guardian, Germaine Greer argues that rather than the customary story deduced from Shakespeare's sonnets (poet addresses young lord, trying to convince him to marry and along the way, tells of his own love affair with the 'Dark Lady'), a number of the sonnets may well be about his wife, Ann Hathaway. We know that Sonnet 145 is probably about her (because of the pun Hate away/Hathaway), but many critics have seen the sonnets as a reveling in (and a regretting of) a passionate, adulterous affair (and a further regretting of a too-young marriage). There is, of course, no certain evidence -- the "narrative order" of the sonnets is not known, for instance, or even if they were intended to have some loose narrative at all.

But Ms. Greer is trying to put Ann back into the picture. She is normally dumped from the typical bard biography once Will heads to London to seek his fortune (or runs away from his wife and kids, however one wishes to see it). In fact, "the only begetter" of these sonnets, Mr. W. H. may have been Ann's brother, William Hathaway -- given a copy of the sonnets to sell to the printer-publisher, Thomas Thorpe, as a way of earning a little cash. The idea that W.H. is a coded reference to the Earl of Southhampton runs aground on the earl's own prickliness over questions of honor, she argues, and the punishments meted out to anyone who might suggest the homosexuality of a nobleman. The Guardian essay is an excerpt from Ms. Greer's new book, Shakespeare's Wife, scheduled to be released in the UK next month, though I cannot find any info about a US release.

August 17, 2007 6:19 PM | | Comments (2)



Oh thank goodness. For a moment there, I thought you might actually present an intelligent case for the Oxfordians.

OK. From someone who apparently cannot (either) type, spelll or proofread, that little rant was a fairly rich serving of sad ironies. Combine that with the fact you hadn't noticed that the Greer book isn't a novel but a literary study nor had you bothered to see that on the right side of this very website, I tout A. D. Nuttall's book of Shakespearean criticism -- well, all in all, one can safely assume that 'close reading" is not one of your scholarly skills.

Oxford was a halfway decent poet, but anyone who can read his poems and think the same man wrote the sonnets must believe that all that "ye olde time" verse sounds alike. It doesn't. The man who wrote "Were I King" never wrote "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Geez when are these so called scholars going to stop writing novels about people of whom virtually all that is known is so minimal it would barely cover a page? This conceit that the Stratford Shakspur went up to London to act, is a complete fabrication from someone's fervent imagination, now being taken as fact.
The Earl of Oxford wrote the plays, accept it. Of course then what would these pretenders do to make a living if their stock in trade as part of the Stratford Shakespeare Industry were seen as the 400 year old cover hoax it is?
Amazing in a supposedly 'rational' world the irrationality that persists. Of course what can we expect from creatures that kill each other over ideas?
Don't bother ranting Shakspurites, we've heard all you cant before.


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