Monday, August 20, 2012

Suzman uses authorship controversy to drum up publicity for her new book

In aid of promoting her new book, Not Hamlet, actress Dame Janet Suzman used the Shakespeare authorship question to generate headlines by making uninformed comments derogatory of authorship skeptics Mark Rylance and Sir Derek Jacoby. Suzman said in an article titled "Much ado over whether Shakespeare wrote his plays" in Sunday's Daily Mail:
'And you have to be a snob if you just hate it that the greatest poet the world has produced was born into the humble aldermanic classes of a provincial town.'
She added: 'How strange it is that Jacobi and Rylance, hundreds of years later, with their outstanding acting instincts, should embrace such a haughty view of the man who has made them as big as they are.
'We have seen a dozen times how thrillingly they themselves can conjure up fantastical character studies of fictional persons – without ever having been crowned king or murdered a rival in real life.
It's what actors do for heaven's sakes, and Shakespeare was one too." 
Articles also appeared this weekend in The Guardian, "Janet Suzman mad as a snake over Rylance and Shakespeare myths"; and The Telegraph, "Derek Jacoby and Mark Rylance criticized for doubting Shakespeare wrote plays" 

All three articles elicited dozens of comments with The Telegraph topping the list at 264 as of this writing, proving Suzman was correct in assuming her defense of the Stratford Bard would gain attention. In general, the public commentary is none too erudite, providing evidence of interest in the topic by even those who haven't spent any time studying the issue. This is yet another proof that the Shakespeare authorship controversy has become a topic of general public knowledge -- this is a very good thing for those of us who find the issue worthy of study.