Hamlet by Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916) at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Photograph by Robert Freidus courtesy of Victorian Web.
by Linda Theil
Neue Shake-speareGesellschaft (New Shakespeare Society) board member Hanno Wember reports from Hamburg, Germany that an article in the Travel section of the large circulation daily newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung took a non-Stratfordian look at the spurious claims of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust at Stratford-upon-Avon. The article titled "Das Ratsel des Getreindehandlers Will Shakspere" ("The mystery of the grain dealer Will Shakespeare") by Roland D. Gerste was published April 25, 2014. Wember said, "FAZ was strictly Stratfordian in recent years. Now this!"
The long, illustrated article criticizes the inauthentic aspects of the Shakespeare birthplace exhibits and discusses the fervor of the Stratfordian point-of-view (translation by Hanno Wember):
One does not have to be a supporter of obscure conspiracy theories nor, necessarily, as is Derek Jacobi -- an Oxfordian who assumes Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is the true author. It is enough to visit Stratford as a “doubter“, and to regard the visit as a trail in the contest of dogma and criticism. What a tingling sensation seizes the doubter when reading convoluted explanations to non-authentic exhibits! And how exciting to see the reactions of the official tourist guides, if you put those questions that are not well liked here! The faces of the mostly young employees of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust fluctuate between irony, consternation and helplessness, sometimes even associated with a little aggressiveness as soon as they are faced with insubordination.A translation of the article webpages is available from Google.
See also: Henry James' "The Birthplace"