One of the common objections to non-Stratfordian authorship views is that they are 'conspiracy theories'. These days this term carries pejorative connotations of some kind of neurotic or paranoid explanation that disregards readily accessible evidence which debunks it. Consequently anyone who finds a lack of solid evidence for the Stratfordian hypothesis is readily labelled as a 'whacko', even for expressing reasonable skepticism in light of the scant and ambiguous evidence for the Stratford position.
After recently reading a book on the authorship of the Shakespeare apocrypha by Sabrina Feldman ('The Apocryphal William Shakespeare') - it appears that the orthodox Stratfordian view necessitates its own 'conspiracy theory'. Given the view that the apocryphal plays were not written by the Stratford man, in order to have them written by various authors and presented under the name 'William Shakespeare' there must have been a conspiracy to do so.
As Feldman points out, "Scholars who believe William Shakespeare was not the main author of the apocryphal works and bad quartos must assume that a host of fraudulent actors, stationers and publishers (some of whom had otherwise excellent reputations) deliberately misled the English reading public by falsely attributing works to William Shakespeare that he didn't actually write over a period of decades."
It appears to me that many orthodox scholars have more in common with the 'whacko' authorship skeptics than they care to admit. I have to wonder what other conspiracy theories are entailed by the standard authorship view, hiding in plain sight.
What do you think?
Last Edit: 5 months 2 weeks ago by Geoff Williamson.
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