The Martin Droeshout Portrait of Shakespeare for the First Folio
Today is the 457th birthday of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon. In my lifetime so far, I have read all the plays attributed to Shakespeare and about half of the poems. Many of the plays I have read multiple times, the leader being Hamlet. Currently, I am re-reading The Winter’s Tale, and, in the months to come, I hope to revisit several other of my favorite comedies, such as Measure for Measure, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night.
I know it would be better to see the plays performed. But even if Covid-19 were still not on the rampage, it’s not easy to see the Bard in performance. So I must reconcile myself to reading the plays.
All in all, he wrote some forty plays, most alone, but some in partnership with other playwrights. No, I do not think that Francis Bacon wrote his plays, nor the Earl of Southampton, nor Wile E. Coyote. I suppose I could live my life in an alternate universe like Donald Trump’s supporters, but I much prefer the real world. Consequently, I am not interested in doubting his authorship. After all, we probably know more about the Bard than we know about any of his contemporaries.
If you like Shakespeare as much as I do, I have a film to recommend: Jacques Rivette’s Paris nous appartient (Paris Belongs to Us) is about a group of young Parisians putting on a performance of Pericles, Prince of Tyre—not one of Shakespeare’s best plays, and one most likely not 100% written by him, but definitely fun for all Bardaholics.