Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Welcome John Hudson of The Dark Lady Players!


If you don't recognize the name, John Hudson is known for having put forth Amelia Bassano Lanyer as the latest contender for the Authorship Question (also known as the "Shakespeare was a black Jewish woman?!" theory).  When I first posted about the theory I wondered aloud if it was a joke.  I also wondered why the discussion is always about As You Like It, since it seems that you'd want to go right to Shylock if you're going to argue that a Jewish person created him.

So when I got email from Mr. Hudson, I apparently have no shame, I dove right in and asked both questions :).  Answers printed with his permission:

Q:  With all due respect, are you serious?  Or is this some larger satirical joke on the Authorship question as a whole that's gone over my head?"  (paraphrased)

A: Actually I am serious--which is why in March last year I went to London to present this theory to Mark Rylance and the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, who treated it seriously and brought her in as candidate number 8  at the top of the 'other candidates' section of their website. I would also not be spending money putting on demonstration allegorical versions of the plays unless I was serious!

Q: Why have I not heard anyone ask about Merchant, or even Taming of the Shrew?  Why would Bassano have written such misogynistic, anti-Semitic works?

A: This theory holds that the plays are written as allegories---as was much of Elizabethan and Renaissance literature---so they have a meaning in some cases on the surface that is opposite to what they really mean underneath. Both MOV and Shrew are quite complex, so  it is easiest if I begin  referring you to my analysis of more straightforward plays like MND and AYLI (which we are currently rehearsing for production in late July). Once you see how those work it is easier to make analogies to the others. For instance I would show why the way that Adam disappears half-way through AYLI is a parallel to the way that Shylock disappears half way through MOV--and what happens to them is similar. (I would however refer you to the literary signatures she has left on the two Shrew plays, which have also recently been detected by Rene Weis in Shakespeare Unbound pg 177).

(I certainly plead ignorance regarding the depth of these arguments, but that answer to the Shylock question does seem similar to the "nonono, it's not anti-Semitic, it's showing us the dark side of anti-Semitism" case that we've spoken of.)

Hudson goes on to add, "The only person who has ever considered Amelia  Bassano was the Russian critic Gililov, who  identified the Shakespearean quality of her poetry (The Shakspeare Game pgs 305-312) then decided as a lower class woman she could not have written it, even though she was educated by a duchess and a countess from the age of 7. Once you have read the two documents will be happy to talk further, and yes please use it in your blog, I would like to get the public debate going!!"  [John did attache two PDF documents for me, but I don't have a good way to attach them to this post.  Perhaps if he is reading he can provide links.]


John is currently producing As You Like It; The Big Flush: 

A Jewish toilet joke written using double allegories-this adaptation highlights the two characters called Jaques/Jakes (Elizabethan for toilet), and the character whose pocket watch identifies him as Sir John Harrington, the inventor of the flush toilet!

What are these characters, a dunghill, and many references to excrement doing in this play? Why does As You Like It end with Jaques warning that Noah's flood is coming? Why are there other flood references, like Hercules cleansing the Augean stables of manure?  Why does Touchstone go off to the ark with Audrey, who is named after St Ethelreda, the woman who was saved from a flood? Could this be the Last Day?

More info available at http://www.darkladyplayers.com


Thank you to John Hudson for his response, and the boatload of reference material he provided.  I've got some reading to do.


wileycount said...

Hi Duane,

Very interesting post. Any chance you could pass on the citations for the articles John Hudson forwarded to you? I'd like to check them out. Cheers,


Anonymous said...

Once again we have bright bulbs – like John Hudson- tainting the image of an important European/Western personality - deceased and unable to defend itself. This is part of a continuous attempt to degrade western culture, always to the advantage of the unapproachable infallible and intellectual Jewish race. Where is he getting the money to spend on his endeavor?

wileycount said...

Once again we have an anonymous, ignorant, hate-mongering pseudo-intellectual trying to stem the process of exploration of human culture by invoking a most insidious and inexcusable racism and sexism. so the image of shakespeare is somehow tainted by the suggestion that the author may have been female and jewish? is this sort of sarcastic racism supposed to be a an example of the aspects of european/western culture that are worth defending? I suppose the beauty of the internet is that all voices, no matter how absurd their claims and dangerous their attitudes, get equal footing at the pulpit. It is also a good means by which to be made continually aware that these barbaric mindsets continue to exist and thrive, and there must be a continuous effort to resist and invalidate them.

Chad Higgins said...

I think Shakespare was also a hermaphrodite.

I think Leonardo Da Vinci was a hermaphrodite too.

I haven't read the dark lady sonets yet, but the wickipedia on Shakespares secuality says the dark lady was "pricked out by nature."

I think the young man and the dark lady are both him and it is his struggle with being transgendered.

See my blog www.apocalyptician@blogtownhall.com

Anonymous said...

I featured in the film The Other Boleyn Girl with Mark Rylance, he was an incredibly nice man and I'm pretty sure he was fascinated by the argument...but was probably just humouring Mr Hudson :@)

Brian said...

What was your earlier Post "Why People Believe Weird Things"

Anonymous said...

Why is this absurd to any of you? And, why is it so important that Shakespeare remained European? Or,to suggest Mr Hudson was humouring Mr. Rylance? Obviously there is some creditability to Mr. Hudsons findings or it would not have gotten the publicity it has nor books written on the subject. It never fails there will always be haters...