Could the Folger Shakespeare Library be a ‘ridiculous institution’?
One writer thinks it could be, or that the directors of the institute are worried that they might be seen as such. But why?
Well, as the writer mentions—the field of Shakespeare Scholarship has persisting within it “a thousand controversies’. And the “hottest of these is the so-called Authorship Question – the question of whether Shakespeare [meaning Shaksper of Stratford] wrote Shakespeare.”
Apparently, the directors of the Folger Library through the decades have been thinking the unthinkable, because it seems, the unthinkable could happen. We might even say they have been thinking for themselves. This hot controversy could be “resolved in favour of one of the many claimants”.
Let’s pause and think about this a little ourselves. Publicly the library only gives lip service to the authorship debate. But we know that quite recently one of its shining scholars attempted valiantly to argue she had proved that Shaksper did indeed write the Shakespeare works. But we know that it was a feeble attempt, and the Folger leaders must recognize that also since they continue to see the need for “risk mitigation strategies” to survive the unthinkable.
One would have thought though that they must have received ‘the memo’ from the Stratford Birthplace Trust or some of the leading scholars in the field that their guy really was the great author, ‘beyond doubt’ . And that they, the Folger Directors, should just trust them about it.
But no, too dang risky, apparently. Even a little doubt, in this case, is too much. The heretics could actually be right. So, quietly, privately, they have their strategies ready to mitigate this frightful risk. Ready even to--change their business cards, letterhead, etc. if the unthinkable event they’ve spent some time thinking about happens.
So if the Folger Library has its doubts, and it strives “to be the “go to” place for debating and deliberating on Shakespearean controversies”, doesn’t it seem rational for everyone else (not dependent on the traditional story for their livelihood) to also be open to doubt?
Henry Folger, it turns out, was a big collector of Baconiana and had been “a long standing member of the Bacon Society of America”. If he was alive today he might also be known as a member of one of the Oxfordian societies.
And perhaps Henry Folger knew that it was quite possible for a hidden but connected writer to work concealed and undiscovered.
This is described by Oxfordian Michael Dudley in an earlier article:
“Perhaps the most significant lesson authorship skeptics may draw from the story of Henry Folger is that, as a case study, it serves to demolish any attempt to ridicule the Oxfordian case as a “conspiracy theory”, one about which “too many people” would have needed to have known. We must understand that Henry and Emily Folger and a close circle of confederates were able to operate an enterprise on a global scale in secret and at the same time kept his name out of the newspapers for the better part of four decades – and all this in an age of mass media, with British newspapers responding with outrage to the loss of their printed heritage at auctions to a faceless American millionaire. If, with the right mix of power and influence this could be accomplished in a democracy during the 20th Century, how much more likely is it that a similarly secretive and powerful man in an authoritarian 16th Century could have disguised his actions to contemporary observers—and thus to history?”
More food for thought I’d say.