Thursday, November 26, 2015

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon (as Primary Author) - 1

 Here will follow a series of posts examining the case for Francis Bacon’s authorship involvement with Shakespeare’s The Life of King Henry the Eighth. It won’t be a complete case since there’s much more that could be covered. But it’s at least a basic case from the evidence.

Stage oddity

This is taken from an online article from some years back:
Professor Ioppolo, who saw Henry VIII when it was staged by the RSC in the 1990s, compares the play to a painting.

"You have all these processions - highly-visualised staged scenes which were very much the vogue in 1613."

She points out that most of Shakespeare's history plays were written at the beginning of his career.

"The vogue for them was the 1590s. We don't know why in 1613 they are suddenly writing a history play. The other plays being done in the period are all tragedies or city comedies."

"It's really an elusive little play because we don't know what it represents. It's wonderful, it's an oddity."
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The following is from the webpage:

Letter from Bacon to King James, November, 1622:

"...for my pen, if contemplative, going on with The Historie of Henry the Eighth."

In January, 1623, Bacon applied to the proper authorities for the loan of such documents as might be in the public archives relating to the reign of Henry VIII.

On February 21st, 1623, Bacon wrote to Buckingham, who had gone to Spain with Prince Charles, asking to be remembered to the Prince:

"Who, I hope ere long, will make me leave King Henry VIII and set me on work in relation to His Majesty's heroical adventures."

On June 26th, 1623, Bacon wrote to his friend Sir Tobie Matthew:

"Since you say the Prince hath not forgot his commandment touching my history of Henry VIII."

However, no history of Henry VIII by Bacon was ever published. Only a brief, 30-line summary of Henry's reign was printed after Bacon's death under his own name.

Since Bacon was known to always be writing for eventual publication, then what reasonable explanation can account for him not publishing a history on Henry VIII after all the research he had been doing on this topic? Baconian Theory accounts for it through the writing of the Shakespeare play. Though it was performed as early as 1613, it was not published until the First Folio, 1623. And Bacon, like Shakespeare, was constantly revising his works, so that events in his life just prior to the publishing of the First Folio could have been added into the revised play. Also, if he had an early version of the play already being staged, then his ‘continuing research’ may have been his way of endlessly forestalling the need to produce such a genuine history. It certainly seems like he had no real intention to write such a normal scholarly history or else he wouldn’t have hoped that the Prince would, as he said, “make me leave King Henry VIII”. So it seems to have been pretense all along, which is very odd by itself since he had been one with the strongest interest in history, England’s and all others.

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