The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1574 Thursday, 27 June 2002
Date: Wednesday, 26 Jun 2002 12:37:04 -0400
Subject: Identity of W.S.
Richard Kennedy writes:
"I don't think there was any W.S, but Ford was riding in on
Shakespeare's Sonnets, so to speak. There is a sameness there,
especially as regards the Fair Youth sonnets. There might even be some
erotic interest. I see the use of those initials to be a piece of
marketing, and that there is no mysterious W.S. to be found."
This is a shrewd guess, and it may well be right. After all, throughout
his career, Ford imitated Shakespeare -- in the Renaissance sense of the
word. _T'is Pity She's A Whore" is _Romeo and Juliet_ turned inside out
and upside down; _Perkin Warbeck_ is a redoing of the history plays for
a later, more cynical audience; and Ford's masterpiece, _The Broken
Heart_, can be seen as a tragic retelling of _A Midsummer Night's
Ford is a great playwright, and in that sense I wish he hadn't written
the elegy, but it is also true that the atheistic sentiments of lines
561-68 seem Fordian in both content and tone.
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