Edward III (William Shakespeare?)

51rKJu4sGELBack to Big Bill, though, who I’ve been neglecting for longer than I should’ve (that “read ALL the Shakespeare!” project is looking a bit shaky, if you’ll excuse the choice of word, as far as completing it this year goes). Is this his handiwork, though? While a few WS plays have question marks over them as to just how much he wrote them, they’re still accepted as his. Edward III, though, is still debated, mostly because it never appeared in the First Folio, and it wasn’t attributed to him until much later… the Oxford editors do acknowledge that of all the WS “apocrypha”, this is probably the most likely to actually be by him, though even then they reckon he’s responsible only for three or four scenes at most. Interestingly, they reckon he probably did the business where Edward pursues his somewhat futile romance with the Countess of Salisbury, which I thought were much the weakest parts of the whole work… I actually quite enjoyed reading the play on the whole, but that part of it frankly did nothing for me, especially after a rather good introduction; whoever wrote the rest of it (some of which might also have been Bill’s work) did rather a better job with the story of Edward striding forth to conquer France, thereby kicking off the Hundred Years War which various of his descendants would continue in various other Shakespeare plays. I gather it plays a bit fast and loose with actual history—the Wiki page observes how some characters were actually already dead or not even alive, and the French king in the play was actually a different one entirely—but that’s not exactly uncommon with Shakespeare, is it, nor some of his much lesser successors in Hollywood now… Good read either way.


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