You can argue that William Shakespeare didn’t truly write the things he’s credited with writing. The most ardent of believers of this line of thought often spout the reminder that he was the son of an illiterate pig farmer (the point being that he was highly unlikely to be literate himself due to his circumstances). Others staunchly defend the man and his creations. Myself? I’ll be honest here: I don’t like Shakespeare. Of everything I was forced to read in school, Midsummer Night’s Dream was perhaps the most interesting but I still didn’t actually LIKE it. Frankly, I enjoyed the Ducktales episode A Midsummer Duck’s Dream a hell of a lot more than the actual play itself. The movie Anonymous, which comes out this month, takes on this argument and puts its own spin on whether or not he authors the works or not.
I would actually like to see this movie. Not because I care about the argument (I really, really don’t give a crap) but because it has one of the coolest movie posters I’ve seen in ages – I mean how can any writer not love something that has a quill and ink splatters all over it?? Anyway, while I won’t get into the did he/didn’t he write it I will say that I do think he is the most famous fanfic author of all time and considering my long history with HPFF, I do have to give the man some respect for that.
Did you know he wrote fanfic? Some people claim he just stole stuff and, indeed, he DID copy word for word a lot of words from works previously done by someone else which would be allowed in today’s litigious copyrighted world. I’m going to give him a little leeway there, though, and just blame it on fanfic (He didn’t, after all, have the guidance of the super particular HPFF staff who would have reminded him of the three line rule and rejected his ass). He liked the works so he crafted his own stories around those that already existed. He took an existing piece or oral or written literature, altered settings, added some of his own OC’s, and then wrote his world around them. Sound familiar? It should- its exactly what current fanfic authors do. Fanfic often gets a bad wrap but, honestly, if you can claim you are modeling yourself after the oh so great Shakespeare then who has any right to criticize? I say just carry on what you are doing and in a few hundred years, it may be your name getting debated in literary circles.