Church architecture in Hertfordshire and elsewhere, art, books, and whatever crosses my path

Friday, 25 September 2015

The great Stoppardian conspiracy

Tom Stoppard: literary impostor

I’m proud to be able to use my blog to announce to the world a major new literary discovery. You’ll no doubt be reading about my truly stunning revelations in the broadsheets in the next few days.

For half a century Sir Tom Stoppard has been one of the giants of the literary and cultural scene. His erudite and witty plays have entranced audiences in Britain, the English speaking world and beyond. But I ask: is he what he claims to be? Or is he, in fact, nothing but a sham and a fraud?

I can exclusively reveal the truth about the authorship of Tom Stoppard's plays. Stoppard is of course a semi-educated (he didn't even go to university, for goodness sake) non-native English speaker; how could he possibly have written some of the greatest plays of the 20th century? The plays display a depth and breadth of knowledge that’s simply beyond the reach of a non-graduate. Anyone who thinks about the matter, and who’s not constrained by the fetters of critical orthodoxy, will realise that he can’t possibly have written the plays hitherto attributed to him, and that he must be a front for the real author, who wishes to disguise his (or her) true authorship. 

And the true author? My exhaustive research into many arcane documents, along with a detailed close reading of the plays themselves, leads me to the inevitable conclusion that Arcadia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and all ‘his’ other works, were in fact written by none other than Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Naturally, it wouldn't be proper for someone of her high social standing to be associated with the common stage, so she has had to adopt this strategy to throw her contemporaries and posterity off the scent.

To take just one example of how the Duchess hides her true authorship in plain sight, an anagram of EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR BY SIR TOM STOPPARD is: VAST PRODS: O SEE MY OPUS V, EV’R’BODY! TROO BARD FERGIE. This all but explicit hint (‘vast prods', indeed) surely silences the doubters once and for all. Of course, those blinded by orthodoxy will object that Stoppard wasn't knighted until 1997, and the play dates from 1977; however, clearly promotion up the social scale was part of the deal that our true bard (or 'troo' as she delightfully and playfully spells it, so typical of the lovably ditzy persona she's adopted to disguise her real character) promised her frontman for pretending to be the author. A knighthood was obviously one of the things she agreed to get him, and true to her word (would we expect anything less of a towering literary genius?) she did so.

At first sight, the reference to the play being her opus V is puzzling, but the answer is clear to anyone who isn't confined by the bounds of academia. The play is 'his' (i.e. her) fifth full length work, after the novel Lord Malquist and Mr Moon, and the plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Jumpers and Travesties.

However, it is appropriate for an aristocrat to write charming children's stories, so she has published the Budgie the Little Helicopter stories, masterpieces of their genre, under her own name, and anyone who reads them with an unbiased mind will find plenty of clues cleverly planted by our heroine to alert the initiated so they can join the arcane club of true believers.

To disguise the truth even more and to allow herself the freedom to flex her outstanding intellectual muscles undetected, she has adopted the persona of a thick upper class twat, a brilliant strategy and a role she plays with consummate skill.

Of course, you will say that Stoppard and Ferguson deny all this, but I will smile at your naivety. Of COURSE they deny it! Don't you see that their denials only prove the truth? The more vehement their denials, and the denials of the cabal of critics and academics who stand to gain from maintaining the sham, the more certain my case becomes.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, is a true literary genius and Stoppard nothing but a hired stooge.

Sarah Ferguson: literary genius


You will by now of course have realised that I’m being satirical. The spur to my satire was an article in the Guardian by James Shapiro about Shakespeare in 1606, and specifically one of the readers’ comments that appeared beneath it. Whenever Shakespeare is mentioned in the Guardian, it seems to be obligatory for an Oxfordian to point out that the plays of Shakespeare weren’t actually written by Shakespeare, but by the Earl of Oxford. The above is a slightly more polished version of what I posted in reply. You can read the original article and subsequent comments here.