The following quote appeared in an article which was attempting to debunk the various theories that claim Shakespeare was not the author of his plays. The gist is, how could this lowly, untraveled man, son of an illiterate Stratford glove maker and having only a rudimentary education, write with such sophistication and detail of kings and the lives of the aristocracy. Also, many of his plays were set outside of England and Shakespeare purportedly had never travelled abroad.
The argument is that it had to be someone of a much higher station such as Edward deVere, the Earl of Oxford (the leading candidate) or Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe, . . . This article does a very good job of attacking these apparently bogus theories.
However, the makers of the new movie, Anonymous, probably thought that they would have a bigger moneymaker on their hands if they chose Shakespeare to be someone other than himself. Their choice was the leading candidate, the Earl of Oxford.
How apt can a name get? Thomas Looney’s theory was considered . . . well, looney.<2011 “The Oxford theory has been doing the rounds since 1920, when an English scholar, Thomas Looney (pronounced Loaney), first brought it before the world.”—Newsweek, 24 October, page 24>
The above pronunciation maneuver is a common one for people with a name that is not to their liking or one that brings a chuckle to all who hear it. The pronunciation ‘Loaney’ is an example of the latter.
An example of the former is a cover-up for the name Levine, which is normally pronounced ‘Leh veen,’ accent on the second syllable. Those who opt for the different pronunciation, choose ‘Leh vine,’ with the accent still on the second syllable.
So why the change? What’s wrong with what seems to be a perfectly acceptable pronunciation? The answer is that Levine is a common Jewish name and some Jews would rather not have a Jewish sounding name. This is a vestige of Jewish persecution, especially during the pograms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and, of course, the Holocaust. Many Jewish emigrants to the U.S. even went so far as to give false names (which they later kept for fear of discrimination in the U.S.) when they landed on Ellis Island.
On a more cheerful note, I wonder if Thomas Looney was a fan of Looney Tunes.
Ken – November 1, 2011