Boris Johnson and Shakespeare’s ‘bio’ he can’t write

by time news

Time.news – Embarrassed by the Delta variant, oppressed by the thoughts of an endless Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is short on free time: therefore seeks help to cultivate his passion, especially William Shakespeare experts who help him complete the biography of the great English playwright.

The news was revealed by The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald and picked up by The Guardian and shines a spotlight on the British Prime Minister’s difficulties in managing his real interest: writing biographies of famous people. One of Shakespeare’s most renowned experts, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed that he had been contacted by Johnson’s staff with the aim of helping the prime minister write the book.

The Johnson method

The story has raised some perplexity about the methods used by Johnson and the real authorship of his books and, despite the Avon’s Bard expert declining the offer because it required total availability both in terms of timetables and contents, the controversial aftermath remained. According to what was revealed by the anonymous source, Johnson’s method would in fact consist of carry out long interviews with the expert on duty, and then rework them in their own way.

It is not the first time that Johnson has ended up on the grill for what he writes. Before throwing himself into the political arena with the Conservatives he was in fact a journalist and wrote for the Daily Telegraph, of which he was also a correspondent from Brussels. His articles from those years contributed greatly to creating an anti-European sentiment across the Channel.

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He was also editor of The Spectator magazine but had a reputation for exaggerating the news to the point of distorting its meaning. Famous was his firing on the spot from the Times for coming up with a quote from scratch.

In 2014, while he was still mayor of London, he published the famous biography of Winston Churchill entitled The Churchill factor for Hodder & Stoughton: it seems that even on that occasion he had used the advice of an expert who, however, was not cited or as a source. nor obviously as a co-author; Johnson relegated him to thanks.

Difficulties in writing

It was a year later, in 2015, that the future prime minister signed a £ 500,000 contract with the same publishing house to write a biography of William Shakespeare: ‘The Riddle of Genius’, an epochal 130,000-word tome that was initially due out in 2016.

But with the referendum on Brexit, Johnson’s political career took off: first with the victory of the referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union, then in the role of Foreign Minister of the May government, and finally in the coveted position of first minister. And as his political prestige grew, Shakespeare’s biography remained unfinished. It is no coincidence, however, that the curiosity to understand what happened to the biography came precisely to the sheet published in Stratford-upon-Avon, the idyllic town in the heart of the Midlands, known for being the birthplace of the Bard (needless to say ) of the Avon.

Be that as it may, the book is still not there and in recent days the Sunday Times has also revealed that the former loyal Dominic Cummings was planning to reveal how the premier, in full pandemic, had missed the meetings of the Cobra emergency committee just to devote himself to the beloved effort.

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The mystery of the volume’s release

In fact, it seems to be scheduled for March 2022 but with another publishing house, the American Riverhead. “After the success of The Churchill factor, Hodder & Stoughton signed a new book on Shakepeare which was originally planned for 2016. When Boris Johnson became foreign minister, we postponed publication until a later date.” a spokesman commented.

Amazon still has ‘The Riddle of Genius’ as a title that is set to be released soon on its website. And he presents it with a lot of fanfare: “From the inimitable long-haired British journalist and politician and bestselling author, a celebration of the most famous Briton of all time: with his characteristic curiosity, verve and wit, Boris Johnson sets out to understand whether Bardo is really everything he imagined himself to be, and if so, why and how… Explore the infinitely intriguing themes of his plays and how they speak to us through the ages: forbidden sex and power struggles; fratricide and matricide; confused identities and adolescents with hormonal storms; racism, jealousy, political corruption ”.

The fact remains that scholars are wondering if the biography will really add anything to the literary critique of the sacred Bard. In short, the pieces of the puzzle do not fit together and the mystery of Shakespeare’s biography deepens.

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