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BEST BET

August 22, 1993|M. Harris

Some questions never die. Is there a Loch Ness Monster? Will J.D. Salinger ever write another novel? Did Franklin D. Roosevelt have advance warning of Pearl Harbor? Who was the real author of Shakespeare's plays?

Earlier this year, Times book reviewer emeritus Charles Champlin asserted that the bard behind the Bard was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. This prompted a rebuttal on the op-ed page by Jenijoy La Belle, professor of literature at Caltech, who essayed to "shake the spear in Will's defense." Volleys of letters to the editor were lobbed by both camps.

High time, then, for Katherine Chilton, a member of the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable and the Shakespeare-Oxford Society, to offer a free lecture on "The Mystery of Shakespeare" at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Beverly Hills Library auditorium, 444 N. Rexford Drive. Information: (310) 288-2201.

The funny thing is that we just received a sonnet, faxed from an unknown source on a plain-parchment machine:

*

O, would that I had lived in present times, When brazen Fame has trumpeters galore: Film, bios, supermarket scandal sheets and more Would prove beyond surmise who wrote my rhymes. Then niggling scholars would lack any reason To claim that I was Bacon or De Vere, And doubts that I birthed Romeo or Lear Would not crop up like this each silly season. O, would that paparazzi's pesky flashes Had chronicled my every change in wife, Fleet Street connected all my dots and dashes And Jackie Collins novelized my life! "To be or not to be," Prince Hamlet said-- It's "maybe" for eternity that aches my head.

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