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Its getting harder and harder to keep up with the Oxfordian news. Already 2004-05 has seen the publication of Great Oxford, and Mark Anderson's "Shakespeare" By Another Name.
Now Mcfarland, a leading publisher of books for the academic and scholarly market, is set to release yet another Oxfordian book, De Vere as Shakespeare: An Oxfordian Reading of the Canon, by William Farina, with an introduction by Felicia Londré, co-author of the Shakespeare Festival Guide, Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and sometime dramaturg for the Missouri Shakespeare Fesival. Congratulations, Mr. Farina.
Anderson Book Generates Reviews, Pro, Con, and Honest Ostrich
The reviews have started to come in, but before we deal with them, here's the nifty new banner for Anderson's website:
First place award for honesty among reviewers goes to Alexander Stevens, writing in the August 3 issue of the Somerville Journal :
"Let me tell you about a fascinating, meticulously researched book that I have no intention of reading…I, like the proverbial ostrich, am choosing instead to stick my head in the warm and soft sands of ignorance. I don't want Edward de Vere to be William Shakespeare…I know my reaction is small-minded, selfish and fundamentally flawed. But, for me, Shakespeare by another name wouldn't smell as sweet..."
But Steve Weinberg, a board member of the National Book Critics Circle, writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution August 7, is more upbeat and less afraid of de Vere's shadow:
“Anderson 's demonstration of how de Vere's real life matches the characters and circumstances found in the plays attributed to Shakespeare is especially impressive.”
English Oxfordians Honor 400th Anniversary of de Vere's Death
|Great Oxford, published by Parapress, honors the quatercentenary of the death of Edward de Vere (June 2004). Edited by Richard Malim, the 39 essays of the volume by English and Italian Oxfordians are introduced with an essay by Shakespearean actor and Shakespeare Fellowship Trustee emeritus Sir Derek Jacobi: "This book justifies and reinforces the contention that the plays were written from an aristocratic perspective....I would commend this collection as full of enlightened and reasoned research in the question to provide material for rational and honest debate." Highly recommended.|
Mike Egan's Missing 1,000 Pounds Sterling
In recent years nobody has played the game of defending Will Shakspere from the infidels with quite the zeal, or so succesfully twisted the news media around his little finger with publicity stunts, as Professor Ward Elliott, the Claremont McKenna political scientist turned computer Stylometrician.
Now it seems that former University of Massachusetts English Professor Michael Egan (now scholar-in-residence at Brigham Young University in Honolulu), who has for several years quietly been studying and writing about the obscure Elizabethan play, Woodstock , has turned the tables on Elliott. Woodstock is a drama which had been "in the air" at Umass Amherst since the Hampshire Shakespeare Company resurrected and produced the play at the urging of then-PhD candidate Roger Stritmatter in 1999. Mark Anderson, then writing for the Hampshire Valley Advocate, noted that the play "contains moments of genius, transcendent wit and youthful exuberance that would recommend this production to any lover of historical -- and literary -- mysteries."
In an August 9 post to the Shakespere listserve, a follow up to this post of July 28, Egan reports that “Over the years" Elliott “has issued a challenge, recently repeated here, the substance of which is that he will pay 1000 British pounds to anyone able to prove that any anonymous Elizabethan play deemed non-Shakespeare by stylometry and himself is in fact by Shakespeare."
Now it seems that Elliott has gone missing just when Egan came to collect his prize money.
"On 28 July (SHK 16.1251 Shakespeare by the Numbers) I accepted this
challenge in the following form: if Elliott could refute my
non-stylometric evidence and show that the anonymous Elizabethan play Richard II,
Part One (also known as Woodstock ) is not by Shakespeare, I would pay
him his one thousand pounds. But if he could not, he would write me a
check for the equivalent amount. My evidence is detailed in The Tragedy of Richard II, Part One: A Newly Authenticated Play by Shakespeare (Edwin Melllen Press, 2005, forthcoming).
It is now two weeks later and the silence from the direction of Claremont Mackenna College has been deafening. Obviously the man is not showing up.”
“… It's time” concludes Egan, “to call the stylomeretricious bluff.”
We'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate both Professor Egan and Edwin Mellen Press for publishing what is sure to be an important contribution to Renaissance literary studies.
however, we have a challenge of our own for Professor Egan: To win a
free membership in the Shakespeare Fellowship, using the methodology
employed by the late William Plumer Fowler in Shakespeare Revealed in Oxford's Letters , prove to us that Edward de Vere did not write Woodstock .
2004 Shakespeare Yearbook Lends Support to Early Play Chronology
Volume 14 of the Shakespeare Yearbook published by Edwin Mellen Press features a number of impressive articles, including a remarkable study by Penny McCarthy, "Some Quises and Quems: Shakespeare's True Debt to Nashe." Dr. McCarthy's article urges the need to revise longstanding beliefs that the copious intertextuality between Nashe and Shakespeare is primarily the result of Shakespeare's spongelike absorption of Nashe. Instead, argues McCarthy, Nashe was engaged in "a surprisingly single-minded program to promote the contemporary playright and sonneteer whom he admired above all" (176).
The implications of McCarthy's argument for Shakespearean studies are profound in at least two respects.
First, chronology: if Nashe is indeed responding to Shakespeare in his series of pamphlets, the latest of which is dated 1596, then the mid/late 1590s dates of several Shakespearean plays are too late by half a decade or more. By McCarthy's reckoning this list would include Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, I and II Henry IV, Love's Labour's Lost, and quite possibly many more. Striking at the foundations of the orthodox chronological house of cards, McCarthy points out that “there is no reason why Shakespeare's plays should have been originally written close to the first record of their existence” (176).
Second, identity: McCarthy sees Shakespeare as the vital center of Nashe's literary world, an object of both reverence and friendly satire. She goes so far as to argue (187) that Nashe's “Master Apis Lapis” in the 1592 dedication to Strange News , whom Charles Wisner Barrell in 1944 identified convincingly was Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford, was Shakespeare.
Congratulations, Professor McCarthy: you just pinned the tail on the donkey.
Anderson Gotham book set for release August 2005
The most important new book on Oxford's authorship in some years, Mark K. Anderson's Shakespeare By Another Name, will be released by Gotham Press, a division of Penguin books, this August.
Authorship Question Heats Up With Three New Titles
A new offering from Greenwood Press, The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question, by Scott McCrea, sheds more heat than light on the authorship question. McCrea, identified on the book's dustjacket as "on the faculty of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film" at SUNY Purchase, is a relative newcomer to the authorship question whose first contribution to the discourse was a December 2002 Skeptic magazine article, answered by Diana Price (vol. 11:3, 2005).
Bertram Feilds, copyright attorney and former editor of the Harvard Law Review, has weighed in with a generic anti-Stratfordian work, Players , published by ReganBooks, an imprint of Harper Collins.
Meanwhile in England, Great Oxford: Essays on the Life and Work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1550-1604 (Parapress 21004), with a forward by Shakespeare Fellowship Honorary Lifetime Trustee Sir Derek Jacobi, advances the case for Oxford's authorship. Look for review and further commentary on this site.
Shakespeare Fellowship Announces Winner of Annual Essay Contest
The Board of
Trustees of the Shakespeare Fellowship has announced that the 2005
essay contest first prize of $600 goes to Jamie Bence, from Santa
Monica CA, for her essay, "Shakespeare
and the Education of Women." Prizes were also awarded to
the following entrants: Nicholas Broussard (2nd place), Jennifer Hopkins,
"The Character of Lord Burghley" (3rd place), Amanda Fujiki,
"O God, That I Were a Man," Genna Braverman, and Karen Lee,
"Women's Education, Role, Complexity" (honorable mentions).
Emmerich to Start Production on Soul of the Age
Reuter's New Agency, in a dispatch dated February 22, announces that Roland Emmerich has taken the next steps towards making his dream of of a feature film about Oxford as Shakespeare a cinematic reality. As reported by Reuters, Emmerichwants to shed his reputation for making special-effects blockbusters by shooting "more difficult, socially relevant" films, he said Wednesday.
"I'm older now; I want to do other things," the German-born director said during a news conference at the Berlin Film Festival where he is president of the Competition jury. "'The Day After Tomorrow' was the first step. I did what I always do, but for the first time, there was a message, as well."
As previously reported in our own loca Shakespeare Fellowshipl NEWs, Emmerich's new project, "Soul of the Age," is a political thriller set in Elizabethan England that explores the controversial theory that William Shakespeare was not the author of his famous plays.
"I am convinced that the William Shakespeare we know was a fraud," Emmerich said, "that he almost certainly did not write the Shakespeare plays." He plans to begin shooting "Soul" in England in the fall with an all-British cast.
"This will be a chance for me to show people I can work with actors, that I can direct drama," he said.
Emmerich said he will use substantial special effects in the film -- including re-creating the entire city of London in the 17th century.
We can't wait.
Shakespeare Fellowship to Sponsor Joint Conference with the Shakespeare
Two Major Pro-Shakespeare Organizations to Sponsor Joint Conference in Ashland, OR, September 29-October 2, 2005
The presidents of the Shakespeare-Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship issue joint statement announcing the Ashland conference
February 21, 2005
We are delighted to announce that our two pro-Shakespeare organizations will sponsor our first-ever joint conference in Ashland, OR, September 29-October 2, 2005.
We believe the venue in Ashland -- home of the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) -- offers a perfect location for our joint conference. The conference will bring together a wide spectrum of speakers and participants to explore the exciting and important issues surrounding the authorship of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare.
We ask all Shakespeare lovers who are interested in the authorship question to mark their calendars for September 29-October 2, 2005. We believe this joint conference will prove to be a milestone event in celebrating the immortal works of Shakespeare, while opening many eyes with regard to the identity of the true author.
We hope to see all lovers of Shakespeare at our joint conference in Ashland.
To register for the joint Ashland Conference please see details here.
Washington State University Offers Full Semester Course on Edward De Vere
First there was Concordia University's Shakespeare Authorship Conference; now Washington State University Professor Dr. Michael Delahoyde, a Shakespeare Fellowship member and regular contributor to our discussion forum, has started a regular Honors Course (Honors 440) on the authorship question. "I am reasonably certain," writes Delahoyde in his online course description, "this is the first time ever such a course has been offered anywhere at any time on earth: a semester of researching and studying the multi-disciplinary works of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) and his life at Queen Elizabeth's court."
Like many other English instructors who have introducted students to the authorship question, Delahoyde reports an explosive intellectual energy is unleashed when students are invited to consider the authorship question with open minds: "several students stay after class every day wanting to know more about Oxford's life and tackling their own research projects with detective zeal." Congratulations, Professor Delahoyde!
Oxford in Psychiatry Magazine
The fall 2003 issue (66:3) of Psychiatry magazine includes prominent mention of the authorship question in an article by Richard M. Waugaman, "Unconscious Communication and Literature." The article is an extended response to an essay by Dinko Podrug on the use of Hamlet to teach psychoanalytic technique. In the course of discussing the Podrug article, Waugaman remarks that
Some scholars, such as Peter Gay, have found it "embarrassing" that Freud held the "eccentric" notion that the works attributed to Shakespeare were actually written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604). Freud's convictions on this point were even challenged by his translater and former analysand, James Strachey, who asked that Freud, in the English translations of his works, reconsidering including the statement from his original German publication that he no longer believed Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him....More recently, Bloom (1994) did his part to mock Freud's opinion about de Vere's authorship, using more ridicule than reason to plead Shakespeare's case. I suppose Shakespeare is as powerful a transference figure as Freud, so perhaps it's asking too much to expect a rational discussion of this matter, even from so serious a scholar as Bloom.
De Vere's claim as author of the works attributed to Shakespeare is a position "that has gathered momentum in recent years" (Niederkorn 2002). In 2000, Roger Stritmatter, as Massachusetts scholar, successfully defended a dissertation based on the premise that de Vere wrote the Shakespeare canon.... (215-16).
Waugaman is the Training and Supervising Analyst Emeritus, Washington Psychoanalytic Institute; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine; and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.
Excerpts from the Stritmatter dissertation are available on
The Slander Machine Just Keeps on Keepin' On
For those who like to collect colorful examples of intellectual provincialism, here's a gem: Vol. 80 of the Virginia Quarterly Review contains an article by David Kirby, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, which resurrects the old chestnut of class warfare, with a novel twist, to snub critics of the orthodox pabulum: "What makes the anti-Stratfordian view particularly repellent," opines Professor Kirby, "is its built-in snobbery, its assumption that because someone didn't get his Ph.D from an Ivy League university, he couldn't have written the plays" (186).
Kirby's hysterically offensive comment reminds us of the antidote
prescribed by Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to
understand something when his salary
depends on his not understanding it."
Professor Kirby, welcome to the virtual classroom. It's not Harvard. Promise.
Catching Our Breath
Much has happened in Authorship Studies in the months intervening since our last update to the NEWS. Over the next few weeks I'll try to catch up with events as I begin adding new updates. But perhaps it is worth beginning with the news from Germany. Walter Klier, the author of the 1994 Oxfordian study, Das Shakespeare Komplott (Steidl Verlag), has issued a revised and greatly expanded version of the book under a new title: Der Fall Shakespeare (2004, Verlag Uwe Laugwitz).
The change in title from The Shakespeare Conspiracy to The Shakespeare Affair may reflect a bow to the prevailing allergy to the term "conspiracy" among apologists for the official view of Shakespeare. Surely most Germans understand, as Shakespeare certainly did, that the world runs by Komplott of one kind or another. But the change in title also reflects a much deepened appreciation for relevant details of the case for Oxford's authorship of the Shakespearean canon, as evident not only by the one hundred pages of new material but also in the reference to contemporary scholarship which was not available to the author in 1996.
Shakespeare Fellowship Vice-President Nominated for White Pine Award
Lynne Kositsky, the Shakespeare Fellowhip's Vice-President for Internal Communication, has been nominated for the prestigious Ontario White Pine Award for her most recent book, The Thought of High Windows, a young adult novel about the Holocaust. The book has also been optioned for an American Movie of the Week. Congratulations, Lynne!
Boston Globe Features Authorship Question in review of Greenblatt Book
Boston Globe reviewer and Wellesley English Professor William E. Cain had some upsetting news for Stephen Greenblatt in today's today's Globe review of Will in the World. According to Cain, Greenblatt's book "is based less on hard fact than on conjecture and speculation, much of it credible and convincing, much of it not." Cain goes on to indicate that the man Greenblatt describes as the author "may not have been the man at all." Following are extended excerpts from Cain's review:
Vividly written, richly detailed, and insightful from first chapter to last, Stephen Greenblatt's fascinating biography of Shakespeare is certain to secure a place among the essential studies of the greatest of all writers. But "Will in the World" is also a disquieting book, because ultimately it is based less on hard fact than on conjecture and speculation, much of it credible and convincing, much of it not.
The materials for a Shakespeare biography are extremely limited. We have some documents, records, property transactions, and brief references to Shakespeare by his contemporaries, but not a great deal beyond that. Except for his last will and testament, there are no personal papers, no diary or letters, no manuscript of a play or poem in the author's hand. So little is concretely known that a few scholars, amateur historians, and skeptics have even made the giddy but unjustified claim that someone else---Francis Bacon, the earl of Oxford, and Queen Elizabeth are among the nominees---is the real author of Shakespeare's plays.
From time to time Greenblatt makes clear that he knows he is close to giving a local habitation and a name to airy nothings, as when he considers the story that Shakespeare fled Stratford and made his way to London because he was in trouble for deer poaching. "The question," says Greenblatt, "is not the degree of evidence but rather the imaginative life that the incident has." Later, as he identifies the possible real-life figures to whom Shakespeare may be referring in the sonnets, he concedes he is "groping in the darkness of biographical speculation."
So why even attempt a biography of Shakespeare? Because we crave contact with the person whose powers of perception, representations of consciousness, and uses of language exceed those of which any mortal seems capable. But, as a person, Shakespeare is beyond our grasp. "Will in the World" is thus a wonderful work of the imagination, an engaging and risk-taking evocation of a Shakespeare who may have been the man whom Stephen Greenblatt describes but who, quite simply, may not have been that man at all.
It is curious indeed that Professor Cain should describe alternative authorship theories as "giddy and unjustified" but still conclude his review by suggesting that the man Greenblatt describes "may not have been the man at all." One cannot fail to remark that this discrepancy suggests that Dr. Cain, although honest in his evaluation of the weaknesses of Greenblatt's megabucks defense of the orthodox Shakespeare industry, has not actually troubled himself to investigate the existing evidence in favor of Oxford's authorship of the Shakespearean oeuvre or the weaknesses of the orthodox paradigm as documented, for example, in Charlton Ogburn's 1984 opus or Diana Price's Unorthodox Biography (2000).
Stephen Greenblatt Attacks Authorship Skeptics
Will In the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, just
released by Norton, is the latest in a line-up of orthodox squibs
which, since 1984, have attempted to put the Genie that Charlton
Ogburn released back in the bottle. Greenblatt's book, however
-- which sells for $7 on Ebay -- breaks new ground by being the first
orthodox book to appear in print with a public attack on the "preposterous
fantasy" of those who think Will wasn't Will. "The
lack of...literary traces, combined with the imaginative leaps required
to reconcile Shakespeare's life and work, at least partly explain
the currency of theories that someone else actually work the works,"
opines Greenblatt. " Will in the World doesn't directly
address the subject of an alternative authorship. But the process
of writing the book, says Greenblatt,
"has made me respect that preposterous fantasy -- if I may say so -- rather more than when I began...because I have now taken several years of hard work and 40 years of serious academic training to grapple with the difficulty of making the connections meaningful and compelling between the life of the writer and the works that he
Congratulations, Dr. Greenblatt. Do you think you can stick your foot any deeper in your mouth?
NYT Covers Authorship Debate at London's Globe Theatre
An August 21, 2004 article (Arts Section) by William Niederkorn covers the new policy of Globe theatre, the premiere Shakespearean performance venue in London, of supporting inquiry and debate on the authorship question. The Globe has sponsored two authorship conferences and plans to host such conferences on a regular basis. "We each have a different idea of who Shakespeare was," proclaims a Globe program. "Whoever you imagine him to be, you are most welcome here." Globe Director Mark Rylance is an authorship agnostic, critical of the orthodox view of Shakespeare but willing to consider the cases which has been made for Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and the Earl of oxford, among others. According to Neiderkorn's article, the Globe is slated to become home to a research library of 600 books on the authorship question owned b the Shakespeare Authorship Trust, the successor organization to the original Shakespeare Fellowship, founded in 1922 by Sir George Greenwood and John Thomas Looney.
New Approaches to Shakespeare
June 7, 2004, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Branch Library
31 Pleasant Street, Brookline, MA
Sarah Smith, Shakespeare Fellowship member and author of Chasing Shakespeares, will lead a panel discussion that will include Richard Whalen, Shakespeare Fellowship member and author of Shakespeare: Who Was He? The panel may also include Mel Cobb, Shakespeare and Co., director of the Bankside theater project.
Cobb will discuss the way the Bankside and Rose theater projects will illuminate Shakespeare theatrics. The Rose theater project is the building of the world's first historically accurate re-creation of the Rose Playhouse in Lennox, MA. by Shakespeare & Co. . Smith will discuss the way that new advances in Shakespeare studies are changing the way we think about the Elizabethan period and may be challenging traditional thought. Whalen will then speak about Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. The evening will include refreshments and there will be books available for sale.
This event is Free and open to the Public, and would appeal to anyone
who may be new to the Authorship issue as well as those more familiar.
Students are especially welcome.
The library is accessible by public transportation. For location and driving directions to the Coolidge Corner Branch Library, Please visit the Coolidge website.
Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew:" Two Approaches
June 22, 2004, at 7:00 p.m.
Newton Free Library, Druker Auditorium
330 Homer Street, Newton Centre, MA
Dr. Charles Berney, president emeritus of the Shakespeare Fellowship, who has written several articles for Shakespeare Matters discussing productions of Shakespeare Plays, will be giving a presentation on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. This particular play provides an especially clear-cut example of two approaches of presenting Shakespeare's plays. Through discussion and extended video clips, Dr. Berney will compare a realistic version produced by the BBC in 1980 staring John Cleese as Petruchio, with a filmed stage production based on the Italian commedia dell 'arte tradition, which is bawdy, broad and mannered. This event, cosponsored by the Shakespeare Fellowship, is free and open to the public and. All are welcome!
Directions to the Newton Free Library can be found here.
Emmerich to Direct Blockbuster Film on Edward de Vere
Two online news sources for the movie industry, IGN Insider and Empire Online, report that Roland Emmerich, director of such Hollywood blockbusters as Godzilla, Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, has his sights set on producing a film about Edward de Vere as Shakespeare. The film, Soul of the Age, is based on a screenplay by John Orloff. A May 11 press release from ScreenDaily describes The Soul of the Age as a $30m to $35m "intense 16th century drama about the question of the authorship of Shakespeare."
ScreenDaily says Soul "is the story
de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford who lived from 1550 to 1604 and
was considered one of the finest poets and dramatists in the court
of Queen Elizabeth I. Only in the 20th century did theories emerge
that he was the true author of the works of William Shakespeare."
Shakespeare Fellowship Announces Winners of 2003 Essay Contest
The Shakespeare Fellowship Essay Awards Committee, after extensive deliberation, is pleased to announce the following winners in the 2003 Fellowship Essay Contest:
Senior Division (11-12th Grades):
First Place -- Mary Allison Taylor, Fort Worth TX for "Edward
de Vere: The True Bard"
Second Place -- Aaron Michael Lemmon, Johnstown PA
Third Place -- Marie Erichsen, Montgomery AL
Cortney Breitschwerdt, Harwood MD
Josh Dzieza, Olympia WA
Brooke Erspamer, Corbett OR
Gabe Martin, Ashland OH
Koki Momose, Bloomfield Hills MI
Amy Troeger, Elkhart IN
Sijia Wang, Beavercreek OR
Kelly Whitebread, Sugar Land TX
Aaron Yazzie, Holbrook AZ
Jenny Zhang, Athens GA
Junior Division (9-10th Grades):
First Place -- Jenny Mahlum, Provo UT, for "A Custom More Honored in the Breach Than the Observance: Revenge and Hamlet."
Second Place -- Kirsten Callahan, Pearl MS, for "Hamlet: Current and Undercurrent"
Third Place -- Monika Grzesiak, Macomb Township MI, for "The Irony of the Flower"
Honorable Mention -- James Dong, Pearland TX, for "The Misconceptions of Identity in Twelfth Night"
Honorable Mention -- Jordin Saunders-Jensen, Puyallup WA, untitled essay on the problem of evil in Othello.
Congratulations, to all these successful entrants.
Dutch Conference On Authorship Question Scheduled for July 2004
Two Dutch Psychologists have organized the first ever Dutch conference on the authorship question, scheduled for July 8-10 to occur in Utrecht Holland: "WHO WAS 'SHAKESPEARE' ?- The Man Behind the Mask -"
The Conference Call for Papers reads as: 'Shakespeare',
voted Man of the Millennium, was the greatest literary genius known
to the world; yet what is known of the life of William is strangely
divorced from the poems and plays. William was born in
This yawning gulf between the person and the works has led many to question whether William of Stratford was in fact the real author. Robert McCrum, literary editor of The Observer, cites six questions about the authorship that have perplexed scholars for years:
How could a provincial actor from
intimate knowledge of court life (and medicine, botany, the law, the sea and aristocratic pursuits such as hunting and falconry)?
· How could he know so much of classical authors?
How could he write compromising
love sonnets to his social
superior, the powerful Earl of Southampton?
How could he know so much of
· How could he leave not a single book or manuscript in his will?
· Why was there no notice of such a writer's death in 1616?
Many, including Bismarck, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and John Gielgud, have doubted the traditional biography of the Bard. After noting his genius, his learning and his outlook, they have decided that the Bard cannot have been William of Stratford.
Shakespeare’ was almost certainly a pseudonym for the real writer of genius. We should look for the author elsewhere in the Elizabethan world.
The First Dutch Conference on the Authorship Question aims to bring together historians, social scientists, literary and theatre people, actors, students in these fields, Shakespeare admirers in general, and all others interested to discuss the authorship question. The conference program consists of lectures by invited speakers, parallel sessions for participants to present their papers, an (optional) excursion and a social program.
Conference participants are requested to submit an abstract of 250-450 words before March 1st to conference organizers Jan Scheffer or Sandra Schruijer. After reviewing and editing conference papers will be published.
The conference will be held in
the city of
For further information on the conference please contact:
Jan Scheffer, psychiatrist and
psychoanalyst at the Pieter Baan Centre,
Sandra Schruijer, professor of
organizational psychology at
Congratulations to Dr. Scheffer and Dr. Schruijer for organizing what we are sure will be a historic event!
Terry Eagleton Attacks Oxfordians in The Nation
On Feb. 1 we reported on Terry Eagleton's long overdue recantation of postmodernism and quoted Eagleton's thoughtful statement that "we know as much about the historical Shakespeare as we about the Yeti." Alas, our optimism in supposing that Eagleton had fully recovered from his own political correctness was premature.
In the March 1 issue of The Nation Eagleton launches an acerbic, convoluted, and uninformed attack on the Oxfordians. According to Eagleton, Oxfordians are "conspiratorial souls" motivated by envious disbelief in the power of the common man's natural genius. They imagine that "the real Shakespeare was a nobleman who stole the name of this country bumpkin [from Stratford-upon-Avon]."
"The only drawback to this eminently plausible case," opines a bewildered Professor Eagleton, "is that there is not a scrap of evidence for it." Setting aside the tortured reasoning of that sentence, we'd like to remind Dr. Eagleton that the internet does exist. Any eighth-grader with access to a computer terminal can disprove the second half of the sentence, merely by visiting the Shakespeare Fellowship. This site contains an abundance of evidence substantiating the "eminent plausibility" of the case for Oxford's authorship. Nor is it true, thank you, that Oxfordians are motivated by envy or snobbery. Such accusations merely testify to the intellectual poverty of Professor Eagleton's ex cathedra pronouncements. We'd be glad to debate Dr. Eagleton on that point, anytime, anyplace.
New Cambridge Press Issue Supports a "Literary" View of the Bard
A new book by Lukas Erne, Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003), revives the once well-accepted view that Shakespeare's plays are literature, as well as fine stagecraft. Reviewer Stephen Roth, writing for Early Modern Literary Studies, begins his review by noting the contradictory stance of most contemporary Shakespearean scholars with respect to this question: "One of the greater ironies of Shakespeare scholarship over the last century is the ongoing effort by Shakespeare scholars--most of whom spend dozens of hours a week enjoining, cajoling, and browbeating their students into addressing Shakespeare's plays as literature--to deny that those plays are literature. Shakespeare, these scholars say, thought of his plays as disposable, populist ephemera, like Hollywood scripts; they were created for performance, and that's all. " Oxfordians have always insisted the plays are literature as well as fine theatre -- intended as much for posterity as for contemporary Elizabethan or Jacobean performance.
Although Roth supports Erne's central thesis, his comment on the chronology of quarto publication also deserves to be quoted: "Erne does not provide a satisfying explanation for the sudden halt in registration of new Shakespeare plays around the time of James' accession. " Oxfordians have argued, since 1920, that the abrupt cessation of publication of new Shakespearean quartos in 1604 is most plausibly explained by the author's death on June 24, 1604.
Even with these imperfections, writes Roth, Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist effectively puts paid to a complex of largely-assumed and reactive truisms that have increasingly dominated Shakespeare scholarship over the last century. It's difficult to come away from this book with any impression other than the perhaps-obvious one: that Shakespeare was writing for both the page and the stage."
"A complex of largely-assumed and reactive truisms that have
increasingly dominated Shakespeare scholarship over the last century...."
Hm. Why would that be?
Shakespeare Fellowship Vice-President Publishes New Book on the Holocaust
Shakespeare Fellowship founder and Vice-President for Communication Lynne Kositsky, the award-winning Canadian novelist whose 2000 novel, A Question of Will (Roussan), brought de Vere's authorship of the Shakespearean canon to many young readers for the first time, has scored again with her most recent young adult novel, The Thought of High Windows. The novel, about a group of young Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi death camps who take shelter in a deserted castle in France, has earned highest marks from Kirkus Review: "Superb, wrenching Holocaust fiction. Esther is a Jewish teen snatched out of Germany at the beginning of WWII by the Swiss Red Cross to live briefly in Belgium and later in a castle in France, under the nose of the Vichy government.... Swirling through the story is her tumultuous, ever-changing relationship with mercurial peer Walter. Esther is plagued with guilt and self-hatred as well as terror of dying in the looming Holocaust. Kositsky deftly describes the twisted pains of war, genocide, and cruelty. Kositsky's poetic and piercing language honors Esther's severe loneliness and the horrors she witnesses."
Read more and order the book at Barnes & Noble.
Oxfordian Writer Publishes in The Weekly Standard
Washington D.C. researcher Peter Dickson scores again with a review of Michael Wood's florid BBC documentary, "In Search of Shakespeare," in the most recent issue of the The Weekly Standard. "As fascination with Shakespeare's dramas and poems endures," writes Dickson, "the desire to know more about the inner life of the greatest literary figure in the English language intensifies--though scholars have always failed to satisfy it, because 'there is no evidence, you know.' That was the pithy response of Simon Schama when he warned British historian-turned-documentary filmmaker Michael Wood about the pitfalls in trying to make the first-ever film that would make Shakespeare come alive."
I guess we can add Columbia historian Simon Schama, one of the greatest cultural historians in recent memory, to the growing list of apostates to the Stratford myth.
Shakespeare Fellowship Featured in Renaissance Magazine
The Jan-Feb issue of Renaissance magazine features an extensive article favorable to Oxford as Shakespeare, including a full page picture of the disputed Ashbourne portrait of Oxford. Shakespeare Fellowship member Barbara Burris has published extensive analysis of the Ashbourne portrait in the Fall 2001 (I.1), Winter 2002 (I.2), Spring 2002 (I.3) and Fall 2002 (II.1) issues of Shakespeare Matters.
Postmodernism: Rigor Mortis is Setting In....
A January 27 Christian Science Monitor article by David Kirby, "Theory in Chaos," chronicles the demise of postmodernism. "Postmodern literary theory is now transforming itself so rapidly that Marxist, feminist, deconstructionist, and psychoanalytic critics (and others) are flocking back to the drawing board in droves as they search for new approaches to writing and teaching," writes Kirby.
Leading the way in the return to a "renewed appreciation of the irreducible particularity of an art work, an author, an historical moment, a particularity that theory may illuminate but never fully explain" (in the words of Georgetown Professor of British Literature Dennis Todd), is the inimitable Terry Eagleton, whom Prince Charles once called "that dreadful Terry Eagleton."
Eagleton, the author of a standard introductory text on postmodern literary theory, Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), now contends that postmodernism has become a constricting trap rather than a model of intellectual enlightenment:"[theory] has been shamefaced about morality and metaphysics, embarrassed about love, biology, religion and revolution, largely silent about evil..." And that, as Eagleton says, "is rather a large slice of human existence to fall down on."
Eageleton, aware of the Shakespeare authorship question since the early 1990s, has expressed the opinion that we know as much about the author of the plays as we about "the yeti."
Psychology Professor Publishes Oxfordian Article
Dr. Kevin Simpson, Professor of Psychology at Concordia University,
home of the annual De Vere Studies Conference, is publishing an article,
"The Psychology of Creativity and
Genius: Reflections on Shakespeare and the Oxfordian Challenge," in the August 2004 edition of Evolutionary Psychology, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal of psychology.
Congratulations, Dr. Simpson!
New De Vere Play opens in London to Rave Reviews
A new play featuring Edward de Vere as the genius behind A Midsummer Night's Dream et alia has opened at the Union Theatre in Soutwark, London. Edward's Presents, a five act drama by Sally Llewellyn, although just opened, is winning high accolades from London reviewers and introducing many theatregoers for the first time to the idea of Oxford's authorship of the Shakespearean canon:
'"Intriguing ... entertaining, original and compelling theatrical drama. The author's jumping off point is the suggestion that William Shaksper (sic) was not the author of the folios but in fact they were written by ... Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. This suggestion is not as far-fetched as it seems ..... Beyond this departure point, the play is rife with the tension of love triangles... original, daring and provocative in its plotting"
"A theatrically dynamic piece that is well driven by its core characters ... I did really enjoy Edward's Presents. It is written with a refreshing amount of explosive theatricality and it tackles big themes in an extremely ambitious way"
"An accomplished and entertaining piece with an involved story and rounded characterisation... the language is so fluent and progressive in terms of the narrative"
"Very well written ... the material [is] accessible to both the lay person and the aficionado"
-- Roxanna Silbert, Traverse Theatre.
De Vere in New Yorker
The New Yorker has reviewed Amy Freed's "Beard of Avon," which is currently playing in Manhattan: "Amy Freed's new comedy proposes an unusual solution to the controversy over Shakespearean authorship: that the Earl of Oxford, Edward De Vere, collaborated on plays with the unschooled but talented Will Shakspere and relied on him more and more as time went on. Tim Blake, Nelson's Shakspere, evolves during the plays from a sweetly yearning farmer to a writer sure of his craft, but it's Mark Harelik's convincing portrayal of DeVere that elevates the play beyond farce. Directed by Doug Hughes. New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E 4th St. 212-239-6200."
New Sci-Fi novel Touts Oxford as the Real Author
A new science fiction novel, 1632 by Eric Flint (2002, Baen Publishing, distributed by Simon and Schuster), includes the following conversation:
Judith Roth finally managed to speak. "I can't believe you. You actually--" She almost gasped the next words. "You actually saw Shakespeare? In person?"
Balthazar raised his head, frowning. "Shakespeare? Will Shakespeare? Well, of course. Couldn't miss the man at the Globe. He was all over the place before he moved back to Stratford-on-Avon. Never missed a chance to count the gate. Twice, usually."
Half-stunned, Morris walked over to a bookcase against the wall. He pulled down a thick tome and brought it over to Balthazar. "We are talking about the same Shakespeare, aren't we? The greatest figure in English literature?"
Still frowning, Balthazar took the book and opened its cover. When he saw the frontispiece, and then the table of contents, he almost choked. "Shakespeare didn't write these plays!" he exclaimed. Shaking his head: "Well, some of them, I suppose. In some small part. The ones that read as if written by committee. The little farces like Love's Labour's Lost. But the great plays? Hamlet? Other? King Bear?"
Seeing the look on his companions' faces, he burst into laughter. "My good people! Everyone knows that the plays were really written by--" He took a deep breath, preparing for recitation: "My Lord Edward, Earl of Oxford...."
Miami Law Review Publishes Authorship Article
We're pleased to announce another auspicious development in the Shakespeare question. The University of Miami Law Review, in its January 2003 issue (Volume 57:3), has published an important article on the authorship question by University of Miami Law School faculty member Thomas Regnier. The article, which is titled "Could Shakespeare Think Like a Lawyer? How Inheritance Law Issues in Hamlet may Shed Light on the Authorship Question," surveys the history of scholarship on Shakespeare's knowledge of the law and then summarizes the recent work of another lawyer, J. Antony Burton, whose study of the theme of inheritance law in Hamlet was published in the orthodox Shakespeare Newsletter (Fall 2000, Winter 2000/2001).
Regnier, who recently joined the Shakespeare Fellowship, argues that Burton's work has significant implications for the authorship question: "Burton's analysis moves us further from the Stratford theory and closer to those theories that suggest that someone with advanced legal training wrote Shakespeare's works" (426), suggests Regnier.
"The writer of Shakespeare's works had to have a highly sophisticated, deeply ingrained understanding of the law. He could think law and speak law....In the longstanding authorship controversy, no camp has at this point achieved definitive proof of its theory of authorship....we must [therefore] study the works for evidence about the person who wrote them...Burton's article is a fine example of the direction in which we must proceed" (427-28).
Burton's work has been known to Oxfordians since shortly after his initial publication; he lectured to the founding meeting of the Shakespeare Fellowship in Amherst Massachusetts in October 2001.
Kevin Kline Stages Brilliant Performance of Falstaff at Lincoln Center
"Kevin Kline's performance as Falstaff in Lincoln Center's production
of Henry IV (the two parts shortened and fused) is a work
of stunning theatrical mastery," reports Shakespeare Fellowship
drama reviewer K.C. Ligon. "From the first moment of his
leonine awakening after yet another night of imbibing sherris sack,
to the last heartbreaking chimes at midnight, Kline reveals a Falstaff
with more than a little touch of Hamlet in him. Every inflection,
every gesture surprises--and the voice rings true and clear."
In the words of John Simon, writing in New York Magazine:
"Instead of a merry, monumental lumberer, we get a graceful, wistful tergiversator, worth in itself the price of admission." (Dec. 1, 2003)
The production has been extended through January 18, 2004. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lct.org
Ben Brantley's review "Falstaff and Hal, with War Afoot," may be read at: www.nytimes.com
As Simon says:
"This has to be seen; to slightly rephrase Hal in his next play, Henry V, "And gentlefolk in New York now abed/Shall think themselves accursed they were not here."
London's Financial Times Takes a Swipe at Stratford
Just as the Stratfordian establishment has come out with its two strongest attempts to blunt the spreading influence of the Oxford heresy -- Michael Wood's BBC production, "In Search of Shakespeare" (which airs in the U.S. in January 2004) and Dr. Nelson's Monstrous Adversary (which appeared for sale for the first time September 2003) -- further signs of the looming demise of the Stratford myth continue to appear in the popular press.
A July 19-20 Financial Times essayist pans Bardtown and suggests that if someone else wrote the works of Shakespeare the Stratford merchants might do something useful instead of just "separating you from your money." In a long article in the UK newspaper, Iain Aitch says the town should be renamed "The Shakeyland Theme Park and Food Court."
In a recent visit to the birthplace town, Aitch was surprised at
"what a miserable experience Stratford turned out to be."
The Tudor beams were phony. The food was awful. The town is unwelcoming,
overpriced, "down market...and downright snooty." His solution?
"Perhaps if genealogists were to find conclusive proof that the
London playwright was not the same man as the grain-dealing Shakespeare
of Stratford, then the town would be forced to tear down the fake
beams and start to make an effort, rather than snatching your money
and slamming the till."
U.C. Berkeley Professor Alan Nelson Publishes Biography of Earl of Oxford
Monstrous Adversary, the muckracking new documentary biography of the 17th Earl of Oxford by Berkeley Professor Alan Nelson, is finally available after considerable delay. Look for reviews and commentary in our what's new section.
New York Times Covers Folger Library Deceptions
William Niederkorn's August 16 New York Times article on Shakespearean forgeries, "All Is True? Naye, Not if Thy Name Be Shakespeare," covers a current Folger Shakespeare Library display with some well-deserved independent scrutiny. The Folger, which has never gone out of its way to honestly acknowledge the weight of evidence supporting the Oxfordian attribution of the plays, persists in publicly identifying the Ashbourne Shakespeare as a portrait of Hugh Hammersley, despite the work done by Barbara Burris and other scholars in Shakespeare Matters which conclusively demolishes the Hammersley theory and demonstrates the likelihood that the original sitter was, as Charles Wisner Barrell first claimed in the January 1940 Scientific American, Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford.
As Niederkorn points out, the Folger display omits any reference to Burris' devastating critique of the Hammersley theory:
"Also included with this exhibit is an article published in Scientific American in 1940 that, one way or another, changed minds about the Ashbourne forever. Using X-rays, Charles W. Barrell, a photo expert, found images under the surface paint that no one knew were there and, based on his findings, determined that the figure in the portrait was Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, who was then and is still the most popular challenger for the authorship of the Shakespeare canon. An exhibit label says this article is "now discredited."
Since 1979 the Folger has identified the subject of the portrait as Hugh Hammersley (1565-1636), best remembered as a mayor of London.
Not included in the Folger show is a series of articles by the researcher Barbara Burris, published in the last two years by the Oxfordian newsletter Shakespeare Matters, that criticize the Folger's restoration work and reassert the Oxford case for the Ashbourne.
We challenge the Folger to supply, in any future exhibit of the Ashbourne, a photographic reproduction of the extant portrait of Hugh Hammersley, which even a child would not confuse as the same person as sitter of the Ashbourne portrait.
Just for Fun: Stephen Greenblatt on "Renaissance Self Fashioning"
The quote for the day comes from an unlikely source: J. H. Alexander's introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Kenilworth, Walter Scott's novel of the "idealized pastoral" of "the old days of merry England": "In his influential study, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare Stephen Greenblatt has argued that with the passage from medieval Roman Catholicism to Renaissance Anglicanism people became increasingly aware of the necessity of adopting roles for themselves, projecting or fashioning themselves, in a society where old conventions had lost their validity." I should think Greenblatt's model is very pertinent not only to understanding what happened in Shakespeare's time but also relevant to the present. Besides, Kenilworth is a good read, with foolery worthy of Feste.
Katherine Hepburn, Shakespeare Actress Extraordinaire, Passes On
Check out this
article on Katherine Hepburn's advice, posted by Shakespeare Fellowship
Trustee Stephen Aucella. "I asked her, hoping for show business
goodies that I could tuck away," writes John D. Spooner, who
liked to act female parts, "if she had any suggestions for us
playing female characters. 'Of course,' she answered. 'Read the female
roles in Shakespeare. Everything you want to know about character
and the theater is in Shakespeare.'''
New Yorker Spoofs Authorship Question
Another sign of the times? The June 16 & 23 New Yorker carries a cover illustration by Mark Ulricksen which spoofs the Droeshout portrait and the authorship question. Ulricksen's "Shakespeare in the Park" shows seven Shakespeares sporting in Central Park: a bike rider, a bongo drummer, a jogger, a pizza eater (the Italian connection?), a sculler, a dog-walker, and last but not least a Shakespeare reading The Daily News with a headline: "Will Writ Wrong...I WROTE HAMLET, confesses Marlowe."
Lord Burghley is the Prototype for Polonius, says Times Literary Supplement
Score another point for the Oxford case. The May 30 Times Literary Supplement carries an essay by a John Wardroper called "By any other name..." arguing that Polonius is a satire on Burghley. A new Arden Hamlet (2 volumes) appears next year with Q1, Q2, and F1 texts not conflated. He includes the Corambis argument and suggests the need for a new footnote to Polonius's name clarifying the circumstance. Imagine that. And only a few months ago, orthodox pundits on HLAS were arguing that "only the Oxfordians and A.L. Rowse" believed that Burghley was the prototype for Polonius.
Wood Documentary Pumped by BBC
The Michael Wood documentary (see the entry below from 6/24/02) the
Catholic bard is now advertised by the BBC
and boosted by Stratford's grammar school, the King
Edward VI School. "Shakespeare is the world’s number
one writer," burbles the BBC, "but surprisingly there has
never been a full scale documentary life on TV. In this historical
detective story, Michael Wood explores Shakespeare’s mysterious
life set against the dangerous and exciting times in which he lived:
the days of the Armada, the Gunpowder Plot and the New World voyages."
The Wood documentary, following the revisionist path laid down by Jonathan Bate and other Stratfordian cold warriors, also places special emphasis on the superlative education the Stratford bard "must have" received at the King Edward School. "Shakespeare’s education undoubtedly had a profound effect on his later life, and so we were asked to become involved [in the project] in a number of ways," writes the Edward VI school web site. "Latin lessons were filmed, in particular scenes of boys discussing – and reading aloud - Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a key text for the Elizabethan schoolboy, and a work which resonates throughout Shakespeare’s plays and poems."
KC Ligon, a participant on the Shakespeare Fellowship's discussion board, offered this astute commentary on the Wood documentary:
"What I find noteworthy is the combination of the effort to find excitement in the Stratford man's biography (i.e. it must be there somewhere -- look at those great works) and, with the assistance of the educational structure (click on home at the King Edward VI school to appreciate fully who's providing that support), to bolster up or elevate the possible education at the Stratford Grammar School that Shakspere only might have had. Having the schoolboys recite Ovid's Metamorphoses as an implied dramatic re-enactment of what Shakespeare might have done if he had gone to that school would appear to be only one of many fancies parading themselves as fact in this 'documentary.'"
"[The documentary's very] existence demonstrates just how serious a threat the Oxford case has become. Oxford's education, proximity to the corridors of political power as well as theatrical venues, extensive travels in Italy and personal connections to recognized models for the characters in the plays, are the sort of information this film could not hope to find for the Stratford man. Michael Wood and company have gone in search of the sensational, possibly believing that in today's world that will carry the day, especially if the education matter could be cleared up."
William Causey to Speak for Shakespeare Fellowship
William F. Causey, an organizer and moderator of two recent Smithsonian debates on the authorship question, will join the Shakespeare Fellowship as keynote speaker at the Fellowship's second annual conference in Carmel, CA. October 9-13 2003.
Causey brings to the conference a life rich in legal experience including
a specialization in the rules of evidence. He was a practicing litigator
for over 25 years, spent 4 years as General Counsel to a Committee
in the U.S. House of Representatives before entering private practice,
and served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center
for 20 years. Currently Causey teaches Evidence. Causey is
a member of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society for the
District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals. He has taken 6 oral histories
for the D.C. Circuit Historical Society, including Earl Silbert, the
US Attorney for Watergate.
Fellowship Member Ron Destro Promotes Manhattan Shakespeare Theatre
York Sun reports on Ron Song Destro's efforts to organize a permanent
Shakespeare theatre for New York City. Destro, a member of the Shakespeare
Fellowship and former student of Kristin Linklater's, has been talking
up a New York Globe project for a few years now, patiently gathering
the support required to effect such an ambitious plan. Destro's list
of endorsements is pretty impressive: Julie Harris, Joseph Fiennes,
Kenneth Branagh, Eli Wallach, Olivia de Havilland, F. Murray Abraham, and Dame Glenda Jackson are all sponsors of the project.
The only hitch, as the Sun story gets around to recognizing, is the familiar one of ideology: Destro is one of "them" -- one of "those" Oxfordians. And just in case anyone thought that the Shakespeare orthodoxy was getting any more polite in its rhetoric, Columbia's James Shapiro, speaking to the Globe about Destro's project, could not contain his contempt for the thought of open discussion with the likes of Destro: "As for the authorship question," reports the Globe, [Shapiro] "dismissed the Oxfordian position, saying the debate 'will always be around.' It’s like roaches: It will survive nuclear destruction." How charitable of the good professor from Columbia. Truly, a more elevated and rational contribution to public discourse, one more a credit to its institution, we have not heard before.
The Crown Signature to be Read at Fellowship Conference 2003
As part of the
2003 Shakespeare Fellowship Conference
9-13), Pacific Repertory Theatre (Carmel, California) will perform the
inaugural staged reading of the new play The Crown Signature by Alan
Navarre. The reading is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Monday, October 13 (an
Pac Rep will present the professional world premiere of the full
production of The Crown Signature in 2004.
Performing the staged reading will be the professional actors of Pacific
Repertory Theatre. Also, offers to perform the reading (and play) have
been extended to several prominent Oxfordian actors.
The screenplay version of The Crown Signature is under option by
Flashlight Productions (London), and the Globe Theatre has also
expressed interest in performing the play.
Alan Navarre has three other plays in development and other screenplays
under option including the award-winning Darwin's Ark (Big Australian)
and Phobos (Telluride IndieFest). He trained at American Conservatory
Fellowship is gratified to be associated with Arts organizations,
playwrights, directors, actors, novelists, and anyone else who is
exploring the dynamic and creative dimensions of the Shakespeare Question.
Jefferson on Shakespeare
Added 2/28/03 Thomas Jefferson on Shakespeare. As some readers may be aware, the Shakespeare Fellowship operates fully-featured and archived discussion boards running on php software. Lately the discussions have been brisk and informative, both on the public and the members-only sections of the boards. It only takes a few regular contributors with the knowledge and ambition to further the dialogue on the Shakespearean question, to create new opportunities for exciting exchange. Recently one of our regulars, K.C. Ligon of New York City, posted this astounding note about Thomas Jefferson:
"When these local vocabularies are published and digested together into a single one, it is probable that there is not a word in Shakespeare which is not now in use in some of the counties in England, from whence we may obtain its true sense. And what an exchange will their recovery be for the volumes of idle commentaries and conjectures with which that divine poet has been masked and metamorphose<d>. We shall find in him new sublimities which we had never tasted before."
--Thomas Jefferson, writing on November 9, 1825 to John Evelyn Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons, addressing a publication on English county dialects. Emphasis supplied.
To the names of Sigmund Freud, Malcolm-X, Leslie Howard, James Galsworthy, and many more luminous figures in intellectual history who understood the implausibility of the orthodox view of Shakespeare, it seems that we must now add the name of Thomas Jefferson.
Joseph Summers and Shakespeare Fellowship in the Virgin Islands
In an earlier release, we noted the Boston Foundation for Modern Opera's sponsorship of Joseph Summers' Shakespeare Concerts, inspired by the plays of Edward de Vere. The Concerts are being performed in Boston, Worcester, and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. In a recent article the St. Thomas Source reports that "Summer's projects are sponsored by the Boston-based Foundation for Modern Opera, which promotes them citing 'the plays and poetry of Edward De Vere, also known as William Shakespeare.' The reference is to the view represented by The Shakespeare Fellowship, a foundation committed to 'bringing the Shakespeare authorship debate to a world-wide audience via the Internet and stimulating a wide-ranging dialogue on the relevance of Shakespeare to the 21st century" with emphasis on 'the theory that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1606) was the true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare.'"
The quote for the day comes from Massachusetts State Appellate Court Justice Sosman, who voted in favor of Oxford in the Oct. 22, 2002 Boston Moot: "genius, in whatever form it exists within persons, must be nurtured" (as summarized by William Boyle in the Winter 2003 issue of Shakespeare Matters.)
Massachusetts Publisher Releases Book by Fellowship Founder Elisabeth Sears
In a News Release dated Feb. 2, Meadow Geese Press of Marshfield Hills, Mass., announces the publication of its latest title, Shakespeare and the Tudor Rose, by Elisabeth Sears. Sears, a founding member of the Shakespeare Fellowship, is the first person to write a book focused on the theory that the individual raised under the legal identity of the 3rd Earl of Southampton (1574-1625) was the changling child son of Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth I. "There remains scant recognition," writes Hank Whittemore in the introduction to this book, "that this story is not simply a literary one. Behind it is a human drama inextricable from the politics of the Elizabethan age."
Fellowship Essay Contest Winners Announced
The Shakespeare Fellowship is pleased to announce that winners of our first annual contest winners have been chosen. Our President, former Professor of Physics at MIT Dr. Charles Berney, will be notifying contest winners by the earliest convenient means. As soon as the winners have been notified, their names will be posted, along with the winning essay, in our "Virtual Classroom" section.
The Shakespeare Fellowship Contest Commitee has announced that that the second annual contest is now open, although details are still being finalized. Cash prizes of up to $500 will be given for a second year. The contest is open to 9-12th grade students in the United States and Canada. For details, please visit our Contest page.
Fellowship Trustee, Renowned Novelist Sarah Smith, to Publish Chasing Shakespeares
Shakespeare Fellowship Trustee Sarah Smith, a Phd from Harvard University in English and noted Northeastern author, has announced the forthcoming publication of her book, Chasing Shakespeares, a Romantic comedy in which a working class graduate student narrator from Northeastern University contrives a liking to Ms. Posy Gould, a rich girl from Harvard who is alternately the model of razor sharp logic and biggest ditz on the planet. Together this unlikely duo gradually discover the truth about Shakesbeard. Sarah Smith also gives lessons in web design. We encourage our friends on HLAS to visit her site, before they got too carried away with themselves.
Smithsonian Sponsors All-Day Seminar on Authorship
Get set for another big debate (you mean you thought HLAS was the only place the authorship question was "debated"?) at the Smithsonian, in an ALL-DAY SEMINAR: Sat., April 19, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., "Shakespeare or De Vere? That is the Question."
"For two centuries," states the Smithsonian, "questions have been raised about the authorship of the works attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Orson Welles, and Derek Jacobi have doubted whether the man from Stratford had the education and intellectual capacity to write the great plays and sonnets."
Well, that's sort of right. But it would be unfortunate if that statement -- with its heavy emphasis on ultimately unresolvable philosophical questions about "intellectual capacity" was really the model for the framing of the debate. The critical question is not the quantum of intellect displayed in the plays, or the number of years of schooling which, according to one view or another, were supposedly prerequisites to the writing. Those are idols of the late-orthodox view. The true ground of the debate, the Shakespeare Fellowship believes, is the awkwardly, uncannily close fit, psychologically speaking, between the content of the plays and poems and the life of Edward de Vere as documented in sources outside of the Shakespearean canon itself. We hope the dedicated individuals who have worked to bring about this event will entertain these comments in a friendly fashion, joining with the Shakespeare Fellowship in the mutual spirit of the quest for some truth in this great question.
We also wish all the discussants in the forthcoming debate the best
of luck and hope that everyone who attends will feel that their appreciation
for Shakespeare's world has been enhanced by the experience.
Fellowship Member Michael Dunn Performance Wins Standing Ovation
"The performance of Michael Dunn's "
Sherlock Holmes and the Shakespeare Mystery" at the Institute
of Educational Advancement gathering at the Fountain Ballroom of the
Westin Las Fuentes Hotel in Pasadena on January 15th proved a great
success. Some 300 educators, gifted students, and their parents were
in attendance, and praised the Oxford-themed multi-media one-man show
as "compelling", "amazing", and best of all, "utterly
convincing!" Senior Program Coordinator Jennifer Lanza called
it "very thought-provoking and a great match to our philosophy
of challenging our nation's most gifted youth." Going right to
the heart of the Nature vs. Nurture debate over the putative untaught
backwoods genius of Stratford vs. the deeply cultured litterateur
of Oxford, the event offered a window into the truth that gifted children
need a supportive and challenging environment to reach their potential.
Contact Michael Dunn to
inquire about booking the program in your area.
The Elizabethan Review website has returned! Check it out.
Well, the 2002 essay contest is closed. Hold your unsent entries for the 2003 contest! We received 228 entries from 28 high schools in 16 states, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia. Congratulations, thanks and good luck to all students who took the time to enter our contest and use the essay technique to develop their understanding of the bard's work. Winners will be announced on or before March 31.
As previously reported (see entry 7/12/02), two University of Washington linguists, Michael Brame and Galina Popova, are the most recent academicians to openly declare for the Oxford case. At a December 6 Colloquium sponsored by the University of Washington Linguistics Department, Brame introduced the theory of Oxford's authorship to a standing-room only audience of about seventy colleagues.
Marlowe Documentary Airs on PBS
So much new has been happening in authorship land that one scarcely knows where to begin (to compensate for a month of computer troubles) to bring this timeline down to the present without neglecting some critical event or another. For starters, the Michael Rubbo documentary on Marlowe as Shakespeare, "Much Ado About Something," aired on PBS Frontline. The new PBS site on the show includes interviews with director Rubbo, Stratfordian stalwart Jonathan Bate (also featured in the documentary), Harvard's Marjorie Garber (weighing in for the neo-Harvard view of things), and Diana Price, author of Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography who, as always, has some interesting things to say about the missing paper trail and other dogs that didn't bark in the night. Tune in to the discussion at PBS. For some reasons why Marlowe did not write the Shakespearean canon, you have your directions.
As happy as we are to announce the good news in academia (see below entry), we are even more pleased to learn of the way High School teachers are making use of the essay questions in our Annual Essay Contest to shape the curriculum and set a context for understanding the bard in the classroom (forget it, folks, you can't do it with the Shaksbard). Today the manilla envelope was unsealed, containing 13 marvelous essays from the classroom of Kelley Springer at the Hong Kong International School. Keep it up, guys & gals from Hong Kong. "Nec modus est ullus investigandi veri, nisi inveneris," as Cicero says in De Finibus (I.1.3 -- look it up!).
University of Washington Linguistics Team Publishes Book on De Vere
Two linguistics professors, Michael Brame and Galina Popova, are the most recent academicians to publicly subscribe to the Oxford theory. Brame, a specialist in recursive categorial grammars and mathematical linguistics who has taught on the University of Washington Faculty since 1970, and Popova, have written a series of books on Oxford as Shakespeare. Advance notice of the books is available at Adonis-editions. We look forward to reading them.
Boston Composer Joseph Summers Performs Music Inspired by De Vere
The Boston-based Foundation for Modern Opera announces its sponsorship of a series of performances and recordings focusing on the plays and poetry of Edward De Vere, also known as William Shakespeare. Currently the project consists of concerts in Worcester, Boston, and the Virgin Islands of songs set to sonnets and scenes by composers Joseph Summer, John McGinn, Verdi (Othello), Thomas (Hamlet) and Benjamin Britten (Midsummer Night's Dream.) Czech pianist Miroslav Sekera will also perform the Tempest Piano Sonata by Beethoven.
The featured composer of The Shakespeare Concerts, Joseph Summer, has been an Oxfordian since 1991 when he began work on his Oxford Songs. The Oxford Songs consist of five books of musical settings of Edward De Vere's sonnets and plays.
For more information The Shakespeare Concerts, the Foundation for Modern Opera, tickets, or composer Joseph Summer, please contact Jennifer E. Kline, Attorney at Law, at the law offices of Broude & Hochberg, L.L.P. 75, Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110 or call 617-748-5114.
Sanders Symposium Fails to Confirm Authenticity of Portrait
The Sanders portrait symposium at Trinity College in Toronto drew about 200 participants, a dozen of them Oxfordians, to consider the proposition advanced in the new book, Shakespeare's Face, that the so-called "Sanders portrait" owned by Lloyd Sullivan, is a long-lost authentic portrait of the bard. The book is written by Toronto Globe and Mail journalist Stephanie Nolen, who first broke the story of the painting eighteen months ago, with the collaboration of a pantheon of Shakespearean superstars including Marjorie Garber, Jonathan Bate and Stanley Wells. Sullivan stands to profit many millions of dollars through promotion of the portrait as a legitimate likeness of the bard. The book was reviewed by Shakespeare Fellowship member Paul Altrocchi in the most recent issue of Shakespeare Matters. A report on the conference and other resources on the Sanders may be found here.
Daniel Wright Publishes Scathing Review of Funeral Elegy Affair
Pardon, gentle readers, for the long delay in updating the NEWs. Just keep in mind the dedication to the 1609 quarto of Troilus and Cressida and you will understand that yesterday's news is tomorrow's comedy and today's news is a harbinger of humanity's doubtful future. O brave new world that has such creatures in it!
And so it goes with the state of Shakespearean studies. We already reported in the June 23 entry on the astounding reversal of Donald Foster regarding "The Funeral Elegy," in a June 20 New York Times article. Since then Daniel Wright has written an incisive review of the entire sordid affair, and particularly the role played by Terry Ross and David Kathman in broadcasting the Elegy on the Internet. As Ken Kaplan recently commented, 2002 has not been a good year for the gay science of what Professor Gary Taylor, between jest and earnest, refers to as "Shaksperotics"-- the science of orthodox dogmatics on the Shakespeare question.
Since we last updated you Terry Ross and Roger Stritmatter debated the significance of the de Vere Bible at the first annual Conference of the Shakespeare Fellowship. We won't prejudice the outcome, beyond expressing the opinion that Mr. Ross needs to sharpen his pen, and refine his position. Ross's argument was summed up by one PhD witness as a display of "mind-boggling triviality".
Not to blow our own trumpet too loudly, but the Fellowship is also very excited by the impressive response to our own annual essay contest. We've received many emails from all over North America requesting information on the contest and look forward to a large number of entries later this fall.
Harvard's Stephen Greenblatt Condemns Authorship Question in New York Times
Stephen Greenblatt, the renowned Harvard scholar who was reportedly paid a million dollar advance from the Norton Co. to rescue the Stratford bard from the Oxford menace, has fired off an irate letter to The New York Times in response to William Niederkorn's article reporting on Donald Foster's recantation of the "Funeral Elegy" (see below news item). Shakespeare Fellowship members --including three PhDs in literary studies, Ren Draya, Daniel Wright, and Roger Stritmatter-- wrote to Times or Greenblatt directly, to express their dismay over Greenblatt's zero tolerance policy for open inquiry.
Among other astonishing and unsubstantiated claims in Greenblatt's letter is that the re-attribution of the "Funeral Elegy" to John Ford "has no bearing on the question of who wrote Shakespeare's plays."
This is not true. Consider that in less than two years after Elliott and Abrams began promoting the case in earnest, the "Elegy" was canonized in the prestigious Riverside Shakespeare. It was subsequently reprinted in two other major collections, including Greenblatt's own Norton edition, and endorsed by Harold Bloom as a poem by Shakespeare. How could so many experts prove themselves completely wrong in so short a period of time? "The Elegy," as Oxfordians have argued extensively, was a perfect "magic bullet" -- and was endorsed by Dr. Foster as such in oral communications with interested parties -- for slaying the Oxfordian dragon. Unlike any other canonical Shakespeare text it could definitively be dated to a time after Oxford died. As evidence from our chronology section demonstrates, the orthodox argument that de Vere died before some of the plays were written is a maginot line of paper tigers: the Shakespeare industry endorsed the "Funeral Elegy" with such great rapidity because it seemed like a convenient way to fend off the danger of the Oxford heresy. Now that the effort has boomeranged, it of course becomes necessary to deny that there was ever any connection between the two things.
Perhaps the Shakespeare Fellowship should also take this opportunity to cordially offer Professor Greenblatt an opportunity to debate another astounding claim from his NYT letter: "Nor has evidence in favor of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, 'as the author of the works of Shakespeare' been growing in recent years. There is no evidence at all that de Vere, who died in 1604, wrote them." We believe that any open-minded reader of this web-site will agree that Professor Greenblatt is quite wrong on both these points.
Michael Wood to Air BBC Documentary on the "Secret Catholic" Shakespeare
"O what a tangled web they weave, when first they practice to deceive." Get set for a big new twist in the authorship question: within a year, a major documentary film produced by Michael Wood for BBC PBS will feature the claim that the Stratford bard was a secret Catholic. This heretical notion has been endorsed by a number of leading scholars who are looking for a way out of the cul-de-sac of the orthodox biographical tradition. Turning Shakespeare into a secret Catholic seems like a quick and easy way to solve the problems of conventional biography. The only trouble is, close students of the bard's writings know that this can't be so: although the works betray a definite sympathy for Catholicism, the author's theology, as Dr. Daniel Wright and many others have argued, is definitely Anglican in character. On the other hand, the documentary life actually supports in substantial ways the theory that the Stratford man was a secret Catholic. How will orthodoxy reconcile this contradiction? Oxfordian sleuth Peter Dickson has for some years been predicting a titanic collision within the orthodox camp over this issue.
Recent evidence suggests that the show-down between the secret Catholic faction and the traditionalists is imminent. The Michael Woods documentary is set to air sometime in 2003, but in the meantime the conservative faction of Shakespeare scholars are already active trying to stamp out the heresy that the Stratford man counted rosary beads. Dickson reports that the spring 2002 issue of The Shakespeare Quarterly prints an article by Richard Bearman, archivist at Stratford-on-Avon, who "aims to destroy totally the intriguing and promising claim that the Stratford man migrated or rather fled Protestant authorities in 1579-1581 to the north country to became a tutor in the households of aristocratic Catholic families in Lancashire..." Dickson finds Bearman's arguments substantive but not conclusive: "Bearman clearly succeeds in his SQ article in showing that the evidence being pushed by Catholic enthusiasts within the Stratford camp that the Stratford man was the young 'William Shakeshafte' in these Lancashire households is highly dubious." However, Dickson's own currently unpublished research shows that ample evidence of other kinds does support the view that the Stratford man, as Davies remarked in the late 17th century, "died a papist." If this view is correct, argues Dickson, it seals the case against the Stratford man as the bard, who --based on internal evidence -- was demonstrably not a Catholic. Stay tuned for more fun.
New York Times Exposes Funeral Elegy "Error"
For those who haven't heard, the New York Times has dealt another serious blow to Shakespearean orthodoxy in a June 20 Arts article by William Niederkorn, who reports on the recantation of Professor Donald Foster of his 1995 attribution of the 1612 Funeral Elegy to William Shakespeare. Foster's attribution of this horrendous poem to Shakespeare, as Niederkorn documents, was swiftly endorsed by three major publishers, including the prestigious Riverside Shakespeare. How could the distinguished editors of that volume mistake the funeral elegy for a poem by Shakespeare? A 1612 publication elegizing a man who died in the same year was proof positive that Edward de Vere, who died in 1604, could not have been the real author: hence the precipitous and now slightly ridiculous rush to canonize the awful poem. Richard Kennedy, a founding member of the Shakespeare Fellowship, is credited in the article with discovering the most likely real author of the poem, John Ford. Daniel Wright anatomizes the implications of the Elegy's demise for the Shakespeare Fellowship.
New York Sun Questions Authorship
The New York Sun has joined the every-growing list of media
outlets promoting freedom on inquiry on the authorship question. An
April 23 "Shakespeare's birthday" article by Sun staff writer
Jeremy McCarter makes prominent notice of the de Vere Studies Conference,
the Shakespeare Fellowship, and the English de Vere Society. McCarter
states that "Oxfordians on both sides of the Atlantic profess
to be more interested in strengthening their case than in throwing
parties, and their treatment of de Vere's birthday, April 12, bears
them out. Mr. [Dr Roger] Stritmatter said the Shakespeare Fellowship's
April 26 meeting at the Harvard Faculty Club is pegged to de Vere's
birthday, but that no explicit birthday-themed events were on the
agenda. Wright's four-day conference at Concordia University fell
around de Vere's birthday, as did a meeting of the de Vere Society
in Great Britain, but organizers of both said the timing was a coincidence.
"Sorry, we don't make much of de Vere's birthday," Christopher
Dams of the de Vere Society replied to an e-mail query. "I suppose
we concentrate more on the things he did."
Portland Oregonian Ridicules Authorship Orthodoxy
The Portland Oregonian, covering the 6th Annual Edward de Vere Studies Conference, seems to think that the official view of the bard promulgated on the Kathman-Ross website, is becoming something of a joke. "It's hard to spend time around [the Oxfordians] without the orthodoxy's suddenly seeming an insubstantial frappe of conjecture and wishful thinking," writes Oregonian staffer John Foyston. For details please visit the The Portland Oregonian.
Fellowship Trustees Address Central Kitsap Students in Washington State
Lynne Kositsky and Roger Stritmatter wowed a district assembly of 500 Central Kitsap School District 9th-12th graders held at Central Kitsap Jr. High 4/15. Kositsky read from her book, A Question of Will and Stritmatter led the assembly through a brief discussion of the nature of evidence in the authorship question (examining the name "Shakespeare" on title pages, the front material of the first folio, and the Stratford bust), and spoke about the life of the young Edward de Vere.
Record Level of Attendees at De Vere Studies Conference
The fifth Annual Edward de Vere Studies Conference concluded last weekend at Concordia University in Portland Oregon with a record attendance of 227 registrants
A pair of young Shakespearean scholars from Boston star in a new novel by Sarah Smith, the author of several historical mysteries, just acquired by the Washington Square Press for the new Atria imprint. Chasing Shakespeares chronicles the story of two young scholars who have unwittingly stumbled on the identity of the true author. You'll never guess who the true author is. Smith, a member of the Shakespeare Fellowship, expects the book to book to become an important asset in developing public consciousness about Edward de Vere.
Multi-Volume Directory of Shakespeare Authorship Studies to Appear
Shakespeare Fellowship member John Louther reports that his March 14 press release announcing the launching of a Multi-volume Directory of Shakespeare Authorship Studies (yes folks, it is rumored that de Vere really was Shakespeare) has netted an enthusiastic publisher.
Authorship Question Ridiculed at Shakespeare Association of America
According to David Kathman's news release on the prestigious Usenet forum HLAS, the Shakespeare Association of America had a good belly laugh over the Oxfordians at the recent SAA convention. Obviously, the high priesthood of Shakespeare studies is getting mighty nervous: when The New York Times joins The New Yorker, Atlantic, and Harpers in declining to further patronize Stratfordian illusions, perhaps it's time for orthodoxy to reconsider the nature of comedy. Kathman reported that two prominent Stratfordians had ridiculed Paul Streitz, and referred to his work as representative of the Oxfordian case. Although this is a falsehood, it apparently had scholars rolling in the aisles. We aren't that surprised, but we do hope that at least one or two people present had the sensibility to realize that laughing before the joke is over is unwise.
Authorship Debate Featured on KQED
Amy Freed, Alan Nelson, Julian Lopez-Morillas, and Peter Kline, are featured in this January 25 KQED radio broadcast on the authorship debate. Kline, a recent enthusiast and convert to the Oxford theory, is educator and author of forthcoming "Why America's Children Can't Think." We look forward to hearing more from both him and Ms. Freed, author -- reputedly :) -- of "The Beard of Avon."
A Historic Breakthrough: New York Times Covers Case for De Vere
William Niederkorn's outstanding New York Times article on the authorship question, featuring the work of Shakespeare Fellowship members Roger Stritmatter (on the de Vere Bible) and Barbara Burris (on the Ashbourne portrait) hit the newstands today in New York and will be available by Saturday elsewhere. The article also makes prominent mention of the Shakespeare Fellowship website.
Thomas of Woodstock at Emerson College
Emerson College, located in the heart of downtown Boston, is mounting a production of the apocryphal Shakespearean play Thomas of Woodstock, which some scholars believe is a prequel to Richard II. The play will run 27 February-3 March 2002 at the Emerson Majestic. The director Michael Hammond, normally associated with Tina Packer's Shakespeare & Co., was interviewed by Chuck Berney on 27 November 2001.
Ashbourne Portrait Interrogated
Headlining the News in Authorship studies is a series of impressive revelations about the much-disputed Ashbourne portrait, from the pen of veteran amateur scholar Barbara Burris. Burris' work, originally published in Shakespeare Matters, is featured in the Feb. 10 New York Times article. Burris has devoted several years to reviewing the painting's history, and is now prepared to debunk the Folger Library claim identifying it as a painting of Sir Hugh Hammersley. For the orthodox party-line on the portrait, go here. For some problems with the "party-line", please visit our Newsletter. Coming in our spring issue: Burris' explosive archival research on the recent history of this important historical artifact.
Second Authorship Debate at Smithsonian
On Wednesday night The Smithsonian once again opened its doors to the Authorship debate. Richard Whalen, founding member of the Shakespeare Fellowship and author of Shakespeare: Who Was He? squared off against the Folger Library's own Gail Kern Paster. Paster started off by announcing "this joke must end." Some members in the audience wondered which joke Dr. Paster had in mind, but eventually it became apparent. She acknowledged that she has not read The Mysterious William Shakespeare, and went on to explain what an intellectually unsophisticated person the author of the Shakespeare canon was.
We quite agree with Dr. Paster's premise: the joke's getting old. In the future, we think that intellectual culture in America will be better served if the participants in authorship debates are required to know something about the subject before they appear in public, trying to substitute ex cathedra pronouncements for reason.
Authorship Play Airs in San Francisco
"The Beard of Avon", an authorship comedy by Amy Freed, is playing through February 10 at the Geary Theatre in San Francisco. The American Conservatory Theatre production, directed by Mark Rucker, received page one rave reviews in both the San Francisco Chronicle (1/18 - Datebook Section - "Whose Lines Are Those Anyway?" by Robert Herwitt) and the San Jose Mercury News (1/16 - Arts and Entertainment - "Was Will a Shill?" by Karen D'Souza).
Shakespeare Fellowship Continues to Grow...
The Shakespeare Fellowship continues to grow by leaps and bounds. In the past week alone we added 17 new members to our roster. Our goal of 350 members by the end of April 2002 now seems imminently achievable. Thanks to all the folks who have sent us notes of encouragement.
Shakespeare Fellowship Member Awarded Honorary PhD for New Book
Shakespeare Fellowship Founding Member Elizabeth Appleton (aka Elizabeth Van Dreunen) has been awarded the honorary degree of PhD in History for her book, An Anatomy Of The Marprelate Controversy 1588-1596: Retracing Shakespeare's Identity And That Of Martin Marprelate, which attributes the three pamphlets published under the nom de plume "Pasquill Cavaliero of England" (1589-1590) to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Watch for more details here soon.
UT Arlington MA Thesis on De Vere
It has just come to our attention to Jonni Lea Dunn, a former student at the University of Texas at Arlington, has recently authored an impressive Master's thesis on "The Literary Patronage of Edward de Vere, The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford".
Several of our members have recently marked up impressive personal accomplishments. Read about them here.
Australian Theatre Company Launches De Vere Production
From Australia, we learn that Kinetic Energy Theatre Company has mounted an astounding extravaganza multimedia show about the authorship question, titled SHAKE-SPEARE Part 1: The Early Years. Writer-actor-producers Graham Jones and Jepke Goudsmit are two of the newest members of the Shakespeare Fellowship.
Any guesses as to what happened? Audiences loved the show, but the Shakespeare industry brought in its big editorial guns to try to torpedo the production. Honest to god! Don't these newspaper critics have anything better to do with their time than repeat the holy mantra that "Shakespeare Is Shakespeare"?
We keep getting inquiries about Roger Stritmatter's dissertation on the de Vere Bible. Write to him if you want a copy.
O, and be sure to check out our new animated feature presentation, the Shakespeare Skeptics Hall of Fame....