Shakespearean Authorship Trust Trustee Julia Cleave gave SOS permission to reprint her report on the conference: “Shakespeare: from Rowe to Shapiro held Nov. 28, 2009 at The Globe in London. This report appeared initially in Nina Green’s email list, Phaeton on December 3. Her report supplements an earlier report by De Vere Society Secretary Richard Malim.
- “In contemporary publishing it is much easier to write / publish / sell books of biography than any other kind of writing about writing. (He cited Homer as a counter example of impersonal authorship).
- People react to changes in chronology!
- What is Thomas Nashe doing with his mischievous references? – provides a terminus ad/ante quem to various of Shakespeare’s plays.
- There is a chronological time-bomb under Shakespeare!
- How much difference does it make to say a play written in 1603 / 05 / 08?
- The historiography we use to explain works of literature links with biography.
- The Tempest is placed at the front of the First Folio – Why?
- Has to have been a very late work?
- Issue of chronology is problematic because the ‘new Shakespeareans’ in the nineteenth century were eccentric and wrong-headed.
- Twelfth Night and Winter’s Tale created back-to-back?
- It wouldn’t be impossible to find a document which proves Malone right. Terminus ad and ante quem – still not accuracy – more than a year or two either side.
- Shifting of ground methodologically is happening anyway – Re-examining historicism – When is a fact a fact?
- “I’m going to voice the secret doubts we all share about the ‘life’ which has been problematic since before Rowe.”
- All Shakespeare biographers know what is missing!
- We cannot precisely date any play.
- We have created a ‘life’ because a modern author is somehow incomplete without a life.
- Shakespeare’s life especially impossible to tell because of the paucity of the evidence and the gaps in between.
- Conclusion: “Maybe we should write more openly about the nature of the problem.”
- “I’m here to look at How, When and Why Shakespeare was transformed into an autobiographical author.”
- It’s time to abandon any hope of learning about Shakespeare’s inner life – irrevocably lost to us!
- The anti-Stratfordian movement is a bi-product of a mainstream scholarly tradition.
- In a few months, in 2012, Emmerich’s film ‘Anonymous’ will come out – arguing that Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare.
- I have studied this more intensely than any other Stratfordian.
- Minds are not really going to be changed on this subject.
- Debate on both sides is circular and self-serving.
- There is a history to how we think what we think.
- “These debates are not going to be easily resolved.”
If you were to construct a biography which ticked all the boxes – if you were to read Shakespeare’s plays and infer a biography from it – it wouldn’t be Rowe’s, it would actually be the Earl of Oxford’s.
Julia Cleave, Trustee of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust : MA (Oxon) is a member of the academic board of the Temenos Academy. She originally studied Shakespeare with Professor Hugo Dyson, the most puckish of the Inklings, the literary group based in Oxford which included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Subsequently, in her career as a teacher and teacher trainer, she taught Shakespeare in the context of training courses for foreign teachers and lecturers sponsored by the British Council. Since 1998 she has worked as an independent scholar, tracing the presence of Hermetic traditions in Renaissance and seventeenth century art and literature. Her interest in the Authorship Question was first piqued by reading John Michell’s Who Wrote Shakespeare? This interest has since deepened and developed through participation in Wisdom of Shakespeare workshops at The Globe, and the Shakespearean Authorship Trust conferences and lectures. She is a member of the Francis Bacon Research Trust and the De Vere Society.