Monthly Archives: May 2009

Stephanie Hughes comments on Dartmouth datamining study

Stephanie Huges came across the work of three Dartmouth student: Oleg Seletsky, Tiger Huang, and William Henderson-Frost,  who wrote a paper titled, “The Shakespeare Authorship Question” in December 2007. They used modern text analysis and datamining techniques to analyize the work of Shakespeare and compare it to leading authorship candidates. They concluded:

In short, our research leads us to believe that out of the suspects, Edward de Vere is the only candidate who shows serious potential. After noticing that Edward de Vere also holds the most followers currently ascribing to the non-Shakespeare philosophy, the authors of this paper are very doubtful that Shakespeare did in fact write his plays.

Stephanie said:

I thought I’d pass along something I just found on the Internet. Not having been on any lists lately or done much reading outside my own research, for all I know you may know about it already, since it’s from 2007. But I can’t help sharing it anyway. I should think this would have sent up some red flags somewhere. Just a student project, but hey, good news for us, and good news that some academics are interested.  Also good news that it appears to have been totally without bias.

Study URL:



Richard Kennedy speculates: Was Southhampton disposed toward the occult?

Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southhampton, 1602, imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Essex uprising

Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southhampton, 1602, imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Essex uprising

A red string wound about the left wrist is a Cabalistic talisman, a supplication to Rachel, matriarch of all humanity. By wearing this thread, Henry may be suggesting a fellowship with the Christian Cabalists, who took freely from the secrets and mysteries of the Cabala and the Torah. Notice also the crosses on the cuffs of his gloves, which is a signature used in Cabalistic mysticism.

This is a sign that has been used in Cabbalistic mysticism to represent a holy name.”  (

Perhaps Henry is merely dressing out his taste in bracelets and gloves, but it looks to me like a display of an occult disposition, noticed by Frances Yates in The Rosicrucian Enlightenment: 

The argument, in over-simplified form, is that ‘the occult philosophy of the Elizabethan age’ was a Christian Cabalist philosophy, with its peculiar Rosicrucian blend of magic and science.  This approach has been based on two main lines of enquiry.  First, on the history of Christian Cabala leading up to its expression in the philosophy of John Dee.  Second, on the iconographical (my emphasis, RK) approach, that is to say on the study of the imagery of this movement in its Elizabethan and Jacobean form.                                                                  

Richard J. Kennedy, 2009


Yates, Frances A. The Rosicrucian Enlightenment. Routeledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1972
Yates, Frances A. The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1979
Hackett, Helen. Virgin Mother, Maiden Queen. Elizabeth 1 and the Cult of the Virgin Mary. St. Martins, New York,1995




SOS President Matthew Cossolotto marks sonnets’ publication

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – May 20, 2009 – The Shakespeare Oxford Society today marks the 400th anniversary of the May 20, 1609, entry in the Stationer’s Register in London of “a booke called Shakespeares sonnettes.” At some point after the registration – probably sometime that summer – a book bearing the title SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS was published.

Unlike Shakespeare’s previous books of poetry – Venus and Adonis in 1593 and The Rape of Lucrece in 1594 – the Sonnets were published without a dedication from the poet himself. Instead, the 1609 Sonnets were published with a mysterious dedication over the initials “T.T.” – presumed by scholars to be the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

The Shakespeare Oxford Society believes the totality of the evidence surrounding the publication of the Sonnets in 1609 suggests the poet – who employed the penname William Shakespeare – was already dead at the time of publication. Posthumous publication of the Sonnets would, of course, eliminate the orthodox authorship candidate from Stratford-upon-Avon and strengthen the claim that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (who died in 1604), was the true author of the Shakespeare works.

To support the posthumous publication theory, the Society’s president, Matthew Cossolotto, highlights the following points which he says will in elaborated upon in a research paper to be published later in 2009. The tentative title of the paper is: “My Name Be Buried: Was The 1609 Volume of Shakespeare’s Sonnets Published Posthumously?”

· Traditional scholars have been unable to provide answers to basic questions, including how the Sonnets came to be published in the first place and whether “Shakespeare” authorized the publication.
· Scholars have been baffled for centuries by the apparent absence of the poet in the publication and proofreading process.
· The 1609 volume does not include a dedication from the poet. If the author of the Sonnets was alive in 1609, and if he authorized the publication, why didn’t he write a dedication to a volume of poetry that he believed would outlive monuments?
· If these immortal poems had been pirated somehow and published unlawfully (as many scholars believe), why wouldn’t the famous playwright and poet – if indeed he was still alive at the time – publicly complain or otherwise assert his legal right to the poems?
· The poet’s apparent absence from the publication lends support to the posthumous publication theory.
· Following the publication of the Sonnets in 1609, William of Stratford makes no mention of the publication (or anything else vaguely literary for that matter) leading up to and even including his 1616 will.
· The title of the book – SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS – is itself unusual for several reasons. First, the name of the poet is hyphenated which could suggest it is a recognized pseudonym. Also, the title implies a kind of finality, suggesting that this collection is the be-all and the end-all of Shakespeare’s sonnet-writing career. If “Shakespeare” was indeed still alive in 1609, why would the publisher suggest by this title that the poet would not be writing any more sonnets. How would he know that, unless of course the poet was already deceased?
· The reference to “our ever-living poet” in the publisher’s dedication affords strong evidence that the poet was already dead (i.e. immortal) when the Sonnets were published in 1609.
· Several sonnets imply that the poet was anticipating his impending death and that he expected his name to be forgotten, or “buried” after his death. This would make no sense if the poet’s real name was William Shakespeare, a name that was extremely famous in 1609. For example, Sonnet 72 reads in part:

My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
And so should you, to love things nothing worth.

The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt
There is a long and distinguished history of doubting the traditional “Stratfordian” attribution of the Shakespeare works. Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Orson Welles, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Chaplin. More recent skeptics include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stevens and Scalia along with renowned Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons, Michael York, and Mark Rylance. Visit for information about the “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare.”

About The Shakespeare Oxford Society
Founded in 1957, New York-based Shakespeare Oxford Society is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to exploring the Shakespeare authorship question and researching the evidence that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550 – 1604) is the true author of the poems and plays of “William Shakespeare.” Visit for more information.

Branagh recants?

Shakespeare Authorship Coalition Chairman John Shahan reported today on Nina Green‘s Phaeton e-mail list that Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh has not changed his Stratfordian view, despite reports to the contrary: see May 3, 2009 report.

Marie Merkel’s The First Mousetrap online

The introduction to Marie Merkel’s as yet unpublished book, The First Mousetrap is online at

Hank Whittemore, author of The Monument: Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, said today on Nina Green’s Phaeton email list:

I believe her insights into Titus as related to the Howards are persuasive as well as boldly new — a real discovery for us, it would seem.

The full title of Merkel’s book is —
The First Mousetrap: Titus Andronicus & the Tudor Massacre of the Howards
With the wrongful deaths of:
Anne Boleyn, Queen of England (beheaded 1526
Catherine Howard, Queen of England (beheaded 1542)
Henry Howard, poet earl of Surrey (beheaded 1547)
Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk (beheaded 1572)
& several other unfortunate Howards, never before deciphered.

Merkel said: That knavish piece of work, Titus Andronicus, is actually an ingenious device, designed by its author (most likely, the same that gave us King Lear) to catch the conscience of the queen, a guilty creature with the blood of her own kin on her hands.

According to her website, a condensed version of chapter 1, entitled “Tyrant’s Crests and Tombs of Brass” will appear in the 2009 issue of The Oxfordian.

Merkel will speak on the topic of Ben Jonson’s pervasive influence on The Tempest at the Symposium: Shakespeare from an Oxfordian Perspective in Watertown, Massachusettes on May 30th, 2009.

SARC Seminar August 16-20, 2009

The 11th Annual Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre Seminar will focus on Shakespeare and Religion – with special attention devoted to the role of religion in shaping the events that led to the instability – and ultimate demise – of the Tudor regime. Explore the issue in depth in the new Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre on the Concordia University campus in Portland, OR from August 16 – 21. The cost is $495. Register on-line at

Recommended readings by writers who maintain that Shakespeare was Roman Catholic, Anglican, or atheistic are featured on the SARC website and are recommended (but not required) pre-seminar reading:
Joseph Pearce’s The Quest for Shakespeare: The Bard of Avon and the Church of Rome (2008) – an argument that Shakespeare, in his writing and his personal convictions, was intensely Roman Catholic;
Daniel Wright’s The Anglican Shakespeare: Elizabethan Orthodoxy in the Great Histories (1993) – an argument that Shakespeare, apart from his perhaps-unknowable personal convictions, wrote as a partisan of the Church of England;
Eric Mallin’s Godless Shakespeare (2007) – an argument that Shakespeare was a writer of evolving religious sensibilities who began his career as a religious sceptic but matured as an atheist, liberated by unbelief.

Join, renew, donate!

You may join or renew your Shakespeare Oxford Society membership by mail or fax or online. To renew at our Online Store, visit and click on Membership at the top, then click on the Online link. This takes you to our secure online Shopping Cart. Once there, click on the Membership button on the left. All Membership information can be entered there, and your credit card information will be processed immediately online. You will be emailed an invoice confirming your membership renewal.

Please call or email the office if you have any questions or need any help with the renewal process.

Shakespeare Oxford Society
P.O. Box 808
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Tel: 914-962-1717
Fax: 914-245-9713

As you know, our memberships operate on a calendar-year basis. That means all members should renew their memberships each year in January.

If you have not yet renewed — or if you feel moved to make a donation — please do so ASAP.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Onward and upward for Edward!

Matthew Cossolotto

Branagh joins Stevens in skepticism

The Sunday Express ran a story today titled “Bard actor: Shakespeare may not have written all his plays” wherein Kenneth Branagh said:

There is room for reasonable doubt. DeVere is the latest and the hottest candidate.

Sounds like a candidate for the Declaration.

Addition: Link to article in TopNews.