Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Anonymous” filming begins March 2010

Film producer Roland Emmerich will begin filming Anonymous, (AKA Soul of the Age) a $28-million film about the Shakespeare authorship question in March 2010. Oxfordian researcher Robert Detobel said the announcement appeared this morning in the Berliner Morganpost in an interview by Peter Beddies: “Roland Emmerich dreht Shakespeare in Babelsberg” (Roland Emmerich shooting Shakespeare in Babelsberg). According to Detobel’s translation of the Morganpost interview that appeared on Nina Green’s e-mail list, Emmerich will film Anonymous before beginning work on his next blockbuster movie, titled 2012.

“Now I have jumped again on the debate about Shakespeare perhaps not being the author of the works ascribed to him, and that will be the stuff of my next movie. It will not be a big production. Rather a little pretty thriller,” Emmerich said.

The original article appears at:
http://www.morgenpost.de/kultur/article1181878/Roland_Emmerich_dreht_Shakespeare_in_Babelsberg.html

Nina Green’s website is at: http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/index.html

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Der Mann

Der Mann

Robert Detobel reported that Kurt Kreiler’s book, Der Mann, der Shakespeare erfand: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604), was published this month in Frankfurt. No English translation of The Man who Invented Shakespeare: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) has been announced. Detobel translated a description of the book from the German Amazon site at http://www.amazon.de/dp/3458174524/?tag=book_de21:

Short Description (of Kreiler’s The Man who Invented Shakespeare)
The poet William Shakespeare has nothing to do with the player and moneylender William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon. Behind the literary pseudonym William Shakespeare is hidden the learned aristocrat Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who frequented Queen Elizabeth I’s court. Therefore, the plays of the “spear shaker” were not written for the Globe theater but were intended for staging at court. The author, Ben Jonson, edited Shakespeare’s works and willingly created the impression that the author was the man of Stratford by erecting the front’s in Stratford. These astounding theses are not part of a novel but of a scientifically founded biography that could not have been more novel-like. Kurt Kreiler has reopened “Shakespeare case.” Contrary to the partisans of the Earl of Oxford’s candidature up to now Kreiler does not proceed by conjectures but brings forth circumstantial evidence. He does not invent documents, he makes speak them. Shakespeare, Bacon and Marlowe are left empty-handed.

“Some of the statements are exaggerated,” Detobel said. “It’s not of Kreiler’s doing; it was done by the ad division of the publishing house. Perhaps good to know none the less.”

Detobel said that a few lines about the book were published in Focus, Germany’s second most widely distributed magazine, and that an article and interview of Kreiler are scheduled to appear in Germany’s top publication, Der Spiegel. Detobel will attempt to provide translations of the magazine articles for the SOS news and blog.

Limited academic inquiry

The University of Pennsylvania reports that Duncan Salkeld, senior lecturer in English at the University of Chichester, will host a day conference on the topic of “Shakespeare: Puzzles, Mysteries, Investigations” on February 18, 2010. The greatest Shakespearean puzzle, however, will be specifically banned from the discussion:

Deadline for papers (via email by attachment) is 18 December 2009. The cost of the Conference will be 25 GBP. [Brief] Papers covering any aspect of Shakespeare studies are welcome, including those that focus on textual, dramatic or historical topics. Papers relating to Shakespeare’s era are invited. Proposals regarding the authorship question will not be accepted. For submissions and further details, please contact d.salkeld@chi.ac.uk

Report of the conference is not apparent on the U. of Chichester Internet site, but Salkeld is represented on the English faculty page:

Dr. Salkeld’s teaching and research interests include Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, early modern prosecutions and legal records, and textual scholarship. Dr. Salkeld gives regular conference papers at British universities, and has organized a Shakespeare Study Day at the University for local A Level and Access students. He is currently preparing books on courtesans, Shakespeare and micro-history.

Hannas 1990 article from SOS news

The late Dr. Andrew Hannas’ seminal article titled, “Beowulf, Hamlet and Edward de Vere” from the Shakespeare Oxford Society Newsletter, Spring 1990, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp 3-6 is available as a pdf file on the Shakespeare-Oxford Society website at:
http://shakespeare-oxford.com/wp-content/uploads/1990.pdf

The article begins:

While much has been justifiably made of the telling coincidence between the Ovidian qualitites of the works of ‘Shake-speare’ and Oxford’s years of tutelage with Arthur Golding during the same years when the latter’s translation of Metamorphoses appeared in print (1565-67), another tutorial connection between Oxford and a literary text carries equally remarkable implications. In 1563 Laurence Nowell entered the household of William Cecil for the primary purpose of tutoring the thirteen-year old Earl . . .

A Word document containing the pdf images of the Hannas article from the SOS website may be requested by sending an email to: linda.theil@gmail.com.

Dr. Andrew Hannas passed on

Ginger Renner, Andy Hannas, Sally Mosher in 1995.  Photo courtesy of Ginger Renner.

Ginger Renner, Andy Hannas, Sally Mosher in 1995. Photo courtesy of Ginger Renner.


Mark Anderson reported that Oxfordian researcher Dr. Andrew Hannas, 58, died accidentially September 24 at his home in Lafayette, Indiana. Information from the Soller-Baker Funeral Home website at http://www.soller-baker.com/ included the following:

Visitation:
1 to 2:00 pm
Soller-Baker Lafayette Chapel
Lafayette, IN 47909

Service:
2:30 PM Friday, October 02, 2009
Grandview Cemetery
1510 N. Salisbury ST.
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Dr. Hannas wrote articles for the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter. The following article appears on the Shakespeare-Oxford Society website:
The Rest Is Not Silence: On Grammar and Oxford in The Art of English Poesie by Andrew Hannas.
Content: “This communication responds to the article, “What Did George Puttenham Really Say About Oxford And Why It Matters”, appearing on the Shakespeare Authorship Page web site, . . . “

Guidelines for SOS news and blog

Shakespeare Oxford Society newsletter and SOS blog guidelines (5/17/09) revised September 28, 2009

Content emphasizes the publication of news and scholarly articles related to the case for Edward deVere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, as the true author of the Shakespeare canon while also reaching out to authors/scholars to submit articles about a range of subjects that touch on the Shakespeare authorship question more broadly.

Submit copy to: linda.theil@gmail.com, call 517 548 3817.

Deadlines: Submit articles two months before publication deadlines of June, Sept, Dec, March. Submit news one month before publication date. Submit 500 word blog entries pertaining to your article and news items any time. Do not send manuscript revisions once a paper has been submitted; make your edits and corrections before submission. * see note below on deadlines
Content guidelines: News 500 words – specifics including accurate titles, contacts, links, etc. Features 1-3K words
Photos/graphics: include cutlines saying names of all in photo and circumstance: who, when, what, where. Submit photos or art you have created, have written permission to use, or that is verifiably out of copyright.
Ongoing: books, CD and DVD reviews 300 words; travel 500 words
Blog entries: Anyone can submit a blog entry on any topic at any time. Keep to around 500 words and include links and references — who, what, where, when, how, & why. Blog great performances, great books, great websites, great insights, whatever tickles your Oxfordian fancy.

Preparing a manuscript:
· DO NOT justify text
· DO NOT double space between sentences
· DO NOT indent; double space between paragraphs
· DO NOT use quotations around anything that is not a direct quote, except names of poems and stories are set in quotes
· DO NOT use quotations for partial quotes — if it’s not a sentence, paraphrase and attribute.
· If you have a block quote, set it even with the margin in italics – the typesetter will set it as a block quote.
· Names of books and plays are always italicized, do not use single or double quotes around names of books or plays.
· Scholarly articles are referenced using Modern Language Association stylebook and include a bibliography with each article. One source of info at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/02/
· Only capitalize sonnet when referring to a specific one.

In general:
· Try to keep sentences no longer than ten words. If you need more words, clarify the thought and make more sentences.
· If you find yourself using semi-colons, consider making two sentences instead.
· If you find yourself with a sentence full of commas, consider alternative phrasing — except in the case of a series, and even then don’t make the series interminable.
· Do not use empty phrases like in fact, actually, I thought.
· Italicize foreign words and phrases, and words used in unusual ways – do not italicize anything else (except block quotes and titles of books and plays).
· Don’t start a sentence with the word, it. Substitute whatever it is that IT is. Look askance at every IT.
· Avoid any form of the verb, to be; find a more precise action whenever possible.
· Please make use of subheads to break up your copy and make the content more comprehensible.
· Study Strunk and White’s Elements of Style – you can’t go wrong.
· Read your copy out loud before submitting it – if you can’t speak it, readers can’t read it.
· Pretend you’re trying to explain your topic to a very smart nine-year-old.

Releases:
You will be asked to sign your choice of releases that will allow SOS to publish your work and distribute it via our website and Gale Group on the Internet. The following letter from former SOS Pubications Committee Chair Frank Davis explains your options.

Options for SOS newsletter and SOS Oxfordian journal writers:
The Publications Committee has voted to give our writers the option of providing the SOS with a “License to Publish and Distribute” in lieu of “Assignment of Copyright.” The choice will be that of the writer. The purpose remains the same: to publish and allow for distribution through the Gale world-wide database, as well as our web site. Our only interest remains to get our Oxfordian literature distributed to as wide an audience as possible. Nothing else.
The advantage of “Assignment of copyright” over “License to publish and distribute” is that our registering the copyright gives the author full protection of the copyright laws, whereas to receive the maximum benefit if the “License” method is chosen, the author will have to register the work himself.
In this world of electronic media, the issue of copyright is very complicated. Although many web sites can be found to discuss/explain and sometimes confuse this issue, you might explore the US Copyright web site: http://www.copyright.gov/ for more information.
Frank Davis, (Former) Chairman, SOS Publications Committee

Release forms will be provided to authors.

All art and photography must be credited with the artist/photographer’s name. You must include written permission to use the work if it is not your creation or verifiably out of copyright.

Bios
Please include with your submission a two or three sentence bio for us to publish at the end of your article, along these lines:

Lee Morgan is a mathematician who lives in Philadelphia. He collects eighth century Mercian gold sword collars and enjoys rock climbing. His books include etc. and he has publications in etc. He can be reached at: etc. His website is: etc.

*Note on deadlines:
A wise editor treasures writers, values their time, and reveres their work. A wise editor never berates writers for missing deadlines, but will support and assist them in every possible way. Writers should be aware, however, that every action has a consequence and missing deadlines has consequences for your editor – all your problems become your editor’s problems. If you value your editor’s time as much as your editor values your time, you will be supporting your work and the work of the publication in a most important way. LT

Whittemore retort

Hank Whittemore has written a brilliant essay in “Reply to Critics of Those Who Study the Shakespeare Authorship . . .” on his Hank Whittemore’s Shakespeare Blog. On Friday, September 25, Whittemore said:

It’s tiresome to read the negative remarks about those of us who doubt the traditional view of Shakespeare authorship and who have concluded that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford wrote the great works. For example, the latest one [from Alex Beam of the Boston Globe] asserts: “The search for the ‘real’ Shakespeare is a collective madness … “.

Read the entire essay at: http://hankwhittemore.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/a-reply-to-critics-of-those-who-study-the-shakespeare-authorship-and-a-challenge/

Info on accessing Cecil papers

Reported by SOS President Matthew Cossolotto — 24 volumes of the Calendar of the Cecil Papers available free online from British History Online:

Dear Colleague,

British History Online is pleased to announce the publication of material which will prove invaluable to scholars of early modern and Georgian history.

The 24 volumes of the Calendar of the Cecil Papers detail the state papers which passed through the hands of the leading political family of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. William Cecil was chief advisor to Elizabeth, and her Secretary of State; his son Robert went on to become Secretary of State to both Elizabeth and James I. Usually such papers are transferred to state archives, but in this case the papers have remained in the family archives at Hatfield House, and thus offer a unique window onto the world of high politics in Shakespearean England.
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.aspx?gid=144

British History Online already has a strong collection of parliamentary material, and so we are delighted to be able to continue our run of volumes of the Journal of the House of Lords. With the help of the History of Parliament Trust we have already added another 10 volumes, which deal with the period 1718 to 1764. We plan to add a further four volumes this autumn, which will take our coverage into the revolutionary year of 1776.
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.aspx?gid=44

Both these series are available as part of the free content on British History Online – there’s no need to be a subscriber to access this content.

However, for access to the Calendars of State Papers Domestic with seamless cross-searching, you’ll need to subscribe. Click here for more information and to subscribe:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/subscribe.aspx

If you have any queries or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/contactus.aspx

Best wishes,
British History Online
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/
Institute of Historical Research
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Cossolotto reports on sonnet project

This letter from SOS President Matthew Cossolotto appears in the September 2009 issue of the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter.

My name be buried — marking the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare’s posthumously published sonnets

“A booke called Shakespeares Sonnettes” was registered for publication on May 20, 1609, by publisher Thomas Thorpe. That much we know for sure. It is assumed by most scholars that the book bearing the rather bland title Shake-speare’s Sonnets was published shortly thereafter.

It’s fair to say this book, which contains 154 sonnets and a short narrative poem titled “A Lover’s Complaint,” has perplexed casual readers and expert commentators alike over the past four centuries. Winston Churchill’s famous 1939 description of the Soviet Union as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” can aptly be applied to the publication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Questions and uncertainties abound regarding just about everything associated with what is arguably the most famous collection of poems in the English language, perhaps in any language. While I am fascinated by all of the mysteries surrounding the sonnets – including such things as the identity of the Fair Youth, the Dark Lady, and the Rival Poet – this column will focus on one specific issue: The hypothesis that this book of sonnets was published posthumously in 1609.

Progress report
I thought members would be interested in a quick progress report on the ongoing project I have referred to as the Posthumous Sonnets Project. In recognition of the 400th anniversary of Shake-speare’s Sonnets, the SOS Board of Trustees has declared 2009 to be the Year of the Sonnets.

I talked about the Posthumous Sonnets Project during my presentation at the annual conference in White Plains last October and encouraged SOS members and others undertake a cooperative research effort. Since then I have launched a posthumous sonnets blog at http://www.ShakespearesSonnets1609.wordpress.com and have formed an informal posthumous sonnets group (PSG) to brainstorm ideas, compare notes, and test hypotheses and possible scenarios. The deliberations of the PSG have been quite useful and I want to thank participants for their valuable input.

We haven’t completed our work but I believe we have hit on many key pieces of evidence that support the hypothesis that the book of Shakespeare’s Sonnets published by Thomas Thorpe in 1609 went to press after the poet’s death. The idea of this project, ultimately, is initiate a complete communications effort behind the posthumous sonnets hypothesis before the end of this year.

The most important element of the communications plan is the publication of a research paper or monograph that lays out a compelling case for posthumous publication. We also expect to issue a series of press releases, craft several shorter articles for publication in various newspapers and magazines, circulate our findings online via blogs and even YouTube videos, conduct interviews with the media, and go forth aggressively to deliver presentations and lectures on this topic at Shakespeare-related conferences and seminars, along with community organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges. I plan to present the findings of the research on our annual joint conference scheduled for this November in Houston.

I believe this research – and the PR effort behind it – has enormous potential for positively shaping the Shakespeare authorship debate in the years to come. It’s essential that we take advantage of the news “hook” provided by the 400th anniversary to make the best case we can for posthumous publication.

Making the Case for Posthumous Publication
In looking into the posthumous publication topic, I have been somewhat surprised that the posthumous case has not yet been fully developed. Several writers have touched on the posthumous publication topic – including Thomas Looney in his landmark Shakespeare Identified. But it is often treated on an offhand manner, almost as a throw-away item worthy of only a few supporting arguments. In effect, I think the posthumous publication issue has been given short shrift over the years and deserves much more scholarly focus.

Biographers of the Stratfordian persuasion cannot even contemplate the idea that the 1609 book of sonnets was published after the death of the poet – no matter how much compelling evidence is staring them in the face. Nor have many Stratfordian skeptics over the years been motivated to compile the strongest possible case for posthumous publication. The notion of posthumous publication is anathema to Stratfordians and most anti-Stratfordians for one simple reason: establishing that the poet William Shakespeare died before 1609 would eliminate just about every authorship candidate with two exceptions – Marlowe (died 1593) and Oxford (died 1604). Taking all of the available evidence into account, Oxford’s death in 1604 fits the posthumous publication theory like a glove. Marlowe – although dead by 1609 – would appear to have died much too early to be the author of the sonnets, not to mention many other works of Shakespeare.

Every other major authorship candidate was still alive in 1609 and for several years thereafter: Roger Manners, fifth earl of Rutland (died 1612); Henry Neville (died 1615); William Shakspere of Stratford (died 1616); Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke (died 1621); Francis Bacon (died 1626); William Stanley, sixth earl of Derby (died 1642). The 1609 posthumous publication theory would eliminate all of these candidates from consideration.

Oxfordians, in particular, should be keen to make the posthumous publication of the sonnets a central plank in the case for Oxford’s authorship – hence this Posthumous Sonnets Project. One of the arguments we’re developing relates specifically to the Stratfordian paradigm. My observation about the Stratfordian authorship theory for many years is that most so-called Stratfordians are emotionally – almost religiously — attached to their theory of authorship. This strong belief in the theory prevents Stratfordians from seriously considering the substantial evidence that contradicts their theory. Theirs is a firmly held belief – similar in many respects to faith in the pre-Copernican geocentric model of the solar system.

Given this firmly held belief in the Stratfordian theory, there are many blind spots that keep Stratfordians from seeing evidence that tends to undermine their belief. Stratfordians will see the evidence against the Stratford theory only when they believe there is ground for reasonable doubt. Until then, they will continue to ignore any and all countervailing evidence.

This gives rise to the following imaginative scenario: Imagine that this “booke called Shakespeares Sonnettes” was registered and published exactly as we have it today, only 10 years later — in 1619 instead of 1609. I present this scenario in the spirit of opening minds so the evidence compiled for posthumous publication has a fighting chance of not being reflexively resisted and ignored.

What would have to change about this book of sonnets if it had been published in 1619 instead of 1609? Clearly, if published in 1619 – three years after the death of William of Stratford – those of the Stratfordian persuasion would readily accept this as a posthumous publication. Every argument, every piece of evidence that Oxfordians present for posthumous publication in 1609 would be admitted without objection by Stratfordians for a 1619 publication.

Posthumous publication in 1619 would explain, for Stratfordians and Oxfordians alike, all of the following:

· The absence of a dedication by the poet himself, even though William Shakespeare wrote dedications for his two narrative poems “Venus & Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece”. Shakespeare knew how to write a dedication.

· If still alive, a poet would normally contribute some kind of dedication in a publication containing his poetry. It’s highly unusual not to have a dedication from the poet.

· The generic title of the book – Shake-speare’s Sonnets – suggests that this is the complete set of sonnets by Shakespeare and that we should not expect to see any more sonnets from this poet.

· The apparent absence of the poet from the entire publication process, that helps to explain the number of errors contained in the text, including, for example, the inexplicable repetition of the phrase “My sinful earth” in “Sonnet 146” and the absence of a concluding couplet in “Sonnet 126”.

· The total silence of the poet after the publication of the sonnets. If the sonnets were pirated – the consensus view among Stratfordians – surely a living poet who was as famous and favored by powerful patrons as the Stratfordians insist would be in a position to complain and/or correct the record about the sonnets. The total silence of the poet after publication speaks compellingly to the posthumous theory. Katherine Duncan-Jones tries to make the case that Shakespeare approved the publication and was even involved in the publication process to some degree. But she can’t provide any evidence to support this notion. Duncan-Jones suggests that Shakespeare had fled to Stratford to avoid a plague outbreak in London and therefore couldn’t contribute a dedication. This strikes me as a feeble attempt to overcome the obvious absence of the poet from the entire project.

· The dating of the composition of the sonnets would also support the posthumous theory. Most scholars believe the sonnets were composed in the early-to-mid 1590s, with a few sonnets written in the first few years of the seventeenth century. Curiously, few if any scholars believe any of the sonnets were written or revised after 1603/1604.

· Many references in the sonnets themselves to the poet’s advanced age, his anticipation of his impending death, and his expectation that his name would be forgotten while the name of his beloved would enjoy “immortal life.”

· Finally, I’ll just mention the coup-de-grace, the one piece of evidence that has yet to be adequately explained or refuted by Stratfordians: the reference to the poet in the dedication as “our ever-living poet.” There is no serious argument to be made against the obvious interpretation that “our ever-living poet” means the poet, William Shakespeare, was dead by 1609. Stratfordians have been trying to explain this phrase away for centuries. If the sonnets had been published in 1619 instead of 1609, Stratfordians would not have to twist themselves into rhetorical knots to rationalize this straightforward description of the poet. They could accept the phrase as meaning what it so patently means: The poet is already dead. Stratfordian Donald Foster admitted as much in a 1987 Proceedings of the Modern Language Association 102 article “Master W. H.: R.I.P.” He said: “In a fairly extensive search, I have not found any instance of ever-living used in a Renaissance text to describe a living mortal, including, even, panegyrics on Queen Elizabeth . . . though it does appear sometimes in eulogies for the dead.” (42-54) Jonathan Bate is even more concise. In The Genius of Shakespeare, Bate wrote: “’Ever-living’ was an epithet applied to dead poets, not living ones. The point was that they were dead, but they lived eternally through their work.” (63)

The above litany does not include all of the evidence and arguments we’re considering and I have only provided a very cursory overview of the supporting information. I just wanted to give members a sense of this project is attempting to do. My goal is to assemble the best evidence so we can make the following claim: Posthumous publication is the only viable explanation for all of the evidence. Some theories — such as pirated publication — can explain some of the evidence. But we can’t cherry-pick the evidence. We need to lay it all out there and come up with a reasonable and responsible explanation for all of the evidence. We must find the cleanest, simplest explanation for the available evidence.

All things considered, I believe posthumous publication of the sonnets is the explanation for all of the evidence associated with the publication of “a booke called Shakespeares Sonnettes” in 1609. We’re hard at work to make that case in the most compelling way possible. If you have any ideas, pertinent quotes, or supporting research that you think should be included in this project, please let me know. I’m eager to hear from others who have researched this topic over the years. No sense reinventing the wheel if others have already assembled some compelling evidence and arguments on behalf of the posthumous sonnets theory.

Matthew Cossolotto, President
Shakespeare Oxford Society
PO Box 808, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598-9998
(914) 962-1717.
matthew@ovations.com

Boston Globe’s Alex Beam on The Shakespeare Truthers — that’s us!

The Boston Globe staff writer Alex Beam wrote a lively and well-informed indictment of the authorship controversy today in “The Shakespeare Truthers”.

Well, maybe he’s not well-informed in his opinion (in my opinion) but he gets the point — except when he gets to the “Shakespeare was Shakespeare” part.

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/articles/2009/09/25/the_shakespeare_truthers/