Monthly Archives: November 2009

Minerva’s Voyage out now

Minerva's Voyage by Lynne Kositsky

Shakespearean scholar Lynne Kositsky reports that her young adult novel, Minerva’s Voyage inspired by the William Strachey account of the voyage of the Sea Venture is available at and in Canadian bookstores and will be soon available at

Kositsky said:

Minerva’s Voyage is a blackly comedic take on the voyage of the Sea Venture in 1609 for ages 10-15. It contains Minerva Britanna emblems and secret codes to be solved by young readers. Names of voyagers and ship have been changed, however, to protect the guilty, and the novel veers off the Strachey track when the young protagonists reach the mysterious Isle of Devils. The novel would make a great gift for teens, or grownups who want something a little rib-tickling to read.

Synopsis of the plot of Minerva’s Voyage:
Robin Starveling, aka Noah Vaile, is scooped off the streets of seventeenth century Bristol, and dragged on board a ship bound for Virginia by the murderous William Thatcher, who needs a servant with no past and no future to aid him in a nefarious plot to steal gold. Starveling fits the bill perfectly since he lives nowhere and has no parents. Aboard the ship, Starveling makes friends with a young cabin boy, Peter Fence. Together the two boys suffer through a frightening hurricane and are shipwrecked on the mysterious Isle of Devils. They solve the ciphers embedded in emblems found in Thatcher’s sea chest, which has washed up with the wreck, then make their way through gloomy forests and tortuous labyrinths to a cave on the shore that houses a wizard-like old man. Beset by danger and villainy on every side, they finally discover the old man’s identity and unearth a treasure that is much rarer and finer than gold.

Lynne Kositsky is an award-winning poet and the author of several novels in Penguin’s Our Canadian Girl Series, including Rachel: A Mighty Big Imagining, which won the White Raven Award. Lynne’s fiction has been nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson, White Pine, Golden Oak and Hackmatack Awards, and in 2006 she won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Youth for The Thought of High Windows. She lives in Vineland, Ontario with her husband Michael, a composer, and her two shelties, who provided the template for Tempest, the doggy character in Minerva’s Voyage.

Brummie Bard in Daily Mail

Stephen Moorer of Carmel, California enlightened Martin Samuel on the use of “equivocation” in Macbeth and other errors in Samuel’s anti-Oxfordian commentary, “Sorry, it’s true. The Bard WAS a mere Brummie” that appeared yesterday (Nov. 28, 2009) in the Daily Mail .

In his comment on Samuel’s essay, Moorer said, “Please Mr. Samuel, don’t be so “clever” that you simply rely on old-hat arguments that no longer hold water!”

London’s Heward Wilkinson also weighed in on the side of the angels, and a charming Brummie (a person from Birmingham, according to SOS’s The Oxfordian editor, Richard Egan) offered Brumdignian translations of Shakespearean titles — have you seen the delightful comedy, “A lot o’ fuss about nowt”?

Samuel, the columnist, explained his desire to explode the Oxfordian thesis in terms of potential crimes against Westminster, thus:

Still, back to Looney and Spear-Shaker, because if we do not resist this nonsense we will end up in the same foolish position as the Dean of Westminster. He has placed a question mark next to the date of death on the memorial to Christopher Marlowe at Poets’ Corner in order to appease the nutters who think he wrote the Bard’s 37 plays and 154 sonnets.

Ah, the perils of literary politics.

Note: Readers are allowed to rate posts in terms of their preference at the site.


Egan defends Oxford on BBC

In an extensive report on BBC today, Shakespeare Oxford Society Oxfordian Editor Michael Egan defends the Oxfordian thesis of Shakespearean authorship.

“Edward de Vere: the Bard or not the Bard? Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was one of the leading patrons of the Elizabethan age, but was he also William Shakespeare?” by Dave Gilyeat was featured this morning on BBC Oxford.

The report led with the announcement of the publication of Kurt Kreiler’s book Der Mann der Shakespeare Erfand (The Man Who Invented Shakespeare) and offered a lengthy exposition of the Oxfordian thesis with long and multiple quotes from Egan.

“Nature and intellectual life abhor a vacuum,” added Dr Egan.
“We don’t know enough about Shakespeare’s biography.
“There are huge gaps and because we know so little about him – despite his being one of the most researched lives in literary history – the situation calls for alternative explanations.
“The real key to the authorship debate is the mismatch between what we know of Shakespeare of Stratford and what we can infer about the author of the plays when we read them.
“When you look at the plays without preconceptions of the author we’d have to say this is a highly educated person, well travelled, with intricate knowledge of the courts and aristocratic life.
“So the question is where did an obscure provincial boy gain all this information and knowledge?”

Shakespeare by Another Name author Mark Anderson was also quoted extensively. Anderson was able to elucidate his insight that Oxford’s 1604 death is a positive point for Oxfordian authorship.

“The chronology is ironically a solid piece of evidence for de Vere,” insisted Mark Anderson.
“In fact the proponents of the evidence actually suggest that the Shakespeare factory shut down in 1604.
“There are no new Shakespeare plays that appear in print after 1604 with two exceptions.
“There’s a brief period in 1608 and ’09 when de Vere’s widow sold the house where they lived and I think it stands to reason there was some house cleaning going on.
“An orthodox scholar would say there was a shipwreck in 1609 that The Tempest refers to.
“In fact there’s some really good scholarship published that suggests that it was a different shipwreck that was referenced in a couple of 16th century books that were in de Vere’s father-in-law’s library.”

The Stratfordian viewpoint was defended in Gilyeat’s article by Alan Nelson and Emma Smith.


De Vere Code by J. Bond out this month

Publicist Caroline Ratner said a new book titled The De Vere Code by actor Jonathan Bond has been published in the UK. “(The De Vere Code is) the first book published by a new publishing house called Real Press which is part of the Real Group,” Ratner said. Her press release about The De Vere Code says:

Shakespearean actor, Jonathan Bond who studied Philosophy and Mathematical Logic at University College, London and Jesus College, Cambridge has discovered evidential proof from examination of the dedication to the first edition of the Sonnets in 1609 and fragmentary evidence that suggests it is an elaborate word puzzle. Numerous books and scholarly papers have previously suggested, without evidence that Edward De Vere was the real author of some of Shakespeare’s works but for the first time The De Vere Code presents conclusive proof that Edward De Vere, not Shakespeare was the author of the Sonnets.

The book is available from the publisher at:

Oxfordian of the Year award presented to Justice Stevens

Melissa Dell'Orto, Thomas Regnier, Justice John Paul Stevens, Alex McNeil, and Michael Pisapia -- November 12, 2009, Washington DC. Credit: Photo by Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alex McNeil and Matthew Cossolotto report on presentation of Oxfordian of the Year award to Justice John Paul Stevens:

The Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society awarded the 2009 “Oxfordian of the Year Award” to John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  Justice Stevens has long doubted whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon is the real Bard.

The award was conferred jointly by the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society, the two leading American organizations that promote the case for Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, as the true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare.

On November 12, 2009, representatives of the two groups – Alex McNeil, Thomas Regnier, Michael Pisapia, and Melissa Dell’Orto – traveled to Washington, DC, where they presented a plaque to Justice Stevens, recognizing him for his interest in and support of the Oxfordian thesis.

Appointed to the high court by President Ford in 1975, Justice Stevens has been interested in the Shakespeare authorship problem since 1987, when he participated in a moot court on the topic at American University. In an article published by The Wall Street Journal April 18, 2009: “Justice Stevens Renders an Opinion on Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays”, Justice Stevens expressed his view that “the evidence that (Shakespeare of Stratford) was not the author is beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Critical Survey published authorship issue

Roger Stritmatter reports the journal Critical Survey published a special Shakespearean authorship issue:

The current issue of Critical Survey Volume 21, Number 2, Summer 2009, guest edited by  Brunel University Professor William Leahy and titled “Questioning Shakespeare,” includes four articles by prominent anti-Stratfordians, including two former trustees of the Shakespeare Fellowship, Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky. Critical Survey is a leading British journal of literary studies, published and distributed by Berghahn journals under the general editorship of Graham Holderness of Hertfordshire University.

The editorial board includes Jonathan Bate, Catherine Belsey, Michael Bristol, Leah Marcus, Annabel Patterson, and Stanley Wells, among other notable Shakespeareans. According to Bate, Critical Survey is “an essential journal for anyone interested in the critical debates of our time.” To board member Barbara Hodgdon of Drake University the publication is a “A superb journal, fast becoming ‘required reading’, especially for those interested in cutting-edge work in early modern studies.”

In his introduction, Leahy writes that “the objective of the edition is not to question events in the plays and poems themselves, but rather to question and challenge the conventional Shakespearean critical tradition.”

The issue includes four articles by anti-Stratfordian scholars. Leading the issue is Lynne Kositsky and Roger Stritmatter’s fourth article in a series on the sources, date, and liturgical design of the Tempest, “ ‘O Brave New World’: The Tempest and Peter Martyr’s De Orbe Novo,”. Editor Leahy said: “. . .the authors demonstrate that although Eden/Martyr’s influence has been noticed in previous Tempest scholarship, the nature and extent of its impact on Shakespeare’s work have been profoundly underestimated for more than two centuries. In their devastating critique, the authors show that the continued support of Strachey as Shakespeare’s source is, at the very least, highly questionable.”

Without Strachey as the source for Tempest’s new world imagery and symbolism, as Stritmatter and Kositsky have argued in several other contexts, the traditional basis for the 1611 date of the play collapses.

Penny McCarthy’s “Cymbeline: The First Essay of a new Brytish Poet?” continues the theme that many of the so-called “late plays” of the Shakespearean canon were actually written earlier than has been commonly supposed. McCarthy’s detailed analysis of Cymbeline’s sources and significations suggests a play written not, as conventionally supposed, during the Jacobean period. The play’s genesis, she argues, is better found in the literature and preoccupations of the 1580’s, particularly the fear of Spanish invasion around the time of the 1588 armada.

In the third article of the issue, Roger Stritmatter examines some longstanding interpretative questions regarding Troilus and Cressida, and finds an explanation for the strange bibliographical anomalies (in both quarto and folio texts) that have always perplexed scholars in the realities of early modern censorship, arguing that the play’s topical humor – and particularly its relentless lampoon of William Cecil as the “Pandarus” of England ­–  apparently provoked reprisal from censoring authorities which accounts for the printing anomalies.

The fourth and final article, Rosalind Barber’s “Shakespeare Authorship in Doubt in 1593,” quietly throws down the gauntlet to the popular academic myth that the Shakespearean authorship question is an invention of the nineteenth century. On the contrary, Barber’s essay analyzes the Harvey-Nashe pamphlet war to show that Harvey was already in 1593 writing about the author of Venus and Adonis as a concealed “mummer” whom he threatens to “dismaske.”

Over the 125 years since Alexander Grosart’s edition of Harvey’s work, orthodox Shakespeareans have overlooked the significance of this reference, which is testimony to the powerful influence that assumptions play in creating perceptions. Since orthodox Shakespeareans assume that the authorship question is an invention of nineteenth century romanticism, they remain incapable of reading and understanding the abundant evidence that contradicts this assumption, showing the existence of a Shakespearean authorship question as early as the 1590s.

Telegraph reports on Kreiler’s Der Mann


An article reporting the publication of Kurt Kreiler’s Der Mann der Shakespeare erfand (The Man who Invented Shakespeare) was published yesterday, November 23, 2009, in the London Telegraph. Reporter Allan Hall wrote the article titled: “William Shakespeare’s plays were written by Earl of Oxford, claims German scholar: A German academic claims to have uncovered the most conclusive evidence to date that the works of William Shakespeare were in fact written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford”.

The straightforward account is accompanied by a portrait of what is generally considered to be the sixteenth earl and opens:

Kurt Kreiler’s 595-page book, The Man Who Invented Shakespeare, has been published in Germany to some critical acclaim and an English translation is planned for next year.

Allan quotes German Shakespeare scholar Walter Klier:

“An enormous amount of research has been invested in this fluent, well-written biography, offering a cornucopia of new facts and new insights,” he (Klier) said.

Thanks to Robert Detobel for reporting this source:

SF/SOS joint conference Sept. 16-19, 2010

New Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman will chair next year’s Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society joint conference to be held September 16-19, 2010 at the Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland, Oregon. Showerman has reserved a block of tickets at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland for conference attendees.

Showerman said:

The program for the 2010 joint authorship conference will include group tickets to three productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Merchant of Venice (9/16/10), Hamlet (9/17/10), and Henry IV, Part I (9/18/10). An emphasis will be placed on presentations relevant to the current plays in production and panel discussions that include members of the OSF acting company will also be included in the program.

One hundred tickets for each of the three productions have been reserved for the conference. Registrants may order up to two tickets per production with their conference registration, but additional tickets will be provided only by special request of the program committee. Group ticket prices are Merchant $58, Hamlet $66, Henry IV $66. Group ticket orders will be closed on August 15, 2010. Orders for tickets after that date must be placed directly with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival box office at 541-482-4331 or online at Other plays in production during the conference include Twelfth Night, Throne of Blood, Ruined, American Night, and the musical She Loves Me.

The Rogue Valley – Medford Airport has non stop connections to Portand, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The airport is 15 miles from Ashland; shuttle service is available. A block of 30 rooms has been reserved for the conference at the Ashland Springs Hotel: or call 888-795-4545. Room rate for the conference is $149 per night. The hotel is one-half block from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theaters.

Other comparable, less expensive lodgings are available in Ashland within several blocks of the theater and conference site. These include:

Bard’s Inn Best Western , 800-528-1234
Stratford Inn 800-547-4741
Plaza Inn, 888-488-0358
Columbia Hotel, 800-718-2530

Bed and breakfast establishments with comparable room rates are within walking distance of the conference site and theaters. These include: Winchester Hosue, Anne Hathaway’s B&B, A Cowslips Belle, Ashland Creek Inn, Chanticleer Inn, McCall House, Shrew’s House, Iris Inn and the Peerless Hotel. For information consult Ashland’s Bed and Breakfast Network at

For more information about the conference contact Showerman at For the 2010 Oregon Shakespear Festival program, check the web at for Papers 2010 SF/SOS joint conference in Ashland, Oregon

Call for papers 2010 SF/SOS joint conference in Ashland, Oregon
June 15, 2010 is the deadline for submissions to the 2010 SF/SOS joint conference in Ashland, Oregon. Preference for the 2010 conference will be given to papers that address the Shakespeare authorship question in relation to the Shakespeare plays in production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and Henry IV. General guidelines for presentation of papers are available at: Proposals should be accompanied by an abstract of not more than 250 words and a brief biography of the presenter. To submit a paper, contact Bonner Cutting , John Hamill, or Earl Showerman

Urs Jenny in Der Spiegel

German Oxfordian researcher Robert Detobel summarizes Urs Jenny’s article, Der Dichter und Sein Doppelganger (The Poet and his Doppelganger) published this week in Der Spiegel (The Mirror) on the topic of Kurt Kreiler’s German-language biography of Edward de Vere – Der Mann der Shakespeare erfand (The Man who Invented Shakespeare):

Urs Jenny’s Article in Der Spiegel No 47/16-11-09 starts with three paragraphs on known facts of the life of William Shakespeare.

The fourth paragraph opens: “He that tries to get an idea of one of the greatest poets of world history, is struck with bewilderment when looking into his life’s legacy, the testament of a narrow-minded scrape-penny. Nothing outside the truly overwhelming work allows for a glimpse of the poet’s personality.”

Then Jenny asks: “Or was the poet somebody else?” “The soundest reason to believe in the genius of the man of Stratford is that for some hundred years nobody has doubted it. But at latest in the  middle of the nineteenth century the efforts to undelve his biography led to a certain helplessness.”

Then the author returns to the life of the man of Stratford and asks, “Which miracle turned, within a few years, of which nothing is known, (him) into a dramatist of incomparable eloquence?”. To exclaim with more than a pinch of irony, “The answer can only be: The genius is incommensurable, the genius is a singularity.”

To add a little more irony of my own: this is almost what Gabriel Harvey said of Edward de Vere, “a passing singular odd man”. So, if one is not contented by this answer, one has to look elsewhere. The step which suggests itself is to look for a courtier with pronounced liteary interests.

Jenny then exposes the arguments in favour of Edward de Vere. Jenny also thinks that Kreiler’s argument about the date of composition of the Italian plays is a strong one, placing them before the anti-Italian affect which would have become predominating at court after the Spanish invasion.

Jenny has certainly been won over by Kreiler’s book. He concludes his article with some reservations (rather diplomatically, it seems to me). He asks whether Edward de Vere, “a intensely passionate and talented man” could have had so little aristocratic pride as to remain hidden forever behind a commoner’s pseudonym. I myself would have asked “so much aristocratic pride”.

Finally, the closing paragraph: “The debate will go on. Maybe this is the secret of the self-made man Shakespeare from the province: precisely because we know nothing of him, the man of Stratford can be thought of as being capable of anything.”

SARC Summer Seminar Aug. 9-14, 2010

From SARC Director Dan Wright:

The 2010 Summer Seminar at the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre at Concordia University is scheduled for August 9-14, 2010. I want to get this information out so that you can register now and be assured a seat at the seminar. Registration is limited to 20 participants.

The focus of the week-long study session will be “The Shakespeare Apocrypha.” I will lead the seminar through a study of the plays (and a few of the poems) that sometime have been argued as integral to the Shakespeare canon but which, for various reasons, rarely have garnered enough support to make it into the more established publications of the canon — The Two Noble Kinsmen excepted. We’ll discuss canonicity itself and amongst the works sometimes attributed to the writer who called himself Shakespeare, we’ll devote particular attention during the week to at least the following: “A Funeral Elegie” and “A Lover’s Complaint,” as well as several plays, including Arden of Feversham, Edmund Ironside, Edward III, Thomas of Woodstock (aka Richard II, Part One), Locrine, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Fair Em and The Birth of Merlin. We may get a chance to look at some others, too, such as Sir John Oldcastle and The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll.

You can sign up now at

14th Annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference April 8-11, 2010
Use the occasion while you’re online to register, too, for the 14th Annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference April 8 – 11, 2010 that will feature presentations by Dr Bruce Thompson of U Cal – San Marcos; Dr Michael Delahoyde of Washington State University; Dr Claudia Thompson of the University of Wyoming; Kevin Gilvary and Eddi Jolly of the De Vere Society in the UK; Paul Nicholson, the Executive Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Chris Coleman of Portland Centre Stage; Stephanie Hopkins Hughes, former editor of The Oxfordian; attorney Luis Garcia; William Ray; Krystal Rapp; Jacob Hughes; Prof Kevin Simpson; and many, many others of new and old vintage. You can register for the conference at

Prof Daniel Wright, Ph.D, Director
The Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre Concordia University Portland, OR 97211-6099