Hughes on Oxford’s education

Stephanie Hughes reports on information about Edward de Vere’s education now on her blog at, Politic Worm:

The question of Oxford’s education is crucial to his authorship of the Shakespeare canon. Unfortunately it’s not the “smoking gun” everyone is hoping for, largely because not just one, but two things have to be accepted before its significance can be appreciated. A reader has to understand 1) why William can’t possibly be the author, and 2) what an astonishing education the author actually had.

Because Jonson was forced by the Stratford biography to portray the author as poorly educated (“small Latin and less Greek”), generations of Shakespeareans have assumed, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he was, as Milton saw him, or at least portrayed him, “Fancy’s child, warbling Nature’s woodnotes wild.” Milton should have known better, and perhaps he did. His patroness, Alice Spencer, Dowager Countess of Derby, the probable original of Kate from Taming of the Shrew, certainly knew the truth about Shakespeare.

In any case, for those of us who care about the truth, knowing how Oxford got educated, by whom, and what connection his education has with the works of Shakespeare is fundamental to understanding why he, and only he, can possibly be Shakespeare. More than that, it gives the richest material for the origins of the works.

New titles should appear on your screen in color. A fair amount of background is necessary to understand how and why things happened as they did, but a blog is not a book. Hopefully there’s enough here to make sense but not so much as to overwhelm. If otherwise, please ask questions. I’m grateful to those who do.

Stephanie Hughes

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  • Orda Hackney  On December 15, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    I don’t believe Jonson was forced to portray the author as poorly educated. I believe the meaning of the phrase “small Latin and Less Greek” refers to the laudatory speeches of the time…given in Latin and Greek. De Vere (and Shaksper) both had very little in the way of speeches and/or praise given at their deaths. For Shaksper this is understandable. For De Vere, the question is why?

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