Monthly Archives: March 2010

Hunter reviews Contested Will

Review: Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare by James Shapiro (Simon & Schuster 2010)

Thomas Hunter, Ph.D.

Let’s start with the good news about James Shapiro’s Contested Will. The good news is that for the first time a Stratfordian has become familiar in some detail with Oxfordians and Oxfordian history. The bad news is the distortion, twisting, and misrepresentation Shapiro feels obliged to employ in telling the Oxfordian story.

Shapiro goes out of his way to protest the history of shabby, if not hostile, treatment of authorship proponents by the scholarly community.  As his narrative plays out, however, it becomes clear that Shapiro’s attitude toward authorship is as shabby and hostile as that of any of the traditional scholars he criticizes. It doesn’t take long for the book’s surprisingly collegial initial façade to deteriorate into the more familiar hard face of Stratfordian bias and intolerance.

From concept to conclusion, Contested Will is another perversion of scholarship to make a point. We have seen this before in Alan Nelson’s monstrous biography of Oxford.

Shapiro conducts no substantive analysis of authorship issues. He provides no discussion of the merits. His approach is to talk about the personalities of authorship. His modus is to explain away authorship by explaining away its proponents through the years. His book is one prolonged, detailed ad hominem attack — pure and simple.

Continue reading

But soft, yinz guyz

Looks like the Arden Shakespeare editors are adding yet another play to the Shakespeare canon, according to yesterday’s Guardian, Shakespeare’s ‘lost play’ no hoax says expert: New evidence that Double Falsehood was, as 18th century playwright Lewis Theobald claimed, based on Bard’s Cardenio”

Arts correspondent Art Brown wrote:

The Arden Shakespeare’s general editor, Richard Proudfoot, said the play was being made accessible for the first time in 250 years. “I think Brean Hammond’s detective work has been superb. He is quite open to the obvious fact that there is an element of speculation, but both of us believe that the balance of doubt lies in favour of its claim being authentic rather than a total fabrication.”

. . .

Over the years some 77 plays have been attributed in whole or in part to Shakespeare, about half of them wrongly. There are also plenty of theories and books published claiming Shakespeare’s plays were written by Edward de Vere, Sir Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe.

Update March 18, 2010:
Cultural critic Stuart Kelly posted an interesting essay on his blog, McShandy’s, today on the topic of Cardenio/Double Falsehood, “Single Error, Double Falsehood, Triple Bluff?”

Update March 15, 2010 BBC: “‘Lost’ Shakespeare play Double Falsehood published — a play which was first discovered nearly 300 years ago has been credited to William Shakespeare”

Update: Oliver Kamm comments
London Times Online, March 16, 2010: “It is part of his (Shakespeare’s) history that he knew and worked with his fellow artists on the stage and the page.”


Roger Stritmatter suggested this online access to the play, Double Falsehood, on John W. Kennedy’s site: Double Falsehood or the Distrest Lovers.

Egan interviews Shahan in Forever Young

The Shakespeare Oxford Society’s The Oxfordian journal editor, Michael Egan, asked the SOS News Online to share an interview he conducted with Shakespeare Authorship Coalition Chairman John Shahan. The interview appears in the March 2010 issue of Forever Young, a Las Cruces, New Mexico consumer magazine that Egan founded and is editing.

Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare? An Interview with John Shahan, Chairman and CEO of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition

Michael Egan

There’s an old joke that runs, “Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare.  His plays were actually written by another man with the same name.”

It’s funny and maybe also true, because apparently there is some doubt about how a barely educated provincial boy could have grown up to become Shakespeare. We’re not just talking about a determined young man making a success of his life. William Shakespeare is the acknowledged genius among geniuses, the writer with the largest vocabulary of all time, the finest dramatist in history. In 2000 he was ranked the greatest Englishman who ever lived.

“If you read his plays without assuming that the man from Stratford-Upon-Avon wrote them, you can create a little ‘thought experiment,’” says John Shahan, chairman and CEO of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition. The SAC is dedicated to promoting the idea that there is ‘Reasonable Doubt’ concerning the identity of the author of Hamlet, Macbeth and other immortal works.

Shahan continues: “The thought experiment is to try imagining what kind of person wrote these master works, filled as they are with most amazingly detailed information about almost everything, botany, astronomy, music, the law. The writer seems to have been someone who knew the Elizabethan court and its politics inside out, was familiar with falconry, tennis, bowls and other aristocratic sports, and also fluent in Latin, Italian, French and perhaps even Greek! He knew how armies muster and encamp, how soldiers talk, understood ships and naval terms and must have travelled extensively in northern Italy. Fifteen of his thirty-six plays are set in and around Tuscany, and they’re full of detailed, first-hand knowledge.”

But, I asked Shahan, if Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare, who did? “I don’t know for certain,” he answers. “I just know it couldn’t have been the grain-dealer from Stratford, who died without a single book in his possession—not one!—and allowed his children to grow up illiterate.”

Shahan adds: “Lots of people have been put forward as possible authors in his place. It isn’t hard to find candidates who seem a lot more likely than William of Stratford. The most popular candidates are Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edward de Vere, the seventeenth earl of Oxford. But many other candidates have followers, such as William Stanley, sixth earl of Derby, Sir Henry Neville, Fulke Greville, plus at least two women – Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, and Queen Elizabeth I. Edward de Vere is the leading candidate, but nothing conclusive has turned up yet.”

I asked Shahan to describe the work of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition.

“Well, the main thing we’ve done is write a definitive statement of the reasons to doubt the Stratford man. It’s called the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of Williams Shakespeare, and it’s posted on our website where anyone can read it, sign it, and download a free copy. It’s at Some of the most notable signatories include Supreme Court justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Charles Champlin, Arts Critic Emeritus of the LA Times, the actor Sir Derek Jacobi, and Mark Rylance, founding Artistic Director at the new Globe Theatre in London. Nearly 1,700 people have signed – eighty percent of them college graduates, thirty-six percent with advanced degrees, and 300 academics.”

Famous people in the past who have expressed doubts about the traditional Shakespeare include Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Charles Dickens and Orson Welles.

Shahan considers the SAC’s Declaration of Reasonable Doubt a major step forward in what he calls the Authorship Debate. He explains: “Unfortunately, even today it’s not academically respectable to question the idea that Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays. Professors are quick to mock the idea and group it with alien abduction and conspiracy theories about JFK. So when famous people who are obviously not crackpots say they have their uncertainties it makes it harder for the professors to ignore the blanks and contradictions in their version.  They’re forced to question their own assumptions, which of course they don’t like to do but is actually a very good thing.”

The matter of who did write the plays of Shakespeare will soon come to a head, Shahan predicted. In April, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro of Columbia University will publish his new book, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? Already scholars are lining up for and against Shapiro’s conclusion that the case against Shakespeare of Stratford is a formidable one.

“Shapiro doesn’t exactly say Shakespeare of Stratford may not be the Shakespeare who wrote the plays and poems,” Shahan notes. “He’s an orthodox Shakespearean, after all. But after his book appears he really ought to sign our Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.”

Michael Egan

Feldman’s Hamlet Himself reissued

Shakespeare Controversy co-author Warren Hope recently reissued Dr. Bronson Feldman’s Hamlet Himself through iUniverse self-publishing company. The work is available in softcover or e-book form for $15.95/$9.99 at Amazon and  iUniverse:

Warren Hope talks about this tribute to Dr. Feldman’s memory:

Hamlet Himself is something of a neglected Oxfordian classic. It constitutes the most comprehensive of Dr. Bronson Feldman’s numerous analyses of Shakespeare’s plays. It combines the skill of a trained literary historian with the insights of a practicing psychoanalyst. The result is a survey of the life, friends, family, and times of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, as reflected in Shakspeare’s most autobiographical play.

The study first appeared in 1977, published at the author’s expense and in a format which, while it had its own quixotic charm, almost assured an extremely limited circulation. Beyond that, the format of the study meant that it would unlikely become part of the permanent collections of libraries. Technological improvements in both the printing industry and the methods of distributing books since the study’s first publication make it possible now to reissue the book in a format that is at once attractive and serviceable. The result should be a larger readership for the book and the chance for it to take its appropriate place on library shelves.

Feldman was the first American Oxfordian to earn a Ph.D. in Elizabethan literature by writing a dissertation on the influence of the Dutch wars on the Tudor drama under such traditional experts as Conyers Read, the biographer of both Burghley and Walsingham, at the University of Pennsylvania. Feldman by his writings earned the admiration and encouragement of such leading Oxfordians as Charles Wisner Barrell, Ruth Loyd Miller,and Father Francis Edwards. As a teacher at the Community College of Philadelphia, he introduced a number of people to J. Thomas Looney’s hypothesis and was for years the center of a small Oxfordian circle.

This reissue of his work is meant as a tribute to his memory.

Warren Hope

Hamlet Himself by Bronson Feldman is available online from Amazon and iUniverse at $15.95.

Shapiro in LRB and Observer

London Review of Books, Vol. 23 No. 5, March 11, 2010 (pp. 21-22) published a review of James Shapiro’s Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare, “Best Known for His Guzzleosity” by Helen Hackett, a reader in English at University College London. Her book, Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Myths, was published by Princeton University Press in 2009.

The full article is available for sale through the LRB website and through subscribing libraries on the web. In the pre-jump section of Hackett’s review, she says of Contested Will:

The case for Shakespeare is made cogently and convincingly. Shapiro cites contemporaries who identified him as the author of the plays, and shows that the early printing history corroborates the attribution. The textual vestiges of rehearsal and staging practices, and of collaboration with other writers, demonstrate that the playwright was a working member of a theatre company, not a courtier or someone writing plays in his closet and delivering them fully formed to the actors. Moreover, the author can’t have died as early as 1604, as the Earl of Oxford did, because his late writing reflects the changes in dramaturgy brought about by the increasing use of indoor playhouses, and by Jacobean developments in court masques. Shapiro weaves together various strands of recent scholarship to make a case which is about as watertight as it can be.

I advise Ms. Hackett not to set sail in that watertight bark.


Meanwhile, over at The Observer/Guardian, staunch Stratfordian Robert McCrum polls the cognoscenti and wonders about the deepest recesses of Shapiro’s soul:

Finally, in January, along came the first proof of Shapiro’s new book. But no, it was not about 1605 or 1606. Entitled Contested Will, it bore a fatal subtitle, “Who Wrote Shakespeare?“. Apparently, Professor Shapiro had gone over to the dark side, the blasted heath of the authorship question.

In today’s article, “Who really wrote Shakespeare?” McCrum states the authorship problem:

There was such an unbridgeable chasm between the complex brilliance of the plays and what they reveal about their author’s education and experience, on the one hand, and the bare facts of Shakespeare’s life, on the other, that a better explanation than “genius” had to be found. Unquestionably, said the “anti-Stratfordians”, as they came to be known, the recorded life of the man called Shakespeare could not possibly yield the astonishing universality and dazzling invention of the canon.

They had a point.

McCrum doesn’t bother to refute or respond to these plaints, he just refers to the “bizarre fraternity” of authorship doubters and criticizes Shapiro for responding to them:

This is the delusional world that Shapiro has chosen to explore inContested Will. He justifies his investigation with an assertion of scholarly daring – “this subject remains virtually taboo in academic circles” – and claims that his interest is less in what people think about the authorship question, more why they think it. “My attitude”, he goes on, “derives from living in a world in which truth is too often seen as relative and in which mainstream media are committed to showing both sides of every story.”

In fairness to “mainstream media”, even the most half-baked investigative journalism would swiftly dismiss the main contenders.

In McCrum’s pursuit of Shakespearean truth via the psyches of various theatrical types, he spoke to former Royal Shakespeare Company director Adrian Noble:

Talking about the man, Noble struggles momentarily and then comes up with a formula for an explanation of the mystery that will recur in my later conversations. “It’s like Mozart,” he says, citing the other most celebrated example of inexplicable, even divine, genius. Confronted with the mystery of Shakespeare’s extraordinary gifts, Noble has no time for the anti-Stratfordians. The idea that Bacon or some cabal wrote the plays is, on the basis of his experience, “utter nonsense. We know more than we think about Shakespeare. The more I work on him, the clearer his work becomes.”

It’s like Mozart, he says — evoking the universal poster boy for the highly prepared, highly documented genius. Noble apparently feels no sense of the chasm between the richness of Mozart’s life and the blank slate in Stratford.

McCrum’s article is a great read. I especially liked the part about fleas breeding in pizz-flooded corners.

Update: Commentary on the McCrum article
Daniel Hannan in The London Telegraph, March 16, 2010
David Blackburn in The Spectator, March 16, 2010

Shakespeare, Inc. by Don Fried

Don Fried’s award-winning farce about the Shakespeare authorship controversy, Shakespeare, Inc. was premiered by the Coal Creek Community Theater at the Louisville Center for the Arts in Fried’s home state of Colorado this month, and is being performed by the Second Skin Theatre in London until March 21.

Shakespeare, Inc. won first-place in the  full-length play category of the 2009 Rocky Mountain Theatre Association Festival Playwriting Competition and was selected as one of the winners of the Paragon Theater’s Trench New Play Development Competition. Time-Out London website said:

Hilarious, controversial and uncannily plausible, Second Skin Theatre break from their tradition of dark and intense theatre at The Rosie and take a wild romp throught Elizabethan England. Prize-winning American author, Don Fried, finally lifts the lid on who really wrote those immortal classics. Shakespeare will never be quite the same again…

A one-page synopsis of Shakespeare, Inc. is available on Fried’s website. The tale begins:

The lights come up on what appears to be a scene from an Elizabethan play. When the hero pulls out a squirt gun and soaks the villain, we discover that the actors are taking part in a current day theatrical house-party in Wilton House, the ancestral home of the Earls of Pembroke. The participants are all descendants of William Shakespeare and other authors who are rumored to have had some part in writing Shakespeare’s works — Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, Edward de Vere, Mary Sydney and William Stanley. Mary, the owner of the house shows Christopher a manuscript that she has found in her attic, which purports to be a true account of how Shakespeare’s works were written. . . .

Fried (left) generously offered to talk about his work for SOS News Online readers.

SOS-NO: How did you come to write a farce about the Shakespeare authorship question?

Don Fried:

First, let me make clear that I’m not a Shakespeare scholar.  Or any other kind of scholar, for that matter. I’m a playwright, and as such, I’m always on the lookout for a great plot. That being understood, here’s how Shakespeare Inc. came to be written.

In December, 2007, I received as a present a copy of Bill Bryson’s new biography of William Shakespeare. The last chapter of the book deals with the authorship question, giving arguments for and against the works attributed to the Bard having been written by Shakespeare and only Shakespeare. I found myself unconvinced by the “for” arguments.  With each point, I found myself saying, “No, there’s an explanation around that.” And “There’s an explanation for that, too.”  Of course, the individual points of my quickly-developed theories didn’t fit particularly well together, and by the time I’d finished that last chapter, I realized that what I’d come up with was the plot of a reasonably complex farce.

“Too good of an opportunity to pass up,” I thought.  So off I ran to the University of Colorado library, from which I emerged two months later with 40 pages of notes, a gigantic spreadsheet with names, dates, and events, and a ten-page play outline.

In doing the research and developing the plot for Shakespeare Inc. I had three goals in mind.  First, while I have no illusions that what I was going to write would be what actually happened, I wanted it to be historically possible. I wanted Shakespeare scholars to say, “Very clever. Completely ridiculous, but very clever. And it makes a lot of things fit together that never worked before.”

Second, I wanted the play to be full of puns and funny references from Shakespeare’s works that the vast majority of theater-goers would recognize and enjoy.  But, third, I also wanted it to be accessible and of interest to people with no background whatsoever in Shakespeare. Just a well-crafted, farcical tale of conspiracy, intrigue, jealousy and murder.

The plot, and the ways in which it mixes history and fantasy, are too complex to include here. But you can read a one-page synopsis of Shakespeare Inc. on my website. And you can email me at <>if you are interested in reading the script.

I completed the play in June, 2008. The script won two U.S. playwriting contests in 2009, and the play was produced in early 2010 in London and Colorado. Several Shakespeare scholars have read the script and seen the performances. So far, the consensus is that the play meets all three of my intended goals. If you decide to read the script, I hope you’ll agree.

SOS-NO: Do you have  any plans for future productions of Shakespeare, Inc.?

Don Fried:

At the moment, there are no specific plans for more productions of Shakespeare Inc., although I’m speaking with a couple of Shakespeare Festivals in the U.S. and with the company that is producing the current production in London. By the way, the London production one is at the Rosemary Branch in Islington and runs until March 21. The Colorado production runs for another two nights and closes on March 13.

SOS-NO: What else are you working on?

Don Fried:

My career has been going amazingly well.  I retired in 2006 to be a playwright after living for 30 years throughout Europe (including 19 years in the UK) and working in the Information Technology Industry.  I’ve written 6 full-length plays and 6 short ones.  So far, all of my plays except for the one I finished last month have been produced or are scheduled for production in the next few months.

Running concurrently with the productions of Shakespeare Inc. in London and Colorado is the world premiere of Postville, which is based on the true story about a group of Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn who come to a struggling small town in Iowa to re-open the shuttered meatpacking plant as a kosher facility. The locals think their problems are over, but a culture clash begins that turns the American melting pot in a pressure cooker that explodes. Literally! The response to that has been wonderful.

Next up are several gigs of Senior Moments, a series of short plays about people living in retirement homes, a production of a short play entitled “Young Mr. Hoover” as part of G-men in G-strings: the J. Edgar Hoover Chronicles, and a public reading of my latest play, Getting Betta, about an anthropomorphic computer program for assisting in the home. There are preliminary plans for a production in London within the next year of my farce, Present Future, which solves the age old problem of what to do with presents from friends and family that you absolutely hate (the presents, not the friends and family). Information about all my plays and productions is always kept up to date on my website Don Fried

Ashland SF/SOS conference registration

Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman sent an update on the Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society Annual Conference to be held September 16-19 , 2010 in Ashland, Oregon. Showerman said:

We plan to have a Saturday afternoon program open to the general public again –

  • this time with Robin Nordli’s Bard Babes,
  • Keir Cutler’s Is Shakespeare Dead?
  • and live Renaissance  music by Mignarda.
  • Also that afternoon the session will close with a signing of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.

This will be an outstanding conference, no doubt, and I hope we can attract double our usual numbers.

Conference Update: Ashland Authorship Conference, September 16-19, 2010, Ashland Springs Hotel and Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Register online at the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s  SF/SOS Annual Conference — Sept. 16-19, 2010 in Ashland, Oregon online registration site:

The sixth annual joint authorship conference of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society will take place in Ashland, Oregon from September 16-19, 2010. This year the conference will focus on the plays in production at the Tony Award winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Group tickets have been secured for the conference for three productions at OSF: The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet and 1 Henry IV.

The conference will convene at the Ashland Springs Hotel.  Already a number of outstanding scholars, authors and theatre professionals have committed to presenting at Ashland, including Professors Daniel Wright, Felicia Londre, Ren Draya, Roger Stritmatter, and Chris Duval. Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch and Executive Director Paul Nicholson will both address the conference, and Robin Goodrin-Nordli will perform her comedic Shakespeare heroine composite, Bard Babes. Keir Cutler will present his wonderfully satiric production, Is Shakespeare Dead? and award-winning musicians Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart, who produced My Lord of Oxenford’s Masque, will also perform their music during the authorship conference.

Other presenters will include OSF’s James Newcomb, Tom Regnier on Hamlet’s law,  Bonner Cutting on Shakspere’s Will, Bill Farina and Tom Hunter on The Merchant of Venice, Michael Cecil on Lord Burghley, plus Hank Whittemore, John Hamill, Paul Altrocchi, Richard Whalen, Frank Davis, Katherine Chiljan, Ramon Jimenez, Earl Showerman  John Shahan, Marie Merkel, Sam Saunders, William Ray and Cheryl Eagan-Donovan. The conference will feature panel discussions with OSF actors after  each show and include a signing ceremony of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.

Proposals for papers

Proposals for conference papers are being accepted until June 15, 2010. The sponsoring organizations are both dedicated to academic excellence, and guidelines for presentation of papers for the joint conferences are posted on the websites of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society. First-time presenters should consult these guidelines before submitting a proposal. Paper proposals should be accompanied by an abstract of not more than 250 words and brief biography. Preference for the 2010 conference will be given to papers which address the authorship question in relation to the Shakespeare plays in production at OSF. To submit a paper, contact Bonner Cutting, John Hamill or Earl Showerman. The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2010.

Ashland Authorship Conference registration is $200 and includes all sessions at the Ashland Springs Hotel, an invitation to the opening reception, buffet lunches and the conference awards banquet.  Daily registrations are also available for $50 per day. On-line registration may be secured through the websites of the sponsoring organizations. Registration by personal check made out to the Ashland Authorship Conference is now available and should be mailed to the: Ashland Authorship Conference, 7498 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville, OR 97530

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Productions

100 tickets have been reserved for the Ashland Authorship Conference for each of these three productions: The Merchant of Venice (9/16), Hamlet (9/17)and 1 Henry IV (9/18).

Registrants to the conference may order up to two tickets per production with their conference registration. Additional tickets may be available, but only by special request of the program committee. Group Ticket prices are $65 each.  The conference group ticket order will be closed on August 20, 2010.  Orders for any tickets after this date will have to be placed directly with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival ( , Box Office: 541-482-4331).  Other plays in production at OSF during the conference include Twelfth Night, Throne of Blood, Ruined, American Night, and the musical, She Loves Me.  Other activities at OSF include daily backstage tours and an exhibit of Paul Allen’s First Folio.

Travel & Lodgings in Ashland

The Rogue Valley – Medford Airport has non-stop connections to Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is located 15 miles from Ashland. Taxis and Cascade Airport Shuttle (541-488-1998) serve Ashland.

A block of 30 rooms has been reserved for our group at the Ashland Springs Hotel ( , Reservations: 888-795-4545).  The room rate for the conference block is $149/night.  The Ashland Springs Hotel is located only one-half block from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theaters. There are a number of other comparable and less expensive lodgings available in Ashland within 3-4 blocks of OSF.  These include:

A number of Bed and Breakfast establishments in Ashland with comparable room rates are also within walking distance of the Ashland Springs and theatres.  These include: Winchester House, 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 further information consult Ashland’s Bed and Breakfast network (

For further information about the Ashland Authorship Conference, contact Earl Showerman at  541-890-9360 or be email at

Ashland Authorship Conference Registration Form Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society annual conference: September 16-19, 2010, Ashland Springs Hotel – Ashland, Oregon

Register online at:

Or by mail:



City _________________   State_____Zip_________ Country____


Full conference registration includes all daytime lectures and performances for all four days of the conference. Appetizers will be served during our reception of Thursday, Sept. 16 and buffet lunches will be provided on theSept. 17 and 18. The conference awards banquet at the end of our proceedings on Sunday, Sept. 19 is also included. The four-day registration is $200. Daily registrations are available at $50 per day and include lunches.

100 group tickets each for three evening productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival have been secured for the conference. These include The Merchant of Venice (9/16), Hamlet (9/17), and 1Henry IV (9/18). The price of tickets for conference attendees is $65 per ticket for each play. Conference attendees may order up to two tickets per play. The Ashland Authorship Conference group ticket order for the OSF plays must be postmarked by August 20. Conference registrants who sign up after August 20 may order their tickets directly from the OSF box office (541-482-4331). These shows will very likely be sold out by late August, however, so ordering early is the only way to guarantee you will get theatre tickets.

Conference Registration:

Full Conference Registration – $200 per registrant

Daily Registration – $50/day (Days:_______)

Extra Awards Banquet Tickets – $35 per guest

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Play Tickets (max. – 2 tickets per play):

Merchant of Venice – 9/16 – $65/ticket

Hamlet – 9/17 – $65/ticket

1 Henry IV – 9/18 – $65/ticket

Total Enclosed:

On-line registrations via credit card will be available at the Shakespeare Fellowship and Shakespeare Oxford Society websites. Personal checks for conference registration and for payment of ticket orders should be made out to the Ashland Authorship Conference and mailed to:

SF/SOS Annual Conference:Ashland Authorship Conference, 7498 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville, OR 97530

Looney and the Jews

An interesting discussion titled J. Thomas Looney and the Jews appeared on the humanities. lit.authors. shakespeare Google discussion group last week in response to John Gross’ review of James Shapiro’s new book Contested Will. The Gross review, “Denying Shakespeare” appeared in the March 2010 issue of Commentary Magazine.

A long post by Lynne Kositsky, AKA “La Mouse”, enlightened Looney lambasters:

To my knowledge, it was no shame to be a Comte’s Positivist at the time. Many were, almost all of them Stratfordians. My feeling is that it is Shapiro’s way of trying to link Looney to Hitler, who was also a Positivist apparently, and to recall in our minds that the beliefs of Oxfordians have . . . been compared to those of Holocaust Deniers, a theory that as a Jewish Oxfordian I find highly distasteful.

Cossolotto on guide Lee Jamieson spoke to Shakespeare Oxford Society Second Vice-president for Publications/Public Relations Matthew Cossolotto for an interview,  “Introducing the Shakespeare Authorship Debate” , published March 9, 2010.

Cossolotto said:

Partisans of the Stratford theory are fond of circular reasoning. “Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare” is a frequent refrain. But partisans of the Stratfordian theory deny even the possibility that “William Shakespeare” could have been a pseudonym. So they shut down the debate and close their minds instead of opening their minds – Maybe I’m naïve, but I always thought true scholarship required an open mind.

Update 3/18/10: Part II of Cossolotto interview.

This tenth of March

Sid Lubow reminds us via Nina Green‘s Phaeton list that the date of March tenth was memorialized in the anonymous Elizabethan publication of A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres bound up in one small Poesy — Gathered partely (by translation) in the fine outlandish gardens of Euripides, Ovid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others: and partly by invention out of our owne fruitefull Orchardes in Englande: Yelding sundrie sweete favours of Tragical, Comical, and Morall Discourses, bothe pleasaunt and profitable to the well smelling noses of learned Readers.

Regardless of the speculation on which sundrie gentleman might be the author of this springtime poem, it is a pretty piece for this day so fair:

This tenth of March when Aries receyv’d,
Dame Phoebus rayes, into his horned head:
And I my selfe, by learened lore perceyv’d,
Ver approcht, and frostie winter fled.
I crost the
Thames, to take the cherefull ayre,
In open feeldes, the weather was so fayre. . . .

For more information about this collection see A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres from the Original of 1573, Second Edition by Ruth Loyd Miller, Editor (Minos Publishing, 1975). This website presents the Miller book as a “facsimile with additions” of Captain Bernard M. Ward’s 1926 edition advancing the theory that Flowers was a first attempt in Elizabeth’s reign of a poetical anthology compiled by Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford.

B.M. Ward’s article “Further Research on A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres” from The Review of English Studies, Vol. 4, No. 13 (Jan., 1928), pp. 35-48 is available on JSTOR.

Read the entire poem online in Michael Delahoyde’s essay on the book “A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres”.

G.W. Pigman’s edition of A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres (Oxford U. Press, 2000) is previewed on Google Books.