Monthly Archives: June 2011

New Software Developed In Israel Could Offer Authorship Clues — For The Bible and Shakespeare

Thanks to Linda Theil for this interesting find.  It’s interesting that Graeme Hirst (highlighted graph below), a professor of computational linguistics at the University of Toronto, thinks the software might be used to investigate the Shakespeare authorship question.  Clearly he’s aware that there is a question that needs to be investigated!


An Israeli algorithm sheds light on the Bible

“JERUSALEM (AP) — Software developed by an Israeli team is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible.

The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book.

The program, part of a sub-field of artificial intelligence studies known as authorship attribution, has a range of potential applications — from helping law enforcement to developing new computer programs for writers. But the Bible provided a tempting test case for the algorithm’s creators.

. . .

The new software might be used to investigate Shakespeare’s plays and settle lingering questions of authorship or co-authorship, mused Graeme Hirst, a professor of computational linguistics at the University of Toronto.”

Read complete article:

Sad News To Report — The Passing of Oxfordian Scholar Dr. Noemi Magri

The following obituary came to my attention today via Christopher Dams and Richard Malim.  I thought readers would find this sad news of interest.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Noemi Magri in person.  We communicated a few times via email.  On one trip to Venice several years ago I corresponded with her to see if we could arrange to meet but she was traveling at the time.  I remember exchanging ideas with her about creating educational tours of northern Italy that would focus on the locations mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays.  Unfortunately that idea (which I still think is a good one) never went anywhere.  Addio Noemi.  Riposare in pace.  Matthew

From The Gazzetta di Mantua May 18 2011


Who believed that Shakespeare was the Earl of Oxford , and that he had visited Mantua

Noemi Magri died on Monday (May 9). She was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to the English language. Many people from Mantua had her as their teacher, above all at ITIS, and many colleagues remember her with appreciation because ahe enabled them to revolutionize their methods of teaching English.

Her funeral will be to-day (May 18) at 10 am at Saint Barnabas’ Church in via Chiassi. Noemi, who was unmarried, lived in via Grioli, and leaves a brother, avvocato Carl’Alberto Magri. Her parents had signalled her future; her father was a lawyer and her mother Ada, who taught French and died aged over ninety not many years ago, founded the Franco-Italian Society. Noemi, with professor Dina, was the driving force behind the Anglo-Italian Society. He was President, while she travelled the world to bring to Mantua conference delegates of the highest quality. This activity was greatest during the 1970s and ’80s. Also well-known was the Special Project whch provided 100 hours of refresher course in foreign languages for il Provveditore. It was hard work, but it spread new teaching methods and created a great leap in quality of teaching.

Noemi graduated from the Ca’ Foscari in Venice, but already a joke by her teacher at her high school had put a bee in her bonnet – that Shakespeare probably never existed.

Noemi became convinced that the author of Romeo & Julietthe Merchant of Venice and Othello could not have been a genial but poor theatrical groupie born in Stratford on Avon, but rather that he was the Earl of Oxford who had travelled extensively in Italy, and indeed had visited Mantua, so precise is the description of Romeo’s journey from Verona to Mantua. Noemi‘s studies on Shakespeare were always most accurate, and many were the international conferences which she attended.


In tribute to Noemi Magri, I’m posting two links below so those interested can take a moment to appreciate a couple of samples of her impressive scholarship.

Oxford and the Greek Church in Venice
In a brief letter, Dr Noemi Magri examines one claim in ‘Monstrous Adversary’, Alan Nelson’s book.

Places in Shakespeare: Belmont and thereabouts
by Dr Noemi Magri

The purpose of the present paper is to show that Belmont is a real place, though differently called in
Italian: its identification has been made possible by the precise geographical information and a
specific historical reference given in the play: it is not geography of the imagination, and the
historical allusion refers to a contemporary event: it is not Shakespeare’s creation.

This essay has also been published in
‘Great Oxford – Essays on the Life and Work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1550 – 1604’
General Editor: Richard Malim and published by the De Vere Society

Columbia Magazine’s Review of Shapiro: Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Dear Friends … Many thanks to Tom Regnier for sharing this link to the review of James Shapiro’s Contested Will that appeared in Columbia Magazine last summer.  I’ll post several paragraphs below.

Here’s an excerpt that addresses the Oxfordian thesis directly and fairly sympathetically.

“There is no question that Contested Will, which has already occasioned considerable debate, lands at a time of great popular interest in the subject. As Shapiro acknowledges, this is a cultural high-water mark for the presumed authorship of de Vere, a celebrated poet and playwright who would have been intimate with court manners and politics, and whose life story evokes incidents in Hamlet and the rest of the canon. The progenitor of the Oxford hypothesis was the Englishman J. T. Looney, whose 1920 book, “Shakespeare” Identified in Edward de Vere the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, was embraced by Freud, among others. Shapiro reads it as “a product of Looney’s profound distaste for modernity,” but also calls it a “tour de force.”

And here’s the link to read the entire review on the Columbia Magazine website.,0

Brush Up Your… Marlowe? by Julia M. Klein

by Julia M. Klein

When James Shapiro ’77CC began plotting out Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, a friend unnerved him by asking, “What difference does it make?” Shapiro, the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia, answered, “A lot,” without articulating why. This intellectually passionate book represents his more complete and considered response: The controversy matters, he suggests, because a belief in Shakespeare’s authorship affi rms the power of the human imagination.

The authorship debate, though mostly ignored by specialists, has long intrigued writers from Mark Twain and Henry James to Helen Keller and the now-obscure Delia Bacon. It has fl ourished because so little biographical information has survived about the Stratford-upon-Avon-born actor and grain dealer — and the facts that are known point to a man of modest education, travel, and life experience. How in the world, the doubters say, could such a man, neither an aristocrat nor an intellectual, write such masterpieces, with their literary sophistication and references to law, foreign languages, courtly customs, the classics, and European geography?

In Contested Will, Shapiro has two aims: to provide insight into the debate and to make what is known as the Stratfordian case, which he does with gusto. His account of the theories of skeptics is purposely selective (though a bibliographic essay usefully points readers to more information). “My interest,” Shapiro writes, “is not in what people think — which has been stated again and again in unambiguous terms — but in why they think it.” Shapiro attempts to take the opposition seriously, locating its origins in the Higher Criticism that undermined Homer’s authorship and exposed the piecemeal composition of both the Old and New Testaments. But, in the instance of Shakespeare, he can’t help being dismissive of the briefs for Sir Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, the only two claimants to whom he allots full chapters. (The playwright Christopher Marlowe and other alternative bards receive only passing mentions.)

The history of the skeptics, Shapiro writes, is “strewn with . . . fabricated documents, embellished lives, concealed identity, pseudonymous authorship, contested evidence, bald-faced deception, and a failure to grasp what could not be imagined.” He uncovers a scam himself, involving what he says is a forgery of a 19th-century manuscript that spread doubt about Shakespeare’s capacities.

In Shapiro’s view, to believe that anyone but Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays is to succumb to conspiracy theories, weird cryptographic excesses, social snobbery, and incipient lunacy, not to mention the anachronistic fallacy of reading Elizabethan and Jacobean literature as autobiography. This last is Shapiro’s particular bête noir, and he is lacerating on the subject, indicting such early Shakespeare scholars as Edmond Malone for pointing the (wrong) way. “The plays are not an à la carte menu, from which we pick characters who will satisfy our appetite for Shakespeare’s personality while passing over less appetizing choices,” Shapiro writes.


Read the entire review:  Click HERE.

ESU Shakespeare Authorship Debate Available Online — Link to the debate featuring Professor Stanley Wells CBE, Professor Michael Dobson, Rev Dr Paul Edmondson, Charles Beauclerk, and Doctor William Leahy.

On Monday 6 June, the ESU hosted the Shakespeare Authorship Debate, with director Roland Emmerich.

The debate also featured Professor Stanley Wells CBE,  Professor Michael Dobson, Rev Dr Paul Edmondson, Charles Beauclerk, and Doctor William Leahy. The chairman for the evening was James Probert.

The ESU hosted the event in conjunction with Sony Pictures, the ESU and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to coincide with the release of multi-award-winning director Emmerich’s latest film, Anonymous.

Inspired by the upcoming release of Emmerich’s new film Anonymous, starring Derek Jacobi, Vanessa Redgrave and Rhys Ifans, the two panels debated whether Shakespeare really was the author that most people believe him to have been.

Here’s the link to read more and watch the video.

“The Man Who Was Hamlet” — Written and Performed by George Dillon — Getting Rave Reviews In London

Dear Friends: The Shakespeare Authorship question is heating up … and not only because of Roland Emmerich’s movie Anonymous.  Check out the info and reviews below.  Here’s the link for more information about tickets and schedules.  If you’re in London over the next few weeks, this sounds like a performance you don’t want to miss.

Who really wrote Hamlet?

That is the question!

With a brilliant script and a five-star performance from award-winning actor George Dillon, The Man Who Was Hamlet reveals the comical, tragical and utterly scandalous history of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, the man who many believe was the true author of the works of ‘William Shake-speare’.

5 stars Amazing!
Electrifying! Wicked!”

FringeReview5 Stars Transporting,
subtle, spellbinding , compelling,
charismatic, wry and moving.”


5 Stars Excellent!
Worth seeing both as
education and entertainment.”


“It’s easy to see why
Dillon’s performances
have made him the toast
of the Edinburgh Festival.”

British Theatre Guide

“One of the most compelling
performances I have seen
at the festival.”

Steven Berkoff

“O God! What a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, I leave behind me! In this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, To tell my story!”
Hamlet / Edward de Vere

Who really wrote Hamlet? Could it possibly have been the work of a barely literate Stratford grain merchant and money lender? Or was it really the dramatic autobiography of a disgraced and disgraceful nobleman?

THE MAN WHO WAS HAMLET, written and performed by George Dillon, tells the comical, tragical, romantic and utterly scandalous history of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, the leading alternative candidate for the authorship of the works of ‘William Shakespeare’.

Most people accept the fairy-tale story of ‘the man from Stratford’ – an unschooled glove-maker’s son who abandoned his shrewish wife to become a player and upstart writer in London and made a fortune before he retired to idleness and litigation, leaving his second best bed to his wife in his will. But what most people don’t know is that there is actually very little evidence to connect the merchant of Stratford, William Shaksper (sic), with the poetic works attributed to him.

But who was Edward de Vere?

A brilliant but disgraceful aristocrat whose life and character strikingly echo Shakespeare’s most famous character, Edward de Vere was a courtier, swordsman, adventurer, playwright and poet, who killed a servant, made love to Queen Elizabeth, abandoned his wife, got his mistress with child, was maimed in a duel, travelled in Italy, was captured by pirates, fought the Armada, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, kept two companies of players, but disappeared from history for fifteen years before he died virtually bankrupt. In youth he was hailed as the best of the secret court writers, especially for comedy, but no plays bearing his name have survived and his poetry suddenly stopped after the first invention of… ‘William Shake-speare’.

So was de Vere the inspiration and role model for Hamlet… or was he really the author?

The dying Dane’s last words summon from hell the ghost of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, to draw his breath in pain, tell his own story and restore his wounded name in George Dillon’s seventh solo show THE MAN WHO WAS HAMLET, with original music by Charlotte Glasson, directed by Denise Evans.


“This actor, on the stage for an hour and a half, gave one of the most compelling performances I have seen at the festival.  I’ve known George for many years and this performance is amongst the best I have seen – a lesson in the art of acting for any up and coming thespians.”
Steven Berkoff

“MUST SEE! A clever script… a masterful performance!”
The Stage

5 stars Truly masterly… amazing… wicked!”
FringeReview (in Edinburgh)

5 Stars Transporting, subtle, spellbinding and human…  It’s very cleverly done… a fascinating play…  compelling, charismatic, wry and moving.”

5 Stars Excellent one-man show… wonderful acting… great wit and wonderful gags… worth seeing both as education and entertainment.”

5 Stars Easily one of the best shows of the Fringe… cannot be admired, complimented and recommended more.”
Hairline Magazine

4 stars Absorbing and thought-provoking… the evening’s a romp, and a clever one.”
The Scotsman

4 stars An engrossing solo show well worth one’s time and attention.”
Edinburgh Spotlight

“It’s easy to see why Dillon’s performances have made him the toast of the Edinburgh Festival… direct and absorbing… A virtuoso display of dramatic range.”
British Theatre Guide

“A big production in a small theatre and a cut above your average one-man show.”
The Argus

“An exciting piece of writing, witty and sharp, ironic, comedic and sometimes philosophical and, as usual, a masterclass in delivery and individual performance.”

“Makes a good drama even without the Shakespeare theory.”
Dorset Echo

“A thought-provoking evening to anyone with even a passing interest in Shakespeare and an enquiring mind.”
Surrey Mirror

“Very imaginitive… brilliantly scripted, the writing is witty and extremely well researched… Dillon’s performance is excellent… keeps the audience engaged throughout even if you have only a passing interest in Shakespeare.”

“A man. A stage. A time for perfect theatre… An evening of theatrical pleasure that leaves you inspired.”

Let The Debate Begin! Dr William Leahy, Roland Emmerich, Charles Beauclerk, and Stanley Wells To Debate The Shakespeare Authorship Question In London on June 6th

Dr Bill Leahy debates Shakespeare authorship ahead of major film release

03 Jun 2011
William Shakespeare

Head of Brunel University’s School of Arts, Dr William Leahy, will challenge the accepted authorship of Shakespeare’s plays in a special debate alongside film director Roland Emmerich in central London next Monday [6 June].

The debate forms part of a wider scheme of events to publicise the forthcoming release of Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous, a historical thriller about Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The film suggests that de Vere was not only the incestuous lover of Queen Elizabeth I, but also the true author of the works of William Shakespeare.

Dr Leahy will be arguing against the motion: ‘This House believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the plays and poems attributed to him’, alongside Charles Beauclerk, president of the De Vere Society and former president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, and Roland Emmerich himself.

Leading the arguments in favour of the motion will be Stanley Wells, renowned Shakespeare scholar and Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Click Link Below to Read Entire Press Release

About The Shakespeare Oxford Society
Founded in 1957, the 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. The homepage of the Society also says the group is “Dedicated to Researching and Honoring the True Bard.”  Visit and for more information.  SOS on Facebook.  Join SOS or renew your membership online here: