Tag Archives: De Vere Society

Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with new reasons to doubt the identity of author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, “Anonymous.”

Note: This story is embargoed until the date specified in the release: November 21, 2011.

Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with new reasons to doubt the identity of author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, “Anonymous.”

Los Angeles, CA., Nov. 21, 2011 – amidst all the controversy surrounding Sony Pictures’ recently-released film Anonymous, actor and author Michael York, O.B.E., launched a powerful, multi-pronged counter-offensive against the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford-upon-Avon, and its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” authorship campaign, initiated in response to the film. York also announced a monumental breakthrough in the controversy – detailed evidence that Shakespeare traveled all over Italy. The problem for orthodox Shakespeare scholars is that the traditional author, Mr. William “Shakspere” of Stratford-upon-Avon, never left England.

During a briefing at the Los Angeles Press Club’s Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood (10:00 a.m.  to ~noon at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. – one block west of Vermont Avenue on the north side of street) Michael York, Hilary Roe Metternich, daughter of the man who discovered the new evidence, and John M. Shahan, Chairman of the California-based Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) lambasted the SBT for its Orwellianattacks against doubters, and for poor scholarship in its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” website, featuring 60 SBT supporters, each giving a 60-second audio-recorded response to one of 60 questions posed by the SBT.

Michael York, in language echoing that which brought down Senator Joseph McCarthy, castigated Professor Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the SBT, and Paul Edmondson, Head of Learning and Research at the SBT, for suggesting that the authorship controversy is merely another “conspiracy theory,” and for labeling doubters “anti-Shakespeareans.” “Have you no sense of decency sirs, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”* York asked. “Or, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet, ‘O shame! Where is thy blush?'” he added. “Doubters are not ‘anti-Shakespeare,'” York insisted, “but your behaviour is most un-Shakespearean.”

SAC Chairman John Shahan announced that a coalition of a dozen authorship organizations, based in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, has rebutted each point in the SBT “60 Minutes.” The rebuttal document, titled Exposing an Industry in Denial: Authorship Doubters Respond to “60 Minutes with Shakespeare, is at the SAC website at doubtaboutwill.org. “The SBT erred in coming down from their ivory tower to attack,” Shahan said, “This rebuttal document makes clear that the best of our scholars are far superior to theirs.”

Shahan challenged the SBT (online petition) to write a declaration of the reasons why they claim there is “no room for doubt” about the identity of “Shakespeare” and post it with the names of those who have endorsed it. He noted that the SAC wrote and posted a statement of its own position, the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare, in 2007. It has now been signed by over 2,200 people – over 800 with advanced degrees, and nearly 400 current or former college/university faculty members.

Hilary Roe Metternich announced the discovery of powerful new evidence in the controversy, contained in the newly-released book,  The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels, by Richard Paul Roe (HarperPerennial). Ms. Metternich, the daughter of the author, a prominent Pasadena attorney who died late last year, said that her father spent more than 20 years traveling in Italy, his only guide being the texts of Shakespeare’s 10 “Italian Plays” (not counting three plays set in ancient Rome).

“The clues were all right there in the plays” Metternich said. “My father found the locations of nearly every scene in all 10 of these plays – locations unnoticed by Shakespeare scholars and biographers for 400 years.” “His great chronicle – a tour de force of travel, analysis and discovery – paints with amazing clarity a picture of what the author ‘Shakespeare,’ whoever he was, almost surely witnessed before writing his Italian plays.”

Contact persons: Re: Coalition and rebuttals: John Shahan at (909) 896-2006;  jmshahan@verizon.net

Re: The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Hilary Roe Metternich: hrm3325@aol.com

——————

*Question put to Senator Joseph McCarthy on June 9, 1954, at the Army-McCarthy Hearings.

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

FAREWELL TO NOEMI MAGRI, AN OUTSTANDING TEACHER OF ENGLISH

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.

http://www.deveresociety.co.uk/articles/essay-ChurchVenice.pdf

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

http://www.deveresociety.co.uk/articles/essay-belmont.pdf

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

The Shakespeare Chronology Recalibrated: Excellent Review by William S. Niederkorn of “Dating Shakespeare’s Plays” Published by the De Vere Society in the U.K.

Kudos to William Niederkorn for writing an excellent, insightful review of Dating Shakespeare’s Plays.  And kudos to editor Kevin Gilvary and the many other contributors to this landmark work.  I shouldn’t (and won’t) reprint the entire review here.  Several paragraphs follow.  To read the entire review, which was published in the April 2011 edition of The Brooklyn Rail,  please click on this link now or click on READ MORE at the bottom on this post.

http://www.brooklynrail.org/2011/04/books/the-shakespeare-chronology-recalibrated

As anybody who has delved into the Shakespeare authorship mystery in any detail knows all too well, the issue of the chronology of the plays is a major point of contention between the orthodox camp and skeptics of various stripes.  The traditional Stratfordian chronology has always struck doubters as more or less arbitrary, arranged to neatly fit into the lifespan and presumed career of the Stratfordian Candidate — one William of Stratford.  Dating Shakespeare’s Plays tackles this vexing issue with a great deal of skill and refreshing even-handedness.  As Niederkorn puts it in his review:  “[R]egardless of one’s position on the authorship question, Dating Shakespeare’s Plays is a most informative and useful book on a subject at the center of the Shakespeare labyrinth. It is not the last word, but rather an advantageous starting point.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Niederkorn’s review is highly recommended reading … as is Dating Shakespeare’s Plays itself.

Matthew Cossolotto

The Shakespeare Chronology Recalibrated

by William S. Niederkorn

Dating Shakespeare’s Plays: A Critical Review of the Evidence
edited by Kevin Gilvary
(Parapress, 2010)

Determining the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays has been both central and problematic since Shakespeare studies originated in the 18th century. Edmond Malone, whose work is regarded as the cornerstone of Shakespeare scholarship, made the first serious attempt. Malone’s initial Shakespeare achievement was his essay An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in which the Plays attributed to Shakespeare were written, included in the second edition of the Johnson-Steevens Shakespeare in 1778. This was “pioneering research,” as Peter Martin called it in his 1995 biography.

In 1875, Edward Dowden, in his Shakespeare: A Critical Study of his Mind and Art, divided Shakespeare’s career into four periods, based on what he deemed appropriate to the playwright’s age and mood, a division that Shakespeare academics still widely affirm. Dowden vastly expanded on Malone’s use of stylistic data, like frequency of rhyme, to support his chronology with statistics.

E. K. Chambers thoroughly reviewed the full scope of dating research in his William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems, published in 1930, and laid out a chronology derived largely from Malone and Dowden. Of the 36 plays in the First Folio, Chambers’s dating exactly matches Malone’s on 14 plays and deviates from it by only one year on eight more.

Then, in 1987, came William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor. Though Wells and Taylor admitted, “The existing or ‘orthodox’ chronology for all Shakespeare’s plays is conjectural,” their dates match Dowden and Chambers exactly for 24 plays and differ on average by less than two years for the rest.

All of this is recounted in the introduction to Dating Shakespeare’s Plays: A Critical Review of the Evidence. This new book, apparently several years in the making, goes on to review other aspects of the inherited tradition, and then lays out, play by play, the evidence put forward by scholars who believe that the plays were written by William Shakespeare of Stratford, followed by the evidence put forward by scholars who believe they are by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

The book is a major comprehensive revision and re-envisioning of the Shakespeare chronology, but it does not set up a rigid chronology of its own. The new chronology is refreshingly diverse, like the world of Shakespeare authorship studies.

The main challenge to the Shakespeare orthodoxy for much of the past century has been Oxfordian, though Oxfordians, unlike Stratfordians, have made the effort inclusive and welcome into their conferences and journals advocates for Bacon, Marlowe, William Stanley, Edward Dyer, Mary Sidney, et al., including, of course, Stratfordians. As a result, a more open-minded approach to Shakespeare is developing outside the mainstream.

READ MORE

From The Oxfordian: Excellent Article Summarizing the Case for Oxford as Shakespeare Now Available Online

This excellent article, written by longtime Shakespeare Oxford Society member Ramon Jiménez, is must reading for anybody with an interest in Shakespeare generally and the Shakespeare Authorship Question in particular.  I’m pasting below a few of paragraphs from Ramon’s compelling article. A link is provided below so you can read the entire article which was recently posted on the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s website:

The Case for Oxford Revisited
Ramon Jiménez

In his recent biography of William Shakespeare, the critic Jonathan Bate writes: ‘Gathering what we can from his plays and poems: that is how we will write a biography that is true to him’ (xix). This statement acknowledges a widely recognized truth—that a writer’s work reflects his milieu, his experiences, his thoughts, and his own personality. It
was the remarkable gap between the known facts about Shakespeare of Stratford and the traits and characteristics of the author revealed in the Shakespeare canon that led an English schoolmaster to suppose that the real author was someone else, and to search for him in the backwaters of Elizabethan poetry.

This inquiry led him to conclude that ‘William Shakespeare’ was a nom de plume that concealed the identity of England’s greatest poet and dramatist, and that continued to hide it from readers, playgoers, and scholars for hundreds of years. In 1920, J. Thomas Looney published his unique work of investigative scholarship, demonstrating that the man behind the Shakespeare name and the Shakespeare canon was Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604).1 Since then, hundreds of books and articles have augmented the evidence that this unconventional nobleman and courtier not only wrote the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare, but concealed the fact of his authorship throughout his life. It appears that after his death his descendants and those in their service deliberately
substituted an alternative author and fabricated physical and literary evidence to perpetuate the fable.

The web of evidence associating Oxford with the Shakespeare canon is robust and far-reaching, and grows stronger and more complex every year. Although he was recognized by his contemporaries as an outstanding writer of poetry and plays, he is the only leading dramatist of the time whose name is not associated with a single play. This fact, alone, about any other person would be sufficient to stimulate intense interest and considerable research. Yet the Shakespearean academic community has not only failed to undertake this research itself, it has willfully and consistently refused to allow presentations or to publish research on the Authorship Question by anyone who disputes the Stratford theory. What Oxfordian research it does not ignore, it routinely dismisses, usually with scorn and sarcasm, as unworthy of serious consideration.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

From The Archives: Parts I and II of About.com’s Interview With Matthew Cossolotto About The Shakespeare Authorship Question

Dear Friends:  I was doing some web surfing and I came across this two-part interview on About.com.  I had forgotten all about this but now that I see it again I think it’s worth sharing on the SOS Online News.  I’m pretty sure this interview took place before the SOS Online News was launched.  I think the interview bears repeating.  Sometimes it’s worth remembering that the authorship debate does receive considerable attention.  And not only from scholars intent on dismissing the topic — like James Shapiro in his book Contested Will.  So I thought I’d post portions of the interview here with links to the full Q&A.  I also wanted to take this opportunity to express my thanks again to Lee Jamieson at About.com for doing the interview and recognizing that the Shakespeare Authorship Question deserves to be given serious consideration.   Enjoy!   Matthew

Part I:  Shakespeare and De Vere

An Interview with Matthew Cossolotto About The Shakespeare-De Vere Relationship

By , About.com Guide

The Shakespeare authorship debate1 has been raging for years and the circumstantial evidence for one candidate is particularly compelling: Edward de Vere2, 17th Earl of Oxford.

In this two-part interview3 we ask Matthew Cossolotto, Shakespeare Oxford Society4 president (2005-2009), to defend the case for Edward de Vere by answering some common Stratfordian questions.

In the first installment we ask Cossolotto to consider the Shakespeare-De Vere relationship and ask how William Shakespeare5 from Stratford-upon-Avon6 fits into the De Vere story.

About.com: There is documentary evidence that a man called William Shakespeare existed? How does this man fit into the authorship case for Edward de Vere?

Matthew Cossolotto: There’s no question that a native son of the town of Stratford-upon-Avon with a name similar to “William Shakespeare” did in fact exist. Nobody questions his existence. The issue is whether this “William of Stratford” – as I like to refer to him – was in fact William Shakespeare, the great poet and playwright.

As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out as to the exact role that this William of Stratford played in the Shakespeare story. More research is needed. There are several theories: he may have been go-between, a play broker, or a front man for the real author. Personally, I don’t think he ever played the traditional front man role as the public face of the writer during his lifetime.

About.com: So you don’t believe the conventional story: that William Shakespeare left Stratford-upon-Avon to become a prominent actor on the London theater scene?

Matthew Cossolotto: No. There’s virtually no contemporaneous evidence that William of Stratford was an accomplished or prominent actor on the London stage7. Did he play a few bit parts in some plays? Perhaps. But that does not prove he was William Shakespeare, the great poet and dramatist. It simply suggests he might have been recruited to play a kind of stand in role – perhaps because his name was so similar to the famous Shakespeare name

In fact, the evidence suggests that William of Stratford spent most of his time in Stratford-upon-Avon and very little time in London. After his death in 1616, William of Stratford began to play what I think of as the “fall guy” role. As Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

After his death, William of Stratford had greatness thrust upon him.

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.

READ MORE Of PART I

Part II: Was Shakespeare a Pseudonym for Edward De Vere?

An Interview with Matthew Cossolotto About The Case for Edward De Vere

By , About.com Guide

Edward de Vere1, 17th Earl of Oxford, has emerged as the strongest candidate from the Shakespeare authorship debate2.

In the second part of our interview with Matthew Cossolotto, Shakespeare Oxford Society3 president (2005-2009), we discuss why Edward De Vere would have needed a pseudonym.

About.com: Why did Edward De Vere need to write under a pseudonym? Why not simply use his real name?

Matthew Cossolotto: There were undoubtedly a host of reasons Edward de Vere did not publish his works under his real name. One likely reason is that he may well have been prevented from doing so by the powers that be at Court. In Sonnet 66, Shakespeare complained of “art made tongue-tie by authority.” That’s one theory.

De Vere may well have chosen to remain anonymous and employ a pseudonym because it gave him greater creative freedom and the ability to speak truth to power. If de Vere was revealing embarrassing or even scandalous facts about powerful figures at Court (Queen Elizabeth, Lord Burghley, the Earl of Leicester among others) he may well have concluded that discretion was the better part of valor and not put his name on his works.

About.com: So potentially, it would have been dangerous for de Vere to put his name to the plays and poems we now attribute to William Shakespeare?

Matthew Cossolotto: Yes. Sometimes I think of de Vere as the “deep throat” of Elizabeth’s Court. Remember, there was no such thing a freedom of the press in those days. If de Vere’s writings could be construed as critical of the government or specific individuals, especially the Queen, he would not have lasted very long.

In addition, there was something of a social taboo that tended to discourage high-ranking noblemen – Edward de Vere was the 17th Earl of Oxford after all – from publishing works of drama and poetry under their own names. My feeling is that this was not a hard-and-fast sort of thing. I wouldn’t argue that this so-called “stigma of print” was the only reason the Earl of Oxford opted against publishing under his own name. I’d say it’s one of the factors that should be taken into account.

READ MORE OF PART II

From The De Vere Society — Dating Shakespeare’s Plays: A Critical Review of the Evidence

Dear Friends:  Please forgive this belated posting of the announcement (and additional information) about the publication of the De Vere Society’s Dating Shakespeare’s Plays.  As you’ll see, this very informative volume was published in November 2010.  I only recently received a copy of the book and wanted to make sure readers of our Online News were also aware of this very useful publication.  The dating issue — especially as it relates to possible dates of composition of plays after the Earl of Oxford died in 1604 — is profoundly important in the Shakespeare authorship debate.

If anybody could produce hard evidence that just one Shakespeare play (or poem for that matter) was composed AFTER June 1604, the Earl of Oxford would be eliminated as an authorship candidate.  By “composed” I’m talking about written by Shakespeare himself and not posthumously revised by others.  Indeed, orthodox scholars often insist, without conclusive evidence, that several plays were composed by Shakespeare AFTER 1604.  And they often insist that this proves Oxford could not be the author.

But the De Vere Society’s excellent book reveals persuasively that the orthodox chronology is built on a shaky foundation of conjecture and surmise.  The fact is nobody really knows exactly when Shakespeare composed any of his works.  We know about such things a first publication, date of entry in the Stationers’ Register, or first reference to the works by others (for example, the list of 12 Shakespeare plays compiled by Francis Meres in 1598).  We also know about the publication dates of source materials used in many of the plays themselves.  But pin-pointing the actual dates of composition is virtually impossible.  I hope others will find the information below useful and that you’ll pick up a copy of this indispensable volume.

Dating Shakespeare’s Plays: A Critical Review of the Evidence
Edited by Kevin Gilvary

Published November 2010

After a long gestation period, the DVS is delighted finally to publish its research into the dating of Shakespeare’s plays.

This critical review of the evidence challenges the orthodox scholarly consensus about the order in which Shakespeare composed his plays and when they were written. It reveals surprising discrepancies in date comparisions. King John has been placed by scholars in every year of the decade up to 1598 and there are suggestions that Hamlet’s date of 1602 could be put back to 1589

In this authoritative book, evidence is reviewed methodically to produce a range of dates, supported by in-depth analysis of aids to dating such as language, historical allusion the testimony of title pages, as well as works by other authors including Palladis Tamia and the Stationers’ Register.

In considering Oxfordian dates, the intention is not to prove the Earl of Oxford was the author but to demonstrate the possibility of a range of earlier dates for each of the 36 plays in the First Folio, and four other plays which have been attributed to Shakespeare.

Kevin Gilvary has a BA and MA from the University of Southampton and is currently a research student at Brunel University. He has taught in Canada, South America, and Hampshire.

To order, please visit the DVS Publications page


Synopsis

Download as pdf

When did Shakespeare write his plays ?

There is, apparently, a scholarly consensus about the order and dates of Shakespeare’s plays. Yet, there is no contemporary evidence to date any play. Close comparison of the ‘scholarly consensus’ shows many surprising discrepancies, e.g., in the dating of King John (any year between 1588 and 1598), Love’s Labour’s Lost (some timee between 1589 and 1598) and Hamlet (1589-1602).

Dating Shakespeare’s Plays considers not only the evidence for dating every play but also every argument used in support of a preferred date. Each play is considered in its own chapter in relation to:

Publication data (Stationers’ Register, title pages, etc.)
Performance data (Revels’ Accounts, Henslowe’s Diary, etc.)
Dates of all sources (both probable and possible)
Allusions to the play (contemporary accounts, diaries, poems etc.)

Starting with the ‘orthodox dates’ proposed by E. K. Chambers in 1930, consideration is given to the dates suggested by major editors (including the editors of the Arden2 and Arden3 series, the Oxford Shakespeare and New Cambridge Shakespeare series).

The findings are necessarily inconclusive: it is only possible to establish the date range for each play. As scholar after scholar has said, the evidence to fix a precise date on any particular play is simply lacking.

This question is crucial to any biography of Shakespeare. After all, how can we assess his development unless we know fairly precisely when he wrote the works?

Rather surprisingly, we can’t date any play to any particular year. We can’t even date any play to any period shorter than five years. Here are a few examples:

Macbeth is normally assigned to the year 1606, the time of the trial of the Gunpowder plotters, due to the references to equivocation; yet equivocation was used in political trials as early as 1581. Apart from that, there is no references in the play or to the play which can give more precise date than 1587 (the publication of Holinshed’s Chronicles) and 1611 when it was described in performance.

Julius Caesar is normally dated to 1599 when it was apparently witnessed in performance but there is no evidence as to when the play was composed; we can only say it dates after 1579, since it was based on North’s Plutarch.

This volume considers all the evidence for each individual play in the following sequence:
a general introduction to the evidence available to help with dating
a consideration of the uses and limitations of Francis Meres’s observations in 1598
a consideration of the value of metrical and stylistic features

It then volume considers each play in the sequence presented in the First Folio (1623):
14 comedies
10 histories
12 tragedies

In addition, there are further chapters devoted to four plays often ascribed to Shakespeare.

The volume finishes with:
conclusions and inconclusions
appendix of eight tables
a thorough index
Total: 520 pages
31 illustrations

Authorship “expert” on BBC-TV show

De Vere Society member Malcolm Blackmoor reports on BBC-TV series “It’s Only a Theory” featuring Stratfordian Stanley Wells.

Purring & Preening from Professor Wells
Malcolm Blackmoor

Stanley Wells had a free run and a triumph last night, October 20, 2009, on a tv programme called “It’s only a Theory”. The show is a lightweight entertainment in which someone has a few minutes to propose a theory to three panelists and then, after a few questions, they give or don’t give it an official stamp.

I started watching it by chance and, after someone with a modification to the chaos theory, to my amazement Professor Stanley Wells arrived. (“It’s Only a Theory” Episode 3, 2009)

It was a superb assured performance as nobody challenged or asked for proof on anything Wells said. He, as usual, implied that Stratfordianism is totally supported by evidence and he wasn’t asked what that evidence was – which is the brilliant sleight of hand they use because the general public has no idea that there is no evidence, and he wasn’t made to face anything in Diana Price’s book. (See Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography by Diana Price.)

Whilst assuring everyone that it was possible to have “an excellent education” in Stratford, accusing doubters of snobbery and using Oxford’s death date as a comedy brush off, (and taking longer to rubbish the case for Marlowe), he happily yielded the possibility of collaboration early and late. This all took about five minutes as the programme has a few “rounds” in half an hour.

For that reason the voting was:

One person agreed with Wells because he didn’t want to take the chance of Wells having a stroke if he didn’t.

Another agreed because he was attracted by the idea of accepting one theory that destroyed hundreds of others.

The third person disagreed because she was intrigued by the collaboration idea and wanted to know more.This was Kirsty Young, a most able broadcaster and a possibility for further enlightenment.

It is, as I said, a lightweight programme but will have been seen by many people who could have been presented with basic disagreements to Wells, had anyone known anything about it.

Oh he was confident, funny, smart and lively and in a very good mood.

Something about ‘cudgeling the wretch . . . .” (Henry IV Part One – first tavern scene ?)

I happened to have my hard disc/DVD recorder switched on so I could then rewind and record it. Maybe it should be played at the next De Vere Society meeting to allow us to rehearse the questions that would have wiped the confident smirk from his face, and left my cats as the only purrers in the room.

Altrocchi/Whittemore build the case

The first five volumes of a new series of books entitled BUILDING THE CASE FOR EDWARD DE VERE AS SHAKESPEARE, edited by Paul Hemenway Altrocchi and Hank Whittemore, has just (June 2009) become available online at: http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The series – which attempts to preserve authorship research in book form for scholars, students and general readers – begins with work done in the early twentieth century leading to Shakespeare Identified by J. Thomas Looney in 1920 and continues up to the 1960’s, with more volumes envisioned in the near future.

Most of the early literature pointing to Edward de Vere as the author of the Shakespeare works appeared in obscure newsletters, magazines and now out-of-print books. Some of this initial research work is of elegant quality and only recently emerged from years of storage by two of England’s authorship groups, the De Vere Society and the Shakespearean Authorship Trust. When, in 2006, Professor William Leahy of Brunel University organized the first graduate degree program in the world on Shakespeare Authorship Studies, both societies permanently loaned their books and papers to the English Department of Brunel, located in Uxbridge, a suburb of London.

Through the courtesy of Kevin Gilvary, President of the De Vere Society, Charles Beauclerk and other members of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Authorship Trust, and Dr. Leahy, the editors were able to peruse and copy this vitally important early Shakespeare authorship material. Thus these difficult-to-find articles and book excerpts now become readily available in the first five volumes of this book series entitled Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare.

Editor Paul Hemenway Altrocchi has a unique credential for this book series, being the longest-duration Oxfordian in the world-more than sixty years. Educated at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, he trained in Neurology at the New York Neurological Institute of Columbia University, did research at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and was on the full-time faculty of Stanford Medical School before ending his career in private practice. Since retirement in 1998, he has spent most of his time researching the candidacy of Edward de Vere as Shakespeare, publishing twenty-three scholarly papers and a book entitled Most Greatly Lived, A Biographical Novel of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, Whose Pen Name was William Shakespeare.

Editor Hank Whittemore is a professional author of ten books and hundreds of magazine articles, an actor and playwright, and an Oxfordian for a quarter of a century. He has written more than two dozen articles on the Shakespeare authorship question from an Oxfordian perspective. After ten years of research, in 2005 he published his major scholarly contribution entitled The Monument, an eight-hundred page opus analyzing every line and every word of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, providing powerful new evidence that Edward de Vere was William Shakespeare.

Volumes in the Series
VOLUME 1: THE GREAT SHAKESPEARE HOAX
After Unmasking the Fraudulent Pretender,
Search for the True Genius Begins

VOLUME 2: NOTHING TRUER THAN TRUTH
Fact Versus Fiction in the
Shakespeare Authorship Debate

VOLUME 3: SHINE FORTH
Evidence Grows Rapidly in Favor of
Edward de Vere as Shakespeare

VOLUME 4: MY NAME BE BURIED
A Coerced Pen Name Forces the
Real Shakespeare into Anonymity

VOLUME 5: SO RICHLY SPUN
Four Hundred Years of Deceit are Enough.
Edward de Vere is Shakespeare

The books are available in both hardcover and paperback. On iUniverse the paperback volumes are priced at $6.00 while the hardcovers are $27.95. The books may also be ordered by phone from IUniverse at 800-288-4677 ext. 5024.

Information courtesy of Hank Whittemore. For more information, see Hank Whittemore’s Shakespeare Blog.