Tag Archives: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Keir Cutler’s E-Book — The Shakespeare Authorship Question: A Crackpot’s View — Takes On Shakespeare Academic Establishment

Keir Cutler (Ph.D. in Theater) has published an e-book titled The Shakespeare Authorship Question: A Crackpot’s View, on Kindle. The book is based on Cutler’s articles in The Montreal Gazette and elsewhere. Cutler discusses the Shakespeare Authorship Question but also takes on the Shakespeare academic establishment for failing to present students with a fair account of the evidence for and against the orthodox Stratford authorship theory.  Here’s a link to Cutler’s e-book on Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Shakespeare-Authorship-Question-ebook/dp/B00BV7DVVG

Cutler points out that he is not alone in questioning the traditional Stratfordian theory.  Others who have doubted the Stratford theory include Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Derek Jacobi, Michael York,  Jeremy Irons, Mark Rylance, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and former U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor.  The author Henry James wrote:  “I am… haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world.”

Cutler adapted and performed Mark Twain’s essay”Is Shakespeare Dead?”  Please visit www.keircutler.com for more information about Keir Cutler and the Shakespeare authorship question. Cutler also discusses the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition‘s “The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare” in this short YouTube video Shakespeare Authorship Question: Why Was I Never Told This?

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Happy Birthday William Shakespeare? Or Have James Shapiro and the Shakespeare Academic Establishment Been “Barding” Up the Wrong Tree?

For Immediate ReleaseMedia Contact
Matthew Cossolotto
Ovations International, Inc.
914-245-9721
matthew@ovations.com

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare?   Or Have James Shapiro and the Shakespeare Academic Establishment Been “Barding” Up the Wrong Tree?

Shakespeare Oxford Society calls for creation of an unbiased Shakespeare Authorship Commission to resolve the authorship mystery

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – April 23, 2010 – Traditional Shakespeare biographers – including James Shapiro with his new book (Contested Will) on the Shakespeare authorship mystery – believe the great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, was born on April 23, 1564. 

Before you raise your glass to salute the Bard’s 446rd birthday, consider this:  You just might be paying tribute to the wrong person. 

Matthew Cossolotto, former president and current vice president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, says there is plenty of room for reasonable doubt about the traditional authorship theory professor Shapiro’s new book notwithstanding.  “It’s a little sad to see Shakespeare’s birthday celebrated around the world every April 23rd,” says Cossolotto.  “What if we’ve been honoring the wrong guy all these years?  What if we’ve been ‘barding up the wrong tree’ and the so-called Stratfordian attribution is wrong?  I think any reasonable, unbiased person looking at the evidence objectively would have to conclude the jury is still out, that there truly is a legitimate Shakespeare authorship question.”

Indeed, there is a long and distinguished history of doubting the Stratfordian attribution of the Shakespeare works. Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Chaplin.  More recently, the ranks of doubters include noted Shakespearean actors like Orson Welles, Michael York, Mark Rylance, Jeremy Irons and Sir Derek Jacobi, not to mention current or former US Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthonin Scalia and John Paul Stevens.

The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) has been collecting signatures on a “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare.”   Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, and Brunel University in West London have launched degree programs in Shakespeare authorship studies.

Needed:  A Shakespeare Authorship Commission

To resolve the Shakespeare authorship mystery once and for all, the Shakespeare Oxford Society has called for the creation of an independent, blue ribbon commission composed of distinguished, internationally recognized experts in relevant fields – including historians, biographers, jurists, and other esteemed writers and scholars. 

“All members of the proposed Shakespeare Authorship Commission must be unbiased,” said Cossolotto.  “They must declare going in that they have open minds on this subject and are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads – using internationally recognized evidentiary standards employed by leading historians and biographers.”

Cossolotto explained that the initial task of this commission would be to take a fresh look at the available evidence and determine whether there truly is reasonable doubt as to the true identity of the famous author.

The Society is proposing that an unbiased educational institute, think tank, foundation, or concerned educational philanthropist should take the lead in sponsoring the proposed Shakespeare Authorship Commission.  “After all, this is Shakespeare,” Cossolotto said.  “He’s the greatest writer in the English language, perhaps the greatest writer ever.  We should make sure we’re honoring the right author.  That’s the least we can do.  The evidence for the Stratfordian theory just isn’t sufficient.  That case is full of holes.  An unbiased, multidisciplinary panel of real experts should take a fresh look at the evidence and give the world the benefit of their judgment in this important matter.”

Cossolotto continued: “I hope Shakespeare enthusiasts in the media, the entertainment industry, and the foundation community will embrace this challenge.  All Shakespeare lovers around the world should be able to agree that it’s important to determine the true identity of the author. It’s a matter of basic fairness to give credit where it’s due. In addition, knowing the identity of the author will also help us better understand the works and the author’s motivations. Let’s get the facts and reach a scientific, evidence-based conclusion.”

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 www.shakespeare-oxford.com for more information. 

Justices Stevens and O’Connor sign Declaration of Reasonable Doubt

Shakespeare Authorship Coalition Chairman John Shahan reported from Claremont, California today:

The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition announced today that U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor (retired) have added their names to a growing list of prominent signatories to the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare .  At least three other U.S. Supreme Court Justices – Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and Antonin Scalia – have also expressed doubts about the identity of   the author “Shakespeare,” but Stevens and O’Connor are the first to sign the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.

The Declaration was first issued on April 14, 2007, in same-day signing ceremonies at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Five months later, on September 8, 2007, actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, took the lead in promulgating the Declaration in the U.K. in a signing ceremonyat the Chichester Festival Theatre in Chichester, West Sussex.

Over 1,660 people have now signed the Declaration. Nearly 80% are college graduates, and 595 have advanced degrees – 347 master’s degrees and 248 doctoral degrees. A total of 295 are current or former college or university faculty members . Of these, the largest number were in English literature (62, 21%), followed by those in theatre arts (35), the arts (24), natural sciences (23), math, engineering and computers (20), other humanities (20), medicine and health care (19), education (16), social sciences (17), history (13), management (12), law (11), psychology (9), and library science (6). With the addition of Justices Stevens and O’Connor, nineteen names now appear on the separate list of notable signatories on the SAC website.

The Declaration is neutral about the true identity of the author. Rather than seeking to resolve the long-standing controversy outright, it aims to legitimize the issue by calling attention to the many reasons for doubt about the Stratford man’s authorship.

Not one play, not one poem, not one letter in his own hand has ever been found. This is remarkable for such a prolific writer. His six surviving signatures, each spelled differently, are all poorly-executed, suggesting he had difficulty signing his own name. His detailed will contains no Shakespearean turn of phrase and mentions no books, manuscripts or literary effects of any kind. Nothing about it suggests a man with a cultivated mind — no writing materials or furniture, no art works or musical instruments. Nor did he leave any bequest for education — not to the Stratford grammar school, or even to educate his own grandchildren.

Many people in Stratford and London who knew the Stratford man seem not to have associated him with the poet-playwright; and when he died in 1616, no one seemed to notice. Not until seven years after he died did anyone suggest he was the author. Orthodox scholars tend to assume that all references to “Shakespeare” mean the Stratford man, but this is never made explicit during his lifetime. Contemporary comments are mostly about the works. Nobody seems to have known the author personally. Certainly there is no evidence that the Stratford man ever claimed to have written the works, contrary to what people assume.

“The subject of Shakespeare’s identity is fascinating to students, but the great majority of orthodox Shakespeare scholars deny that it has any legitimacy, and many actively seek to suppress the question in academia,” Shahan said.  “But with increasing numbers of prominent signatories like Justices Stevens and O’Connor, this may become difficult.”

The SAC is a private, non-profit charity founded to advocate for recognition of the legitimacy of the Authorship Controversy. The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt can be read and signed online at the website of the SAC at: www.doubtaboutwill.org

Contact person: SAC Chairman John Shahan at: sac@doubtaboutwill.org

Signatory Recruitment

The addition of two U.S. Supreme Court Justices provides an opportunity to leverage our signatory recruitment going forward. There is safety in numbers, and people like to be in good company. Combined with our other notable signatories, we are now in a position to tell prospective signatories that they will be in very good company indeed. Please take advantage of this opportunity by trying to recruit at least one additional signatory prior to our next update on April 18, 2010. A draft signatory recruitment letter inviting people to join some of our more prominent notables in signing the Declaration is available for use on our Downloads page . The draft letter is in MS Word, so you can modify it however you like. The Declaration’s success depends on networking, i.e, on you. Every signatory counts, and will help us achieve our goal of legitimizing the Authorship Question in academia by April 23, 2016.

Thanks very much for your support.