Tag Archives: Mark Rylance

PBS Distribution To Release LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT on DVD on October 15, 2013

“LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT”

 

WHO WROTE THE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE?

THIS NEW FILM SEEKS TO UNCOVER THE TRUTH

 Available on DVD from PBS Distribution October 15th

 Arlington, Va. – September XX, 2013 – PBS Distribution today announced it is releasing LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT on DVD. The film explores one of the greatest literary mysteries of all time: who wrote the works of William Shakespeare? Although the official story of a Stratford merchant writing for the London box office has held sway for centuries, questions over the authorship of the plays and poems have persisted. Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles are among the many famous figures who doubt that a grain-dealer from Stratford-Upon-Avon was England’s “Star of Poets.” Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship.

Sir Derek Jacobi leads an impressive cast featuring Oscar®-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave and Tony® Award-winning actor Mark Rylance on a quest to uncover the truth behind the elusive author, and discovers a forgotten nobleman whose story could rewrite history. LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT, from Executive Producer Roland Emmerich and debut directors Lisa Wilson and Laura Wilson Matthias, will be available on DVD October 15, 2013. The run time of the program is 85 minutes and the DVD SRP is $24.99.

The first part of this film explores the orthodox story of William Shakespeare of Stratford and the longstanding views held by academia. Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Prof. Jonathan Bate defend the orthodox position, while anti-Stratfordians Charles Beauclerk, Dr. Roger Stritmatter, Dr. William Leahy, Diana Price and actors Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance expose the thin trail of evidence that has fueled doubt for centuries.

The second part is a testament to an alternative Shakespeare – one presented to the world in the literary works themselves and in the testimony of his most insightful doubters. Through a series of interviews with scholars currently working in the field, the film fashions a profile of the elusive poet. During the last century, a field of more than sixty candidates for authorship has narrowed, with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and group authorship becoming the most popular alternatives. A portion of LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT explores the life and literary career of this forgotten nobleman. Through on-camera commentary, a very human author emerges: a real-life Hamlet, whose tragic experiences provided the raw material for the canon and gave birth to the anti-Stratfordian and Oxfordian movements.

The final portion of the film weaves together the major historical events of the late Tudor era, including the crisis of succession and the Essex Revolt. The power politics of the Elizabethan Age and the towering figure of the Queen herself are addressed by the film’s commentators, who seek to connect Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets to the turbulent world of the court. By the end of the film, viewers will be challenged to explore the many unresolved historical, political and artistic issues that lie at the heart of the mystery of who wrote Shakespeare’s works.

 About PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of these programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners.

PBS Distribution offers a diverse range of programming to our customers, including Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programming. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution pursues wholesale/retail sales, consumer and educational sales through PBS-branded catalogs and online shops, and international broadcast and video sales. PBS Distribution is also a leader in offering programming through digital platforms including internet and mobile devices.

 

LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT

Street Date: October 15, 2013

Genre: Documentary

Run Time: 85 Minutes

SRP: $24.99

Format: DVD

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New Book — Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? Exposing An Industry In Denial — Kicks Off Shakespeare Authorship Debate In British Media

Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?

One article appeared in The Guardian bearing this headline and subhead:

Shakespeare identity debate

reignited with TV challenge

Alexander Waugh, who doubts the accepted authorship of the plays, has dared orthodox experts to join a televised discussion

Here’s the link to read that article.  It’s well worth reading.  Alexander Waugh is the grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jul/04/shakespeare-identity-debate-reignited

Another article appeared in The Daily Mail with this “punny” headline:

A Waugh of words over the Bard…

The article features a photo of Sir Derek Jacobi above this caption:  “Actor Sir Derek Jacobi has endorsed the theory that William Shakespeare’s authorship should be questioned.”

Read the article by clicking on this link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2356578/RICHARD-KAY-A-Waugh-words-Bard-.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

To read more about the book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? visit:

http://www.parapress.co.uk/books/shaks_beyond_doubt.php

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?

Sir Derek Jacobi on PBS Program Shakespeare Uncovered: “I Believe Edward de Vere Wrote The Works of Shakespeare, Not The Man From Stratford”

In case you missed the hour-long PBS program on Richard II — part of the six-episode series “Shakespeare Uncovered” — it’s well worth watching.  Click on the link below to watch.

Most of the episode, hosted by Sir Derek Jacobi, offers viewers an insightful discussion about Shakespeare’s play Richard II and the life of the actual historical figure.

But then around the midway point, just before the 30-minute mark,  Sir Derek takes something of a detour into the Shakespeare Authorship mystery and declares he’s an Oxfordian!  He even pays an on-camera visit to Castle Hedingham.

Derek is well aware that he’s stepping into a minefield.  “Castle Hedingham near London,” Jacobi explains, “is the ancestral home of the de Vere family.  In the course of his reign, Richard proved a very contentious King. He set many cats among many pigeons.  And my presence here at Castle Hedingham may, like Richard, set the fur flying.”

Indeed!

Sir Derek then goes on to state, clearly and boldly:  “I believe Edward de Vere and not William Shakespeare [of Stratford] wrote Richard II and, in fact, all the plays attributed to the man from Stratford.”

Here’s the link.  This makes for very interesting viewing.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2331202211.

Interested In The Shakespeare Authorship Question? Watch The Trailer! Last Will. and Testament

Learn about the Shakespeare Authorship Question.  Watch the fascinating short trailer for the new documentary:  Last Will. and Testament.  Well worth watching.  Click on this link and learn about the greatest whodunit in history.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/409868

It’s April 23rd …Happy Birthday William Shakespeare? The Shakespeare Oxford Society Says “Toast But Verify” and Issues Two Top Ten Lists

The Society issues the top ten reasons to doubt the traditional Strafordian theory and the top ten reasons to consider the Earl of Oxford as the true Bard 

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – April 23, 2012 – Traditional Shakespeare biographers claim the great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, was born on April 23, 1564.

But before you raise your glass to salute the Bard’s 448th birthday this April 23rd, consider this:  You just might be paying tribute to the wrong person.

The Shakespeare Oxford Society reiterates its position that traditional scholars have been “Barding up the wrong tree” in Stratford-upon-Avon.   Consequently, the Society recommends that Shakespeare lovers around the world should adapt former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s famous “Trust but Verify” dictum.

The Society calls it “Toast but Verify” and explains that we should toast the peerless works but also attempt to verify the author’s true identity.

There is a long and distinguished history of doubting the traditional “Stratfordian” attribution of the “Shakespeare” works. Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Henry James, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, and Sigmund Freud. More recent skeptics include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former Justice John Paul Stevens along with renowned Shakespearean actors Derek Jacobi, Michael York, Jeremy Irons, and Mark Rylance, former artistic director at the Globe Theatre in London.

In 1996, the great Shakespearean actor Sir John Gielgud, while serving as president of the World Shakespeare Congress, signed the following petition:

“We, the undersigned, petition the Shakespeare Association of America, in light of ongoing research, to engage actively in a comprehensive, objective and sustained investigation of the authorship of the Shakespeare Canon, particularly as it relates to the claim of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.”

In 2007, the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) began collecting signatures on a compelling “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.

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 Commission should be unbiased.

The Two Top Ten Lists

Top Ten Reasons To Doubt The Conventional Theory That

William Shakspere of Stratford Wrote the Works of “Shakespeare”

10) Illiteracy ran in William of Stratford’s family – his parents and wife seem to have been illiterate. His two daughters were either illiterate or functionally illiterate at best. Why should we believe the greatest writer in English history, perhaps the greatest writer ever, would raise two functionally illiterate daughters? Wouldn’t he want his own daughters to read his works?

9) No evidence exists that adequately explains how William of Stratford acquired the educational, linguistic and cultural background necessary to write the “Shakespeare” works. Where did his extensive knowledge of history, languages, geography, and aristocratic manners and lifestyle come from – divine intervention?

8) The Name Game. The few barely legible signatures of William of Stratford show that he did not even spell his own name “Shakespeare.” Moreover, with very few exceptions records dealing with William of Stratford’s personal and business activities (birth, wedding, taxes, court documents, and will) frequently spell his family name Shakspere, Shaksper, Shacksper, or Shaxper whereas the name on the poems and plays is almost invariably spelled Shakespeare (with an “e” after the “k”) and often hyphenated, which suggests a pseudonym.

7) William of Stratford took no legal action against the pirating of the “Shakespeare” plays or the apparently unauthorized publication of “Shake-speare’s Sonnets” in 1609.

6) The 1609 Sonnets paint a portrait of the artist as a much older man. The author of the Sonnets at times is clearly aging and seems to be anticipating his imminent death. The publisher’s dedication refers to Shakespeare as “our ever-living poet” – a term that implies the poet was already dead. William of Stratford lived until 1616.

5) With the hyphenated “Shake-speare” name on the cover, the Sonnets also suggest strongly that “Shakespeare” was a penname and that the author’s real identity was destined to remain unknown. In Sonnet 72 “Shakespeare” asks that his “name be buried where my body is.” Sonnet 81: “Though I, once gone, to all the world must die.” Sonnet 76: “Every word doth almost tell my name.”

4) Unlike other writers of the period, not a single manuscript or letter exists in Shakspere’s own handwriting. Nothing survives of a literary nature connecting William of Stratford (the man) with any of the “Shakespeare” works.

3) There is no evidence of a single payment to William of Stratford as an author. No evidence of patron-author relationship and no personal, contemporaneous evidence of a relationship with a fellow writer.

2) William of Stratford’s detailed 1616 will makes no mention of anything even vaguely literary – no books, unpublished manuscripts, library or diaries. Not even a family bible is mentioned.

1) William of Stratford’s death in 1616 was a singular “non-event,” despite the fact that “Shakespeare” the author was widely recognized at the time as one of England’s greatest writers. Why was no notice taken of his death if he was such a literary luminary? Reprints of Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece published after his death do not mention his recent passing.

 

***

 

Top Ten Reasons to Consider Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford,

as the author known to history as “William Shakespeare”

10) Many Shakespeare plays contain characters and details that relate directly to Oxford’s life and foreign travels, creating a strong circumstantial case for his authorship. Orson Welles said: “I think Oxford wrote Shakespeare. If you don’t, there are some awfully funny coincidences to explain away.”

9) Act II, scene 2 includes this stage direction: “Enter Hamlet reading on a book.” Hamlet’s book is widely considered by scholars to be Cardanus Comfort, translated from Italian into English and published in 1573 at the behest of Oxford. Plus, the character Polonius in Hamlet is widely regarded as a parody of William Cecil, Lord Burghley – who was Oxford’s guardian and father-in-law.

8) “Shakespeare” displayed an intimate knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including the law, Italy, foreign languages, heraldry, music, navigation, court manners and intrigues, and warfare. Oxford’s known educational background, foreign travels and life experiences match the knowledge base displayed in “Shakespeare’s” writings. In fact, the Italian cities used as settings in Shakespeare’s plays were the very cities that Oxford is known to have visited, while William of Stratford never left England.

7) Oxford was praised during his lifetime as the best of the courtier playwrights for comedy and he was known to have used a pseudonym. While a small number of Oxford’s acknowledged poems survive –probably written when he was very young — no plays exist. Were these later published under the Shakespeare name?

6) Oxford was a leading patron of the arts, widely known to support a large circle of fellow writers with money and lodgings, including Anthony Munday, John Lyly, and Robert Greene. They also worked for him as secretaries and possible collaborators. Conventional scholars have long recognized these writers as having influenced the work of “Shakespeare.”

5) Ovid’s Metamorphoses, translated into English in 1565 by Arthur Golding, had a profound influence on “Shakespeare’s” writing. Golding was Oxford’s maternal uncle, and some scholars believe Oxford translated some or all of Metamorphoses when he was still a teenager.

4) The 1623 First Folio was financed by William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, and his brother Philip Herbert, 1st Earl of Montgomery (later 4th Earl of Pembroke). Philip Herbert was married to Oxford’s daughter, Susan Vere, and William Herbert was once engaged to another Oxford daughter, Bridget.

3) Beginning in 1586, Oxford was granted a substantial annuity £1,000 by the notoriously parsimonious Queen Elizabeth for unspecified services. It’s possible he used the money to support the production of patriotic history plays later known as Shakespeare’s.

2) The 1609 volume called Shake-Speare’s Sonnets contains numerous autobiographical details that link directly to what is known about Oxford’s life including the poet’s advancing age, his preoccupation with the ravages of time and his own imminent death, his lameness, his shame, and his “outcast state.” Another Oxford uncle, Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, was the first to introduce what would later become known as the “Shakespeare” sonnet form.

1) The publisher’s 1609 Sonnets dedication refers to Shakespeare as “our ever-living poet” – a term that implies the poet was already dead. Oxford died in 1604 and William of Stratford lived until 1616.

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 and www.shakespeareoxfordsociety.wordpress.com for more information.  SOS on Facebook.  Join SOS or renew your membership online here: http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety&DeptID=27020.

From The “In Case You Missed It” Department: Anonymous Screenwriter John Orloff Answers Critics In The Guardian

This appeared several weeks ago.  In case you missed it … or in case you want to review again … well worth reading.  Here’s the link followed by a few paragraphs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/27/shakespeare-scholars-authorship-plays-anonymous?intcmp=239

Our film Anonymous asks viewers to think for themselves about Shakespeare

Criticism of Anonymous has been vitriolic. But scholarship about Shakespeare’s life relies on smoke and mirrors

John Orloff

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 October 2011 11.00 EDT

As the screenwriter of Anonymous, I’ve watched the reactions to the film both here in the UK and in the US with great interest and not a little surprise. The film-makers, myself included, expected controversy – one does not take on sacred cows naively – but I must confess that the vitriol of our critics has been impressive.

One American Ivy League professor, James Shapiro, has insinuated that our film is like Nazi propaganda. The county of Warwickshire allowed the Shakespeare Trust to temporarily remove Shakespeare’s name from public signs – an act of protest against our film that seems counter-productive; anti-Stratfordians couldn’t agree more with that act.

Throughout the run-up to the film’s release, I have been reminded that one does not take on people’s livelihoods lightly.

While our little film not only does not disparage the genius of Hamlet and Lear, but rather honours, rightly, the genius of the work, it does challenge two Bard-related industries – tourism and, perhaps more provocatively, Shakespearean scholarship itself.

Read More:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/27/shakespeare-scholars-authorship-plays-anonymous?intcmp=239

John Orloff, Screenwriter of Anonymous, Responds to Shapiro in The Huffington Post

In case you missed John Orloff’s thoughtful response to Professor James Shapiro’s New York Times op-ed piece.  Orloff’s response highlights one of the perennial orthodox attacks against the Oxford theory — which Professor Shapiro employs in his New York Times piece — namely that Oxford died in 1604 before 10 or so Shakespeare plays were “written.”  This claim of post 1604 composition is at best an educated guess.  But it is frequently stated as if it is incontrovertible fact.  Like so much of the traditional Stratfordian theory, this post-1604 composition assertion is based on conjecture and assumption.  Yes there are some rather convoluted arguments for this assertion, but it’s a far cry from established by hard evidence.

In any event, here’s the link to the Huffington Post followed by a few graphs from Orloff’s article.  Enjoy, Matthew

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-orloff/shakespeare-anonymous_b_1034885.html

The Shakespeare Authorship Question

As the screenwriter of the upcoming Elizabethan drama Anonymous, I read Columbia Professor James Shapiro’s opinion piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/opinion/hollywood-dishonors-the-bard.html?_r=1) regarding our film in the NY Times last week with great interest. In it, Mr. Shapiro seemed to take great personal offense at the premise of our film; namely, that the works attributed to the actor William Shakespeare were in fact written by another man, Edward de Vere.

Not only did the NY Times decline to allow me to fully respond, but Mr. Shapiro refuses to be on the same stage with me at Q & A’s following screenings of the film — though he is happy to take questions from audiences as long as I am not present to defend myself or my film.

As the Shakespeare Authorship Question is a rather complex issue, I won’t attempt to prove my case that Shakespeare is not the man responsible for the works attributed to him in this forum.

SNIP

Again, here’s the link to the full article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-orloff/shakespeare-anonymous_b_1034885.html

SOS-SF Joint Shakespeare Authorship Conference October 13-16, 2011 In Washington DC. Registration Form Now Available

The Shakespeare Oxford Society and The Shakespeare Fellowship Society
Present
The Washington DC Joint Authorship Conference

 October 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

A tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library has been scheduled for October 14.

The 2011 joint authorship conference sponsored by the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship will be held in Washington DC from October 13-16. Arrangements have been made for a block of rooms at the Washington Court Hotel. The program will include a tour of the Folger Library with a viewing and discussion of the Earl of Oxford’s Geneva Bible.  Arrangements may be made for a trip to a local Cineplex for a group viewing of Anonymous.

The registration form is available by visiting the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s website:

http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/?p=138

If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact:

Shakespeare Oxford Society

P.O. Box 808

Yorktown Heights, NY 10598-0808

Telephone: 914-962-1717

sosoffice@optonline.net

Speakers who have already made proposals or signaled their intent to speak include Mark Anderson, Roger Stritmatter, Bonner Cutting, Gerit Quealy, Richard Waugaman, Ron Hess, Barbara Burris, Cheryl Eagan-Donovan, Tom Hunter, Tom Townsend, Albert Burgstahler and Earl Showerman.

The SOS and SF are dedicated to academic excellence, as defined through the independent scholarship of several generations of scholars, among them J.T. Looney, B.R. and B.M. Ward, Charles Wisner Barrell, Charlton Ogburn, Jr., Ruth Loyd Miller, and Mark Anderson, among others.

The primary focus of both organizations is to consider and advance the case already argued by these and other writers identifying Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the true mind behind the mask of “Shakespeare.” Although papers exploring alternative authorship theories (e.g., Mary Sidney, Francis Bacon, etc.) are welcome, presenters should bear in mind that conference attendees are for the most part well versed in the arguments for and against Oxford’s authorship as presented in these seminal works. Those desiring an audience for alternative authorship scenarios, or writing from an orthodox “Stratfordian” perspective, should prepare themselves by carefully considering the expectations of their audience.

To inquire about submitting paper or for further information about the program, please contact:
John Hamill,   Earl Showerman,  or   Bonner Cutting.

The Conference is scheduled to begin just two weeks after the expected release of a Sony Pictures film, Anonymous, directed by Roland Emmerich and featuring a cast of Shakespearean thespian luminaries such as Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, Rhys Ifans, and Sir Derek Jacobi.

A recently released trailer promoting Anonymous begins with this intriguing question:  “What if I told you Shakespeare never wrote a single word?”  Later in the trailer a male voice says:  “Promise me you’ll keep our secret safe.”  An older woman’s voice, presumably that of Queen Elizabeth played by Vanessa Redgrave, says ominously:  “None of your poems or your plays will ever carry your name.”

The tantalizing trailer ends with a clever tagline — “We’ve All Been Played” – followed by a stage filled with actors taking their bows and the audience applauding wildly.

Here’s the link to the trailer.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBmnkk0QW3Q&feature=channel_video_title

In light of the scheduled release of this major motion picture – the first-ever that explicitly challenges the traditional authorship theory – the Shakespeare Oxford Society reiterates its position that traditional scholars have been “Barding up the wrong tree” in Stratford-upon-Avon.   Indeed, there is a long and distinguished history of doubting the traditional “Stratfordian” attribution of the “Shakespeare” works. Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Henry James, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, and Sigmund Freud. More recent skeptics include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former Justice John Paul Stevens along with renowned Shakespearean actors Derek Jacobi, Michael York, Jeremy Irons, and Mark Rylance, former artistic director at the Globe Theatre in London.

In 1996, the great Shakespearean actor Sir John Gielgud, while serving as president of the World Shakespeare Congress, signed the following petition:

“We, the undersigned, petition the Shakespeare Association of America, in light of ongoing research, to engage actively in a comprehensive, objective and sustained investigation of the authorship of the Shakespeare Canon, particularly as it relates to the claim of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.”

In 2007, the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) began collecting signatures on a compelling “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.

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 and www.shakespeareoxfordsociety.wordpress.com for more information.  SOS on Facebook.  Join SOS or renew your membership online here: http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety&DeptID=27020.

Mark Rylance Speaks Out! Why It Matters To Him Who Wrote The Works of Shakespeare — Says It’s “An Absolute Crime” That People Are Being Taught The Works Were An “Impersonal Literary Exercise”

Mark Rylance -- photo Simon Annand

Many thanks to Ted Alexander for posting the text of Mark Rylance’s remarks on Phaeton.  Rylance, currently starring in “Jerusalem” on Broadway, was speaking at a press conference on April 29, 2010, at Babelsberg Studios, Berlin, regarding the movie ‘Anonymous’ — which is scheduled for release by Sony Pictures on September 30, 2011.  Read the text below and take a look at the video of Rylance making the case that it matters a great deal if we know the true identity of the author.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcPGi1DQkag

“Your question about the difference that it makes…

I’ve played in maybe 50 productions of Shakespeare plays and plays by his contemporaries over the 30 years of my career and was ten years artist director of Shakespeare’s Globe. I love the Shakespeare plays, I particularly love the author and I love new plays, and I think in any field if there were someone who had achieved what this author has achieved in his field, the people who work in that field would be interested. If it was in medicine, or war, or aviation, or farming, people would be interested in how that person had surpassed not just the people in his country but seemingly anyone that anyone can mention anywhere in the world. No one’s written such a wide compass of plays as Shakespeare.

So yes, I’m interested in how he did that, and at the moment there is a massive campaign to convince us that this is some kind of impersonal literary exercise. And that’s being taught to young people who pay a lot of money in many universities that the Sonnets are ‘a literary exercise’. I have never ever encountered a poet, a playwright, any artist that doesn’t involve himself or herself personally in their work, and doesn’t draw upon their own experience and their own efforts to learn by books, or by talking to other people, or by visiting places, by putting a lot of work in. To say that these works – that you make up fourteen plays about Italy, set in Italy, with accurate details of Italian landscape, customs, habits, culture – that you just imagine that stuff.

I think it’s an absolute crime that young people are being taught that. An absolute crime that members of my profession are being taught that. And since the authorship question was opened to me, my respect for the author, my attention to the detail of the plays, my feelings that I am working with someone who is possibly, in this particular story, sharing something of enormous personal pain and suffering, that these words were not just ‘made up’ – it’s a ridiculous idea – but that there was enormous personal suffering that went in to make this kind of writing. Let them bring forth other writers, let them bring forth evidence that Ibsen or Chekhov or Goethe wrote without deep feeling, or Dostoevsky wrote without deep feeling and personal input.

There’s a great great deal of rubbish being put about about Shakespeare and it’s getting in the way, it’s getting in the way badly. And fortunately people like Roland and these actors who are putting themselves on the line, and the people who backed this film, and the person who’s written it are doing a lot to break down that idiocy – as there is idiocy in many fields at the moment, isn’t there? Many many fields, and one of the fortunate things of this Shakespearean thing is it’s totally unimportant. It doesn’t matter a jot. But when you break through it it starts to teach you how to question and break through other fallacies that are being put about at the moment.

So that’s the difference it makes to me as an artist, Sir!”