Tag Archives: Matthew Cossolotto

“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.

http://www.georgedillon.com/theatre/the_man_who_was_hamlet.shtml

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.”

FringeGuru

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

BroadwayBaby

“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

http://www.georgedillon.com/theatre/the_man_who_was_hamlet.shtml

“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.


Reviews

“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.”
FringeGuru

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

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.”
FringeReview

“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.”
Guide2Bristol.com

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

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!”

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare? This April 23rd … Toast But Verify!

Media Contact:
Matthew Cossolotto

Vice President, Communications and Outreach

Shakespeare Oxford Society
914-245-9721
Matthew.Cossolotto@gmail.com

Pointing to the scheduled Sony Pictures release this September of Anonymous, a major motion picture that challenges the traditional Shakespeare authorship theory, the Shakespeare Oxford Society says orthodox scholars have been “Barding up the wrong tree” in Stratford-upon-Avon and calls for creation of an unbiased Shakespeare Authorship Commission to resolve the authorship mystery

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – April 21, 2011 – 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 447th birthday this April 23rd, consider this:  You just might be paying tribute to the wrong person.

That’s the main premise of the forthcoming 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.   Consequently, the Society recommends that Shakespeare lovers around the world should adapt Ronald Reagan’s “Trust but Verify” dictum.

“We call it ‘Toast but Verify,’ says Shakespeare Oxford Society spokesman Matthew Cossolotto.  “We should all toast the peerless works but also attempt to verify the author’s true identity.”

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.

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 Commission should be unbiased. They should 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.

The Society is proposing that an unbiased educational institute, think tank, foundation, or individual should take the lead in sponsoring the proposed commission.

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.


Sweet Will of Stratford — “Beachcombing” Blogger Gets Into The Authorship Issue

Dear Fellow Shakespeare Lovers!  Several days ago a friend sent me a link to a blog called Beachcombing.  As you’ll see, there’s a lengthy discussion and a few responses from readers (including a long submission from me) about the authorship question.  Just passing this along.  See link to the blog below along with my somewhat long-winded post in response to some points made by Beachcombing.   Beachcombing is decidedly Stratfordian but he seems reasonable, respectful, and even somewhat open-minded.  Enjoy!  Matthew

Link To Beachcombing Blog:
http://beachcombing.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/sweet-will-of-stratford/
Here’s the post I submitted with a few comments from Beachcombing.

7 April 2011: Beachcombing got a fascinating email from Matthew C.  Matthew writes that ‘I certainly encourage you to do some more reading on the subject.  You seem to only scratch the surface and you leap to conclusions based on limited information.  So keep at it. My line about this issue:  Traditional scholars including the academic establishment have been Barding Up The Wrong Tree for a few centuries.’ Matthew then takes Beachcombing’s argument apart bit by bit starting with some well made points about Beachcombing’s misuse of the word ‘fact’. Then, Matthew deals with Beachcombing’s allegation that Shakespeare could have travelled in the missing years. ‘You’re engaging in rank speculation… There’s not an actual fact lurking anywhere in what you say.  You speculate that he might have gone to Italy.  Yes, he might have.  He might have gone to Russia or China for that matter.  You assume that he wasn’t in Stratford with his family.  Yes age 21-28 are crucial years for an aspiring author.  Can you provide any evidence at all that he wasn’t simply living in Stratford?  He was, after all, married.  He had a wife and three children who lived in Stratford all these years.  Why do you claim ‘we don’t know where Shakespeare was between 1585 and 1592?’  What you’re really saying is there’s no evidence he was in London … or anywhere else on the planet.  So why couldn’t he have simply been living in Stratford?  Without any evidence to the contrary – and given the presence of his young family in Stratford – wouldn’t the fair assumption be that he was living there as well?  Your assumption that William of Stratford was off traveling to Italy and soaking in knowledge and experience is based on … well … nothing … except for the need to cram some worldly experience and knowledge into him.  If you’re going to posit some other theory, you really need to come up with some evidence to support it.’ Then Beachcombing gets in trouble over his comments that Shakespeare’s learning was shallow: ‘Here you’re engaging in a strange effort of ‘dumbing down’ Shakespeare so his learning comes closer to what might be feasible or believable for what we know about the actual life of William of Stratford.  Nice try out of desperation but really unfortunate.  And repeating the old canard about the Bohemian coast is simply sad.  A little bit of research on your part would reveal adequate evidence that Bohemia did in fact include a seacoast at different points in history.  It’s too bad you feel the need to denigrate Shakespeare’s knowledge in an effort to prop up the Stratfordian theory.  We need not idolize Shakespeare but let’s not resort to taking him down a few notches simply to force the square Stratfordian peg into a round hole.’ Matthew then adds. ‘There’s one topic you address briefly that deserves a great deal more attention – the Sonnets.  Both the content of those poems and the publication in 1609 strongly suggest, to my mind at least, that this was a posthumous publication.  Traditional scholars have not been able to explain the poet’s complete absence from the publication process, the absence of a dedication from the poet, and his complete silence about the publication (one way or another) after 1609.  The reference to ‘our ever-living poet’ in the dedication provides powerful prima facie evidence that the poet was, in fact, dead at the time of publication.  William of Stratford, of course, was very much alive until 1616 … and yet he remained completely silent about the Sonnets … and no scholar has yet provided any credible explanation as to how Thomas Thorpe could have acquired and published these very personal poems against the will of the poet himself.  There are more or less convoluted theories but posthumous publication offers a reasonable, Occam’s Razor explanation for the publication itself, the dedication, and the poet’s strange absence during and silence after publication.’ Then finally Matthew moves on to the question of Shakespeare’s daughters. ‘Finally, one quick point about raising illiterate (or perhaps semi-literate) daughters.  Your rather dismissive comment that this does not surprise you is, again, an attempt to dumb down the Bard.  Just think for a moment about all of the witty, highly educated heroines in Shakespeare’s works.  It’s hard to imagine that the poet would not want his own daughters to be able to appreciate not only his works but the wonderful world of literature that education opened up for him.  It’s remarkable to me that you would discount this “fact” so glibly.  There’s no indication that any members of the “Shakespeare” family who resided in Stratford for many years after 1616 took any interest in or asserted any connection with the life and works of William Shakespeare.  I would also ask why it is that we have no evidence that the rather well-to-do William of Stratford donated any money to the King Edward VI grammar school that supposedly gave him his start?  Nothing in the man’s will hints at anything remotely literary (as I’m sure you know).  But I’ve always been baffled by the absence of a bequest to the school in Stratford that supposedly provided his educational foundation.  One would expect him to have been eternally grateful to his school – if indeed he attended the school and learned so much from the year or two most scholars assume he spent there.’ Leaving aside, for a moment, the whole question of whether or not Shakespeare of Stratford was Shakespeare the author the one thing that strikes Beachcombing from the several emails he’s received is the passion with which both sides address this argument. It is enough to make a sleepy bizarrist retreat into his rabbit hole: back to zombies, unicorns and werewolves. Seriously, thanks to Matthew for this long contribution!

The Shakespeare Identity Crisis! Sony Pictures Launches Trailer for Anonymous — Release Scheduled for September 30th.

Tantalizing trailer for Anonymous.  Check it out.  Sir Derek Jacobi narrates.  Great visuals.  The costumes, scenes of The Globe, London, interior shots … all visually appealing.  Looks like a quality production.  Very dramatic and compelling.  This intriguing question is posed:  “What if I told you Shakespeare never wrote a single word?”  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.”

Quick cut scenes of sex, violence, a beheading (presumably Essex), secretive, knowing glances, the angry tossing of what looks like a manuscript by a woman (I’m guessing Queen Elizabeth).  Then the clever tagline appears on the screen:  “We’ve All Been Played.”  Followed by a stage filled with actors taking their bows and the audience applauding wildly.   All in all … a nicely done trailer that should stimulate interest in the movie.

And by the way, it’s good that the trailer comes out in April, before “Shakespeare’s” birthday on April 23rd.  This could ensure that the usual birthday stories will include a reference to the authorship question.

Here’s the link to the trailer.  Worth watching.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBmnkk0QW3Q&feature=channel_video_title

I’m glad to see there’s a marketing push behind the movie.  It might be Anonymous, but it looks like Sony doesn’t want this movie to be unknown.

Here’s the copy that tees up the controversy.  I have to say I’m pleased with the setup.  This makes clear that the movie is presenting only “one possible answer” to Shakespeare authorship mystery.  That’s the best way to approach this, as I see it at least.  This is clearly fiction.  It’s one possible answer to the question.  But at least it’s asking the question and not ignoring it completely as the academic establishment would seem to prefer.  Like it or not, there is reasonable doubt about the authorship and we shouldn’t be content to continue sweeping the issue under the proverbial rug.  This major motion picture just might compel more people (especially in the media) to recognize the existence of a legitimate issue worthy of serious debate and detailed research.

Here’s the copy explaining the trailer:  “Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer to the age old question: Who really wrote the works of William Shakespeare?”

There’s also a Facebook page for the latest updates on Anonymous: www.facebook.com/Anonymous.  The official Anonymous website is:  http://www.Anonymous-movie.com.

Anonymous opens in theaters September 30.

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

In First Folio, a New Novel by Scott Evans, the 17th Earl of Oxford Emerges As The Author of The “Shakespeare” Works

Below are some excerpts from an article in the local newspaper in Davis, CA — the Davis Enterprise.  Click HERE to read the entire article.  Congrats to Scott Evans on his new novel!  Note the info below about a Meet The Author event in Davis on March 18th.  Matthew
Davis Enterprise | Thursday, March 10th, 2011 | Posted by Chloe Kim
So, was Shakespeare a fraud?

Davis author Scott Evans' new novel,               "First Folio," is set partially in his hometown.               The literary mystery should appeal to fans of "The Da               Vinci Code," Evans says. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise               photo

Davis author Scott Evans’ new novel, “First Folio,” is set partially in his hometown. The literary mystery should appeal to fans of “The Da Vinci Code,” Evans says. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

In Scott Evans’ new novel, “First Folio,” priceless handwritten manuscripts reveal that the most famous writer in the world — William Shakespeare — was a fraud, and that the true author of Shakespeare’s iconic plays actually was Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

The book is fiction, and the Bard hasn’t really been officially dethroned. But other than that, and “the fact that Joe (the main character) receives handwritten documents, which don’t exist, all other factual information is well-researched and true,” said Evans, a Davis author.

“There are few samples of Shakespeare’s handwriting, all of which are signatures on legal documents. The handwriting is pretty halting and poor. It doesn’t look like something an experienced writer would produce,” Evans said.

Evans explores this conundrum in “First Folio,” a literary mystery that he says fans of “The Da Vinci Code” will enjoy.

The main character is Joe Conrad, a professor at the fictional Central Lutheran University in Stockton, who lives in Davis. His mentor, Jack Claire, finds what seem to be authentic handwritten manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays, along with a leather-bound copy of the First Folio, the first collection of Shakespeare’s plays.

[SNIP]

Local residents can meet him at 3 p.m. Sunday at Atria Covell Gardens, 1111 Alvarado Ave. in Davis. Bistro 33, 226 F St., also will host a reading and reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 18, and Evans will be at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 25.

Meet the author

Who: Scott Evans, author of “First Folio”

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Atria Covell Gardens, 1111 Alvarado Ave., Davis

Editor Egan Calls For Book Reviews For The Shakespeare Oxford Society’s Newsletter

The next issue of The Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter, published by the Shakespeare Oxford Society, will feature Spring Books. Anyone who would like to review a book or offer more generalized comments about the recent spate of books/movies concerning the Authorship Question (from Contested Will to Anonymous) is invited to contact the newsletter editor, drmichaelegan@omcast.net. Reviews and review-articles should be about 1000 words, negotiable each way.

Dr. Michael Egan
Editor
The Oxfordian
The Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter
575 652 3490 Desk
808 258 5564 Cell

The Stylometrics Debate Continues Online: Three Articles from The Oxfordian Now Posted On The Shakespeare Oxford Society Website

Readers of The Oxfordian — the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s annual scholarly journal — have been privy over the years to a fascinating debate between Ward Elliott and Robert Valenza on the one hand and John Shahan and Richard Whalen on the other.  In several articles published in The Oxfordian, Elliott and Valenza have made the argument that their stylometric analysis effectively eliminates Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as a viable authorship candidate of the works of William Shakespeare.  In response, Shahan and Whalen have mounted a vigorous critique of what they assert are exaggerated claims made by Elliott and Valenza.  The Shakespeare Oxford Society is delighted to bring this important exchange to a wider online audience by posting three of the most recent articles in this debate to the SOS website.

Here, then, are the links to these three, newly posted articles.  Enjoy!

From The Oxfordian (Vol. 12) 2010

The Shakespeare Clinic and the Oxfordians

Ward E.Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza

A Reply to Ward E.Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza

John Shahan & Richard Whalen

From The Oxfordian (Vol. 11) 2009

Auditing the Stylometricians:  Elliott, Valenza and the Claremont Shakespeare Authorship Clinic

John Shahan & Richard Whalen

And here is the link to the page on the SOS website where many articles published in The Oxfordian over the years are available for readers to download and enjoy free of charge.  Simply click on this link and then scroll down the page.  You’ll find a treasure trove of intriguing articles about the Shakespeare authorship issue generally and the case for Oxford’s authorship of the Shakespeare canon in particular.  On the subject of stylometrics, I would also call your attention to the following, previously posted article by Shahan and Whalen.

From The Oxfordian (Vol. 9) 2006

Apples to Oranges in Bard Sylometrics:  Elliott and Valenza Fail to Eliminate Oxford

Visit www.Shakespeare-Oxford.com to learn more about the Shakespeare Oxford Society — Dedicated to Researching and Honoring the True Bard.   Membership information is available by clicking on this link.

Matthew