Tag Archives: Roger Stritmatter

The Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship Announce Details For Their 2013 Toronto Joint Conference, October 17 – 20

The theme of this year’s Shakespeare Authorship Conference is “Shakespeare and the Living Theatre.” It will be presented with support of the Theatre and Drama departments of York University and the University of Guelph, two major Canadian universities.

Conference organizer Professor Don Rubin of Toronto’s York University stated “The man who wrote under the name of Shakespeare, was clearly a man of the theatre. We know that William of Stratford had connections to the Globe but few people know that the 17th Earl of Oxford, also had significant theatre connections to both adult and children’s companies of the period.” “We are hoping that the Conference will offer new understandings of these connections as well as insights into theatrical conditions of the time and put to rest the idea that William of Stratford was the only candidate in the authorship debate with strong and profound theatrical involvement.”

There will be a variety of papers on related subjects presented as well as a trip to Canada’s internationally-acclaimed Stratford Festival to see a production of The Merchant of Venice, including a chance to meet and talk with the director of the production (and also the new Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival), Antoni Cimolino.

A preliminary list of speakers and topics is provided below:

Toronto Conference Schedule

                   The following program is subject to change.         

Thursday, 17 October   

    12:00-1:00   Registration

    1:00-1:15     Welcome. Opening of Conference.

    1:15-2:00      Shelly Maycock.  (Virginia)

                         “Essex, Oxford and the Concept of Popularity in Late Elizabethan

                         Discourse.”  How the notion of popularity can be recast from an 

                         Oxfordian perspective.

    2:00-2:45      Priscilla Costello.  (Ontario)

                         “Astrology Confirms de Vere.”   A professional astrologer compares the

                          astrological charts of de Vere and “Shakespeare.”

    2:45-3:30     Ron Halstead.  (Michigan)

                         “Death of a Dictator: The Dangerous Timeliness of Julius Caesar and

                          the Authorship Question.”  De Vere’s interest in rebellion.

    3:30-3:50    Coffee break

    3:50-4:35  Walter Hurst.  (North Carolina)

                           “What’s Your Authority for that Statement: An Approach to

                             Examining External Evidence in Early Modern Authorship.”

                             How to evaluate the strength of historical evidence.

    4:35-6:00         Video: The Naked Shakespeare

                           A new video on the authorship question from Germany.

 

Friday, 18 October 

     8:30-9:15       Ron Hess.  (Georgia)

                            “The Significant History of The Passionate Pilgrim.” Did this work

                              predate both Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucrece?

     9:15-10:0        Heward Wilkinson.  (UK)

                            “Coleridge and the Implications of Authorial Self-Awareness in

                              Shakespeare.”   There is no sign that the Stratford man embodied

                              the consciousness of “Shakespeare” while there is substantial testimony

                              that Oxford did.

    10:45-10:45     Michael Egan. (New Mexico)

                            “The Shakespeare Grain Dealer Uproar.”  The documented facts about

                             Shakspere’s financial arrangements, when compared with the plays, show

                             clearly that we are dealing with two distinct individuals, the man from

                             Stratford and the man who wrote the plays.

    10:45 –11:05   Coffee Break

    11:05-11:50     Tom Regnier. (Florida)

                              “Could Ben Jonson Think Like A Lawyer? Taking a Closer

                               Look at Clarkson and Warren.”   A revaluation of the 1942 study on

                               property law in Elizabethan drama which disparages Shakespeare’s

                               legal knowledge.

    11:50-12:35      Earl Showerman. (Oregon)

                              “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Shakespeare’s Aristophanic Comedy.”

                               Was Shakespeare acquainted with Athenian drama?  The former

                               President of the SF explores the territory.

                                Lunch on own

     3:00               Bus leaves for the Stratford Festival

                                (Tom Regnier paper on “The Law and Merchant” on bus)

     5:00               Arrive at Stratford.  Meeting with Antoni Cimolino (Director

                                of Merchant)  followed by “on own’ dinner                

      8:00               Merchant of Venice on Festival Stage                      

     10:30             Bus returns to Toronto (arrives about 12:30 a.m.)

 

Saturday, 19 October

            8:30-9:30      Annual Meeting of the Shakespeare Oxford Society

9:30-10:15     Cheryl Eagan-Donovan. (Massachusetts)

                         “The Reason for the Alias: Oxford’s Bisexuality and

                           the Elizabethan Theatre.”  A look at the sexual 

                           behavior of  bothactors and audiences of the

                           period suggests that Oxford’s Sexuality may have                                been a prime reason for the pseudonym.  

           

10:15-11:00    Hank Whittemore. (New York)

                                    “The Unbroken Line: Oxford, Acting Companies and the

                                    Phenomenon of Shakespeare.”  A look at de Vere as guiding

                                    force behind the three most important acting companies

                                    of Elizabeth’s reign.

11:00-11:15    The Missing Debate: A Comment. Don Rubin and Keir Cutler.

11:15-12:00      Roger Stritmatter (Maryland) and Lynne Kositsky (Ontario)

                         ‘Much Ado About Nothing: The Tempest Debate.” Two major

                         scholars put the Tempest dating debate to rest.    

            12:00-12:15       The Tempest Book launch/signing (Roger and Lynne)

           

12:15-1:45      Lunch (buffet with Keynote)

                        Mark Anderson (Massachusetts)

                        “Shakespeare, Newton and Einstein: Listening to the Obsession

                        of Genius.”  The author of the major de Vere biography, Shakespeare

                        By Another Name looks at the nature of genius and obsession.

 2:00-2:45        Robert Detobel/Henno Wember  (Germany)

                        “The Outcast State: Oxford’s Passion for the Theatre.”  Was it

                        his love of the theatre that led to Oxford’s “outcast state?”

 2:45 to 3:30    Keir Cutler (Quebec)

                         ‘From Crackpot to Mainstream: The Evolution of the Authorship

                        Question.”  Are the doubts about the man from Stratford becoming

                        mainstream? An actor suggests that the answer is “yes.”

3:30 to 4:15      Sky Gilbert (Ontario)

                         “Was Shakespeare A Euphuist?”  The connections between Shakespeare

                           and Lyly, between Endymion and Twelfth Night done with student actors. 

4:15 to 4:35      Coffee break

4:35 to 6:35    Canadian Premiere Screening: Last Will and Testament

Introduction of this full-length film by the directors – Lisa and Laura     Wilson.                                          

 

 Sunday, 20 October

 8:30-9:30         Annual Meeting of the Shakespeare Fellowship

 9:30-10:20       Ramon Jimenez (California)

                          ‘Shakespeare’s Two Lear Plays: How the Playwright Transformed His

                          First Romance into his Last Tragedy.”  From King Leir to King Lear.

10:20-11:20       Michael Morse. (Tennessee)

                           “What the Thunder Said and Tom O’Bedlam’s Song.”  Views of Lear.

11:20-12:15        Gerit Quealey. (New York)

                            “Studying Authorship: Why It Matters for Actors. The Road

                              To Revelation.”  How authorship research can inform and illuminate

                               A Text.” A working actor demonstrates her points with student actors.

12:15-2:00         Closing Banquet with Keynote.  Awards and Final words.

    John  Shahan (California).

    “The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition: Future Strategies.” The

    head of SAC and one of the editors of the volume Shakespeare Beyond

The conference will also include the annual general meetings of both organizations, which, because of the proposed unification of the two organizations, should not be missed.

The conference will be held at the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto; registrants may receive a conference rate of $135/night at the hotel by calling 800-668-6600 or by e-mail at reservations@tor.metropoliton.com. Please mention Reservation ID#269-931 or the SOS or the SF. This hotel room rate will be good for up to three days before and after the conference for those who wish to extend their visit to Toronto. This rate is guaranteed for reservations made before September 17.

Transportation from the Toronto airport directly to the hotel can be obtained from Airport Express (905-564-6333 or http://www.torontoairportexpress.com). Rates are $27.95 one-way and $42.00 for round trip. There is a 5% discount for ordering online. There is a 10% senior and student discount for one-way only ($25) so this is not practical if you want a round trip.

Full registration for the conference includes all presentations and materials as well as lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Per day rates are also available. Registration is also possible onsite, including reduced daily rates for Saturday and Sunday that do not include lunch.

Please note, however, that the trip to Stratford may not be available for registrations received after September 15. 

For more conference information or to register for the conference, please visit www.Shakespeare-Oxford.com.

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Pasadena Shakespeare Authorship Conference, October 18-21 — More Info About Speakers and Activities. Be Sure To Register and Book Your Hotel Room

The eighth annual joint authorship conference of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society will convene in Pasadena, California October 18-21, 2012 at the Courtyard Pasadena Old Town by Marriott. For special conference room rates, call 888-236-2427 or reserve rooms on line at: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/laxot-courtyard-los-angeles-pasadena-old-town.

More details below about the outstanding lineup of activities, speakers and performers at the Pasadena Shakespeare Authorship Conference, October 18-21.  Be sure to register and book your hotel room soon.  Visit: http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/?p=138 or our main website: http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com.

Opening the conference on Thursday, 10/18 are Alex McNeill, Jamieanne Reinelt, Linda Taylor, and Professors Helen Gordon and Don Rubin. Tour of the Huntington Library at 1:00 pm.

On Friday, Jennifer Newton, creator of The Shakespeare Underground, will open the conference, followed by Sabrina Feldman, author of The Apocryphal William and then Professor Roger Stritmatter. During our hosted lunch, James Ulmer will present a program on Shakespeare in Hollywood Film.

John Hamill will open the afternoon session, followed by a group exhibit of 16th century Oxfordian titles at the Huntington Library. The afternoon session will conclude with performances by Alan Green, author of The Holy Trinity Solution, as well as Sylvia Holmes and Betzi Roe. Friday evening will be dedicated to a screening of Lisa Wilson and Laura Wilson Mathias’ documentary, Last Will. and Testament.

Saturday morning will begin with a screening of outtakes from Last Will. & Testament, followed by presentations by Bonner Cutting and Professor Jack Shuttleworth, who has recently completed editing of the Oxfordian Hamlet edition.

After a hosted Lunch, the conference keynote address will be delivered by Professor Tony Pointon, author of The Man Who Was Never Shakespeare. The afternoon will also feature Cheryl Eagan-Donovan’s new documentary, Nothing is Truer than Truth, as well as Katherine Chiljan, author of Shakespeare Suppressed, and John Shahan, Chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition.

Sunday presentations will focus on Shakespeare’s medical knowledge with presentations by Dr. Lance Fogan and Dr. Earl Showerman, and on Shakespeare’s legal knowledge with Tom Regnier. The conference will conclude with a  hosted awards banquet and panel on new media and the authorship challenge.

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

Ashland — Shakespeare Authorship Conference Schedule (Sept. 16-19, 2010)

Thought folks might want to see some additional details about the upcoming Shakespeare Authorship Conference schedule.  You can register online for the Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society’s  SF/SOS Annual Conference — Sept. 16-19, 2010 in Ashland, Oregon at the online registration site: http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety

Shakespeare Fellowship
and Shakespeare Oxford Society

2010 Conference Schedule

On-site registration check-in will begin at 9:00 AM on September 16, and the education program will begin at 10:00 AM.

Conference registration includes an opening reception with appetizers on the 16th, buffet lunches on day two and three, and the annual awards banquet at the conclusion of the conference on the afternoon of the 19th.

Saturday afternoon will be dedicated to performances with music provided by the lute duet Mignarda, Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart, creators of My Lord of Oxenford’s Maske. OSF all-star Robin Goodrin-Nordli will present her original show, Bard Babes, and Keir Cutler will give an encore performance of his adaptation of Mark Twain’s satire, Is Shakespeare Dead? The afternoon will conclude with a signing ceremony for the ‘Declaration of Reasonable Doubt’.

Thursday: September 16

Music by Mignarda with Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart
Prof Tom Gage: The Bone in the Elephant’s Heart
Dr. Tom Hunter: The Invention of the Human in Shylock 
Dr. Earl Showerman: Shakespeare’s Shylock and the Strange Case of Gaspar Ribeiro
Cheryl Eagan-Donovan: Shakespeare’s Ideal: Sexuality and Gender Identity in The Merchant of Venice
Dr. Marty Hyatt: Teaching Heavy Ignorance Aloft to Fly
Conference Opening Reception – Ashland Springs Hotel Conservatory & Garden
Merchant of Venice at OSF Elizabethan Theatre

Friday: September 17

Shakespeare Fellowship Annual Meeting
Richard Whalen: ‘Goats and Monkeys!’ Othello’s Outburst Recalls a Fresco in Bassano, Italy
Dr. Frank Davis: The “Unlearned” versus the “Learned” Shakespeare
Prof Jack Shuttleworth: Hamlet and Its Mysteries: An Oxfordian Editor’s View
Merchant of Venice Panel: Tom Hunter, Tom Regnier & OSF Actors
Bill Rauch: Artistic Director of OSF and Director of Hamlet and Merchant of Venice
Prof Roger Stritmatter: The “Little Eyases” and the “Innovation” of 1589
Katherine Chiljan: Twelve “Too Early” Allusions to Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Tom Regnier: Hamlet’s Law
Prof Sam Saunders: The Odds on Hamlet’s Odds
Prof Helen Gordon: The Symbols in Hamlet: An Oxfordian Interpretation
Hamlet at OSF Bowmer Theatre

Saturday: September 18

Shakespeare-Oxford Society Annual Meeting
Hank Whittemore: The Birth and Growth of Prince Hal: Why did Oxford write The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth?
Marie Merkel – “In the Fit of Miming”: A brief history of Sir John Falstaffe and the “whole school of tongues” in his belly
Lynne Kositsky: The Young Adult Novel Minerva’s Voyage and its Relationship to True Reportory and Minerva Britanna
Hamlet panel: Prof Ren Draya, Jack Shuttleworth & OSF Actors
Music by Mignarda
Robin Goodrin Nordli: Bard Babes
Keir Cutler: Is Shakespeare Dead?
“Declaration of Reasonable Doubt” Signing Ceremony with John Shahan, Paul Nicholson, Executive Director at OSF, and other signatories
1 Henry IV at OSF Elizabethan Theatre

Sunday: September 19

William Ray: Proofs of Oxfordian Authorship in the Shakespearean Apocrypha
Bonner Cutting: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
John Hamill – Bisexuality, Bastardy, Avisa and Antonio Perez Revisited
Michael Cecil: Revisiting the 1st Baron Burghley’s Precepts for the Well Ordering and Carriage of a Man’s Life
Henry IV Panel: Felicia Londré & OSF Actors
2010 Annual Joint Conference Awards Banquet

For further information write to the local coordinator at earlees@charter.net

Whalen reviews Hope & Holston

Review of The Shakespeare Controversy: An Analysis of the Authorship Theories, Second Edition by Warren Hope and Kim Holston. Jefferson NC: McFarland & Company, 2009.

Richard F. Whalen

This second edition of Hope and Holston’s Shakespeare Controversy expands and brings up to date their selective survey and analysis of the literature on the authorship issue over the past 280 years. Well-written and well-researched, this book is not only an entertaining, good read but also a valuable reference work.

At the outset, the authors state that they are Oxfordians and “. . . what we track in this book are the efforts of a number of people which culminated in that recognition of Shakespeare’s identity, and the consequences, thus far, of that recognition. . . . Our aim is to be critically selective, not exhaustive.”

To cover the years since their first edition, published in 1992, the authors have added three chapters and extended their “Chronological Annotated Bibliography” with selected books and articles published in the past seventeen years.

In the first of the new chapters, the authors expand on works treated briefly in their first edition. They devote five pages to an admiring review of Hamlet Himself (1997), Bronson Feldman’s booklet published in 1977 that is out of print and almost impossible to find. The first edition gave Feldman four paragraphs. They follow with reports on the 1987 debate before three justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Frontline Public Broadcasting System television program on the authorship controversy, “The Shakespeare Mystery”, that was first broadcast in 1989.

The second new chapter, “The Stratfordian Response,” contains new, post-1991 material, including books by Irvin Matus, an independent researcher, and by Alan Nelson, an English professor emeritus. The authors devote five pages to Matus’s earnestly Stratfordian Shakespeare In Fact (1994), a book rarely cited by Oxfordians today. In the end, they say, Matus aims “to urge ‘the actor’s Shakespeare’ at the expense of ‘the scholar’s Shakespeare.’”  Alan Nelson’s anti-Oxfordian, archival biography of the earl of Oxford, Monstrous Adversary (2003), gets four pages, mostly on Nelson’s handling of three minor characters in Oxford’s life, George Brown, Orazio Coquo and William Hunnis. “His book,” say Hope and Holston, “is a piece of propaganda posing as scholarship.”

The third of the three new chapters reports on the work of various contemporary researchers of various persuasions. They include:

  • Peter Moore on the circumstances and votes for Oxford for membership in the Knights of the Garter, The Lame Storyteller, Poor and Despised;
  • Daphne Pearson on Oxford’s inherited income, “Edward de Vere (1550-1604): The Crisis and Consequences of Wardship”;
  • Roger Stritmatter’s dissertation on Oxford’s Bible, “The Marginalia of Edward de Vere’s Geneva Bible”;
  • Elliott Baker’s shortened edition of Delia Bacon’s book, Shakespeare’s Philosophy Unfolded;
  • Diana Price’s biography of Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography;
  • William Rubinstein and Brenda James’s case for Henry Neville, The Truth Will Out;
  • Robin Williams case for Mary Sidney, Sweet Swan of Avon;
  • Mark Anderson’s detailed and fully annotated biography of Oxford, Shakespeare by Another Name;
  • and Bill Bryson’s informal, popular defense of the Stratford man, Shakespeare: The World as Stage.

Two of the chapters carried forward from the first edition are valuable essays on important early figures in the authorship controversy. They are the book’s opening chapter on Delia Bacon, the often unfairly maligned first Groupist, followed by a chapter on Mark Twain, quoted at length, and Walt Whitman with his friend William O’Connor.

The flamboyant, Baconian cryptologist Ignatius Donnelly gets a twelve-page chapter. The skeptic Henry James shares a chapter with Joseph Skipsey, the disillusioned custodian of the Stratford Birthplace. Grouped together in the next chapter are the respected anti-Stratfordian George Greenwood and two writers they call “rebels:” Samuel Butler and Frank Harris, who are not often heard from. Then comes one chapter entitled “Many Candidates: Marlowe, Rutland, Derby, and So On,” and an excellent, full chapter on J. Thomas Looney’s life and ground-breaking identification of Oxford as Shakespeare.

The last of the original, pre-1991chapters covers works of numerous researchers and witnesses, including John Galsworthy, B. R. Ward and his son B. M. Ward, Gerald Rendall, Eva Turner Clark, Charles Wisner Barrell, S. Schoenbaum, Percy Allen, Gerald W. Phillips, Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn, and Ruth Loyd Miller. For whatever reason, Clark, the Ogburns and Miller — major, influential Oxfordian authors — are not treated as fully as some of the more obscure writers.

It is of course impossible to include every book and article or do justice to any of the writers in a short survey of the immense literature on the authorship controversy by Oxfordians, Stratfordians and others. In most cases, but not all, Hope and Holston select one or two aspects of the writer’s work for discussion, instead of providing a generalized summary of each. This makes it more interesting reading but at the expense of a more comprehensive, if brief, description of the work.  They do an admirable job, however, of weaving together claims by Stratfordians and Oxfordians, showing the back-and-forth of the debate over the centuries. They have little patience for most Stratfordian claims.

The “Chronological Annotated Bibliography” picks up in November 1991 with “The Nose Job,” an episode from the TV program, Seinfeld. (A landlord contends that “Shakespeare was an imposter.”) The longest entries from 1991 to 2008 are on books by Ian Wilson, Irving Matus, John Michell, Joseph Sobran, Jonathan Bate, Diana Price, William Rubinstein, Rodney Bolt (a conjectural Marlovian,) Mark Anderson, Scott McCrae, and Robin Williams. The extended chronology also includes entries on the Harper’s Magazine (April 1999) collection “The Ghost of Shakespeare” that includes five articles by Stratfordians and five by Oxfordians and The Tennessee Law Review Vol. 72, No. 1 (Fall 2004) devoted to the authorship debate. (Full disclosure: This reviewer’s books and articles are included.)

Readers new to the book and its organization would do well to start with the chapters on Delia Bacon, Whitman, Twain and Looney; then browse here and there; and then keep the volume handy as a reference tool, consulting the index to find information on a specific author. Hope and Holston are especially good on biographical background.

Oxfordian readers will find anomalies. Some notable works receive scant attention while some obscure works are treated at length. Some bibliographic entries seem less than consequential. Major authors are covered in both chapter narratives and annotated bibliographic entries that sometimes run to several hundred words, so both should be consulted. Missing are any of the more significant Oxfordian research papers published in the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter, the De Vere Society Newsletter, Shakespeare Matters, The Oxfordian annual journal, and the book Great Oxford, published in 2004 by the De Vere Society.

The chronological sequence is unusual for a bibliography. Rarely will readers have occasion to seek works published in a specific year. Nor does the sequence of entries convey any particular insights.

But these are quibbles. The authors state at the outset that they do not aim to be exhaustive. The book’s idiosyncrasies and the sidelights that caught the authors’ attention are a large part of its appeal. The book’s achievement, the result of an incredible amount of reading and thoughtful interpretation, is impressive. Warren Hope and Kim Holston have produced a worthy, if quite selective, survey of an immense subject — 280 years of literature on the Shakespeare authorship controversy in 227 pages.

Stritmatter uses ALIAS to pursue authorship

Roger Stritmatter, PhD is working with Buffalo State University’s CEDAR Forensic Handwriting division and with Carole Chaski, PhD — executive director of the Institite for Linguistic Evidence (ILE) — to determine the author of an 1846 document  known as the Hydrachos Manuscript using ALIAS Technology linguistic-analysis software to determine document authorship. The single-page Hydrachos Manuscript contains several drawings and news commentary that may be an unknown work of nineteenth-century, Shakespeare-authorship doubter Herman Melville. An October 19 press release from ILE, available at Stritmatter’s Shake-speare’s Bible Internet site, says:

This collaboration between the Institute for Linguistic Evidence and Dr. Stritmatter will be the first time that author identification methods developed for the forensic setting, having repeatedly met legal standards for admissible scientific evidence, will be applied to a literary puzzle. This particular document is perfect for this new collaboration because it is brief, just like the typical threat letter or suicide note or nasty letter to the SEC.

Stritmatter said this type of scientific, forensic analysis may be applicable to the Shakespeare authorship question:

Dr. Chaski and I intend to develop a long term collaboration to apply ALIAS software to the examination of  several pseudonymous or contested early modern texts. Some of
these — such as the prefatory materials of the Shakespeare first folio, which are signed by “John Heminges” and “Henry Condell” but have often been attributed to Ben Jonson — have direct bearing on the authorship question.  We look forward to applying the sophisticated forensic linguistics of ALIAS technologies to such historical and literary questions.

Six new BC editors

Brief Chronicles General Editor Roger Stritmatter reported this news about the publicaton:

Editors of the Shakespeare Fellowship’s new online peer reviewed scholarly journal of authorship studies, Brief Chronicles, are pleased to announce that six new distinguished scholars have joined the journal’s team of editorial consultants, which now numbers twelve in all.
The new members include a Research Professor in Economics from the University of Hertfordshire, a specialist in historical codicology and textual dating from Harvard University, a former editor of the Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals with an established expertise in 19th century anonymous publication, a Professor of Shakespearean studies from Blackburn College, and a widely published Professor of theater history from the University of Missouri. The sixth new member of the board is a pioneer in the use of biometric linguistics to establish authorship of disputed documents, a regular legal consultant in forensic linguistics, and a nationally recognized expert on the Daubert Standard.

The six new members are:
Geoffrey M. Hodgson, PhD, a Research Professor in Economics at the University of Hertfordshire in England. He is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK and the author or over 12 books and over 100 articles in academic journals.

Donald Ostrowski, PhD, a Research Advisor in the Social Sciences and a Lecturer at Harvard University’s Extension School, where he teaches World History and survey courses, including the plays of Shakespeare. Although his research focuses primarily on early Slavic history, he has an extensive publication record in comparative history and methodology. He has expertise in codicology, text dating and attribution, and textual criticism.

Mike Hyde, PhD in English from Tufts University, an MA from Tufts, and a BA in English with high honors from Harvard College. While completing a dissertation on Shelley, he also took many courses in Renaissance and Shakespeare studies. At Harvard he studied with Harry Levin’s Shakespeare course group, and at Tufts with Sylvan Barnet.
Hyde served as the sub-editor for Walter Houghton on The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (from 1974-1980), a massive five volume compilation of more than thirty leading British-Scottish-Irish magazines published between 1800-1900. In that capacity he conducted extensive research on anonymity as well as the use of pseudonyms, initials, pen names, and other authorial disguises. He successfully identified Mary Shelley as the anonymous author of dozens of magazine articles, including one in New Monthly Magazine(1829) titled “Byron and Shelley on the Character of Hamlet.”

Ren Draya, PhD, a Professor of British & American Literature at Blackburn College, a small liberal arts school in central Illinois, where she teaches, among other courses, Shakespeare, Craft of Writing, and Twentieth-Century British Literature. Ren received her doctorate in dramatic literature from the University of Colorado, working under J.H. Crouch, founder of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Her B.A. in English is from Tufts University, where she studied under Sylvan Barnet, editor of the Signet Shakespeare series.

Felicia Hardison Londré is Curators’ Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Honorary Co-Founder of Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. She was the founding secretary of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America. She was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center in 1999 and elected to the National Theatre Conference in 2001.

Carole E Chaski, PhD, the President of ALIAS Technology LLC, Executive Director of theInstitute for Lingustic Evidence, the first non-profit research organization devoted to linguistic evidence, and the Executive Director of the Marylee Chaski Charitable Corporation, a private foundation supporting the life cycle of literacy through grants and scholarships. Dr. Chaski earned her A.B. magna cum laude in English and Ancient Greek from Bryn Mawr College (1975), M.Ed. in Psychology of Reading from the University of Delaware (1981), and M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from Brown University (1987).
Dr Chaski developed –and continues to develop– ALIAS: Automated Linguistic Identification and Assessment System in order to provide objective measurements for statistical analysis. In 1995 she won a three year Visiting Research Fellowship at the US Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, Office of Science and Technology, Investigative and Forensic Sciences Division, where she began the validation testing which has become an increasingly important aspect of forensic sciences since the Daubert ruling. Dr Chaski has served as an expert witness in Federal and State Courts in the United States, in Canada and in The Hague.

– For further information, please contact Brief Chronicles General Editor, Dr. Roger Stritmatter, at rstritmatter-at-coppin.edu

Critical Survey published authorship issue

Roger Stritmatter reports the journal Critical Survey published a special Shakespearean authorship issue:

The current issue of Critical Survey Volume 21, Number 2, Summer 2009, guest edited by  Brunel University Professor William Leahy and titled “Questioning Shakespeare,” includes four articles by prominent anti-Stratfordians, including two former trustees of the Shakespeare Fellowship, Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky. Critical Survey is a leading British journal of literary studies, published and distributed by Berghahn journals under the general editorship of Graham Holderness of Hertfordshire University.

The editorial board includes Jonathan Bate, Catherine Belsey, Michael Bristol, Leah Marcus, Annabel Patterson, and Stanley Wells, among other notable Shakespeareans. According to Bate, Critical Survey is “an essential journal for anyone interested in the critical debates of our time.” To board member Barbara Hodgdon of Drake University the publication is a “A superb journal, fast becoming ‘required reading’, especially for those interested in cutting-edge work in early modern studies.”

In his introduction, Leahy writes that “the objective of the edition is not to question events in the plays and poems themselves, but rather to question and challenge the conventional Shakespearean critical tradition.”

The issue includes four articles by anti-Stratfordian scholars. Leading the issue is Lynne Kositsky and Roger Stritmatter’s fourth article in a series on the sources, date, and liturgical design of the Tempest, “ ‘O Brave New World’: The Tempest and Peter Martyr’s De Orbe Novo,”. Editor Leahy said: “. . .the authors demonstrate that although Eden/Martyr’s influence has been noticed in previous Tempest scholarship, the nature and extent of its impact on Shakespeare’s work have been profoundly underestimated for more than two centuries. In their devastating critique, the authors show that the continued support of Strachey as Shakespeare’s source is, at the very least, highly questionable.”

Without Strachey as the source for Tempest’s new world imagery and symbolism, as Stritmatter and Kositsky have argued in several other contexts, the traditional basis for the 1611 date of the play collapses.

Penny McCarthy’s “Cymbeline: The First Essay of a new Brytish Poet?” continues the theme that many of the so-called “late plays” of the Shakespearean canon were actually written earlier than has been commonly supposed. McCarthy’s detailed analysis of Cymbeline’s sources and significations suggests a play written not, as conventionally supposed, during the Jacobean period. The play’s genesis, she argues, is better found in the literature and preoccupations of the 1580’s, particularly the fear of Spanish invasion around the time of the 1588 armada.

In the third article of the issue, Roger Stritmatter examines some longstanding interpretative questions regarding Troilus and Cressida, and finds an explanation for the strange bibliographical anomalies (in both quarto and folio texts) that have always perplexed scholars in the realities of early modern censorship, arguing that the play’s topical humor – and particularly its relentless lampoon of William Cecil as the “Pandarus” of England ­–  apparently provoked reprisal from censoring authorities which accounts for the printing anomalies.

The fourth and final article, Rosalind Barber’s “Shakespeare Authorship in Doubt in 1593,” quietly throws down the gauntlet to the popular academic myth that the Shakespearean authorship question is an invention of the nineteenth century. On the contrary, Barber’s essay analyzes the Harvey-Nashe pamphlet war to show that Harvey was already in 1593 writing about the author of Venus and Adonis as a concealed “mummer” whom he threatens to “dismaske.”

Over the 125 years since Alexander Grosart’s edition of Harvey’s work, orthodox Shakespeareans have overlooked the significance of this reference, which is testimony to the powerful influence that assumptions play in creating perceptions. Since orthodox Shakespeareans assume that the authorship question is an invention of nineteenth century romanticism, they remain incapable of reading and understanding the abundant evidence that contradicts this assumption, showing the existence of a Shakespearean authorship question as early as the 1590s.