Tag Archives: Roland Emmerich

Let The Debate Begin! Dr William Leahy, Roland Emmerich, Charles Beauclerk, and Stanley Wells To Debate The Shakespeare Authorship Question In London on June 6th

Dr Bill Leahy debates Shakespeare authorship ahead of major film release

03 Jun 2011
William Shakespeare

Head of Brunel University’s School of Arts, Dr William Leahy, will challenge the accepted authorship of Shakespeare’s plays in a special debate alongside film director Roland Emmerich in central London next Monday [6 June].

The debate forms part of a wider scheme of events to publicise the forthcoming release of Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous, a historical thriller about Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The film suggests that de Vere was not only the incestuous lover of Queen Elizabeth I, but also the true author of the works of William Shakespeare.

Dr Leahy will be arguing against the motion: ‘This House believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the plays and poems attributed to him’, alongside Charles Beauclerk, president of the De Vere Society and former president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, and Roland Emmerich himself.

Leading the arguments in favour of the motion will be Stanley Wells, renowned Shakespeare scholar and Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Click Link Below to Read Entire Press Release

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/news-items/ne_80248

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.

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.


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.

Interesting Video Clips — Press Conference Involving the Director and Cast of Anonymous

I just happened across these short video clips today.  They’re about a year old but if you haven’t seen these yet they’re worth watching.  The first one is Mark Rylance talking about his love of the Shakespeare plays and poems and his strong view that the author is writing from deep personal experience and emotions.  Enjoy!  Matthew

Mark Rylance Comments:

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

Vanessa Redgrave Comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djqghPUHqZM&feature=relmfu

Roland Emmerich Comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY2GRzbmQSs&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQO3eE9Jlm4&feature=relmfu

Set Visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwZLYUdbs-c&feature=relmfu

Joely Richardson Comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdoP4tKCOAs&feature=relmfu

David Thewlis:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqDAeEhG2IA&NR=1

Rhys Ifans Comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRLXxpFB-nA&NR=1

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

Christina Radish Interviews Screenwriter John Orloff About Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” — A Period Drama About The Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

Check out this interview with John Orloff, the screenwriter behind Roland Emmerich’s forthcoming film about the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery.  Note that the movie’s release date has been pushed back from March 2011 to September 23, 2011.   Here are a few paragraphs from the interview … followed by the link to read the entire article.  Enjoy!  Matthew

**********

John Orloff is an acclaimed screenwriter who is quickly proving how adept he is at creating worlds that audiences can lose themselves in. He has the Zack Snyder-directed 3D animated feature Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole in theaters on September 24th, and then Anonymous, a period drama centered on the Shakespeare authorship question, directed by Roland Emmerich, out in the fall of  2011.

Although I spoke to him in an exclusive phone interview for Collider to promote the release of Legend of the Guardians, Orloff also talked in-depth about Anonymous and the approach in making it, as he is also an executive producer on that film. Because there was so much detail on what sounds like a very intricate, multi-layered story, I decided to split the interview in two, starting with what he had to say about Anonymous. Check out what he had to say about that film after the jump, and then check back later this week to read about how he got involved with Legend of the Guardians.

Where did the idea for Anonymous come from and what is that film about?

JOHN ORLOFF: That script was actually the first script that I wrote, about 15 years ago. I became interested in the Shakespeare authorship issue in college, in regard to who wrote the plays. I had no idea there was a Shakespeare authorship issue at all, and the more that I became totally fascinated by it and the more research I did, the more I went, “Wow, this is an amazingly complicated world in Elizabethan England.” It’s never really been shown, how dark it was. It was really a totalitarian state. And, when you combine that with this incredible person, whoever he may have been, that’s a really interesting idea for a movie.

So, I just did tons and tons of research and eventually wrote a script. Unfortunately, my script was completed about two months before Shakespeare in Love came out, but it was my calling card. People would take meetings with me because they had read the script. I would have the meeting and they would go, “Oh, we love the script, but we’re never going to make this movie because there was just Shakespeare in Love.” So, I just put it in my desk and anytime I’d go to a meeting, I’d bring it up and I’d usually have the same response of, “Nobody’s going to make that movie.” And then, one day, about eight years ago, I was in Roland Emmerich’s office talking about a different movie and he asked me about other things that I was passionate about and what I had written, and I started to tell him the story of this movie. He was quite fascinated and he read the script, and he also became enamored and interested in the subject matter and did his own research. We did a lot of revisions on the script, and we finally made it a couple months ago.

Click Link To Read More …

http://www.collider.com/2010/09/22/anonymous-interview-john-orloff-screenwriter/

Oh Shakespeare, Shakespeare … Who Art Thou? Wikipedia article about Roland Emmerich’s forthcoming film Anonymous

In case you haven’t seen this, there is a nice Wikipedia entry about the forthcoming Roland Emmerich film — Anonymous.  The article states right at the beginning that the film presents Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as the true author behind the Shakespeare works.

Here’s how the Wikipedia article begins:

Plot

Anonymous is a political thriller which also involves the question of who actually wrote the plays of William Shakespeare. It follows Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), and is set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave) and the Essex Rebellion against her.

*****************

The section about the Controversy is interesting highlighting how James Shapiro really misrepresents in an op-ed piece the positions taken by three U.S. Supreme Court Justices at the famous 1987 moot court case on the Shakespeare authorship question.  It’s worth pasting below this section from the Wikipedia article.  Note especially the quote from Sir Derek Jacobi, who plays the narrator of Anonymous:  ” I’m on the side of those who do not believe that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the plays. I think the name was a pseudonym, certainly. [Anonymous] puts the authorship question firmly and squarely on the big screen. It’s a very risky thing to do, and obviously the orthodox Stratfordians are going to be apoplectic with rage.” 

It is rather sad, if you think about it, that Stratfordians would react that way.  It makes it sound as if the Stratfordian position is something akin to a religious faith which does not tolerate any dissent or “heretical” thinking.  Having a faith-based attachment to the Stratfordian position makes it very difficult for new information to seep into the barricades that have been erected to protect against (or silence) any opposing views.   

Here’s a link to the full Wikipedia entry … followed by an excerpt from the article that deals with Shapiro’s mischaracterization of the position taken by the three Justices.  The Emmerich film may not capture the whole truth of the Shakespeare authorship question but I am hopeful that this film will open people’s minds to the possibility that there is something rotten in the state of Stratfordian scholarship and that the case for Oxford’s authorship should not be lightly or cavalierly dismissed. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_%28film%29

Controversy

In response to the inception of the film, James Shapiro, Columbia University English professor and author of Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?,[9] wrote an April 11, 2010 op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times titled “Alas, Poor Shakespeare.” He acknowledged recent substantial worldwide support for Oxfordian theory, including three Supreme Court Justices quoted in a 2009 Wall Street Journal article.[10] Shapiro said that 25 years ago, support for Oxfordian theory was not strong, and that in a celebrated moot court in 1987, Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens, Harry Blackmun and William Brennan had “ruled unanimously in favor of Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford.”[11] Shapiro calls Oxfordian theory “conspiracy theory,” and argued further against Anoynmous in an April 2010 Wall Street Journal interview.[12]

In screenwriter John Orloff‘s published response in the Los Angeles Times, he said “Shapiro has, at best, oversimplified the facts.” He responded to Shapiro’s characterization of the original 1987 moot court decision by saying:

In fact, Brennan, the senior justice on the case, did not rule on whether Shakespeare actually wrote the plays; he simply ruled that the Earl of Oxford did not meet the burden of proof required under the law.
Blackmun agreed, but then added, “That’s the legal answer. Whether it is the correct one causes me greater doubt” (emphasis mine).
Stevens went even further, saying: “I have lingering concerns. . . . You can’t help but have these gnawing doubts that this great author may perhaps have been someone else. . . . I would tend to draw the inference that the author of these plays was a nobleman. . . . There is a high probability that it was Edward de Vere [the Earl of Oxford].”
I would hardly characterize these as opinions “unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford.

In a June 2010 post-filming interview with the Washington Post, Derek Jacobi, who plays the Narrator of Anonymous, noted that he is not neutral in the Shakespeare authorship debate. “I’m on the side of those who do not believe that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the plays. I think the name was a pseudonym, certainly. [Anonymous] puts the authorship question firmly and squarely on the big screen. It’s a very risky thing to do, and obviously the orthodox Stratfordians are going to be apoplectic with rage.”[13]

May 2010 Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter Goes To Press — If You’re Not an SOS Member, You’re Missing Out!

I’m sharing below the excellent lead story that will appear in the forthcoming SOS quarterly newsletter.  This piece was written by co-editors Katherine Chiljan and Ramon Jimenez.  Why am I sharing this with the world?  To show you what you’re missing!  Normally only SOS members get first crack at seeing the articles in our quarterly newsletter.  But I wanted to let SOS Online News readers see this excellent article and thereby encourage you to join the SOS.  

This lead story is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  The newsletter is chock full of high-quality, insightful articles and reviews.  SOS members in good standing in 2010 are among the fortunate few who will be receiving their newsletters in the mail in the next few weeks. Non-members will be left in the dark … and really should consider joining the Shakespeare Oxford Society to keep up with fast-paced authorship and Oxfordian developments.

To join the SOS or renew your membership online, click this link. 

http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety

The process is quick, easy, painless.  Membership in the SOS does have its privileges … like receiving our newsletter and our annual scholarly journal The Oxfordian — which is mentioned in glowing terms in the lead article below.  So go ahead:  click and join.  You’ll be glad you did.  If you have an open mind on the authorship issue and want to learn more, we’ll welcome you into the SOS with open arms. 

Just click here to join: 

 

Much Ado About Authorship in Media

The Shakespeare Authorship Question has reached a new level of legitimacy upon the fresh release of a book devoted to the topic by English professor James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? The major media has embraced the book, and the controversy, by featuring interviews with Shapiro and reviews of his book online, and in English and American newspapers.

Academics have long ignored, dismissed, and even ridiculed those who doubted the Stratford Man as Shakespeare, but the public’s fascination with the controversy has put them on the defensive. Shapiro, in his recent interview with The Wall Street Journal (April 2, 2010), admitted his fears about this surging public attention. He stated that Roland Emmerich’s upcoming film portraying the Earl of Oxford as Shakespeare, “will be a disaster for those of us who teach Shakespeare.” Yet he also stated that Shakespeare was a “court observer” due to his having “performed at court over 100 times probably in the course of his career …” Although Oxfordians would agree with the former statement, the latter about the Stratford Man is a fantastic piece of guesswork.

In his interview, Shapiro also revealed the new defense strategy that academics are being forced to adopt: the sonnets of Shakespeare, written in the first person, are not autobiographical, nor are there autobiographical sources or references anywhere in the Shakespeare canon. He stated that “either you believe he’s recycling bits and pieces of his life, or you believe that he imagined them, and I like to think that he had the greatest imagination of any writer in the language. And I don’t want that belittled.”

Oxfordian scholars and enthusiasts, as well as other anti-Stratfordians, were also heartened by a clear-sighted and incisive review of Shapiro’s book in the April 2010 edition of The Brooklyn Rail: Critical Perspectives on Arts, Politics and Culture. The reviewer is William S. Niederkorn, a well-known commentator on the authorship question, and one of the most perceptive observers of its growing importance. Niederkorn’s 5,000-word essay, “Absolute Will,” reveals the inconsistencies, circular reasoning, and ridicule of anti-Stratfordian scholars that permeate Shapiro’s book, which has just been published by Simon & Shuster. Niederkorn describes Alan Nelson’s Monstrous Adversary as one of the most bilious biographies ever written,” “riddled with errors . . . and an embarrassment to scholarship.”

In recounting the recent history of the authorship question, Niederkorn also remarks that The Oxfordian, “the best American academic journal covering the authorship question, publishes papers by Stratfordians. By contrast, there is no tolerance for anti-Stratfordian scholarship at the conferences and journals Stratfordians control.” Niederkorn’s piece was chosen as the book review of the week by the National Book Critics Circle.

Perhaps the most notorious Shakespeare-related book of the last decade, Contested Will has already been reviewed in Publishers Weekly and The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Los Angeles Times, salon.com, The Economist, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The London Review of Books, The Guardian and The Independent and others. The book was also reviewed on the SOS’s website (SOS Online, Archives, Dec. 2009). Oxfordian scholars Richard Whalen and Tom Hunter provide additional reviews in this issue on pp. 7 and 12. It appears that the Anti-Anti-Stratfordian movement is “at last gasp,” to quote Oxford’s phrase in Cymbeline (1.5.53).