Tag Archives: Stratfordian

Another Fascinating Blog Self-Described As “A Post Stratfordian Shake-speare Blog” And A “Rambler” Spinoff

Here’s a fascinating new blog that describes itself as “a post Stratfordian Shake-speare blog.”  The official name of the blog is “The Festival Robe.”  Someone named Chris is the brains behind the blog.  Chris seems to be an admirer of “Rambler” (www.lookingforshakespeare.blogspot.com) and this blog is a self-described spinoff of the Rambler blog — which I also recommend highly.

Here’s a link to a new post on Chris’s The Festival Robe blog:


There are only five posts so far so it’s easy to get caught up.  The title of this blog post is “a kind of tumbling boy” — which is a quote from a Burghley letter to Hatton in March 1983.  Chris suggests that William Shakspere of Stratford could have been that ‘tumbling boy” — although he would have been almost 19 years old at the time.  When does a boy become a man?  Perhaps young Will had been a tumbling boy for a few years and the term had stuck with him even though he was getting older by 1583?

In any case … here’s an excerpt from this particular post by Chris.  Just click on the link above or search for www.TheFestivalRobe.com to read his interesting posts.

Note that Chris suggests that the character named Medice (or Mendice) in Chapman’s play The Gentleman Usher represents Will Shakspere of Stratford and that he was a “tumbling boy” perhaps with Lord Strange’s troop and then with Oxford’s troop.  You’ll have to read the other posts to get the full story here … along with Rambler’s posts.

a kind of tumbling boy

The finale of The Gentleman Usher has Medice reveal his life’s story, depicting his rise from low birth to the company of nobility. Here’s the entire relevant section.

“Strozza. …Is thy name Medice ?

Medice.  No, my noble lord.
My true name is Mendice.

Strozza. Mendice ? See,
it first a mighty scandal done to honour.

Of what country art thou?

Medice. Of no country I,
But born upon the seas, my mother passing
’Twixt Zant and Venice.

Strozza. Where wert thou christen’d

Medice. I was never christen’d,
But, being brought up with beggars, called Mendice,

Alphonso. Strange and unspeakable!

Strozza. How cam’st thou then
To bear that port thou didst, ent’ring this Court?

Medice. My lord, when I was young, being able-limb’d,
A captain of the gipsies entertain’d me,
And many years I liv’d a loose life with them;
At last I was so favour’d that they made me
The King of Gipsies; and being told my fortune
By an old sorceress that I should be great
In some great prince’s love, I took the treasure
Which all our company of gipsies had
In many years by several stealths collected;
And leaving them in wars, I liv’d abroad
With no less show than now; and my last wrong
I did to noblesse was in this high Court.

Alphonso. Never was heard so strange a counterfeit.

Strozza. Didst thou not cause me to be shot in hunting ?

Medice.. I did, my lord; for which, for heaven’s love, pardon.

Strozza. Now let him live, my lord ; his blood’s least drop
Would stain your Court more than the sea could cleanse ;
His soul’s too foul to expiate with death.

Alphonso. Hence then; be ever banish’d from my rule,
And live a monster, loath’d of all the world.

Poggio. I’ll get boys and bait him out 0’ th’ Court, my lord

Alphonso. Do so, I pray thee; rid me of his sight.

Poggio. Come on, my lord Stinkard, I’ll play ‘Fox, Fox,
come out of thy hole ’ with you, i’faith.

Medice. I’ll run and hide me from the sight of heaven.

Poggio. Fox, fox, go out of thy hole! A two-legged fox,
‘a two-legged fox! Exit with Pages beating Medice.

Benevemus. Never was such an accident disclos’d.”

Alphonso. Let us forget it, honourable friends,
(V, iv, 245-284)

Mendicus is latin for beggar.  Rambler’s July 13 post demonstrates the link between beggars and actors.  His more recent posts on this play note the repeated use of ‘strange’ in Act I, and notes it was the name of Lord Strange (pronounced strang) prior to becoming the 5th earl of Derby.  The word strange being adjacent to Mendice here may reference Lord Strange’s troupe of actors (or tumblers.)

The Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship Present The Toronto Shakespeare Authorship Conference October 17-20, 2013

The Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship announce that their 2013 Joint Conference will take place in Toronto, Canada from October 17 to 20, 2013. SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS

The Joint Conference will take as its theme “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. REGISTRATION FORM

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 Shakespeare Festival to see a production of Merchant of Venice with Brian Bedford. These include an open public debate on the authorship question between Stratfordians and Oxfordians, a screening of at least one new film about the authorship question and keynote speakers from the world of the living theatre. The conference will also include the annual general meetings of both organizations which, because of the proposed merger 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.

The Beginning of the End for the Stratfordian Legend? Dr. Richard M. Waugaman’s Review of Anonymity in Early Modern England

Many thanks to Dr. Richard Waugaman for posting this excellent review on Amazon.com of a new book titled Anonymity in Early Modern England.  Dr. Waugaman highlights Professor Bruce Danner of St. Lawrence University’s chapter, “The Anonymous Shakespeare: Heresy, Authorship, and the Anxiety of Orthodoxy.”   As Dr. Waugaman states:  “The implications for the Shakespeare authorship question are immense.”  Read more below!

The Beginning of the End for the Stratfordian Legend?

This intriguing and provocative book originated in a 2004 Shakespeare Society of America seminar. It joins several other recent works that are enlarging our understanding of the crucial role that anonymous authorship played in early modern England. The implications for the Shakespeare authorship question are immense. Orthodox Stratfordian scholars have such unshakeable preconceptions that they often seem blind to the subversive implications of their own discoveries. Most early modern English literature was anonymous, but scholars have nevertheless gravitated toward attributed texts, making them less conversant with the conventions of anonymous authorship.

It is the final section of the book, The Consequences of Anonymity and Attribution, that I found most interesting– specifically, Bruce Danner’s chapter, `The Anonymous Shakespeare: Heresy, Authorship, and the Anxiety of Orthodoxy.’ Danner, of St. Lawrence University, is a widely published mainstream Shakespeare scholar. He claims anonymity for the plays attributed to Shakespeare because he views `the construction of Shakespeare as a vague, colossal abstraction so capacious as to become undefineable’ (p. 215).

Like an Old Testament prophet, Danner is eloquent in rebuking his fellow Stratfordians for their evil ways: `the Shakespearean profession itself is the author of anti-Stratfordianism. In its vision of Shakespeare as author, professional scholars can neither portray nor theorize the figure beyond the sphere of anonymity’ (p. 156). And Danner has an explanation of why orthodox scholars persist in their irrational attitudes toward the author–`perhaps because resisting [`the eulogistic construction of Shakespeare’] would imperil the status that we currently enjoy’ (p. 156).

One of Danner’s first lines of attack is against the foundation stone of orthodoxy, the 1623 First Folio. Without it, the orthodox case collapses. Danner admits that `the First Folio falsifies a number of key facts’ (p. 144); its `omissions, errors, and outright lies have long been common knowledge’ (p. 147). He singles out Stephen Greenblatt for scathing criticism of Greenblatt’s specious and contradictory discussion of other literary evidence. He says Greenblatt `ventures into novel avenues of myth-making that undermine his position in creative new ways’ (p. 155) and that `Greenblatt’s views look less like theories than desperate overreaching’ (p. 156). But Danner then clarifies that Greenblatt is just the tip of the Stratfordian iceberg: `In their efforts to discover a Shakespearean presence in resistant or inconclusive evidence, orthodox scholars have fashioned theories that resemble their own worst caricatures of anti-Stratfordianism’ (p. 156).

Danner lists some of the central problems with the legendary author: Stratfordians have not established the chronology of the plays; they are ignorant as to the author’s political, religious, and cultural opinions; they cannot establish the authorial text for the plays. `Such facts provide the foundations of literary study… and yet these are just such definitive issues that the Shakespearean profession cannot resolve’ (p. 152).

It is difficult to ponder the full implications of Danner’s attack on Shakespearean orthodoxy without surmising that he is on the journey toward intellectual freedom himself. If so, his chapter might offer a rare view of a paradigm change in statu nascendi. It is an inspiring sight. An `anonymous’ Shakespeare may be a necessary transition that will one day allow Stratfordians to discard their discredited theory.