Tag Archives: The Man who Invented Shakespeare

Detobel translates Krippendorff comments

Our German correspondent Robert Detobel reports that after a hiatus in December, the reviews of Kurt Kreiler’s Oxford biography The Man who Invented Shakespeare have resumed with an article by Ekkehart Krippendorff in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a newspaper with the widest coverage in Germany of almost half a million readers daily.

From the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Tuesday, 5  January 2010
(Article not yet online; we’ll post the URL if it becomes available.)

“Who wrote William Shakespeare’s dramas? News from the opposition against Stratford: Kurt Kreiler’s biography of the Elizabethan aristocrat Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford”
By Ekkehart Krippendorff

Selections of Krippendorff’s article are translated below by Robert Detobel:

The plain title with which is announced a book on “Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford”,  a rather not so well known figure in this country, carries the notion, still provocative to a broad public, that William Shakespeare, praised as the greatest among the great poet-dramatists, is an “invention”, concealing another author, even that seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The meanwhile over three hundred fifty years old Stratfordian camp with its multi-million funded bardolatry reacts bitterly against this and other suspicions which have proved impossible to quell during about the last 150 years…

Unconcealed is the identity to Kurt Kreiler, the author of this remarkable biography…

Who was learned how?

No one doubts that this William Shakespeare (in different spellings) of Stratford-on-Avon has existed – birth and death certificates (1564-1616), business transactions in land and houses, his presence in the world of the London theatre, his marriage with a woman eight years older than he in Stratford with whom he had two surviving children, all this is documented beyond doubt. But that the son of a glover of humble rural origins and with a modest school education until the age of twelve would become a much performed and subsequently much printed poet and dramatist  in London, without a writing loving and gossipy sixteenth and seventeenth-century society with its numerous literary circles ever taking notice of this author, who has left us no authentic trace of a holograph, with his two illiterate daughters, who in his last will bequeathed his second-best bed to his wife but does not mention any rights in his works or any books he would have possessed, at whose death, contrary to that of many of his fellow-poets, no commemoration appeared, as if he had never existed – all this and much more (though much more is not known of him) makes the attribution of (at least) thirty-seven plays, the sonnets and the epic poems to him highly dubious…

Small wonder then that at some point in time his authorship was questioned. One of the first prominent doubters was Mark Twain…

How to explain that his first inquisitive biographer, who, less than a century after his death,  had systematically searched Stratford and vicinity for literary traces and oral witnesses had to be content with nothing else than the works…

In 1920 Thomas Looney identified Shakespeare as Edward de Vere. In 1923 in Germany, Sigmund Freud, a fervent reader of Shakespeare, on reading Looney’s book, became so convinced of Edward de Vere that even shortly before his death professed himself an “Oxfordian”, much to the chagrin of the Stratfordian camp…

Whoever Shakespeare was, the debate will not abate.

Der Tagesspiegel reviews Kreiler

Robert Detobel reports that yet another major German publication, Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel (Daily Mirror) with a readership of over 148,000, has reviewed Kurt Kreiler’s biography of Edward De Vere, Der Mann der Shakespeare erfand (The Man who Invented Shakespeare). The review appeared on the Culture page and was tipped on the front page. The following translation by Detobel eliminates 4-5 paragraphs of the original article.

Der Tagesspiegel (The Daily Mirror): “The Secret of the Genius
Shakespeare was not Shakespeare. Kurt Kreiler, researcher (Cologne) set to definitely prove it.”

By Peter von Becker
(original in German, partial English translation by Robert Detobel)

The word goes that since God no one has created more than William Shakespeare. We have 36 dramas, two epic poems and 14 sonnets, printed since 1593 under the author name “Shake-speare” or “Shakespeare”; in most cases the plays were staged in revised versions in London theatres. But who actually wrote them? Along with the Theory of Everything searched for by Einstein and other physicists, the Shakespeare authorship is one of the unsolved great mysteries of human history.

The quest is for the creative mind of those plays and poems with their innumerable references, allusions to and adaptations from ancient and medieval mythology und Bible, from Greek, Latin, French, Italian sources, encompassing a universe extending from king to beggar and from England to Asia Minor, full of philosophical, political, historical, legal, religious and scientifical knowledge. And the whole with a plethora of inventions and an immense vocabulary never matched again in English literature or in any other literature in the world.

William Shakspere (without “e” in the middle and without a second “a”), born 1564 and died 1616 in Stratford-upon-Avon, was the son of an illiterate glover, attend a grammar school at best for a few years, later muddled through as a bit-part actor, came to riches under circumstances never fully clarified and became a playhouse shareholder. Documents at least tells us he was a penny-pinching trader and moneylender. Still on his deathbed the “myriad-minded man ” proved a Mister Scrooge, who bequeathed to his wife his second-best bed and seems to have possessed no books, not even his own works.

Knowledge of foreign languages, of literature and arts were great trumps of standing at the court of Elizabeth I, . . .. At this court Edward de Vere (1550-1604) was one of the most brilliant players. Based on his own translations of de Vere’s poems and an early novel, Kreiler proves the poetic talent of his “Man who Invented Shakespeare” in a manner that must convince even an orthodox defender of the traditional Shakespeare.

Also incontestable is that though at Elizabeth I’s court it was perfectly compatible with the rank of a member of the aristocracy to write poems and dramas, to read and to circulate the former and to stage the latter, but not to put them in print and to take money for them. An author who lived of his pen could only be a commoner like, for instance, Christopher Marlowe, John Webster or, at times, Francis Bacon; each of them, however, must be discarded on different grounds. De Vere, on the contrary, would be compelled to adopt a pseudonym if he chose not to break off his brilliant literary beginnings and to publish them.

The insignificant player Shakspere, perhaps not unknown to the Earl with his keen interest in the theatre, could therefore have been the front the aristocrat needed. However comprehensive Kreiler’s book, it contains no direct evidence for this relationship: no written agreement or a verifiable reverse transaction. The argumentation is carried on by numerous logical, matter-of-fact and philological elimination processes. So the impressively documented travels of de Vere in France and Italy (1575-76) result in new circumstantial evidence, for instance, among others, a statue at the Rialto bridge or a remote anecdote about the Gonzagas, the Dukes of Mantua, information without which certain passages in The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet could impossibly have been written.

As a fairly probable consequence, Mister Shakspere of Stratford, who hardly knew a single Italian or French word and obviously never strayed farther than London or southern England, is put out of the running.

Despite some minor qualifications the hitherto dominating British Shakespeare research, a cultic industry which defends the “Sweet Swan of Avon” as a national sanctuary, will hardly be able in the future to ignore Kreiler’s grand study. For the name “William Shakespeare” obviously also carries the intentional “Will I am” and that spear of the poet-goddess Pallas Athena, which de Vere was to use as the symbolic “shake-speare” of the “spear-shaker”. The ultimate question remains how the mystification of a millenarian genius, already recognized as such in his lifetime, could, in spite of copyists, aids and abettors, confidants could remain such a best kept secret?