Tag Archives: The Oxfordian

Oxfordian Shakespeare Series: Richard Whalen’s Second Edition of “Macbeth” Published

The second edition of “Macbeth” — edited, fully annotated and with a new introduction and much expanded line notes — has been published in the Oxfordian Shakespeare Series by Richard F. Whalen.  Whalen is co-general editor of the series with Dan Wright of Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.

Whalen states that his second edition and all the editions in the series are intended for “the general educated reader who has an interest in Shakespeare plays and who might be curious to know what an Oxfordian edition of a Shakespeare play would look like.”  Of course, he hopes that Oxfordians might also be curious.

“Macbeth” and “Othello” are the first two plays in the Oxfordian series, with eight more — all edited by university professors — in the pipeline.  These are the first editions of Shakespeare plays ever produced by Oxfordian scholars. “Othello” (2010) was co-edited by Richard and Ren Draya of Blackburn College.

Whalen has kindly has granted permission to the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s Online News to publish the opening paragraphs of his new introduction to “Macbeth.”

From the introduction:

“The Tragedy of Macbeth” explores the agonizing predicament and downfall of a courageous warrior who triumphs on the battlefield but fails in the arena of power politics and court intrigue.  He knows he is not cut out by experience or temperament to seize the throne by assassinating the king, but he fails to resist the evil scheming of the courtier-like Thane of Ross whose lying eliminates a potential rival and clears the way to the throne for him.  When the time comes to assassinate King Duncan, Macbeth is conscience-stricken but fails to stand firm against it and yields to the bullying of Lady Macbeth, who covets the throne much more than he does.

His tragic flaw is not overweening ambition, as is usually posited by traditional scholarship.  To the contrary, he exhibits a surprising lack of ambition. When the Weird Sisters (a.k.a. the witches) prophesy that he will be king, he does not exult.  He finds it hard to believe.  He fears what lies ahead for him and tries to screw up his courage, but falters. Before murdering the sleeping king he tells his wife, “We will proceed no farther in this business,” and afterwards, he says, “I am afraid to think what I have done.”  This character trait of fearful, reluctant ambition seems to have eluded commentators on the play.

Macbeth is induced to seize the throne against his better judgment, fearing the moral and political consequences.  Once in power, he finds he must lie and deceive those around him in court.  He fails to use good judgment as a monarch, ordering the murders of Banquo, Fleance and Macduff’s family.  Tormented by self-doubts and in spite of himself, the hero of the battlefield has become a furtive assassin and cruel tyrant.  For the reader and spectator, Macbeth’s struggle with his conscience and his self-inflicted assaults on his sense of honor, loyalty and self-respect evoke fascination with his plight, even a measure of sympathy for him.  Macbeth is essentially an honorable man corrupted by politics.

A close reading of “Macbeth” informed by the view that Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, was the author reveals a play about court intrigues and power politics and the danger of irresolute ambition by someone ill-suited to kill by assassination and practice Machiavellian duplicity.

As a nobleman in Queen Elizabeth’s court, Oxford had an insider’s knowledge of the maneuvering of ambitious courtiers and pretenders to the Crown.  He could weigh the contending theories of royal succession that are found in the play. And he was in a position to know details of the assassination in 1567 of the consort king of Scotland by a rival — details that are echoed in the play.  The play also evinces knowledge of Scotland, including its law, language, geography, weather and witches; and Oxford served with the English military in northern England and Scotland in 1570, when he was twenty.  Other correspondences between the play and Oxford’s life experience range from witchcraft in sixteenth century Scotland to the influence of Greek tragedy.”

(The second edition of Macbeth has just been issued by Llumina Press and copies are available from them at www.llumina.com/store/macbeth.htm or by Googling  ‘Llumina store’  or at Amazon in the US and UK, generally for $13.95 plus shipping.)

Many thanks to Richard Whalen for providing the above excerpt from the second edition … and congratulations to him on the publication of this important work of Oxfordian scholarship.

To read a bit more from Richard Whalen about the topical allusions and possible dates of composition of “Macbeth” from an Oxfordian perspective, here’s a link to the online version of Whalen’s article from The Oxfordian:

http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/?p=533

Sad News To Report — The Passing of Oxfordian Scholar Dr. Noemi Magri

The following obituary came to my attention today via Christopher Dams and Richard Malim.  I thought readers would find this sad news of interest.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Noemi Magri in person.  We communicated a few times via email.  On one trip to Venice several years ago I corresponded with her to see if we could arrange to meet but she was traveling at the time.  I remember exchanging ideas with her about creating educational tours of northern Italy that would focus on the locations mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays.  Unfortunately that idea (which I still think is a good one) never went anywhere.  Addio Noemi.  Riposare in pace.  Matthew

From The Gazzetta di Mantua May 18 2011

FAREWELL TO NOEMI MAGRI, AN OUTSTANDING TEACHER OF ENGLISH

Who believed that Shakespeare was the Earl of Oxford , and that he had visited Mantua

Noemi Magri died on Monday (May 9). She was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to the English language. Many people from Mantua had her as their teacher, above all at ITIS, and many colleagues remember her with appreciation because ahe enabled them to revolutionize their methods of teaching English.

Her funeral will be to-day (May 18) at 10 am at Saint Barnabas’ Church in via Chiassi. Noemi, who was unmarried, lived in via Grioli, and leaves a brother, avvocato Carl’Alberto Magri. Her parents had signalled her future; her father was a lawyer and her mother Ada, who taught French and died aged over ninety not many years ago, founded the Franco-Italian Society. Noemi, with professor Dina, was the driving force behind the Anglo-Italian Society. He was President, while she travelled the world to bring to Mantua conference delegates of the highest quality. This activity was greatest during the 1970s and ’80s. Also well-known was the Special Project whch provided 100 hours of refresher course in foreign languages for il Provveditore. It was hard work, but it spread new teaching methods and created a great leap in quality of teaching.

Noemi graduated from the Ca’ Foscari in Venice, but already a joke by her teacher at her high school had put a bee in her bonnet – that Shakespeare probably never existed.

Noemi became convinced that the author of Romeo & Julietthe Merchant of Venice and Othello could not have been a genial but poor theatrical groupie born in Stratford on Avon, but rather that he was the Earl of Oxford who had travelled extensively in Italy, and indeed had visited Mantua, so precise is the description of Romeo’s journey from Verona to Mantua. Noemi‘s studies on Shakespeare were always most accurate, and many were the international conferences which she attended.

******

In tribute to Noemi Magri, I’m posting two links below so those interested can take a moment to appreciate a couple of samples of her impressive scholarship.

http://www.deveresociety.co.uk/articles/essay-ChurchVenice.pdf

Oxford and the Greek Church in Venice
In a brief letter, Dr Noemi Magri examines one claim in ‘Monstrous Adversary’, Alan Nelson’s book.

http://www.deveresociety.co.uk/articles/essay-belmont.pdf

Places in Shakespeare: Belmont and thereabouts
by Dr Noemi Magri

The purpose of the present paper is to show that Belmont is a real place, though differently called in
Italian: its identification has been made possible by the precise geographical information and a
specific historical reference given in the play: it is not geography of the imagination, and the
historical allusion refers to a contemporary event: it is not Shakespeare’s creation.

This essay has also been published in
‘Great Oxford – Essays on the Life and Work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1550 – 1604’
General Editor: Richard Malim and published by the De Vere Society

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

From The Oxfordian: Excellent Article Summarizing the Case for Oxford as Shakespeare Now Available Online

This excellent article, written by longtime Shakespeare Oxford Society member Ramon Jiménez, is must reading for anybody with an interest in Shakespeare generally and the Shakespeare Authorship Question in particular.  I’m pasting below a few of paragraphs from Ramon’s compelling article. A link is provided below so you can read the entire article which was recently posted on the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s website:

The Case for Oxford Revisited
Ramon Jiménez

In his recent biography of William Shakespeare, the critic Jonathan Bate writes: ‘Gathering what we can from his plays and poems: that is how we will write a biography that is true to him’ (xix). This statement acknowledges a widely recognized truth—that a writer’s work reflects his milieu, his experiences, his thoughts, and his own personality. It
was the remarkable gap between the known facts about Shakespeare of Stratford and the traits and characteristics of the author revealed in the Shakespeare canon that led an English schoolmaster to suppose that the real author was someone else, and to search for him in the backwaters of Elizabethan poetry.

This inquiry led him to conclude that ‘William Shakespeare’ was a nom de plume that concealed the identity of England’s greatest poet and dramatist, and that continued to hide it from readers, playgoers, and scholars for hundreds of years. In 1920, J. Thomas Looney published his unique work of investigative scholarship, demonstrating that the man behind the Shakespeare name and the Shakespeare canon was Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604).1 Since then, hundreds of books and articles have augmented the evidence that this unconventional nobleman and courtier not only wrote the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare, but concealed the fact of his authorship throughout his life. It appears that after his death his descendants and those in their service deliberately
substituted an alternative author and fabricated physical and literary evidence to perpetuate the fable.

The web of evidence associating Oxford with the Shakespeare canon is robust and far-reaching, and grows stronger and more complex every year. Although he was recognized by his contemporaries as an outstanding writer of poetry and plays, he is the only leading dramatist of the time whose name is not associated with a single play. This fact, alone, about any other person would be sufficient to stimulate intense interest and considerable research. Yet the Shakespearean academic community has not only failed to undertake this research itself, it has willfully and consistently refused to allow presentations or to publish research on the Authorship Question by anyone who disputes the Stratford theory. What Oxfordian research it does not ignore, it routinely dismisses, usually with scorn and sarcasm, as unworthy of serious consideration.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

From The Oxfordian (Vol. 12) 2010

The Shakespeare Clinic and the Oxfordians

Ward E.Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza

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

John Shahan & Richard Whalen

From The Oxfordian (Vol. 11) 2009

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

John Shahan & Richard Whalen

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

From The Oxfordian (Vol. 9) 2006

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

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

Matthew

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Stephanie Hughes Reviews “The Bisexuality of Shake-speare’s Sonnets and Implications for de Vere’s Authorship” by Dr. Richard M. Waugaman

With the controversy surrounding the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy swirling around in the headlines, I want to call your attention to Stephanie Hughes’ insightful review of a forthcoming article — to be published in the October issue of Psychoanalytic Review — by Richard M. Waugaman, MD.  Stephanie’s review bears the eye-catching and provocative title “Shakespeare and ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.'”  The title of Dr. Waugaman’s article may have less of a ripped-from-the-headlines feel, but it is nonetheless quite provocative in its own right:  “The Bisexuality of Shake-speare’s Sonnets and Implications for de Vere’s Authorship.”

I’m pasting below a few paragraphs from Stephanie’s excellent review.  To read the entire review, please visit Stephanie’s “Politic Worm” blog.  The link at the very bottom of this post takes you directly to her “don’t ask don’t tell” review.  But anybody interesting in the Shakespeare authorship issue would do well to browse the many other fine posts on Stephanie’s blog. 

On the subject of Shakespeare’s sexuality, I also want to call your attention to an article written by John Hamill, immediate past president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, and published in the Society’s flagship scholarly journal The Oxfordian.  Hamill’s article (“Shakespeare’s Sexuality and How It Affects the Authorship Issue”) is available in PDF format on the Society’s website:  www.Shakespeare-Oxford.com.  Here’s the link to Hamill’s article:

http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/wp-content/oxfordian/Hamill-Sex.pdf

*****

Review:  Shakespeare and “don’t ask don’t tell” by Stephanie Hughes

An important article, “The Bisexuality of Shake-speare’s Sonnets and Implications for de Vere’s Authorship” by Richard M. Waugaman, MD, is to be published in the upcoming October issue of Psychoanalytic Review, 97 (5).  Dr. Waugaman is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Training & Supervising Analyst Emeritus at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.  His 98 scholarly publications began with an article stemming from his senior thesis on Nietzsche and Freud.  He and his wife, Elisabeth Pearson, scholar of Medieval French Lit and an award-winning children’s book author, live in Maryland, near Washington DC.

Dr. Waugaman’s path to Oxford runs from Freud (doctoral dissertation) to William Niederkorn (NYTimes article, Feb. 2002), to Roger Stritmatter (Oxford’s Geneva Bible) to a readership at the Folger.  Now this prestigious academic journal has agreed to publish simultaneously not one, but two of his articles on authorship issues, one on Samuel Clemens’s use of the pseudonym Mark Twain, the other on the psychology of Shake-speare’s Sonnets and their connection to Oxford’s biography, the accusations of pederasty made against him made by his enemies, plus the fact that his daughter was being promoted as a wife to the Earl of Southampton, the Fair Youth of the Sonnets.

News of the publication of Dr. Waugaman’s articles in an academic journal is a sign that the wall surrounding Fortress Academia may be weakening. “Things seem to be changing among my analytic colleagues,” says Waugaman. “I now find them far more receptive.  They react as though there is at least “reasonable doubt’’about the authorship, which is a fine place to begin.  And I’m optimistic about the historians as well.”  That Waugaman speaks from and to the psychology community is a double plus, since that’s one of the two arenas that we can conceivably hope will help us salvage the truth about the authorship, the other being the historians.   Once post docs in the less fiction-based Humanities departments begin delving in the English archives we’ll have to rely less on conjecture.

It’s with gratitude that I read Dr. Waugaman’s essay since, as he emphasizes, the nature of the Bard’s sexuality has been so denied, distorted, ignored, or misinterpreted by so-called Shakespeare experts (including some Oxfordians) over the centuries that a straightforward approach to the obvious by someone of authority is clearly in order.  Waugaman asks why Shakespeare commentators have consistently avoided the obvious, that since the Sonnets reflect that the Poet was having (or at least desiring) concurrent sexual relations with a man and a woman––ipso facto, Shakespeare was a bisexual, or at least was behaving like one.  As he states: “One solution to this cognitive dissonance for the past four centuries has been denial or avoidance of Shakespeare’s bisexuality, and of his actual identity.”  By connecting this massive “blind spot,” as he calls it, to the Academy’s refusal to dig any deeper than the unlikely Stratford biography, Waugaman makes an important connection.  We’ve been subjected to James Shapiro’s efforts to psychoanalyze the authorship community, now lets see what a psychoanalyst has to say about Shapiro and his colleagues.  For any who wish to read his argument in full, Dr. Waugaman will email you a pdf; contact him at rwmd at comcast dot net.

Don’t ask don’t tell

When we add to the evidence in the Sonnets all the gender-bending in the plays, the passionate “male bonding” in Coriolanus, and the obvious homosexual love of the Antonios in Twelfth Night and Merchant of Venice, it would seem that at the very least, homosexual desire was something the author understood.  This may have been shocking to the Reformation clergy who acted as censors for what got published in the early 17th century, to the Victorian literary critics, and apparently also to persons who grew up in the 1950s in America, but that some readers today are still grasping for some other interpretation, desperate to avoid the fact that––Gasp! Choke!––Shakespeare had a sex life!––well, what can I say?  If it wasn’t so deplorable it would be funny.

(To read the entire review, click on the link below)

http://politicworm.com/2010/09/24/shakespeare-and-don%E2%80%99t-ask-don%E2%80%99t-tell/

The Ashland Authorship Conference — September 16-19, 2010

Plans for this year’s Shakespeare Authorship Conference (in Ashland, OR) are proceeding apace.  Here’s some info and a link to get more details.  You can register online via this link: 

http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety&DeptID=170579

The Shakespeare Oxford Society and The Shakespeare Fellowship Society

 Present

The Ashland Authorship Conference

September 16-19, 2010
Ashland Springs Hotel and Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The sixth annual joint authorship conference of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society will take place in Ashland, Oregon from September 16-19, 2010. This year the conference will focus on the plays in production at the Tony Award winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Group tickets have been secured for the conference for three productions at OSF: The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet and 1 Henry IV.

The conference will convene at the Ashland Springs Hotel. Already a number of outstanding scholars, authors and theatre professionals have committed to presenting at Ashland, including Professors Daniel Wright, Felicia Londre, Ren Draya, Roger Stritmatter, and Chris Duval. OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch and Executive Director Paul Nicholson will both address the conference, and Robin Goodrin-Nordli will perform her comedic Shakespeare heroine composite, Bard Babes. Keir Cutler will present his wonderfully satiric production, Is Shakespeare Dead? and award-winning musicians Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart, who produced My Lord of Oxenford’s Masque, will also perform their music during the authorship conference.

Other presenters will include OSF’s James Newcomb, Tom Regnier on Hamlet’s law, Bonner Cutting on Shakspere’s Will, Bill Farina and Tom Hunter on The Merchant of Venice, Michael Cecil on Lord Burghley, plus Hank Whittemore, John Hamill, Paul Altrocchi, Richard Whalen, Frank Davis, Katherine Chiljan, Ramon Jimenez, Earl Showerman, John Shahan, Marie Merkel, Sam Saunders, William Ray, and Cheryl Eagan-Donovan. The conference will feature panel discussions with OSF actors after each show and include a signing ceremony of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.

(More Details)

http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/?p=138

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).

 

SOS journal source of Globe & Mail story on authorship

A feature article about Amelia Bassano Lanier as the author of Shakespeare’s works —  “Was Shakespeare a Woman?” by Michael Posner — appeared in the Toronto newspaper Globe & Mail on January 15/16.

The article opens with the statement:

One of the most prestigious academic journals devoted to Shakespearean authorship studies has just added a new candidate to the centuries-old debate about who else plausibly might have written the works we associate with the little-educated merchant and actor from Stratford-Upon-Avon.

The journal is identified as The Oxfordian edited by Michael Egan, although the reporter misidentifies The Oxfordian publisher — the Shakespeare Oxford Society — as the “Oxford Society”.

The Globe and Mail reporter quotes Egan:

Mr. Egan of The Oxfordian allows that Bassano “was a remarkable woman with strong literary and court connections. But it’s a big step from that to Shakespeare. Unfortunately, Hudson’s evidence, such as [the] detailed knowledge of northern Italy, also supports other candidates. My view is that the Shakespeare mystery remains unsolved.”

The Oxfordian article that proposed Bassano-Lanier as Shakespeare is John Hudson’s “Ameria Bassano Lanier: a New Paradigm”. In the comments section attached to the Globe & Mail article, Hudson offers to defend his thesis :

In order to understand the research it is necessary to read the article in The Oxfordian titled ‘Amelia Bassano Lanier; A New Paradigm’. It is available on the Dark Lady Players web site http://www.darkladyplayers.com on the page for the Theater Practice. If anyone cares to read the article and has a substantive point to make I will be happy to respond to it.

A sidebar to the article lists and describes the major contenders in the Shakespearean authorship question: Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon and Derby; and cites London-based The Shakespearean Authorship Trust as one of the resources for the information.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/was-shakespeare-a-woman/article1433158/