Tag Archives: William Cecil

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

From The Archives: Parts I and II of About.com’s Interview With Matthew Cossolotto About The Shakespeare Authorship Question

Dear Friends:  I was doing some web surfing and I came across this two-part interview on About.com.  I had forgotten all about this but now that I see it again I think it’s worth sharing on the SOS Online News.  I’m pretty sure this interview took place before the SOS Online News was launched.  I think the interview bears repeating.  Sometimes it’s worth remembering that the authorship debate does receive considerable attention.  And not only from scholars intent on dismissing the topic — like James Shapiro in his book Contested Will.  So I thought I’d post portions of the interview here with links to the full Q&A.  I also wanted to take this opportunity to express my thanks again to Lee Jamieson at About.com for doing the interview and recognizing that the Shakespeare Authorship Question deserves to be given serious consideration.   Enjoy!   Matthew

Part I:  Shakespeare and De Vere

An Interview with Matthew Cossolotto About The Shakespeare-De Vere Relationship

By , About.com Guide

The Shakespeare authorship debate1 has been raging for years and the circumstantial evidence for one candidate is particularly compelling: Edward de Vere2, 17th Earl of Oxford.

In this two-part interview3 we ask Matthew Cossolotto, Shakespeare Oxford Society4 president (2005-2009), to defend the case for Edward de Vere by answering some common Stratfordian questions.

In the first installment we ask Cossolotto to consider the Shakespeare-De Vere relationship and ask how William Shakespeare5 from Stratford-upon-Avon6 fits into the De Vere story.

About.com: There is documentary evidence that a man called William Shakespeare existed? How does this man fit into the authorship case for Edward de Vere?

Matthew Cossolotto: There’s no question that a native son of the town of Stratford-upon-Avon with a name similar to “William Shakespeare” did in fact exist. Nobody questions his existence. The issue is whether this “William of Stratford” – as I like to refer to him – was in fact William Shakespeare, the great poet and playwright.

As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out as to the exact role that this William of Stratford played in the Shakespeare story. More research is needed. There are several theories: he may have been go-between, a play broker, or a front man for the real author. Personally, I don’t think he ever played the traditional front man role as the public face of the writer during his lifetime.

About.com: So you don’t believe the conventional story: that William Shakespeare left Stratford-upon-Avon to become a prominent actor on the London theater scene?

Matthew Cossolotto: No. There’s virtually no contemporaneous evidence that William of Stratford was an accomplished or prominent actor on the London stage7. Did he play a few bit parts in some plays? Perhaps. But that does not prove he was William Shakespeare, the great poet and dramatist. It simply suggests he might have been recruited to play a kind of stand in role – perhaps because his name was so similar to the famous Shakespeare name

In fact, the evidence suggests that William of Stratford spent most of his time in Stratford-upon-Avon and very little time in London. After his death in 1616, William of Stratford began to play what I think of as the “fall guy” role. As Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

After his death, William of Stratford had greatness thrust upon him.

Partisans of the Stratford theory are fond of circular reasoning. “Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare” is a frequent refrain. But partisans of the Stratfordian theory deny even the possibility that “William Shakespeare” could have been a pseudonym. So they shut down the debate and close their minds instead of opening their minds – Maybe I’m naïve, but I always thought true scholarship required an open mind.

READ MORE Of PART I

Part II: Was Shakespeare a Pseudonym for Edward De Vere?

An Interview with Matthew Cossolotto About The Case for Edward De Vere

By , About.com Guide

Edward de Vere1, 17th Earl of Oxford, has emerged as the strongest candidate from the Shakespeare authorship debate2.

In the second part of our interview with Matthew Cossolotto, Shakespeare Oxford Society3 president (2005-2009), we discuss why Edward De Vere would have needed a pseudonym.

About.com: Why did Edward De Vere need to write under a pseudonym? Why not simply use his real name?

Matthew Cossolotto: There were undoubtedly a host of reasons Edward de Vere did not publish his works under his real name. One likely reason is that he may well have been prevented from doing so by the powers that be at Court. In Sonnet 66, Shakespeare complained of “art made tongue-tie by authority.” That’s one theory.

De Vere may well have chosen to remain anonymous and employ a pseudonym because it gave him greater creative freedom and the ability to speak truth to power. If de Vere was revealing embarrassing or even scandalous facts about powerful figures at Court (Queen Elizabeth, Lord Burghley, the Earl of Leicester among others) he may well have concluded that discretion was the better part of valor and not put his name on his works.

About.com: So potentially, it would have been dangerous for de Vere to put his name to the plays and poems we now attribute to William Shakespeare?

Matthew Cossolotto: Yes. Sometimes I think of de Vere as the “deep throat” of Elizabeth’s Court. Remember, there was no such thing a freedom of the press in those days. If de Vere’s writings could be construed as critical of the government or specific individuals, especially the Queen, he would not have lasted very long.

In addition, there was something of a social taboo that tended to discourage high-ranking noblemen – Edward de Vere was the 17th Earl of Oxford after all – from publishing works of drama and poetry under their own names. My feeling is that this was not a hard-and-fast sort of thing. I wouldn’t argue that this so-called “stigma of print” was the only reason the Earl of Oxford opted against publishing under his own name. I’d say it’s one of the factors that should be taken into account.

READ MORE OF PART II

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

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]

Ifans will play Oxford in Emmerich’s Anonymous

Empire reports today that Rhys Ifans, 41, — who was Hugh Grant’s bizarre roommate, Spike, in the 1999 movie Notting Hill — will play Edward de Vere as Shakespeare in Roland Emmerich’s new film about the Shakespearean authorship intrigue, Anonymous.

In the Empire article, “Exclusive: Emmerich On Anonymous: Thewlis, Redgrave and Ifans Sign Up”, reporter Phil de Semlyen quotes Emmerich on the cast of Anonymous:

“We have Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth; David Thewlis as William Cecil, old and young; and Rhys Ifans as The Earl Of Oxford. It’s a true English cast and I’m really proud of it. There’s 12 main characters and 20 or 30 other characters, and each of the characters is really good.”

Emmerich describes the film that will begin production in Berlin next month:

“It’s a mix of a lot of things: it’s an historical thriller because it’s about who will succeed Queen Elizabeth and the struggle of the people who want to have a hand in it. It’s the Tudors on one side and the Cecils on the other, and in between [the two] is the Queen. Through that story we tell how the plays written by the Earl of Oxford ended up labelled ‘William Shakespeare’.”

Ifans played Robert Reston in the 2007 film Elizabeth: the Golden Age and he will be Xenophilius Lovegood in the latest Hogwarts horror movie due out this year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. (Ifans photo above is from the set of HP & DH: Part I)

Note 2.26.10:

It would be difficult to overestimate the exposure that Emmerich’s venture will bring to the topic of Shakespeare authorship. Here is a list of some sites reporting on casting for Anonymous. (Click on names to read articles.)

London Evening Standard said February 19, 2010:

Jamie Campbell Bower, one of the stars of Twilight: New Moon, will be playing the role of the young Oxford when filming starts in March, while Rhys Ifans will act the courtier playwright as a grown-up. In an ingenious piece of casting, it seems Emmerich has secured mother-and-daughter actors Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson to play Elizabeth I at various stages of her life.

Reelzchannel
MTV
Movieweb
ComingSoon.net
Ramascreen
GeekTyrant
Playlist
WalesOnline
Cinematical
Filmstage
Film

March 1, 2010
Guardian
Wordisms

March 2, 2010
Moviescope

Info on accessing Cecil papers

Reported by SOS President Matthew Cossolotto — 24 volumes of the Calendar of the Cecil Papers available free online from British History Online:

Dear Colleague,

British History Online is pleased to announce the publication of material which will prove invaluable to scholars of early modern and Georgian history.

The 24 volumes of the Calendar of the Cecil Papers detail the state papers which passed through the hands of the leading political family of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. William Cecil was chief advisor to Elizabeth, and her Secretary of State; his son Robert went on to become Secretary of State to both Elizabeth and James I. Usually such papers are transferred to state archives, but in this case the papers have remained in the family archives at Hatfield House, and thus offer a unique window onto the world of high politics in Shakespearean England.
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.aspx?gid=144

British History Online already has a strong collection of parliamentary material, and so we are delighted to be able to continue our run of volumes of the Journal of the House of Lords. With the help of the History of Parliament Trust we have already added another 10 volumes, which deal with the period 1718 to 1764. We plan to add a further four volumes this autumn, which will take our coverage into the revolutionary year of 1776.
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.aspx?gid=44

Both these series are available as part of the free content on British History Online – there’s no need to be a subscriber to access this content.

However, for access to the Calendars of State Papers Domestic with seamless cross-searching, you’ll need to subscribe. Click here for more information and to subscribe:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/subscribe.aspx

If you have any queries or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/contactus.aspx

Best wishes,
British History Online
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/
Institute of Historical Research
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Cecil papers online

Oxfordian researcher Nina Green reports that the Calendar of Cecil Papers is now online at British History Online at:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.aspx?gid=144

“This online Calendar is a really valuable resource,” Green said. “There are many documents at Hatfield House which few Oxfordians apart from B.M. Ward have ever seen, and having a summary of each document online in this Calendar makes it easy for us to identify which documents concern Oxford, and order copies of them.”

Green recommends sending complete information when ordering materials.

“When ordering copies of documents from Hatfield House identified through the Calendar at British History Online, it might be a good idea to cut and paste the entire entry for the document, so that Hatfield House can identify which one is wanted,” Green said.

Update 2/16/10:
Readers may contact Nina Green at <mailto:devere@telus.net>.