In the Winter 2000 Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter Mark Alexander took a look at some of the history and scholarship on the issue of Shakespeare’s knowledge of the law, ranging from the writings of Sir George Greenwood at the turn of the century, right up to late 20th century commentaries. While many Stratfordians continue to deny that Shakespeare had any special training in, or knowledge of, the law, Alexander’s analysis — which takes on some of the more well known debunkers of Shakespeare’s legal knowledge — reveals that it is actually Shakespeare whose knowledge is rather sophisticated and deep, and his critics who have got it wrong.
Author Joseph Sobran responds to Prof. Alan Nelson’s Fall 1999 Shakespeare Quarterly review of Alias Shakepseare. Incredibly, in this review Nelson — even as he attempts to scuttle Sobran’s work — concedes that Oxfordians are “winning the public battle” in the authorship debate. SQ, in publishing Nelson’s late review of a 1997 book, was apparently attempting to stem the Oxfordian tide. Sobran, in rebutting SQ and Nelson, may have, in turn, sunk their boat.
Former Shakespeare Oxford Society Board member Katherine Chiljan’s article about this early (circa 1560s) play reveals some interesting connections with the Earl of Oxford and his 1560s connections with Richard Edwards (the play’s putative author), and makes a case that this play — which survives only in fragments — could possibly be a forerunner (if not the original source) for Shakespeare’s Two Noble Kinsman (a play which is itself open to debate about just how much of it Shakespeare actually wrote).
Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter columnist Mark Anderson writes about one of the more famous of the apocryphals, Thomas of Woodstock — a play sometimes referred to as Richard II, Part I, an indication of just how well it fits in with the Shakespeare play. Woodstock was recently produced in summer 1999 for the first time in North America by the Hampshire Shakespeare Company (Northampton, Mass.), then again during winter 2000 at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., and is now scheduled for an equity production at the Carmel Shake-speare Festival in fall, 2001 (Carmel, Calif.). Thomas clearly has some flashes of Shakespeare-like wit and dialogue, and just as clearly is the perfect companion play for Richard II. All that’s left to ponder is: Who wrote it?
Another take on the penchant for secrecy among at least some authors during Elizabethan/Jacobean times comes from James Fitzgerald, who considers whether the obscure little dedicatory poems that graced many works back then might also, from time to time, have contained some hints about larger matters.