The First Folio – New Perspectives: As students of Shakespeare and the Shakespeare authorship question know, the First Folio is truly the linchpin in the whole Shakespeare mystery. Not only were 18 plays published for the first time in the First Folio, but it is also the First Folio that provides the key links to the man from Stratford as the author William Shakespeare. While there has, over the years, been much analysis of the text of the First Folio, and some analysis of the actual production and publishing process, there has –quite literally– never been any serious analysis of the historicial context in which the First Folio was published, i.e. why 1623? Why not earlier or later? And why were the actual Folios published so shot-through with errors?
The following three articles from our last two Shakespeare Oxford Newsletters take a new and provocative look at this matter of the events surrounding the First Folio’s publication, and present some conclusions that could well change the course of the authorship debate unless mainstream scholars can come up with good answers to some new questions –new questions which we believe are now, and forever, unavoidable.
This article from the Summer 1998 Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter gives an introduction and brief overview of researcher Peter Dickson’s startling, provocative theory about the true political-historical context surrounding the publication of the First Folio, namely that the publication occurred in the midst of a major –but now all but forgotten– historic event: the Spanish Marriage Crisis. Dickson makes a strong case that the First Folio publication project must have been connected with –and influenced by– this political crisis. Such a connection –if borne out over time– could change forever all Shakespearean scholarship (Stratfordian and anti-Stratfordian) on this critical period in English history.
Roger Stritmatter illustrates the explanatory power of Peter Dickson’s theory about the political context of the First Folio publication with this telling look at why –possibly– Cymbeline appears as the last play in the First Folio, a circumstance that has puzzled scholars for decades and for which no good answer has ever been provided.
Roger Stritmatter reports on a discovery he first made in 1990 about a connection between the Jaggard firm and the de Vere family, but which –up to now– has never been published. As with Dickson’s First Folio-Marriage Crisis theory, this discovery may also provide a crucial link in finally getting at the true circumstances behind the First Folio publication.
Is the scholar’s 1622 decision unimpeachable evidence for Oxford as Shakespeare? by Peter W. Dickson (© 1998) This article was first published in the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter (Fall 1998). A note from the author to readers of this article. In the Shakespeare authorship debate, there is a general perception among both Stratfordians and Oxfordians that […]
This brief article — originally an appendix to “Henry Peacham on Oxford and Shakespeare” — provides some rarely seen references to Edward de Vere as a poet and playwright, mostly from 18th century sources.
The most frequently-asked question in the authorship debate is, “What difference does it [i.e. knowing who the true author is] make anyway?” A perfect example of the difference that knowing the truth can make is illustrated in this article by Richard Whalen — adapted from his presentation at the 1998 Edward de Vere Studies Conference. Whalen takes a small scene from Antony and Cleopatra and brings it to new life with the simple observation that in French the word for worm is “ver.”