Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org Research and Discussion of the Shakespeare Authorship Question Tue, 24 May 2016 16:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gareth Howell: How I Became an Oxfordian http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/gareth-howell-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/ Tue, 24 May 2016 16:00:04 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8289 When I was in Law School at Aberystwyth on the rugged western coast of Wales, it was an occasional delight to drive in summer to the lush English meadows of the Vale of Evesham, and especially to do homage at Stratford-upon-Avon at a massive statue of the quintessential English poet and writer of genius. Weeping willows alongside one’s rowboat recalled him warbling his native woodnotes wild nearby. Plays and poems were wistfully recalled from schooldays. A climax was visiting the 1964 quadricentennial exhibition.

Gareth Howell was a United Nations and World Bank official, and worked for the UK, Dutch and US governments: once of Wales, now of Falls Church, Virginia.

Gareth Howell was a United Nations and World Bank official, and worked for the UK, Dutch and US governments: once of Wales, now of Falls Church, Virginia.

As a kid, I had a vague notion of Baconian and Marlovian claims. As a lover of mystery (Grand-Duchess Anastasia, Shroud of Turin, etc.), and in search of reading material in Geneva, Switzerland 33 years later, I came upon the 1988 English edition of Charlton Ogburn’s The Mysterious William Shakespeare.

The impact on me of this thought-through chapter-and-verse presentation of the Oxford case was stunning. Firstly, the bogus basis of Stratford claims is exposed, sustained now only by $500 million income per year to the town, and the increasingly fragile reputation of un-numbered tenured writers. Secondly, the ways in which Lord Oxford’s upbringing and experiences inform the canon is startling. Thirdly, the door is opened, for the first time, to track the writings in the life, still a gaping void in the tirelessly researched biography of Shaxper. Finally, the weight of circumstantial support for Oxford’s authorship is overwhelming: his many close literary associates, his travels and travails, his classical and contemporary education and languages, his access to the uppermost echelons, finest minds and greatest libraries of his day.

His standing as leader of the English Renaissance is obvious: foreshadowed by many pre-1920 scholars, and by others later who note the congruence of the playwright’s writings with Kyd, Lyly, Munday, Angel Day, Marlowe and others.

Ogburn’s book led my way to the awesome scholarship of his parents, of Looney, and more recently of Mark Anderson and others. Googling in 2007 I found the “Doubt about Will” website and signed John Shahan’s formidably succinct Declaration. As a new Cosmos Club member, unaware of the eggshells in Club terms on which I trod, in 2014 I asked guest speaker Tom Regnier, after his carefully non-committal talk on Shakespeare’s mastery of Law revealed in Hamlet, whether it was not obvious that a sixteenth century provincial grain dealer and sometime jobbing actor impresario would be unlikely to have sophisticated legal knowledge of this kind. The room froze in varying degrees. Tom responded with further non-committal elegance, as he had agreed with the sponsors.

Subsequent exchanges led distinguished Oxfordians at the Club to posit and promote a formal “Shakespeare Authorship Inquiries Group”, which welcomes distinguished authorship scholars, and meets monthly in testimony to the open spirit of intellectual inquiry the Club promotes. Friends in the DC region are warmly invited to join our discussions: gareth.howell@verizon.net.

— Gareth L.  Howell

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to:info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

You may join the SOF or renew your membership for 2016 at our membership page.

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Michael Dudley: How I Became an Oxfordian http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/michael-dudley-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/ Tue, 17 May 2016 16:00:46 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8269 “Why would anybody believe it?”

The teenaged girl’s eyes were wide, her head shaking. She’d come to the front of the school auditorium to speak to Charles Beauclerk, the Earl of Burford, whom I had brought to her Edmonton, Alberta high school as a part of his 1993 tour. Charles’ talk in support of Edward de Vere as the author of the plays and poems had totally destroyed the Stratford myth for this young woman, and her question has stayed with me ever since.

Michael Dudley is a librarian at the University Winnipeg.

Michael Dudley is a librarian at the University Winnipeg.

But along with it nagged a more personal and troubling question: Why had my own professors taught me something so unbelievable?

Before becoming a librarian, I had taken a four-year bachelor degree in theater, the third year of which was devoted entirely to performing Shakespeare: Acting, voice and movement classes and scenes for directing students gave me the exciting opportunity to play Iago, Edmund, Hamlet – and even Juliet!

But when our professors talked about “The Bard,” all we learned was deer poaching, Queen Elizabeth wanting to see Falstaff in love, and the upstart crow – all passed on to us without qualification of any kind.

Several years after graduation – and in a most well-intentioned, Stratfordian way – I searched the shelves of the library where I worked for a biography of William Shakespeare, having realized that, for all my studies I’d never read a biography of the playwright. Based on its heft and intriguing title I took home Charlton Ogburn Jr’s The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Myth and the Reality.

After only a few minutes of reading, I was stunned.  When I finished, I felt – well, not exactly angry – but really, really let down by my university professors, whom (Ogburn made plain), had taught us myth, not reality.

I got my hands on every book I could, I joined the Shakespeare Oxford Society and in 1993 convinced the Greater Edmonton Library Association to host Beauclerk for a paid event at the public library and free lectures at Edmonton schools. It was a wonderful and transformative experience for me, witnessing first-hand the excitement Oxford-as-Shakespeare generated for young people.

For the subsequent 15 years, I remained very interested in the Shakespeare Authorship Question, but graduate school, parenthood and career plans took precedence.

Over the past five years, however, I have returned to the SAQ in earnest, a commitment made much easier through a final career transition to being a tenured academic librarian. I have now published peer-reviewed papers in both Brief Chronicles and The Oxfordian (Vol. 17), and a book review essay in the former, as well as a feature for American Libraries Magazine about the First Folio tour in 2016.

More than twenty years later, that young girl’s question still drives me: What are the foundations supporting and sustaining belief in something so unbelievable, and how can we change them?

–Michael Dudley

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to:info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

You may join the SOF or renew your membership for 2016 at our membership page.

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SOF Responds to Omission of Authorship Book from Mark Twain Project http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/sof-responds-to-omission-of-authorship-book-from-mark-twain-project/ Thu, 12 May 2016 15:00:55 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8248 Mark Twain

Mark Twain

The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship recently objected to the current omission of Mark Twain’s masterpiece of Shakespeare authorship skepticism, Is Shakespeare Dead? from the University of California at Berkeley’s Mark Twain Project Online. Is Shakespeare Dead? is the book in which Twain famously compared the biography of the Stratford man to “a Brontosaur: nine bones and six hundred barrels of plaster of paris.” Linda Theil of the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group in Michigan, brought this matter to the SOF’s attention through a blogpost, Mark Twain’s Benighted Book, on the Oberon website.

The Mark Twain Project Online states that its “ultimate purpose is to produce a digital critical edition, fully annotated, of everything Mark Twain wrote.” MTPO is produced by the Mark Twain Papers and Project of The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley. The MTPO is a favored project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which has provided over $4 million in funding for the project.

But as Ms. Theil points out: “Mark Twain’s treatise on the Shakespeare authorship question, Is Shakespeare Dead?, appears nowhere in this monumental endeavor. If you query the massive trove on the title Is Shakespeare Dead? you will be rewarded with exactly nothing.”

After communicating with MTPO personnel, Ms. Theil came to the following conclusions:

If we understand correctly, according to these communiques there are several reasons why Is Shakespeare Dead? does not appear in Autobiography of Mark Twain or the Mark Twain Project Online:

  • Is Shakespeare Dead? has to be edited before it can be included; but there are no plans to edit it.
  • The editors don’t know where to put Is Shakespeare Dead?
  • Is Shakespeare Dead? is widely available elsewhere so does not need to appear in the Mark Twain Project Online.
  • 1909 publication represented Mark Twain’s final intention for Is Shakespeare Dead?

This seems so patently nonsensical that we have delayed commenting for fear we had missed some essential nuance of reasoning, but we can delay no longer because we don’t think we will ever understand why Is Shakespeare Dead? has been eliminated from Mark Twain’s life work.

In light of these circumstances, the SOF Board voted to send a letter to Elaine Tennant, director of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, with a copy to William Adams, Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The letter, signed by SOF president Tom Regnier, cited the work of a UC Berkeley professor of psychology:

Dear Ms. Tennant,

I am writing you on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship to urge you to include Samuel Clemens’ monograph Is Shakespeare Dead? From my Autobiography (Harper & Bros., 1909) in the Autobiography in the Mark Twain Project Online. If you do not include it in the Autobiography, we hope that you will at least make definite plans to edit it in the near future and give it a prominent place in the MTPO.

Is Shakespeare Dead? explores a topic that is infuriating to many, and this may be one of the very best reasons why it should be honored with inclusion — it represents the authentic voice of dissent. Charlan J. Nemeth, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at University of California at Berkeley, has extolled the value of dissent: “[D]issent stimulates thought that is broader, that takes in more information and that, on balance, leads to better decisions and more creative solutions. . . . In general, no role playing technique stimulates divergent thinking as does authentic dissent.” (http://psychology.berkeley.edu/people/charlan-j-nemeth).

While you may not agree with Samuel Clemens’ viewpoint on the authorship question, we believe that this short work is:

  • a treasure of historic perspective on the subject of the Shakespeare authorship controversy,
  • a vital view of Clemens’ psychology and personality,
  • and an artistic triumph of comic literature.

Furthermore, Twain’s view of the authorship question is echoed today by people such as Shakespearean actors Mark Rylance and Derek Jacobi, former Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor, and Physics Professor Emeritus Peter Sturrock of Stanford. To excise this work from the trove that is the Mark Twain Project Online because of its controversial nature would be a lamentable omission.

We hope that you will give this unique gem from the mind of the great genius and original thinker Mark Twain the recognition that it deserves by according it a place of honor in the MTPO.

Yours truly,

Thomas Regnier, J.D., LL.M.
President, Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship

Those of you who wish to write your own letters to Ms. Tennant and Mr. Adams may do so at the following addresses:

Elaine Tennant, Director
The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

William Adams, Chair
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20506

Fortunately, Mark Twain’s Is Shakespeare Dead? remains freely available online, although not, ironically, as part of the Mark Twain Project Online.

[posted May 12, 2016] ]]>
Charles Pennington: How I Became an Oxfordian http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/charles-pennington-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/ Tue, 10 May 2016 16:00:54 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8235 I have become an Oxfordian only recently, having pursued the Shakespeare authorship question for two years. With a liberal arts undergraduate degree and two advanced degrees, in science and business, I have a perspective that is uncommon to many I have worked with. Though involved in nuclear energy for 50 years, I have also pursued research and publishing about topics that seemed to be either based on fraud or flawed science. For many years, I thought (hoped?) that science was immune from contamination by personal ego or by a desire to change the truth, naively thinking that all science arose from the scientific method, rigorously applied.

Charles W. Pennington is a retired businessman in Alpharetta, Georgia, who spends much of his retirement time writing to correct the public’s fear regarding certain matters where it has been purposely misled by fearmongers.

Charles W. Pennington is a retired businessman in Alpharetta, Georgia, who spends much of his retirement time writing to correct the public’s fear regarding certain matters where it has been purposely misled by fearmongers.

Thirty years ago, I realized that the fear of low-dose, ionizing radiation was not based on valid science, and my pursuit of truth wherever error showed itself as a foundation began. I have also taken on the flawed science supporting other popular topics, showing their foundations have footers of sand. I saw that science was being “created” by vested interests declaring eminent domain on truth, based on superior knowledge, experience, or authority, and that those in opposition were discarded as ignorant, ill-informed or dishonest.

Two years ago, at a university where my daughter is an assistant professor, I purchased a book by Charlton Ogburn, Jr. on the authorship question. I read it and was hooked. Ogburn showed there’s no evidence of Shakspere’s authorship record, credentials, and literary colleagues, nor any tributes by colleagues at his death. Needing to validate what Ogburn said, I embarked upon studying both sides of the question. I read Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?, on-line postings by the SOF, and a substantial portion of David L. Roper’s materials, including Proving Shakespeare. The facts from these readings became clear, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust league’s inability to either address or rebut them was compelling. But to that point, it remained circumstantial evidence that was compelling, and what was missing was the “smoking gun” that William Shakespeare was a pseudonym of Edward de Vere. I believed that, but, though the evidence was huge, it was not thoroughly dispositive.

Then, I found Roper’s work, and his detailed examination of the cryptographic record was, to me, the scientific evidence I needed. The encryptions are solid facts, and the probability work he has done to establish their validity is above reproach. I realize academic opposition has off-handedly dismissed his work as the same as the false Baconian cryptology, but Roper’s work is sound as best I can determine. I became an Oxfordian in November 2015.

Further, I think Oxfordians must open a new front, based on the science of cryptography. This takes the debate out of the literary realm exclusively, and cryptographic scientific proof makes rebuttal difficult. I would suggest that a cryptologist with impeccable credentials and academic standing author a book on what Roper and others have found, concluding with certainty that colleagues of de Vere knew him to be William Shakespeare, without doubt.

— Charles W. Pennington

Available on Amazon: Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? and Proving Shakespeare.

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to:info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

You may join the SOF or renew your membership for 2016 at our membership page.

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Earl Showerman: How I Became an Oxfordian http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/earl-showerman-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/ Tue, 03 May 2016 16:00:58 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8226 The first requirement of becoming an Oxfordian is learning to love Shakespeare, both in production and on the page. I became possessed of Shakespeare’s magic by serendipity when I moved to Ashland, home of the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival. My moment of initial conversion was in 1976 during the performance of the statue scene from The Winter’s Tale. To the accompaniment of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Paulina’s mysterious restoration of Queen Hermione wracked me and evoked audible sobs from the audience, proof that theatrical awe and pity is very much a sacrament, a ritual of renewal that we inherited from the ancient Greek masters.

 Dr. Earl Showerman is a retired emergency physician.


Dr. Earl Showerman is a retired emergency physician.

A decade would pass before I happened upon a review of Charlton Ogburn’s The Mysterious William Shakespeare, published in Harvard Magazine which prompted me to purchase a copy as a gift for my wife, who had expressed skepticism over the biography of the divine Will. She soon proclaimed that Ogburn’s masterpiece was the greatest present she ever received from me. Over a decade would pass, however, before I too would turn to Ogburn to get an inkling of what fresh interpretive possibilities might become possible when one imagines the Earl of Oxford as Shakespeare.

By the turn of the century I found myself seated among other acolytes of the Earl at the annual De Vere Studies Conference at Concordia University, where I was privileged to witness the radical revisionist discourse of luminaries: Professor Dan Wright, Stephanie Hughes, Mark Anderson, Richard Paul Roe and Eddi Jolly, among many others. Eddi recently received her PhD from Brunel and published her book on the first two Quartos of Hamlet.

But it was not until I heard Dr. Frank Davis speak on Shakespeare’s medical knowledge and Concordia undergraduate Andrew Werth present his brilliant paper on Shakespeare’s knowledge of untranslated Greek literature that I became completely enthralled by the philological and psychological possibilities inherent in Oxfordian criticism. A brave new world of Shakespeare studies was being explored by scholars motivated by a love of the works and a passion to know the author and his sources. Their discoveries were revelatory.

My final initiation into becoming a fully-fledged Oxfordian began in 2004 when I retired from a 30-year career in medicine and began studying Shakespeare at Southern Oregon University. The excitement of making a meaningful discovery was almost immediate as my inquiries on the sources of Hamlet led me to Greek scholar Gilbert Murray’s century-old lecture to the British Academy, “Hamlet and Orestes: A Study in Traditional Types.” In his brilliant analysis Murray laid out a maze of parallels between Aeschylus, Euripides and Shakespeare, one which continues to inspire me over a decade later in exploring further arguments to establish Shakespeare’s knowledge and adaptations of Greek drama.

Becoming an Oxfordian has been a life-changing experience for me, one that has led me to delve into textual criticism, to reread the classics, to write, to travel and teach on behalf of the Earl, and to organize for the benefit of colleagues who are similarly possessed by this credible literary narrative that every year looms larger than the life spun by the purveyors of Shakespearean biographical fiction.

— Earl Showerman, M.D.

Andrew Werth’s article can be found in the Oxfordian.

The Mysterious William Shakespeare is available through Amazon.com.

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to:info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

You may join the SOF or renew your membership for 2016 at our membership page.

 

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The Shakespeare Authorship Question Comes to GableStage http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/the-shakespeare-authorship-question-comes-to-gablestage/ Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:00:04 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8212 Tom Regnier gave his presentation, “Did Shakespeare Really Write Shakespeare? Or Did Someone Else?” on April 11, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida at the GableStage theatre. A video of the event is now available on the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship YouTube Channel:

GableStage, located at the historic Biltmore Hotel, is one of the most highly regarded theatre companies in Florida. It has been nominated for the Carbonell Award (the equivalent of the Tony Award in the thriving South Florida theatre community) 197 times and has won the award 59 times. Producing Artistic Director Joseph Adler, who introduced Tom’s presentation, has received 24 nominations and has won the Carbonell award for Best Director 10 times. Mr. Adler has long been interested in the Shakespeare authorship question and had no hesitation in agreeing to Tom’s offer to give his presentation at GableStage. About 100 people attended the talk, which was given on the set usually occupied by the GableStage production of A Minister’s Wife, a musical version of Shaw’s Candida. (It was a Monday night, so there was no performance that evening.) Tom dedicated the presentation to the late Marzi Kaplan, who had been his teacher at the University of Miami School of Law. Marzi encouraged him to pursue his interest in the authorship question, and his first paper on Shakespeare, law, and the authorship question was written in her class.

Joseph Adler (l.),Tom Regnier (r.) on set at GableStage

Joseph Adler (l.),Tom Regnier (r.) on set at GableStage

In his brief introduction, Mr. Adler mentioned that GableStage has for years been presenting Shakespeare plays at local public schools and has now performed Shakespeare to an estimated one million students. Tom followed with his powerpoint presentation, which lasted slightly over an hour and was punctuated by occasional pop quiz questions in which audience members won authorship-related books by correctly identifying which Shakespearean character said a certain line. Tom’s talk detailed the reasons why it is improbable that William Shakspere of Stratford wrote the plays and poems that are attributed to him and then offered evidence for the candidate whom he believed to be the most likely author. A lively question and answer session followed. “I just wish you weren’t so convincing,” said an audience member near the end of the Q&A session.

Afterwards, Joseph Adler told Tom, “I was enormously impressed with your presentation. It was spellbinding and beautifully delivered. I think you should consider doing a TED Talk.” He later added, “I wish I’d had lecturers like you when I was studying theatre.” A few days later, Mr. Adler signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, which summarizes the case against the Stratford man and has been signed by many other notable people, including actors Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, and Michael York and former Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor.

Tom wishes to thank: Joseph Adler and GableStage for their gracious hospitality; George Wentzler of Just In Time productions, who videotaped the event; Bonner and Jack Cutting, who generously underwrote the videography costs; and the audience for being so open-minded and attentive.

[posted April 30, 2016] ]]>
Brief Chronicles Publishes Special First Folio Edition http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/brief-chronicles-publishes-special-first-folio-edition/ Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:00:43 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8188 BC FF Cover.border

Brief Chronicles Special Edition on the First Folio

In response to the many activities marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakspere of Stratford, and particularly in response to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s decision to exhibit copies of the First Folio in every state in the United States this year, Brief Chronicles general editor Roger Stritmatter has assembled The 1623 Shakespeare First Folio: A Minority Report (2016), A Special Issue of Brief Chronicles. This entire issue is now freely available to the general public in PDF form on the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship website. For those of you who wish to have a printed copy of this 140-page volume, you may purchase it from Amazon.com for $8.99, plus shipping charges.*

This special volume contains twelve articles – some previously published and others newly written – on the problems, contradictions, ambiguities and unanswered conundrums posed by the First Folio, the most significant piece of evidence for the Stratford theory. As Professor Stritmatter noted:

This volume gathers in one place several highlights from the rich scholarly tradition of post-Stratfordian thinking on the 1623 First Folio. This tradition identifies the Shakespeare First Folio as the key artifact in the concealment of the real author, behind the mask of the Droeshout portrait. Whatever their differences, real or imagined, all of these contributors share a common rejection of the Stratford myth. They show, moreover, how impossible it is in the end to reconcile the contents and symbolic design of the Folio with Stratfordian belief.

First Folio displayed at Frost Museum in Miami as Part of the Folger Tour

First Folio displayed at the Frost Museum in Miami as Part of the Folger Tour

Of particular note is a new article, “Branding the Author: Feigned Neutrality and the Folger Folio Tour,” by Shelly Maycock, an instructor at Virginia Tech, who criticizes the Folger Library’s First Folio Tour for foisting a particular view of the authorship question on the public:

Unfortunately, nothing in the pre-tour documents or the original application packet completed by the awarded venues indicates that Folger-approved experts will be informed about, or prepared to respond neutrally to, questions about Shakespeare’s authorship that often arise in relation to any study of the Folio’s historical and cultural context, creation and design. The Folger, consequently, seems poised to perpetuate its own longstanding policy of branding its iconic author’s works as forever unquestionably those of the inscrutable William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon . . . .

The articles that appear in this special Brief Chronicles issue may be accessed by clicking on the links below:

What’s Past is Prologue by Roger Stritmatter;

Branding the Author: Feigned Neutrality and the Folger Folio Tour by Shelly Maycock;

Shakespeare’s Impossible Doublet by John M. Rollett;

“Look Not on this Picture”: Ambiguity in the First Folio by Richard Whalen;

From Ben Jonson and Shakespeare (1921) by Sir George Greenwood;

First Folio Fraud by Katherine Chiljan;

“Bestow, When and How You List”: The de Veres and the 1623 Folio by Roger Stritmatter;

Shakespeare’s Son on Death Row by William Boyle;

Puzzling Shakesperotics by Roger Stritmatter;

“Publish We This Peace” by Roger Stritmatter;

Literary Criticism and the Authorship Question by James A. Warren;

Looking Not on His Picture, but His Books, A Review Essay by Michael Dudley.

Our next regular issue of Brief Chronicles, which will be volume 7 of the series, will be published very soon. Keep an eye on the SOF website for updates.

___________

* The 1623 Shakespeare First Folio: A Minority Report (2016), A Special Issue of Brief Chronicles is expected to be available from Amazon in Canada, the UK, and Europe in the near future.

[posted April 28, 2016] ]]>
Report on Toronto Anti-Stratfordians’ Rebuttal to the 400th Anniversary http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/report-on-toronto-anti-stratfordians-rebuttal-to-the-400th-anniversary/ Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:00:28 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8157 Chris Pannell holding the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt

Chris Pannell holding the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt

A two-hour look into William Shakespeare’s “unorthodox” biography took place at the Canadian Stage Company’s Berkeley Street Theatre on April 24th from 4 to 6 p.m. The event, produced by Professor Don Rubin and sponsored by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition and the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship (SOF), was free and open to the public. Advance publicity included an article in Hamilton’s Spectator newspaper about ten days before, which profiled the host of the event, Chris Pannell, who edits the SOF journal, The Oxfordian.

Diana Price

Diana Price

The keynote speaker for the event was American scholar Diana Price, author of the critically-acclaimed volume Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography with the sub-title: New Evidence of An Authorship Problem. This book was originally published in 2001 by Greenwood Press and re-released in 2012 with significant additions. It was her first time lecturing in Canada. Price introduced many of the key problems in Shakespeare authorship studies and put forward some solutions she has found in her study of literary paper trails for 24 Elizabethan writers. She noted the complete absence of similar evidence to show Shakspere of Stratford was a professional writer.

Price agrees that William Shakspere was certainly a real person; he can be verified as a canny businessman, a land speculator, and he undeniably was involved with theatre and the acting profession. She also allowed that he could well have been paid to be a front-man for another, possibly a member of the nobility who wished to hide his connection to the Shakespeare canon. Her focus on comparing the evidence of literary activity for both well-known and obscure Elizabethan writers was compelling. In the Q&A session which concluded the event, several in the audience reported they had found themselves moving into the ‘doubter’ camp. Her presentation seemed to catch many in the audience by surprise.

Keir Cutler

Keir Cutler

Price’s presentation was preceded by Keir Cutler, who drew on his various comedic works on the Shakespeare Authorship Question, many of which ask: How come those of us who studied theatre in high school and university were not told that there even was an authorship question? Cutler’s presentation was well-received too, as he referred to the manner in which discussion of the authorship problem is belittled and its adherents derided not only in established, major newspapers, but who are pursued online and via social media like Facebook as well. He cited an instance of one of his friends being censured by a well-known Toronto theatre critic, for even mentioning this event on his social media feed, where many could see it. Included in Cutler’s talk were selections from his publication The Shakespeare Authorship Question: A Crackpot’s View. A dramatic version of this essay is scheduled for this summer’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Cutler made plain that being called a ‘crackpot,’ among other insults, has merely strengthened his resolve to continue addressing the question of the authorship.

Audience members were encouraged to investigate the SAQ on their own and to sign the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt once they had satisfied themselves on the points made by Price and Cutler.

[posted April 28, 2016]

Update May 1, 2016: A 36-minute video of Diana Price and Keir Cutler at this event is now available on YouTube.

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Jan Scheffer: How I Became an Oxfordian http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/jan-scheffer-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/ Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:00:32 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8113 Jan Scheffer was trained as a psychiatrist and neurologist at Utrecht University and subsequently as a psychoanalyst. He lives with his family and practices in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Jan Scheffer was trained as a psychiatrist and neurologist at Utrecht University and subsequently as a psychoanalyst. He lives with his family and practices in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

It was in third form of grammar school in 1964 when my English (Language and Literature) teacher, Joost de Lange announced: “Now we have to talk about Shakespeare”. He began: “there are various theories about the author, that he was an Earl, that it was a group of writers.” He left it at that, he did not mention the name of Shaksper from Stratford, a town that I visited in 1975. I was unimpressed. In 1994, over the dishes, in Speldhurst (Kent), Elizabeth Imlay told me about Ogburn’s Mysterious Willam Shakespeare, which she had read and in about twenty minutes she convinced me of the authorship of Edward deVere. Subsequently I started buying books, to begin with Ogburn and Ruth Lloyd Miller’s annotated Looney, and a “Hundreth Sundrie Flowres.” I joined the DeVere Society in 1995 and organized four Dutch Authorship Conferences 2004-7. I consider myself lucky to have met and befriended so many esteemed, original and knowledgeable colleagues.

— Jan Scheffer

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to: info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

You may join the SOF or renew your membership for 2016 at our membership page.

 

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Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance Reaffirm Support for Doubting the Stratford Theory http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/derek-jacobi-and-mark-rylance-reaffirm-support-for-doubting-the-stratford-theory/ Mon, 25 Apr 2016 16:42:48 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8140 In response to the many recent commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, two great Shakespearean actors, Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, went on National Public Radio and on YouTube to reaffirm their adherence to the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, which questions the Stratfordian authorship theory. You can see the 30-minute YouTube video here:

Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance discuss The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt

In the video, Jacobi and Rylance, sitting in a casual living room setting surrounded by books, explained their reasons for doubting that grain merchant William Shakspere of Stratford was the author of the works that have been attributed to him. Both actors stressed the need for an extended, civilized dialogue about the authorship question. They noted that they had been subjected to cruel ad hominen attacks because of their open-mindedness about the traditional authorship theory. Jacobi and Rylance helped to launch the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, a project of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, in 2007.

Sir Derek and Mark also appeared in a 7-minute interview this morning, “Two Shakespearean Actors Revive Debate Over The Bard’s Identity,” on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition with Renee Montagne.

Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance are both Honorary Lifetime Trustees of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.

 

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Joella Werlin: How I Became an Oxfordian http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/joella-werlin-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/ Tue, 19 Apr 2016 16:00:24 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8104 A few years back, I was a guest at a duo-piano recital in the elegant Portland home of a prominent arts patron, Mary Tooze. Her name, now her memory, is significant because—then unbeknownst to me—Mary was an early, generous supporter of the Shakespeare Oxford Society. She observed my puzzled look as I scanned a brochure announcing an “authorship” conference at Concordia University and tried to encourage my interest. I didn’t say so, but I couldn’t imagine why I should care. While I appreciated Shakespeare, engaging in an authorship debate seemed a schoolyard pastime for quibblesome academics or others daftly disengaged from real world concerns.

Joella Werlin now lives in Seattle and is mostly retired from her business as a “personal historian” (Business name: Familore), helping individual and professional clients record their memoirs.

Joella Werlin now lives in Seattle and is mostly retired from her business as a “personal historian” (Business name: Familore), helping individual and professional clients record their memoirs.

Weeks later, browsing audiobook shelves in my branch library ahead of a five-hour drive to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one title caught my attention: “Shakespeare by Another Name—The Life of Edward De Vere,” (abridged) by Mark Anderson. It flashed at me that de Vere was the guy Mary spoke about. One CD into the audiobook, I was spellbound! A totally different Shakespeare emerged from behind the masked image and nom-de-plume—an outcast nobleman who satirized and savaged with the power of his pen, and was punished by losing not his mortal head but the immortality of his name and identity. The real Elizabethan stage of that troublesome genius lit up with High Renaissance erudition. This was not the path from Stratford’s tipsy timbered cottages to London’s noisy taverns and raucous theatres.

Without question, Anderson’s compelling narrative threw the Oxford hook at me, but it was baited with the pitch-perfect voice of British recording artist Simon Prebble. I have since listened to the audiobook countless times. It is like a great opera, featuring Edward de Vere, a more tragic protagonist than any librettist but himself could imagine. Returning from Ashland, I made a beeline to Powell’s for Anderson’s published book (scrupulously researched!), plus orthodox Shakespeare biographies. But I was a convert; there was no return. Soon after, Mary invited me to meet her friend Earl Showerman. The charms of “Earl of Ashland,” as Oxfordians know, are irresistible. He fueled my enthusiasm with more Oxfordian insights and resources. I was a ready acolyte.

The common theme that Shakespeare weaves through every drama is “deception.” We may never fully know what drove those in power at the turn of the 17th century to, figuratively speaking, behead Edward de Vere, and to dress dismembered parts in an impostor’s costume. But 400 years later, the Folger and the “Stratford academy” practice deception with dishonor. Given historic British class snobbery and stratification, it is absurd to perpetuate the pretense that an unlettered commoner was mankind’s greatest literary genius.

Doubtless, in my mind, Ben Jonson and the “Noble Brethren”—the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, brother-in-law and husband of Susan Vere, youngest of Oxford’s three daughters—chortled at the authorial deception they contrived in the introductory pages of the First Folio, thereby saving their own necks from political retribution while rescuing works destined to be repressed forever.

–Joella Werlin

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to: info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

You may join the SOF or renew your membership for 2016 at our membership page.

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Spreading the Shakespeare Authorship Message in South Florida http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/spreading-the-shakespeare-authorship-message-in-south-florida/ Wed, 13 Apr 2016 14:00:45 +0000 http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/?p=8087 Tom Regnier has recently appeared on television and in person promoting the Shakespeare Authorship Question in South Florida (Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties).

"Spotlight on the Arts" - Tom Regnier (center) is interviewed by (l. to r.) theatre critic Bill Hirschman, actress Karen Stephens, actress/producer Iris Acker, playwright/actor Michael McKeever.

“Spotlight on the Arts” – Tom Regnier (center) is interviewed by (l. to r.) theatre critic Bill Hirschman, actress Karen Stephens, actress/producer Iris Acker, playwright/actor Michael McKeever.

On March 25, 2016, Tom’s TV interview on Spotlight on the Arts was aired in South Florida for the first time. Spotlight on the Arts is a long-running show featuring interviews with people involved in the performing arts. The regular interviewers on the show are celebrities in the very active South Florida theatre community: Bill Hirschman is a theatre critic and the founder of Florida Theater On Stage. Karen Stephens is an award-winning actress. Iris Acker is an iconic actress and producer. Michael McKeever is an award-winning playwright and actor. Tom’s appearance on Spotlight on the Arts produced a lively 28-minute discussion on the subject “Did Shakespeare Really Write Shakespeare?” The program may now be viewed online.

On February 11, 2016, Tom Regnier gave a presentation at the North Palm Beach Public Library on the topic, “Did Shakespeare Really Write Shakespeare? Or Did Someone Else?” The speaking engagement was arranged by Margaret Robson, a resident of the area and a longtime Oxfordian. An audience of 40 people – several times the usual attendance for public presentations at the Library – attended. The audience listened attentively to the nearly hour-long presentation with PowerPoint and asked questions for over half an hour afterwards. An audio recording is available on the SOF YouTube Channel. SOF webmaster Jennifer Newton added images to the recording so that listeners may get a taste of the PowerPoint that the live audience saw.

Margaret Robson has since followed up with two discussion groups at the North Palm Beach Library, which were well attended and enthusiastically received. Attendees at the last meeting were clamoring for Margaret to schedule the next meeting.

Tom also presented on “Did Shakespeare Really Write Shakespeare? Or Did Someone Else?” at GableStage, one of the most highly regarded theatre companies in South Florida, on April 11, 2016. About a hundred people attended. Tom said it was one of the most gratifying experiences of his life. The presentation was videotaped and will be available online in the near future.

The SOF’s recently formed Speakers Bureau seeks to find people who are willing to give introductory presentations on the Shakespeare Authorship Question in their local communities. The Speakers Bureau can help you put together an introductory talk. If you are interested, contact info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org.

[posted April 13, 2016] ]]>