Home / Articles / SI-100 progress update: May 2015

SI-100 progress update: May 2015

In this issue:

●    New SI-100 Committee members
●    James Warren now studying impact of Shakespeare Identified
●    Clarifying the purpose of the SI-100 Committee
●    Responding to the Folger’s 2016 First Folio tour
New SI-100 Committee members
by Linda TheilJennifer Newton, Kathryn Sharpe, and Linda Theil, the core group of organizers of the Shakespeare Identified Centennial (SI-100) Committee, have been joined by four additional core group members: SOF President Tom Regnier, Roger Stritmatter, James Warren, and Bryan H. Wildenthal.

Tom Regnier, JD, LLM, is president of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship. He currently practices appellate law at the firm of Conroy Simberg in South Florida and has taught a course on Shakespeare and the Law at the University of Miami School of Law. He has written several articles on legal issues in Shakespeare’s plays and wrote the chapter on Shakespeare’s legal knowledge in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? Exposing an Industry in Denial. (See http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Beyond-Exposing-Industry-Denial/dp/1625500335.) In June 2014, Regnier was a guest speaker at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, where he spoke on “Hamlet and the Law of Homicide: the Life of the Mind in Law and Art.” (See http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/hamlet-and-the-law-of-homicide-at-the-cosmos-club-in-washington-d-c/.)

Roger Stritmatter, PhD, is general editor of the SOF journal, Brief Chronicles.He is professor of humanities at Coppin State University of Baltimore MD and author of the website Shakespeare’s Bible at http://shake-speares-bible.com/.  He is author with Lynne Kositsky of Shakespeare’s Tempest. (Seehttp://shakespearestempest.com/.)

James Warren is a retired Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State.  He currently lives in Thailand, where he spends much of his time on various Oxfordian projects. The third edition of his Index to Oxfordian Publications was recently published in print form by Bill Boyle’s Forever Press. (See http://foreverpress.org/Home_Page.html.) The Index’s contents are available in in an online, searchable database format at Boyle’s Shakespeare Online Authorship Resources catalog (SOAR). (Seehttp://opac.libraryworld.com/opac/signin?libraryname=SOAR.)

Bryan H. Wildenthal is a relatively new SOF member who attended conferences in Pasadena, CA (2012), Portland, OR (April 2014), and Madison, WI (Sept. 2014). He is a member of the faculty of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA, where he has been a professor since 1996 (Seehttp://www.tjsl.edu/directory/bryan-h-wildenthal.) He has a lifelong interest in both literature and historical study, and has loved reading and watching Shakespeare since high school — all of which predisposed him to become fascinated by the authorship question starting about the year 2000.

Existing members:

  • Jennifer Newton is a professional web designer. She is webmaster of the SOF website and a member of the SOF Communications Committee. She is the creator of the website Shakespeare Underground at http://www.theshakespeareunderground.com/.
  • Kathryn Sharpe is a member of the SOF Communications Committee and a former trustee of the Shakespeare Fellowship.  She is active in the Seattle Shakespeare Oxford Society.
  • Linda Theil is a former editor of the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter and current member of the SOF Communications Committee. She is a colleague of the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group and creator of the group’s eponymous Web log at http://oberonshakespearestudygroup.blogspot.com/.

James Warren now studying impact of Shakespeare Identified
by Linda Theil and James Warren

New SI-100 Committee member James Warren is taking the lead in the preliminary work to develop and organize materials for a book on the impact that Shakespeare Identified has had on Shakespeare studies and the wider literary world over the past 100 years. The book will also provide biographical information on J. Thomas Looney and Shakespeare Identified’s first publisher, Cecil Palmer.One section will provide background on the intellectual setting into which the idea of Oxford’s authorship was introduced by examining Looney’s ties to organizations supporting Auguste Comte’s Positivism, and Palmer’s role as a founding member of the Society of Individualists.

Appendices will include the full texts of all of the articles Looney published on the authorship question, all of his letters that can be located, and full texts of many reviews of and articles about Looney’s books and ideas.

Warren’s starting point is the “Looney Reading List” from his Index to Oxfordian Publications with the expectation that that list will be amended as new items are discovered and added to it. That list may be viewed on the SOF website athttp://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/j-t-looney-reading-list-compiled-by-james-warren/.

Clarifying the purpose of the SI-100 Committee
by Kathryn Sharpe

The purpose of the Shakespeare Identified Centennial (SI-100) Committee is to provide a structure for people to create a centennial celebration that is interesting, thrilling, and powerful. Committee members will help the SOF anticipate, plan, and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the publication of John Thomas Looney’s Shakespeare Identified in 2020 primarily through the SOF’s website, social media, publications, and the SOF annual conference. The SI-100 Committee will not arbitrate or fund centennial projects, but will help to publicize events through SOF resources. All ideas are welcome, and we hope Oxfordians will be inspired to take on a project in celebration of the centennial.

We’ve been asking members of the SOF and others how to celebrate by gathering ideas at conferences, through an online survey, and by email. Respondents have suggested publishing articles and books, commissioning theatrical performances and skits, exploring social media, film and video, developing educational materials, raising funds for specific projects, coordinating with Oxfordian groups and high-profile doubters, and more.

Get involved:

  • Start working on a project for the centennial and let us know.
  • Volunteer to help the SI-100 Committee.
  • Share this information with anyone who might be interested and encourage them to take the survey (link below) where we’re soliciting ideas and help.

Contact us:

Responding to the Folger’s 2106 First Folio tour
by Bryan H. Wildenthal

As part of its “Wonder of Will” commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shaxper of Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23, 2016, the Folger Shakespeare Library will partner with American universities, libraries, and museums to sponsor a year-long, 50-state tour of several original editions of the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s works. See:
http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Wonder_of_Will:_400_Years_of_Shakespeare and
http://www.folger.edu/sites/default/files/FirstFolioTourSites_FolgerPressRelease3.pdf

This project will, of course, involve iteration of the orthodox authorship theory crediting Shaxper of Stratford as the author of the works of William Shakespeare, providing Oxfordians with an ideal chance to lay the groundwork for the Shakespeare Identified centennial in 2020.

As a member of the SI-100 Committee, I have volunteered to coordinate ideas for responding to the 2016 First Folio tour. I plan to work with new SI-100 Committee member, Brief Chronicles general editor Roger Stritmatter, who has approached the SOF board on the topic of preparing a response to the Folger project.

The SI-100 committee believes a coordinated and effective response to the 2016 First Folio tour by Oxfordians and other dissenters and skeptics of the Stratfordian theory will be a launching pad for the run-up to our own celebration of the 2020 Shakespeare Identified centennial.

Oxfordians and all our authorship skeptic friends bow to no one in our love for Shakespeare and our own fascination with the First Folio and its mysteries. It is always a good time to celebrate and study the First Folio, one of the most important books in human history.

There is a striking irony, of course, in extensively celebrating Shakespeare and his works during 2016, when 400 years ago, in 1616, there was a deafening silence and almost complete lack of attention to the death of the Stratford man later implausibly touted as the Immortal Bard. The First Folio was not published until seven years later in 1623, with only a few scattered, ambiguous, and very curiously phrased references seeming to link it to the Stratford man.

Nevertheless, 2016 is when the Shakespeare establishment intends to celebrate the First Folio. It would not be realistic to try to derail the establishment’s massive effort to promote the the orthodox view, and we would not want to try to undermine any effort to get the public excited about the theFirst Folio and Shakespeare.

Rather, our focus should be to highlight and dramatize the deeply ironic and striking contrast between the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2016 and theGreat Silence of 1616.

Our game plan should be to crash the party and spread our own message, but not in a grumpy, negative way. On the contrary, we should encourage all our friends to attend as many First Folio tour events as we can, and to support the many local libraries, museums, and other institutions that will host the Folio to show that there is another constituency out there besides the orthodox Stratfordian establishment.

Unlike the Folger and other bastions of orthodoxy, most of these local institutions are probably neutral or uninformed about the authorship issue. We will encourage public interest in Shakespeare and literary history, and show that we can be friendly and supportive partners in the institutions’ broader goals.

For example, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where I teach, is just half-a-block from San Diego’s Central Public Library, the California co-host for the Folio Tour (along with San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre) where I have a friendly acquaintance with library staff members with whom I have worked on law and history educational projects. I will use those contacts to share insight on the authorship question.

We should be joyous and enthusiastic party-boosters in 2016—but unabashed about spreading our own message and educating those local institutions, and the public at large, about the real and far more interesting story about Shakespeare and the evidence relating to the authorship question.

We believe it’s always crucially important to remain civil, polite, and friendly, even if our adversaries respond with negativity, rudely dismiss our views, or falsely defame us. We should repay rudeness with civility, and always emphasize free inquiry and study of the issues. We should be models of thoughtful, open-minded, scholarly inquiry because we are Shakespeare lovers who want to know and discuss the truth, and who are unafraid to ask provocative and difficult questions.

About Linda Theil

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