Home / News / Solving a 400-Year-Old Literary Mystery: Were Shakespeare’s Sonnets Published Posthumously in 1609? [SOS Blog]

Solving a 400-Year-Old Literary Mystery: Were Shakespeare’s Sonnets Published Posthumously in 1609? [SOS Blog]

Shakespeare Oxford Society Marks 400th Anniversary of the Sonnets by Designating 2009 “The Year of the Sonnets”

Society believes overwhelming evidence points to posthumous publication in 1609, will issue research paper in 2009

Video Clip: Click to Watch

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Matthew Cossolotto
Ovations International, Inc.
914-245-9721
matthew@ovations.com

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – January 31, 2009 — The Shakespeare Oxford Society announced today it has designated 2009 as “The Year of the Sonnets.” The Society said it plans to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets – originally published in 1609 – by issuing a research paper focused on the proposition that the Sonnets were published after the death of the poet.

The Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Oxford Society has adopted the following resolution: “In recognition of the 400th anniversary of the publication of ‘SHAKE-SPEARS SONNETS,’ the Shakespeare Oxford Society hereby designates 2009 ‘The Year of the Sonnets’ and declares its intention to highlight the proposition that the Sonnets were published posthumously in 1609.”

Founded in 1957, New York-based Shakespeare Oxford Society is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to exploring the Shakespeare authorship question and researching the evidence that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550 – 1604) is the true author of the poems and plays of “William Shakespeare.” Visit www.shakespeare-oxford.com for more information.

There is a long and distinguished history of doubting the traditional “Stratfordian” attribution of the Shakespeare works. Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Chaplin. More recent skeptics include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens and renowned Shakespearean actors Derek Jacoby, Jeremy Irons, Michael York, and Mark Rylance.

Matthew Cossolotto, President of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, issued the following statement: “A mysterious cloud has surrounded the Sonnets since their publication in 1609. Traditional scholars have been unable to provide answers to basic questions, including how the Sonnets came to be published in the first place and whether ‘Shakespeare’ authorized the publication. Scholars have been baffled for centuries by the apparent absence of the poet in the publication and proofreading process. Strangely, the 1609 volume does not include a dedication from the poet, even though ‘William Shakespeare’ had dedicated two earlier works of poetry to the Earl of Southampton. So the poet knew how to write a dedication if he wanted to do so.

If the author of the Sonnets was alive in 1609, and if he authorized the publication, why didn’t he write a dedication to a volume of poetry that he believed would outlive monuments? If these immortal poems had been pirated somehow and published unlawfully (as many scholars believe), why wouldn’t the famous poet – if indeed he was still alive at the time – complain or otherwise assert his legal right to the poems?

The poet’s apparent absence from the publication process and his complete silence after the publication lend support to the posthumous publication theory. William of Stratford does not even mention the Sonnets (or anything else vaguely literary for that matter) in his 1616 will. Most significantly, the reference to ‘our ever-living poet’ in the dedication by ‘T.T.’ — widely believed to be the publisher Thomas Thorpe — affords strong evidence that the poet was already dead when the Sonnets were published in 1609.

Taking all of the circumstances into account, we believe posthumous publication offers the simplest, most direct explanation. We plan to compile and publish our findings later this year.”

Video of Matthew Cossolotto Discussing Shakespeare Authorship Issue

Click on this AOL video link to view a short video of Shakespeare Oxford Society President, Matthew Cossolotto, discussing several reasons to doubt the traditional Stratfordian attribution and to consider the Oxfordian theory. Click here

More About The Shakespeare Oxford Society
Founded in 1957, New York-based Shakespeare Oxford Society is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to exploring the Shakespeare authorship question and researching the evidence that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550 – 1604) is the true author of the poems and plays of “William Shakespeare. Other useful sites include: www.shakespearefellowship.org,
www.doubtaboutwill.org, www.shakespearebyanothername.com, www.deveresociety.co.uk, and www.oxford-shakespeare.com.

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Matthew Cossolotto
President
Shakespeare Oxford Society
Yorktown Heights, NY
Phone : 914-962-1717

More Information: Shakespeare Authorship Coalition

Contact Matthew Cossolotto: matthew@ovations.com

About Shake-Speare