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.
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]