Compiled by Kathryn Sharpe
In this issue:
- T. Looney’s descendants contacted; pleased about centennial celebration
- Talking about Looney at the Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society
- New SI-100 Committee members: Justin Borrow and Jonathan Morgan
- SOF Grants Committee and Publications Editors encourage SI-100 submissions
- James Warren continues to examine the impact of “Shakespeare” Identified
- Goals for 2017
J.T. Looney’s descendants contacted; pleased about centennial celebration
Our search for the descendants of John Thomas Looney, to share our plans for the centennial celebration in 2020, has been successful thanks to leads from Oxfordian filmmaker Laura Matthias and researcher Keith Jewitt at the Literary and Philosophical society in Newcastle on Tyne. Kathryn Sharpe is corresponding with Alan Bodell, J. T. Looney’s grandson, in Scotland, as well as Alan’s niece Maureen Robinson in Canada.
They are very pleased to hear about our plans to honor their beloved ancestor John Thomas. They have asked to be put on our newsletter mailing list and are interested in receiving any publications the SOF or others created in honor of Looney and “Shakespeare” Identified.
And as far as how the author himself pronounced his family name, Alan confirmed that “Looney” is pronounced phonetically—it rhymes with “moonie.”
Independent researcher talking about Looney at Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society
The Newcastle Lit & Phil society in Newcastle on Tyne, England, is the location where J. T. Looney (JTL) conducted the bulk of his research while writing “Shakespeare” Identified. Keith Jewitt, an independent researcher, occasionally gives a talk there about Looney (see box below for details).
Kathryn Sharpe emailed Keith to learn more. Keith wrote, “I’m very interested to hear that the centenary is to be celebrated… Like JTL, I am very fond of the Literary and Philosophical Society and have found it very useful in various fields of research. My interest in JTL stems from my wider research into writers who came from, or lived in, the North East. Some of these writers are well known locally, but most people in this region are not aware of the significance of JTL’s work. I decided to try to raise awareness by giving a lecture in May 2015. Since then I have done several “repeat performances” including two in “Shakespeare Week” in 2016.” Keith’s lectures have been well attended. See below for a description of the event. Keith has not “taken sides” on the Shakespeare Authorship Question and does not propose to.
Keith also said, “The Society possesses a copy of JTL’s edition of De Vere’s poems, which JTL presented in person. Sadly, the volume does not contain any exciting inscriptions or messages – the flyleaf merely records that it was presented by ‘The Editor.’ I regard this as typically self-effacing.”
New SI-100 Committee members
Shakespeare Identified Centennial (SI-100) Committee members James Warren, Jennifer Newton, Kathryn Sharpe (Chair), Linda Theil, Shelly Maycock, and Tom Regnier (SOF President) are pleased to welcome new members Justin Borrow and Jonathan Morgan.
- Justin Borrow is a Toronto-based actor and theatre critic for the “Theatre Reader.” He serves on several SOF committees and monitors and operates the SOF’s Instagram page. For an account of how Justin became interested in the Shakespeare Authorship Question, see: https://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/justin-borrow-how-i-became-an-oxfordian/.
- Jonathan Morgan became interested in the authorship question after randomly coming across “Last Will. And Testament” on cable two years ago. He found the arguments presented compelling and persuasive and moved on to read Mark Anderson’s “Shakespeare by Another Name,” which he said provided a truly amazing case for Oxford as the author. He also read Diana Price, Charles Beauclerk, J. Thomas Looney, Charlton Ogburn, and others. He has a B.A. in English Literature from Haverford, where he studied works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Spencer. He also was pre-med at Haverford, went on to medical school, and now is a diagnostic radiologist specializing in neuroradiology. He has been in private practice in Delaware County, PA for 12 years. Jonathan hopes the SI-100 committee can help to publish a centennial version of Looney’s “Shakespeare” Identified.
SOF Grants Committee and Publications Editors encourage SI-100 submissions
We hope SOF members take advantage of two new opportunities made possible by the SOF Board and committees, by doing research on or writing articles related to J. T. Looney.
- The SOF Grants Committee has added SI-100 related articles to their list of options for research grant funding. One request has been made, but it lacked the requisite budget; we hope it will be completed and resubmitted.
- SOF Editors Michael Delahoyde, Roger Stritmatter, Alex McNeil, and Chris Pannell have solicited articles related to Looney or “Shakespeare” Identifiedfor upcoming editions of their publications. There have been no submissions so far, and we hope that changes as we approach 2020.
James Warren continues to examine impact of “Shakespeare” Identified
SI-100 Committee member James Warren continues 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 provide biographical information on J. Thomas Looney and the first publisher of “Shakespeare” Identified, 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. The list of Looney’s letters found so far may be viewed on the SOF website at: https://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/si-100-letters-of-j-t-looney/
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. That list may be viewed on the SOF website at https://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/j-t-looney-reading-list-compiled-by-james-warren/
Goals for 2017
- Stay in touch with J. T. Looney’s descendants; send them publications related to Looney and his work. Explore ways to honor Looney in England.
- Continue to develop a relationship with the Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society.
- Support James Warren’s efforts to write a book on the impact of Looney’s “Shakespeare” Identified. Explore the possibility of reprinting an annotated centennial edition of “Shakespeare” Identified.
- Develop a network of authorship sites displaying an SI-100 badge supporting the centennial and linking to the SI-100 page on the SOF website.
- Continue to explore using social media to meet our goals. Increase followers on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Investigate having an actor read letters of J. T. Looney that postdate the publication of “Shakespeare” Identified.
- Develop a graphic identity for badge, web pages, t-shirt, communications, etc.
- Continue to expand mailing list of people interested in SI-100.
Please explore social media
SI-100 Committee members are exploring the potential of social media to advance their work as well as the communications goals of the SOF. To increase our followers on the new platforms, we encourage you to give social media a try. On the upper right corner of the SOF home page https://www.shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/ you can connect to SOF on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
About the SI-100 Committee
Our goal is to coordinate a powerful celebration of the 100-year anniversary of J. T. Looney’s publication of “Shakespeare” Identified in 2020, using the SOF website, social media, publications, and annual conference. We encourage Oxfordians to create and implement their ideas to celebrate locally, and we will help them publicize their events using SOF resources.
- Volunteer to help the SI-100 Committee.
- Follow us on Twitter: @ShakesOxFellows #2020Looney
- Ask to be put on our email list for news updates.