Welcome to The Oxfordian, the annual journal published during the fall by the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship. The Oxfordian is a professional publication that features papers providing in-depth coverage of issues of importance to Shakespeare scholars. The Oxfordian welcomes submission of learned essays on three interrelated topics:
- Important literary works of the Early Modern Period in English literature
- Shakespeare studies
- Shakespeare authorship issues
The Oxfordian was established in 1998 by Stephanie Hopkins Hughes and she served as its editor for ten years. Dr. Michael Egan edited the journal from 2009 to 2014. Chris Pannell is the current editor. Several articles that first appeared in The Oxfordian have been republished, and many more have been cited with approval, in mainstream Shakespeare books and journals. The Oxfordian has been cited as “the best American academic journal covering the authorship question” by William Niederkorn, formerly of the New York Times, in his online review of Contested Will. It has also been praised by Stratfordian scholar Stuart Hampton-Reeves for its “academic rigour” in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt (2013).
Articles from the most recent volume are password-protected and available to Members only. All articles from other issues are freely available. Members may send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org for the password. Note: One article in the most recent volume is freely available.
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The Oxfordian issues available online:
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“Small Latine and Lesse Greeke”: Anatomy of a Misquotation (Part One) Roger Stritmatter (available only to members)
Examines the role of Jonson’s encomium “To the memory of my beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare . . .” in developing the myth of Shakespeare-from-Stratford. Includes (1) the historical context of the publication of the First Folio, including the effect of the Spanish Marriage crisis on England’s Protestant “patriot earls,” (2) the influence of Jonson’s phrase “small Latin and less Greek” on perceptions about the education of the author of the works, and (3) the role of the earls of Montgomery and Pembroke, including their families and associates, in the publication of the First Folio in 1623.
Macbeth: A Language-Obsessed, Heretical Play Sky Gilbert (freely available)
Macbeth is a language-obsessed play (like many other Shakespeare plays, including Love’s Labour’s Lost and Twelfth Night) based on a medieval cosmology in which Christianity
and pagan mysticism exist side by side. It was fundamentally influenced by Navarrus, a 16th century philosopher whose views on equivocation prefigured modern language theory. In Macbeth’s climactic scenes the witches’ pronouncements are polysemous; the meaning of words becomes equivocal, and language offers threatening truths that at first appear to be false. Focusing on the play’s obsession with language as well as its heretical worldview has implications for the authorship debate.
Sufficient Warrant: Censorship, Punishment, and Shakespeare in Early Modern England Bonner Miller Cutting (available only to members)
Only the author of the Shakespeare works could insult important families, write about the deposition of a monarch, and have his work performed as part of a treasonous enterprise, and still remain unseen and unpunished. Shakespeare was free of governmental oversight at a time when transgressions far less serious led to severe consequences for other writers, ending their writing careers if not their lives. He appears to have been exempt from the oversight of censoring authorities, and untouchable. In this light, we also carefully examine Queen Elizabeth’s decision (in June 1586) to execute a Privy Seal Warrant in which she instructed her Exchequer to pay a thousand pounds a year to Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford.
Methinks the Man: Peter Brook and the Authorship Question Don Rubin (available only to members)
Shakespeare’s reputation as a producible dramatist has been carried for centuries by his key stage interpreters: directors and actors. Rubin summarizes the books of legendary British theatre director Peter Brook, author of one of the great manifestos of twentieth century theatre, The Empty Space (1968). In particular, Brook’s interest in the SAQ seems to be an outcome of his thinking on the nature of acting and directing. “Brook’s hovering around the issue for some twenty years or more, indicates he really just wants to be challenged a little more . . . Perhaps his ongoing protests about the authorship are just his way to provoke us into giving him more as a director.” For Rubin, “Brook’s protestations suggest that he wants us to make [the SAQ] real for theatre people before he goes any further.”
Othello and the Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy Richard M. Waugaman (available only to members)
A study of jealousy in Shakespeare’s play Othello, showing that to know the true author’s life experiences with the extremes of pathological jealousy will deepen our understanding and appreciation of this unsettling play. Since jealousy is based on a fear of being betrayed – and there was no lack of betrayal in the life of Edward de Vere, particularly in the early years of his development – it is easy to infer that he was left with multiple narcissistic wounds, and the sort of narcissistic rage that is ever on the lookout for future hurts, real or imaginary. Highly pathological forms of jealousy can lead to a false perception of betrayal when there has been none. Othello offers many examples of these behaviors and points to Edward de Vere as its author.
The Mystery of Willy: Oxford, Spenser, and Theocritus’ Sixe Idillia Richard Malim (available only to members)
In 1588 there appeared a little printed book whose title page reads “Sixe Idillia that is, Sixe Small, or Petty Poems, or Aeglogues, Chosen out of the right famous Sicilian Poet Theocritus, and translated into English Verse . . . Printed at Oxford by Joseph Barnes 1588.” It contains translations of six of Theocritus’ poems (or idillia), numbered 8, 11, 16, 18, 21 and 31. The sole surviving copy is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. While the publication date is clear, the date of these translations and the translator’s identity are unknown. There is however, intrinsic evidence in favour of Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford.
Shakespeare: A Missing Author John Thomas Looney (Reprinted. Introduction by James Warren) (available only to members)
“Shakespeare: A Missing Author,” was the last of the eighteen articles and letters John Thomas Looney wrote for publication. Looney’s objective is to prove that William Shakspere of Stratford could not have written the poems and plays attributed to him. He pursues two lines of reasoning. The first shows the absence of any personal or emotional connections between the man from Stratford and the literary works. The second line pursues Ben Jonson’s role in making the myth of Shakespeare-of-Stratford. “Faced with the two alternatives of whether Jonson actually cooperated for many years with Shakspere in the activities of the royal companies of actors, or, at a later time, cooperated with others in carrying out a scheme of concealed authorship, there can be no doubt. . . . It was all a made-up business and Jonson did what was expected of him.”
Who was James Joyce’s Shakespeare? Gary Goldstein (available only to members)
James Joyce had a lifelong admiration for William Shakespeare, to whom Joyce compared himself throughout his life. Indeed, this fascination led Joyce to incorporate into Finnegans Wake a thousand allusions to the person and works of his English rival as well as to the claimants of Shakespeare’s crown. Joyce left provocative evidence in Ulysses and Wake that, thoroughly examined, enables one to hear the echoes and see the shadows of the man who may be Joyce’s Shakespeare.
In Conversation with Hank Whittemore: 100 Reasons Shake-speare was the Earl of Oxford (available only to members)
Interviewed by Chris Pannell.
The Shakespeare Authorship Companion published by Oxford University Press (freely available)
Reviewed by Michael Dudley, Gary Goldstein, and Shelly Maycock.
The Shakespeare Authorship Mystery Explained by Geoffrey Eyre (available only to members)
Reviewed by David Haskins.
Shakespeare the Man: New Decipherings. Essays edited by R.W. Desai (available only to members)
Reviewed by Sky Gilbert.
Shakespeare and Psychoanalytic Theory by Carolyn E. Brown (available only to members)
Reviewed by Richard M. Waugaman.
Reconstructing Contexts: Principles of Archaeo-Historicism by Robert D. Hume (available only to members)
Reviewed by Wally Hurst.
A better explanation of the performance and printing history of Henry V is that
lines 22-34 of the Act 5 Chorus do not refer to Essex at all, and were not written in
1599, but at least fifteen years earlier, when the Folio version of [the play] was first
seen by an Elizabethan audience. . . . This passage . . . is much more appropriate to
events earlier in Elizabeth’s reign – before the Irish revolt of the 1590s – when there
were two serious uprisings in Ireland known as the First and the Second Desmond
Reconsidering the Jephthah Allusion in Hamlet Connie J. Beane
While Hamlet is talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the second act, prior to
the arrival onstage of the visiting Players, Polonius enters to deliver news of their
coming. Hamlet then taunts Polonius, calling the old man “Jephthah” and referring
to his “one faire daughter and no more, the which he loued passing well” (2.2.349-
350). The incident occupies less than a dozen lines and on the surface, appears trivial.
However, in Shakespeare’s plays, what appears to be trivial is sometimes significant.
Who was Jephthah, and why would Hamlet compare Polonius to him?
Sc(e)acan, Shack, and Shakespeare Eddi Jolly
Changes in semantics, pronunciation, and spelling during the period of Early Modern
English (1500-1650) are of particular interest to those interested in ‘Shakspere’
and ‘Shakespeare’ . . . . One of the changes in Middle English was that some short
vowels were lengthened. Baugh gives the example of the Old English infinitive bacan,
which became Middle English baken, modern to bake. Other words which shared the
sound change of bacan include tacan, modern to take; sc(e)acan, to shake; and the noun
nama, name. Part of the change to modern pronunciations took place during what is
called the Great Vowel Shift, generally seen as occurring between 1400 and 1600, but
there were later vowel changes too.
Twelfth Night: How Much Did deVere Know of Dubrovnik? Richard Malim
We know that Oxford incurred an injury to his knee on a Venetian galley in 1575
during his stay in Italy. In September 1575, an Italian banker wrote from Venice:
“God be thanked, for now last [lately] coming from Genoa his lordship found himself
somewhat altered by reason of the extreme heats: and before [earlier] his Lordship
hurt his knee in one of the Venetian galleys . . . ” A Venetian galley would only
have been used on a sea voyage, not a canal or river journey. Possibly, de Vere made
a trip to the free city state of Ragusa (its Italian name) or Dubrovnik (its Croatian
name). If so, he could have seen for himself a culture and location that he would
later use as background for Twelfth Night.
Evermore in Subjection: Wardship and Edward de Vere Bonner Miller Cutting
One might feel for the plight of the youth who entered Cecil’s magnificent London
house in 1562. Even the brightest of twelve-year-olds would be no match for . . .
William Cecil, a man who commanded the Privy Council, the Court of Wards, and
the Treasury. Because of wardship, Edward de Vere accrued backbreaking debts and
entered into a disastrous marriage. In the end, he lost everything: property, children,
and his reputation. . . . Burghley himself wrote “The greatest possession that any
man can have is honor, good name, and good will of many and of the best sort” –
sentiments that Shakespeare ascribes to Iago.
The Sycamore Grove, Revisited Catherine Hatinguais
[In] Verona, our bus stopped briefly near Porta Palio to allow us to see Romeo’s sycamore
grove. I asked our Italian guide – just to be sure – if those trees . . . through
the bus windows were the famous sycamore trees. She answered bluntly: “No, those
are plane trees. Sycamores are a different species.” Once I recovered from my surprise,
I started thinking . . . Are there really two different tree species, each with
its own unique name? Or is there only one species of tree, but with two different
names, depending on the region or the era? . . . To get to the root of this problem,
we first had to get to the leaves. . . . Little did I know how far this modest inquiry
The Great Reckoning -- Who Killed Christopher Marlowe and Why? Stephanie Hopkins Hughes
The Oxfordian thesis has forced us into areas of psychology, biography and history
– English, continental, and literary . . . [because of] the issue of Shakespeare’s identity
. . . . Seeking the truth about the author of the western world’s most important
and influential literary canon has required that we examine the facts surrounding
the production of other literary works at the time, facts that demonstrate that the
Stratford biography is not the only one rife with anomalies. Although Christopher
Marlowe’s biography holds together far better than most, his death remains as much
a mystery as Shakespeare’s identity. Could these two mysteries be related?
Essex, The Rival Poet of Shakespeare’s Sonnets Peter Moore
[Some] principal questions about the Sonnets are the identities of the fair youth, the
dark lady, and the rival poet . . . The most often proposed rival poets are George
Chapman and Christopher Marlowe, but the arguments for them are thin; even
weaker cases have been offered for virtually every other contemporary professional
poet. . . . Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex, was . . . intelligent, handsome,
athletic, improvident, charming, a generous patron of writers . . . He was also the
best friend and hero of the youthful third Earl of Southampton. He was also a poet
whose talent was admired by his contemporaries.
The Rival Poet in Shake-speare’s Sonnets Hank Whittemore
The Oxfordian model opens the door to an entirely new way of looking at the nine
sonnets in the rival series, resulting in a view . . . that the rival was not a person at all,
but a persona. . . . The rival series contains Oxford’s own testimony about the authorship
– a grand, poetic, profoundly emotional statement of his identity as the author
being erased for all time and being replaced by the printed name known since 1593
as William Shakespeare. In this context, the sonnets about the so-called rival refer
not to Oxford’s original use of the pseudonym in 1593, but rather to the need several
years later for his real name – his authorship – to be permanently buried.
A Psychiatrist’s View of the Sonnets Eliot Slater
Shakespeare’s preoccupation with his own aging, a physical decay destined to end in
death, gives by itself an impression of such melancholy that we are bound to consider
whether he may have had a depressive illness. Scholars have repeatedly emphasized
the world-weariness, the despair of human kind and the self-contempt that
inspire so much of the poetry and the action of such plays as Hamlet, King Lear, and
Timon of Athens. Some (Chambers, for instance) think of the possibility of a nervous
breakdown. The Sonnets are a record which can help us to a partial answer of whether
the poet was ever in worse case than merely very miserable, or whether, in fact, he
had a mental illness.
Review of Quentin Skinner’s book, Forensic Shakespeare Richard Waugaman
Review of Robert Bearman’s book, Shakespeare’s Money Richard Waugaman
Honest Ben and the Two Tribes He Hath Left Us Gabriel Ready
Spinning Shakespeare Don Rubin
Nearly Forgotten Article by J. Thomas Looney Introduction by James Warren
Is Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit about Shakespeare, or By Him? Robert Prechter
Subliminal Chaucer in Shakespeare’s History Plays Michael Delahoyde
The Rediscovery of Shakespeare’s Greater Greek Earl Showerman
Oxfordian Theory and Continental Drift James Warren
My Oxfordian Bookshelf Chris Pannell
New Discoveries about the Authorship of Shakespeare’s Works Richard M. Waugaman
All Is True Mike A’Dair
Edward de Vere and The Two Noble Kinsmen Michael Delahoyde
Storm over The Tempest Stephanie Hopkins Hughes
The Psychopathology of Stratfordianism Richard M. Waugaman
Reclaiming The Passionate Pilgrim for Shakespeare Katherine Chiljan
Giordano Bruno: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Derran Charlton
The Case for Sir Henry Neville as the Real Shakespeare William D. Rubenstein
Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford: Touchstone to the English Literary Renaissance Stephanie Hopkins Hughes
Verse Parallels Between Oxford and Shakespeare Robert R. Prechter, Jr.
Titus Andronicus, the Psalms, and Edward de Vere’s Bible Richard M. Waugaman
The Date of The Merchant of Venice: The Case for 1578 Ramon Jiménez
Alas Poor Anne: Shakespeare’s “Second Best Bed” in Historical Perspective Bonner Miller Cutting
On the Date and Authorship of The Contention Kevin Gilvary
The ‘Learned’ vs. The ‘Unlearned’ Shakespeare Frank Davis
The Anglified Italian Who Invented Shakespeare Lamberto Tassinari
Did Shakespeare Have a Literary Mentor? W. Ron Hess
A Response to “Did Shakespeare Have a Literary Mentor?” Sabrina Feldman
Titus Andronicus and the Treasonous House of Howard Marie Merkel
Some Comments on Michael Egan’s ‘Slurs, Nasal Rhymes, and Amputations Macdonald P. Jackson
Michael Egan Replies to Macdonald P. Jackson Michael Egan
Doctor Faustus, Tamburlaine and The Taming of The Shrew Derran Charlton
The Swallow and the Crow: The Case for Sackville as Shakespeare Sabrina Feldman
The Shakespeare Clinic and the Oxfordians Ward E.Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza
A Reply to Ward E.Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza John Shahan & Richard Whalen
Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare David Kathman
Why Marlowe Didn’t Die in 1593 Peter Farey
The Case for Oxford Revisited Ramon Jiménez
Amelia Bassano Lanier: A New Paradigm John Hudson
The Other W.S., William Stanley, Sixth Earl of Derby John Raithel
An Oxfordian Response Stephanie Hopkins Hughes
Timon of Athens: Shakespeare’s Sophoclean Tragedy Earl Showerman
Auditing the Stylometricians: Elliott, Valenza and the Claremont Shakespeare Authorship Clinic John Shahan & Richard Whalen
Book Reviews, Letters, News, Notices
Editorial Stephanie Hopkins Hughes
The Spanish Maze and the Date of The Tempest Roger Stritmatter & Lyne Kositsky
Could Shakespeare have Calculated the Odds in Hamlet’s Wager? Sam C. Saunders
Did Samuel Rowley Write Thomas of Woodstock? Michael Egan
A Dozen Plays Written after Oxford Died? Not Proven! Richard F. Whalen
Sacred Pearls in the Machinery of Hamlet Carl Caruso
Did Oxford make his Publishing Debut in 1560 as “T.H.”? Robert Prechter
My Other Car is a Shakespeare: A Response to Shahan and Whalen Ward E.Y. Elliot & Robert Valenza
Book Reviews, Letters, News, Notices
From Russia with Love: a Case of Love’s Labour’s Lost (unavailable until further notice by author's request)
Oaths Forsworn in Love’s Labors Lost Ruth Loyd Miller
De Vere’s Lucrece and Romano’s Sala di Troia Michael Delahoyde Ph.D.
On the Chronology and Performance Venue of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Roger Stritmatter, Ph.D.
A Crisis of Scholarship: Misreading the Earl of Oxford Christoper Paul
Apples to Oranges in Bard Stylometrics: Elliot and Valenza fail to eliminate Oxford John Shahan and Richard Whalen
Authorship Clues in Henry VI, Part 3 Eric L. Altschuler, MD & William James
Book Reviews, Letters, News, Notices
The Stratford Bust: A Monumental Fraud Richard F. Whalen
Hamlet’s Love Letter and the New Philosophy Peter Usher
Searching for the Oxfordian “smoking gun” in Elizabethan Letters Paul H. Altrocchi MD
Book Reviews, Letters, News Notes
A Monument Without a Tomb: The Mystery of Oxford’s Death Christopher Paul
To Be or Not To Be: The Suicide Hypothesis Robert Detobel
Orestes and Hamlet: from Myth to Masterpiece, Part 1 Earl Showerman
Did Queen Elizabeth Use the Theater for Social and Political Propaganda? Gary B. Goldstein
Bardgate: Was Shakespeare a Secret Catholic? Peter W. Dickson
Shakespeare’s “Lesse Greek” Andrew Werth
The Prince Tudor Dilemma: Hip Thesis, Hypothesis or Old Wives’ Tale? Christopher Paul
A Reattribution of Munday’s “The Paine of Pleasure” Sarah Smith, PhD
Shakespeare’s Support for the New Astronomy Prof. Peter Usher
Alexander Pope: An Oxfordian at Heart? Helen Gordon
The Poem Grief of Minde: Who Wrote it and Why it is Important Frank M. Davis MD
Authorial Rights in Shakespeare’s Time Robert Detobel
Advances in the Hamlet Allegory Peter Usher
Shakespeare’s Knowledge of Law: A Journey through the History of the Argument Mark Andre Alexander
Such Shaping Fantasies? Psychology and the Authorship Debate Sally Hazelton Llewellyn
What is the Authorship Question?
“Shakespeare’s” Tutor: Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577) Stephanie Hopkins Hughes
Shakespeare’s Medical Knowledge: How did He Acquire It? Frank M. Davis MD
Can the Oxford Candidacy be Saved? – A Response to W. Ron Hess: ‘Shakespeare’s Dates’” Ward E.Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza
Reprint: Lord Burghley as Master of the Court of Wards Joel Hurstfield
Prolegomena for the Oxfordian General Jack Shuttleworth
Dating Shakespeare’s Hamlet Eddi Jolly
Unpacking The Merry Wives Robert Brazil
Mathematical Models of Stratfordian Persistence Dr. Charles Berney
Opinion: Reading by the Lamp of Biography Andrew Werth
Shakespeare, Oxford and “A Pedlar” James Fitzgerald
William Byrd’s “Battle” and the Earl of Oxford Sally Mosher
De Vere’s Dedicatory Poem in Cardan’s Comfort (1573) Roger Stritmatter Ph.D.
Hotwiring the Bard into Cyberspace W. Ron Hess
Check the Submission Guidelines and Publication Agreement and Assignment of Copyright if you are considering submitting an article for publication. Submissions may be sent to the editor, Chris Pannell, via email. Please put the words “The Oxfordian” in the subject line along with anything specific to your subject.