All Things Shakespeare
William Shakesbeare – aka “The Bear-d of Avon” – and Friend. (Picture credits)
Part I: The Early Years. Four essays on my earliest investigations into
Oxford scholarship; three of which assert certain Shakespeare documents
are ambiguous, one even fraudulent, in order to disguise the identity of
the author The fourth claims to give proof that the Earl of Oxford
concealed his literary doings.
Reflections on the Authorship Controversy. My comments on Oxfordian scholarship notwithstanding, I recount my satisfying experiences among Oxfordians, and give reason for their success. The biggest of these is that Shakespeareans refuse to recognize the controversy. The scholars most frequently asked question is, “Is it important?” I offer reasons why it is. [view]
|Shakespeare, In Fact – The Book||
Excerpts from reviews and comment on my book. Favorable words from avowed Shakespeareans and others (Oxfordians didn’t care for it). I take on the purported “mysteries” of the records and documents of the Bard, the questions about the publication and dating of his plays, as well as his reputation. I also investigate the Oxfordian orthodoxy in regard to the life and literary talents of the earl. [view]
|More authorship articles||
Reproof Valiant.” This is my
contribution in the War of Prose between five Shakespeareans and five
Oxfordians on five authorship topics that appeared in the April 1999 issue
of Harper’s magazine. (A link to all ten essays is at the
end of the text of this essay.) [view]
Doubts About Shakespeare’s
Authorship? Or About Oxfordian Scholarship? Ever on the lookout for
evidence of authorship apostasy, the Shakespeare Oxford Society website
leads off its webpage on the “History of Doubts” with a cunningly
edited quote from a 1728 book, An Essay Against Too Much Reading.
Here are lengthy excerpts from this satirical work that may raise the
question, are they serious?
All the Views That Fit They Print. The austere New York Times discovers Oxfordianism, and put it into a lengthy article by its culture editor William Niederkorn, in the Arts and Leisure section (Feb. 10, 2002). This essay is a Shakespearean’s response. [view]
“The Shakespeare Files.” Prof Ward Elliott’s account of his participation in a conference at the University of Tennessee, “Who Wrote Shakespeare? An Evidentiary Puzzle,” published in CMC Magazine. It includes remarks on the findings of the Claremont Computer Clinic, and the reasons why he does not “subscribe at all to the conventional, lit-department notion that authorship questions are boring, passé, or suitable only for amateurs.” [view]
“Shakespeare’s First Poem: Sonnet 145.” An essay by noted English scholar Andrew Gurr on this odd poem with octosyllabic lines and its famous closing couplet, “I hate, from hate away she threw, / And sav’d my life saying not you.” Plus my postscript on the question of the pronunciation of Shakespeare and Hathaway – and Oxfordian founding father Looney. [view]
Tales from The Dark Side. I received a “challenge” (more an offer offered in a way I couldn’t refuse) from a persistent Oxfordian, in the form of an essay titled “Tempest’s Red Herrings: Does “Bermoothes = Bermuda or “Caliban” = Cannibal?” positing that this play was “originated” by De Vere in 1576-77. I herein serve up some food for thought. Bon appétit. [view]
|Book reviews||“Good Will Hunting.” My
review of Michael Wood’s Shakespeare, and Sarah Smith’s Chasing
Shakespeare, that appeared in The Washington Post Book World. In
regard to Wood’s book, I have added a postscript, “Sir Thomas More and Shakespeare’s Catholicism.” [view]
Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The review by Shakespeare Newsletter co-editor Thomas A. Pendleton of Alan H. Nelson’s biography of the man who would be Shakespeare. A work of outstanding scholarship – using Oxford’s own words, and those of his contemporaries, as his weapons – Nelson offers a factual portrait of the earl that bears no resemblance to the one of Oxfordian myth. [view]
|My authorship articles online||
“The Oxfordian Hamlet: The Playwright’s the Thing.” Oxfordians assert that knowing the author will shed light on the plays. Well, I know Hamlet – and Oxford is no Hamlet. This is an excerpt from my talk in the Scholar’s Colloquium series at the Library of Congress on the Terry Ross-Dave Kathman Shakespeare Authorship Page.
“What Is Tragedy?” Only a Letter to The Editor of The New York Times, but something I am proud of (it was chosen over some 300 other letters) regarding still another long-running debate: is Death of Salesman’s Willy Loman a truly tragic figure? [view]
“Non-Traditional Casting the Classics.” In the 1988 production of Antony and Cleopatra at Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre, the Romans in the cast were white, the Egyptians minorities. This was so effective that I set up a panel discussion with four of the minority cast members for an article in a Capitol Hill newspaper. They were no less entertaining off stage than on. [view]
“Where The Dream Was Made.” In 1905, the Vitagraph Company began filming at what may be the first modern American film studio in Brooklyn. It helped to save the embattled young industry with its “high art” films, the most enduring of which were Shakespeare silents. Its masterpiece was A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed in a Flatbush Forest of Arden. From the Urbanography website.
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet. The “complete annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare resources” on the Internet, this well-planned site is arranged according to subjects, each with a menu of topics and links galore. Outstanding.
The Collected Works of William Shakespeare. Opens to an unattractive home page screen, but scroll down to the full texts of the plays and poems neatly arranged, each divided by act and scene. Contains an excellent “search query” feature by word and phrase. Easy to use, but be sure to read the instructions for most effective use.
Shakespeare Internet Editions. Notable for its “old spelling texts” of the plays, it includes more of interest about Shakespeare for students, scholars and aficionados.
The Shakespeare Authorship Page. “Dedicated to the proposition that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare,” this site has a wide-ranging selection of well-researched and well-written articles that take meet Oxfordian issues head on, most written by its founders, Dave Kathman and Terry Ross.
Ward Elliott's “Selected Writings.” When I first met Ward in August 1989, he believed the Shakespeare Computer Clinic would reveal the Earl of Oxford was indeed the author. Of the dozens of candidates tested, Oxford came out on the nether fringe. His page also includes his article disputing the Bard’s authorship of the Funeral Elegy, since attributed to John Ford.
Shakespeare Oxford Society Home Page. Find out about the other side of the authorship debate on this comprehensive site. Includes a selection of articles from the contents pages of the SOS’s annual, The Oxfordian, plus its online magazine, The Ever Reader. (But what’s the portrait of Sir Hugh Hamersley doing on its home page?)The Elizabethan Review. A selection of articles assembled by John Mucci, a past associate editor of this pro-Oxford website. His thoughtful review of Roger Stritmatter’s thesis on the markings in the Earl of Oxford’s copy of the Geneva Bible is recommended reading. (But what’s the portrait of Sir Hugh Hamersley doing on its home page?)
Picture credits. William Shakesbeare was created by the Shakespeare Theatre Costume Shop. Will is one of 150 such pandas – beautiful, wry, clever, all delightful – on the streets in Washington’s 2004 Pandamania.
Photo of Shakesbeare thanks to the kindness of John Woo.