Monday, September 15, 2014

Wember reports on authorship book published in Sweden

Hanno Wember, board member of The New Shakespeare Society in Hamburg, Germany
at the 2014 SOF conference in Madison, WI
by Linda Theil

Once again our Hamburg correspondent, Hanno Wember of Neue Shake-speareGesellschaft (New Shakespeare Society) brings word of post-Stratfordian thought in northern Europe with his report on a new book by Swedish author Martin Tegen published by Themis of Stockholm.

The book is titled Vem var Shakespeare? Sonetternas gåta, which translates: Who Was Shakespeare? The Riddle (or enigma) of the Sonnets.

Wember says that part of Tegen's thesis is that the author of Shakespeare's works was a musician and he links de Vere to the works through de Vere's own musicianship.

Wember provides the following information translated from the publisher's website: 
Who is hiding behind the name of the author Shakespeare? The first time the name of the author William Shakespeare emerges is the verse epic story of Venus and Adonis 1593. Many saw in it an allegory about the Queen and her "virginity". Is it - wonder the same queen who also appears in Shakepeare's sonnets as the dark lady? Martin Tegen's first book to publishers Themis was his interpretation of Shakespeare's sonnets and verse narratives for which he received the Society of the Nine översättarpris in 2007.
Martin Tegen, born April 28, 1919 in Uppsala, Sweden, is a Swedish music researchers, university teachers and translators. Martin Tegen became PhD in 1955, and then served as Assistant Professor (1956-1969) and Associate Professor (1964-1984) in music research and musicology at Stockholm University. Martin Tegen is an expert on 1800s Swedish music and musical life. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Music and was rewarded in 2004 with a scholarship from Hilding Rosenberg Fund for Swedish musicology. After his retirement Tegen has launched a second career as a translator of classical literature, including William Shakespeare and Rainer Maria Rilke.


Stratfordians have nowhere to squat

Alexander Waugh, presented two papers at the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship 2014 conference in Madison, WI; Photo Linda Theil

by Linda Theil

Ron Halsted, Richard Joyrich and I attended the 2014 Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship conference in Madison, WI Sept 11-14. Alexander Waugh flew in from England to present two papers: one on the bogus nature of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust site, and the second on Ben Jonson's "Sweet Swan of Avon" reference in the First Folio that appears to place the author of Shakespeare's works on the banks of Stratford on Avon.

Waugh's essay on the topic of Shakespeare's birthplace appears in his just-published Kindle Single ebook titled, Shakespeare in Court, and is available from Amazon for $1.99 at A Kindle reader is available at no cost from the site. Preview available here.

Waugh's essay on Jonson's "swan of avon" is published in the latest editon of the SOF journal, The Oxfordian, that is available to SOF members -- information at

Waugh says in The Oxfordian, Vol. 16 (2014) p. 100: 
So it would appear that Hampton Court was anciently known as “Avon”. Camden’s source was Leland’s Genethliacon of 1643, but this was by no means his only reference to the Royal palace as “Avon”. In his Cygnea Cantio (1545) Leland explained that Hampton Court was called “Avon” as a shortening of the Celtic-Roman name “avondumun” meaning a fortified place (dunum) by a river (avon), which “the common people by corruption called Hampton.” This etymology was supported by Raphael Hollinshed, who wrote in this Chronicles (1586) that “we now pronounce Hamton for Avondune.
 Edward de Vere’s tutor, the antiquarian Laurence Nowell, also knew of this connection because he transcribed, by hand, the complete “Syllabus” from Leland’s Genethliacon, which contains the  entry: “Avondunum, Aglice Hamtoncourte.” Historian William Lambarde, in his Topgraphical and Historical Dictionary of England, written in the 16902, includes an entry for Hampton Court, which, he writes, is “corruptly called Hampton for Avondun or Avon, and usual Names for many Waters within Ingland.”
So, one of the three shaky legs (i.e. title pages attributing work to Shakespeare, the Stratford monument, and Jonson's reference to the swan of Avon in the First Folio) of the Stratfordian attribution is sawn off by a British iconoclast who revels in challenging the status quo.

Since the title pages are meaningless, the monument is fraudulent, and now the First Folio leads to the site where Shakespeare's plays were originally offered to the court, the Stratfordian stool is legless. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cutler releases Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree as free ebook

Keir Cutler's 3,000-word monograph titled, "Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree" is now available as a free ebook on Smashwords. The publisher says:
The true story of "Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree" of Stratford-upon-Avon is not generally known, even though it was seminal to the development of William Shakespeare as the cultural icon he is today. Keir Cutler, who possesses a PhD in theater, tells the fascinating real life account in this short and revealing essay.
Beginning with Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Cutler succinctly takes the reader on a historical journey that provides food for thought for the open-minded thinker. If William of Stratford was the writer of the famous plays and poems, why was nothing ever found in his hometown connecting this man to the great works? Why are there no plays, poems or even any letters in Shakespeare’s own hand? And most significantly, why would the mulberry tree in back of his former home in Stratford become “one of the most valuable assets of the town?”
“Shakespeare’s Mulberry Tree” is a true story few professors ever tell their students because it is difficult to maintain the strict orthodoxy that there is no Shakespeare Authorship Question once this important piece of history is known.
"Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree is available in epub, mobi, pdf formats and also available to read online from the Smashwords site at Cutler also has a performance on this topic available on YouTube under the title "Shakespeare Authorship: The Mulberry Tree".

Stratfordians are still fascinated by arboreal relics; the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in the person of head of research and knowledge, Paul Edmondson, has just completed a summer-long tour of Shakespeare festivals in the US -- handing out pieces of a cedar tree from Stratford-on-Avon. See: "Shakespeare Birthplace Trust hands out relics of the True Cedar Tree in USA".

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pirè and Valentini reply to Oberon

by Linda Theil

I received this email today from deposed Memoria di Shakespeare editors, Luciana Pirè and Maria Valentini:
Dear Ms Theil, thank you for your concern. We will not be appearing as editors of the tenth issue of Memoria di Shakespeare; the Editorial Board has decided on a particular line and rather than having been replaced we have chosen to step down from the editorship of this particular issue. We must however add that all papers had been only temporarily accepted rather than definitively and were due to be read by the Board as a whole and then go through peer review. We believe there is not much more we can add. Yours sincerely, Luciana Pirè and Maria Valentini
I asked the two Italian scholars for their response to the new Memoria di Shakespeare editor, Gary Taylor's having accused them both of " . . . a breach of faith . . ." in choosing Shakespeare-authorship researcher Richard Waugaman, MD, for a place in the tenth edition of Memoria -- an edition dedicated to the topic of Shakespearean biography, due to be published in 2015.

Taylor told Waugaman that getting rid of Waugaman's article had been a condition of Taylor's acceptance of the Memoria editorship. For background on this story, see the August 23, 2014 Oberon article "Gary Taylor sez Waugaman is as unconvincing as holocaust deniers".

The text of my query to Luciana Pirè and Maria Valentini is posted below:
Da: Linda Theil
Inviato: giovedì 21 agosto 2014 13:34
A: pire; (valentini)
Oggetto: Gary Taylor's remarks
Ms Pire and Ms Valentini,
I am preparing a post about Richard Waugaman's article being dropped from Memoria 10 for the blog: Oberon Shakespeare Studies Group at and I hoped that you would wish to comment on the following Gary Taylor comment made in an August 19, 2014 letter to Richard Waugaman. Gary Taylor said:
" . . . I understand that you are chargrined about the change of policy at the journal. But the previous co-editors, who contacted you, were themselves guilty of a breach of good faith, in committing the journal to positions conflicted with the intentions and desires of the journal's founders. . . ."
Do you think Taylor's comment is correct? Could you comment on the issue?
Can you tell me if you will appear as editors of the tenth issue of Memoria and are you still working on the project? Taylor gives the impression that you have been replaced and I wondered if that was accurate.
Dr. Waugaman says that Taylor (and by extension, the Memoria board) is guilty of a breach of academic freedom by censoring Waugaman's paper after it had been accepted by the board's chosen editors.
Do you think the board's actions are a breach of academic freedom?
Thank you very much for your time and attention,
Linda Theil

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gary Taylor sez Waugaman is as unconvincing as holocaust deniers

by Linda Theil

Early modern literary scholar Gary Taylor, PhD, told Shakespeare authorship researcher Richard Waugaman, MD that he finds Waugaman's arguments unconvincing. In an August 19, 2014 email to Waugaman, Taylor said: "I simply find your reasoning, and your evidence, as unconvincing as those of Holocaust deniers, and other conspiracy theorists."

Waugaman told this Oberon reporter:
I’m delighted that a prominent Stratfordian has taken dead aim at us and has then shot himself in the foot. There’s now no doubt that for diehard Stratfordians like Gary Taylor, academic freedom means the freedom for them to silence dissent. We will no longer tolerate this.
Waugaman's article "The Psychology of Shakespeare Biography: An Update" had been accepted in January 2014 by the editors of the 2015 edition of the English and Italian journal Memoria di Shakespeare: a Journal of Shakespearean Studies, an edition that would be dedicated to the topic of Shakespeare biography. (See: Waugaman contributes to Italian journal)

But on August 18, 2014, Waugaman was told by Memoria di Shakespeare general editor Rosy Colombo Smith that the experienced co-editors who had enthusiastically accepted his article -- Lucianna Pire and Maria Valentini -- had "stepped down", that she and Gary Taylor were the new co-editors of the 2015 edition of the journal, and that they would not be publishing his article.

When Waugaman protested against the unfairness of dropping him from the edition, he received the message from Taylor quoted above, comparing Waugaman's reasoning to the odious arguments of Holocaust deniers -- a malicious comparison not unfamiliar to Waugaman and other authorship researchers. (See: Greenblatt sez sorry to Oxfordians)

 Taylor replied to Waugaman's protest in no uncertain terms:
This change is due to my own involvement in the volume. The editorial board was concerned about some of the contributions invited by the previous co-editors. I agreed to help by stepping in, with Professor Colombo, as new co-editor. But my acceptance was conditional on rejection of certain contributions, like yours, which seem to me profoundly unscholarly, and which would have the effect of undermining the credibility and status of other contributions to the volume.
Taylor, further, denounced Pire and Valentini: 
I understand that you are chargrined about the change of policy at the journal. But the previous co-editors, who contacted you, were themselves guilty of a breach of good faith, in committing the journal to positions conflicted with the intentions and desires of the journal's founders.
In a subsequent email, Waugaman told Taylor:
It has been only four months since both Stephen Greenblatt and Jonathan Bate apologized to me for having compared post-Stratfordians to Holocaust deniers. And now you make that repulsive comparison yourself. I can only assume your emotions have over-ridden your common decency. I know one fellow Oxfordian who lost more than 70 relatives in the Holocaust, and he finds that comparison especially disgusting.
Stratfordian David Ellis, author of The Truth About William Shakespeare: Fact, Fiction and Modern Biographies (Edinburgh University, 2012), (see: "UK professor says Shakespeare biographies are bunk") is also scheduled to appear in the 2015 Memoria di Shakespeare, but despite his criticism of Shakespeare biographers, has yet to feel the bite of Taylor's axe. Will Ellis' denial of alternate candidates for the production of Shakespeare's works protect Ellis from censorship? 

Versions of Waugaman's article have been published in the first edition of the post-Stratfordian journal Brief Chronicles 1 (2009) and in The Oxfordian (2012). The version accepted by Pire and Valentini for Memoria di Shakespeare 2015 can be read on the web at "The Psychology of Shakespearean Biography: An Update". Waugaman has added an afterword to the document describing his experience with Memoria di Shakespeare. A copy of Waugaman's afterword including the correspondence documenting this sad saga follows below.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Show me the data!

by Linda Theil

We Shakespeare lovers would be better served if supporters of the status quo would attempt to eliminate a distorting Stratfordian lens from their view of all things Shakespeare. Too often, information is presented as if the Stratfordian view were confirmed, when the truth is much more complex and much more interesting.

The Folger Shakespeare Library recently published on their webpage a promo of a talk on heraldry titled "Shakespeare's Coat of Arms . . . " by Kathryn Will. They said:
In 1596, Shakespeare secured a coat of arms for his father, thus earning himself the title "gentleman." But the herald who granted the coat faced attacks from his own colleagues for elevating a mere playwright to gentle status. How did Shakespeare, early modern heraldry officials, and their contemporaries view the relationship between heraldry and gentility? And have heraldry's meanings changed over the past few centuries? 
In this talk, scholar Kathryn Will explores the fascinating and volatile history of England's royal College of Arms, shedding light on quests for arms from the Bard through Kate Middleton. Read more about Kathryn's work at her website
The phrase “But the herald who granted the coat faced attacks from his own colleagues for elevating a mere playwright to gentle status.” caught my attention. To me, that statement indicates that the author of the statement has citations for documents showing that more than one of the herald’s colleagues made more than one attack on the herald for raising the “mere” playwright William Shakespeare to be a gentleman. Since I had never heard of these documents, I wrote to Folger public relations officer Garland Scott on July 18, 2014:
Since the grant [of arms] was made to John Shakespeare, I don’t know why any reference would have been made to being a playwright. If there is any contemporary documentation indicating the attacks were based on William Shakespeare being a “mere playwright” as you say, could you provide the quotes and sources?
Garland referred my query to Kathryn Will. When I didn’t hear from Will, I asked Scott if the statement had been fact-checked and if not, would the Folger be willing to repudiate the statement. Scott consulted further with Folger staff and replied in an email dated July 28, 2014:
. . . I followed up with Heather Wolfe and Nigel Ramsey, co-curators of our Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England exhibition, with your questions about the short blurb for scholar Kathryn Will’s related lecture. The attack mentioned in the blurb happened after the death of John Shakespeare at which point the arms had passed to William Shakespeare as the eldest son. The attack was based not only on the fact that Brooke considered William to be a player, but also on the fact that John Shakespeare’s arms were too similar to other arms and he was not of a gentle enough background, so that it never should have been granted in the first place. Sources would be the Bodleian manuscript, the College of Arms manuscript with the colored arms, and the later version of the Brooke account at the Folger. Nigel Ramsay wrote a blog post on the topic:
There’s also information online at:
So there was one colleague named Brooke and one attack, not multiples of either as one would assume from reading the original blurb where the plural for both was used. But where are the quotes and citations? I turned to Ros Barber, PhD, author of The Marlowe Papers and Shakespeare: The Evidence for advice. Barber replied in July 28 and July 29, 2014 emails:
What they're referring to, no doubt, is the note 'Shakespear ye player' on the copy of a page of the complaint document. As it says in Shakespeare: The Evidence, this is not an original document but a copy made 100 years later and even then the phrase is written in a different ink and a hand to the rest of the page. . . . 
Elisabeth Leedham-Green,  a handwriting expert from Cambridge University confirmed that in her view the hand was 'modern'. Folger manuscript curator, Heather Wolfe [whom I consulted for my book] said it was at least questionable. Your point is well made. The grant of arms was to the father not the son. I think it likely that 'Shakespear ye player' was an antiquarian's note.
. . .
 I can see that Garland is trying to be helpful and is giving a fairly full general purpose account, rather than academic (citations, etc.) Friendly and considered. It’s certainly the way most Strats read this evidence. For me it misses the main problem regarding the evidence as I raise in Shakespeare: The Evidence. The ONLY basis for the ‘player’ idea is that single phrase on a copy made 100 years later which we cannot tell is a true copy -- and the phrase itself may have been added later. The rest of the points made are just general points raised by Brooke re ALL the arms grants he was complaining about. Read Price and Matus for different takes on it.
I followed up with Diana Price’s Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography and Irvin Matus’ Shakespeare, In Fact and other sources and discovered that in 1602 one herald named Ralph Brooke accused the Garter King of Arms, Sir William Dethick of previously elevating 23 people to the gentry who should not have been elevated because their arms were too similar to existing coats of arms and/or because they were of low birth.

John Shakespeare, whose arms had been bestowed in 1596, was on Brooke’s list of 23 people. Brooke says nothing about William Shakespeare and nothing about playwrights. The sketched document that purportedly links William Shakespeare to the Brooke complaint never mentions playwrights, either.

This document, is described in Barber's Shakespeare: The Evidence, under the title "Shakespear ye player by garter (Appendix #A-030):
1602/c.1700 **Heraldic document**  Associated with Brooke’s complaint is a separate sheet entitled 'A Note of Some Coats & Crests’ which includes, on the top left corner, a drawing of the Shakspere arms, underneath which is written ‘Shakespear ye Player by Garter.’ It is *not* the original document, but is believed to have been copied from the original some hundred years later by Peter Le Neve, an officer of the College of Arms. (Folger Shakespeare Library, MS. V.a.350).
The document shows the Shakespeare arms sketched in the upper left corner of the paper with a notation underneath saying “Shakespear ye player” and on a second line “by Garter”. As Barber says in her email, “The ONLY basis for the ‘player’ idea is that single phrase on a copy made 100 years later which we cannot tell is a true copy -- and the phrase itself may have been added later.”

So, the Folger statement “But the herald who granted the coat faced attacks from his own colleagues for elevating a mere playwright to gentle status.” is inaccurate in the number of colleagues, the number of attacks and the reason for the attacks – which has nothing to do with writing plays. And the document linking "Shakespear ye player" to the Brooke complaint is questionable, based on testimony of the Folger's own expert.

Many published references to William Shakespeare are similarly misleading. Most readers assume that assertions about the Stratfordian attribution are backed by supporting documentation, documentation that often doesn’t exist. A recent playbill from a University of Michigan production confidently stated that Shakespeare attended grammar school in Stratford, a statement for which there is no documentation whatsoever.

Stratfordians should know that sloppy scholarship doesn't enhance the Stratfordian attribution of Shakespeare's work.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust distributes relics of the True Cedar Tree in USA

Actor Michael Scott and cast members of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival production of A Midsummer Night's Dream display their plaque made from a cedar that grew in the garden of Shakespeare's birthplace. Photo courtesy Michael Scott

by Linda Theil

Buoyed by their success touting the Shakespeare beyond Doubt defense against anti-Stratfordian attacks at the Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada last year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust returns to North America this summer. In a Jesuitical mission presumably designed to bolster Stratfordians against authorship apostasy, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Head of Research and Knowledge Paul Edmondson has been dispatched to America on a two month tour of fourteen Shakespeare festivals in fourteen states.

Accompanied by Paul Prescott, associate professor of English at the University of Warwick, and supported by a truly splendiferous array of mobile media, the Shakespeare missionaries began their tour on the Fourth of July in Kansas City and will end September 1 in Washington DC. A listing of their itinerary is included at the end of this post.

Edmondson said July 3, 2014 in “Shakespeare on the Road” post on the Birthplace Trust website Blogging Shakespeare:
Along the way, we speak to actors, audience members, creatives, community organizers, philanthropists and hot-dog sellers about what Shakespeare means to them and their community. During the next two months we will be gathering together material for a radio documentary, a book, and the international collections of the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive.
Along their pilgrimage road, Edmondson is presenting each festival organization with a relic of the True Cedar Tree guaranteed to sustain American Shakespeare-lovers against anti-Stratfordian temptation.

Edmondson said:
We will be doing talks at each of the festival venues, telling the story via social media and presenting a 450th birthday gift to each of the festival partners in the form of a plaque from a cedar tree that used to grow in the garden of Shakespeare’s Birthplace (it had to be felled because it was becoming a danger to public safety). We are delighted that Greg Wyatt (Sculptor in Residence at St John the Divine Cathedral, New York) has designed, made and donated these beautiful objects.
Actor Michael Scott reported the New Orleans presentation on Twitter and Instagram on July 10:
Shakespeare on the Road just presented our company with a cedar plaque made from a tree that grew on the grounds of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon. They are here to experience the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival on a journey to explore Bard in the USA. Follow their journey at Come see the last two shows of a Midsummer Night’s Dream this weekend. Tickets at at The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane.
Edmondson and Prescott are accompanied on their trip by new media gurus A.J. and Melissa Leon of Misfit, Inc. who say on their website:
We have traveled all over the globe and produced workshops for brands and organizations that are dead serious about using the web to tell compelling stories, connect with their tribe and solve interesting problems. Our workshops are not cheap, but they will help you to take over the world. 
Jonathan Fields on the Good Life Project website refers to the couple as ". . . a tactical strike team for really interesting organizations."

The entire trek is being documented on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust site Blogging Shakespeare, as well as a site dedicated to the project called Shakespeare on the Road. Edmondson and Prescott are sending dispatches from the heartland posted daily to the site, as well as sending messages via a Twitter account titled Bard in the USA @ShakespeareBT, and an Instagram identity, also Bard in the USA.
UPDATE: July 14, 2014

For comedien Keir Cutler's view of Stratford's historical obsession with Shakespearean trees, see his new video published yesterday on YouTube titled "Shakespeare Authorship: The Mulberry Tree" at

* * * 
See an Oberon report of Edmondson’s visit to Stratford Ontario last summer at

Shakespeare on the Road posts to date:

Edmondson: Our Partner Festivals and itinerary are as follows:

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City, MO 4 – 6 July 2014
New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, New Orleans, LA 9–11 July
Shakespeare at Winedale, Winedale, TX 13 – 15 July
Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, UT 17 – 19 July
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga, CA 24 – 26 July
Livermore, CA 27 July
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR 29 – 31 July
Montana Shakespeare Festival, Bozeman, MT 1 – 5 August
Door Shakespeare Festival, Door, WI 7 August
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago, IL 8 – 9 August
Harlem Shakespeare Festival, NYC, NY 10 – 14 August
Shakespeare and Co., Lenox, MA 15 – 17 August
Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, ON 19 – 21 August
Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville, TN 23 – 25 August
American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA 27 – 29 August
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington DC 29 Aug – 1 Sept

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Trevor-Roper told Ogburn: Stratfordian Shakespeare "implausible"

Hugh Trevor-Roper circa 1980 at Oxford. Photo by Graham Harrison courtesy The Sunday Times

Was Hugh Trevor-Roper an Authorship Doubter?
Letter to Charlton Ogburn, Jr., discovered by Alexander Waugh,
confirms that he was

by Oberon guest blogger John M. Shahan, Chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition

Most Oxfordians probably know that Hugh Trevor-Roper, (1914-2003) Baron Dacre of Glanton, Regius Professor of History at Oxford University and the British intelligence officer who tracked Hitler during World War II, wrote an article in which he marveled at the strange elusiveness of William Shakespeare. The following famous quote appears in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? (Shahan and Waugh, eds., 2013) and is paraphrased in the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt:
Of all the immortal geniuses of literature, none is personally so elusive as William Shakespeare. It is exasperating, and almost incredible, that he should be so. After all, he lived in the full daylight of the English Renaissance, in the well-documented reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. He wrote thirty-six plays and [154] highly personal sonnets. He was connected with some of the best-known figures in the most conspicuous court in English history. Since his death, and particularly in the last century, he has been subjected to the greatest battery of organised research that has ever been directed upon a single person. And yet the greatest of all Englishmen, after this tremendous inquisition, still remains so close a mystery that even his identity can still be doubted. (“What’s in a Name?” Réalités, Nov 1962.)
So Trevor-Roper says that Shakespeare’s identity “can still be doubted,” but was he a doubter himself? One might surmise that he probably was, but since he didn’t actually say so it hasn’t been clear, until now. In July 2013, searching through the Trevor-Roper files on Shakespeare in the archives at Christchurch College, Oxford, Alexander Waugh found a letter that Trevor-Roper wrote to Charlton Ogburn, Jr., (1911-1998) dated 21 February, 1981, stating his view. Here are some excerpts:
My view is that the available evidence that the plays and poems were the work of William Shakespeare of Stratford is weak and unconvincing … not a shred of solid evidence connects the man with the works during his lifetime; the association of such works with such a man is, on the face of it, implausible; and the posthumous association of them, in the First Folio and in the Stratford Tomb, is inconclusive since there are legitimate questions concerning the motivation and production of the Folio and the original form of the Tomb. There are many suspicions legitimately adhering to all the later statements associating the man with the works, including the statements of Ben Jonson. Altogether, I consider the evidence of association to be slender, weak and implausible. There is not a single testimony which could not easily be re-interpreted if solid evidence were to turn up that the works were written by another man… In these circumstances of legitimate doubt, I believe that the proper course is to return to square one and examine the problem ab initio, without any preconceptions… I am heretical in that I allow that there is a real problem of authorship… I would not be surprised if evidence were to be discovered which destroyed the orthodox case.
He could hardly have made it any clearer where he stood, and just three years later Ogburn published The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Myth and the Reality. Reading Trevor-Roper’s letter today, the present generation of Oxfordians can take pride in the fact that such an important British historian shared our doubts about Shakspere and expressed them so well.

* * *

Graham Harrison photo of Hugh Trevor-Roper from The Sunday Times book review "One Hundred Letters from Hugh Trevor-Roper . . . " dated Jan. 26, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tom and Joy report from Seattle

Tom Townsend in Seattle, WA

Tom and Joy Townsend are settling into their new life in Seattle. They plan to close on a home in the upper Queen Anne area on July 2, and they had lunch with several members of the Seattle Shakespeare Oxford Society yesterday. Tom said:
The SSOS is made up of great, smart, well-read people (just like Oberon!). Joy and I enjoyed speaking with each of them.  . . . Meetings for the rest of the year have been planned. There is a lot of Shakespeare performed (I’m told) here in Seattle. Some were discussing having meetings just before or after these performances.
Even the weather has been welcoming! Tom reported:
Since we’ve been here the temps have been in the mid 60s to low 70s since we arrived on May 15. There has been scant rain! We continue to miss everyone from the Oberon group and wish everyone the best.
It's good to hear from our good friends and good to know they are enjoying their adventure in the northwest.

International Fountain in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, WA 
Photos courtesy Tom and Joy Townsend

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Joyrich is a lead donor to new SOF research grant project

by Linda Theil

Oberon Chair Richard Joyrich, MD

Oberon Chair Richard Joyrich, MD, is a Lead Donor to the new Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship Research Grant Program announced June 10 by SOF President John Hamill. The SOF intends to make two to four cash grants to scholars and researchers for the purpose of developing new knowledge bearing on the Shakespeare authorship question. Hamill said:
. . . the (Research Grant) program will begin with $20,000 per year in award funds, half from our endowment and half from members and friends. The grants will be given to members, so please join if you have not already. We have also initiated a Lead Donors Program for those who donate $1,000 or more for this purpose. So far, we are pleased to announce that Ben August, Bonner and Jack Cutting, and Richard Joyrich are Lead Donors.
Joyrich is a past-president of the former Shakespeare Oxford Society and he currently serves on the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship board of trustees. Joyrich said the research grant program was approved by the SOF board at their April 6, 2014 meeting. He said:
I decided to donate because I think that ongoing research into our favorite subject is very important and it sometimes cannot be accomplished due to lack of funds. A group such as the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship should not exist just to provide newsletters and journals. We need to be proactive in trying to spread the word and give credibility to discussing the authorship question and getting it accepted as a legitimate academic pursuit. I hope that the long term future of the SOF Research Grant Program will be to continue and allow such credibility to happen.
Deadline for proposals for the initial round of SOF research grants is August 30, 2014. A selection committee that includes Katherine Chiljan, Bonner Cutting, Ramon Jimenez, John Hamill and Don Rubin will announce awards by November 30, 2014. For a complete description of the program and the rules for participating, see the "Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship Research Grant Program" on SOF website.

Those who wish to donate to the SOF Research Grant Program may contribute online at "Research Grant Program" on the SOF website.

Grant seekers must be SOF members to apply. For information on SOF membership, see "Join the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship" on the SOF website. 

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