Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Michigan contingent to participate in 2011 SF/SOS annual conference in DC

Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman reported on the 2011 Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society Joint Conference to be held Oct. 13-16, 2011 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. From Showerman's report it looks like Michigan will have quite a contingent at the conference. In addition to SOS President Richard Joyrich and SOS board member Susan Grimes Width who plan to attend, Oberon Chair Tom Hunter and Oberon Treasurer Tom Townsend have indicated they will submit proposals as well as well-known Michigan authorship researcher, Barbara Burris. Showerman said:
The program committee for the 2011 joint authorship conference in Washington, DC is still accepting paper proposals. The newly-minted conference registration forms for the Shakespeare Fellowship and Shakespeare Oxford Society are attached (below). The conference will take place October 13-16 at the Washington Court Hotel and a block of rooms have been set aside at a discounted rate. Hotel contact information is on the registration forms. The program will include a tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library with a viewing of Oxford’s Geneva Bible, and a possible trip to a local Cineplex for a group viewing of Anonymous.  Speakers who have already made proposals or signaled their intent to speak include Mark Anderson, Roger Stritmatter, Bonner Cutting, Gerit Quealy, Richard Waugaman, Ron Hess, Barbara Burris, Cheryl Eagan-Donovan, Tom Hunter, Tom Townsend, Albert Burgstahler and myself. Please contact me, Bonner Cutting, or John Hamill if you have a proposal to submit. Here are the conference speaker guidelines: http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/conference2011/

Registration form 2011 Shakespeare Fellowship form for 2011 SF/SOS Joint Conference
Registration form 2011 Shakespeare Oxford Society form for 2011 SF/SOS Joint Conference

Note: Online registration will be available soon.

Update 06/01/11: Online registration is currently available through the SOS vendor at

Thursday, May 26, 2011

De Vere Society steps up

The De Vere Society in the UK has issued a statement repudiating the "Prince Tudor" theory of Shakespeare authorship speculation that promotes the concept that Queen Elizabeth I was Shakespeare-contender Edward deVere's mother and that she gave birth to Henry Wriothesley by deVere. The idea that this notion might be given credence by the Roland Emmerich film, Anonymous, due out September 30, 2011, has concerned some Shakespeare authorship skeptics on both sides of the Atlantic who believe the idea brings disrepute to authorship inquiry. An article on The De Vere Society website dated May 2011 and titled "Anonymous film release", says:

. . . though the Society welcomes all who have an interest in what is known as the “Shakespeare Authorship Question”, it seeks to maintain rigorous academic quality and avoid the illogical, unfounded speculation that afflicts some aspects of Shakespeare scholarship.In particular, the Society considers that the following items do not meet those standards, have no validity, and are irrelevant to the question of the real Shakespeare’s identity.
  • The part of the film “Anonymous” which tries to link the Shakespeare Authorship Question with the possibility that Queen Elizabeth had one or more adulterous relationships that resulted in the birth of Edward de Vere and/or the Third Earl of Southampton,
  • Publications which, in denial of logic and evidence, propagate such notions,
  • Publications, including this film, that appear to base the concept of Edward de Vere being the writer Shakespeare on such notions.
Nina Green's Phaeton: http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/documents.html
Gary Goldstein, Managing Editor of Brief Chronicles: http://www.briefchronicles.com/ojs/index.php/bc/index.php
The De Vere Society: http://www.deveresociety.co.uk
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1521197/

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Emmerich screens Anonymous scenes at Hay Festival in Wales June 3, 2011

Anonymous director Roland Emmerich will be in Wales next week to speak at the Hay Festival on June 3, 2011. The event is billed as "Anonymous -- Screening" and the announcement reads:
The director discusses and previews clips from his forthcoming historical thriller, which stars Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave. John Orloff's script plays with the intrigues of the Elizabethan court and the age-old authorship debate surrounding the works of William Shakespeare.
Emmerich will be interviewed by novelist and British radio and TV presenter Francine Stock. The program is Event 325 on the Hay Festival program. Tickets may be ordered at: http://www.hayfestival.com/p-3688-roland-emmerich-talks-to-francine-stock.aspxThe Hay Festival, set in the Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye, was founded in 1987 and is chiefly sponsored by The Telegraph and SkyArts. The Hay Festival website says: 
The festival continues to attract the most exciting writers, filmmakers, comedians, politicians and musicians to inspire, delight and entertain. For 10 days in May, Hay is full of stories, ideas, laughter and music. . . . We invite the writers and performers (great writers work in all media) we most admire. We try to bring the greatest contemporary practitioners and the most exciting new voices. The directors talk to publishers, writers and a huge range of advisors – including many of the festival-goers.
MP3 audio files of archived events from former festivals are available by subscription on the Internet at: 
http://www.hayfestival.com/archive/index.aspx?skinid=16&currencysetting=GBP&localesetting=en-GB&resetfilters=true. Events from the 2011 festival will be available online in September this year.

Update 06/07/11
On June 7, 2100 The Australian published a June 6, 2011 article that appeared in the London Times on the topic of Emmerich's appearance at the Hay Festival. The article ran in The Australian under the title of: "Oldest literary conspiracy theory trotted out again". The Times article, titled "Where there's no Will, is there a way? Hollywood battle over Shakespeare" by Jack Malvern is available for a fee from the Times website.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oberon meets May 26, 2011

Dear Oberon,

Can it be?  I am looking out the window and seeing the sun shining and feeling temperatures in the mid 70s, and it is only May.  That means only six months of winter this year.  I don't know how you feel about global warming, and I could be wrong, but this year it seemed as if Michigan was the new North Pole.  Aren't you glad that we have Shakespeare to rely on all year long?

Speaking of which, be sure to attend our next meeting this coming Thursday, May 26, at 6:45 pm, Farmington Community Library32737 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334.

Featured on the agenda is Part 2 of our Merchant of Venice play and learn.  We will be seeing the second third of the movie starring Al Pacino and then discussing what it tells us about the play, especially from an Oxfordian perspective.

Also, don't miss the update on our plans for Anonymous, the Roland Emmerich blockbuster film coming in September which makes the case for Oxford as Shakespeare as no other feature film has ever done.

And there is more!  We will have our usual updates and reports on current Shakespeare doings as well as the great discussions we always have about topics and issues you bring to the meeting that are a surprise every time.

So don't forget.  Thursday.  6:45.  Farmington Library.  See you then.

Tom Hunter
Oberon Chair

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SF/SOS Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest offers $3000 in prizes

Oberon co-counder and Shakespeare Oxford Society President Richard Joyrich recently reported on the Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest, a joint project between the contest founding Shakespeare Fellowship and the SOS. The contest will award $3000 in prizes. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 17, 2011; awards will be announced April 12, 2012. Joyrich said:
After a hiatus of three years the Shakespeare Fellowship, in combination with the Shakespeare Oxford Society, has arranged to revive the annual essay contest for high school students.
Our organizations are both committed to the exploration of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages with particular emphasis on the question of the authorship of the plays and poetry attributed to William Shakespeare. We believe that this exploration leads to further insight into and enjoyment of these great works.
We further believe that this subject is and should be open to students and that the high school years is an optimal time to begin.
The High School Essay is a great way to introduce the subject to high school students and allow them to utilize their creativity and critical thinking ability in a very interesting way.
Further information can be found at http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/essaycontest/contest2011.pdf or http://shakespeare-oxford.com/wp-content/uploads/essay_contest.pdf.
The joint contest committee is chaired by Shakespeare Fellowship trustee Bonner Miller Cutting who said of the project:
The SF/SOS joint committee made some innovations to accommodate the age of technology. This year, all essays are to be submitted electronically to the following email address: 
All questions and comments may be sent to this address as well.
Four essay topics have been chosen to introduce students and teachers to the authorship debate, and the questions are directed toward encouraging critical and analytical thinking skills. The committee requires that three resources dealing with the authorship question be incorporated into the essay if it is to be considered for a monetary prize. In an effort to make this as convenient as possible, many of the recommended sources can be accessed through internet links.
There was much discussion on Topic #4 as it deals with the film Anonymous.  It was easier said than done to frame questions around this film which none of us has seen and, moreover, is anticipated with varying emotions by members of the committee, as well as fellow Oxfordians.
Last but not least, the committee wanted the contest to engender an open minded discussion of the authorship question. Judging is based on the following criteria: originality of thought; insight into Shakespearean interpretation from the authorship perspective; logical development of thesis; consideration of contrary evidence; effective use of resources; and elegance of style. In the closing remarks, it is clearly stated that an essay need not support the candidacy of the Earl of Oxford in order to qualify for prize money.   What the judges are looking for is a balanced consideration and evaluation of the Shakespeare authorship question.
The SF/SOS joint committee has put in many hours working out the topics, questions, rules, guidelines and resources for this contest; and we ask those who are interested in the authorship question to encourage their friends who are high school teachers to take advantage of this educational opportunity for their students.
Cutting's joint committee includes Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman, Shakespeare Oxford Society President Richard Joyrich, Alex McNeil, Lynne Kositsky, John Hamill, Ian Haste, and Brian Bechtold with advice from Tom Regnier and webmasters Marty Hyatt and Richard Smiley. 

Joyrich said, "I think of this project as an opportunity to do things together and lead to future collaborations."


Brief Chronicles Issue 2 sent to members of American Historical Association

Brief Chronicles Managing Editor Gary Goldstein sent this message about a hard-copy mailing of the Shakespeare authorship journal to members of the American Historical Association:
The second issue of Brief Chronicles (www.briefchronicles.com)a peer reviewed journal of  Shakespeare studieshas been distributed to 725 members of the American Historical Association teaching Early Modern Europe at US universities, with an invitation to help resolve the Shakespeare Authorship Question.
“Very few academic historians have written about the Shakespearean Question,” said Professor Roger Stritmatter of Coppin State University, general editor of Brief Chronicles. “We find this situation unfortunate because the issue of who wrote Shakespeare’s works is as much historical as it is literary, and the required investigation raises basic questions of epistemology and method requiring collaboration between historians and literary scholars. We therefore believe that early modern historians are qualified by training to make a significant contribution to the exploration of this question, which is so central to the self-conception of Anglo-American culture.”
There are several reasons why an authorship issue continues 400 years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616. First, no documentary sources from the period during which the works were written unequivocally confirm that the Stratford Shakespeare was the author of his supposed works – only that he was an actor and theater investor. Moreover, said Gary Goldstein, the journal’s managing editor: “He almost certainly lacked the experience required by the author of the works--travel to Italy, ability to read the known sources of his plays in French, Italian and Spanish, knowledge about astronomy, falconry, horticulture and law, as well as pursuit of a joint career as actor and prolific playwright.”
Further, there is no mesh between his life and the evolutionary trajectory of his works, accepting the orthodox chronology of when they were written. What little is known about Shakespeare's biography has virtually no explanatory power in understanding why he wrote a particular work when he did.
Contrast, for example, playwright Ben Jonson, Shakespeare’s contemporary, whose biography is documented in a library numbering in the hundreds of books, an epistolary trail including several letters, and numerous examples of literary holographs such as book dedications to friends.
For these reasons, the more a critic trades in Shakespearean biography, the less he can tell us about the works themselves. W. H. Furness, the father of the editor of the Second Variorum Shakespeare, stated this more than a century and a half ago: “I am one of the many who has never been able to bring the life of William Shakespeare within planetary space of the plays. Are there any two things in the world more incongruous?”
In the second issue of Brief Chronicles are ten research papers and five book reviews that supply some first steps towards constructing an inter-disciplinary inquiry on the Shakespearean question. “To us,” said Stritmatter, “this issue is the most exciting and challenging topic in a modern Humanities curriculum, and we hope historians will join us in our enquiry.”
Indexed by the MLA International Bibliography and the World Shakespeare Bibliography, Brief Chronicles is an annual journal of research, authorship studies and the Tudor and Jacobean periods, with an inter-disciplinary Editorial Board of scholars in Economics, English, History, Law, Psychiatry, and Theater. The journal is published online each autumn at www.briefchronicles.com free of charge. -- Gary Goldstein 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stanley Wells sez, ". . . nothing anonymous about Shakespeare"

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust posted comments today that Chairman Stanley Wells made at the trust's Shakespeare birthday lunch this year. In the last paragraph of his speech (below) Wells mentioned the Stratfordian's imaginary education in rhetoric and classical literature that "lies behind the texts that he wrote". Wells assures us that Shakespeare developed his creative powers in Stratford and demands, "Let no one be in doubt of this." If only it were that simple, Professor Wells.
Ladies and gentlemen, Stratford-upon-Avon is the town that gave birth to William Shakespeare. At our grammar school he received the rigorous education in, especially, classical literature and rhetoric that lies behind the texts that he wrote. In this town and its surrounding countryside his creative powers developed. Here in Henley Street and in New Place his family lived, in Holy Trinity Church he and they worshipped and are buried. Let no one be in doubt of this. There is, if I may allude to the title of a forthcoming film, nothing in the least bit ‘anonymous’ about William Shakespeare. Like anyone else he was a product of the society and the educational system of his time, but it is his personal genius, his intelligence and imagination, his ever deepening understanding of the ways of humanity, his ceaseless questioning of the place of man in relation to the universe, and his constantly developing mastery both of language and of the arts of theatrical expression that we celebrate today and that embolden me to ask you to rise and drink to the worldwide appreciation of William Shakespeare.
Source:  http://bloggingshakespeare.com/the-worlds-love-of-shakespeare

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SF/SOS annual conference proposal deadline Aug. 1, 2011

Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman asked us to share this request for papers for the Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society conference to be held Oct. 13-16, 2011 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Deadline for proposals is Aug. 1, 2011.
The 2011  joint authorship conference  sponsored by  the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship will be held in Washington DC from October 13-16, 2011. Arrangements for a block of rooms at the Washington Court Hotel  are being finalized. The program will include a tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library  with a viewing and discussion of the Earl of Oxford's Geneva Bible. The SOS and SF are organizations dedicated to academic excellence, as defined through the independent scholarship of several generations of scholars, among them J.T. Looney, B.R. and B.M. Ward, Charles Wisner Barrell, Charlton Ogburn, Jr., Ruth Loyd Miller, and Mark Anderson, among others.
The primary focus of both organizations is to consider and advance the case already argued by these and other writers identifying Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the true mind behind the mask of "Shakespeare." Although papers exploring alternative authorship theories (e.g., Mary Sidney, Francis Bacon, etc.) are welcome, presenters should bear in mind that conference attendees are for the most part well versed in the arguments for and against Oxford's authorship as presented in these seminal works. Those desiring an audience for alternative authorship scenarios, or writing from an orthodox "Stratfordian" perspective, should prepare themselves by carefully considering the expectations of their audience. Please weigh the arguments for Oxford's authorship and construct your own arguments in relationship to them.
  1. The default time slot for all presentations will be 45 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions and answers. All presentations will have a question and answer section. If you are not able to condense the essentials of your argument
    1. to a 45-minute time frame, you may request more time from the committee, but additional time will only be granted to proposals that, in the opinion of the committee, are especially deserving of more extended 
    1. consideration by conference attendees.
  2. Send an abstract of no more than 250 words to the committee and a brief biography before August 1, 2011.
  3. If you have not previously presented at an SOS, SF, or Concordia, conference, we welcome your submission. However, you are also requested to send a draft of your presentation, either as a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, to the committee by the August 1 deadline.
  4. Academic presentations, ideally construed, are acts of persuasion. It goes without saying that all papers should be grounded in a clearly identifiable thesis supported by examples or evidence. Proposals that do not 
    1. fit this criteria are unlikely to be accepted for presentation.
  5. If you have previously presented a topic that you believe deserves continued attention by the Oxfordian community, please consider presenting it again if you have a fresh layer of argument or evidence to present.
  6. In the past, papers concerning cryptograms and codes have proven particularly problematic within the anti-Stratfordian community. Anyone interested in presenting an argument that involves cryptological evidence will be expected to show that his or her proof fulfills the criteria for validity advanced by William F. and Elizebeth S. Friedman's classic The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined (1957).
To submit a paper or for further information contact: John Hamill mailto:hamillx@pacbell.net, Earl Showerman mailto:earlees@charter.net, Bonner Cutting mailto:jandbcutting@comcast.net.