Thursday, November 17, 2011

SAC takes a chunk out of SBT

The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition announced today that the SAC and twelve anti-Stratfordian groups have endorsed a rebuttal to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's "Sixty Minutes with Shakespeare" initiative launched to counter interest in the Shakespeare authorship question generated by Roland Emmerich's film, AnonymousOberon Shakespeare Study Group vice-chair and Shakespeare Oxford Society President Richard Joyrich, MD is among the anti-Stratfordian scholars who participated in the SAC project. Joyrich authored the anti-Stratfordian rebuttal to the SBT's Question 18: What was Shakespeare's social status?, originally answered for the Stratfordians by SBT Representative Trustee from the University of London, Rene Weis:
William Shakespeare was the son of a successful yeoman glover who had served a term as mayor of Stratfordupon-Avon. Through his mother Mary Arden, Shakespeare may have been related to the ancient Arden family of Park Hall. In 1596 the Shakespeares successfully applied for a coat-of-arms, which formally gentrified the family. From now on William  Shakespeare, player and London playwright, was Master Shakespeare. He was mocked for his apparent pretentiousness by his friend Ben Jonson.Shakespeare was socially ambitious, hence his purchase, a year after the coat-of-arms, of New Place, a large mansion house in Stratford. It seems that he, who was only ever a lodger in London, was keen to be lord of the manor in his home town. Throughout his life he astutely invested in land, tithes, and property; and he did not remit debts. Shakespeare’s evident concern with money and status may have its roots in his father’s long struggle with debt which confined John Shakespeare to his family home at a time when his teenage son was living there.
Doubter response by Richard Joyrich, MD:
René Weis’s assessment of “Shakespeare’s” social status (meaning the Stratford man’s) is mostly correct, except in saying he was a “London playwright.” It’s not clear he was. The problem is that the author’s social status appears very different from Shakspere’s. All but one of the plays (Merry Wives of Windsor) is set among the uppermost nobility. It’s hard to imagine how Shakspere could have understood the upper classes so well. Weis speculates about Shakspere’s father’s “long struggle with debt which confined John Shakespeare to his family home at a time when his teenage son was living there.” In fact, we do not know for sure that Shakspere and his father lived together when the former was a teen. All we have for the first 28 years of his life are a few church records. Shakspere may have been motivated by his father’s situation, but nothing supports this. If Shakspere was “socially ambitious,” and succeeded in his ambitions in London, why did he retire to Stratford at the end of his career, rather than remain in London in the company of some former social superiors who now welcomed him as their social equal? Surely that was a big come-down in status for the lead dramatist of the “King’s Men.” Why did he never own a home in London, or settle into retirement among the many high-status people who would have found it fascinating to have him as their friend? Further, why did he evidently not keep in touch with any of them, so when it came time to make out his will he remembered none of his fellow writers, or any prominent person other than his three fellow actors, not even his alleged patron the Earl of Southampton?
A complete list of rebuttals to the SBT's 60 questions can be viewed on the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition website at:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Historian Dash enters the Shakespeare fray

Historian Mike Dash made the case for "William Shakespeare, Gangster" on his weblog, A Blast from the Past, and on the Past Imperfect weblog of  November 7, 2011. Dash discussed the dearth of historical data on William Shakespeare and, with evidence described in Leslie Hotson's 1931 book  Shakespeare Versus Shallow, made a case for Shakespeare as a thug. Dash concluded:
That Will Shakespeare was somehow involved in the low-life rackets of Southwark seems, from Hotson’s evidence, reasonably certain. Whether he remained involved in them past 1597, though, it is impossible to say. He certainly combined his activities as one of Langley’s henchmen with the gentler work of writing plays, and by 1597 was able to spend £60—a large sum for the day—on purchasing the New Place, Stratford, a mansion with extensive gardens that was the second-largest house in his home town. It is tempting to speculate, however, whether the profits that paid for such an opulent residence came from Will’s writing–or from a sideline as strong-arm man to an extortionist.
Anti-Strats have long bemoaned the absence of historians from the Shakespeare authorship discussion; Dash shows in this commentary the benefits of a little non-literary light on the topic of William Shakespeare.

Anderson's SBAN now available in e-book format

Journalist Mark Anderson announced on his SBAN weblog yesterday that the e-book edition of his iconic Shakespeare by Another Name (Gotham Books/Penguin Group USA, 2005) is now available on the Internet from e-publisher Untreed Reads and other bookesellers. According to Anderson's post, the new edition includes:
  • SBAN's cover featuring a new bust of Edward de Vere supervised by Ben August and sculpted by Paula Slater (as chronicled on this blog). 
  • An introductory chapter called "The Argument" that succinctly encapsulates the case for Edward de Vere as "Shakespeare" and addresses arguments against the Oxfordian camp put forward in James Shapiro's recent bookContested Will
  • A new images section
  • A new appendix addressing the recent media frenzy over the "Cobbe Portrait of Shakespeare"
  • A new appendix concerning the movie Anonymous and the questions it raises over the "Prince Tudor" hypotheses -- i.e. concerning claims of one or more secret heirs to the throne born to Queen (or Princess) Elizabeth
  • A new appendix delving in to just a few of the many treasures published in Richard Paul Roe's new magnum opus Shakespeare's Guide to Italy
Anderson's book has become the entry point for readers newly interested in the Shakespeare authorship question because of its high interest and readability.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Waugaman reviews Anonymous

Georgetown University professor of psychology Richard Waugaman, MD, reviewed Rolland Emmerich's Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous, for Roger Stritmatter's Shake-Speare's Bible weblog yesterday in an essay titled "Not unanimous on Anonymous". Waugaman's knowledge of the authorship issue, his insight into the forces contributing to the controversy, and his lucid writing style make reading his essay a necessary pleasure. Waugaman said:

Psychoanalysts are in a unique position to elucidate the psychology of literary anonymity and pseudonymity. The evidence suggests that keeping one’s authorship secret helps promote what Keat’s called Shakespeare’s “negative capability”—keeping his own identity in the background as he created hundreds of utterly convincing characters.. . .When I am told that Oxfordians are simply unable to admit they’re wrong, I point out that every Oxfordian I know started as a Stratfordian, until they looked into the matter more deeply. So it doesn’t look as though we’re the ones incapable of admitting we’re wrong. Oxfordians are told we do not know how to evaluate the historical evidence. In reality, all the recent evidence about the ubiquity of anonymity and pseudonymity in Elizabethan authorship is mostly getting ignored by the Shakespeare specialists.
Links to Waugaman's list of published articles on the topic of the Shakespeare authorship controversy are available on his weblog, The Oxfreudian, at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

German press responds to Emmerich's Anonymous

Hanno Wember of the Shake-speare Today website reports from Germany that major media in Germany has responded to Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous:
Film release was Thursday [in Germany]. All major German (Austrian / Swiss) newspapers, magazines, many broadcast and TV-stations and an uncounted number of smaller media respond to the film [Anonymous]. Among them Frankfurter Allgemeine, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau, Die Welt, Neue Zuricher Zeitung, Financial Times Deutschland, Berliner Zeitung, Berliner Morgenpost, Der Tagespiegel, Salzburger Nachrichten, Wiener Zeitung, Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, Focus, Stern, SWr, NDr, RTL . . . -- many with full-page articles, some even twice or thrice this week. During the last week we have posted 30 links on our webpage, but this is only one third or even less of the full number: vast majority welcomed the film, taking the authorship question seriously, only few remained critical, and very few hostile. “Der Tagespiegel” offered the headline “Fakespeare lebt” (Fakespeare lives) and “BILD”, the most popular tabloid newspaper in Germany [wrote]: Ein Historien-Thriller enträtselt das größte Geheimnis der Welt-Literatur" (A historical thriller unraveling the greatest mystery of the world literature).
Wember added that an interesting interview with Vanessa Redgrave appeared in the Frankfurter Rundschau titled “Du must große Fehler machen” (You must make great mistakes.) at,9548600,11136716.html. Here is a short quote translation from Wember:
Q: You have played many great Shakespearean roles. Does it not bother you if in a film like "Anonymous" his authorship is in question?
V.R: I find this question fascinating. Even before I learned that another person might have written these plays, I was irritated by some points in the biography of Shakespeare….
Q: You can follow this theory, then?V.R: I have not read all studies on the subject. But I have to say that the professors who insist on the authorship of William Shakespeare, are very narrow minded. And I like now even unbiased, open-minded people. A film like "Anonymous" opens up all sorts of ideas, and he also deepens our love for these pieces. So I find it very exiting…. (emphasis mine, HW.)
 Editor's note: Click on the "ENGLISH" tab on the Shake-speare Today website for a generic translation of the page. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview Magazine Nov. 2011: Hilary Roe on the Bard of Verona

In the November 2011 edition of Interview Magazine, Royal Young talks to Hilary Roe Metternich about her father's book The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels by John Paul Roe. The Shakespeare Guide to Italy was released this week by Harper Perennial. In the Interview article titled "Hilary Roe on the Bard of Verona", Young opens the door to Roe's life and work:
Though Richard Paul Roe passed away in 2010, in a Shakespearean twist, his daughter Hilary Roe Metternich, a Greek and Roman scholar, helped him publish it posthumously. We spoke with Hilary about her father's own complex persona, from studying chemistry to flying bombers over Naples to cracking Shakespeare, why he had his doubts, and how he set out to prove them.
Young asked Metternich about her position on the topic of the Shakespeare authorship. She replied with a laugh: 
Well, of course, I am going to agree with my father. The person who wrote these plays had to have seen Italy with their own eyes. Now you've got some facts on the ground, that are going to create a little bit of trouble out there in Shakespeare land.
The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels by John Paul Roe is available in softcover and ebook formats at Amazon and other booksellers. I ordered a softcover because, having seen the privately published edition I wanted full access to the abundant and fascinating illustrations, but I may order a Kindle version, too, for ease of access to Roe's clear and engaging research and commentary.

More information, see:


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Joyrich invites Oberons to Nov. 10, 2011 meeting

Dear Oberon,
It's time for another Oberon meeting! Yes, I know that we just had one two weeks ago, but it must be so. The meeting will be this coming Thursday at the Farmington Hills Library on 12 Mile Road at 6:45 PM.
This will be the final time we will be meeting at this location (unless someone who lives or works in Farmington Hills will step up and commit to being present at EVERY meeting), so don't miss your chance to participate in a historic occasion (it will be like the last game at Tiger Stadium, well, maybe not).
Tom Townsend will be reprising the excellent presentation he did at the recent Joint Conference in Washington, DC on Romeo and Juliet. Trust me, after seeing this presentation you will never look at this play the same way again.
We will discuss our plans for meeting in the future (now that we are temporarily homeless). I will, of course, keep all of you informed of any decisions (although it would be better if you were actually THERE at the meeting to hear them).
We may also have time to discuss our recent jaunt to the Michigan International Book Fair and the opening of the movie Anonymous and recent reactions to it.
All this and more! (maybe).
Put it on your calendar RIGHT NOW. Thursday, November 10, 2011, 6:45 PM, Farmington Hills Library
See you there!
Richard Joyrich
Oberon Vice-chair

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Christopher Paul's review of Beauclerk now in German

Christopher Paul reports that his review of Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom by Charles Beauclerk has been translated into German by the Neue Shake-speare Gesellschaft (New Shake-speare Society) for the current edition of the NEW SHAKE-SPEARE JOURNALChristopher Paul, "Shakespeares verlorenes Königreich," NEUES SHAKE-SPEARE JOURNAL New Series 2 (2011), 13-31. The German-language review is available on-line in PDF format at
Paul's original English version of the review was published in Brief Chronicles II (2010, Print Edition), 244-57, available on the Brief Chronicles website ( at

From the review:

The underlying theme of Beauclerk’s book is based upon two separate Prince Tudor (PT) theories, over which Oxfordians are deeply divided. PT1 posits that the 3rd Earl of Southampton was a changeling begotten by the 17th Earl of Oxford and Queen Elizabeth. PT2 posits that Oxford was a changeling begotten by Princess Elizabeth and Lord Thomas Seymour and incorporates PT1, thereby postulating … well, you do the math. Some PT theorists only believe PT1, others PT2. Still others are adamant that neither theory is correct, and the contention has created a rift that has alienated Oxfordians into opposing camps.
. . .
It is unfortunate that, knowing his history only too well, he plays it so fast and loose. Few of his readers will be deeply knowledgeable about the Tudor era, and those not repulsed with the
premise of Oedipal incest are likely to be lured in, ignorant of the devils in the details, and readily possessed by the skillfully written (notwithstanding purple-patched) PT2 narrative. 
Commentary on Beauclerk's book and Paul's review is available at:
The Elizabethan Review