Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Book on The Tempest Coming Soon

By Richard Joyrich

I have just become aware (courtesy of Cheryl Eagan-Donovan's Shakepeare News [Controversy Films] e-mailing) that the new book by Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky is now available for advance ordering on Amazon. It is scheduled to be published July 15 by McFarland Press.

The book is titled: 

On the Dates, Sources and Design of Shakespeare's The Tempest

On Cheryl's announcement e-mail Roger and Lynne write:

This book challenges a longstanding and deeply ingrained belief in Shakespearean studies that The Tempest long supposed to be Shakespeares last play was not written until 1611. In the course of investigating this proposition, which has rarely been questioned and has not received the critical inquiry it deserves, a number of subsidiary and closely related interpretative puzzles have come sharply into focus. These include the plays sources of New World imagery; its festival symbolism and structure; its relationship to William Stracheys True Reportory account of the 1609 Bermuda wreck of the Sea Venture (not published until 1625) and the tangled history of how and why scholars have for so long misunderstood these matters. When some preliminary elements of the case were published in leading Shakespearean journals (starting in 2007), the sometimes intemperate responses they received became part of the critical history, and some scholars supposed that we had been answered. Our reply to these criticisms is here given in full.

Our book goes well beyond questioning whether or not Strachey is likely to have been Shakespeare's source, to show that the materials usually supposed to be derived from True Reportory are actually, in the main, derivative of Richard Eden's 1555 translation of Iberian travel narratives that date to the early 16th century. We also show thatThe Tempest is designed as a Shrovetide play, and was written in or before 1603.

More information can be obtained on Roger and Lynne's website: www.shakespearestempest.com

The book is available for advance purchase on Amazon by following this link.

It is not yet available, as far as I know, in Kindle or other digital form.

This book will prove to be a remarkable addition to Shakespearean scholarship and I only hope it can get the attention it deserves (difficult in the wake of the "war" currently being waged by the Shakespeare Authorship Trust).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shahan exposes an industry in denial

by Linda Theil

I received Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? Exposing an Industry in Denial (Llumina Press, May 23, 2013) edited by Shakespeare Authorship Coalition director John Shahan and Alaxander Waugh from Amazon today. My initial examination reveals a book of monumental import to the Shakespeare authorship inquiry. This book is a  comprehensive report on the current state of anti-Stratfordian commentary. Divided into two sections,  the first section is a series of twelve essays by prominent anti-Stratfordian researchers:  A J  Pointon, PhD; Frank Davis, MD; Ramon Jimenez, Bonner Miller Cutting, Alexander Waugh, Thomas Regnier, JD,LLM; Earl Showerman, MD; John Rollett, MA, PhD; and Richard Whalen. This section covers the topic of why there is reasonable doubt about the attribution of Shakespeare’s work to William Shaksper of Stratford.

The second section is a complete reproduction of the anti-Strat response to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s 2011 “Sixty Minutes with Shakespeare”. Shahan organized a comprehensive rebuttal that appeared on the SAC website and is now reproduced in Shahan's SBD? Exposing an Industry in Denial. Oberon co-founder Richard Joyrich, MD is featured with John Shahan in the SAC response to "Sixty Minutes . . ." giving a brilliant rebuttal to Stratfordian A.J. Leon's answer to question #14:If Shakespeare is a fraud, what about the historical evidence? excerpted below.

In addition, four appendices include Bonner Miller Cutting’s groundbreaking article on Shaksper’s will, Ramon Jimenez reasoning on stylometrics and the Hemming & Condell letters in the First Folio. The fourth appendix is Donald Hayes’, PhD, well-reasoned and brilliantly presented article on social-network theory and the absence of literary tributes to Shaksper upon his death in 1616. Hayes concludes in his article: 

This network analysis has established Shakespeare’s central place inthat small 16th and 17th century community of London dramatists. For nearly twenty years, he was near or at the center of a dense network of interpersonal relations, ensuring that all nineteen of his peers would have known Shakespeare’s identity. According to network theory, if it was Shakespeare who died in Stratford in 1616, his high level of centrality would have assured many tributes from his peers. The absence of tributes undermines what is already a modest and heavily disputed evidentiary case for Shakspere being Shakespeare. The absence of their tributes encourages non-Stratfordians to seek Shakespeare’s identy elsewhere. Unless a new, well-documented and far more plausible explanation can be developed for this silence of his peers, the odds that the man from Stratford grew up to become the master poet-dramatist William Shakespeare have fallen to the level ofimprobable.
Notably lacking in Shahan’s book is any reference to Prince Tudor in
any of his incarnations. In his introduction, Shahan says:

This book is about evidence and arguments that contradict claims that there is “no room for doubt” that Mr. Shakspere of Stratford wrote the works of William Shakespeare. It is not about who we think the real author was, or what motivated him to remain hidden. It has nothing to do with the alternative scenario presented in the feature film Anonymous. Those looking for alternative candidates and sensational scenarios should look elsewhere. Our aim is a scholarly presentation of the case for “reasonable doubt” about Shakspere to make it understandable to the public and to the students to whom this book is dedicated. The only alternative we offer is that the name “William Shakespeare” was a pen name of some other person who chose to conceal his identity.
Of course, Shahan refers to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s new
book, a Stratfordian catechism titled Shakespeare Beyond Doubt edited
by Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson of the SBT. Their "Sixty Minutes
with Shakespeare" and this new work were created to counter the
publicity from Roland Emmerich’s anti-Stratfordian fictional account of Shakespeare’s life, the 2011 film Anonymous. The SBT drumbeat mustered Shahan’s energies to organize a comprehensive rebuttal against the circular and hollow arguments produced by the Stratfordian establishment. For that we owe the SBT a debt of gratitude. For his leadership, Shahan will be numbered among the heroes in the search for Shakespeare’s identity.

Excerpt from Exposing an Industry in Denial
question 14: if shakespeare is a fraud, What about the historical 
[AJ Leon, Senior Digital Advisor to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, replies for the SBT]
What I cannot understand is the way people who say he didn’t write the work have to ignore all the evidence that shows he did. Let’s get this story straight.
We aren’t talking about a belief that can be interpreted differently depending on our point of view. The evidence for William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon is not circumstantial. It is factual and multifaceted. Sure, we don’t have personal letters or diary entries, but that’s not all that unusual for people of that period. At least fourteen other writers mentioned him by name as a playwright and poet and discussed his work. Printers and publishers worked with him. Seven of his plays were co-authored for God’s sake. Readers, actors, and theatre audiences were part of the living and breathing testimony of thousands of people. On his death he was memorialized as a writer, and his reputation grew. To claim that Shakespeare of Stratford didn’t write the plays is no less than to deny history and slap the greatest writer the world has ever known in the face.
doubter response:
First, yes, many people do say that “he did not write the works;” but what we all agree on is that there’s “reasonable doubt,” so it is a legitimate question for people to pursue. The SBT should stop trying to stigmatize and suppress a legitimate historical question.
Second, we do not “ignore” evidence that suggests he did. For example, the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt outlines “four main reasons to identify Mr. Shakspere … with the author William Shakespeare.” It says they 
seem to amount to a prima facie case for him. But it explains why each of the four is problematic, and then outlines some reasons why “We Say the Evidence Does Not Fit.” What we can’t understand is why Leon ignores it.
Third, it is extremely unusual that we have not a single letter in Mr. Shakspere’s hand. If AJ Leon thinks otherwise, he is the one who is ignoring the evidence. He should read Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, by Diana Price (esp. “Literary Paper Trails”).
Fourth, the fourteen other writers who, “mentioned him by name as a playwright and poet and discussed his work,” never associate him with Stratford, and never indicate that they knew or met him personally.
Fifth, no document shows that the author worked directly with printers and publishers. He may have, but this says nothing about who he was. If such people keep the identities of pseudonymous authors and ghost-writers secret today, why wouldn’t they have then?
Sixth, it is not certain that any of the plays was co-authored; but even if some were, it’s not certain that the collaborators knew the author personally, or knew his true identity. Plays can be started and completed by different authors working independently. They can be written by one and revised by another, or completed, but revised posthumously. Any of these could easily account for several jarring inconsistencies in certain plays. It’s also hard to distinguish collaboration from an author revising his own early works. The more scholars 
claim collaboration, the harder it is to explain the absence of letters, or other documentation of the alleged collaboration, especially with a man in Stratford. 
Seventh, there’s no “living and breathing testimony of thousands of people.” Nonsense!
Eighth, on his death the Stratford man was not “memorialized as a writer,” although many poets and playwrights of the time were, sometimes within days of their deaths. Francis Beaumont, for example, died three months after Shakspere, received many tributes and was interred in Westminster Abbey. No tributes 
exist for Shakespeare.
Ninth, we have as much respect for the author Shakespeare, whoever he was, as anyone. It is disgraceful that AJ Leon uses, and the SBT condones, such inflammatory language.
Tenth, Leon has misrepresented the issue, the evidence, our positions and our motives—all-too-typical of Stratfordians; if the evidence is so clear, why the need for such tactics?
— Richard Joyrich, M.D., President, Shakespeare Oxford Society
— John M. Shahan, Chairman and CEO, Shakespeare Authorship Coalition

Saturday, June 8, 2013

PT or not to PT?

An argument for less heat on the topic of Prince Tudor
by Linda Theil

If the universe of Shakespeare lovers may be roughly divided between those who accept the Stratfordian attribution of authorship and those who do not, those anti-Strats who favor Edward De Vere (Oxford 17) as author may be similarly divided between those who proclaim the Prince Tudor (PT) variation on the Oxfordian theme and those who despise Prince Tudorites. In fact, a heated conversation between Oxfordians of opposing PT persuasions often uses the same terms of non-endearment heard between Strats and anti-Strats.

Roland Emmerich’s 2011 film, Anonymous -- based as it was on PT theory – and increased interest in the Shakespeare authorship question fueled by easy access to information on the Internet have stoked the fires of PT enmity, leading to unrest in the Oxfordian realm.

The PT story as delineated in the nineteen-thirties and generally as presented in Anonymous says that Oxford 17 and Elizabeth 1 bore a son who was Henry Wriosley, Southampton 3 and -- according to the PT thesis -- heir to the English throne. I personally do not find this story at all compelling as a rationale for Shakespeare’s pseudonymity or as historical narrative, but I believe that non-PT anti-Strats, like me, would do well to consider a less adversarial response to PT theorists for the following reasons:
  • It's not necessary that all anti-Strats follow a unified theory of authorship
  • It's not possible that all anti-Strats follow a unified theory of authorship.
  • It doesn't matter if Stratfordians think PT is ridiculous, because nothing is more ridiculous than Stratfordian theory.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Showerman reports on Toronto conference

Earl Showerman reported on the Shakespeare authorship conference to be held in Toronto October 17-20, 2013:
North America’s two leading Oxfordian associations – the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society – are pleased to announce that their 2013 Joint Conference will take place in TorontoCanada from October 17 to 20, 2013. The Joint Conference , held with the support of the Theatre and Drama departments of  York University and the University of Guelph, two major Canadian universities,  will take as its theme “Shakespeare and the Living Theatre.”
“The man who wrote under the name of Shakespeare,  “said conference organizer Professor Don Rubin of Toronto’s York University, “was clearly a man of the theatre. We know that William of Stratford had connections to the Globe but few people know that the 17th Earl of Oxford, also had significant theatre connections to both adult and children’s companies of the period.
“We are hoping that the Conference will offer new understandings of these connections as well as insights to theatrical conditions of the time and put to rest the idea that William of Stratford was the only candidate in the authorship debate with strong and profound theatrical involvement.”
In addition to papers related to the conference theme, there will also be a variety of papers on related subjects, a trip to Canada’s internationally-acclaimed Stratford Shakespeare Festival to see a production of Merchant of Venice with Brian Bedford, an open public debate on the authorship question between Stratfordians and Oxfordians, a screening of at least one new film about the authorship question and keynote speakers (to be announced) hopefully from the world of the living theatre. The conference will also include the annual general meetings of both organizations.
The Conference will be held at the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto. A special conference rate of $135 per night has been negotiated. To obtain this rate and to confirm your room, you can call the hotel at 1-800-668-6600 or by e-mail (reservations@tor.metropolitan.com).  Use the reservation ID # 269-931 or mention either the Shakespeare Fellowship or the Shakespeare Oxford Society. A one night refundable deposit (up to five days before the conference) is required.  The conference rate will be valid from three days before the conference to three days after.
Registration forms will be posted on the Shakespeare Fellowship and Shakespeare-Oxford Society websites in the near future.                                   
North America’s two leading Oxfordian  associations --  the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society – are now accepting proposals for papers for their upcoming joint conference to be held in Toronto October 17 to 20, 2013.
While the organizers are happy to consider papers on any aspect of Oxfordian studies, the conference planning committee is particularly interested in receiving proposals for papers connected to the official conference topic for 2013, “Shakespeare  and the Living Theatre”  connecting Oxford/Shakespeare to actual theatre conditions in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Anyone interested in proposing a paper should send a 250-500 word abstract plus a few sentences indicating their professional backgrounds and any connections to Oxfordian studies to the Conference Organizer:
Prof. Don Rubin, Department of Theatre, York UniversityTorontoOntario M3J 1P3Canada.
E-mail:  drubin@yorku.ca
All proposals will be acknowledged. The Planning Committee will announce its selection as early as possible.  Paper proposal deadline: 15 June 2013. A second call for papers will go out after June 15 if necessary.