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.


jdickson said...

At least some of the back-and-forth heat in PT discussions would be cooled if PT adherents would stick to the spirit of the word "theory", rather than asserting that PT is proven fact.

On a sliding scale, more evidence exists pointing to Oxford as Shakespeare than to any other claimant (certainly including Shaxper). But the statements in the First Folio, problematic as they are, at least count as "evidence" that Shaxper's authorship was to be understood as what was indicated. It seems to me that "solid" evidence for PT doesn't even rise to the level of the Folio's "evidence" for Shaxper.

So what we have to back up PT are relatively esoteric interpretations of the Sonnets and some plays. As a theory, it's interesting, and at least worth a look. But it doesn't have the kind of independently sourced set of facts that point to Oxford's authorship of Shakespeare.

PT can't justifiably be presented as proven fact. But go right ahead and present any theory you wish!

W. Ron Hess said...

From W. Ron Hess (

While Linda Theil's message about the Prince Tudor (PT) version of our basic Oxfordian theory covered the positive aspects, she neglected to consider the many negatives. PT begins as a romance based upon little-to-no evidence (e.g., in 1573 a gossip said in a private letter that Queen Eliz. admired Oxford’s dancing, and that Oxford was being pushed before her majesty as a political ploy of his father-in-law Cecil and his political mentor the Earl of Sussex, the two leading opponents to the Earl of Leicester on the Privy Council). So, the PT romance extrapolates from dancing and politics to fantasies between the bedsheets. But, most versions of PT, and there are many, quickly dissolve into entirely fictional extrapolation backwards from flawed and entirely conjectural interpretations of the Shakespeare Sonnets. As such, inevitably they come to loggerheads with various sticky wickets, such as uncalled-for inferences of sex abuse, incest, child abuse, buggery, and false representation of paternity. It is these absurdities that most critics of PT find repugnant, not the basic romance fiction itself (even though that is also a negative, in that we need to be emphasizing facts, not fantasies). Unfortunately, Emerich’s “Anonymous” movie opted for promotion of each and every repugnant aspect of PT, even to the insinuation that Oxford himself was a bastard heir [an oxymoron!] to the Tudor throne. Yes, the heat should be diminished a bit, but the repugnance of the bulk of PT literature remains. And it’s still a travesty for it to be put before the general public before the unwashed masses have gotten a more solid grounding in our basic Oxfordianism. Why does anybody think it’s best to nauseate the audience before teaching them the more provable truths instead? As for me, I celebrate the contributions of solid PT scholarship. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find much of it yet. But I welcome all Oxfordians, of every stripe, to try to prove their cases, as long as it’s done in a scholarly fashion, with real evidence and solid reasoning! I agree that it doesn’t matter what Strats think, except that we must bear in mind that EVERYBODY begins as a Strat by default.