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Delahoyde publishes new edition of TwelfthNight

by Linda Theil

Oberon East/West colleague Dr. Michael Delahoyde, professor of English and Humanities at Washington State University, self-published an Oxfordian-perspective edition of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in August. Twelfth Night is his second Oxfordian edition, after publishing his Oxfordian edition of Anthony and Cleopatra in 2015.

He talked with us about his work recently.

Oberon: How long have you been working on this edition? Could you tell about your process and research?

I began work on this edition shortly after completing Anthony and Cleopatra, typing the play itself eight years ago and then puttering with it by reading every bit of research published that I could absorb, especially everything put forth by Oxfordians from Looney onwards, until Covid gave me the time and imprisonment; then it was full steam ahead.

Oberon: Do you have a favorite note from this edition?

My favorite bit — from the intro, not a particular note: The most compelling and surely valid explanation for “M.O.A.I.” (2.5.93), in the false letter read by Malvolio, is that of Alan W. Green, who notes that after puzzling for a time, Malvolio reads the next line in the letter: “If this fall into thy hand, revolve” (2.5.121). The intention here is also unclear, so actors often twirl around pointlessly. To “Be opposite” (2.5.127) literally, however, revolving the letters backwards yields “I.A.O.M.,” which Green points out is the sacred name of God in the Freemasonic and earlier secret-society tradition, indicating a pathway towards much more esoteric and privileged knowledge that Shakespeare seems to have had.

The investigation soon leads to the polymath occultist Dr. John Dee, Queen Elizabeth’s astrologist and expert cryptographer. Dee’s diaries contain a prayer to an angel he claimed to commune with, named IAOM. And Dee indeed “revolves” the letters in his writings, rendering the angel’s name also as AOMI, OMIA, and MIAO. These revelations begin to open up a previously undiscovered world in Shakespeare/Oxford studies. 

Oberon: Did you say you have become addicted to editing Shakespeare? What is that like?

Delahoyde: I have become addicted to this engrossing process of editing Shakespeare: comparing half a dozen responsible editions of the play and the First Folio, down to various choices of punctuation; integrating other editors' notes, with former and new, unpublished, Oxfordian insights. 

I am already at work on Oxfordian editions of The Comedy of Errors, in collaboration with Jennifer Newton who is essentially responsible for the previous two editions, and The Merchant of Venice, which has been persistently and abysmally misunderstood. I am not the only one promoting the project of Oxfordian editions of all the plays and will at some point perhaps conduct a workshop to encourage and enlist all of us to contribute energies towards this significant milestone: The Complete Oxford/Shakespeare Canon.


Twelfth Night edited by Michael Delahoyde Independently published, August 2021

"Interview with Richard Whelan about the Oxfordian Shakespeare Series" Oberon weblog April 20, 2011

"Whalen updates Oxfordian edition of the Scottish play" Oberon weblog February 2013

Anthony and Cleopatra edited by Michael Delahoyde CreateSpace, 2015

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