NEW THE EDMUND SHAKESPEARE BLOG
You can read some of the arguments about a Stratford vs supposed Oxford camp, around Shakespeare authorship, mostly in the comments under the post EDMUND SHAKESPEARE, THE EARL OF OXFORD, FALSTAFF AND THE HOLLOW CROWN, in William Ray’s and our notes. First little Phoenix Ark should declare an edge of ‘prejudice’ and that is all instincts here are towards Rowe, Aubrey and the ensuing Shakespeare tradition, of Stratford Will Shakespeare. Not as blind followers of any tradition though, and not without interest in other authorship ‘theories’. Then we would say that there is not a significant Oxford camp, in a theory dreamt up in the troubled 1920s and that any onus towards proving anything lies most assuredly there.
But if anyone starts to trumpet the research they do, Phoenix Ark want to suggest the value, even the singular importance of the Edmund Shakespeare story, in Southwark, to the debate. If a link can be made, and it has not been yet, between a London Hunt family, that owned The Vine in Southwark, where 27 year old Edmund Shakespeare was staying in 1607, (in the tenement rooms of one Edward Woodroofe, and perhaps his wife, probably at least, from the Southwark Cathedral Token Books) and the Stratford Hunts, it is at least suggestive. We tracked The Vine back to The Brotherhood of Our Lady of Assumption, linked to St Margaret’s Church, and founded under Henry VI, in the name of John Le Hunte, Peter Averne and others. But in a highly interconnected world, perhaps Shakespeare’s player brother, young and ultimately tragic Edmund, came to London to stay with people already known in Stratford. That has yet to be proved.
Southwark though, and especially St Olave’s Church, no longer there, but the spire of which is mentioned more than any other in Shakespeare’s plays (Ackroyd), also has strong Wessex ties. But there too, among many players and writers, is another actor in the Shakespeare family. Indeed the tradition of acting families was to emerge out of the Shoreditch, Southwark, and London circles. The significance of brothers in the plays is its own field of study, though echoes in fiction do not absolutely prove historical fact. But beyond any authorship debate, what is wonderful too are the vivid bits of evidence about lives and deaths in Southwark, so evocative of extraordinary times and a world that still raises marvellous passions.
FOR FURTHER EVIDENCE AND WORK SEE SHAKESPEARE’S BROTHER IN THE PUBLISHER’S PAGES, ABOVE
Phoenix Ark Press