First to apologise to William Ray for having taking so long to get to this and to recommend that readers interested in a Shakespeare authorship question read his article

It is not only highly stimulating, and perhaps startling in certain aspects, but in brilliantly quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, and in Ray noting “Rebellion can be fatal to iconoclasts”, it appeals not only to intrinsic instincts here, but vivid experience too of what happened to an author who dared to shake the publishing system, however shabby, shamed or tortured his spirit became at times, and one filled with a knowledge of and passion for Shakespeare’s visions and search for lasting truth. Some of the arguments we had you can find in the comments under two Phoenix articles, DEREK JACOBI, RICHARD II AND THE EARL OF OXFORD ‘THEORY’ and EDMUND SHAKESPEARE, EDWARD DEVERE, FALSTAFF AND THE HOLLOW CROWN.

Ray’s take offers a moving truth about the real world then, a warning about it and people, and especially their tribal instinct to buy into or reveal vested interests in that world, for whatever reasons. Take Oberon Waugh’s savage “A Handful of Dust” and what happens to truth, and establishment protections of human lies there. That quite stands on its own, but also demands some respect for claims about Devere, and certainly a fascination with the period. But although Emerson, and many authors tasting the possible bitterness of the world, may be right about life or society, as Shakespeare wrote it all over his plays, it still does not prove the case.

Two things struck here. The first is William Ray’s observation, unless someone else wants to refute it, that ‘Twenty years after De Vere died, Richard Brathwaite wrote, “Let me tell you: London never saw writers more gifted than the ones I saw during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. And never were there more delightful plays than the ones performed by youth whose author wrote under a borrowed name.”‘

Then there is, more startlingly, Henry Peacham’s 1612 Minerva Britanna, with a drawing of an arm and hand holding a pen, thrusting out from behind a theatre curtain, with a scroll:”Mente Videbori,” or “By the mind I will be seen,” which also produces the anogram “Tibi Nom De Vere” or “Thy name is Devere.”

But from there the argument descends, in the view on this side of the Atlantic, into something so strained it can only be described as “Shakepeare by Sudoku”. Namely the arguments about Cardan Grilles, or codes to somehow reinterpret Jonson’s dedication to the First Folio, or the inscription below the bust in Stratford.

Firstly, language itself is a kind of code, even game, that all authors and especially Shakespeare are engaged in, as Ray says almost reinventing or I would say inventing a language, to try and recreate or approach truth via fictional work, and find the door to vision and poetry, naturally inspired but not necessarily defined by ‘real’ events. But more important is my understanding that a Cardan Grille was really a template for coding where holes were cut arbitrarily in a piece of paper, and a message written in the spaces, then the paper removed and a message built around the text on the second paper. So that could only be read with the original grille and the unique second paper, where the letter, inscription, poem or whatever now lay. Perhaps I’m wrong. (The assumption being in any functional spy network, for instance, agents would have had to be issued with duplicates of an original template grille, from head office, that changed at various times for safety.)

The alternative, especially for printed, mass produced text, is a “grille” reformatting the order of the printed text, then picking out letters to give your supposed secret message. The one D.L Roper and by extension William Ray has chosen for the bust inscription is seven vertical boxes, by 34 horizontal boxes, attributing some huge significance to the horizontal number, because 34 is 17 x 2, and Devere was the 17th Earl of Oxford. It seems very feeble, and more so because of the strained nature of the message that appears to appear, namely HIM SO TEST, HE I VOW IS E. DE VERE AS HE, SHAKSPEARE: NAME I. B. IB, standing for Ionson, Ben.

But the “Shakespeare” and the “Name” are plucked not from a vertical but horizontal reading of the letters, and actually a significance might stand without them. On the other hand, reading vertically from the same supposed grille I quickly plucked out the sentence “THY TEST IS EVER HAM”! (I added the gratuitous exclamation mark.)

As for the First Folio dedication, that Sir Arthur Geenwood, as if that proves anything, suggested was either code or written not by Ben Jonson, but a “a leering hydrocephalic idiot”, with not much compassion for rabies victims, the idiocy seems repeated in the straining for codes with some 6-2-2 pattern. The text is punning and playful, perhaps not even very good, but it demands no dismissal.

Apart from all that, and it sells books to produce supposed prophecy from a claimed “Bible Code” too, because any long work will do it if you rejumble letters or sentence orders, (thus a clear, intentional and provable pattern must be established first, unless in the Bible case you argue God is speaking directly through the authors), the Oxfordians are again forgetting that if Devere did somehow suffer from the tyranny of his age, or indeed an artist’s desire to protect the well springs of the Self, why could a Stratford Shakespeare not too? Hence answering many questions about not pushing himself forward, and not especially defending his printed work, especially in an age where the printed word and rights in that were being invented. Such an author also finds meaning, pride and power in the success and effects of their living work, and for many reasons finds it harder to stand up and be that “author”. It can be an invasive thing, art or fame, and then was a very dangerous one.

That returns you to a debate that was fully underway in its time, namely that a scruff from the provinces could not have possibly have written such astonishing work. Hence it being perfectly possible that the Devere claim was generated even back in 1612, and with coded “hints” too.

But it’s a fascinating debate, and we’ll leave the “Oxford camp” with a resounding question, that in the many obfuscations, forced links and the Sudoku play of it they always fail to answer. The Earl of Oxford was dead by 1604, so what have they to say of all the other Shakespeare plays? We’d love to hear.




Filed under America and the UK, Culture, Education, The Arts


    • Dear Roger, since I am indeed Dave, (and Bill had no pen names) no, though it looks rather interesting. The only CIA knowledge I have was researching a story in Switzerland that involved Allan Dulles, as of ‘The Good Shepherd’ and Edda Mussolini. Should have been a book but publishing has collapsed.

  1. Ed Boswell

    I am an Oxfordian based upon my experiences with the creative process, and how one attains such brilliance found in the WS canon. It’s fine to micro-tune the debate with side issues like the Stratford monument, but those clues are not really that important. What we know about Edward de Vere fits like one of his Italian gloves to the canon. The only cryptic clue worth considering is the title page anagram contained within a book of anagrams, by Peacham. Between the intial discoveries by Looney and Ward, and the work of others between 1920 and now, especially the work of Dr. Stritmatter and Mark Anderson, we have a clear picture of a faded, and partially obscured historical “photograph” that clearly shows who the author was, namely De Vere, in league with his paid associates, some clearly, others not so clearly named or evidenced. In my mind, the deadly accurate retracing of de Vere’s steps in Italy, contained within the plays themselves, by Richard Roe, essentially close the case. Fighting over side issues is fruitless, and detracts from the case for Edward de Vere. We all know that fictional characters in great literature can be identified in nearly all cases, and we know that the sonnets came from the heart, and can only be made to be reality based if we match them with Edward de Vere. Who can ever know what scenes were worked on by Marlowe, or to what extent Bacon was involved with his one time personal secretary Ben Jonson in the editing of the First Folio. I think it a mistake to bag on the Stratford man, as perhaps he was the mask, the agent for submission to the plays, and should not be attacked for his dismal credentials as potential author of the works. We should celebrate his participation, as we all know a mask was needed to publish the works, otherwise, they’d be in the true author’s name. I’ve often felt that if a person is the broker of usury loans, there’s a great chance that interactions with that man center on his trade. If we have an Earl in need of money, sometimes in an openly desperate fashion, that any interactions with a money-lender would center exactly on that. I’m involved in this SAQ because I know that “incomprehensible genius” is a position taken by fools who have no creative juices flowing in their veins or souls. I’ve started a company that did over 150m in business, and you’ll be hard pressed to find Ed Boswell’s name associated with the starting of Von Dutch clothing. History is written by scoundrels oft-times, and the lowest forms of humanity can often claim the works of others, adorning themselves in the feathers of the true conceivers of new works, be it art, music or literature. Musicians are known as being important based upon who controls the catalogue rights, not based upon whether they were the actual progenitors of any particular brand of music. So it is with the Shake-speare canon. Truth will prevail. The debate is actually over now. William Shake-speare was a pen-name for Edward de Vere, who at very least was the Director, the main voice of his literary workshop. We know he had both Munday and Lyly on his payroll, that is enough to enable him to achieve the canon as it exists, which seems impossible for any one man to create in a cloistered setting. By reading Richard Roe’s book, I am convinced that the arguments in de Vere’s favor can very well be contained within the context of a single word. We need to study Shakespeare with the detached elegance that the late Mr. Roe exhibited. We’ll never convince the stubborn Stratfordians. Let them die of thirst at the banks of the river truth. It’s what blockheads deserve. In closing, I wish that my Oxfordian friends can exact the changes and corrections of the WS Italian plays that Mr. Roe so cleverly solved. We need to know everything we can from Shake-speare, as there are further mysteries contained, all of them pointing to a very accurate mind penning these plays, a mind much like a summa cum laude attorney with degrees in medieval and renaissance history, someone much like the late, great Richard Roe.

    • Good lord, thanks for the screed and you have your small hearing. Stratfordians like me don’t usually bother, but the interesting thing about ‘Oxfordians’ is they always try to claim no fair hearing, but then close down the arguement too, as if in some court of law. “Case closed!” “Case proved!”. For all Shakespeare’s knowledge of the law, try Mercutio’s ‘Queen Mab’ swipe at lawyers for his real attitude to most of that lot, Summa cum laude or not, except perhaps Portia disguised – lawyers “who straightway dream on fees.” He prefers lovers, good monks,troubled dukes and strange, eventful histories. You see, without far better proof, the law or an appeal to the authority of learning that so shook through the university wits, dullards and closed shop merchants as they can be, can ‘prove’ nothing, and Shakespeare’s was not a brilliant legal brain, but an astonishing human mind and soul, an artist, working with players inside real theatres, born in the free experience of nature and travelling at every social level. The presumption of English law is innocence too, so the need for a great deal of real evidence, not speculation. You cannot prove exact correspondence between fiction and fact, only suggest echoes and translations, like Bottom translated in the Dream, but I fear he was an ass if a lovable one. From your contribution I fear you know little about creative writing either, thirsty at the fountain of truth and inspiration or not. Ah, but then London was once famed for its clean rivers and pure springs, foul as it was too. I trust creative writers like Peter Ackroyd, on the whole, though apparently he has teams of researchers. But thank you for writing in and many congratulations on all your money too. Maybe you can fund tiny Phoenix Ark Press, or correct the travesty to love, friendship, art and publishing, in spirit and contracts, that happened in your noble country and New York! Still, always fine to talk Shakespeare’s plays.


      ps since you are a ‘Boswell’ , did you read interesting research here in Shakespeare’s Brother about how Dr Johnson enjoyed the patronage of the Thrales, at that Anchor Brewery, that swallowed up all those brothels, theatres, taps and taverns in Southwark, as London swelled and the City took control, in the never ending drive of commerce? It was sold on to Courage and the Barclays banking family. Money, land law, leases and conglomerates win, because it is the all consuming drive of capital and power, especially in Capitals. Guess that makes me a Shakespearian crypto Marxist too! Nay, nay, just a humanist, like him.

      • Ed Boswell

        Thanks for the quick, if not hasty comment. Like so many “Stratfordians”, you have failed, in your singular insult, to carefully read what I wrote, which was a reference to “the creative process”, not creative writing in particular. We know nothing of each other, so it would be best for you to stop doing what Stratfordians do best, namely, speculation. In fact, I know quite a bit about the creative process. I have published fine art prints that are in major museums around the world, including England. I’m a published lyricist, to a very small extent, as well. I know that I didn’t arrive at any creative breakthroughs via “incomprensible genius” either. I also made no mention of my personal wealth, which you alluded to. I have no real dog in this fight, as I’m not an entrenched academic who has waxed poetic over the money lender/actor, nor do I have an interest in England’s most tragic tourist trap. My interest is high because I find this to be a great psychological drama, as well as literature’s greatest mystery. “The Poet of the Common Man”, Walt Whitman, exhibited the greatest sense of divine intuition when he stated that the true author was most likely “one of the wolfish earls” so close to the Queen that he had license to lampoon the powerful for her delight and comic relief. All the best, from Atzlan, aka California. Ed Boswell~~~

        • An honest and a fairish reply, though I suggest it is an understanding of the creative process of writing that is most needed. Congratulations on your achievements and creative joys though. Interesting you refer to divine intution, but Whitman, marvel that he is, poet of lives, electric blood and leaves of grass, was grounded in American experience, long severed from English experience and memory, and there is little about the wolfish earl in Shakespeare. On the other hand it is very likely he was protected by patrons and Elizabeth, indeed the local Bishop of Winchester, perhaps. “I am Richard II”. But his avoidance of direct attacks, and relocation of vital conflicts to foreign climbs, then romances and magical fantasies like The Tempest, as well as supporting the line of the Tudors, meant he also avoided attacks. Indeed, many ‘Stratfordians’ speculate almost as badly as ‘Oxfordians’, yet with more evidence, but good to share a joy of great dramas. I have no real interest in tourist maps, nor industries tragic or otherwise. A Californian Atlanis? God Bless the Mayans!

          • Ed Boswell

            To begin at your ending, Atzlan was the land that the Aztecs said they were from when they came to what is now Mexico City. A now mythical land to the North. The Chicano art movement used “Atzlan” to describe California. My late friend Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, the founding father of the Chicano Art movement, told me that. It has nothing to do with Mayans.
            To dismiss the ability of Walt Whitman to correctly intuit the true author of William Shakespeare’s work is a fool’s errand. That is not unlike Stratfordians psycho-analyzing Freud and Clemens to explain their “deranged” views on the authorshiip question. Did you know that a number of years prior to the appearance on the national stage of Abe Lincoln, that Walt Whitman had a vision that describes a man like Lincoln in great detail? Perhaps there are a few among us with powers of premonition. I know that to be true. I also know that a “premonition” can be had by collecting what you know, and coming up with a result that appears to by more psychic that it really is. I think that Whitman had a vision, and he clearly saw the true author, Edward de Vere. That’s as close as I choose to get to ciphers, seances, and “visions”. Whitman was special. He knew.
            BTW, eminent attorneys such as Lord Penzance and Sir George Greenwood both explained in detail how adept at the law, including arcane and theoretical law, WS was. Like many Stratfordians, a circular parade of parrots choose to poison the air with idiotic statements such as “we know more about WS as a poet dramatist than anyone else from the period save Jonson”, or that “WS didn’t need to reference books in foreign languages”, or that a (supposed) education from a country grammar school is superior to a BA in a leading university of today, or that his details about Italy are proof he never went there. This is absolute trash, and shows a pitiful, lazy and essentially pompous inferiority of critical thinking in those who employ those falsehoods as absolutes. That is the reason why “Shakespeare’s Guide ot Italy” is so brilliant, because the very “mistakes” pointed out by Stratfordian buffoons are the very same facts that prove beyond reasonable doubt that Shakespeare followed the same footsteps as Edward de Vere during his Grand Tour of Italy in the mid-1570’s. Again, All the Best, Ed Boswell~~~

            • Yes, quite right about the Aztecs, thought you’d been reading my book about the Mayan end of the world! Otherwise, dear Ed, you do talk a load of absolute rubbish, the absolutes of your tribe being the point. Nobone ever said Shakesoeare had no education, and I know plenty of BAs, Mas and PHDs who could not pen a decent line. A poet is made elsewhere, as Whitman should have known, and as for premonitions, more evidence here of that possibility, howver unhappy. I used to be a travel writer too, and also know how the greats, weilding imagination, can make things up, while hearing tales in taverns, reading or walking Lombard street is enough to journey with Shakespeare. Whoever said he never travelled abroad anyhow? Back to the likes of Sir George, of the leering hydrocephalic kind. How the establishement loves to sure up its sense of itself, but if Shakespeare had a good sense of the law, because the best sense of the law is its hoped for common sense, or indeed experience of lawyers, and their arguements, it does not make him cum laude of anything but art. Besides, Devere was dead by 1604, and that canon certainly not completed by then. End of story. All the best, David C-D

              • Ed Boswell

                Sir George Greenwood, who you’ve most likely not read, was one of the founders of the British Society for the Prevention of Cruely to Animals, an M.P., and a brilliant attorney. He documented, as have others, “Shake-speare’s” keen legal expertise. BTW, since when are “wolfish earls” not in the WS histories? As with virtually all of the Stratford man’s tracks, there is zero proof, and virtually zero chance he took a tour of Italy. There is also close to zero chance he was a law clerk, as they witnessed documents that still exist. There is also ZERO proof he did, or did not attend school for a single day in his life. His crabbed signatures, no two alike, tell us something, as did the illiterate household he came from. Why do you think such eminent people have called BS on the Stratford Myth? Are they all mentally ill? And you speak of Shaksper’s “patrons”. Did you know that Southampton had ZERO contact with the Stratford man, but was engaged to De Vere’s daughter during the time-frame of the “procreation” sonnets? And kindly explain why De Vere’s in-laws received the Dedication to the First Folio? In short, common sense has told many outside of my self, that something is not right when you match the Stratford Man with the pen-name of “Shake-speare”. Isn’t that an obvious pen-name to you? Certainly you don’t claim that the Shake family took on the name of a more highly ranked clan of Warwickshire “Spears”, do you? Why was his name hyphenated? Only pen-names were, unless two families names are at play. And as for the date of composition, NONE of the plays have exact dates, we only know when they were first staged or put into print. We do know that the corrupt copies were corrected up until 1604. None after until the First Folio came out in 1623. We also know the flimsy “proof” that the Tempest was penned after a shipwreck in the Bermudas in 1611 is a stupid supposition because there was a famous shipwreck that was chronicled in English periodicals in the early 1590’s. As for the “PROOF” that Macbeth was written after the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, that’s based upon the use of one word, Equivocation…. a defense used at the trial. But there was another famous trial much earlier than 1605 that used the same defense. So that’s all you cats can come up with to “eliminate” de Vere? I’d say that’s flimsy at best. And to say that Southampton was the Stratford man’s “patron”, or that we know he went to grammar school, or he was a law clerk, or we know for a fact when a particular play was penned, is actual LYING. It is disgraceful to be misleading people such as yourself, who accept “expert” “facts” on face value. I would expect you, an apparently intelligent and affable man, to dig a little deeper. But that’s OK. We become hardened over time, and it’s a rare bird that actually mines the truth, and does not take “expert” opinions at face value. All the best, boswell

                • Good for Greenwood, he sounds splendid, but it does not make him right, and Elizabethans were not especially kind to animals, or each other (bit of a cliche). Most good ‘historians’ of Shakespeare proceed very carefully to what we do and don’t know, and yes, you are right about not knowing many things. Except it builds and builds in a way Devere does not. We KNOW the Stratford man was with players and a sharer at The Globe. We know his brother Edmund came to London too. We know he rose to gain a coat of arms, New Place, Groom of the Chamber. I’ve always found the shaky signatures line as fatuous as snorting at a midden, or all the other snobberies, themselves out of time and place. Have you looked at original docutments in the metropolitan or national archives? I’ll cite the Earl of Nottingham’s signature, raising troups and livery in Southwark, that is crabbed, shakey and looks rather ‘common’. How many went around writing in copperplate? It’s almost impossible to read the writing of lawyers and noteries some times. You assume all your polite nobles, bas and lawyers, were writing in established spelling, copperplate, or the measured writing we have. They were not. Spelling, grammer, writing, out of printed forms, was beginning to codify.

                  Affable, affable! A duel. I am fucking furous, broke, tired and despise how much of the writing system nowadays is stitched up by agents and big publishers. When I turned to Alan Nelson about Edmund he tried to claim moral copyright, yet you understand that people want somehow to protect the work they are doing, although did not seem interested in the work I have now ‘published’. James Shapiro, very affable, would not put me in touch with his agent. As for digging deep, I dug so deep in the face of lies people close to me started to tell In New York, I nearly got to Australia. It ruined a career really taking off. As for expert, what is it you assume the expert shakespeare opinion is? I do not blindly accept expert facts, Stratford not Baconion (grrr) The man and the plays matter, the mind and vision inside them, and by the way there are plenty of wolfish earls in the plays, but not in the vision of the playwright. Though not perhaps such an easy sweet or gentle man.

                  • Ed Boswell

                    You’re alright with me, at the least. Shakespeare was a full 150 years ahead of his time in regards to his sympathy for animals. I remember reading about that, with some great examples. I think we might be of the same opinions re: Baconians. In terms of my personal “investigation” if you will, I think one should focus on the Sonnets in particular. Printed 5 years after de Vere’s death, they speak of a disgraced man who actually held the canopy for the Queen (deVere did, as evidenced by a detailed “map” of the Queen’s Canopy in a royal procession, with the Great Lord Chamberlain on 1 of the 4 corners). They also say that the poet is “lame” (thanks Alan Nelson), over 40, with a reason to petition the 3rd Earl of Southampton to marry and procreate (De Vere’s daughter being engaged to him, but he backed out, cause for poetry (deVere was broke) to sweeten the balked at proposal, promising immortality in words. There is a “dark lady”, namely Anne Vavasour, and the poems are too heartfelt to seriously be considered “literary excercise”. Let’s consider that premise to be absurd.
                    And why was there no dedication by the “ever-living poet”, ?????? Only the deceased are referred to as “ever-living”, and I defy you to prove otherwise. We also have circumstantial evidence that points to a relative of de Vere’s personal secretary, Anthony Munday, a “Mr. W.H.” William Hall, which suggests he provided the poems, as he had done before via de Vere/Munday, poems submitted to de Vere from a doomed poet in the tower seeking clemency by sending poems to the Earl. I assume you are aware of de Vere’s acting troupes, his leases at Blackfriars, his plays at the Boar’s Head Inn, his listing by Meres as being among the best at comedies, the King’s Coach his men robbed on a drunken lark, on the exact same road as in WS’s Henry IV I believe, and a few hundred other “coincidences” that defy cumulative dismissal. You’re right about spellings during the time being all over the place, and although leading handwriting experts have weighed in on the 6 signatures as being from someone whose hand was being led by another, I don’t hinge my position on the handwriting of the Stratford man. The fact that no one writes of being with a poet/dramatist from Stratford during the life of WIll, and we don’t have a single letter that he wrote or received, certainly should give you pause. My position is this: NOTHING in my life’s experiences leads me to believe that the Stratford man was anything but a mask. NOTHING. So everything about my life is misleading. Nothing I’ve ever read about any and all others in human history prepare me for drinking the Stratford kool-aid. (Jonestown served “Flavor-Aid”, by the way). So there you go. Thanks for the writing exercises, and Good Luck to you in all regards, affable or naught~~~~ boswell

                    • My Dear Boswell, you should take a lead from you namesake’s journeying with his hero, in fact and spirit, though Johnson did probably ruin Shakespearian language by codifying it all into dictionaries. As for Jonson, your remark about the ever living poet tweeks, but then twangs. I clealry need to know more of Devere, just for interest’s sake, but why on earth could Shakespere not have touched on echoes of the life of another literary man. To glance on play dating, you don’t think Pericles contains Shakespeare, based on Wilkins’s novel of 1607(I think) though tis truth it could have followed a play? It is a pet theory here though that John Gower appears as chorus because Will had just buried Edmund in Southwark Cathedral, on that literary road, where Gower’s monumnet is so prominent. In 1607/8 came the great London freeze, you can see written about in the Great Frost pamphlet at the top of Shakespeare’s Brother above and Coriolanus directly refers to Italianate wherry men, cuting channels in the frozen Tiber, as they did in London. All the world’s a slightly translated London stage. There is no way The Tempest preceeded Pericles, Corialanus or The Winter’s Tale, and its first performance is, I think, 1613. Your poor Oxford was very long dead, but for Oxfordians only as definately dead as Jacob Marley’s ghost, or was that a piece of cheese? By the way, not even sure about your being ahead of or after the times, because I bet some ancient Romans were fond of and kind to animals. You prove by your expression of mere writing excercises you are not interested in why people deeply believe in, or stick to Stratford Shakespeare, looking at the evidence and listening to his true profession, great as the sonnets are, plays. Yours most affably, David C-D

  2. Ed


    you underestimate the power of Roper´s argument. To find words by chance in a grille is easy. To find a readable sentence is VERY improbable. To find a readable sentence with a relevant bearing on the subject simply doesn’t happen. A grille built on the figure 31 will give us PAT SIP NO FLEAS, on 32 HE YET HIT AS COT, 35: TOY TIE OR SO, and so on. But only a 34-column grille will give an answer to the challenge put to the reader of the monument: READ IF THOU CANST WHOM ENVIOUS DEATH HATH PLAST WITHIN THIS MONUMENT (for Shakespeare). Combined with the anomalies in the text, which serves the hidden message to be readable, the figure 34 which has a certain correspondence to the name hidden and the fact that the concealed words come in clusters, strengthen the argument that the whole thing was put there by design. Moreover since the person hidden in the message happens to be the same as the one person in history with the strongest known connections, biographical or literary or anything, to the texts we call the Shakespeare canon, should be enough to make anyone who cares about truth at least a bit curious.

    IF, I say if, the Folio had been printed without a name on the first page, who would we today consider the Author? A man who left no traces of a literary life AT ALL, like William-of-Stratford, or a man whose literary fingerprints are left on virtually every page, like Edward de Vere? The answer is obvious, but we have a paradigm shift to go through before the world is ready for it, and such things are painful experiences to many people. So painful actually that the wish to stay in the phase of denial can be lifelong.

    (pardon my English, I am from Northern Europe)

    • Thank you for that. That’s the way to debate, though I’m sure I’m guilty of sounding off. In that same Roper Grille I found the words “THY TEST IS EVER HAM” and I do not think the Devere sentence is exactly readable. Surely it was not beyond wit to have it read, “I AM EDWARD DEVERE!”, if they wanted to give this great secret away. Many of the arguements are replayed in the conversations with William Ray here, but I am obviously interested.

      You talk paradigm shift, but I talk a great deal of evidence on the ‘Stratford’ side, if you have to see it like that. My work on Edmund Shakespeare and players in Southwark is a tiny part of that. The ‘could a non university man or commoner have done all that?’ jealousy and judgment has indeed been running since Greene’s Groatsworth, and perhaps split Cambridge and Oxford editions in many ways. Peter Ackroyd argues there is plenty of evidence of a London Shakespeare though, however spelt, who was known on the scene and in Southwark, indeed something of a ‘phenomenon’, lauded, and who stood up to protect his work in print too, especially publishing poetry, against foul paper thefts and editions. However relectant he was as man and artist to be known, or to play the kind of noisy, actorish role Ben Jonson did. He was the consumate writer, interested in doing his work, but this was also an age only just establishing the primacy of the author, with the explosion of printing, and especially in that rough and tumble world of playwrights, high and low. Poetry was the thing, in print and ‘society’, not the sink pits of theatres, though Shakespeare changes the vision of what actors and people are. Look at the praise for actors in Hamlet, but also rejecting the likes of comic jigs like Will Kempe’s, that dominated theatre as bawdy. Hence a Shake-rags.

      Does it remain true there is no direct link in records between that London Shakespeare and the Stratford one, who the Oxfordian’s so try to despise as country oaf, or malt hoarder, or daring to live in a town that had a midden? No, because that Shakespeare left actors mourning rings in his will, his ffellowes involved in printing the First Folio, and so protecting work at a “house”, the Globe. Remember Phillip Henslowe at The Rose, Fortune and Hope owned the plays, the manuscripts he commissioned, and I think that is exactly why Shakespeare and the Burbages built the Globe, apart from The Theatre lease running out, so they could own their own work, profits and visions. So the film Anonymous has to come up with the ‘theory’ that the Stratford Shakespeare was indeed a London player involved with the Globe, but a liar, thief and murderer. It is in fact the only interpretation that would support an Oxford or Bacon or whoever cover-up. That is somehow peddled in US schools as fact though, when it isn’t, and when we have lost touch with a vital difference between fact and fiction, so talked about in Shakespeare’s plays, very much admitting to ‘strange, eventful histories’, to truths about human seeming and lies, clothes and official claims, especially in a frightening and very dangerous London. There is another direct link with that Stratford man, and his family, New Place, Arden forests and the rest, and that is the book owned by Rchard Hunt, the Latin recently reinterpreted to describe that local Shakespeare as the “Roscius” of his time. It is not necessary to me, but certainly a missing link against attempts to overthrow a Stratford ‘paradigm’.

      I still think to prove any case you have to find that holy grail of original documents, not very strained theory, and with what is there as evidence, it would have to be rather extraordinary too, but thank you for puting that so well.

      ps You have to remember too that Devere may have been called a Spear-Shaker at court, and it indeed become a phrase of significance, that gave echoes to Will Shakeper’s own name in London. The sounds of words has very much changed with the effects of the printed word and official spelling. But Devere was published under his own name and critics have commented how mediocre it is compared to anything in Shakespeare.

      • Ed

        Thanks for an interesting answer!

        It is not an easy task to accomplish a perfect hidden sentence in a Grille. You will have to compromise. The body text i e the poem on the Monument is also hardly readable; what do you native English speakers say about this word order: WITH IN THIS MONVMENT SHAKSPEARE ? There are different spellings of words: WHOME/WHOM and THIS/YS. These, and other anomalies, are there to compensate so that the hidden sentence will be readable in the Grille. The point is that a name with a close relation to the Question appears; I admit that EDWARD DE VERE would have been better than E DE VERE, but as I said, it’s not so easy to achieve. Apparently the creator (obviously Jonson) wanted to make a personal avowal, so he produced a sentence that encourages the reader to put “E DE VERE” up to a “TEST” as Shakespeare. This is actually what the oxfordian scholars have been occupied with the last 90 years (with splendid results if you ask me).
        You may seek for a hundred years; you won’t find the names MARLOWE or BACON or anyone else. But the name E DE VERE is there (in a cluster), together with a readable (but not perfect) personal avowal that E DE VERE is Shakespeare. I find this enough satisfying to look further into the matter. And I can assure you, had we found the message: “I AM EDWARD DE VERE, SUCKERS!” it would have made no difference. People like Bloom, Shapiro and Wells would hardly be impressed, because nothing in the world could change their view (except a gigantic pay check maybe).

        About the ‘could a non university man or commoner have done all that?’ question. Actually, I mostly hear it as a straw man argument from the other side of the fence. What I would say is, rather: ‘could someone achieve all this without leaving a trace?’ which I think is a relevant question. And the person who dares to answer “probably not” to this question may start to look away from Stratford and in the end find the way to Oxford. Extraordinary talent can exist everywhere, but 1) it has to be nurtured, 2) it will be recognized. In the case of William-of-Stratford we know nothing of either. The case with de Vere is the extreme opposite. But the first question is also interesting, and I think Whitman’s well known saying about ‘one of the wolfish earls’ is a remark on spot. The history plays are very deeply rooted in English feudalism and history, the very milieu that de Vere was born into and an anachronistic rest of in the new era of the nouveau rich middle-class. Whitman’s intuition told him that the author of these plays had this history, way of life and this political structure in his veins. This was later to be perfectly in line with Looney’s findings.
        I would like to find some kind of connection between the writer and the written word. But in the life of William-of-Strat we get nothing of the kind. No artist is an island, all artists reflect themselves through their art, and they leave their fingerprints all over the place. If your man really did this I find him quite unique in the history of human achievements, since he left no fingerprints. He committed the perfect artistic crime.

        I think I will refrain from discussing Anonymous. I saw it once, and I really didn’t like it very much.

        A last word on de Vere’s mediocrity as poet. Have you heard the Mozart opera Bastien & Bastienne? According to stratfordian logic this work cannot be from Mozart’s hand since it is at best a sweet pastime, and really bad compared to Figaro. But he composed it at age 13. de Vere’s poetry is surely from his teens or early twenties, his formative years, and it is far better than its rumor among stratfordians. It also contains many stylistic forms, coinings and words that we will later find in Shakespeare. For Oxfordians these poems represent Shakespeare’s juvenilia. Where is the Stratford man’s juvenilia? Did he really begin his writing career from nothing at age 25, immediately producing masterpieces?
        Study for example ‘Love Thy Choice’, the first Elizabethan sonnet written in “Shakespeare” form, written around 1570. You will find some striking parallels with some of the 154 in it.

        • You know, people really do say extraordinally insulting things around this. I must admit I was annoyed Shapiro would not help me with an Edmund Shakespeare project, indeed Alan Nelson too, but to say everything is just the pay cheque is to dismiss everyone else’s integrity, much as it would be lovely to have lots of money.

          As I said, there is the glaring evidence tying the Stratford man to the London literary world and that is his Will, so why is it ignored? Then Hunt’s book. To ignore the Anonymous line, film or just premise, is to ignore the only ‘theory’ that could explain that Will. Your Devere had to take the cloak of a real Globe Shakespeare and player then, because our Stratford man was that, proved in documents. Peter Ackroyd has studied London for years with very deep love and his conclusion is the Stratford Shakespeare was a London ‘phenomenon’ too, known in his time. Hence raised to Groom of The Chamber, walking in the Lord Major’s parade under James, with that sword, and granted Coat of Arms, even if he joked about it himself.

          It’s a key argument of mine, and indeed about the mystery and evolution of language and identity, that this era was vitally on the cusp of real ‘recorded history’ though. That’s the true paradigm shift, because the Reformation literally began written church and parish records, huge administrative battles for control too, and really created ‘Mr and Mrs Londoner’, as well as printed books, poems and plays. That’s why people feel as if they are stepping from the shadows, often as reluctantly as a bloke in London avoiding bits of tax. Look at nowadays. But the vast majority of works are lost and other evidence hazy too, though coming into focus. Shakespeare’s plays weren’t lost, though a contemporary success can quickly vanish from the spotlight, to be repeatedly rediscovered over the centuries in its genius, because The Globe actors printed and so protected the First Folio. There are so many ways you can argue mights and possibilities, history’s endless could-have-happeneds, but to me that ‘Grille’ is not convincing, I’m afraid. To find the line Thy Test Is Ever Ham in the same structure is very telling. Who sets out to test grilles not looking for Devere, but finding other clear sentences, even authors, and Devere is a far simpler name than Shakespeare or Marlowe? Though it intrigues, it assumes and tries to prove there is any real mystery at all, and letting go of that might be the psychologically painful thing, while so much other evidence wipes it away. Jonson knew and worked with Shakespeare and seems to have apologised to him in print.

          Perfectly true early work doesn’t defy later genius, necesarilly, and Shakespeare wrote duff stuff, but the point is Devere was published under his own name, so was certainly not shy of being published. That’s the point, while everyone writing was engaged in using styles and forms of their time, though Shakespeare perfects both the sonnet and solliloquy, a stage form, and the extraordinary balance between poetic and spoken theatre, in astoundingly ambitious and rounded character too, following Marlowe. Knowing more about Oxford’s life and how much he travelled, apart from his own character, it is, to me, even more impossible he could have produced all those plays too, so obviously forged inside a working theatre environment. ‘Oxfordians’ would serve truth, the time and history better if they wrote about Oxford as Shakespeare’s contemporary, and everyone studied the period again, because I also think there’s much to be said about Shakespeare that does not serve any cliche. Though puting everyone in some Oxfordian or Stratfordian camp is wrong too.

          Yes, talent needs nurture, though genius can create its own paradigm shift, like Einstien working in his patent office. Stratford was not the back water it has been asserted, the Elizabethan curriculum not so backward either, and it is very possible Shakespeare was that young school master with the Hesketh’s and then moved in highly cultivated circles, as his craft was first forged as player, getting to know the theatre art like second nature and living its documented battles too.

          • Ed

            Of course it is (a little) more complex than the pay check, I just wanted to be rude. What do I know, anyway?
            I agree that it is possible (or rather impossible not) to tie the Stratford man to London’s theatrical scene. The question is what he was really doing. And also when he was doing it. In 1593 de Vere didn’t need to take someone’s cloak, we have no indication that anyone ever had heard the name of a writer named W.S. before Venus&Adonis, and after Lucrece the year after the author never published anything himself in this name. A pretty short printing career that is. It is my belief that the author (de Vere) never intended to publish his plays under the name Shakespeare, but from 1598 it was done anyway, by pirate printers. What role did the Stratford man play here? Well according to Ben Jonson’s portrays of him in some of his plays he was a kind of poetry thief in collaboration with printers. So actually, I think he used the likeness of his name with the poet’s to make some money on work he never wrote himself. This is also confirmed by the strange scene in As You Like It where the retired courtier Touchstone is accusing (and threatening) William from the Arden Forest (in Warwickshire near Stratford) for trying to steal his muse and his name. So, I don’t think Will was ever used as a front, and I think everyone in the know knew pretty well what was going on already in -93. The pen name was used for a specific reason, and I am sure de Vere would have loved to see his work go to the history in his own name (he laments this in Sonnet 81), but he knew that this was impossible, not because of stigma of print, but for political reasons. This my view is thus confirmed in contemporary theatre plays, and also in the Sonnets, so it is not in need of very much speculations to fill in the empty spots.

            Regarding the Grille, I notice that people with literary backgrounds have problems to understand this, whereas more science-oriented people have much less. I showed it to a friend once who is a mathematician of high order, and he immediately realized the mathematical aspects of it and dismissed any possibility of chance. But I will leave it there. The truth is in the eye of the beholder.

            It would (as a response to what you write) be an interesting thing to see stratfordian’s deal with Oxford as a contemporary to Shakespeare, to see them study his life and his writings without bias. What would they do now with their own poet, so obviously obsessed with the life of a literary courtier? How would this be explained? As it is now, a mentioning of the name “de Vere” will empty a room full of stratfordians in 5 seconds.

            • Um, serious scholarship isn’t about wanting to be rude, but wanting truth. What, prey, is more evidence of an argument already rumbling, in snarly attacks like Greene’s, or bitter one’s like Kempe’s, than the very scene you quote from As You Like It? Then, as today, art, writing and the theatre ‘is’ a place of great jealousy. Touchstone’s not a real touchstone but a fool, and that play is precisely about the triumph of nature and Arden (Stratford and Mary Arden, as you say) over all the courtly horribleness and evil. Interestingly, to my work on Edmund, Orlando is the youngest son, who gets back his true life inheritance in the face of threatening brothers. Perhaps an eldest and succeeding brother was guilty.

              Empty a room? For those who love Shakespeare, it’s impossible to do it if you have perpetually to defend against some ‘pradigm shift’ or startling revelation that you don’t believe in. But let neither of us empty a room!

              ps I dont’t have dates and arguments about printed work at my figertips, but Henry IV Part I was filling The Curtain or Theatre by 1596 and then Henry V errupts onto the stage as The Globe is built in 1598/9. As I say, a company moved, built their own house, and took their best dramatist’s plays there. They wiped out Henslowe’s Rose and since their main concern was theatre, not printed plays, or the scholarship that follows it, and is confused by foul papers, did not publish the lot (if even the lot) until Shakespeare’s death and the First Folio.

  3. thomasgoff

    Bravo, Roger Stritmatter!

    • That’s helpful!

      Roger Stritmatter is supposed to be the “first professional Oxford scholar” according to Wikepedia, anyway, and a citation from “Why There Is a Shakespeare Authorship Question,” a talk delivered at the Library of Congress, April 24, 1997, emended and augmented. Is it scurrelous to suggest so much of what is going on on Wikepedia is citing slight sources, especially online sources, to give ‘authority’? Not to mention repeating factual mistakes. I frequently call myself the greatest mind since Shakespeare, usually in the bathtub, although it doesn’t make it true. Perhaps that’s a little unfair. Strittmatter’s PHD was on textual correspondences between Oxford’s copy of the Geneva Bible and Shakespeare’s plays.

      ps DOH! Roger Stritmatter wrote in below.

  4. Greg Koch

    Let’s just look at the obvious: the Stratford Shakespeare is backed by QE2 and her minions. They have done everything possible to wall it up against scrutiny. What we do know is the original fraud perpetuated by stationers has brought a considerable fortune to the Crown Estates. The Stratford man’s sculpture has been changed from a grain farmer to playwright. That the grain farmer never wrote anything, and in fact was summoned for thuggery, grain-hoarding during a famine, and cited for piles of feces on his front yard.

    • Blah, Greg. Here we go, straight back to the most fundamental snobberies, or that nasty Caliban rumour about a midden in Stratford. Every town had a public one, as London was much of a dung heap, and so-called fine nobles could be pretty smelly. Meanwhile many summoned in court were arraigned in language that spoke thuggery, even murder. Plaintiffs attempt to be aggressive in pressing suits. But our legal system thankfully presumes innocence, not guilt. As for hoarding grain, yes, a problem with a simplistic view of a holy Shakespeare, trying to survive in a very dangerous world, but hence Catherine Duncan Jones’ “Ungentle Shakespeare”. On the other hand look at Oxford’s record over money.

      As for whether “QE2”, or her “minions” having benefitted from any industry, it is totally irrelevant to the truth of who Shakespeare was. The Crown has no more benefited from anything related to the Stationer’s Office, than the treasury benefits from tax. Its first purpose was censorship, though like a Master of Revels, such as Edmund Tilney, those offices were also part private franchise, ie bought from the crown, if Tilney did die in debt. It’s why Phillip Henslowe seems to have been paying off Tilney. Though “powers that be” benefit most from land ownership and capitalist interests. Hence the extraordinary, rather melancholy story, that will be developed in Shakespeare’s Brother, of how the area of Southwark, where those playhouses were built, and wonderful words sounded, was bought up by the Thrales, from people related to Thomas Bilson, the Bishop of Winchester. So playhouses, taverns and local taps became the Anchor Brewery, the largest in Europe. It was sold on to a City banking clan, the Barclays family, and then to Courage Brewers. At one point it was producing 80,000 barrels a year and if Royals can be guilty of liking money, was visited by The Prince of Wales. Dr Johnson though enjoyed the friendship of the Thrales.

  5. Tom Reedy

    ‘Twenty years after De Vere died, Richard Brathwaite wrote, “Let me tell you: London never saw writers more gifted than the ones I saw during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. And never were there more delightful plays than the ones performed by youth whose author wrote under a borrowed name.”‘

    Nope. He never wrote that at all. That’s a typical Oxfordian distortion, as in “The Oxford theory is absurd and based on distortions and conspiracy theories …” The writers Brathwaite was praising were George Wither and William Browne.You can read what Brathwaite really wrote here:

    • Hi Tom,

      great to have someone else pick up the cudgels and I’ll always post source comments. It was Alan Nelson giving a little lecture at The Globe about the record of Will Kempe’s death causing confusion, that highlighted how essential it is to go back to original sources.

  6. ps did follow the Roscus story too and its redefinition about what the Latin means.

  7. psi

    This strikes me as a very balanced and fair minded review. I agree with the substance of both the praise and the criticism of William Ray’s work. Regarding the question of the Earl of Oxford dying in 1604, perhaps you could get your orthodox colleagues to explain why almost half the Shakespearean plays appeared in print from 1591 to 1604, and then during an even longer time period from 1605-1623, much of which was the heyday of the supposed author’s career, only three new plays appeared.

    What was holding up the presses? I’ve been waiting twenty years for an answer.

    On the other hand, the notion that we actually know when many of these plays were written, with any more accuracy than within, say, a 5-10 year period, is balderdash. For a good “Oxfordian” review of the chronology of the plays, look up the book edited by Kevin Gilvary:

    Happy reading.

    • Well, excellent, someone else actually saying something concrete! Thank you, although, all over the shop people start to use language like “balderdash”, “Ad hominem”, etc. As for being “orthodox” I don’t think that any criticism. As if being “revolutionary” for it’s own sake were a compliment. Stalin was a revolutionary, though we’re more unorthodox than you think.

      It is an important thing to say that we cannot date any play more accurately than to within 5-10 years, but it is not true. There are several more closely dateable plays, for instance Twelth Night and Henry IV part I, because plays, though not all, were closely written in line with a coming performance. As for your suggestion about printed work, that is the whole thrust of scholarship, because printing and the success of sales was an entirely new phenomenon. One that involved copyright and manuscript theft and foul papers, did see Shakespeare responding to somehow protect work and establish his name in print, especially poetry, and then saw his players gathering to do it with the First Folio. It takes time to establish success and especially with work whose first port of call was the theatres, not being “published” at all, for financial gain or the sake of truth and heritage.

      Thank you for the Oxford dating list, we’ll have a look. Though it is knowledge that suggests it will just try to ignore so much to squeeze evidence into the Oxford time frame. It has been said there is plenty of evidence linking the London “Shakespeare” to plays and poetry, and contemporary recognition, but no evidence linking the Stratford Shakespeare, malt hoarder and owner of New Place, to the London man. In fact there is, apart from obvious connection, Richard Hunte’s book about a “Rocius” of out time, and Shakespeare’s Will, bequesting mourning rings to fellowe players. The Oxford theory is absurd and based on distortions and conspiracy theories, but above all a great deal of instinctive prejudice.

      • rstritmatter

        Thanks for the reply.

        After getting a PhD in a department which received threats if of closure if it had the audacity to approve my dissertation (from people who had not read it and never did), I reserve the right to use words like “balderdash” any time I like. Sorry if it offends you.

        You say:” It is an important thing to say that we cannot date *any play* more accurately than to within 5-10 years, but it is not true.”

        But I didn’t say that. Read what I wrote again. The composition date of some plays is more well known than others. Don’t seriously try to tell me that anyone knows when Pericles was really written, for example, or All’s Well that End’s Well, or even Coriolanus or Macbeth. Moreover, having just completed a book on the chronology of the Tempest (forthcoming from McFarland), I can assure you that it *is* — sorry if you don’t like the word, but its an apt one — “balderdash” to continue to insist that it was written in 1611. It wasn’t. I spent six years doing the research and writing (with Lynne Kositsky, showing why.

        You may not understand this yet, but it does not make it any less true. It just means you are still shooting from the hip.

        “we’ll have a look. Good. But how many of you are there? It’s really tiresome when people try to sound self-important by employing the royal “we.” “We” applies if more than one of “you” wrote that reply, which I doubt. Otherwise is just an indication of how important you are trying to sound.

        “In fact there is, apart from obvious connection, Richard Hunte’s book about a “Rocius” of out time, and Shakespeare’s Will, bequesting mourning rings to fellowe players.”

        And do you know who discovered that Roscius allusion? Look it up.

        “The Oxford theory is absurd and based on distortions and conspiracy theories, but above all a great deal of instinctive prejudice.” Ok, now you’ve told us what you really think. Hooey for you. You must be right, I’m just a “conspiracy theorist” who is of “instinctive prejudice” who wouldn’t know a distortion if it bit him on the ass.

        That’s why I changed my mind and you’re still fighting for a paradigm that is acting like a dead dinosaur. The tail is still switching around and looks likely to continue doing so for another twenty years. Grow up and stop calling people you’ve never met nasty names. Thanks.

        • Hi,

          which university, you should sue? No, I don’t get offended by “Balderdash”, you should see William and my spat, I just think it’s a bit Hastings from Hercule Poirot.

          Apologies for the “we”, not meant to be self important, it’s a style that developed out of sometimes blogging personally, and sometimes posting Phoenix Ark news.

          I don’t think my reply insulted you, I think it listened and approved your comments. Do I believe conspiracy happens, yes, look at Hillsborough? In fact I have direct experience of it myself, if you dare rock the boat. Do I think there are Elizabethan mysteries? Of course. Do I think Oxford, well you know, no I dont. It is balancing the weight of many things we know, against tiny bits of Oxford “evidence”, or indeed about others who might be authors.

          As for Pericles, and indeed the Tempest, it is also about watching a writer’s progression in style and form, where I believe you can see a clear line in Shakespeare, linked to scholarship about registering or publishing, but yes, I followed well known research.

          You are also right that you didn’t say we could not date any play within more than 5-10 years, sloppy. But life’s too short unless you find some significant proof.

          • pps No, of course you could not sue. A student submits themselves to be judged and examined by their tutors and an academic department, although if you could prove a department rejected a PHD not on their own academic judgement, but purely because of outside pressure, there you’d have a case.

            • psi

              You are barking at the moon. No one what but you said anything about suing a University. What I told you was that your team is engaged in a rather pathetic attempt to control the discussion through threats, bullying, and disinformation. Your reply was deeply insulting not to me, but to the life of the mind. You took cheap shots (conspiracy theory, snobbery, etc.) when you could have engaged real issues. When you say that you followed “well known research” do you think that in the future you could be prevailed upon to cite your own sources rather than flailing away at Wikipedia (not a source I would recommend in any way shape or form, on this topic, or on me)? Also, you might want to use a spell checker when you write on your own blog. I’m glad to see that you acknowledge the “sloppiness” of your initial reply. i find it’s endemic to the position you represent, so I could hardly hold it against you personally. Good luck with those preconceptions about those “bits” evidence.


              • Now I just find you pompous. This is not a text book, it’s an open blog and attempt at the fair discussion you seem incapable of. It’s very aware of potential mistakes too, which is why it asks people to correct, suggest or contribute and why perhaps the debate might be opened up beyond the sense of absolute or given truth, because there are a great many reasons for easily relayed error and for why it does and does not matter anyway. It’s clearly not to be, because the basic thrust of the Oxford line sets out to prove itself first, as if trying to wake the world to some great revelation about life, and so ignores everything else we actually know. That creates a problem on the ‘other side’, which is that I for one don’t respect the Oxford theory, in the end, but at least I argue the cause.

                If you are actully capable of reading what’s said though, that reply wasn’t an attack on you, indeed I thanked you for posting ‘information’, it was talking about general conspiracy theories surrounding Shakespeare, of which the Oxford theory is sadly the most obvious. It would have taken a rather great conspiracy to come up with the supression of a real author and playwright, as suggested in Anonymous, distorting who players were too, or the story of Southwark and The Globe, and word of mouth, for it to be relayed down the generations at that level and build and build. Perhaps you think every ‘establishment’ is out to get the so-called ‘Oxfordians’, or indeed you? In the bogs of Connemara they talk of nothing else! “Well, it’s only a movie,” said Roland Emmerich to James Shapiro in New York about Anonymous, the master ‘conspiracy movie’ film maker, and interestingly both an exciting rebel and Dutch, but whose publicity machine then tried to peddle it in US schools as fact, but a movie building on what is at the base of Oxford arguements, not only about real authors, but Oxford being Elizabeth’s son and incestuous lover. I suggest even Tom Stoppard would not be arrogant enough to say Shakespeare In Love was fact, but has a far greater sense of Shakespeare’s time and truth, and is a marvellous playright himself. There is also a great deal of intrinsic snobbery about it, that touches in my and other’s view a kind of running class war, as old as Shakespeare, which is why Mr Looney brought it up in the worrying twenties. If you could read between the lines, no, actually read, you’d know there is no big team here either, because I told you. You must simply forgive the “Royal we”, maybe it’s a British thang, though I think I could say a deal more than you about the authority of the printed word.

                I could not give a tuppenny F if you sue a University or not, I was being sympathetic to you, some respect of Oxford ideas, or challenging established theories and research, which is also why I reblogged the work you have done on Oxford’s geneva Bible, and said maybe I was being unfair, but it seems you simply cannot read, on the surface or between lines. The life of the mind! It was you who openly said that your University had effectively supressed your PHD at the threat of cutbacks to a department, correct me if I’m wrong, so supposedly not a fair academic reading at all. And if you take open arguements as “threats, bullying or disinformation”, I can’t see the ‘threat’ or ‘bullying’, let alone ‘disinformation’ actually engaging with the debate, and suggest you grow up, because I think you have a real problem about respect or truth yourself, and to me it suggests it really operates on the very personal before scholarly level. That’s not to say I don’t find the defence of truths about Shakespeare or history a personal thing, though not first the ‘scholar’ myself, but writer, but am capable of not being absolute and of listening too. As for Wikepedia I quite agree about being wary of its attempt to establish authority, relaying errors, and its rather interesting Oxford’s page, fascinating life that he had, but which seems to grow like vegitable love. But having read you, as opposed to someone like William Ray, who has all the right spirit, despite his “kawasaki slaps”, returned from yours truly, and admits to being the layman, respect drains away instantly. At least he’s fun.

                There are no seriously respected, mainstream academics and historians who follow your line I am aware of though and more especially real writers either, who know a lot about the craft and the theatre too. As for your pathetic attempt to be rude or dismissive about work here on the grounds of ‘spell checkers’, well, before the science of machines takes over, you should try handling language itself, or indeed Elizabethan spelling. Because I think a great many from your world could not approach a deep understanding of the English language anyway, grounded in an experience of English culture and history, not north American experience and culture, if it exists. That’s said with real respect to James Shapiro. But which is why people too often engage in distortive literalism, someone like Peter Ackroyd tries to correct, like trying to pin words out of fiction to very specific event, that has no real conception of language as both mystery and metaphor, nor of fiction and drama, nor the problem of history. Not to mention that some of your sentences above are not sentences at all. Um, sloppy. Never give someone like you an inch though, they’ll take a mile.

                By the by, in my personal view you have no sense of humour either, Roger Stritmatter, but others may well find you absolutely hysterical. Good luck with your astounding ‘paradigm shifts’ and adios.

                • Tom Reedy

                  Among other errors, Roger capitalized the generic “university” in his second sentence and began his penultimate sentence with a lower-case “i”, so therefore by his own standards he’s absolutely wrong about everything, and especially about Shakespeare. There’s your proof!

                  Debate’s over; we win!

                • psi2

                  Actually, Dave, I have a great sense of humor. You just haven’t understood it yet. That’s a pity because we share more than you are willing to admit. Sorry about the sloppy sentences, As you know, the mind sometimes races faster than the fingers on the keyboard. “Let’s consider your point that a great many from your world could not approach a deep understanding of the English language anyway, grounded in an experience of English culture and history, not north American experience and culture, if it exists,” shall we? First, I’m not sure what you mean by “my world.” You seem to know what you mean by that, but I would venture to suggest that you know less about my world than you think that you do. You are quite right to allude to the danger of “trying to pin words out of fiction to very specific event, that has no real conception of language as both mystery and metaphor, nor of fiction and drama, nor the problem of history” By the same token, words — whether expressed in “fiction” or other forms of discourse doe emerge from local historical and epistemic contexts that give them meaning — and that is what partisans of the orthodox view of the bard like Shapiro are afraid to understand or acknowledge. That’s enough for now. I’m glad I amuse you. Perhaps if you do a little more research on the topic of our mutual interest you will begin to understand that some of what you find amusing has more to do with your own assumptions than it does with me. Good luck.

                  • Dave! Actually I was the one who said I had more in common than you thought, and forgive my talking of your world, I was being silly about America. What we may or may not have in common though is that I am aware of many huge assumptions, and indeed the creation of establishment ideas of history, not to mention the ruthlessness that can engage when you cross lines, but not because Oxford was Shakespeare, no, no. Shacksper was Shakespeare was Bill, was a Master of creative language in transition, was a visonary capable of entering so many forms, imaginative and social. Was quite simply astonishing. All best, Dave.

                    • psi2

                      Well, whatever you say…..But in case you want to consider that your assumptions are not cast in concrete, and you’d like to know how in practice I approach the problem of *meaning* in a Shakespearean text, I would refer you to my article on *Venus and Adonis,* published in the University of Tennessee Law Review, available here:

                      As you are probably aware, the question of Shakespeare’s knowledge of law has played a major role in the history of Shakespearean scholarship generally and as a stimulus to doubts about authorship:

                      That is one reason why at least three living supreme court justices, most notably Stevens, don’t share your faith in the Stratford legend. As Stevens points out in his “Shakespeare Canon of Statutory Construction” (UPenn Law Review, 2001, words, “even small words” sometimes have meanings that are not “immediately apparent.” I thought you might like that.

                      Best regards.

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