To: Members of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship
From: presidents of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship
As you probably know, the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship are the leading Oxfordian organizations in the United States. For eight years, the two groups have held joint annual conferences on the Shakespeare authorship question, with an emphasis on the candidacy of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, as the true author.
Because the missions of the two groups are so closely aligned, we have often considered whether we should join forces as a single organization, dedicated to spreading the Oxfordian message in the U.S. and beyond. This year, we have had a series of talks about unifying the two groups. We discussed the differences we would have to overcome to create a single Oxfordian group in the U.S. After much discussion, we found that our differences could be reconciled. We drew up a “Notice of Intent” (attached to this message), which is a non-binding guideline of how we would accomplish unification. The Notice of Intent has been approved by the Boards of Trustees of both the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship. We believe that the two groups can work more efficiently and harmoniously as one group.
Both Boards recommend the name “Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship” as the name of the new organization. The new name is meant to pay tribute to the two groups from which the new organization springs by combining their names. (Members are welcome, however, to suggest other names.)
A great deal still has to be done before unification is finalized. First of all, we want to hear the responses from you, our members. Please read the attached Notice of Intent and share with us your comments, suggestions, reservations, and your objections, if any. Before unification can be final, we have to work out a more detailed Plan of Unification and have a final vote by our members. We will need a two-thirds majority from the memberships of both organizations for unification to take place. Your input is important at this time because we want to accomplish it in a way that will best serve the needs of our members.
Please send your comments to either (or both) of us by April 30 at the e-mail addresses below:
John Hamill, president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, email@example.com
Tom Regnier, president of the Shakespeare Fellowship, firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTICE OF INTENT:
18 March 2013
This is a Notice of Intent (NOI) between the Shakespeare Oxford Society (“SOS”) and the Shakespeare Fellowship (“SF”) to unify into a single entity. This is not a binding agreement, but only a notice of general intent and a broad outline of the means of unification. The organizations expect to produce a more detailed and binding final agreement, a Plan of Unification (POU), approved by the Board of Trustees (BOT) and memberships of each organization, which will more fully delineate the details before unification becomes final.
The reasons for the unification of our two organizations are many. One overriding motivation is to save costs from duplication of efforts so that the unified organization can devote more resources to promote research and outreach. Also, since the two organizations share the same Oxfordian goal, the existence of two organizations is confusing to potential recruits and wasteful of effort. In a hostile Stratfordian world, since nothing divides us, we would do better to stand together.
The steps for unification will be accomplished by the SOS filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) – [new operational name], a proposed POU approved by the BOT of each organization, and the SF will thereafter dissolve.
At present, the organizations agree that unification will occur under the following circumstances:
1. The unified organization will be called by a new operational name, “Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship” (“SOF”), unless the memberships of both organizations approve another operational name. The name, “Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship,” is meant to pay tribute to the two organizations from which the new organization springs, knowing that the word “Fellowship” has a distinguished pedigree in the Oxfordian movement and that the original Shakespeare Fellowship in England boasted Thomas Looney and George Greenwood as officers and that the American branch had Dr. Louis P. Benezet and Eva Turner Clark. We also believe that the word “fellowship,” defined as “a group of people meeting to pursue a shared interest or aim,” describes the kind of group we hope to have. The unified organization will retain the SOS articles of incorporation and its corporate name for purposes of the 501(c)(3) non-profit tax status, but will register a “DBA”- “Doing Business As” for the “Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship,” or whatever name the members shall prefer. The SOS will make a separate filing of a “DBA”- “Doing Business As” certificate, so it can operate under a different name. (For example: Daimler-Benz ‘DBA’: Mercedes Benz, Federated Department Stores ‘DBA’: Macy’s, Deutsche Telekom ‘DBA’: T-Mobile.) The unified organization would be SOS, Inc. ‘DBA’: Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.
2. This Notice of Intent, after approval by the BOTs of the SOS and SF, will be published to the memberships of both groups by mail, e-mail, newsletter, and/or website publication so that the members may make comments, suggestions, or objections regarding the general plan as outlined in the NOI. Once the POU is finalized and approved by the BOTs of the SOS and SF, the members of each organization will be asked to approve the POU by mail ballot, which approval by 2/3 majority vote of each voting membership shall be necessary to finalize the unification. Members of the SOS and SF at the time of unification will automatically become members of the SOF. The renewal dates and dues of their memberships will be determined by the POU, on a common annual basis. Every effort will be made to keep dues at or near their current level. The SF will satisfy or provide for the payment of all of its liabilities and then transfer to the SOF all of its net assets, including cash balances, tangible assets, intellectual property, etc.
3. The SOF will publish a single newsletter, and to the extent possible, the newsletter will be published quarterly. The editor(s) of the newsletter will be chosen by the BOT and will work “at will.” Should the new by-laws provide for a Publications Committee, the Chair of the Committee may make suggestions to the editors, but the editors will have final say on editorial matters.
4. The SOF will publish both of the scholarly journals currently published by the SOS and SF, The Oxfordian and Brief Chronicles. The Oxfordian will continue to be published once a year in hard copy and be sent free to full members. Brief Chronicles will remain a free online journal accessible to all. The current editors of the two journals will remain as they are at present and will work “at will.” The editors will be compensated, and the budget for editors’ salaries will be the same for The Oxfordian as for Brief Chronicles. Future journal editors will be chosen by the BOT and will work “at will.” Should the new by-laws provide for a Publications Committee, the Chair of the Committee may make suggestions to the editors, but the editors will have final say on editorial matters.
5. The POU will present a balanced budget and revenues that identify specific ways to substantially reduce administrative expenses and enhance funding for research, publications, website support, and educational programs. The POU will show that the operations of each of SF and SOS generates sufficient funds to cover its expenses, and that the BOT of the unified organization will ensure that it will have enough funding to meet its annual financial obligations.
6. The POU will present a new set of by-laws for the unified organization. A committee of members from the SF and SOS will examine the by-laws of the two groups and decide which by-laws of either group have been most workable and may also offer suggestions for new by-laws. These by-laws will be attached to the POU as an exhibit and will be subject to the approval of the members of both organizations. Assuming that the SOS and SF BOTs approve the by-laws changes, the new by-laws will take effect when the BOT of the SOF assumes control of the unified organization.
7. Once unification takes place, and until the next general membership meeting in 2014, the unified organization will be managed by a board of trustees identified in the POU. The POU will identify a new BOT with an odd number of members (probably nine), with the current SOS and SF Boards appointing the members. The SOS will appoint one member more than the SF. The new by-laws, identified in the POU, will set forth the offices. The POU will identify by name who will be president and serve as officers. The list of these board members and office holders must be approved by the current BOTs of both organizations. The new by-laws will identify the process by which the membership will elect BOT members and officers after the first year.
8. Once the POU (including operational name change) is approved by both BOTs and the memberships of both organizations, and (1) the SOS has received a certificate or date-stamped copy of the DBA filed with appropriate New York authorities setting forth the operational name of the unified organization agreed to by the memberships, and (2) SF has filed articles of dissolution and begun the dissolution process in good faith, then the unification will take place either at the 2013 joint conference in Toronto (currently scheduled for October 17-20), or, if all the aforementioned preconditions have not been met at that time, at an appropriate date in 2013 or 2014, which date shall be approved by the BOTs of the SOS and SF. At that time, the new BOT and officers will assume control of the unified organization.
9. The SF website, which the SF plans to upgrade in 2013, will become the website for the unified organization. Content from the current SOS website will be made available on the unified organization’s website in such a way as to be easily searchable by members and others interested in the Shakespeare Authorship Question. The current URLs of the SOS and SF will be programmed to redirect to the unified organization website. The current SOS Facebook page will become the SOF Facebook page. The unified organization will take steps to hire a part-time, compensated webmaster, who will manage and coordinate the website, the Facebook page, and any other social media that the organization may utilize.
Agreed upon by the Boards of Trustees of the SOS and SF and signed by the Presidents of the two organizations.
Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman announced the publication of the fellowship’s online journal Brief Chronicles, Vol. 3:
Brief Chronicles Vol 3 has been posted on-line. This year’s volume has over 300 pages of outstanding scholarship, including articles on Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Willobie His Avisa, and many others, as well as reviews of six recent authorship publications. Contributors include Richard Whalen, Bonner Cutting, Tom Regnier, Richard Waugaman, Robert Prechter, Michael Wainwright and Andrew Crider, as well as a prefatory essay by General Editor Roger Stritmatter, an interview of Leo Daugherty by Managing Editor, Gary Goldstein, and a passage from the forward of This Star of England. Our contributors and editors have once again outdone themselves in compiling a superb edition, which caps an amazing year for those of us immersed in Shakespeare authorship studies. As Nikos Kazantzakis, the famous modern Greek writer and author of Zorba the Greek, and The Odyssey, A Modern Sequel, wrote, “Reach what you cannot”. Happy New Year and fare forward, my friends.
Shakespeare Fellowship board members Bonner Miller Cutting and Tom Regnier have been featured on Jennifer Newton’s new podcast website, Shakespeare Underground. Newton describes her site as a podcast series that examines the works and life of William Shakespeare, and explores why there has been doubt about the authorship of the plays, sonnets, and other poetry. The site launched this fall and the first episode featured Newman’s interview with Bonner Miller Cutting discussing Cutting’s research into Elizabethan wills, titled “Where There’s a Will.”
Newton’s second episode features an 84-minute interview with attorney Tom Regnier titled “The Law in Hamlet”. Regnier said, “I talk about the authorship question and the law in Shakespeare generally, but mostly I focus on the law in Hamlet — homicide law, inheritance law, ecclesiastical law, etc., and I relate them to Oxford’s life.”
A third episode titled “Midsummer Monsieur: The French Court in Shakespeare” featuring an interview with Shakespeare Fellowship president Earl Showerman is currently under production. “My talk with Jennifer is on political allegory in Shakespeare and especially in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Showerman said. “We may have a bit more recording to do before it is ready for broadcasting. She is doing a great job.”
Newton is preparing an article on her project for the winter edition of the Shakespeare Fellowship’s newsletter Shakespeare Matters, and she agreed to give us a preview here:
The podcast will be an outlet for Shakespeare scholarship that doesn’t presuppose the authorship of William Shaksper from Stratford, and therefore isn’t constrained by the limitations of his timeline, experiences, or resources. The format is interview-based, featuring one speaker per episode talking on a particular theme they have studied which illuminates our understanding of the works, the author, or the era. My aim is for the podcast to be accessible to people with limited or no prior knowledge of the authorship debate, and I hope it will be entertaining for anyone with a general interest in Shakespeare and the period. It exists to support the ongoing work of independent scholars, and the efforts of the authorship societies, journals, and conferences.
Newton is convinced of the benefits of podcasting for sharing Shakespeare authorship content. She said:
[Podcasting] is eyes- and hands-free. Ideal for busy people (pretty much all of us), and for those who feel months behind on their reading list. You can listen while commuting, doing the dishes, exercising, whatever.
With iTunes, the episodes are accessible to a global audience and stay available indefinitely. They can be located by keyword searches — an authorship inquiry can show up right next to a Folger podcast (similar to Amazon, visibility depends upon popularity, determined by ratings/reviews and number of subscribers).
Podcasts are a no-commitment way to sample a potential interest. They are free, and can be downloaded and discarded with ease, making them an appealing way to dip a toe into an area of curiosity.
“The authorship question has been a subject that has fascinated me for many years,” Newton said. “I enjoy exploring technology and its potential for communicating ideas. This is my first foray into podcasting.”
Newton lives in Seattle where her occupation is digitizing & restoring old media. She is also active in nonprofit arts administration. Jennifer Newton may be contacted by emailing jennifer at theshakespeareunderground.com.
Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 21, 2011 — Amidst all the controversy surrounding Sony Pictures’ recently-released feature film Anonymous, actor and author Michael York, O.B.E., launched a powerful, multi-pronged counter-offensive against the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford-upon-Avon, and its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” authorship campaign, initiated in response to the film. York also announced a monumental breakthrough in the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy — detailed evidence that William Shakespeare traveled all over Italy. The problem for orthodox Shakespeare scholars is that the Stratford man never left England.
SAC Chairman John Shahan announced that a coalition of a dozen authorship organizations, based in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, has rebutted each point in the SBT “60 Minutes.” The rebuttal document, titled Exposing An Industry in Denial: Authorship Doubters Respond To “60 Minutes with Shakespeare.” “The SBT made a mistake in coming down from their ivory tower to attack us,” Shahan said. “This rebuttal document makes it clear that the best of our scholars are far superior to theirs.”
Shahan issued a challenge to the SBT to write a single definitive declaration of the reasons why they claim there is “no room for doubt” about the identity of William Shakespeare and post it along with the names of those who have endorsed it. He noted that the SAC wrote and posted a definitive statement of its position, the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare, in 2007; and it has now been signed by over 2,200 people — over 800 with advanced degrees, and nearly 400 current or former college faculty members.
Hilary Roe Metternich announced the discovery of strong new evidence in the controversy, contained in the just-released book, The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels, by Richard Paul Roe (HarperPerennial). Ms. Metternich, daughter of the author, a prominent Pasadena attorney who died late last year, said that her father had spent over 20 years searching in Italy, his only guide being the texts of Shakespeare’s 10 “Italian plays” — those set roughly in his own time (not counting the three plays set in ancient Rome).
“The clues were right there in the plays,” Metternich said. “My father found the locations of nearly every scene in all 10 plays, locations missed by orthodox scholars for over 400 years.” “His great chronicle of travel, analysis and discovery paints with amazing clarity a picture of what the author ‘Shakespeare,’ whoever he was, witnessed before writing his Italian Plays.”
Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman spoke as a guest on the Patt Morrison Show airing on NPR’s southern California affiliate KPCC/KUOR yesterday. Showerman debated Professor Author Horowitz on the opening day of Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous. The show opener said:
The film ‘Anonymous’, which opens in theaters today, presents a version of history that William Shakespeare was a fraud and that the works attributed to him were actually written by the Elizabethan aristocrat Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Patt fact-checks the film with a Shakespearean scholar and gets an update on the debate over Shakespeare’s authorship — a debate that’s roiled actors like Jeremy Irons but still managed to catch the attention of great minds like Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.
Showerman reported on the experience:
It was my privilege to debate Claremont College Theatre Arts Professor Arthur Horowitz over the authorship question on the Patt Morrison show on KPCC, the NPR affiliate in Southern California. The program was broadcast on the day Anonymous opened nationwide. Patt clearly had done her research and brought up the point that highly respected actors were now questioning the Shakespeare attribution. In a follow-up email, I invited the professor to attend my presentation of Hamlet, Macbeth and the Oresteia next month at the LA Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable. Anonymous will no doubt create more opportunities for us to engage the public and a reluctant academic community. My hope is that a respectful discourse may be established between open minded parties as a result of Roland Emmerich’s film and his praiseworthy commitment to our cause.
The Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society awarded the 2011 Oxfordian of the Year Award to De Vere Society Vice-chairman Kevin Gilvary in recognition of his work in editing Dating Shakespeare’s Plays (Parapress Ltd., 2010) — a book that reviews the documentary evidence and range of arguments for establishing a date range for Shakespeare’s plays.
The award was conferred jointly by the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society at their annual joint conference on October 16, 2011. SOS President Richard Joyrich, presented a plaque to Gilvary at the conference in the Washington Court Hotel, Washington DC.
In accepting the award, Gilvary paid special tribute to Christopher Dams who started the Dating Project over a decade ago with special emphasis on the use of documentary evidence, and to Eddi Jolly, Elizabeth Imlay and the late Philip Johnson for their help in editing the project. He also highlighted major contributions from researchers on both sides of the Atlantic and expressed the wish that such collaboration would long continue into the future.
Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman issued the following statement regarding Roland Emmerich’s film, Anonymous, on behalf of the SF board of trustees:
The Shakespeare Fellowship commends Roland Emmerich for directing the film, Anonymous, but stresses that this production’s Tudor succession narrative is not essential to the theory that the Earl of Oxford was the writer Shakespeare.
The Shakespeare Fellowship resoundingly supports the proposition that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true genius behind the works of William Shakespeare, and congratulates Roland Emmerich on his movie, Anonymous, the first major feature film to deal with this fascinating subject. We hope the film will encourage people to explore the authorship question and decide for themselves whether William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon was the true author of the great plays and poems traditionally attributed to him.
The Shakespeare Fellowship notes that Mr. Emmerich characterizes his film as a work of fiction. He makes no claim that all of the events depicted in the film are true. He is fully aware that elements of his story, that Oxford may have been the son of Queen Elizabeth, or that Oxford and Elizabeth had a child who was raised as the 3rd Earl of Southampton, are not endorsed by many of those who hold that the Earl of Oxford was Shakespeare. Most Oxfordians do not believe that these hypotheses are necessary to the proposition that Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s works or to gain an understanding of the author’s need for anonymity.
Such succession narratives have existed for decades and scholarly inquiry is still proceeding. With this in mind, we do not prematurely endorse nor condemn conclusions merely because of their potentially controversial nature. Rather, we trust in the spirit of open inquiry and rigorous scholarship to eventually shed greater light.The Shakespeare Fellowship sponsors conferences and publications that will continue to be open forums for advocates for the Earl of Oxford on either side of this issue.
The fundamental case for the 17th Earl of Oxford as the true author of the Shakespeare canon is rapidly gaining support. To learn more about the authorship question and the case for Oxford, visit the Shakespeare Fellowship and Brief Chronicles websites.
Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society Essay Contest chairperson Bonner Cutting announced this week that the contest will be held in 2012 due to a delay in the release of Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous. She said that any questions about the contest may be addressed to email@example.com. Cutting said the committee wishes to make it clear that essays are being accepted now for the 2012 contest and that any essays already submitted will be accepted and will be eligible for the $3000 in prizes to be awarded:
This contest will run for the 2012 school year, though essays submitted in the fall of 2011 are accepted. All high school students are eligible, as are graduating seniors in the spring of 2012. We encourage teachers to sponsor as many students as possible, but a sponsoring teacher is NOT required. The contest will be held in 2012 because of the delay in the release of Anonymous. When the contest committee structured Topic 4 on Emmerich’s film, we expected a release date of Sept. 2011. When the release of Anonymous was changed, we thought that did not leave enough time for teachers and students to see the film, learn about the contest, and still have response time left in the year.
Shakespeare Fellowship Essay Contest 2012
The purpose of the contest is to involve students in the creative and analytical synthesis of knowledge about Shakespeare, the Shakespeare Canon, and the Shakespeare Authorship Question by offering prizes for the best essays.
Since the contest began in 2002, many teachers have written to thank us for the pedagogical opportunity that this competition provides. In past years, we have received as many as 690 entries, and essays have been submitted from all over the United States as well as other countries including Canada, Bulgaria, Romania, Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. We welcome entries from students of all nations, and we hope that teachers the world over will find that this essay contest is a useful resource for stimulating thinking, discussion and the development of analytic and critical thinking skills.
On this site, you will find everything you need to start the process of entering the 2012 contest! 2012 Contest Guidelines
As some of you may have heard, Tom Hunter suffered a massive cardiac event last Friday afternoon while sitting outside of his cottage on the shores of Northern Michigan’s Torch Lake, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
After a (mercifully painless) hospitalization in Traverse City Tom departed this world at around 3 AM this morning.
Although our local group, Oberon, was started in 1999 by Barbara Burris and myself and Tom joined us a little later, he has become (in my opinion at least) the soul of our group. He has served as our Chair for these many years and has kept us on track and helped build Oberon into a well-respected local Oxfordian group (of course I don’t want to take away from all the great efforts of many of you).
Tom’s death is a great loss for Oberon, as well as for the Oxfordian world in general. Tom has been very active in doing research and has published many papers in Oxfordian newsletters and other media outlets. He has presented many papers at our national conferences. In fact he was scheduled to give half of a presentation at the upcoming conference in two weeks in Washington, DC. Luckily (for Oxfordians) Tom Townsend will be able to present both his own and Tom Hunter’s parts of the presentation so that Tom’s latest contribution will at least be heard. I only regret the loss of any future great work from Tom.
I can take a little comfort in the fact that Tom was able to see the movie Anonymous at a special preview event last Thursday at the University of Michigan, a movie poised to revitalize interest in the Authorship Question. Again, I’m just sorry that Tom will not be able to directly experience what I feel will be very interesting times ahead for all of us.
My heart and prayers go out to Tom’s wife Rosey and his daughter Lisa as well as his large extended family.
Finally, I am comforted with the knowledge that at last Tom knows the truth about the origins of the Shakespeare canon, a truth we should (with Tom’s example) continue to pursue for ourselves.
“Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing you to your rest”
Hamlet, Act V
Announcement from Bonner Cutting and the SF/SOS Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest committee:
The Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society are pleased to announce the 2011 Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest! The document with the Essay Topics and Rules for Submission can be downloaded on both organizations’ websites. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 17. 2011. Winners of $3000 in prizes will be announced April 12, 2012.
The SF/SOS joint committee made some innovations to accommodate the age of technology. This year, all essays are to be submitted electronically to the following email address: Shake_a_spear@hotmail.com
All questions and comments may be sent to this address as well.
Four essay topics have been chosen to introduce students and teachers to the authorship debate, and the questions are directed toward encouraging critical and analytical thinking skills. The committee requires that threeresources dealing with the authorship question be incorporated into the essay if it is to be considered for a monetary prize. In an effort to make this as convenient as possible, many of the recommended sources can be accessed through internet links.
There was much discussion on Topic #4 as it deals with the film Anonymous. It was easier said than done to frame questions around this film which none of us has seen and, moreover, is anticipated with varying emotions by members of the committee, as well as fellow Oxfordians.
Last but not least, the committee wanted the contest to engender an open minded discussion of the authorship question. Judging is based on the following criteria: originality of thought; insight into Shakespearean interpretation from the authorship perspective; logical development of thesis; consideration of contrary evidence; effective use of resources; and elegance of style. In the closing remarks, it is clearly stated that an essay need not support the candidacy of the Earl of Oxford in order to qualify for prize money. What the judges are looking for is a balanced consideration and evaluation of the Shakespeare authorship question.
The SF/SOS joint committee has put in many hours working out the topics, questions, rules, guidelines and resources for this contest; and we ask those who are interested in the authorship question to encourage their friends who are high school teachers to take advantage of this educational opportunity for their students.
We’re hoping for a robust response!! Bonner Cutting and committee: Earl Showerman, Richard Joyrich, Alex McNeil, Lynne Kositsky, John Hamill, Ian Haste, Brian Bechtold – and some helpful advice from Tom Regnier and webmasters Marty Hyatt and Richard Smiley.
Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman reports on an authorship event for high school students at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon:
On February 25th, Concordia University in Portland sponsored a Shakespeare authorship program for nearly 200 students the Fort Vancouver High School in Vancouver Washington. Students from the New Urban High School in Milwaukee, OR also attended. Jason Moore, a graduate of Concordia University who teaches English in the Vancouver school system, lead off the program by encouraging the students to ask "the big questions", and described his own revelation regarding the Shakespeare authorship mystery. James Gaynor, a sophomore at Concordia and assistant to Professor Dan Wright at the SARC, presented arguments focused on the cultivation of creative genius. Professor Wright then addressed the students briefly before Michael Dunn presented his highly amusing Sherlock Holmes Shakespeare Mystery show. The students responded with enthusiasm and there was an animated question and answer period following the program.
Lynne Kositsky’s most recent published novel, Minerva’s Voyage, has been listed by Resource Links, a journal that publishes reviews, as one of the best young adult novels of the year.
The plot of the novel, according to Lynne Kositsky’s Blog, features Robin Starveling who is scooped off the streets of seventeenth-century Bristol, England, and dragged onboard a ship bound for Virginia by the murderous William Thatcher, who needs a servant with no past and no future to aid him in a nefarious plot to steal gold.
Kositsky said that a research article investigating the possible influence of William Strachey’s True Reportory on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, co-authored with Professor Roger Stritmatter and published by the Review of English Studies (Oxford University), directly influenced the plot of Minerva’s Voyage.
Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky posted their most recent Tempest essay, “The Tempest as Shrovetide Revelry,” on their Shakespeare’s Tempest blog. The essay was published in volume XVII of the Shakespeare Yearbook as “A Movable Feast: The Liturgical Symbolism and Design of The Tempest”, p. 365.
We would like our readers to get news as soon as it is posted here, so we have made this Oxfordian News page on the Shakespeare Fellowship website live. That means if you wish to add a live RSS feed from Oxfordian News to the list of live blogs on your website or weblog, this URL is now available for that service: http://shakespearefellowship.org/news
Once you display the live feed from SF Oxfordian News, you and your readers may click on the name of the page, Oxfordian News, to go to the entire page including former posts. The title of the newest post will also appear and if you click on the title printed below the name of page, you will go to only the newest post on the page.
You can see an example of our live feed on the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group weblog where the list of blogs with live feeds appears in a sidebar on the right side of the page under the title, Interesting Blogs. The order of the blog list changes as each new post from listed blogs arrives, but you can find this SF Oxfordian News page listed under the name of the page, Shakespeare Fellowship’s Oxfordian News and the title latest message will be displayed under that name. Readers can click on either the name of the page or the title of the post to arrive here on the SF Oxfordian News page.
Please let us know if this new service meets your needs and expectations.
Boca Raton, FL, and Baltimore, MD November 21, 2010… The second issue of Brief Chronicles has been published online at www.briefchronicles.com with ten papers and five book reviews from contributors in the US, Canada, England and Germany.
“That the inaugural issue was exceptional for its research,” said Roger Stritmatter, general editor, “is shown by Gale Publishing’s selection of Earl Showerman’s paper on the Greek origins of Much Ado About Nothing for inclusion in its reference text, Shakespeare Criticism, due out in spring 2011.”
“Highlights of the second issue include a paper that proposes a new authorship candidate for The Arte of English Poesie while a second defends the traditional authorship of A Hundreth Sundry Flowers, two Elizabethan books which have mesmerized literary historians for centuries.” stated Stritmatter.There is also a detailed response to Columbia University Professor James Shapiro’s book, Contested Will, the first academic examination of the Shakespeare Authorship controversy since alternate candidates to the traditional Bard were originally proposed in the 1850s.
“In addition,” said Gary Goldstein, managing editor of Brief Chronicles, “we are publishing new research that provides a more accurate dating of King Lear’s composition using the play’s topical allusions to eclipses of the sun and moon. Of equal import,” he added, “is a proposed resolution of a long-standing myth regarding the office of Lord Great Chamberlain during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, which contains new archival discoveries.”
Another paper investigates the peculiarities of Shakespeare’s frontispiece engraving in the First Folio, the author, John Rollett, finding,“What is usually taken to be a poorly drawn portrait of the playwright turns out to be a skillfully executed depiction of a carefully designed enigma.”
The second issue concludes with book reviews of Shakespeare and Garrick by Vanessa Cunningham; Othello, a new critical edition by Ren Draya, The Lame Storyteller by Peter Moore, and Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom by Charles Beauclerk.
Indexed by the MLA International Bibliography and the World Shakespeare Bibliography, Brief Chronicles is an annual journal of Shakespeare research, authorship studies and the Tudor and Jacobean periods, with an inter-disciplinary Editorial Board of scholars in Economics, English, History, Law, Psychiatry, and Theater. The journal is published online each autumn at www.briefchronicles.com free of charge. Submissions of papers, notes and reviews of books, theatrical productions and movies are welcome.
The Elizabethan Authors website now features a brief tribute to Robert Brazil, with comments taken from messages that were sent, or forwarded to me. Marty Hyatt said he didn’t want any credit, but he worked like a dog to get it up there looking exactly as I had wanted it.
To introduce the most current research on the authorship of the Shakespeare canon to American academics, the editors of Brief Chronicles have mailed 1,000 copies of the inaugural issue to professors of Shakespeare throughout the United States. The publication is a new peer reviewed inter-disciplinary journal of authorship studies.
“To some, the Shakespeare Authorship Question is no more than a marvelous whodunit,” said Roger Stritmatter, Associate Professor of Humanities and Literature at Coppin State University and General Editor of Brief Chronicles. “For scholars, however, it represents the foremost challenge and opportunity in a modern humanities curriculum. It tests the Academy’s capacity for self-correction on a global scale in response to evidence produced primarily by independent scholars.”
The April mailing to Modern Language Association members coincides with publication of Contested Will, the new book by Professor James Shapiro of Columbia University, which examines the Shakespeare authorship issue in depth. A review of that book by Warren Hope, PhD, a Board member of Brief Chronicles, appears at www.shakespearefellowship.org/Reviews/shapirorev.html
“Professor Shapiro’s book is evidence of the increasing relevance of the authorship issue to scholars,” stated Stritmatter. “We believe our journal will become the focal point of research on the authorship debate because it resolves two outstanding issues in Academia’s approach to Shakespeare.
“One is its inter-disciplinary design,” said Stritmatter. “Brief Chronicles has an Editorial Board comprised of scholars with terminal degrees in Economics, English, Law, Medicine, Comparative Literature, and Theater from universities in the US, Canada and Great Britain. This is in contrast to traditional scholarship, in which journals seek to generate new discoveries within the boundaries of particular disciplines. The problem is an inter-disciplinary one, and only an inter-disciplinary approach is capable of solving it,” he emphasized. “The active collaboration of linguists, historians, theatrer professionals, and legal scholars, as well as those trained in literary studies, is not only welcome but necessary.”
“Brief Chronicles is also the primary peer reviewed journal devoted to publishing research on the issue,” added Stritmatter. “As Professor Shapiro admits in Contested Will, the topic is virtually taboo in Academia worldwide. This has resulted in a situation in which most professional Shakespeareans have been trained to ignore and even ridicule a subject which in fact deserves their considered attention. Brief Chronicles will play a critical role in legitimizing the question and become an indispensible channel for scholars to participate in its solution.”
Brief Chronicles is published annually on the Internet each autumn at www.briefchronicles.com and is available free of charge to universities, which can download its contents to their servers for the benefit of instructors and students. The inaugural issue of 300 pages was published online in November 2009.
The contents of Brief Chronicles are indexed by the Modern Language Association International Bibliography and World Shakespeare Bibliography in their print, online and CD formats.
The first person to seriously question the traditional attribution of authorship was an American, Delia Bacon, whose book, The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded, was published in 1857 with a foreword by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Other artists and intellectuals who have doubted that the traditional author from Stratford on Avon was the playwright include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, and Sigmund Freud, theater professionals such as Orson Welles, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Sir Michael York as well as US Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Scalia and John Paul Stevens.
A day-long program on "WHO WROTE SHAKESPEARE?" will focus on the case for Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford as the true Bard, with Charles Beauclerk, author of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth as the featured speaker.
Alex McNeil, a past-president of The Shakespeare Fellowship will be Master of Ceremonies
9:30 a.m. Alex McNeil, “An Overview of the Shakespeare authorship question.” McNeil will cover why there is a question, the history of the issue, and give an introduction to Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford.
10:45 a.m. Frank Davis, “Shakespeare’s Signatures.” A comparison of the illegible six known “Shakespeare” signatures to the extant signatures of other contemporary authors, actors and significant persons (both famous and lesser known) of Shakespeare’s time. This comparison highlights a compelling issue — why couldn’t this great writer sign his own name?
11:45 a.m. Richard Whalen, “The Oxfordian edition of Othello” Whalen will describe the extraordinary correspondences between Oxford’s life experiences and ‘Othello’ and sign copies of the recently released Oxfordian edition of this play.
12:00 p.m. Lunch - A sandwich lunch will be served in the Library
1:15 p.m. Charles Berney, performance as Mark Twain discussing his infamous essay, “Is Shakespeare Dead.”
1:30 p.m. Marie Merkel, “Caliban’s Dream and Shakespeare’s Purge.” Why would ‘Honest’ Ben Jonson take part in a cover-up of the Bard’s true identity? If Shakespeare is Edward de Vere, then the ‘purge’ that the earl administered to Jonson, in the form of several lampoons on the public stage during the ‘Poet’s War’ of 1597 ~ 1602, may hold the key to this perennial question.
2:45 p.m. Charles Beauclerk, “Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.” Beauclerk will discuss Timon as an authorial work and a portrait of Edward de Vere. He will also discuss his newly released book, Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth, and there will be time for Q & A and book signing.
Books will be available for purchase at this event.
This event is cosponsored by The Shakespeare Fellowship and Watertown Savings Bank
The Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society announced that the two organizations have jointly presented the 2009 “Oxfordian of the Year Award” to John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Stevens has long doubted whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon is the real Bard.
Photo by Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Hamburg, Germany, January 26, 2010… German publisher Verlag Laugwitz is pleased to announce publication of The Lame Storyteller, Poor and Despised, the collected Shakespeare papers of literary historian Peter Moore (1949-2007), which previously appeared in peer reviewed journals in the US, England, Holland and France from 1993 to 2006.
Among Moore’s discoveries are the following:
The Shakespeare plays were written from 1585 to 1604 and not 1590 to 1613, as commonly supposed
The Rival Poet of the Sonnets was Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex and the Fair Youth was Henry Wriostheley, Earl of Southampton
Shakespeare’s share of Two Noble Kinsmen was written the last year of Elizabeth’s life—and ended with her death.
The dramatist attacked in Ben Jonson’s “On Poet Ape” was Thomas Dekker and not William Shakespeare
Shakespeare used the Bible’s two-witness rule involving murder in designing Hamlet’s inner dynamic
Shakespeare adapted the Earl of Surrey’s Psalm 8 as well as Piers Plowman in writing Hamlet’s soliloquies
Shakespeare set Christian and pagan philosophies against each other in King Lear and mediated the debate through the concept of nature
Shakespeare used ancient and modern notions of time and Epicureanism in devising Macbeth’s structure
“Peter became one of the most brilliant scholars of the Elizabethan period late in life,” noted Dr. Uwe Laugwitz. “He was not an academic—he did not receive a doctorate, nor did he teach Shakespeare. What is special about his insights into Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age is that they derive from a most intriguing background—military officer, legislative aide, and education official, with degrees in engineering and economics.
“I would compare his contributions in the field of Shakespeare studies to that of Lessing’s,” added Dr. Laugwitz, referring to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the German philosopher, critic and dramatist who championed Shakespeare to German audiences in the 18th Century. “Peter’s method is like Lessing’s: disassembling the false constructions of established authorities and trying to gain new ideas from his critical work by merging objective historical analysis with a keen literary sensibility. The combination of his intellectual power and classical temperament are the means by which Peter Moore aligns with Gotthold Lessing, both generating transformative insights into Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period.”
“What makes Peter Moore’s work of lasting value to scholars, theater professionals and the general public is his ability to delineate Shakespeare’s original intent in his most important works,” said Gary Goldstein, editor of the posthumous collection of nearly thirty papers. “The first half of the book focuses on the Sonnets, Hamlet, King Lear, MacbethOthello; the second half investigates the chronology of the plays and the controversial authorship issue of the Shakespeare canon, with Moore deconstructing the traditional case of Shakespeare from Stratford, then laying out new evidence that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays.”
Peter Moore studied engineering at Cornell University and University of Maryland, where he graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering, and later earned a MS in Economics at the University of Maryland. He served as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, became a legislative aide to US Senator John East from North Carolina, an official in the Georgia State Department of Education, and a director at a national non-profit organization dedicated to dealing with troubled youth.
Dr. Laugwitz has co-published with Robert Detobel the Neues Shake-speare Journalsince 1997, Walter Klier’s The Shakespeare Case (2004); the play Edward III (1998); and the drama Woodstock in 2006 in its first German edition. In 2005 he published Kurt Kreiler’s translation of Edward de Vere’s poetry in the first German edition. Forthcoming is a German edition of the anonymous Elizabethan play, Arden of Faversham. Dr. Laugwitz received his doctorate in German Literature from the University of Hamburg.
Gary Goldstein was former editor and publisher of The Elizabethan Review, a peer-reviewed history journal which appeared from 1993 to 1999 in print and from 1997 to 2001 on the Internet (www.elizabethanreview. com). He served on the editorial board of The Oxfordian from 2004-2007 and currently is managing editor of Brief Chronicles: The Inter-Disciplinary Journal of the Shakespeare Fellowship (www.briefchronicles.com).
Bring your cowboy hats and plan to enjoy some great Texas Barbeque at the joint SOS/SF conference this November 5-8, 2009 at the Intercontinental Airport Doubletree Hotel in Houston, TX. Plans are shaping up for a memorable occasion!
With speakers including Richard Whalen, Frank Davis, Ren Draya, Tom Regnier, Earl Showerman, Paul Altrocchi, Marty Hyatt, Ron Halstead, Michael Egan, Alex McNeil, John Shahan, Roger Stritmatter, Matthew Cossolotto, Ron Hess, Alan Green and John Hamill, Stratford’s “Will” is guaranteed to be lassoed, hog-tied and branded Texas style!
Keir Cutler will give two performances – his monologue based on Mark Twain’s “Is Shakespeare Dead?” and his formidably entertaining “Teaching Shakespeare.” Saturday’s session will end with “Shakespeare’s Treason,” Hank Whittemore’s explosive explication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets!
The block of rooms at the Doubletree Hotel that is reserved for the conference at the discounted conference rate of $99 is nearly gone, but the Doubletree will continue to take reservations at the conference rate depending upon availability, so don’t wait to make your reservations! The Doubletree has free shuttle service from IAH that leaves every half hour. Thrifty Car Rental is located near the Doubletree for additional transportation.
The full REGISTRATION FEE is only $200, and this will include two luncheons and treats throughout the conference!
Note: to make reservations for Wednesday or Sunday at our group rate, call Angelica at Doubletree’s in-house reservations (281-848-4001). You may also email Angelica with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things are heating up in authorship land. Professor Anne Barton, the distinguished Fellow at Trinity College Cambridge known (among other things) for her illuminating introductions to several plays in the Riverside edition of the Collected Works (my personal favorite being the one to Measure for Measure), leads off her March 29 review of Ron Rosenbaum’s The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups with a quote from Logan Pearsall Smith’s, On Reading Shakespeare. The quote is along the lines of, “aren’t those silly anti-Stratfordians a riot?” Here’s how Barton makes use of Smith’s quote:
the cries of the distracted inhabitants sometimes reach us from the dark realm of Shakespearean interpretation. We hear the bleating of idiot adorers and the eternal swish of their whitewash brushes; we hear the squeals of the idealists…; the war-cries of the Foli-olators and Disintegrators as they rush upon each other and even wilder battle cries than these (for it is impossible to exaggerate their strangeness) will reach our ears. For listen!
Smith then reminded his readers of the cries emitted by the followers of “no less than five ghostly resurrected Elizabethan Earls”; of those heard from the supporters of Derby, Oxford, Rutland, and other claimants to be the true author of the man from Stratford’s plays; of the Pembrokians and Southamptonians quarreling vociferously over the identity of the young man addressed in the Sonnets; and finally, “as the wind shifts, we hear the ululations of those vaster herds of Baconian believers, as they plunge squeaking down the Gadarene slope of their delusion.”
It couldn’t it be more obvious, could it? To Smith the anti-Stratfordians are buffoons and ignorami, “idiot adorers” and ulutating pigs preparing mass suicide by leaping of the cliff of reason in the sea of Galilee. If not contempt, they at least deserve our pity. But wait! What, you may ask, does Smith have to say about the orthodox Shakespearean establishment for which Professor Barton is here functioning as public apologist? Listen:
Can these things be? [i.e., the deification of Shakespeare]. Or are we imposed upon, hocussed, and bamboozled, the dupes of a gigantic Brockenspectre of make-believe and mist, and victims as Tolstoy so impressively maintained, of a great collective hallucination, one of those crazes and epidemic manias, like the belief in witches or in the approaching end of the world, by which whole nations and whole ages have often been obsessed? Even the high priests of this established Shakespeare worship seem to betray, now and then, an uneasy consciousness of something equivocal about the object of their devotion; of things to be hushed up, and the need of whitewash.
Hmm… “an uneasy consciousness of…things to be hushed up, and the need of whitewash.” Now, there’s a phrase to ponder. One doesn’t even need a classical education to understand the symbolism.
Wouldn’t Smith be surprised to learn how his own words would one day be used to tint up the latest batch of whitewash? Then again, maybe he wouldn’t. He strikes us as someone quite capable of maintaining his intellectual independence, and not a bit naive about the real world. Certainly, contrary to the impression the casual reader of Barton’s review might leave with, Smith was no apologist for the orthodox view of authorship.
While committed representatives of the orthodox view of Shakespearean authorship cling to the dogmatic mantra that “authorship does not exist,” the world is changing around them. Not one, but two new Master’s Programs in Shakespearean authorship studies have been announced in recent weeks, one in England at London’s Brunel University, and the other at Concordia University, long the sponsor of the annual Authorship Studies Conference, in Portland, Ore. For further details on the Brunel Program, please visit the Brunel website.