Thursday, May 17, 2007

Total TV and the Top 5



Tip o' the hat to fellow heretic Alex McNeil, former president of the Shakespeare
Fellowship
, who in yesterday's online edition of the Boston Globe did an interview/live chat about his two favorite subjects: Television and Edward de Vere. McNeil is the author of one of the best encyclopedic guides to the 60-year history of American TV shows, Total Television.

He covers some of the essential arguments for de Vere capably and succinctly. (And he gives good ink... er... pixel... to a book we're particularly fond of here.)


asibtroy__Guest_: What are the top 5 reasons you can give that Oxford wrote the plays?

Alex_McNeil: Interesting question.
Alex_McNeil: 1. He was recognized during his lifetime as a poet and playwright (even an "excellent" one), yet no plays, and few poems, exist under his name.
Alex_McNeil: 2. His life fits the plays in uncountable ways. I would refer you to Mark Anderson's "Shakespeare by Another Name" for a detailed examination. But take Hamlet. Hamlet's mother remarried quickly after Claudius's death; Oxford's mother remarried quickly after the 16th earl's death. Polonius is generally agreed to be caricature of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth's chief adviser. Oxford grew up in Burghley's household. Ophelia is Polonius's daughter, and Hamlet's love interest. Oxford was married to Cecil's daughter, Anne. (Ophelia = O + philia, or "Oxford's love").
Alex_McNeil: 3. The First Folio (1623) is dedicated to two lords, Montgomery and Pembroke, who no doubt financed the project. One was Oxford's son-in-law, the other had been engaged to another of Oxford's daughters.
Alex_McNeil: 4. Shakespeare "thinks like a lawyer," i.e., he has legal training and uses legal terms with ease, when referring to legal matters and in other ways as well. Oxford was trained in law, having spent at least a year at Gray's Inn.
Alex_McNeil: 5. Back to Hamlet -- Rosenkrantz & Guildenstern are two minor characters. Oxford's brother-in-law went on a dioplomatic mission to Denmark, and wrote of it upon his return. Among the guests at the state dinner were Messrs. Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern. Yes, those names do appear elsewhere, but the frequency of such coincidences cannot be explained by chance.

1 comment:

SMELLRAT said...

Dear Mark,
Just finished your book for the second time through (I waited a month and then I had to read it again). It's an incredible accomplishment. If there's an afterlife, De Vere will be waiting for you with a flagon of ale.

Just out of curiosity, what do you make of the whole "crowned signature" notion? Seems a bit flighty to me, and yet, well, it's intriguing as well.