Saturday, October 10, 2009

News from Germany (Eins)

Two posts today about news from Germany (or Germans working in the U.S.) -- First, German author Kurt Kreiler has just published a new Oxfordian book (Der Mann, der Shakespeare erfand: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford).

According to German correspondent Robert Detobel, writing for the Shakespeare-Oxford blog, Kreiler's tome has met with at least one favorable review, a translated excerpt (by Detobel) after the jump

This from the Rhineland Mercury:

In 1920 Looney found the needle in the haystack . . .

In Germany it was possible to be informed on de Vere’s war adventures, his politic quarrels, his engagement in the theatre … since 1995 when Walter Klier for the first time summarized Looney’s findings. Ten years later the US author Mark Anderson presented old and new “evidence“ and came to the conclusion that Shakespeare was “one of the most autobiographical authors that ever were“.

Now a new, comprehensive book has appeared from the pen of the long-standing German Shakespeare researcher Kurt Kreiler, a historical-biographical-stylistical analysis provided with new findings and concentrating on de Vere’s cultural tradition, his individuality and his poetic art. A homage, also suitable as initial reading, to the “master of poetical self-reflection“, the artist of love rhetorics, a soul-knowing tragedian and an illusionsless illusionist. Reasonable doubts that de Vere is Shakespeare are no longer possible. But no really good myth will ever proceed from thence: the man is too complicated, his life already too well investigated, not appropriate as projection surface. Good myths ought to be simple, incredible and homely.

[End of review]

To be clear, I haven't yet seen the book, nor would I be able to do much with it if I did. (My French is rusty, my German non-existent.) But with great notices like this, in such prominent German media, I'd certainly be curious to know what any German-speaking readers of this blog think about the book.

Onward and upward, Herr Kreiler!

UPDATE (Oct. 23): We now hear word of a second strong review in favor of Kreiler's book in the Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche. "A fascinating novel (?) of circumstantial evidence" is what the reviewer is calling this tome. ("mitreißender Indizienroman") The headline of the article, most of which unfortunately is behind a subscription wall, reads "Cover Name Shakespeare." ("Deckname Shakespeare")
[hat-tip to German correspondent H.W.]


John in Berkeley said...

Hi Mark: this is great news. As it happens, I'm both an ex-English professor (Old English through Shakespeare), having taught at the Univ. of Michigan (1993-99), and Union College in Schenectady (1999-2002). As it happens, I'm not only very familiar with your book and your blog, but also fluent in German (everything except simultaneous translation, anyway). I would gladly offer my services in this regard, if you are interested. Drop me a line if you are. All best, -J.

Mark said...

Hello, John. Good to hear from you. If you do buy a copy of Kreiler's book, please post your thoughts and reactions to it here. Or if you like, feel free to email me directly (cf. here) and we can arrange for you to write up a more thorough review for this blog. Thank you.

Mark said...

One Hanno Wember from Germany requested that I post his comment here, which I do below.


Your book was available here in October 2005. I read it with enthusiasm in a short time and since then it is my favourite and often consulted reference book for the issue (next to Walter Kliers Book which was recently also mentioned in the “Rheinischer Merkur”). I regretted, that there was no German translation of “Shakespeare by another Name”. Kreiler’s new book steps in that gap now. After going through all 540 pages I am convinced that it is an excellent book.

In “Der Mann…”(…who invented Shakespeare) Kreiler goes through the life of Edward de Vere. The connections to Shakespeare are very rare in the beginning. After some chapters one cannot deny that de Vere must have been very close to the poet and in the last third of the book it is obvious that both are one and the same person. So I would say it is an ongoing crescendo. Kreiler begins with the view that by knowing Oxford, the reader can find a deeper understanding of Hamlet (chapter 14) or Falstaff (chapter 16). He wrote really masterpieces, in my opinion.

He puts the Shakespeare – Shaksper controversy in the very last chapter.
He uses an enormous number of historical sources, shows a comprehensive and fascinating knowledge of Elizabethan literature.

It is of course impossible to tell something exhaustive about this book in a few lines.

Kreiler published earlier
“The Poems of Edward de Vere” (Verlag Laugwitz, 2005), a bilingual English – German edition. By this he proved to be an excellent translator of poetry.

“Fortunatus im Unglück, Die Aventiuren des Master F.I” (Insel, 2006) . A German translation of the anonymous “The Adventures of Master F. I.” In an 80 p. comment he shows that it is an early work of Edward de Vere. This was really something new and in “Der Mann…” Kreiler referred several times to this finding.

In 2003 he wrote a feature-essay (a satire) “Der Mann mit dem Eber” (“The man with the Boar”) in “Neues Shake-Spear Journal”, a German Oxfordian yearbook, published since 1997, (editors Laugwitz and Detobel).


Mark said...

In “Der Mann…” Kreiler proves to be a brilliant scholar as well and his book meets any standards of research.

By this he gives the 100% Stratfordian (German) English professors and the 100% Stratfordian (German) “Shakespeare Gesellschaft” (Society), as we say, some very hard nuts to crack. They only have the option either to ignore the book (what I expect they will do) or to take the authorship question serious in general and Oxford in particular.

I expect further reviews in connection with the great Frankfort Book Fair (14 -18 October),
as Suhrkamp/Insel is a first rank publishing house in Germany.

Seven times he refers to A. Nelson’s book and points out how childish his attempt is: to depict Oxford more badly than worse to get rid of that man.

You can find “Shakespeare by another Name” in his bibliography, but Keiler is not quoting from it in his text.

He offers his own solutions for dating the sonnets, for The Onlie Begetter, for the Dark Lady etc…. and there are other things which can be disputed (as it should be in science and research). The book contains many plates, mainly portraits, but he gives only few comments, so there are open questions to me for the field, but portraits are a different and difficult story and are not in the focus of his book.

In the appendix he presents an astonishing new dating-list of the plays, which - so far as I can see at first glance - differs strongly in parts from Peter Moore’s studies. So there is even more room for discussion and even dispute.


Wow, Hanno. Thank you for those insightful remarks. It looks like Kreiler's book is one that Stratfordians will have a tough time igno.... er, wait.

Stratfordians are actually very skilled at ignoring the heretics at the gates, as your correspondent has learned all too well.

But here's to Kreiler opening yet another breach in their defenses. Once more into the breach!

Hanno Wember said...

As there are participants who offer to read in German, I recommend for them, the German website of “Neues Shake-Speare Journal”.
There are 12 volumes of research, a source on which Kreiler drew for his book.
Not all essays are open, but some are and worth reading.
Go to „Übersicht der einzelnen Bände“.
You will find
Band (Volume) 3: Robert Detobel , Über Shakespeares Authentizität und Tod.
Band (Volume) 6: Robert Detobel, Othello als postdeparodierte Präparodie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim in Berkeley,

Please contact me about Kreiler's book. My e-mail address:

Would be nice to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim in Berkeley,

Again, please contact me about Kreiler's book, but at my exact e-mail address:

Mark drew my attention to the error.

This is the fatal consequence of being too busy with Shakspere. In the end you are no longer able to write your own name - just like he.


John in Berkeley said...

Hi Robert: No problem. Thanks for the offer, I've just emailed you. -John