Friday, May 29, 2009

Overbury Overdrive: Live and in concert

For Boston-area residents, tonight and tomorrow in Watertown, Mass. will be home to an event called Shakespeare from the Oxfordian Perspective, with Hank Whittemore's one-man show "Shakespeare's Treason" this evening and public talks at the Watertown Public Library tomorrow -- including discussions about Shakspere's last will and testament, Ben Jonson & The Tempest and the succession crisis of the 1590s.

I'll also be giving a public talk ("Overjoyed, Over Him, Overbury: The New 'Cobbe Portrait of Shakespeare' and what it means for the authorship question") tomorrow at 11:15 a.m.

Links here to the program and directions.


Lee said...

What is your take on Whittemore's book on the sonnets? I'd love to hear your take on the book.

Tomorrow my blog "Shakespeare Portraits" is unveiling some evidence regarding a new portrait of de Vere, one with direct ties to the Stratford myth (no, I'm not talking about the Ashbourne). I'd love to hear your opinion on this portrait. I can promise you it'll be an interesting article.

I admire your book SBAN tremendously. The gratitude so many of us feel towards you is immense.

Good luck savaging the Overbury tomorrow. Shouldn't be hard to do. Poor Stanly Wells, though; I admired his Shakespeare and Company so much that I hate to see him dodder so.

Mark said...

Hello, Malvolio. Thank you for your kind words.

Hank Whittemore's The Monument definitely deserves credit for its monumental scope -- attempting to explain practically every word of every Sonnet. I agree with Whittemore on some points and disagree on others. Case in point: The Monument is spot-on, I think, in singling out the Essex Rebellion trial in 1601 as a primary inspiration for many of the Sonnets. (Edward de Vere sat on the jury on this trial.) I am grateful to Hank for kindly sharing early drafts of his work-in-progress, which I cite in SBAN. I do not, however, agree with The Monument's day-by-day, sonnet-by-sonnet "calendar." The evidence for the latter, I think, is wanting.

The Monument also assumes the "Prince Tudor" theory (i.e. de Vere, by Queen Elizabeth, was the father of the Earl of Southampton). SBAN, on the other hand, does not. I touch on the "PT" hypothesis in an endnote on p. 469:

===SBAN endnote=====
Some have argued that de Vere had by 1576 already sired an illegitimate son by Queen Elizabeth — and that this child was ultimately raised to become the Third Earl of Southampton, to whom Shake-speare’s Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucrece are dedicated. (e.g. FOWLER; OGBURNS/TSOE; Elisabeth Sears, Shakespeare and the Tudor Rose. Meadow Geese Press, Marshfield Hills, Mass. (2002); in response, cf. Christopher Paul, “The Prince Tudor Dilemma: Hip Thesis, Hypothesis, or Old Wives Tale?” The Oxfordian 5 (2002) 47-69 and citations therein). While the hypothesis might begin to explain the seemingly royal and dynastic language of The Sonnets and such scenes as Midsummer Night’s Dream’s KING and QUEEN OF THE FAERIES arguing over their “changeling child,” the historical evidence is still wanting that would bolster the “Prince Tudor” theory of Southampton’s parentage. Thus the “PT” issue, as it is often abbreviated, remains highly speculative and has been a source of bitter and divisive controversy throughout much of the history of the Oxfordian movement.
===/SBAN endnote===

Lee said...

Hi Mark,
Thanks for the reply and for your comments regarding Whittemore's book. Though I'm open to the Prince Tudor theory, I'm glad you didn't spend much time on it in SBAN. To most people the Oxford Theory seems far-fetched enough; to tack on the Prince Tudor mindblower would, well, sink the ship of credibility. Having said that, if the sonnets washed up on the shore of desert island, and I read them for the first time, I would certainly assume the opening set of sonnets to have been written from a concerned father to an effeminate son urging the youth to marry and hve kids, which is, after all, a strange theme for homosexual love sonnets: oy vey, get marry, make grandkids!
Thanks again.