Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Mystery Writer Ponders: Whodunnit?

Mystery novelist Ellis Goodman wrote a brief blog posting yesterday that summarizes his reasons for suspecting that Edward de Vere was the Bard.

Goodman homes in on Will Shakspere's last will and testament as reason aplenty to suspect something is very wrong with our traditional picture of "Shakespeare":

In addition, it is recognized his Will was poorly drawn, badly written and ungrammatical. Could this really be William Shakespeare? I decided there was a much better case to prove that De Vere was the true author of much of Shakespeare’s work; but, because of the fact that he was an aristocrat at the Court of Queen Elizabeth and a homosexual, he used Shakespeare as his “front man” at a time when anything to do with the theatre was considered low-class, rough, and tough. The theatre was banned from operating within the city limits, and no person of “class” would be seen at these entertainments.

So my conclusion is that William Shakespeare probably did not write these plays. What do you think?

I, for one, think the Stratford will tells a lot more than even many Oxfordians recognize. Bonner Miller Cutting, host of this year's North American Oxfordian conference in Houston (Nov. 5-8), has done some of the best work on this subject that I've seen -- revealing, for one, that Will Shakspere used a Protestant boilerplate template. (So much for the "secret Catholic" theory.) So much more, I suspect, remains to be uncovered as skeptical eyes re-examine that legal document that for centuries has been thought to be the Bard's.

[Creative Commons image by rpongsaj]

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nothing Truer Than A Good Cause

Today's Shakespeare Oxford Society blog features a post by Boston filmmaker Cheryl Eagan-Donovan on her feature-length documentary film project Nothing Truer Than Truth.

Eagan-Donovan, who has optioned the documentary rights to "Shakespeare" By Another Name for her film, writes:

An A-list party boy on the continental circuit, a true alpha male, Edward de Vere was a man quite unlike any other. My documentary film project, Nothing is Truer than Truth, looks at the process of writing, where life experience, imitation of the masters, and relentless revision come together to create genius, as the key to discovering Edward de Vere as the true author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare. The film will reveal de Vere’s epic life story and introduce a brilliant, troubled, charming man.


"With over 60 hours of footage, I have produced two fundraising trailers, and have had the great privilege of meeting some truly extraordinary and exceedingly generous people. On screen, Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance regale us with their unique portraits of the earl, and British historian Charles Bird takes the viewer on a walking tour of Castle Hedingham, home of the De Vere family since the days of William the Conqueror." ...

As a writer, I am determined to tell this story. With your support, Nothing is Truer than Truth will prove that the universal appeal of Shakespeare’s work is due to the fact that the true author was a perfectionist, a world traveler, a temperamental, tempestuous trouble-maker, and most of all, a writer.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Annals of Stratfordian Snark

For those who enjoy ringside view on a good row from time to time, yesterday Oliver Kamm, a financial columnist for the London Times, got into a rather snarky flame-war with some Oxfordians on his blog.

Starting off simply enough with the assertion that the Shakespeare authorship issue is "benign, if batty," Kamm gets drawn into the maelstrom and really, in so many words, loses his shit.

Oxfordian commenters call Kamm out on his factually dubious claims, and he just keeps coming back.

He writes:

"I do 'assume that Oxfordians are unscholarly cranks'. That's part of their job description. Their ... arguments bear as much relation to literary scholarship as do creationism to science and Holocaust denial to history. It's a sociological and pathological phenomenon rather than a literary one."

Credit to the Oxfordians who posted on his blog, who generally maintained a respectful and civil tone.

And credit to the unintentionally comical Mr. Kamm, who after posting nine increasingly shrill comments to his own original post, clearly enjoys having plenty more to say when he has nothing more to say.

Here's hoping we might see the defender of the Stratford faith make it toward 15 or 20 attempts at the last word. Here hear, Mr. Kamm. We suspect there's yet more nasty ad hominems and prickly appeals to authority to come.

Just, please, commenters all: Keep it polite. Let the good man dig his own hole.

POSTSCRIPT: All the fooferaw has now occasioned a bona fide Oxfordian-themed post from the Times's conspiracy lover.

POST-POSTSCRIPT (and comment bump): Author Michael Prescott ponders the larger meaning of Mr. Kamm's vituperations. Tally-ho!