HyperNews commentary for the Complete Works of William Shakespare ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Did Shakespeare really write this stuff?

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 16:14:07 GMT From: Marlowe Dayley (marlowe@cc.usu.edu)

No discussion group on Shakespeare would be complete without someone discussing whether the Stratford man really whote all the works attributed to Shakespeare. Some claim Christopher Marlowe to be the author; others, Francis Bacon; and several web pages are devoted to the premise that Count Edward deVere wrote these books. Inasmuch as Marlowe is my namesake, I have some bias, but I wonder what everyone else in the mainstream thinks. Marlowe Dayley

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Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 18:00:44 GMT From: Vinay Prasad (vinayp@unix.ksu.edu)

I've just gotten around to reading "Shakespeare Identified", by Thomas Looney, and he seems to make a pretty strong case in favor of Edward de Vere being the author. The book was written in 1920, though, and I'm not really aware of further evidence/hypotheses. I did hear about de Vere's Bible being found in 1991, and that it supports de Vere's claims to authorship. Could somebody supply the details?

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Date: Thu, 04 Jan 1996 14:29:53 GMT From: Richard Young (richy@tpsltd.co.uk)

The Shakespeare Oxford society (these are the people who argue in favour of deVere's claim to be the author) have a home page at http://www.tiac.net/users/wboyle/index.html This page has all the latest news on the Oxfordians efforts to prove that de Vere is the author of Shakespeare. There is also a very lively debate concerning the Authorship question in the discussion group attached to the Shakespeare Web, at http://www.shakespeare.com Follow the links from the "Discussion Area" to the "Authorship Question" page. I warn you, though: the discussion does get a little heated at some times!

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Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 21:27:46 GMT From: (jmr@starsend.com)

A new theory has been developed by Robert Para, a Shakespeare scholar who has been working on it for over 25 years. His new book that outlines his theory is Shakespeare's Confession and it's located at http://www.starsend.com/authors/rp/shakespeare.htm It looks like it could be the most important book on the subject.

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Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 20:29:26 GMT From: Michael Dobson (unknown@204.71.80.45)

I have heard the Oxfordians point of view and how they believe that Edward de Vere wrote the plays. First, they can't spell Shakespeare at all on the page. Plus, Their reasons are lame and loops can be found all over. They just want to cause a fight. Let the topic rest, give Shakespeare the credit, and maybe we will find out when we die.

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Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 02:54:06 GMT From: (unknown@rddrpx02-port-3.agt.net)

Shakespere was a great writer but he also belonged to a great theater group.(lordchamberlins men) "Legend" has it that one of the members of the group died, and he left Shakespere his writing collection. Included was the basis for Hamlet and Macbeth.

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Someone using the name of Shakespeare did, but who was that? Date: Sun, 24 Mar 1996 06:40:18 GMT From: Fred Manzo (unknown@www-b6.proxy.aol.com)

Edward De Vere's title was actually the 17th Earl of Oxford. His claim is much the strongest among those that consider the Stratford man unlikely to have been the author in question. As an example of their reasoning, they believe that after reading "Alls Well That Ends Well" it's really an unnecessary duplication to read a biography of De Vere. But where in the plays is there a similar portrait of the man from Stratford?

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[Disagree:] Uh, Might it have been a guy named Shakespeare? Re: [Feedback:] Someone using the name of Shakespeare did, but who was that? (Fred Manzo) Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 21:37:58 GMT From: Bruce Spielbauer (bruce@emiko.igcom.net)

You wrote: >>>> As an example of their reasoning, they believe that after reading "Alls Well That Ends Well" it's really an unnecessary duplication to read a biography of De Vere. But where in the plays is there a similar portrait of the man from Stratford? <<<

I would respectfully suggest that one may find many "portraits" of many characters in many plays by playwrights, and this in no way means that these are in any way autobiographical. Why should one expect to find a "portrait" of the man from Stratford (assuming the man from Stratford wrote the plays?) One might as well look for Shakespeare's portrayal of any other character, and try to draw allusions to some other would-be author. Hmmm...

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Date: Tue, 09 Apr 1996 17:58:35 GMT From: Krishna Pryia (troubadours@prodigy.com)

Some of my favorite discussions on the question are posed in Norrie Epstein's book, The Friendly Shakespeare. It's a brief chapter in her book but it includes all of the prominent arguements for and against and is lighthearted and clever. She also includes quotes of famous individuals who doubted Shakespeare's authenticity. She also includes Elizabeth I in the controversy: "Did you ever notice that you never see a picture of Bacon, Queen Elizabeth, and Shakespeare in the same room together?" - John C. Thomas A romantic by nature, I myself would be dissapointed to discover it was anyone other than, "the upstart crow".

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Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 03:32:13 GMT From: Stephen Clark (JRotten1@GNN.com) The Oxfordians who argue that de Vere is the real author of Shakespeare's plays have some interesting arguments, but ultimately the whole thing falls apart like a gigantic house of cards.

Had they just argued that de Vere was a collaborator with the "upstart crow," I could have some sympathy. But, this gigantic conspiracy the runs the gamut from Queen Elizabeth, King James, and on down to the players and authors like Ben Jonson, is just too much to take. Plus, the Oxfordians rely primarily on interesting coincidences (some of which, I do admit, are rather compelling...up to a point) and a basic smear campaign on Shakespeare the person. Plus, plenty of half-truths that seem significant at first, but fall apart upon closer inspection.

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Date: Thu, 01 Aug 1996 06:42:52 GMT From: Stephan Dimitroff (sdimitro@worldnet.att.net)

Pick up a book by Irvin Leigh Matus, SHAKESPEARE IN FACT. The arguments for de Vere are systematically trashed, one by one. A magnificent piece of research.

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Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 17:48:32 GMT From: (cwraight@uiuc.edu)

The best current works on Marlowe, including his standing as a contender for Shakespeare authorship, are by A.D. Wraight:"The Story that the Sonnets Tell" by A.D. Wraight published by: Adam Hart Publ. Ltd (London), London SE27 9HG, UK (25 U.K.pounds, hardback, 15 U.K.pounds paper; I have no idea about postage costs). The prose is a little purple, but the story is compelling, including the only remotely believable reason for a "conspiracy of silence", and the scholarship much more thorough than any other "theory", including the Oxfordian one. Also by the same author is a study of the links between Marlowe and the great Elizabethan actor and wealthy theatricalist, Edward Alleyn, who is shown to be the object of the epithet "that great Shake-scene", commonly invoked as the earliest reference to Shakespeare in London: "Christopher Marlowe and Edward Aleyn" (same publishers, 20 pounds). Also, a highly acclaimed pictorial biography "In Search of Christopher Marlowe" by Virginia Stern and A.D. Wraight, originally published by MacDonald and Co (1965), and now reissued by Adam Hart Publ, (15 pounds, paper).

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Re: Did Shakespeare really write this stuff? (Marlowe Dayley) Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 20:21:37 GMT From: Amy (klcali@aol.com)

De Vere died in 1604, which means that he was dead and buried before King Lear, Macbath, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, Coriolanus, Pericles, Cymbeline, Winter's Tale, The Tempest, and Henry VIII ever hit the stage. For those of you who believe that EACH of these plays was misdated, I ask you, how is it that your keen perceptions can so quickly defy almost 400 years of scholarly research and evidence? Even Thomas Looney, author of "Shakespeare's Identity" and originator of the de Vere theory, had difficulty explaining how it was that The Tempest, with all of its topical references and contemporary allusions to the period surrounding 1610, could have been written prior to 1604.

As for Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well, his life may indeed share similarities with de Vere's. But this is a coincidence only; if de Vere had truly been representing himself in the play, why then would he have drawn such a contemptible and an unsympathetic character? In 5.3 of All's Well, Bertram is exposed as a moral coward and a liar. There is no moment in the play during which we have compassion for him. And, as many critics have pointed out, he is not worthy of Helena's love. Indeed, he abandons her with casual cruelty and then quickly attempts to seduce Diana, a virgin. For these reasons, All's Well is considered to be one of Shakespeare's Problem Plays. Unless de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, found himself to be a contemptible dog and a craven dodger, I seriously doubt that he would have chosen Bertram as a glass in which he could locate himself. Amy

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Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 12:01:36 GMT From: Marco (CLSMPH@zapcom.net)

Why can't you leave the poor guy alone. He's dead (so is she)! He did it. He beat the rap. Let him rest. You may want it to be someone else, it's a natural tendency for some of us. Me included. It just don't happen to be with Shake- speare or you know who. I'm analyzing the funeral elegy. I'll take a short recess, and I'll be back with my opinion. Marco.

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Did Shakespeare really write this stuff? (Marlowe Dayley) Keywords: Authorship Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 06:30:51 GMT From: Stephan Dimitroff (sdimitro@worldnet.att.net)

For anyone interested in the authorship question, I commend a book to you that I picked up the last time I was in Stratford. Shakespeare, IN FACT, by Irving Leigh Matus. Published by Continuum, New York 1994. Mr. Matus is an independent scholar and incredible researcher. He addresses each issue that Charlton Ogburn raises in his The Mysterious William Shakespeare, and like an expert fencing with a bumpkin, he slashes the Oxfordian arguments to shreds. Ogburn, a descendent of the Edward de Vere, picked up the argument began by John Thomas Looney and carried them to the looniest extreme.

I recommend two other books as well. They don't address the authorship question, but deal with issues that are relevant to it. The first is Witches & Jesuits - Shakespeare's Macbeth, by Garry Wills. If the Oxfordians will accept that the same person who wrote Macbeth also wrote the other plays attributed to the man from Stratford, they must give it up. Wills research clearly demonstrates that Macbeth had to have been written after November 1605, along with some twenty other "gun powder plays." They all have the same elements and words inspired in the aftermath of the Guy Fawkes plot to kill King James I, along with all of Parliament. The King's favored preacher Lancolot Andrews went all over England doing what the Lyndon Johnson administration did after Kennedy was shot. They attempted to quiet the fears of the populous and demonstrate the government and the state was in tact. Andrew's sermons were filled with words like: dissembler, plot, equivocator, train, blow, blow-up, struck. All of these words and several plot and theme elements were common to all of the "gun powder plays." There is no way Macbeth could have been written before November 1605, and Edward de Vere died in 1604.

The last book I commend to you is The Language of Shakespeare, by N.F. Blake, a professor if English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield. Again, while he does not mention the authorship issue, he argues that the creative genius that created the plays in question could not have been written by an Oxford graduate of the middle or late 16th century. The vocabulary, spelling, nominal groupings, verbal groupings, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and word order and sentence types were all the work of an inspired non-university educated person, who was not constrained by the rules taught to the nobles. Ben Johnson and Marlowe were constrained and they wrote like it. He further argues that the Latin-based grammar was being dropped by the university scholars and by royalty. So, if a member of the court, educated at Oxford were to write words words for royalty, they would not have been what now is found in the plays. Edward de Vere was a member of the court and educated at Oxford.

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Who wrote the plays, sonnets and poems?

Date: Sun, 21 Jul 1996 22:50:02 GMT From: Mark Reeves (delmont43@earthlink.net)

To answer this main question, I personally believe that it MAY have been Edward deVere. However, I am not completely sure (nor can anybody be) because we were not there to witness the feat. What the Oxfordians and Stratfordians must realize is that we now have 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and other various poems. Why can't we just enjoy them how they are and not worry about who the real author is?

We have many masterpieces that will remain classics for as long as mankind exists on this Earth and enjoys good literature. So in all, we should not try and figure out who wrote these wonderful pages over 300 years ago, and continue to enjoy what we have. I say that I enjoy the works of "William Shakespeare". I do not say that I enjoy the works of Edward deVere (whom I think might have written everything). Whether it was the man born in Stratford on Avon or not, the name William Shakespeare should be associated to all of these works.

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Re: Did Shakespeare really write this stuff? (Marlowe Dayley) Date: Sun, 25 Aug 1996 15:50:38 GMT From: richard width jr (unknown@151.middletown-62.va.dial-access.att.net)

Rich here. Does it really matter who wrote Shakespeare's plays? Isn't the fact that they exist enough? I have heard and participated in many debates over this particular subject, but in the end I have come to believe that Shakespeare is a cultural resource- PERIOD. Therefore, it is what you do with the plays that make them speak to contemporary culture and not what they hold inherent in themselves.

Following this train of thought, I find it natural to give up the endless debate over the authorship of the pieces and focus simply on making them accessible to our society. Besides, we know so little about our mutual friend Bill we could never really figure it out. It's rather like trying to determine exactly who wrote the different portions of the Holy Bible (which I find rather fitting as well as amusing!). By the way this is dated 8/23/96- I think? Is that the date? Well, 8/96.

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Keywords: Shakespeare DeVere Marlowe Bacon Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 14:48:05 GMT From: Peter Howard Bailey (73204.2631@compuserve.com)

The controversy has gone around the mulberry bush for for so long, it will not be resolved here, especially since too many people's immediate reaction is to scoff rather than to enquire. However,curious readers may wonder why many of the original Folio title-pages put a hyphen into the Shake-speare name.

One answer is that it was a pen-name. Whose pen-name? Certainly not Shaksper,the actor, about whose life surprisingly little is truly known (as opposed to guessed). What is actually known leaves little doubt that he was barely literate and certainly not capable of producing the works of Shake-speare. Unfortunately, too many academic and literary reputations and pride are on the line after all this time, but that should not stop the rest of us (who have not written a fictional biography of "William Shakespeare") from discovering the fascinating truth behind the illusion.

Incidentally, how many know that the Shakespeare exhibits in Stratford-on-Avon (his house and whatnot) are as authentic as Disneyland? The secret history of the plays and the truth about Queen Elizabeth I and her court are so interesting and have so many ramifications that they are are worth investigating in depth with an open mind. What does anyone have to lose (except those who have nailed their academic reputations to the mast)?

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Yes, an actor named William Shakespeare really did write it.

Re:Did Shakespeare really write this stuff? (Marlowe Dayley) Date: Sat, 07 Sep 1996 03:28:05 GMT From: Harry Connors (hconnors@206.97.209.2)

The best testimony is that of Shakespeare's contemporaries who knew him and had no doubt that he was the author. Two contemporaries stand on either end of his career. The first is Robert Greene who died when Shakespeare was just starting to write. Greene wrote a testament, published postumously, that clearly refered to an, "upstart crow," an actor named Shakespeare who had the temerity to write plays. Greene was against the idea.

The other is Ben Jonson who would be the most famous actor turned playwright if it was not for Shakespeare. Shakespeare and Jonson were rivals who wrote for different companies. If anyone would know if Shakespeare was capable of writing the plays, it would be Jonson. In the First Folio, Jonson wrote the dedication. He could hardly be expected to have done that for a fraud.

Of course the First Folio itself was a production of two of Shakespeare's close friends and associates. They would certainly have witnessed Shakespeare writing the plays and would have known if he didn't. But they produced the First Folio out of their respect for their friend. they wouldn't have done that for a stranger like De Vere.

As for Marlowe. If De Vere's death in 1604, before several plays were written, is a problem, how much more so is Marlowe's ten years earlier, before all of the great plays were written.

The various alternative author theories can generally be set down to a, "Revenge of the University Men," senario. The general objection to Shakespeare is that he was "uneducated." This was Greene's objection when he attached the, "upstart crow." All the alternate authors had a university education. Shakespeare didn't. (Ben Jonson didn't either.) Shakespeare was just a genius.

Finally, couldn't a well travelled man like De Vere have avoided giving Bohemia a sea coast. Same thing goes for all the other over educated hacks who didn't write Shakespeare's plays. Harry Connors

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Re: Did Shakespeare really write this stuff? (Marlowe Dayley) Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 20:46:43 GMT From: David Peacock (unknown@206.14.7.174)

Francis Bacon could not have written under Shakespeare's name because he was too busy. Bacon was a politition and scientist. He was a great writer of prose but not poetry. Shakespeares works do not show must interest in science.

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Francis Bacon was no William Shakespeare Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 20:50:31 GMT From: David Peacock (unknown@206.14.7.174)

Francis Bacon could not have written under Shakespeare's name because he was too busy. Bacon was a politition and scientist. He was a great writer of prose but not poetry. Shakespeares works do not show much interest in science.

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Date: Fri, 04 Oct 1996 23:36:57 GMT From: bowden@networx.on.ca

I'm a sales rep for a publisher. We're coming out with another one of those "Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare's plays " books. I was looking for a really good quote from shakespeare for a poster featuring the book. I've found a couple that would do but I'd appreciate some suggestions. bowden@networx.on.ca

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Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 23:39:03 GMT From: Tom Motzny (tmotzny@shrike.depaul.edu)

Just for fun, Try to disprove that James Joyce wrote the works of James Joyce. Now since good old Jimmy J. is dead as Dillenger, we can't. Now we could say that Queen Victoria wrote the works because Joyce's family were just poor Irish scrubs, but that's ABSURD. Simply put, we have not one solitary itty bitty shread of evidence that Eddy De Vere wrote the plays. It is all human conjecture which links him to the plays. One final thought, if De Vere could write good poetry, why were all the poems he wrote hateful to the ear and the brain. If he were so gauche as a young man, how did he pull through in his later days.