Some of what I’ve written over the years can be easily put up as essays, but the longer articles, particularly those that have been published in The Oxfordian or the newsletters or given as lectures at conferences that are difficult to locate elsewhere online, I’m putting here as pdfs. They provide necessary support for statements I make in the essays as they provide in-text citations, works cited, etc.. As time goes by I’ll be able to put more of these up as I get time to get them digitized. I’m grateful to the various publishers for their permissions.
Shakespeare and the Universities
It is one of the great ironies of this question that Shakespeare has become the property of the very academics he dissed in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Both from Berowne: “Study is like the heaven’s glorious sun/ That will not be deep-searched with saucy looks;/ Small have continual plodders ever won/ Save base authority from others’ books” and from his scorching portrait of the pedant Holofernes, Shakespeare thumbed his nose at the tribe who now claim “base authority” over, not only his works, but his very identity, the same academics that ignored both him and his works for over 200 years.
Shakespeare’s Tutor: Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577)
It was a lucky day for English literature and the English language when little Edward de Vere, heir to the great Oxford earldom, was sent to live with one of England’s leading Greek scholars, Sir Thomas Smith, once and future Secretary of State and former Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University. During the eight years he lived with Smith, de Vere absorbed almost all the areas of learning and expertise that in years to come would be identified by Shakespeare scholars as those areas in which the Bard shows unusual knowledge: the law, medicine, horticulture, astronomy/astrology, and falconry. Only music had to wait until he was transferred to London at age twelve. Originally published in The Oxfordian, Vol III (2000): pp 1-44.
Beyond Shakespeare: Expanding the Authorship Theory
In this lecture from 2005 I go into some detail on the anomalies that dog every aspect of 16th-century literature: the courtiers with reputations as writers yet with little or no examples of their work; the commoners with attributions to their credit but biographies that don’t support them; and the many unanswered questions that stem from these. I propose a new authorship theory, one that goes beyond Shakespeare alone to embrace all the writers of imaginative literature during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. From a lecture given April 10, 2005 at the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.
The London Stage and the Birth of Democracy
In this lecture from 2008 I provide an overview of the phenomenon of the birth of the London Stage in 1576 as a first step towards a functional democracy in the West. Standing far enough back to see how the pieces of the puzzle from literature, mainstream history and literary history fit together into the big picture of how a nation, bereft of its holiday traditions, finds them reborn on the stages of these two first successful commercial English theaters and how clearly the Earl of Oxford stands at the very center of this development. First given as a lecture for the Shakespeare Oxford Society conference, White Plains NY, October 2008.
An Oxfordian Response
Written in response to articles on four of the Shakespeare candidates offered by their supporters in the 2010 edition of The Oxfordian, I look at the credentials of three of the four. Leaving Oxford for the expertise of Ramon Jimenez, I look at the credentials of William Stanley, Earl of Derby, Emilia Bassano Lanyer, and Christopher Marlowe as presented by their supporters, show where they fall short of what we need to see in a genuine Shakespeare biography, and finish by showing how all three were closely involved with the Earl of Oxford. This and the articles promoting the other candidates can be found on the SOS website.
The first version of this article was written back in 2002 in response to John Rollett’s proposal that the excitement over Southampton’s introduction to the Court community in the early 1590s was due to awareness that he was the Queen’s illegitimate son and therefore was an heir to the throne. First, there could be any number of reasons for such enthusiasm, and second, on closer look the enthusiasm seems to have stemmed chiefly from those who hoped to gain by his patronage, since he was touted as one of the richest heirs in the kingdom. This suggestion is offered purely to explore an area that is rarely examined, namely the source and effects on the aristocrats of this time of the ancient beliefs we tend to lump together under the heading of Chivalry. See what you think.
Dating the Shrew
This article on Taming of the Shrew goes into the kind of detail that I would like to be able to do for the rest of the plays. It demonstrates the kinds of connections with Oxford and his milieu that even without spending hours in archives, secondary sources can provide. The comments I make here on the blog on many of the plays are based on this kind of research, even though I haven’t had the time to lay it out as I have here with Shrew. [A heavily edited version of this article has since been published in the anthology: Dating Shakespeare's Plays: A Critical Review of the Evidence, without my okay. This is the version as I wrote it.]
New Light on the Dark Lady
In 1979 A.L. Rowse published an important discovery, that the poet Emilia Bassano Lanyer was, without a doubt, the Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Of course there have been doubts anyway, but as has so often been the case with these Shakespeare conundrums, it’s the addition of Oxford to the equation that brings final confirmation. In every possible way, Emilia fits the profile of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady as portrayed in Sonnets 127-152. Now, with Oxford as the Poet, dozens of new connections make the case for her about as water-tight as something from the 16th century can get. Originally published in the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter, 36.3 Fall (2000); pp 1, 8-15.
“No Spring Till Now”: Mary Sidney Pembroke and the John Webster Canon
A brilliant poet, overshadowed in her own time by her famous brother, and in later times by her sex, what role did Mary Sidney really play in the English Literary Renaissance? One who knows Mary’s biography and a little of the history of James’s reign has only to read the John Webster plays, The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, to see the answer. Originally published in The Oxfordian 6 (2003): pp 71-108.
Jonson’s Ode to Shakespeare
What was Ben Jonson actually saying in his dedicatory Ode to Shakespeare in the First Folio, and to whom was he saying it? Here’s a close look at the famous poem, paraphrased a paragraph at a time. A masterpiece of dissimulation, of pointing in two ways at once, Jonson’s Ode was half of the two-pronged move by the King’s Men to put a stop to the discussion over who wrote the works of Shakespeare––the other half being the “renovated” bust in Stratford’s Trinity Church. An edited version appeared in the De Vere Society Newsletter, 16.1 February 2009.
Hide Fox and All After
What is Hamlet telling us during his peculiar response to Claudius’s request that he tell him where he’d left Polonius’s body? Why at such a crucial moment does Hamlet take off on a series of puns in the direction of Reformation history? And why have we been playing Hide and Go Seek with his creator ever since? Were the stakes, as they were for Hamlet, so deadly serious that the author was forced to hide his identity? First given as a lecture November 23, 2006 at the New Globe Theatre, Bankside, London, as a part of the Silberrad Lecture Series, sponsored by The Friends of the Globe, Mark Rylance, President.
Robert Greene: King of the Paper Stage
Though unknown today to any but Early Modern literary scholars, poet and storyteller Robert Greene was famous in his own time. The first Englishman to use the still-young print industry to establish himself as a serial writer, for a full decade he published an average of two to three works a year in pamphlet form until his most famous work, his last, supposedly written during his death agonies: Greene’s Groatsworth of Witte, famous as the first mention in print of Shakespeare. It matters little that there is no logical reason, other than the similarity of names, to think that the character Greene labelled “Shake-scene” refers to the great playwright, but there is so little known about Shakespeare that scholarly rigor must be forfeit. Here for the first time in print is the truth about Greene, who he was and why he wrote Groatsworth. From a lecture first prepared for the Shakespeare Oxford Conference in Greensboro NC in 1995.
Sir Thomas Smith’s 1566 Library List
An alphabetized list of the titles in the inventory of his library at Hill Hall written by Sir Thomas Smith in 1566 shortly after he returned from his embassy to France. Since 1566 was only four years after he parted with de Vere, the chances are that most of these were the books that Oxford grew up with, and that many of them formed the basis for much of his later writing. The connections with Shakespeare’s sources should be obvious.
The Great Reckoning: Who Killed Christopher Marlowe, and Why?
Despite centuries of repetition by historians that the poet’s death was related to his work as a government spy, there is absolutely no evidence that Marlowe himself was ever a member of the spy community. In fact, all evidence points the other way, to the spymasters, the Cecils, who were out to shut him up. Why? To those who have seen or read Marlowe’s plays and who know of their effect on the young apprentices of London, the answer should be obvious. If not, this pamphlet should be sufficient to make the case. From a lecture given at the De Vere Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, April, 1997.
The Sonnets Bibliography
In preparation for an authorship conference in 1999 where the main topic was to be Shake-speare’s Sonnets, I read well over 30 books on the subject, from all periods, purposely spending the most time with those that show concern with the the story behind their creation, including of course when they were written. Though a mere drop in the bucket of the close to 2,000 books on the subject that I could have read had I years instead of weeks, I believe the 25 titles I list here, along with a brief comment on their contents, give a fair sample of the kind of thinking that’s out there.
The Story told by Shake-speare’s Sonnets
This essay is the amplification of a lecture given in 1999 for a Shakespeare Oxford Society conference in Newton, Mass. Focusing on what we know of the principals involved, I hoped to give evidence of how the sonnets grew out of Oxford’s effort to come to terms with the painful love triangle that had him by the throat during the period when both the Stage and his personal circumstances were was in a state of dangerous chaos, between 1590 and 1596. I try also to show that it was his ongoing struggle to deal with this crisis through the most exacting wordcraft, that, after 20 years of experiment, finally gave rise to the voice we call Shakespeare.
Book Review of Who Killed Kit Marlowe? by M.J. Trow
Reviewing this book gave me the opportunity to address, in more detail, the issues surrounding Marlowe’s assassination (or transportation). Published first in The Oxfordian, vol. 5, 2000.