After 20 years of research into the Authorship Question, I have a scenario––a story–– that may finally be the truth, or that comes close to it. Facts are useless if they can’t be made to tell a plausible story. But such a complicated story would take a book of many volumes to tell in sufficient detail. Better perhaps to tell it in a series of posts and essays, with the longer, more detailed, and more fully cited articles available in pdf format. This way readers can follow their own lines of questioning through links in the text.
For months to come I’ll be adding pages as they amplify posts, plus the links that connect old essays to new, so keep checking as more information gets added every week. If you click on sign me up under EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION in the upper right corner of each page, you’ll get an email notifying you whenever there’s a new post. Words in bold within the text are (usually) reminders to myself where to add a link once there’s something to link to.
My thesis: Everything on this blog has been written or chosen because it supports the thesis that the questions of authorship and related matters that haunt the history of the Elizabethan era all derive from the concerted effort made by Elizabethan poets, their publishers and their patrons, to sidestep the constraints placed on the literary arts by the paranoias of a still insecure government of Reformation ideologues. This thesis allows me to assume that most of the present confusion is the result of red herrings created by this artistic community to distract the public and the puritanical ideologues from any close examination of the burgeoning London stage and periodical press and also, by their enemies, from their efforts to control them, a struggle that would continue until the ideologues, i.e., the puritans, were finally successful in closing the theaters for two decades in the mid-17th century. Although Shakespeare stands at the center of this story, every other writer of the time––including all those who are presently being considered possible candidates for his pen––was involved in one way or another. Based on over twenty years of study of both the history and the literature of this period, this thesis is the basis for all the posts and essays on this blog.
BLOG: Click for current commentary and occasional responses to questions.
SHAKESPEARE WHO? Essays on the Authorship Question, the history of the London commercial Stage, and plays by Shakespeare and other writers.
BACKGROUND: Focussing solely on the literary history has gotten us nowhere. It’s necessary to know and use as constant reference the political and religious history of the period. This isn’t as easy as it might be, because the rough spots in the history of the Elizabethan Reformation have been smoothed over or eliminated, the English Literary Renaissance being one of those rough spots. So under Renaissance and the Reformation are the results of a closer look at what was really happening. The effect this had on literature is examined under Birth of the London Stage and Birth of the Commercial Press, with a closer and more realistic look at the famous figure who lent her name to this era, Queen Elizabeth.
OXFORD:Essays on the leading candidate, his life, his education, his colleagues, his career, the connections that link his life story to the plots and characters in Shakespeare’s works, and the long list of Shakespeare sources on his tutor’s library list. This includes a nutshell biography in two parts, Birth to forty, and The Shakespeare years in which I discriminate between historical facts––stated flatly, circumstantial evidence––stated as probably or likely, and where I have no choice but to use conjecture––possibly. Details are provided through links to other pages. For the rest, I must be forgiven for now and then dropping the “usuallys” and “probablys” in favor of a narrative mode. As Shakespeare said, “the plays the thing,” and here, with so few facts, the story’s the thing, the living, breathing thing. Sure we have the plays, but the truth about the author himself is just as good a story as any he told, if not done so beautifully. Questions about where I got some bit of information will be answered as cheerfully and quickly as possible. This is the internet. Let’s use it.
SOURCES: provides articles that support various points in my scenario, some by other Oxfordians, some by myself, many published first in The Oxfordian, links to online articles, and abibliography containing the titles of important books and articles with a brief comment on how they contribute to the big picture.
QUESTIONS: Ask here and I’ll respond here, or occasionally in a blog. Be yourself or, if you’d rather your colleagues at the university don’t spot your name, make one up; no one will ever know, including me. (How about Robert Greene? Or John Webster? Nobody’s used them for awhile.)
COMMENTS: I urge you to respond with your thoughts on these blogs and essays. This new technology offers the means for communication unlike anything we’ve had before, but it’s new and may require some trial and error at first. Rather than send your comment to me as an email, it’s easy enough to type it into the little field that follows the page labelled “LEAVE A COMMENT.” If you wish to make a longer comment, you might type it out first in a word processing program, then copy and paste it into the field. If I have a problem with it I’ll email you privately for clarification. A major reason for choosing this means of communication is so that I can hear from you, and you can communicate, not only with me, but with all who read that page. Caveat:If a comment contains serious material without citations to back it up, I’ll ask for your sources by email before posting; if I don’t get it I won’t post the comment. After two or three weeks, if a series of light-hearted exchanges seems to distract from a serious exchange I may eliminate it. Rude or pointless comments will not be posted, period. But no genuine authorship scholar is ever rude, ay what?
The search field in the upper right hand corner replaces the index in a book; type a keyword in the box (i.e., Marlowe, Bacon, Venus and Adonis, etc.) and a list of essays that contain that word or phrase will appear. Most graphics will open into larger versions if you click on them.