The Forward to Volume I of “Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare”

Here is the brief forward to VOLUME I of BUILDING THE CASE FOR EDWARD DE VERE AS SHAKESPEARE, our series of books preserving authorship research for current scholars, students and general readers as well as those of future generations.  The first volume is entitled THE GREAT SHAKESPEARE HOAX:  After Unmasking the Fraudulent Pretender, Search for the True Genius Begins.

(In the near future I’ll also put up the longer INTRODUCTION to VOLUME I.)


No matter what we have been taught in school, the actual identity of William Shakespeare represents the longest-lasting literary mystery in the Western World. The supposed authorship of Shakespeare’s great plays and poetry by William Shaksper of Stratford-on-Avon is a four-hundred-year-old hoax, still actively perpetrated today.

The original fraud was accomplished in the late 1500s and early 1600s for reasons of greed and power by the two leading politicians and greatest scoundrels in England: William Cecil and his son, Robert. The Royal Court and many others knew who the real author was but, over time, that number inevitably attenuated. A generation later, few knew who the real Shakespeare was — and they remained silent. The hoax had succeeded.

For one-hundred-and-fifty years the secret lay dormant. Beginning in the 1850’s, however, increasing numbers of Shakespeare buffs found it impossible to match the life history of Shaksper of Stratford—the uneducated and untraveled butcher’s apprentice and real estate investor— with the great plays. With no relevant background whatsoever, how could he portray England’s nobility and Royal Court with such intimate firsthand knowledge and insight? Did he even know how to read and write? He never owned a book, wrote a letter, or left any kind of paper trail. Without an education, how could he display such a thorough knowledge of classical Latin and Greek? How could someone who never departed the shores of England set plays and scenes so convincingly in Italy without a single error in language, culture, or geography?  Is “genius” a believable explanation for such profound dissonance and disharmony between an author and his works?

In the past century, skepticism concerning the Stratford Man’s supposed authorship has steadily grown. At the same time, powerful circumstantial evidence has been building in favor of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, as the true writing-genius who was forced by the two Cecils to write under a pen name. Those who believe in the Earl of Oxford’s authorship are called “Oxfordians.” Those who still believe in the orthodox candidate, William Shaksper of Stratford—firmly backed by most professors of English—are called “Stratfordians.” The vigorous debate between Stratfordians and Oxfordians has persisted for ninety years and represents a classic, dramatic example of Conventional Wisdom backed by tradition and dogma doing battle with contrarian Newthink, validated by steadily accumulating research data.

Most of the early literature pointing to Edward de Vere as the mystery-genius appeared in obscure newsletters, magazines and now out-of-print books. Some of this initial research work is of elegant quality and only recently emerged from years of storage by two of England’s authorship groups, the De Vere Society and the Shakespeare Authorship Trust.  When, in 2006, Professor William Leahy of Brunel University organized the first graduate
degree program in the world on Shakespeare Authorship Studies, both societies permanently loaned their books and papers to the English Department of Brunel, located in Uxbridge, a suburb of London.

Through the courtesy of Kevin Gilvary, President of the De Vere Society, Charles Beauclerk and other members of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Authorship Trust, and Dr. Leahy the Editors were able to peruse and copy this vitally important early Shakespeare authorship material. Thus these difficult-to-find articles and book excerpts now become readily available in the first five volumes of this book series entitled Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare.

Editor Paul Hemenway Altrocchi has a unique credential for this book series, being the longest-duration Oxfordian in the world—more than sixty years. Educated at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, he trained in Neurology at the New York Neurological Institute of Columbia University, did research at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and was on the full-time faculty of Stanford Medical School before ending his career in private practice.  Since retirement in 1998, he has spent most of his time researching the candidacy of Edward de Vere as Shakespeare, publishing twenty-three scholarly papers and a book entitled Most Greatly Lived, A Biographical Novel of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, Whose Pen Name was William Shakespeare.

Editor Hank Whittemore is a professional author of ten books and hundreds of magazine articles, an actor and playwright, and an Oxfordian for a quarter of a century. He has written more than two dozen articles on the Shakespeare authorship question from an Oxfordian perspective. After ten years of research, in 2005 he published his major scholarly contribution entitled The Monument, an eight-hundred page opus analyzing every line and every word of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, providing powerful new evidence that Edward de Vere was William Shakespeare.

Editors Altrocchi and Whittemore visualize at least twenty volumes in this Shakespeare authorship book series. Later volumes will feature original research contributions by the finest Oxfordian scholars in the United States and England.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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