An Oxfordian Journal: What Do the Questions of Climate Change and Shakespearean Authorship Have in Common?

What does the question of Shakespearean authorship have in common with the pressing and dangerous issue of man-made climate change?

Answer:  It is difficult for the deniers to break free from the trap of their denial and admit they were wrong.  For some it’s virtually impossible.  This is especially true for the long-term, vehement deniers.  Here is what Paul Krugman writes today (Monday, July 23, 2012) in the New York Times:

More than 1,000 counties in 26 states are being named natural-disaster areas, the biggest such declaration ever by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as drought grips the Midwest. – Bloomberg News

“Will the current drought [in Midwestern U.S.] finally lead to serious climate action?  History isn’t encouraging.  The deniers will surely keep on denying, especially because conceding at this point that the science they’ve trashed was right all along would be to admit their own culpability for the looming disaster.”

Many upholders of Stratfordian tradition simply have too much to lose.  Think of the vehement public statements they have made.  Think of the books and articles and blogs they have written.  Think of what’s at stake in terms of the tourism industry in and around Stratford upon Avon.  Think of the publishing industry aimed at not only the general public but, also, at the academic community.  Think of all those textbooks.  Think of all the biographies of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages that will have to be rewritten, to account for the drastic change of personal, political and artistic relationships to “Shakespeare” the real man and to his works!

To expect the deniers to reverse themselves is probably asking too much.  Reversal will probably have to happen a generation or two from now.

Southampton in the Tower
(8 Feb 1601 – 10 April 1603)

The same goes within the Oxfordian community, where there has been a vicious onslaught against anyone suggesting that Edward de Vere, seventeenth earl of Oxford wrote the Sonnets to preserve the truth of Henry Wriothesley, third earl of Southampton as his royal son by Elizabeth I of England.  Oxford understood perfectly well that the enemy was “time” and its “registers” and “records” that would be manifested in the false history to be written by the winners:

“No!” he shouts in Sonnet 123.  “Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change … Thy registers and thee I both defy … For thy records and what we see doth lie … This I do vow and this shall ever be: I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.”

He defies time and its registers and records and “what we see” that is anything but the truth.  But I strongly suggest to my Oxfordian colleagues that Oxford is not speaking here of his authorship of the Shakespeare works (although that is one consequence) – no, he is speaking of the truth of his royal son, to whom he cries out in Sonnet 126, the “envoi” of the opening long sequence:

O thou my lovely Boy who in thy power

Dost hold Time’s fickle glass his sickle hour…

I realize that Oxfordians who honestly hold other views of the Sonnets find it difficult if not impossible to change those views.  [They will say the same of me!]  And I respect that.  But I also predict, based on what I know about new materials forthcoming in the next year, that the true meaning of the Sonnets will become increasingly obvious to those who have not become trapped by their own denials – trapped, come to think of it, in the same way Elizabeth became trapped by the Big Lie of her Virgin Queen image, which prevented her from naming an heir and continuing her Tudor dynasty.

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Everyone thinks the guy on the other side is in denial.

    You clearly do not know the climate issues, and you should not be posting this. You are using an argument from authority!

    I bet you don’t like those arguments when uninformed people do the same to you, about a topic you do understand – Shakespeare.

    Excellent blog on Shakespeare, though.

    • Well, you’re probably right that I’m not helping my own cause by bringing up some other issue. I’d like to hear what others think. Thanks for weighing in.

      • Thanks being all serene after I posted crankily this morning.

  2. Tobias makes a good point. There are fierce debates about global warming. The data on the issue can be interpreted by both sides to support their view, and each side has reasonable arguments. Midwest has worst drought in 50 years. Well, 50 years is not a long time…. And even if global warming is real and as bad as some people say, it is not clear that the policy prescriptions they advocate will do more good than harm. On top of that, I feel Paul Krugman’s economic ideas are all wrong, as he advocates huge Keynesian deficit spending to heal the economy. I say all this because, like Tobias, I like what Hank has to say on the Shakespeare question.

  3. Hank, I guess you should remain in the realm of literature. The Monument in itself is so convincing, that it’s an appropriate weapon to fight for your (and de Vere’s) truth – leave warming of the Globe to others 🙂 I know how serious you and your case is. But others might say, you turn to the environmental direction because you yourself don’t find your arguments in the field of literature convincing enough. There were too many Shaksperes in the past, you should fortify to defend this last and true one with all your might. You know: all for one – you count me in.


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