The Shakespeare Fellowship Responds to “Shakespeare Beyond Doubt”

Below is an initial response by the Shakespeare Fellowship, one of the two major Oxfordian organizations in the U.S., to the publication next month of a new book, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  (The same link to this response is among other links on this blog site.)

But first, I’d like to say to the holders of the traditional Stratfordian fantasy: “BEYOND DOUBT?  ARE YOU KIDDING!!??” and then shout out the window to the wind, “&%$@**&#*@!&&!!!!!” and then, finally, and calmly, recall a famous quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is  violently opposed.  Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

We have now arrived at the second stage … with just one more to go!

beyond doubt


The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust recently released its book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt in an attempt to prove that there is “no doubt” that William Shakspere of Stratford wrote the works of “William Shakespeare.” But while over 70 documents exist about the Stratford man that were created during his life, not one of them identifies him as a writer of any kind. A businessman, yes, an occasional money lender, part owner of a theatre company who may have acted some small parts, yes, but not a writer. No manuscript of a poem or play in his hand survives, not even a letter! There is no evidence that William Shakspere, the man from Stratford, ever owned a book, was ever paid for writing, or was referred to as a writer by anyone during his life or immediately after his death. The First Folio, which was published seven years after his death, was the first document to attempt to connect “William Shakespeare” with Mr. Shakspere.

The monument as sketched in 1634

The monument as sketched in 1634

The monument to Shakespeare in the Trinity Church in Stratford now shows a writer with a quill pen in his hand; but it does not look the same as the one erected in the early 1600s. A sketch by a reputable artist in 1634 shows a man with a drooping moustache holding a wool or grain sack, but no pen, no paper, no writing surface. In short, the “authorship” of the man from Stratford has all the earmarks of a hoax designed to hide the real author’s identity.

But why would the real author have hidden his identity? Because it was dangerous to write under one’s own name in those days. One could be imprisoned or tortured, or worse, if his writings displeased the authorities. Pen names and anonymity were common. Shakespeare Beyond Doubt fails to produce any new evidence in favor of the Stratford man or to answer the many weaknesses in the Stratfordian theory. For more on the doubts about Shakspere, see the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt or read Diana Price’s Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography or the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition’s rebuttal to the SBT: Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? Exposing an Industry in Denial, due to be published May 31, 2013.

The grain sack is now a writing pillow and lo, he's a writer

The grain sack is now a writing pillow and lo, he’s a writer

The Shakespeare Fellowship believes that there is a large body of circumstantial evidence indicating that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the real author of the plays. Oxford used the “pen name” William Shakespeare because it was not considered appropriate for a nobleman to write plays for the public stage. Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, in a chapter by Professor Alan Nelson, tries unsuccessfully to rebut the Oxfordian thesis. Nelson’s chapter is deviously one-sided. What he leaves out is as important as what he leaves in. Nelson tries to paint Oxford as an irascible, erratic character, but what does this have to do with whether he was the writer known as “Shakespeare”? Oxfordians claim that Oxford was a great writer—not a saint—and admit that he had an artist’s temperamental, mercurial personality.

Indeed, the character flaws that Nelson alleges are actually evidence of Oxford’s connections to the works of “Shakespeare.” Nelson comes dangerously close to admitting this: he claims at one point that Oxford was “apparently” homosexual (or bisexual) and later links this to the homoerotic overtones of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, many of which were written to a fair young man, thought to be the Earl of Southampton. Traditional scholars are stumped when trying to explain how William of Stratford, a commoner, could have had the gall to write such intimate poetry to a nobleman, but an older nobleman might have easily gotten away with it.

Nelson points out that Oxford, when he was a young man, killed a cook and escaped a murder charge on the finding that the cook “committed suicide” by deliberately running on the young earl’s sword. Oxford would eventually use this as self-parody in Hamlet, where one of the Gravediggers attempts to talk about a person committing suicide in self-defense. Brutus in Julius Caesar also commits suicide by running on a sword.

Nelson criticizes Oxford for his extravagant lifestyle, but Nelson doesn’t mention that this behavior is mirrored in the plot of Timon of Athens. Oxford was also, admittedly, estranged from his wife for some time, thinking she had been unfaithful to him. This became fodder for Hamlet’s estrangement from Ophelia and Othello’s distrust toward Desdemona.  Oxford’s wife was rumored to have gotten him back by using a “bed trick”—that is, making him think he was being led into the dark bedchamber of another woman, when actually it was his own wife’s room. Such “bed tricks” are used in two Shakespeare plays—Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well.

Edward de Vere Motto Nothing truer than Truth

Edward de Vere Motto
Nothing truer than Truth

Nelson tells us that Meres and Bodenham listed Oxford and Shakespeare as separate people, but if Oxford was hiding his identity behind the pen name “Shakespeare,” why should we think that Meres and Bodenham would know that they were the same person? Nelson doesn’t mention that George Puttenham wrote in 1589 that “Noblemen . . . have written excellently well as it would appear if their doings could be found out and made public with the rest, of which number is first that noble gentleman Edward Earl of Oxford.”

Nelson asserts that the Queen gave Oxford an annuity of £1,000 “in exchange for his good behaviour,” but it is entirely speculation on Nelson’s part that this was the reason for the generous annuity. Could it have been a reward for his writing plays that supported the Tudor claim to the throne?

Nelson argues that Oxford couldn’t have written The Tempest because Oxford died in 1604 and the play refers to the 1609 wreck of the Sea-Venture off the coast of Bermuda. Some scholars believe, based on imagery and word choices in the The Tempest, that it was influenced by William Strachey’s account of that 1609 shipwreck. But shipwrecks near Bermuda, an island surrounded by reefs, were common. In fact, one occurred in 1595, when Oxford was still alive. Furthermore, scholars who have carefully studied the imagery in The Tempest have found much earlier sources than Strachey’s account that Shakespeare might have drawn on. See Dating the Tempest on this website. Thus, there is no reason to believe that the author of The Tempest had to have read Strachey’s account. In fact, Strachey’s account was not actually published until 1625, long after the Stratford man was dead, so Stratfordians are left to speculate, based on no supporting evidence, that Shakspere somehow had access to Strachey’s manuscript.

Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, 1575, at 25

Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, 1575, at 25

Nelson claims that Oxfordians “fantasize” that Oxford left drafts of plays that were published after his death. But anyone who believes that William of Stratford was the real Shakespeare must also indulge in such “fantasies.” About half of Shakespeare’s plays were never published or performed until the First Folio appeared—seven years after the Stratford man died. If he indeed made his living as a playwright, why would he have withheld half of his output from publication or performance during his lifetime? Such a practice seems more consistent with a nobleman who wrote for his own purposes and couldn’t allow his name to be connected to his writings.

Both Stratfordians and Oxfordians have long noted that Polonius in Hamlet appears to be a satire on Lord Burghley, Queen Elizabeth’s power-behind-the-throne. Oxford knew Burghley well. Burghley became Oxford’s guardian when Oxford’s father died. Later, Oxford married Burghley’s daughter, Anne Cecil. Lord Burghley wrote out a set of rules for his household that includes maxims such as, “Towards thy superiors be humble yet generous; with thine equals familiar yet respective.” As Polonius says to Laertes, “Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.” Burghley’s rules were not published until 1618, long after Hamlet was published. The scene in which Polonius sends Reynaldo to spy on his son Laertes increases the similarity to Burghley, who maintained a network of spies. The name “Polonius” may have come from two of Burghley’s nicknames, “Polus” and “Pondus.” In the first edition of Hamlet, the character’s name was “Corambis”—perhaps a pun on Burghley’s Latin motto, “Cor unum, via una,” which means “One heart, one way.”

Just as Hamlet was captured by pirates and left naked on the shore of Denmark, Oxford was captured by pirates and left naked on the shore of England. In 1573, Oxford, who was a patron of the arts, wrote a preface to an English translation of Cardanus Comfort, a book of consoling advice that likely influenced Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy.

Nelson, however, makes a tortured attempt to dissociate Hamlet from the facts of Oxford’s life: Oxford was twelve when his father died, whereas Hamlet was an adult when he lost his father; Oxford married Burghley’s daughter, whereas Hamlet rejected Ophelia and consigned her to a nunnery. One half-expects Nelson to add that Oxford didn’t stab Lord Burghley while he was hiding behind an arras. Nelson’s analysis insults the reader’s intelligence. While writers often use real-life people and situations as raw material for their creations, they always transform their materials into something new, mixing fiction with real life to create a higher reality. For example, while we know that Charles Dickens was writing somewhat autobiographically in David Copperfield, the novel does not follow Dickens’s life in all respects. Any college English major understands this. It is surprising that Nelson, an English professor, doesn’t.

Finally, Nelson insists that Oxford couldn’t have been Shakespeare because Oxford, as owner of his own theatre troupe, would never have let the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a “rival” theatre company, perform his plays. Nelson’s theory rests on the unfounded assumption that noblemen’s companies competed jealously against each other, like commercial companies, and never shared their works. Yet this assumption is refuted by the title page of the 1594 First Quarto edition of Titus Andronicus. (Like all “Shakespeare” plays published before 1598, it is anonymous, i.e., no author is named on the title page.) The title page states that the play is “as it was played” by the servants of the Earls of Derby, Pembroke, and Sussex. This shows that various noblemen might have worked together and shared plays rather than jealously guarding them. Incidentally, the Earl of Derby was Oxford’s son-in-law. The Earl of Pembroke was the brother of another of Oxford’s sons-in-law. And the Earl of Sussex’s family had close political ties to Oxford. If the Earl of Oxford was indeed the author of Titus Andronicus, why wouldn’t he have shared his play with other noblemen, especially his family and friends?

This short response to Shakespeare Beyond Doubt barely scratches the surface of the Oxford theory. For more, read The Case for Oxford Revisited; Mark Anderson’s Shakespeare by Another Name; Richard Whalen’s Shakespeare: Who Was He?; or Joseph Sobran’s Alias Shakespeare

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  1. I used to bring this authorship question up with few of the professors at my well-meaning Midwestern university, and thus I acquired first-hand knowledge of the entrenched, derisive condescension this topic produces in the professionals of academia. Ah, but the times, they are a-changing…

  2. “a few”

  3. The argument of Oxford’s death in 1604 is totally stupid (excuse me for the expression) because of these reasons:

    – The date of the plays is incertain. Yet, one can wonder and discover some plays perfomed during the 70’s and 80’s whose tittles resembles those of Shakespeare’s plays;
    – “The Tempest” (the great reason of such ado about nothing) can be based in any ship wreck, even if not real;
    – Oxford’s death is not documented, so some people (including I) think he faked his own death (could his death be part of the secret pact he made with the Queen and Cecil and he registed in his Sonnets?);

    I am really curious for Nelson’s justification for two more things: Shakespeare’s plays stopped to be published by 1604, when Oxford died (?); and the date of Shakespeare’s return to his home and when is believed he stop writing, this is, 1613, which coincides with Trentham’s death around December 1612-January 1613. I don’t think he has: he must have no answers for this, certainly.

  4. “Oxford’s death is not documented, so some people (including I) think he faked his own death (could his death be part of the secret pact he made with the Queen and Cecil and he registed in his Sonnets?);”

    I’ve often thought much the same..maybe part of the deal make with Robert Cecil to spare Southampton’s life involved Oxford’s “death”: forfeiting his identity and going into permanent exile, perhaps to the Isle of Man.

    • Yes, I’ve thought this, too. (Must be something to it, if we all get the same idea!) I have always thought that Oxford wouldn’t have wanted to live in England under the new reign, and also that Cecil would want him out of the way. I haven’t ever believed he would commit suicide. The first act of The Tempest, with Prospero telling Miranda (his daughter, his child, his works?) how they got to the island — is it a description of what really happened?

      • Hmmm…interesting…I’ll have to reread that part…

      • Whittemore, in the Elizabethean England, it was common to noblemen’s poems be published no longer after their death. So, in my opinion, as “Shake-Speare’s Sonnets” was published in 1609, Oxford must have died somewhere lost in time between the year of 1608. He had many places to hide himself: Elizabeth Vere had the Isle of Man under her power, don’t forget that (could she be Miranda?).

        The idea of suicide is not a credible one for in this time, those who killed themselves where not buried in sacred soil, while some said Oxford was buried among the greatest poets of his time.

        Didn’t Southampton had a isle too under his command? I think he, Francis Bacon, the earl of Derby, Countess of Pembroke, Elizabeth Vere, Elizabeth Trentham, George Chapman, Ben Jonson and John Donne were the “possessors” in the preface of “Troilus and Cressida”, because of these reasons:

        – Academics says Shakespeare stop to write plays around 1612-13 and came back to his town; while Elizabeth Trentham died in the end of 1612;
        – Trentham sold her house in 1609, by these time the Sonnets where published;
        – I think The First Folio was ordened to be published by Southampton, Mary Sidney, Elizabeth Vere, Derby, Bacon and Chapman because the Folio was dedicated to Pembroke’s two sons, friends of them all, and Southampton died just one year later (maybe he was already fearing his death and wanted the plays, that tell the truth, to be published before he died);
        – The pirated “The Poems by Mr.William Shake-Speare” was published in 1640. By these time, Derby was the only one alived and he died two years later;

  5. I’ve met Nelson. Not the brightest bulb in the room. Extremely didactic and a dim thinker.

    No contemporary astronomical references in the plays post 1604.

  6. Keplers laws of motion didn’t necessarily lend themselves well to fiction and there certainly is great mystery surrounding his death. What were some of the discoveries in the years closely following 1604? Just curious to know whether there are examples of discoveries made that one might think he would have covered.

    • Interesting question. I believe there are some things, some related to astrology or astronomy, that Oxford would have covered. Even if Oxford did not die in June 1604, and lived another four years or so, he might not have included any new developments in his work — assuming he might have worked on some of the revisions. In any case, I am sending out a query to members of an online group and will report back any answers. Thanks.

    • Um. The discoveries of Galileo for a start. We had a presentation by a young astronomer at Portland years back and he had 4 or 5 including the major one aforementioned.

      Eric Altschuler is his name. Since Shakespeare was interested in Mars retrograde, the solving of it should have interested him.

      You can read his paper “searching for Shakespeare in the Stars” here,2990746

      • Good reading. I see that a line in scene I act II of King Lear – “These late eclipses of the sun and moon portend no good to us” – has been taken as referring to eclipses in 1605.The partial lunar eclipse happened on September 27th and the solar eclipse followed on October 12th turning day to dusk with only a sliver of sun showing between 12:40 and 1pm.

        However there was a total solar eclipse in England on March 7 1598 Greg. In fact the 1598 eclipse was the only total solar eclipse in England between 1433 and 1652 and would literally have turned day into blackest night. The Feb 21st 1598 Lunar Eclipse, partial, was visible in England, the August 16th Lunar eclipse was total but was poorly viewed in England, the February 10th 1599 Lunar eclipse was total and viewable from England.

        So I wouldn’t take the eclipses in Lear as evidence of de Vere surviving in 1605 (or for dating Lear to that period as Stratfordians claim). I am interested in looking at evidence that points to dates after 1604 though we really couldn’t know if it was de Vere or others like Rutland or Susan or even Bacon who added bits in later.

        Solar Eclipses
        Lunar Eclipses

        Click to access Whalen-1604.pdf

      • Eric mentioned that Strats hang their hats on these two eclipses in Lear as counter evidence but brought up the points you make. Lear was either based on or a rewrite of a Queen’s Mens play so the potential date of its initial writing may be far earlier.

        The evidence of other no post 1604 references is quite strong. Combine that with a shut down of publication and one has to wonder.

  7. Hank, for a moment turning back to Othello: I found in it a remark yesterday, which might connect it to the sonnets, that is the Fair Youth and the ‘Dark Lady’. The Duke to Brabantio::

    “If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
    Your son-in-law is far more fairer than black”

    It’s hard not to see the direct connection with the Sonnet 127, the first from the Black Lady series:

    “At such who not born fair no beauty lack”

    If it’s correct, then the blackness of Othello can be directly connected to the blackened (by the Queen) Southampton.

    • Sandy, I think we shouldn’t judge Othello’s blackness as the same blackness of the Sonnet. It’s probable this play was wrote by Oxford and perfomanced to the Queen in 1583, inspired by his divorce with Anne Cecil and second marriage to her in 1581. I think this play would inspire the latter “The Jew of Malta” (Oxford wrote it as Marlowe).

      To me, “Othello” was rewritten about 1601-1603, when Southampton was near death, Elizabeth too and Shakespeare was performed tragic plays. He rewrote it with comments and mensages about The Essex Rebellion. I don’t think we can connect Othello’s blackness to Southampton’s but we can use this as a proof of “Othello” begin a play written to comment the secrets beyond Essex Rebellion…

    • These words and phrases reverberate in the plays and become the tools of the sonnets, the metaphorical tools.

      Does anyone know the actual color of the Queen’s eyes. I have been convinced that the blackness of the dark lady’s (Elizabeth’s) eyes is metaphorical, indicating her dark negative view, and yet I am now reading a book called “Elizabeth’s Women” and the author, Tracy Borman, speaks of both Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth as having very dark or black eyes. Does anyone have other information?

      I agree about late revisions to some of the plays, possibly Othello as well.

      • Whittemore, I once read in the internet she was a red-hair but started to lose her hair when she was very young, so during the 60’s, when she called herself “The Virgin Queen”, she started to use different wigs, most of them red.

        I read too many times she had dark eyes, too. Are you thiking about Sonnets 130, 131 and 132? If yes, I hope you don’t forget my opinion about the first 6 sonnets of the Dark Lady’s sequence, based on yours:

        – Sonnet 127 corresponds to Essex Rebellion’s fail and the disgrace hovering the Tudor Dinasty;
        – Sonnet 128 talks on Essex’s executions but the tune in which it’s write, to me, indicates Oxford showed this sonnet to the mourning Elizabeth in a way to flatter her so that she don’t Southampton;
        – Sonnet 129 marks the rejection of Elizabeth toward the flattery and Oxford write about the past affair which created the prince that now could be killed too;
        – Sonnet 130 is Oxford trying to flatter Elizabeth again, by mocking Sonnet 7 he wrote as Thomas Watson and refering to her as a black woman. Though a little ugly, it’s end up with a beautiful dedication of love;
        – Sonnet 131 is Elizabeth rejecting for the lost time Oxford’s flaterry;
        – Sonnet 132 is Elizabeth’s mourning continuation. We know Elizabeth fall in a depression by the end of her life because of the death of Essex and anothers friends of her. Can this sonnet be linked to one of her friend’s death?

        I hope I answered you, Whittemore.

      • The beauty Penelope Rich who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth was known for having golden hair and very dark eyes. Her mother Lettice Knollys (who later married Leicester) was granddaughter of lady Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s sister.

        Mary’s daughter Catherine Carey is said to have been either the daughter of her husband Sir William Carey or of Henry VIII which means Catherine was first cousin to Queen Elizabeth and possibly an unrecognized half sister but the dark eyes would seem to be part of their shared Boleyn heritage.

        There is one painting of Penelope Rich with her sister in which their eyes literally look almost black.

        I think Willobie his Avisa is very interesting as a work that includes an HW and an old player named WS who both court Avisa, a character suggestive of Penelope and Elizabeth (though no mention of Avisa’s eye color).

  8. In Google Images Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I, as well as Mary Boleyn, her daughter Catherine Carey, granddaughter Lettice Knollys, and great grandchildren Dorothy and Penelope Rich and Robert Devereaux have eyes that are usually shown in a range from dark brown to almost black.

    Penelope Rich was the inspiration for Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and there he describes Philoclea’s dark eyes (Chapter 13): But when the ornament of the Earth, the modell of heauen, the Triumphe of Nature, the light of beauty, Queene of Loue, you[n]g Philoclea appeared…with the cast of her blacke eyes; blacke indeed, whether nature so made them, that we might be the more able to behold & bear their wo[n]derfull shining, or that she, (goddesse like) would work this miracle in her selfe, in giuing blacknes the price aboue all beauty.

    And of course besides the black eyes, the Sonnets speak of the dark lady being “Rich in Will.”

    I also take Elizabeth for the dark lady of the sonnets, but when he transmuted his real life experience into art he layered his characters like multifaceted jewels. He always left himself with some plausible deniability so if the unpublished sonnets got out he could point to the girl with the bad reputation, Penelope, who was known for her affairs. It was Penelope who first made beauty black in Sidney’s eyes. Avisa, in different lights, can look like either woman as well (not saying de Vere wrote it but it does seem a vicious parody of this woman with many loves from someone who was at least close to the gossip.)

    • I don’t want to make judgments, but did you ever read Willobie His Avisa Decoded or The Dark Lady Discovered? Something in your comment make me think you believe in Penelope Rich was the dark lady…

      Penelope was a lascivious woman, that’s a fact. She may have know Oxford, after all, she was sister to Essex and Essex was a close friend to Southampton. But I don’t think she could have been a lover to the old Earl.

      Some connections exist between Avisa and Penelope, but I said this twice and I say more: to me, Willobie his Avisa is a libel not on Penelope Rich but on Elizabeth Trentham, Oxford’ last wife.

      • Sorry, Mystikel, I read wrong your comment :P, sorry.

        I don’t think Oxford wanted the reader to think the Dark Lady was someone like Penelope Rich or Mary Fitton (two notorious lascivious women of this time). The Queen herself was one of them, everybody knows it.

        Thomas Seymour, Robert Dudley, Edward de Vere, Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Essex are examples of this. She had many lovers during her life and bastards…

        Oxford’s sonnets as Shake-Speare are full of double-images, as Whittemore showed us. He wanted his public to think the sonnets were wrote during a life-time, telling the story of love between him and the false virgin queen. Telling directly everything about the Essex Rebellion was too dangerous for everyone who knew the secret.

  9. I read Decoded. I don’t think Penelope was the dark lady but I do think Avisa, like the dark lady, is a character who can be taken on different levels as the Queen and Penelope or as you pointed out, Elizabeth Trentham. I think this ambiguity was to maintain plausible deniability and that de Vere and many of his peers used this masking of characters (and authors) quite callously at times but I also think that as an inspired artist his works included a sublimated expression of himself and his experiences. There’s a passive aggressive impulse that makes him use writing as weapon and cloak, to conceal and reveal and he did this on both a conscious and unconscious level.

    I do wonder if de Vere wrote Willobie his Avisa, in fact, and think if he did not then it was someone close to them but that’s a topic for another thread.

    I also like the idea that de Vere lived on for a while longer though I pictured him living on in Waltham Forest. I hope he lived on because the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death combined with the panic of King James and his rounding up of Wriothesley and friends the next day leads me to worry that he may have had his own “reckoning”.

    And I think Hank is dead on with the sonnets. The timeline works and makes the most sense of any of the theories out there. If Wriothesley wasn’t his son by blood, de Vere was devoted to him as if he was son and sovereign.
    Sorry for sidetracking the comments, Hank.

    • Thanks for these comments, Mystikel. Just a quick aside, you may know of the Oxfordian researcher Barb Flues, who worked with the late Robert Brazil on the Elizabethan Authors website. Anyway, Barb does a lot of work with words and phrases, cross-referencing, etc., and seldom expresses certainty on any finding. However, on Willobie she finds overwhelming evidence that Oxford and “Shakespeare” wrote it. If so, it’s very much along the lines of De Luna’s book “The Queen Declined.” It comes at a crucial moment in the succession story, 1594, a period of what seems great tension on the part of Burghley and Oxford, and no doubt the Queen, and it seems the moment was lost.

      • Whittemore, “The Queen Declined” doesn’t seem to me to be a good source. De Luna’s identification of characters as H.W to Don Juan of Austria and Cavaleiro as Philip of Spain seems improbable. Afterall, I don’t think the Queen can be figure out as Avisa, for many reasons.

        Your right in saying by 1594 there was many tension between Elizabeth and Burghley because of the Tudor Heritage. Yet, as I said before, Trentham seems to be Avisa and at the same time Lucrece (who ever wrote Willobie, identifies Avisa and Lucrece by calling both Lucre-Avis).

        I tell you this for self-experience: a poet can imitate another poet’s style but never his versification. I think we shouldn’t be around Willobie by comparing words, phrases and etc. but make tests and comparing versification.

        I think Nicholas Breton wrote it but I’m not on the position to make verisifications… I recomend to both of you this article, it may help you to think why the Queen couldn’t have been Avisa

  10. I forget to added this too it’s not very different but it helps a little. Just ignore the part of Elizabeth Trentham as the Dark Lady because is obvious for us the Dark Lady is the Queen, just look to the part of Willobie his Avisa and the parentage of Henry de Vere. I think it may interessed you both…

    • Thanks, Francisco. I’ve kept up with this hypothesis but haven’t agreed with it. But thanks for sharing it with all here…

      • You’re welcome. I don’t want to make you agreed with me, I never wanted it. You have your own ideas and they alone can change generations’ mentality when the matter is Shakespeare’s Sonnets. I just want to share my opinion on Willobie his Avisa. The one who needs to give thanks is me, to you. Thanks for everything 🙂

  11. Talking on poems falsely assigned to Shakespeare, Whittemore, I’ve been reading A Lover’s Complaint again trying to connected to real people. Maybe it can be an error but know I get how fool I have been.

    While reading and trying to analised it I identified the characters:

    – The Seduced, the lover of the title;
    – The Seducer, the man who seduced her;
    – The Nun, an ex lover of the Seducer;
    – The Old Man, to whom the Seduced complaint;

    So, we can cleary see the Seducer is Oxford. The woman who had wooers and trade them all for the Seducer and after begin cheated by him, get herself to be a nun, is Queen Elizabeth. Yet, the Seduced is a mistery. I get to the conclusion she couldn’t have been the Queen and so we have three women left who slept with Oxford: Trentham, Vavasour and Anne Cecil.

    For moments, I though the Seduced to be Anne Cecil. She fits everything and some academics compared the relationship of the Seduced and the Seducer with that of Hamlet and Ophelia and Bertram and Helena (we know perfectly they were Oxford and Anne Cecil). But then I saw how the Seduced knew when she fall in love with the Seducer he had left other women pregnant. So the only one to be the Seduced must be Anne Vavasour!

  12. Is it just me, or is it amusing that the book cover for *Shakespeare Beyond Doubt” features not a portrait of (whom they assume to be) Shakespeare, but an actor who played Shakespeare in a movie (Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love)? Kind of undercuts their argument.

    • Ha! An unconscious joke upon themselves. Perhaps they have become aware that the engraving in the Folio is itself a joke. They have been frantically looking for a genuine portrait and, no matter how hard they try, it hasn’t worked. The great Shakespeare, Gentleman never sat for his portrait. Good hearing from you, TK.

  13. I wouldn’t like to die till I see Hank and this guy Shapiro arguing 🙂 I’m eager to hear what a learned scolar would say to The Monument… They are fighting against the Bacon-version, very nice and decent. Just like Muhammad Ali fighting against Woody Allen. Then writing a book about the glorious victory 🙂

    • Which one am I, Muhammed or Woody? They are both great. I guess it depends on whether we’re boxing or movie-making:-)

      • Hank, you can’t be Woody, you know so much more about history than him. Just one example from his book: ‘I didn’t know Hitler was a nazi. For years I thought he worked for the phone company.’ 🙂

        Well, my cliff-strong belief is that after The Monument there might be just two reasons one would write a book like this Shapiro did: either very much money involved, or being and ostrich, with one’s head dug in the sand. About 50-50% probability.

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