Authorship News: New Dates for Concordia Conference

The Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference held annually in April at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, under the directorship of Dr. Daniel Wright, has been moved this year to Wednesday August 31st  – Saturday September 3rd.  Does the new time frame have something to do with release of Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous in late September?  We don’t know, but we have our suspicions!

Roland Emmerich (left) on the set of "Anonymous"

After all, this major motion picture represents the first time that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) is to be portrayed on the big screen as author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare.    If only one person out of a hundred has heard of Oxford to this point, surely that number will rise — to three out of a hundred?  Five?  More?  Whatever the case, the whole authorship question will be taken out of the hands of the tiny group of academics who, over the past several generations, have elected themselves as the supreme authorities in this matter — and yet they’ve been wrong!

Time for a revolution!  Stay tuned for more information as it comes in.  Meanwhile, here’s what Dr. Wright has up on his website about the conference:

The Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference is the world’s largest convocation of academicians and scholars to gather annually for the purpose of sharing new research on the life and works of the Elizabethan era’s premier poet, playwright and wordsmith. The conference is especially dedicated to the presentation of publishable research that thoughtfully addresses, affirmatively or negatively, the possibility that a writer other than the orthodox candidate—a butcher’s apprentice from Stratford-Upon-Avon—was the pseudonymous author of the Shakespeare canon.

The Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference, as an academic assembly, is also dedicated to providing a forum that contextualizes study of the writer who called himself Shakespeare by its solicitation of research that explores the character of and conditions for anonymous and pseudonymous writing in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Studies that advance our understanding of other writers of the time, e.g., George Peele, Robert Greene, Francis and Anthony Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, Thomas Kyd, et al are featured as well.

We invite all to attend who are interested in exploring the circumstances that led to the creation and publication of the Shakespeare canon. Stay tuned for information about our conference in 2011.

Justices Stevens and O’Connor Agree: Reason to Doubt!

Great news today from John Shahan, chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC), that two Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt that William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon was “William Shakespeare” the great poet-dramatist:

Claremont, California, November 16, 2009 The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition announced today that U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor (retired) have added their names to a growing list of prominent signatories to the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare .   At least three other U.S. Supreme Court Justices – Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and Antonin Scalia – have also expressed doubts about the identity of   the author “Shakespeare,” but Stevens and O’Connor are the first to sign the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.


Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (retired)

The Declaration was first issued on April 14, 2007, in same-day signing ceremonies at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Five months later, on September 8, 2007, actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, took the lead in promulgating the Declaration in the U.K. in a signing ceremony at the Chichester Festival Theatre in Chichester, West Sussex.

Over 1,660 people have now signed the Declaration. Nearly 80% are college graduates, and 595 have advanced degrees – 347 master’s degrees and 248 doctoral degrees. A total of 295 are current or former college or university faculty members . Of these, the largest number were in English literature (62, 21%), followed by those in theatre arts (35), the arts (24), natural sciences (23), math, engineering and computers (20), other humanities (20), medicine and health care (19), education (16), social sciences (17), history (13), management (12), law (11), psychology (9), and library science (6). With the addition of Justices Stevens and O’Connor, nineteen names now appear on the separate list of notable signatories on the SAC website.


U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

The Declaration is neutral about the true identity of the author. Rather than seeking to resolve the long-standing controversy outright, it aims to legitimize the issue by calling attention to the many reasons for doubt about the Stratford man’s authorship.

Not one play, not one poem, not one letter in his own hand has ever been found. This is remarkable for such a prolific writer. His six surviving signatures, each spelled differently, are all poorly executed, suggesting he had difficulty signing his own name. His detailed will contains no Shakespearean turn of phrase and mentions no books, manuscripts or literary effects of any kind. Nothing about it suggests a man with a cultivated mind — no writing materials or furniture, no art works or musical instruments. Nor did he leave any bequest for education — not to the Stratford grammar school, or even to educate his own grandchildren.

Many people in Stratford and London who knew the Stratford man seem not to have associated him with the poet-playwright; and when he died in 1616, no one seemed to notice. Not until seven years after he died did anyone suggest he was the author. Orthodox scholars tend to assume that all references to “Shakespeare” mean the Stratford man, but this is never made explicit during his lifetime. Contemporary comments are mostly about the works. Nobody seems to have known the author personally. Certainly there is no evidence that the Stratford man ever claimed to have written the works, contrary to what people assume.

“The subject of Shakespeare’s identity is fascinating to students,” said SAC Chairman John Shahan, “but the great majority of orthodox Shakespeare scholars deny that it has any legitimacy, and many actively seek to suppress the question in academia.”  “But with increasing numbers of prominent signatories like Justices Stevens and O’Connor, this may become difficult,” he said.

The SAC is a private, non-profit charity founded to advocate for recognition of the legitimacy of the Authorship Controversy.       The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt can be read and signed online at the website of the SAC at:

Contact person: SAC Chairman John Shahan at: (909) 896-2006.

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