Part One of Reason No. 20 to conclude that the Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare” — All Those Dedications to Him!

Another no-brainer in the Reasons List can be summed up in one word: Dedications

"The Histories of Trogus Pompeius" by Golding, dedicated to 14-year-old Edward de Vere in 1564

We know of some twenty-seven dedications to Edward de Vere from 1564, when he was a Cambridge student at fourteen, until 1603, the year before his death; and with one in 1619 we have at least twenty-eight such homages from authors whose books range from Greek history to English literature … to translations from Italian and French … to the Psalms … to works on geography, military matters, music, medicine, astrology and so on … just what we’d expect to find in the world that surrounded the myriad mind of Shakespeare.

These dedications present us with an array of diverse topics and genres drawn from the European renaissance; they were very much part of the new age of English literature of which Edward de Vere was a central [or the central] moving force, leading up to Shakespeare’s entrance onto the printed page in 1593.

They were not merely public bids for patronage; they were not the usual stuff of obsequious praise; on the contrary, they poured from writers who worked with Oxford in developing common political and artistic goals.  Over and over they thanked him personally for taking time to read their works and give his advice.  He did not come among them as some lofty noble keeping his distance; instead he rolled up his sleeves and became involved personally and artistically and financially in their varied works that covered so many subjects and forms of literary expression.

And over the past few centuries, all these same authors and books have been cited as specific “sources” upon which Shakespeare drew for his plays and poems — all of which makes sudden and complete sense when “Shakespeare” is seen as the Earl of Oxford himself!

Perhaps the quickest way to view most of these dedications is to go to the Shakespeare Authorship Sourcebook created and operated by Mark Alexander.

Here is a list based on the one compiled by Katherine Chiljan, who is planning to re-issue her own book of dedications to Oxford and to sell them through a new website:

1/ 1564 – Arthur Golding: Histories of Trogus Pompeius (Translation)

2/ 1569 – Thomas Underdowne: An AEthiopian History Written in Greek by Helidorus (Translation)

3/ 1570 – Edmund Elviden: Pesistratus and Catanea, The Most Excellent and Pleasant Metaphysical History (Poetry)

4/ 1571 – Arthur Golding: Psalms of David (Translation)

5/ 1573 – Thomas Bedingfield: Cardanus’ Comforte (Translation)

6/ 1573 – Thomas Twyne: Breviary of Britain … Containing a Learned Discourse of the Variable State and Alteration thereof, under Divers as well as Natural, as Foreign Princes and Conquerors, together with the Geographical Description of the same (Translated from Latin)

"The New Jewell of Health" (1576) by Dr. George Baker, who dedicated two other books to Oxford

7/ 1574 – George Baker:  Oleum Magistrale – the Composition or Making of the Most Excellent and Precious Oil called Oleum Magistrale … the which cureth these diseases following, that is to say Wounds, Contusions, Hargubuth shot, Cankers, pain of the Rains, Apostumes, Hemorrhoids, old Ulcers, pain of the Joints and Gout (Translation)

8/ 1577 – John Brooke: The Staff of Christian Faith, profitable to all Christians … Gathered out of the Works of the Ancient Doctors of the Church, and of the Councils, and many other Doctors … Translated out of the French

9/ 1579 – Anthony Munday: The Mirror of Mutability

10/ 1579 – Geoffrey Gates: The Defense of the Military Profession, wherein is eloquently showed the due Commendation of Martial prowess, and plainly proved how necessary the exercise of Arms is for this our age

11/ 1580 – Anthony Munday: Zelauto, the Fountain of Fame, Erected in the Arcade of Amorous Adventures, Containing a Delicate Disputation, Gallantly Discoursed between Two Noble Gentlemen of Italy, given for a friendly entertainment to Euphues, at his late arrival in England

12/ 1580 – John Lyly: Euphues and His England

13/ 1580 – John Hester: A Short Discourse upon Surgery [by] Master Leonardo Phioravanti Bolognese, translated out of Italian into English

14/ 1581 – Thomas Stocker: Diverse Sermons of Calvin (Translation)

15/ 1582 – Thomas Watson: Hekatompathia, or The Passionate Century of Love (100 sonnets)

16/ 1584 – John Southern: Pandora

17/ 1584 – Robert Greene: Greene’s Card of Fancy, wherein the Folly of those carpet Knights is deciphered…

Title Page of "The English Secretary," first edition, 1586, with a dedication to Oxford referring to his "exceeding bounty" or generosity

18/ 1586 – Angel Day: The English Secretary, wherein is contained a Perfect Method for the inditing of all manner of Epistles and familiar letters…

19/ 1588 – Anthony Munday: Palmerin d’Olivia Pt. 1 – The Mirror of Nobility, Map of Honor, Anatomy of Rare Fortunes, Heroical Precedent of Love, Wonder for Chivalry, and most accomplished Knight in all perfections… (Translation)

20/ 1588 – Anthony Munday: Palmerin d’Olivia Pt. 2 (Translation)

21/ 1590 – Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queen

John Farmer, famous musician and composer, who was in Oxford's service

22/ 1591 – John Farmer: Plainsong

23/ 1592 – Thomas Nashe: Strange News

24/ 1597 – Henry Lok: The Book of Ecclesiastes

25/ 1599 – John Farmer: The First Set of English Madrigals

26/ 1599 – Angel Day: The English Secretary (Revised Edition)

27/ 1599 – George Baker: New and Old Physic

28/ 1603 – Francis Davison: Anagrammata

29/ 1619 – Anthony Munday: Primaleon of Greece (Translation) – dedicated to Henry de Vere, the 18th Earl of Oxford, who was Edward de Vere’s son by Elizabeth Trentham, his second wife, with warm praise from Munday for his former patron, the 17th Earl….

PART TWO will examine the dedications themselves…

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