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Beyond a Joke?

CoverWe may finally be approaching the end of the Oxfordian supremacy in the authorship debate. Not a moment too soon both for people who are serious about Shakespeare's work and those who have been arguing Will's case with De Vere's champions.

This book is a hasty, largely recycled response to Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, ControversyThe new book, like the ideas within it, is shabbily produced. Many of it's 'chapters' are merely reproductions of bits of rebuttal of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's 60 minutes. As Oxfordians missed the point of that exercise completely, the extracts, shorn of all context, now look like intemperate, feeble-minded graffiti.

The book, like many 'vanity' publishing exercises, is poorly printed and the cover design and typography are such close imitations of the CUP book that the publishers must be relying either on the lethargy of CUP's lawyers or the insignificance of this Oxfordian enterprise to help them a avoid spot of the old-fashioned English legal aggro that Will himself used to enjoy.

Their Finest Hour

Examples of some of the finest reasoning the Authorship debate can offer. This is, naturally, a work in progress.

An Illiterate Effort

illiterate shakespeare

Greg Koch on something or other

Pending translation, we have included this enigmatic post in the original gibberish.

Even Hawking

I know a hawk from a handsaw,
said Hamlet while plotting in Elsinore;
but the Bard sadly erred - 
it was really a bird,
not a carpenter's tool that the 
Prince saw.

If De Vere wrote Hamlet, then the cherished Oxfordian textual analysis of the hawk and the handsaw moment does a disservice to the Earl's subtlety in creating character, narrative and meaning. Although Oxfordians are anxious to claim elite knowledge of falconry on behalf of the Earl, there is no 'riddle' to the hawk and the handsaw. Obviously, the playwright knew, when he chose the word handsaw, that his audience would probably think of, well, a handsaw. When The Globe was closed there would be hawks and handsaws all over the stage. However, Will loves a bit of wordplay and yes, the word ‘heronshaw’ or harnsa’ is there behind it, chiming with hawk. It's an excellent example of the 'doubleness', which pervades the structure, characterisation and imagery of the whole play

Bermuda Triangle

calibanAn essential task, when planting the shipwreck in the Tempest into the Oxfordian calendar or locating Prospero's island in Italy, is to explain what the 'still-vex'd Bermoothes' might be, while detaching them from the Bermoothes in the Atlantic, where the shipwrecked mariners from the Sea Venture were marooned.

ARIEL
Safely in harbour
Is the king's ship; in the deep nook, where once
Thou call'dst me up at midnight to fetch dew
From the still-vex'd Bermoothes, there she's hid:
 

This proved rather tricky until a reference to an area in London called 'the Bermoothes' crops up. Areas of London can quickly acquire nicknames and lose them just as quickly. I lived in Fulham in West London in the 80's and nearby Earl's Court was known as 'Kangaroo Valley' as it was then very popular with visiting Australians.

Not Ed

Oxfordians claim the sonnets published as SHAKE-SPEARE’S SONNETS fit the life story of the Earl of Oxford better than they fit the life story of William Shakespeare of Stratford.  They point out correctly that the poet often refers to himself as old, while Shakespeare was in his thirties when most of the sonnets are thought to have been written.  They claim correctly that the poet complains of feeling disgraced and point out, again correctly, that the Earl of Oxford was often disgraced (although it is doubtful that there was any human being who ever lived who did not feel disgraced at one time or another).

Letter from America

stracheyletA tale from the early days of Authorship Doubters, with sincere apologies to Alistair Cooke.

Good evening.

Once, in the early 30's, I was travelling through The Panhandle in the tornado season when I saw a dark, sinister shape on the horizon. There was the prospect of some nearby shelter in a small church made, like so many small churches in the Mid West, of corrugated iron and I decided to take it and venture in. I arrived in the middle of what I took to be a secular lecture. A small man was treating his small audience to a parable on faith. He had obviously only just started so I decided to sit and listen.

Cipherogratography 101

Ogburn's work on ciphers, along with Roper's and Burghstaler's, is not really all it should be. 

Like all soi-disant literary cipher-experts, they start with a desired solution and work backwards. Some will even try to connect Cardano Grills to Oxford's introduction to Bedingfield's translation of Cardanus' Comfort for extra cryptographical spice, though the codes they infer in Shakespeare's epitaphs have nothing to do with grills like the one at the right.  Oxfordian enciphering technique is simple and consistent with other branches of Oxfordian detective work. 

Here's how you do it. 

Mmmm! BACON!

Bacon

Perhaps we should give some recognition for the man who, if not a "better" candidate, at least has the primacy of place: Bacon.

Before there were Oxenfraudian fantasies, there were Baconian fantasies.  A towering intellect - ground breaking and influential as a philosopher, legal scholar and scientist - pederast and keeper of Ganymedes, Francis Bacon was born in 1561 to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Anne Cooke1 Bacon (That, by the way, is my third favorite fact - or, if you prefer, Bacon Bit - about him).  He entered Trinity College at the age of 12 - and unlike some early enrolees, actually demonstrably studied.

Ed the Undead

kemp

Will Kemp, on his dance to Norwich, felt the need to carry a wooden stake, 1 metre in length. Could this have been because he feared De Vere wanted to neck him?

Vampires are commonplace in 21c society and very few modern families have failed to come into contact with them in one form or another. But, though they were uncommon, they were definitely around in 16C England. Could De Vere have been among their number? 

Shortly after telling Oxford to 'put away his feeble pen' Gabriel Harvey says, in the 1578 'shaking spears' tribute, 'Bellona reigns in your body'. The great afterlife-themed masterpiece of 1594, Macbeth, has long been accepted as an autobiographical self-portrait by even orthodox scholars. Macbeth is described by Ross as 'Bellona's bridegroom'. 

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