Dealing with bereavement
For people to do things, in the real world, they have to be alive to do them. That may seem like too simple a platitude for a complex argument but Oxfordians can't be counselled out of their grief for a few inconvenient deaths. Some of their arguments depend on resurrecting departed characters, bringing them back on stage to make a crucial contribution to their case.
Oxfordians who realise that the dating of the plays cannot be altered to accommodate Oxford's death in 1604, resurrect the Earl himself, housing him incognito on the Isle of Mersea until his task as a playwright was finished.
Their books and websites are full of speculation about why this or that person's death 'appears' to have been faked or concealed. Uncovering the 'evidence' always reveals pointers that prove De Vere wrote Shakespeare.
George Puttenham said one or two flattering things about Oxford. Flattering descriptions about Oxford are rare outside the limits of courtoisie, dedications and requests for patronage. Yet the few mentions are scattered through a long book, The Arte of English Poesie published in 1588. Puttenham says nothing at all that can't be gathered by looking at work we know to be written by Oxford. Furthermore, references to Oxford's poetry made in the late 1580's, when Oxford was nearing 40 years of age, risk disqualifying another important Oxfordian argument, that the poetry we know to be his is merely juvenilia, 'anticipating' the later majesty of Shakespeare's work.
So what to do?
What Ogburn did, and other Oxfordians follow suit, is take mentions of Oxford, separated by half a dozen chapters and string them together as if they were written as a single paragraph, reversing the meaning of one of Puttenham's statements. Crucially, the altered version includes Oxford in a list of courtiers who don't publish their work when Puttenham had excluded him from this list.
As far as scholarship and history goes, this is like faking the Turin shroud or burying ham bones and digging them up to claim they belong to undiscovered dinosaurs. Blatant. Childish. Dishonest.
They then offer the boiler plated paragraph as proof, both of Oxford's genius and evidence that he was using a pseudonym. See Terry Ross's article here for all the shameful details. One Oxfordian even faked this on TV by appearing to read the whole of the assembled paragraph from an original copy of the book.
All that remains now, to argue that Puttenham is secretly revealing to us that Oxford was Shakespeare, is to make the connection with Shakespeare's work. Puttenham died in 1591, before Greene complained about Shakespeare in the Groatsworth of Wit and before he can have seen much or even any of Shakespeare's work.
Step forward Charles M Willis who performs another Oxfordian resurrection.
All is now complete.
Despite saying almost nothing enlightening about Oxford or his work, despite not mentioning Oxford in his list of the courtiers who didn't publish or circulate their work, despite dying before he could have known much or anything about Shakespeare, poor dead Puttenham is now ready to be used as one of the keystones of the Oxfordian arch.
The evidence that contemporaries of Oxford knew him as a playwright has all been brought into existence by Oxfordians.
Faking evidence like this ought to knock all of them out of the game completely but you'll never meet an Oxfordian embarrassed by Oxfordian claims, whatever they are. (After the site opened, I have discovered that this last is not true. In my Inbox, Oxfordians are of one mind when it comes to what a bad person I am, but there seem to be, amongst their number, people who want to disown Shaking Spears, Bible underlining and the claims of elite knowledge.)