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.

Dr. Shapiro has only one mistake in his premise: namely, "Shakespeare" was also a Jacobean poet.
The only flaw I can point out is Shapiro's lack of scientific know-how.
It is unproven (even theoretically) that Shakespeare wrote his works just prior to the quarto/octavo printings. Also that great poets, like "Shakespeare" or "Shake-speare" (or in print no reference to the author's name on the front matter) did not rely at all on the messy adolecence English stationers faced in printing from at best scant manuscript copy. Thus, poets always used manuscripts to circulate their works and continuously until the late 17th century. Notwithstanding this reliance on manuscripts and scribes, you can also predict the pattern of often two (2) decades before textually inferior or fragmented manuscripts ended in stationer's hands. This fashionable then out of fashion duration is also stated on the front matter as "divers times" of performance.
There are other proofs affirming our genius poet is solely an Elizabethan creation, as described scientifically especially in the past 40 years. Too many to include here. Foremost is the fact Shakespeare received an unusual license to continuosly perform his works at palaces - in front of the crown. This priviledged acceptance placed him somewhere high up among the upper class audience - at least being an intellectual equal.
The Stratford man wasn't an intellect and, granted, although he was born with a similar name in consideration of wide ranging spelling variations he simply lacked everything in his background that could place him in favor at court for more than a few seconds!

A Leg Awry

Here's Mildred L. B. Sexton setting the bar as low as it will go for a lesson on allegory. I wonder if she ever had one? It doesn't seem very likely, does it?

All Shakespeare plays are ALLEGORIES. Here is an exercise that has been used effectively for both teens and Lifelong Learning. The wool is pulled from their eyes once they are hands on.

Shakespeare’s Animal Stories Exercise

Condensed Version

Equipment: Spiral or loose-leaf notebook or 3 loose pages

l. Think of a troubling episode involving you and one or more other people.

2. On your first blank page, detail the episode briefly using just short phrases.

3. Turn to a new blank page. Down the page, leaving spaces in between, list yourself and each individual involved.

4. Go back to the top of this page and give yourself and each individual listed an animal name and description that best suits them and the particular situation. 
Avoid linking animal types together as they appear in nature if this is not true in the episode. It is important to stay true in depicting each individual no matter how bizarre.

5. Turn to a new blank page. Write the episode out fully using the animal identities now instead of the actual ones. A stranger reading this would never suspect the TRUTH!

6. Here is your allegory! Oxford/Shakespeare plays are his “animal stories” in which he has depicted troubling incidents in his life with the individuals and entities involved by cloaking them in allegorical form.

William Ray on Richard Barnfield's tribute.

'And Shakespeare thou, whose hony-flowing Vaine, (Pleasing the World) thy praises doth obtaine. Whose Venus, and whose Lucrece (sweete, and chaste) Thy name in fames immortall Booke have plac't. / Live ever you, at least in Fame live ever: [34 characters, 2 x 17] Well may the Bodye dye, but Fame dies never. 

The last three lines mention ‘Fame’ and ‘ever’ three times. Three forms of ‘you’ are stated: thou, thy, you. Repetitive frequency in Elizabethan verse suggests a sub-textual signal. In Aristotle’s numerical adage, tria sunt omnia, all things come in threes. Waldron added, “It is [commonplace] how thrice and four times express a superlative.” (Fowler, p. 70)

Next to one ‘ever’, which is an anagram of Vere, is the pronoun ‘you’ which has particular meaning in de Verean verse. Namely, “Sitting alone upon my thought in melancholy mood”, (see Appendices— Sitting Alone Echo Verses) an accepted de Vere poem, features ‘you(th)’ four times in four lines as a pun on the vocalized ‘Ee-ooo’ initials, self-identifying the Earl of Oxford. The four Vere’s are transparent. But the ‘you(th)’s’ are not as plain. We cannot vocalize ‘you’ without initiating the phantom long-eee sound in the palate, approximating the ‘EO’ initials of his title. Then there are two ‘ay’s’, prompting the educated Elizabethan reader to the Italian equivalent of I, I’O, first person singular, which sounds like Oxford’s initials, ‘E-O’. So there are ten Vere cues in the early poem, which in turn cue us to the printed integer 10, which looks like the Italian word for ‘I’, ‘I’O’, again like ‘you’ a vocalization of the Earl of Oxford initials, ‘EO’.

Finally, implicit to the last rhyme “live ever” and “dies never” is its use of the Vere anagram, ever, and the compound de Vere pen-name, ‘Ever or Never’. (See Appendices—Ever or Never) This ‘ever-never’ phrase famously reappears in the dedicatory epistle to Troilus and Cressida—“A Never Writer, to an Ever Reader, Newes.” (See Appendices—Ever or Never Headline) In the headline, Vere’s anagram ‘Ever’ begins at the seventeenth character. 17th Earl of Oxford. The entire sentence is thirty-four characters, twice seventeen. The first thirty-three characters placed in a Cardano three-line grid of eleven characters each reveal the initials, ‘EO’, and the family name Vere twice.'


Palladis Tamia through the goggles

"Palladis Tamia also contains a puzzle, a frequent amusement included in literary almanacs in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, which compares sixteen ancient playwrights to their (unevenly numbered) seventeen leading counterparts in then modern England. The Earl of Oxford ranked first, "the best for comedy among us bee [1] Edward Earl of Oxford". [i.e., 17th Earl of Oxford] Shakespeare was listed ninth. As the second list had one extra, the puzzle consisted in determining which of the seventeen moderns was simply a fictitious name for one of the other sixteen. Kenneth A. Hieatt stated that "...beneath a simple literal surface profound symbolic communication of an integrated continuity should take place covertly" in Renaissance literary contexts. This appears to be the case with the puzzle, because the Earl of Oxford's initials, EO, is the phonetic sound of 'I' in Italian,IO, which in turn looks like 10, the sum of Oxford [1] and Shakespeare [9]. It was a pastime for literary minds to ponder and best each other by, while leaving the average reader to believe the listing uncritically. 

For modern historical purposes, it appears to indicate Lord Oxford and Shakespeare were one and the same playwright. This hypothesis would have to be corroborated by further research. Henry Peacham, Jr.'s Minerva Brittanna (1612) also employed the little English pronoun 'I' on its title page tribute which said in Latin, "By the mind I will be seen. Some commentators have suggested that the 'I' refers to the phonetic form of the Earl of Oxford's initials, EO. The attached Latin pun on the page is confirmatory, saying in anagramic Latin, 'Thy Name is Vere'. "I'/IO/EO appears throughout the puzzle-book, as repetitions of the mental teaser and a reminder of the person honored in the book as the modern Minerva, or Mind."


An Oxfordian Emmapiphany

I realised back in at least 1964, at the quatrocentennial of the Stratford man, that we knew nothing relevant about WS, and people I respected thought Bacon and Marlowe non-starters, and I had a sort of mythology of Shakespeare's miraculous visitation of the earth, as a complete mystery, which actually enabled me to have an INCREASED projective intensity about him. Later I got to know Freud fancied another candidate but that did not yet impact me, though I clocked it somewhere inside me.
Then in 1988 I came across Ogburn in paperback in a bookshop .
The title - The Mystery of William Shakespeare - instantly of course drew me, and when I read the blurb I had an epiphany - I realised my mythical 'unknown' Shakespeare was moonshine, and I instantly apprehended, 'this is the one', of Oxford. I did not immediately believe it was proven, and I still have reservations every February 29th in Leap Year, you understand (it was Shapiro's dishonesty did me that favour!) but it was for me like a scientist or mathematician who 'knows' the answer, but has not yet worked out the proof.It was  like that famous moment in Jane Austen's Emma:'Harriet was standing at one of the windows. Emma turned round to look at her in consternation, and hastily said,"Have you any idea of Mr. Knightley's returning your affection?""Yes," replied Harriet modestly, but not fearfully—"I must say that I have."Emma's eyes were instantly withdrawn; and she sat silently meditating, in a fixed attitude, for a few minutes.
A few minutes were sufficient for making her acquainted with her own heart. A mind like hers, once opening to suspicion, made rapid progress. She touched—she admitted—she acknowledged the whole truth. Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet's having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!

 Mente Videbor(i)

The name Peacham keeps cropping up when Oxfordians are called upon to support their claims. Here, unbelievably, is what they are calling evidence.

A brief recapitulation is in order. In this essay I have argued that Minerva Britanna cleverly incorporates an interlocking structure of emblematic knowledge which completes the alleged anagram, TIB(i) NOM. DE VERE-which is only implied in the title page motto MENTE.VIDEBOR-when the entire book is taken into consideration. The two complementary elements in this interlocking schema-emblems #66 and #180-interlock with one another as well as with the title page and contain references to such "de Vere" phrases as "Allah Vere" (Lord Vere) and "Vivere" (to live) (19).In considering this solution, it should be emphasized that anagrams-like the symbolism of mottoes or images-are an elusive and intrinsically subjective form of evidence. Friedman and Friedman, in their classic work on cryptology in the Shakespeare question, classify anagrams as un-keyed transposition ciphers.

They caution that "even when the anagram has only a few letters, there may be more than one 'solution'; and when it has many letters there can be many 'solutions'- all equally valid" (19). Their criteria for a valid anagram is as follows: "in order to be 'perfect' an anagram should not only involve a rearrangement of letters without additions or deletions; the resulting word or words should in some way comment upon the original" (92).Critics of my solution will of course argue that it requires the "addition" of a "missing" letter-that itty-bitty "i." which is omitted from the title page-to complete the anagram.

Henry Peacham, they will say, would never have been as clever or devious as the solution of discovering this "i" on another page of the book implies. Such critics, of course, state a belief and not a fact; there is obviously no point in arguing with them.It must be conceded, on the other hand, that the solution I propose possesses the quality of intrinsic coherence which is the defining attribute of all significant scientific theorems. (emphasis ours)

R Stritmatter PhD.

Terry Ross' readable, very, very thorough demolition is here.

 What the 'ell?

Chapman executed exactly the same strategy in the next response by d'Olive. The word cheveril, as H. H. Holland has demonstrated, was used by Shake-speare to allude to Vere: che-ver-il. How this piece of verbal prestidigitation was managed by Shake-speare was explained by Holland in Shakespeare Through Oxford Glasses (Cecil Palmer, 1923; p. 72): 

Cheveril in the original is spelt "cheverell", and inch is either "inch" or "ynche". It will be noticed, therefore, that the word "cheverell" ends with "ell", and it commences with "che". "Che" is three-fifths of the word "inche", and is therefore "an inche narrow". Now let us stretch the word cheverell a little.  

Thus :   Che -- ver -- ell. 

We find the word "ver" stretching from the inch narrow to the ell broad. Vere, or Ver, is the Earl of Oxford's own name, and thus no doubt is left as to whom the wit of cheverell, stretching from an inch narrow to an ell broad, refers.


More on pseudonyms from William Ray

"Although there was an Arthur Brooke, who died in passage to Le Havre in 1563, the author of the early Romeo romance–also given as Arthur Brooke–must have been De Vere. He needed a pseudonym to publish his first creation. Rother, the genus for oxen, + brook meaning ford=ox-ford. The pun between Arthur and author is another subtext. The elder Brooke went to college with him and was not known to have been a writer. The name confusion served De Vere's pseudonymous purpose. When the other Brooke died at sea, George Turberville wrote his elegy. George Turberville had been a disciple of De Vere's poet-uncle, Henry Howard. He both honored the drowned youth and protected young De Vere's pen-name."(A brook and a ford are the same thing! Who knew?)


An ostrich-eye view of the SAQ

Roger Stritmatter: I think this thread illustrates the chief communication problem with discussion of this topic. Many people who hold the traditional view hold this view very strongly, and in inverse proportion, usually, to the amount of actual knowledge that they possess about it. This is for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is the powerful influence of a rather superficial college education.

Shakespeare professors everywhere are fond of reinforcing the myth with a combination of their own dogmatism and a sneering attitude towards anyone who questions their authority to make pronouncements on the topic. It is only natural that most students, who respect authority, will take these experts at their word.

Then they come across a website or a facebook page that offers a contrary opinion, and very frequently they express themselves in unintentionally offensive ways towards those who have actually studied the topic and hence have a more fact-based perspective to offer. When this happens and they realize that their superficial knowledge coupled with the Professor's dogmatism are not enough to get the Oxfordians to back down, they tend to fall silent or run away. Anyone have ideas on how to prevent this pattern?

OmniVereous Elizabethans

Mark Anderson genuflecting to Rambler

Could Shaksper read or write? Did he maybe crab out some parts of the apocryphal plays? And what was the setup between him and Oxford?

Perennial questions, all. But worry not, folks. Rambler reports in with a cross-examination of two key witnesses: Ben Jonson and George Chapman. Quoting:

"Chapman couldn't get enough of Vere in his plays, he really was hic et ubique. In the whole gamut of Chapman's dramas I've not come across anything which would suggest that Shaxper was a writer. The only clear allusion was Lord Medice in The Gentleman Usher, who refused to read on the perfectly respectable grounds that he couldn't. Ok for him, terrible for Shaxper.

Jonson and Chapman seemed to compete with each other over which of them could incorporate Vere into the largest number of characters in their plays. I think that Jonson won by a short head. Medice was Chapman's Sogliardo. Thereafter each of them dropped Shaxper for the duration. 

Which is why I incline to the view that, for all his implausibility as the Poet, Shaxper the actor was initially a portmanteau Bathyllus for writers, but ultimately became linked more exclusively with one particular brand. Not being anything other than a writer by occasional necessity would account for the rotten penmanship. Whether he was the activist broker proposed by Brooks is an intriguing, but not an imperative question to answer."

Ominous nihil

Dennis Baron leans out too far over the precipice in search of a pun

This post is written as an answer to questions from Marie Merkel. The puns on the Earl of Oxford`s motto in the Shakespeare plays are not just simple one liners; they are quite extensive and are the framework on which the dialogue and most of the plot is formed. Act three Scene four of Henry V is all in French. Why? What is the reason for writing a whole scene in French? The answer is that Oxford wanted to create a pun on his motto from specific Latin phrases.

What is Katharine doing in this scene? She is learning the English for French, word for word. But she is doing more than this, she is repeating the list of English words as it gets longer. The Latin verbum pro verbo reddere means: to translate word for word; verba bene reddere means: to recite words like a parrot; and aliquid ad verbum ediscere means: to learn word for word, off by heart. Katharine says that the English words cown and foot are shameful because ladies of honour cannot say them in from of lords of France; this line is a contrivance so that Katharine can then say that nevertheless she will recite the words again. The French neanmoins is the English nevertheless, which in Latin is nihilominus; Oxford uses the adversative particle as an alternative to nihil. He intentionally creates an elaborate pun on vero nihil verius, his motto, by using the Latin phrases which are combined with nihilominus.

Apocalypse Now

Sonje Fox: consider

deVere was the bastard son of a parthenogenic mother (parthenos biblically has been argued over for centuries ... I hold it means premenstrual woman not yet initiated into the rites of womanhood & /or admission to the menstrual tent, rather than condition of hymen) the zodiacal Virgo also bolsters Elizabeth's claims,

I use Elizabeth's lunar return of September 20, 1548 some 13 days after her 13th birthday, as deVere's birthchart. (I use the full moon of September 7 BC conjuncting Jupiter Saturn in Pisces for that of Christ). This means that mother and son both have their natal moon in Taurus, deVere's chart sensitively attuned to that of the Master Thespian, Jaques of Stratford who's Taurus sun conjuncted the moons of Elizabeth and Oxenford and whose Libran Moon conjuncted Edward's Libran sun. His (Edward's) retrograde progressed mercury in Virgo went direct conjuncting E's Virgo sun when he was six, eg 1554, when he initiated his studies, I took this as primary evidence supporting my hypothetical birthchart for deVere rather than the April 1550 birthdate, which Beauclerk dismisses as scribbled in by William Cecil 25 years after the fact, and probably commemorated the date that Edward was weaned. The slapdash wedding of Earl John and Margery Golding suspect, along with his half-sister's suit regarding his bastardy.

This structure of parthenogenic mother with magickal child resonate(s/d) with the structure of the Christian mother/son paradigm enabling the nationalization via the Tudor revolution of Catholicism. DeVere is therefore functionally a Christ figure, and the Reformation/Renaissance version of the Second Coming.

The current Apocalyptic Age (while I celebrated the summer solstice 2013 in London finding Fisher's Folly w/Michael Morse & the other pilgrims, I spent the Winter Solstice 2012 in Guatemala and find the confluent predictions, Mayan, Revelation & Modern (aquarian age) compelling much thought ... Apocalypse means, after all, a Revelation, an Unveling.

Our own De Vere birthchart reveals a secret hidden code!

Birthchart De Vere

Stephanie Hughes explains biographical correspondence

Seven Shakespeare plays revolve around a situation that matches Oxford's relationship with Anne Cecil. Beginning with what was probably the first one written, Pericles, in which it seems he was inclined to believe the rumor that Anne was impregnated by Burghley. From then on it's his fault. In two plays the protagonist runs away from a loving woman, Two Gents and All's Well. Although Anne didn't follow him, as she does in both plays, she must have been on his mind. All's Well in particular follows the story so closely, making himself the cad and her the the heroine that it must have been produced at Court to apologize for his mistreatment of her.


In two it's his jealousy that's the problem, Winter's Tale and Othello. Othello in particular follows what probably really happened, with Iago representing Henry Howard. It's the background to Hamlet. Many have noted that Hamlet and Ophelia have a lot of history. Certainly Oxford's relationship with Anne is mirrored in Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia. And it's the sub-plot in Much Ado and Measure for Measure. In all but the first of these, he's the villain and Anne is the patient, long suffering, innocent wife. And you say that there's no evidence that Oxford was remorseful?

Will falls into oblivion—twice

Chris Pannell I haven't read a lot of Nabokov, but my favourite story of his is "A Forgotten Poet" wherein a prominent cultural organization, acting on behalf of the Russian nation, decides to build a monument to a poet (Perov) who had disappeared at a young age. It is assumed at the time of the story setting, that he drowned in the River Oredezh fifty years ago. So in the lead-up to this fiftieth anniversary of his death, his works are collected and re-issued and there is a flurry of attention in the papers and the salons over the young genius who wrote so well of a bygone era. The subscription to pay for the monument is generously supported by the literary and wealthy classes of St.Petersburg. The only problem is that at the first commemorative meeting to honour the young dead poet, and to officially commission the monument, up pops an old shabby man claiming to be the poet, and who makes claim on the money raised. He is too, too real, too probable for the imaginations of his supporters who try to press on as if he wasn't there. It's never clear if he IS the poet they all admire or just a local madman. But he continues quite reasonably with his claim, interrupting their speeches and generally making mayhem out of the event. The notion of forgetting a body of literary work, and then "remembering" it, and then paradoxically "forgetting" it again, runs through the story. It does remind me of "Shakespeare" disappearing from view after 1604 until the First Folio came out, and then being slowly forgotten again until the mid-1800s

The limits of self deception

Just in case you thought there were any, watch John D Lavendoski, a peacock with no feathers, fan his tail and polish his halo before this delivering this truly staggering lecture to a Strat-leaning fellow member of the ShakesVere Group. Besides being a landmark in self-defeating argument, the excerpt deserves its place just for the staggering insight JDL displays in noticing that Jane Austen and Tolstoy are different writers.

Oxford's background is as different from that of the Elizabethan professional playwright as Jane Austen's is from Hemingway's. Though perhaps not quite so different from Tolstoy's as JDL claims, entitling us to wonder how much he knows about either.

Actually, Tolstoy's modest, cadet-branch, rural gentility and connections to the Napoleonic Wars were actually rather similar to Austen's, when viewed in a broad comparative light. As is his technique, even visible throughout his sprawling epic, War and Peace, of working closely with a small group of families. And whilst Austen didn't write any Stiva's, just how similar are Wickham, Willoughby and Crawford to Vronsky? Oxfordians often say the daftest things when they are trying hardest to sound wise.

The acute irony of the hideously smug, final rhetorical flourish will, of course, be entirely invisible to its author.

Ben, regarding your putative Faulkner "connections" to Shakspere (and Shakespeare): 

I learned something new today. I learned that you have absolutely no understanding of the "seeds" of skeptical doubt regarding the SAQ

I am somewhat in awe at the nature of the misconception....so please let me TRY to explain some things to you.

1) There are no authorship skeptics (whom I have ever met) who think that one cannot be a great writer if one didn't go to college.

2) There are no authorship skeptics (whom I have ever met) who think that one cannot be a great writer if one is from a rural population...even one which is mostly illiterate.

3) There are no authorship skeptics (whom I have ever met) who think that those innate gifts of observation, cognition and expression, which all great writers possess, are necessarily based on formal education or exalted social status...either in youth or in advancing age.

4) In other words, no skeptic denies that seemingly self-made "Faulkners" (or Hunter S. Thompsons for that matter) can and do appear with regular frequency....not only in Western culture, but in all cultures around the Globe.

5) It is all a matter of what TYPE of cannon such writers would be able to create. 

For example: Fitzgerald simply could not have created the Hemingway canon...and vice versa. Austen could not have created the Tolstoy canon and vice versa. Dickens could not have created the Poe canon...or the Twain canon....or the Joseph Conrad canon and vice versa. 

Why ?? Put simply the life experience and the 'particular opportunities for particular observations and particular musings' of a given writer simply must have some "match" to the canon which they create OUT of those selfsame opportunities, observations and musings. 

Oxfordians (and most other authorship skeptics) tend to embrace that simple concept. Stratfordians, apparently, do not. (The idea that writers from similar backgrounds will produce similar work certainly is a handy concept for simpletons, especially those without the wit to realise that eliminates Oxford as an professional playwright since they all shared the same background, commoners, grammar school, acting etc.) Ed.

6) Put another way, authorship skeptics are not arguing that the likes of a mostly self trained Hunter S. Thompson, etc. cannot EXIST...or that he might exist but could not be a great writer producing a notable canon of work. Skeptics are merely arguing that the resulting canon would not look very much like the canon which Shakespeare (whoever he was) was able to create. 

Why ?? Again....because their life experiences, combined with their innate gifts and their own intellectual inclinations would not in any way "match" the elements required to create anything comparable to the Shakespearean body of work.

I am not talking (with regards to these other writers) about their lacking insight into the human heart....or lacking in ability to craft fine metaphors and similes....or lacking in the ability to spin creative plots and memorable characters....for surely great writers of all backgrounds are capable of that.

What I am talking about is sociology....and the life experiences that go with the life a writer chooses to lead.

7) There is no "snobbery" based on class or education on the skeptical side of the SAQ. That is just a truly ridiculous totem...a twisted claim used by knaves to make a trap for those whom they hope to fool (to riff on Kipling)

There is however sociology...a concept which explains why Dickens was able to write "Dickens"....why Austen was able to write "Austen"....and why Faulkner was able to write "Faulkner".

The dictums of sociology also explains why so many intelligent people (doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, theater professionals, educators, writers, and "yes"....even a few English Lit Professors) have concluded that Shakspere was incredibly UNLIKELY to have been able to create the "Shakespeare" canon.

Note: These intelligent people are able to conclude this provided that they are NOT part of the emotionally-over-attached wing, or the Kool-aide-swilling wing, or the SBT-fat-living wing, or the Ivory-Tower-Tenure-Craving wing of the Shakespeare-Industrial-Complex.

That, Mr. Hackman is the root of our argument....and it all has ZERO to do with snobbery against the potential intellects of rurally-raised-glovers-sons...which might be very high indeed....and make a given one fit to be anything from Prime Minister to Pope to Philosopher-King...provided, that is, that his life experiences matched the needed resume for those jobs. 

The seeds of our doubt are rooted in the particular PATHS which this particular glover's son trod or disdained....vs. the content of the canon itself.

Does ANY of that help you to better understand, sirrah ??


Stephanie Hughes Gems

"Academics are good with details, with focussing in on a small area and putting it in order, one reason why we have so much good material to work with. But they’re no good at putting the bits together".


"All Oxfordians agree on one thing (and many on only one thing), that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the Shakespeare canon; too much remains unclear for all of us to agree on everything".


Greg Koch on the creative process in a Washington Post comments column

The trouble with who "Shakespeare" actually was - and why I have doubt about the rather ignorant commoner we know today as the Stratford man called "Shakespeare" - had much more to do with how great poets were recognized in the Renaissance. Exactly where the center of the Arts was located. Great poets did not land the opportunity of having their works performed on the palace stage because they were acknowledged in a mediocre opinion book by Francis Meres. They were cited in dedications of monumental first-time English translations of great Latin, Greek, Italian and French masterworks. They were in dedicatory verse from the masterworks of great contemporary poets. They received dedications from composers. The leading candidate for being the real "Shakespeare" - Edward de Vere - had such dedications. All too often, Stratfordian theorists believe other contemporaries provided the imaginative material for "Shakespeare" - i.e., that he copied them. Such unconvincing theory when the "Shakespere" masterpieces were exceedingly beautifully, eloquent, genius; an obvious knowledge of royal prerogative, and his great inventiveness coining hundreds of new English words, made it absolutely clear he was no follower. He was not a copycat. I suggest readers join the Jonathan Bate MOOC at Futurelearn.com next month to learn more about such irrational "copycat" theories. Jonathan is one of the leading "Shakespeare" scholars in England, and naturally he has no doubt the ignorant man from Stratford known as "Shakespeare" was a brilliant poet who excelled at copying contemporaries.

Oxfraud University