Thursday, February 19, 2009

The real Shakespeare

Whilst Stumbling around philosophic cyberspace I came across a very worthy site called Philosophy and Literature: Nietzsche, Shakespeare and Hammond belonging to published author L. James Hammond. There is a goldmine of wisdom to discover here, but what jumped out of the page and bit me was Hammond’s essay Who was Shakespeare? After reading this fascinating exposé of literary detective work, I am here to tell you that William Shakespeare was the pen name of Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford.
* moment of stunned silence*
That is all very well and good you say, after picking yourself up from the floor, but what has it got to do with healing philosophy?
First of all, Shakespeare’s knowledge of the human soul places him among the great philosophers of all time, quite apart from his writing genius. Secondly, how is it that all my life until now, I did not know who the real Shakespeare was? And if all my life I ‘laboured under this mistaken belief’, what other mistaken beliefs am I labouring under? All of us, since I am sure 99% of the world is not aware of the truth.

The conventional view is that Shakespeare was a man from the small, country town of Stratford. Many people, however, reject the conventional view, and argue that Shakespeare was the pen name of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and that the Earl of Oxford had to conceal his authorship for social and political reasons.

The social and political reasons being that all artistic work was considered at that time not much better than manual labour and so was beneath Oxford’s station as a Lord. Hammond’s essay exposes many convincing arguments of which I quote here those I thought the most obviously true:

Shakespeare's works contain a vast amount of knowledge, knowledge that the Stratford man could scarcely have acquired. Shakespeare knew the Greek and Roman classics; his works refer to the tragedies of Sophocles, the dialogues of Plato, and many other ancient classics … Shakespeare also had a firm grasp of politics … a deep knowledge of legal matters … understood naval and military matters ... He was thoroughly versed in the pastimes of the nobility, such as falconry; he often uses images borrowed from falconry. How could the Stratford man have acquired such knowledge? …those who adhere to the Oxford theory describe the poet as one of the best educated people of his time, or of any time.

In short, Oxford’s education was of the first order, he moved in high political circles, he travelled extensively, he was a soldier-sportsman-athlete, a scholar and a gifted writer from an early age. In short he was everything that the Stratford man was not and that the Shakespeare as revealed in his works certainly was. Hammond ties many threads together drawing on the research of many people, such that one is left in no doubt as to the conclusion.
But no need to take my word for it: read the essay and judge for yourself. We must thank Jim Hammond for this belief-shattering essay and not least for passing on to us what is certainly a description of the real Shakespeare:

While traveling on the Continent, Oxford may have encountered the poet George Chapman. In one of his plays, Chapman has a character say that he encountered Oxford in Germany, and that he found him to be .
.
...the most goodly fashion'd man
I ever saw: from head to foot in form
Rare and most absolute...
He was beside of spirit passing great
Valiant and learn'd, and liberal as the sun,
Spoke and writ sweetly, or of learned subjects,
Or of the discipline of public weals.[17]
.
Image from Wikimedia: Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford from an engraving by J. Brown after G.P. Harding 1575

P.S. You can add your name to a Declaration of reasonable doubt about the identity of William Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition

4 comments:

magusdee said...

The best single source for the Oxfordian case is Mark Anderson's "'Shakespeare' by Another Name: The Life of Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakesepeare" (in softcover, Gotham Books 2005). Scintillating reading--one has no doubt, after finishing the book, that, yes, De Vere wrote the plays, poems, and sonnets. Game, set, match, Oxford.

Alex said...

Yes, I was amazed to see how 'old hat' my great discovery was! The great thing about all this is that nothing much was known about the Stratford Shakespeare but a great deal more is known about Edward De Vere, so we get to 'know Shakespeare' much better now.

Anonymous said...

What I DON'T understand is why this still seems to be a "secret" - why it is still not mainstream knowledge. Admittedly, there is no "smoking gun" evidence, but there is an overwhelming tsunami of co-incidence, and circumstantial evidence, that for me, adds up to an undeniable truth. I have not seen ANY of the evidence successfully disproved or denied. De Vere IS SHAKESPEARE!

elizabeth said...

About a month ago a
Marlovian (and
British Shakespearean
actor) Peter Farey,
conclusively proved
that Oxford did not
write the Shakespeare
works.

Farey compared
Mere's list of
Shakespeare plays
to the standard graph
of feminine endings.

Oxford died in 1604,
but there is a steady and
measurable
progression of the
author's INCREASE in
his use of feminine endings until the end of 1616.

To make things worse
for the Oxfordians,
at about the same time a Stratfordian,
Tom Reedy, succeeded
in publishing a paper in the top Shakespeare journal at the University of Oxford Press in which Reedy used a newly-discovered copy of William Strachey's A True Reportory, a primary source for The Tempest, to show that Oxford could not have written the play.

Farey and Reedy's papers are supported by a professor of Genius and Creativity Studies at U.C. Davis,
Professor Dean Simonton.

Simonton discovered that the author consistently refers to natural, social, political events which take
place within a
a two year period of any given play.

Oxford was deceased when most of these topical events and the took place and
the allusions to them were made in the Shakespeare works.

This kind of evidence against the Oxfordian claims is overwhelming, I've collected a hard drive full, but even in the face of the most convincing scientific evidence, they just go on and on.

Very frustrating, there's no way to dialogue with them.

And they always refuse to acknowledge that Bacon and Oxford were first cousins, both wards of Lord Burghley, Bacon's uncle.

Bacon knew "Polonius" far longer than did Oxford.

Oxford had absolutely no motive to portray Burghley as Polonius in the plays because Burghley was Oxford's enabler, he bailed Oxford out of more fixes, including murder, than I can post here.

Oxford wonderful 16th century letters (I graduated in history and while I don't think Oxford wrote the Works he left us a great treasure of 16th century life in the upper aristocracy)
can be found on Nina Greene's Oxford-Shakespeare authorship site.

The real earl exists in his correspondence with the Cecils. You won't find anything of Shakespeare in it.


This doesn't cover
the science on Oxford, his under 3,500-word vocabulary (Bacon, the only genius the
English produced between Occam and
Bacon -- feudalism
cannot produce genius, Looney calls Oxford "a feudal" and I entirely agree), has a vocabulary that exceeds the Shakespeare works (33,000 words, excluding the word-count of his 900 extant letters.

Samuel Johnson wrote that an entire dictionary could be made from Bacon's vocabulary while Voltaire wrote that Bacon "invented the encyclopedia," referring to a work Bacon wrote when studying in France.

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