Holderness: Shakespeare’s Biography is that of the Earl of Oxford

Posted By on December 8, 2009

Well, its happened. You never thought it would, did you?

What is “it”?

While establishing some of the architecture of this site and musing on the shape of future things to come, I’ve been pondering another basic question: what’s the first big “News” story to run on Shake-Speares-Bible.com? I mean, the authorship question seems to be in the news all the time these days.

If you don’t believe me, check out Linda Theil’s new SOS blog, the best thing that has happened to the SOS in nearly a decade. Cyberspace is alive with news about the Shakespearean question.

Or, if your taste runs to the cheeky orthodox in-your-face we-are-the-world kind of hubris that often marks a paradigm before its fall, read this amazing blast of ignorance by David Aaronvitch, which appeared in the Nov. 19 London Times Online under a suitable graphic apparently showing what the Times thinks an anti-Stratfordian looks like. Silly us. And we didn’t know, until we read the Times, that

“The hunt for the real Shakespeare is a fruitless act”

Just so no one would miss the flawless logic of his argument, the Times made Aaronovitch’s conclusion into the headline. Rather than tamper with the eloquence of the original typography, I decided to leave it in its full original glory. What do you mean, it looks ridiculous?

In the United States, this kind of stuff is usually reserved for the tabloids. But maybe in England they have special rules about making fun of people you’ve never met and ridiculing subjects you know nothing about.

Its a pity that Aaronovitch apparently was not present at the Globe nine days after the Nov. 19 symposium on authorship — or, if he was, could not bring himself to report on what was said. Here’s the real news story, which so far the Times seems to be missing entirely. Speaking at the November 28 Globe symposium on Shakespearean biography, “Shakespeare: From Rowe to  Shapiro,” Graham Holderness,  Editor-in-Chief of Critical Survey, stated:

“If you were to construct a biography which ticked all the boxes – if you were to read Shakespeare’s plays and infer a biography from it – it wouldn’t be Rowe’s, it would actually be the Earl of Oxford’s.”

A fuller account of the Globe event is given by Shakespearean Authorship Trust Trustee Julia Cleave, writing as a guest blogger on Linda Theil’s blog.

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


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