In 2009 I published The De Vere Code, which demonstrates that the poems published as Shake-speare's Sonnets in 1609 were in written, not by William Shaksper from Stratford-on-Avon, but by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, a nobleman at the court of Queen Elizabeth I.

As the promotional bandwagon for Roland Emmerich's Stratford-baiting Anonymous gets under way, this blog will chronicle the next few months in the life of The De Vere Code, to see how its arguments, and the wider case for Edward de Vere, fare during this time of unprecedented scrutiny around all things Authorship…

Friday, 2 September 2011

Birthplace Trust pre-emptive debunk

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has clearly been busy since the meeting at the ESU, despite protestations that Emmerich's 'historical B-movie' poses no serious threat to the bastions of orthodoxy. '60 minutes with Shakespeare' lines up some pretty impressive talent, who all have a minute in which to hammer a nail of truth into the coffin of lies that is Anti-Stratfordianism. Except for Stephen Fry, who gets four and a bit minutes. And this morning, the BBC were enlisted to the cause with an article on the Today programme in which the usual suspects explained that Oxfordians are very silly, though no Oxfordians were actually given a chance to prove it.

Returning to Stephen Fry's four minute warning, he opens his salvo with the following ad hominem quip:

"Well, I suppose it would be rude to point out that the man who came up with the Oxfordian theory was called Looney, and I don’t wish to be mean against those who try hard to push the case for Oxford but it’s an uphill battle."

I've yet to meet the Stratfordian who can resist the temptation to ridicule the author of the first presentation of the Oxfordian case (in Shakespeare Identified, 1920) for having a 'silly' name. It gets the whole thing off to a good start, it would seem, to allow the imputation of mental illness to hang like an unpleasant aroma around Oxfordians. The first recorded instance of concern at this possibility actually came from Looney's publisher, who feared that witty types might use the author's name as a stick with which to beat him, and urged Looney to use a pseudonym. The plucky author refused, no doubt providing further evidence to some of his psychological unreliability, and to others of a naive faith that intelligent critics left such rhetorical techniques behind them in the playground. 

I suppose it would be rude to say that as someone who campaigns for greater understanding of mental illness, it is surprising that Fry opts to open with this 'argument'. But then, sledging is all part of the game these days, I suppose.

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