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   Issue No. 2
September 2005   

From the editor:

Hello, then. “Shakespeare” By Another Name—the first ever popular literary biography of Edward de Vere as “Shakespeare”—is fast approaching its one-month anniversary in bookstores around North America. And The “Shakespeare” By Another Name Bulletin can only boast an age a few days older than that.

In the 29 days since its publication, SBAN has garnered some favorable ink and airtime—most notably in the Aug. 8 Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Aug. 30 New York Times (reprinted the next day in the Detroit Daily News). See the SBAN blog entries on these respective dates for more information. The book has also, not surprisingly, raised a few hackles.

“Absolute nonsense” and “sheer snobbery,” said one critic who wrote for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The work of a “manic conspiracy theorist,” noted the New York Sun. “Utter, damned rot,” stated a reviewer for...

Hold on a minute. My bad. That last quote was from the President of the American Philosophical Society, talking in 1926 about some crazed, half-baked theory known as “Continental Drift.”

OK, OK, very well, I hear you saying. The experts have been wrong plenty of times before. Sometimes drastically so. But have so many people ever been, to quote the inimitable Patsy Cline, “So wrong for soooo long”?

Here, we say, is where the real fun begins. Welcome to issue number two.

     —Mark Anderson

Please forward this Bulletin to any and all. Free subscriptions, as ever, can be obtained here. Not quite free (but still competitively priced!) books and audiobooks can, we hasten to add, be obtained here.


CONTENTS:
1) Guerrillas and the Missed
2) Letters
3) Taking it to the Streets
4) Masthead

Guerrillas and the Missed

As the BBC reported last March, no book marketing campaign yet devised by man or beast can beat the word-of-mouth campaign. We hope that SBAN Bulletin readers are inspired to recommend “Shakespeare” By Another Name to friends and co-workers and family and teachers and former teachers and members of one's church or synagogue or mosque. And so on. We hope the word-of-mouth buzzes for many moons to come.

To better facilitate the discussion, to begin to reach new readers that might otherwise be missed, assembled below are three tools of outreach and guerrilla marketing. (Others might call them mere “T-shirts” and “flyers”...)

[1] The broadside

If you live in or near Minneapolis/St. Paul; Northfield, Minn.; Chicago; Madison, Wis.; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Ashland, Ore.; Sacramento; Stanford, Calif.; San Fransisco; or Northampton, Mass., then please click on the name of your city for a flyer advertising a forthcoming book reading and signing.

These leaflets are made to be xeroxed and posted at cafes, libraries, colleges, and other places where book readers and the otherwise curious might want to read or hear more.

And the leaflet below is made for anyone, anywhere who might, however anonymously, relish playing the role of literary provocateur:

Just click on the image above or click here to download a PDF of this flyer—ready as it is to provoke the curiosity of many, the rage of some, and the recognition of a small but growing plurality.

[2] The banner

The banner ad is an art form we haven't quite yet mastered, but we still hope that some of you with websites or blogs might consider placing our journeyman efforts on your patch of Internet real estate. Click on any of the banner ads below to access all the code and instructions needed to place these ads on your site. Or click here.









[3] The bodacious

Sometimes flaunting it is what it's all about. A graphic designer friend of ours provided the design and the impetus, and we provided the chutzpah. Click on any of the items below for a complete run-down of eye-catching shirts, caps, coffee mugs, bags and more offered up by the fine folks at CafePress.com. Thank you kindly for helping to spread the word about Edward de Vere in whatever means or fashion fits for you: Here's to a campaign to tout a new Bard to tout le monde!

 


Letters

If you have any feedback that you would like considered for the Bulletin, please drop us a line at feedback at shakespeare by another name dot com. (A human reading the previous sentence, of course, would appreciate knowing that shakespearebyanothername is actually one word. Spam email address harvesting programs aren't so clever.) Please also indicate in your email whether we may include your name and/or town, or whether you would like your correspondence to be printed anonymously. We reserve the right to edit for style, grammar, brevity, and clarity.

Abridged Too Far

I have been waiting to order a copy of your book, but I prefer an audio format since it agrees more with my style of reading. But imagine my disappointment when the only format I find in audio is an “abridged” version. Why would you possibly think because someone wants an audio version of a book that we would also want an abridged version? I have never read an abridged version of a book and do not intend to start now. Therefore, I am extremely disappointed your audio version is abridged, and unfortunately I will not buy it.

I have been trying to read all of Shakespeare, and I have always had the hollow feeling about his life, which is why your book was so tantalizing. I did learn about it through the podcasts, and I am about to listen to probably your last episode since your book will be on the market this month. However, since I don't really have time to sit and read a book, I will hold out for an unabridged audio version if one is ever offered. I have immensely enjoyed your podcasts about Shakespeare. Thank you.

     —Christopher Pirnie

Heeding The Call

I wanted to write and thank you for your recently published “Shakespeare” By Another Name. As a current student of Renaissance literature, I passed your book three times before succumbing to its “call.”

I've spent the last week reading it, practically non-stop, and I must say that I admire both your tenacity and thoroughness. Many of your arguments are thought-provoking, if not convincing, and I'm especially impressed with how well you have compiled voluminous amounts of primary source material from all aspects of Elizabethan society into one popular biography.

While I reserve judgment on some of your interpretations in character (and how they specifically relate to emotional incidents in Lord Oxford's life) it does seem that the larger picture is becoming harder to ignore.

Thank you again for producing this important work through which we might begin to dispose of the myths we so readily accept.

     —Name withheld by request

Apocryphal Remarks

Fine SBAN book.

Page 387 [in the book's Appendix A on de Vere's hand-annotated copy of the Geneva Bible] has an excerpt from Hamlet, re the “Neoplatonic Cluster” of citations. An even better example is Romeo and Juliet. The Apothecary is persuaded to sell Romeo poison illegally:

Apothecary  My poverty, but not my will, consents.
Romeo        I pay thy poverty and not thy will.

(Act V, scene i, lines 74-75)

Also, you note [in Appendix A] that there are 289 de Vere Geneva Bible markings in the Apocrypha versus only 156 appearing in the New Testement. The ratio is almost 2 to 1. Why not develop this detail?

The Apocrypha were canonized as Biblical by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546, at the Council of Trent. Study of these conspicuously non-Protestant books would seem to signify a reader seriously focusing upon Roman Catholicism.

Thomas S. Kuhn, in his justly famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, reminds us that science advances funeral by funeral. It is impossible for us absolutely to disprove the authorship by the Stratford Man. But the truth will prevail if open-minded analysts assess the Shakespearean corpus with the best explanatory keys available. Such a key is de Vere. Ultimately, a generation will arrive that takes for granted the explanatory power of the de Vere authorship hypothesis, and they will disregard the less useful Stratfordian hypothesis. We must not despair our inability to convert the present generation, invested in status quo explanations.

     —Dr. George Swan
       North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University,
       Greensboro, N.C.

Prof. Roger Stritmatter, a central influence and inspiration in the writing of “Shakespeare” By Another Name, studied the marginal notes and underlinings in Edward de Vere's personal copy of the Bible and ultimately wrote a groundbreaking Ph.D. dissertation on the subject (for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2001). It is from Stritmatter's work that Appendix A on de Vere's Bible is drawn. Neoplatonism in Shakespeare is a topic that many great minds, such as Ted Hughes, the former Poet Laureate of England, have tackled. The above example is a good one. And there are many more indeed.

Bring On The Prince! (Part 1)

I just bought your book 3 days ago and have read it in its entirety except for the index. Superb job, and marvelously documented. Congratulations! A very important contribution to the Oxfordian cause.

However, please do spend a bit more time with Hank Whittemore's work. It is quite stupendous, in my opine, and I hate to see you wavering.

Wonderful work!

     —Paul H. Altrocchi, MD
       Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii

Bring On The Prince—And The Queen

I just finished your book and enjoyed it immensely. It has definitely added to my store of knowledge. Anyone who reads the book with an open mind has to be in denial if they still think the Stratford guy wrote the works.

I was wondering, however, why there was no mention of the theory that Southhampton was Oxford's son by Queen Elizabeth. It is specualtive, of course, but it is an alternative way of viewing the early Sonnets that I thought would at least warrant a mention. Of course, if that were ture, it does raise the nasty possibility that Oxford would have desired his son to marry his daughter, a most dubious scenario (although de Vere was never convinced of his own [or, this editor hastens to add, his daughter's] paternity).

Another question. In [the anonymously published 1594 poem] “Willobie His Avisa,” isn't the interpretation just as plausible that Avisa refers to Queen Elizabeth and her suitors rather than de Vere's wife? I believe that more than one suitor is discussed, and the poem can be looked at as a defense of the Queen's purity.

     —Howard Schumann
       Vancouver, British Columbia

These two letters raise the spectre of what has come to be known as the “Prince Tudor” theory: In addition to de Vere being “Shakespeare,” some have advocated that de Vere had unacknowledged royal blood himself and/or that he fathered a son by Queen Elizabeth I—and that Tudor sireling was raised as Henry Wriothesley, later Earl of Southampton (widely believed to be the “fair youth” of The Sonnets).

The book that Dr. Altrocchi references is a recent release by the Oxfordian researcher Hank Whittemore, titled
The Monument—a comprehensive, word-by-word analysis of The Sonnets that concludes that these 154 poems are what Whittemore calls a “dynastic diary” that argues for one or more heretofore unrecognized claims on the throne (potentially including de Vere's own) in the waning years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Indeed, a number of the parallels that Whittemore brings out to the Essex Rebellion of February 1601 and its aftermath are quite intriguing and impressive. And I am grateful to The Monument's author for his graciously sharing early drafts of his manuscript, portions of which I was able to include in the final couple chapters of SBAN.

Those portions, however, as Mr. Schumann above rightly points out, are also “Prince Tudor”-agnostic. And that was intentional.

To those new to this topic, the “PT” hypothesis is a controversy within a controversy. The Oxfordian researcher Christopher Paul has written up a quite intriguing and impressive article that counters the Prince Tudor hypothesis and stakes the claim that the “PT” theory is simply wrongheaded and lacks any historical footing whatsoever.[1] The debate can get very heated within Oxfordian circles, and it's good that the subject is discussed and studied.

For any field of research to advance, there must be an open and honest inquiry, even into subjects that violate tabboos or call into question otherwise sacred truths. Even research that is later proved to be incorrect can be valuable in unexpected ways. As Solomon Snyder of Johns Hopkins Medical School recently told
New Scientist magazine, “When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about.”

However, all the above is the concern of researchers and specialists in the field.
SBAN is a book for a much larger lay audience, so it was felt that until more definitive evidence on the PT question could be brought forward, whether pro- or con-, it was best left out of the story and relegated instead to SBAN's endnotes. (cf., e.g., the endnote on p. 469 of SBAN)

As for the Avisa=Queen Elizabeth question raised by Mr. Schumann... it seems more than just plausible that the character Avisa was intended to be read as Elizabeth I. Rather, it's quite likely. Avisa is described as a woman who entertains many suitors for her hand in marriage but who, it seems, accepts none. That description alone would very well have summoned to mind Gloriana herself for an Elizabethan reader.

And here is where I thought the matter rested until a couple years ago when, quite by surprise, I ran across an amazing and largely overlooked research article from 1937.[2] One infers that the article's author, Pauline K. Angell, had no particular interest in Edward de Vere—at least not, it seems, in any capacity as “Shakespeare.” That said, Angell presents some specific and persuasive evidence that the character Avisa is, in part, a libel directed at de Vere's second wife Elizabeth Trentham. (pp. 251-53 & 282-85 of
SBAN)

The two interpretations, Avisa as Elizabeth Tudor and Avisa as Elizabeth Trentham, fit comfortably hand-in-hand and should not be seen as an either-or proposition. Elizabethans were trained to read and to write multiple levels of meaning into any given text. Latter-day readers of Elizabethan texts should be just as polymorphic.

[1] Christopher Paul, “The Prince Tudor Dilemma: Hip Thesis, Hypothesis, or Old Wives Tale?,”
The Oxfordian Vol. 5 (2002) 47-69

[2] Pauline K. Angell, “Light on the Dark Lady: A Study of Some Elizabethan Libels,”
Pubs. of Modern Lang. Assn. 52:3 (Sept. 1937) 652-74





Taking it to the Streets

As of this month, the SBAN Book Tour is on the march in the midwest and western U.S. We hope to be announcing more dates in future issues of the Bulletin. In the meantime, if the Book Tour is indeed making a stop near you, please be sure to mark your calendars and bring your friends. Click the appropriate buttons below each event listing for directions and/or flyers. Thank you.

Friday, Sept. 9: Barnes & Noble, The Galleria Shops, 3225 W. 69th St., Edina, Minnesota. Reading and booksigning. 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 11: Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. at Franklin, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reading and booksigning. 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 14: Carleton College Library Athenaeum, One North College Street, Northfield, Minnesota. Reading and booksigning. 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 16: DePaul University Bookstore, 1 East Jackson Blvd., Chicago. Reading and booksigning. 12:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 17: Borders Books & Music, 2173 Zeier Rd., Madison, Wisconsin. Reading and booksigning. 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24: Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S. Main St., Seattle. Reading and booksigning. 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Powell's Bookstore, 1005 W. Burnside, Portland, Oregon. Reading and booksigning. 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 29: Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main, Ashland, Oregon. 7:30 p.m. Reading and booksigning, in conjunction with the joint Shakespeare Oxford Society / Shakespeare Fellowship conference to be held in Ashland that weekend. Ground-breaking papers on Edward de Vere and Shake-speare to be presented along with performances by one of the leading Shakespeare companies in North America, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Please join us.

Wednesday, Oct. 5: Borders Books & Music, 2339 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento, California. Reading and booksigning. Time 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 7: Stanford University Bookstore, 519 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, California. Reading and booksigning. Noon.

Friday, Oct. 7: Cody's Books (the new downtown location), 2 Stockton St., San Francisco. Reading and booksigning. 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 19: Broadside Bookshop, 247 Main St., Northampton, Massachusetts. Reading and booksigning. Time 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 26: Western New England College Athenaeum Series, D'Amour Library Room 319, Western New England College, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield, Mass. (Campus map here.) Talk and booksigning. 4 p.m.


The Shakespeare By Another Name Bulletin was edited, written, and designed by Mark Anderson. Special thanks to Penny Leveritt for her design and proof-reading feedback.

“Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend. ...
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.”


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