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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: Harpers
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1069  Friday, 25 June 1999.

From:           Louis Marder <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Jun 1999 21:51:06 -0500
Subject:        Oxford's Authorship

Hardy M. Cook:

Though you are justifiably annoyed by the Oxfordians and have said you
would not publish anything more on the subject, your publication of
David Kathman's note prompts me to send you the following. Before the
Harper Oxfordian article was published, I had learned of its publication
and wrote the editor the following letter:

SHAKESPEARE DATA BANK, INC.
LOUIS MARDER, C.E.O. & EDITOR
1217 Ashland Ave., Evanston, IL. 60202-1103

(847)475.7550 E-MAIL: 
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Founder & Editor, The Shakespeare Newsletter


February 19, 1999

Lewis H. Lapham, Editor
Harper's Magazine Foundation
666 Broadway
New York,  N. Y.  10012

Dear Mr. Lapham:

From the article on Shakespeare in the Washington Post on January 24, I
learned that Harper's is doing an important piece on the authorship of
Shakespeare in the spring.

Of course, I cannot tell you not to publish the article, but I do want
to tell you that, without even having read it, it is all based on
conjecture and supposition.  I have been arguing and debating with the
Oxfordians for almost fifty years, but they will not listen to the
opposition.  They KNOW Oxford is the author and that is it.  I have been
to a number of their Shakespeare Oxford Society meetings over the years;
they praise me for my bravery for coming to argue, but they do not
listen.

I have met the current "Earl" (Lord Burford), consider him a friend, but
he does not regard the Shakespearean arguments as valid and goes around
lecturing on the authorship question.  When he spoke here in Chicago to
the English Speaking Union, he got a great hand.  He is a passionate and
convincing speaker to an audience that does not know the subject.

I told him that he would not convince anyone if I were on the same
platform with him.  In due course, the Shakespeare Oxford Society (SOS)
got the Boston Bar Association to arrange a debate between the Earl and
me.  It took place in Faneuil Hall in Boston before over a thousand
people.  We were both assigned lawyers and a notable group of fourteen
jurors was impaneled.  He was roundly defeated, with only four jurors
voting for the Oxfordian position.

The outcome was that the Oxfordians took my name off their mailing list,
they no longer send me their Newsletter, and I am no longer invited to
their meetings.  As a result, I sat down and wrote an article listing
about 75 points showing why the Oxfordian position is untenable.  I sent
copies to several members of whom three replied making a few
inconsequential points.  The rest is silence.

Peter Dickson's Rosetta Stone in the Washington Post article is a
travesty on English literature.  Permit me to go on although I know how
busy editors can be, having myself edited The Shakespeare Newsletter for
forty-one years.  In 1953, Calvin Hoffman was trying to prove that
Christopher Marlowe was the author of Shakespeare's Works.  He called me
on the eve of his departure for England, but I could not meet with him
because I was then on the Faculty of Brooklyn College and being paid by
the hour.  I pleaded with him to give me his most salient argument.  He
did: the Curate in As You Like It is named Oliver Martext - there it
was, proof that the Works were Marlowe's text!  What more proof could
one want!

He told me that Esquire was going to publish an article on the subject.
I wrote to the editor of Esquire and said that the least they could do
was to publish an accompanying article by a reputable Shakespeare
scholar.  They ignored my letter except that they sent me a
pre-publication offprint of the article before that issue of Esquire was
published. Subsequently, Hoffman published a book on the subject.  As I
expected, it has more holes than Swiss cheese.  Calvin left funds for
prize money from his estate for articles proving Marlowe the author.  No
one has won the prize.

I am sending you a yet unfinalized copy of my article on the Oxfordian
and other heretic writers which you might want to put into the hands of
the one writing your article.  I think he should find it
thought-provoking and useful.  He can call me, write me at the above
address, or via E-mail at 
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I will be going on vacation on the 22nd of February and will be at Playa
los Arcos in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, until March 4. If it is urgent, I
can be reached there.  (Olas Altas380, Puerta Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Sincerely yours,


Louis Marder

P.S.  I am also sending a copy of the article to Peter Dickson and Don
Oldenburg.    lm
 

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