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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Shakespeare by Another Name
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1489  Friday, 9 September 2005

From: 		David Kathman <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 7 Sep 2005 23:49:32 -0500
Subject: 16.1481 Shakespeare by Another Name
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1481 Shakespeare by Another Name

Elliott Stone wrote:

<QUOTE>I am not sure that the reviewer in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune 
stated Mark Anderson's understanding correctly as to Thomas Looney's 
position as the "originator" of the Oxford Authorship in the 1920s. Mr. 
Anderson is the co-author of an essay that points out that the captain 
in Melville's "Billy Bud" is "Edward Vere" and that this novella is in 
part an allegory on the "mad" Delia Bacon's theory. Delia Bacon was as 
Schoenbaum points out in "Shakespeare's Lives" a "Groupist" and not a 
"Baconian". Melville, you will recall, was writing "Billy Bud" in the 
1890s. The story was not completed at the time of his death and was not 
published until 30 years later. The first suggestion that Oxford was the 
possible author of the Canon was written by a first cousin of 
Melville's. This reference appears in an 1890 rewrite of the 1848 
publication of Joseph C. Hart. Schoenbaum calls Hart a "priceless 
eccentric" and "the anti-Stratfordians could hail Colonel Joseph C. Hart 
as their first-although not Baconian-standard bearer".</QUOTE>

Actually, Edward de Vere was one of the group of courtiers and noblemen 
proposed as the collective authors of Shakespeare by Delia Bacon in her 
1857 magnum opus, The Philosophy of Shakespeare's Plays Unfolded, the 
first antistratfordian book to get widespread popular attention. She 
believed that Sir Walter Raleigh was the primary writer of the plays, 
heavily aided by Francis Bacon, and that Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip 
Sidney, Thomas Sackville, Henry Lord Paget, Edward de Vere, and some 
others also contributed. See pp. 38-39 of R. C. Churchill's Shakespeare 
and His Betters (1958). Oxford was proposed as part-author in various 
group theories over the next several decades, such as that of Carl 
Friedrich Vitzthun von Eckstaedt in Shakespeare und Shakspere (1888), 
but not until Looney's book in 1920 did anybody suggest Oxford as the 
sole author of Shakespeare, as far as I know. I don't know anything 
about this alleged 1890 rewrite of Joseph C. Hart -- could you be 
thinking of J. Watts de Peyster's 1888 pamphlet "Was the Shakespeare 
after all a myth?", which consists largely of quotations from the 
Shakespeare-related parts of Hart's The Romance of Yachting? In any 
case, it was Looney's book in 1920 that opened the Oxfordian floodgates 
and started the modern Oxfordian movement; any Oxford-is-Shakespeare 
references before that were fleeting and largely forgotten.

Dave Kathman

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