Velz, Barton, Foakes Next of Kin

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.013  Thursday, 12 January 2017


From:        Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:        January 11, 2017 at 6:02:45 PM EST

Subject:    Velz, Barton, Foakes Next of Kin


<please understand that I am not giving legal advice.>


Dear Mr. Weiss,


Thank you for your expert, I’m going to call it, illegal advice. 


I am aware that I have the right to publish the interviews no matter what my guests want, but I would never be so discourteous. If they do not want their interview reprinted for any reason, I will respect their wishes. I am also aware that next of kin is not necessarily the executor, but the next of kin is a good place to start when trying to find the executor, don’t you think?

My editor wants me to get the best consent I can find, and so do I. He is willing to go ahead if nobody can be found to give consent as long as a statement to that effect is made. So far, I am still unable to find contact information for John Velz’s daughters, and I understand that they are his executors. Will be happy to hear from anybody who knows where to find one of them. Please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


All the best, 

Mike Jensen




Heather Wolfe, Folger Library Curator

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.012  Thursday, 12 January 2017


[Editor’s Note: Discussion of the so-called “Authorship Question” has been banned from SHAKSPER since the 1990s. Ian Steele contribution is a clarification of the matters at issue. As a reminder, I will not post submissions that advocate for anyone other the William Shakespeare from Stratford as the player and the playwright. Please restrain from sending me “hate” mail on this policy and my right to determine it. –Hardy]


[1] From:        Ira Zinlaw <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:        January 11, 2017 at 4:27:12 PM EST

     Subj:        Re: SHAKSPER: Wolfe; Shakespeare the player


[2] From:        Ian Steere <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:        January 12, 2017 at 9:41:33 AM EST

     Subj:        Heather Wolfe Article




From:        Ira Zinlaw <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:        January 11, 2017 at 4:27:12 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Wolfe; Shakespeare the player


In response to Julia Griffin, I just wanted to let you know that I had the same thought, and sent an email to Heather Wolfe asking if any document mentioned Shakespeare as “player.”


If Ms. Wolfe responds, I will share it with all on this list


Best wishes,

Ira Zinman



From:        Ian Steere <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:        January 12, 2017 at 9:41:33 AM EST

Subject:    Heather Wolfe Article


Julia Griffin (SHAKSPER, January 11, 2017) makes a fair point in her commentary on the Heather Wolfe article. The latter seems to bring no new information to shift the ground under dispute in Authorship wrangles.


However, the heraldic history does, I suggest, help in another way to undo the anti-Stratfordian hypothesis summarized by Professor Griffin: that Shakspere, the player from Stratford (with a coat of arms), was not the author accredited under the name of “Shakespeare”. For those interested here is the relevant counter-argument, in extract.


It is a requirement of some alternative Authorship theories to deny attribution of the name, “Shakespeare”, to the player from Stratford, born in 1564. The latter, these theories postulate, was really just “Shakspere”, who spelled his name thus (or in ways closely approximating it). It was only with the dedication of a publication in 1593, the long poem Venus & Adonis, that the nom de plume, “Shakespeare”, appeared and became established. Some challengers of the orthodox argue that its evocation of the brandishing of a weapon (or perhaps a phallus) could not have been an accident: the pen name must have been concocted to signify other, subtle meanings.


As in certain other areas, the Sceptics make some interesting points. The baptismal record of the Stratfordian shows him as the son of John Shakspere. The records of bond and licence to marry (each dated 1582) have him as Shagspere and Shaxpere, respectively. Each of the baptismal records of his children (dated 1583 and 1585) name him Shakspere. It is only after the appearance of the Venus & Adonis pen name that the records of the time appear (in most instances) to render his name in the same way as the Shakespeare of authorship. Even then the Stratford man had a tendency to revert to the earliest version of his name: two of the three signatures on his will (executed in 1616) appear to be rendered by him as Shakspere.


Of course, there was then considerable variation in the spellings of most words and names – and this is the principal argument of orthodoxy. Those interested in the many versions of Shakspere (and the pronunciation of its syllables, subject then, as now, to strong regional variations in England) will find these listed and discussed at The Spelling and Pronunciation of Shakespeare’s Name. Nevertheless, it remains intriguing that the witty author of Venus & Adonis should adapt the presentation of his handle to be (or, more likely, to remain) so redolent of pun when expressed in the vernacular of his principal, London-influenced audience.


The puns perceptible in “Shakespeare” are interpreted and emphasized by those classes of Authorship Sceptic which find advantage in so doing. Some deprecate orthodoxy for not recognizing what looks like an invention of purpose. Yet, as will become apparent below, William Shakspere of Stratford had, on the occasion of his first appearance in print, several reasonable incentives to stress (in the vernacular of his principal readership) the echoes in his birth-name of the shaker of a tool of penetration.


For those who prefer familiar context, we have only to look at aspirations of the Shakspere clan, inferred from historical records. William’s father, John, had initiated the quest for a prestigious family coat of arms – some twenty years before the appearance in print of “Shakespeare”. The application was revived in 1596 and the grant of the coat of arms was confirmed within a few years (all through the efforts, most historians believe, of William). The device shows a falcon brandishing a spear. Punning of this ilk, both visual and aural, must have been in the shared thoughts of the Shaksperes from the inception of their dreams of a coat of arms (and probably from time immemorial when it came to verbal wordplay). Consequently, William would long have had the shaking-spear association strongly in mind when opportunities came to promote his name. The practice of his play on its presentation (in the vernacular of London) is well corroborated by the now famous “Shake-scene” reference of Robert Greene in 1592 (described in all of the many modern biographies of Shakespeare). Greene castigates a competing author, depicted as an upstart player (neither an aristo, nor even a university man) who is evidently identified with a “shake” of some sort (not a “shack”). Greene also associates this author with a play, subsequently credited in print to Shakespeare, and with the conceit (held by the upstart Shaker) that he can deliver blank verse as well as the best of the university scholars of Greene’s address.


With less widely known evidence come further considerations. They are triggered by the very address which gave birth to “Shakespeare” in print .... for the dedication of Venus & Adonis is riddled with puns! Even the Latin script preceding the address is suspect for secondary meaning. The number, context and cohesion of the puns show them to be, in all probability, deliberate. Their secondary theme reveals an angry and needy author, once championed by his dedicatee, now second to a rival in the affections of the latter – so much so that he foresees little return for major investment of efforts on behalf of the patron. Those interested in the evidence will find it described in Double Dealing. The phenomenon (of the presence in the dedication of the two ostensibly conflicting themes) is consistent with both the status of William Shakspere and – remarkably – highly unusual content of Shake-speare's Sonnets. However, it belies the notion that “Shakespeare” was the pen name of a nobleman. It also belies the notion that Shakspere, the player from Stratford, was acting as front-man for an anonymous author.....




The Blackfriars Conference’s 4th Keynote Speaker!

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.011  Thursday, 12 January 2017


From:        Sarah Enloe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Friday, January 6, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Subject:    The Blackfriars Conference’s 4th Keynote Speaker!


The ASC Education Department is so pleased and excited to announce our fourth keynote speaker for the 2017 Blackfriars Conference: the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Bill Rauch. 


Bill Rauch has been artistic director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival since 2007, and we cannot wait to hear from him in October.


All the best,

Sarah Enloe

ASC Director of Education



CFP: "Shakespeare and Anachronism", Kingston University, Feb. 18th 2017

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.010  Thursday, 12 January 2017


From:        Ildiko Solti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 11, 2017 at 5:12:28 PM EST

Subject:    Reminder CFP, "Shakespeare and Anachronism", Kingston University, Feb. 18th 2017




KiSSiT: Shakespeare and Anachronism

The fourth KiSSiT one-day conference is entitled Shakespeare and Anachronism. It will be held at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on February 18, 2017.


Disclosing the potential for revolutionary transformation latent in divisive and oppressive realities by travelling imaginatively forwards in time and adopting a universal human standpoint is a fundamental strategy of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. (Kiernan Ryan, Shakespeare’s Universality: Here’s Fine Revolution)



Performance and criticism of Shakespeare’s plays, and even the plays themselves, have always been anachronistic on a fundamental level. Since performance is always in the present, its creation of an impression of past events, or even of events in general, “as if for the first time,” can only be an illusion. Criticism, in contrast, by default after the event, and predominantly from an audience point of view, is a rationalisation of this illusion. Perhaps the arch-anachronist can be said to be Shakespeare himself – not only through his cheerful bending of history to his purposes but, more importantly, through using time in its many guises, as historical setting, internal structure and rhythm, to bend our perceptions to proposing counterintuitive possibilities.



Confirmed speakers include:

  1. Professor Tiffany Stern, Royal Holloway, University of London, renowned for having researched and written widely about the theatrical documents relating to Shakespeare and his contemporaries (and the 18th century), such as actors’ parts and plots, acting methods and playhouse architecture.
  2. Dr Erik Roraback, Charles University in Prague, whose main interests include Shakespeare, critical theory (Spinoza/Leibniz/Benjamin/Adorno), theoretical psychoanalysis (Freud/Lacan/Zizek), Modernity and the philosophical aspects of the Baroque.


We look forward to paper proposals discussing various aspects of Shakespearean drama, performance or theorisation, characterised by anachronistic aspects such as:


Theorisation: Presentism vs ‘the levers of form’ (Kiernan Ryan)


  1. ‘The Globe phenomenon’: aspects of anachronism of Elizabethan/Jacobean working theatre reconstructions and their use – their cultural, institutional, artistic, etc.
  2. Theatre production: ‘updating’ vs ‘meshing’ of time periods (modernising today vs the Elizabethan use of ‘modern dress’); costume, set and possible performance/interpretative effects
  3. Thematic: purposeful anachronism as creative tool of playwrights’ composition
  4. Methodologies of reflection and analysis: ad hoc vs post hoc – practice-as-research in performance (PaR) vs discursive forms of criticism
  5. The relationship of the plays to their historical time as e.g. political interventions/anachronistic theatricalisation of politics and culture in Early Modern times (such as HenryVIII’s jousting)


Please submit abstracts and brief CVs by emailing the organizers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before January 30, 2017.

Organised by Ildiko Solti, Paul Hamilton, and Timo Uotinen.

For more information contact us via email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or on Twitter and Facebook.


Shakespeare Seminar in Theory (KiSSiT) –  an offshoot of Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (KiSS), part of the London Graduate School, Kingston – is  a series of seminars and conferences for postgraduate students and early career scholars with an interest in Shakespeare, philosophy and theory. The program is committed to thinking through Shakespeare about urgent contemporary issues in dialogue with the work of past and present philosophers – from Aristotle to Žižek.



MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.009  Wednesday, 11 January 2017


From:        Harry Berger Jr <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 10, 2017 at 5:23:59 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV






MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.006  Tuesday, 10 January 2017


From:        William Blanton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 5, 2017 at 2:52:22 PM EST

Subject:    MV Dialog


Once we have determined that Portia represented Elizabeth and Bassanio represented the second Earl of Essex on the Political/Religious/Current Events Dimension of Meaning, the identities of the other main characters on this Dimension fall into place.

1. Gratiano as the third Earl of Southampton. Shakespeare changed Il Pecorino to add an original Gratiano character who accompanied Giannetto/Bassanio to Belmonte/Belmont and to the trial of Anselmo/Antonio. Gratiano appeared to be on the same level of society as Bassanio/Essex, although Gratiano seemed to consider himself to be a follower of Bassanio just as Southampton considered himself to be a follower of Essex. Southampton was having an affair with Elizabeth Vernon/Nerissa, who was a cousin of Essex and a Lady-in-Waiting to Elizabeth/Portia.

2. Shakespeare as Lorenzo.

Lorenzo was a character in The Spanish Tragedy. I surmise that Shakespeare acted this role, and that his contemporaries as theater people, as well as many of the experienced playgoers in London, would have recognized him as having performed Lorenzo in this popular play.


[ . . . ]




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