Whether Oxford was likely to have seen Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors and its anamorphic memento mori that scholars so often compare to Yorick’s skull in Hamlet is a two-fold question, a matter of proximity in physical space and within a social network.
During Oxford’s 1575-76 grand tour, that painting was displayed at the Dinteville’s estate in Polisy, France. Beginning with a family they knew whose art and culture Shakespeare often drew on in moments of pivotal transformation, Parts I and II explored dozens of allusions to the Gonzagas of Mantua and their network of relations which stretched over the Alps to France yet rarely extended further than second cousins from Guglielmo Gonzaga, 3rd Duke of Mantua. While continuing to look at Gonzaga/Dinteville contacts, Part III will explore the Polisy family’s ties with the de Tournons of Roussillon and Tournon sur Rhone. If the road to Polisy began in Mantua, it also ran through Roussillon. Continue reading
Though I believe that recognition of how a writer “tongue-tied by authority” could speak in ways that eluded the censors may have crystallized when Oxford was gazing at Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors just outside of Troyes, France, the road to Polisy began in Mantua. Continue reading
You may first want to read The Road to Polisy: An Overview
What do the following have in common, besides being times when Shakespeare used visual arts – a painted statue, plays within plays or a painting – to effect a transformation for characters and for the audience? Continue reading
When viewed from an extreme Hamlet-like angle the mutant mass of bone in Han’s Holbein’s The Ambassadors is transformed into a skull that looks suspiciously like old Yorick. Scholars frequently compare these two scene stealing skulls but none have dared to send William Shakspere overseas to a French noble estate. Yet if the Earl of Oxford or one of the alternative candidates was accepted as the author we would have no trouble identifying Holbein’s anamorphic masterwork as an inspirational source for Hamlet.
Today we offer a guest post from Patrick Prentice, a writer and producer on Last Will. & Testament, a great documentary film that discusses the Shakespeare authorship Question.
Patrick reviews Joshua Gray’s #Bard154 — Shakespeare’s sonnets and a “Tudor Rose” approach distilled into poetic quatrains and published on Twitter. You can also enjoy the poet’s work at the website:
Identifying the “impious crew” of Catilines in Francis Davison’s epigrams
Francis Davison’s 1603 publication of Anagrammata in Nomina Illustrissimorum Heroum contained thirteen epigrams in praise of eminent men, “fairly predictable exercises in courtly flattery” as described by Dana Sutton of the Philological Museum. Yet the epigrams for the Earls of Oxford and Southampton “may merit more consideration” in Sutton’s opinion. Continue reading
Recognizing the kinship based chain of connection that ran through the Essex Rebellion, Peyton Investigation, Main and Bye Plots and beyond can help us to develop a more comprehensive picture of the situation that Shakespeare and the Fair Youth faced at the end of Elizabeth’s reign and early in the rule of James I. The use of multiperspectivism – incorporating diverse viewpoints that may reflect on, counter or correct the standard account – can also help us to recover further details. Continue reading
In The Marian Crown in Oxford’s Signature I explored the possibility that the crown or coronet was a stylized form of Marian Mark. The paraph over Edward de Vere’s signature could look like an M or a W with an attached serif.
Yet in the neatest and, I believe, earliest version we have it is clearly a VVV.
I was working on the cabala of Sir Thomas Tresham and how his Triangular Lodge intersects with the play Love’s Labour’s Lost when I stumbled over another VVV and understanding finally clicked. Continue reading
Oxfordian authorship theorists connect Hamlet’s friends Horatio and Francisco to Edward de Vere’s cousins, the famous “Fighting Vere” military commanders, Horace and Francis.
“Horatio, I am dead. Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied…O God, Horatio, what a wounded name. Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind me. If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity a while, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain to tell my story.”
Oxfraud may have a point when he observes that Elizabethans did not number their Earls, putting a kibosh on the significance of the number 17. Of course he spends quite some time kicking a dead man and would never inform a reader that Master of Revels George Buc called Oxford “a magnificent and very learned and religious man” or that George Chapman remembered that the Earl “was beside of spirit passing great/ Valiant, and learned, and liberal as the sun/ Spoke and writ sweetly of learned subjects/ Or of the discipline of public weals.” Unlike Alan Nelson, Oxfraud did not even compliment Oxford’s lovely and legible handwriting, although he does give the Earl props for claiming descent from Lady Godiva.
If the seven slashes on the flourish that underscored his signature did not signify that he was the 17th Earl of his line it opens the way to the interpretation that it simply linked the number seven with Edward which is in itself quite meaningful. To understand why we have to look at religion for a little bit but as Buc noted de Vere was a highly religious guy. When he wasn’t being blasphemous that is. Continue reading
Here’s a late breaking news flash. On the night of the death of the 17th Earl of Oxford, leading alternative candidate for authorship of the works of Shakespeare, the Earl of Southampton, dedicatee of Venus and Adonis, was arrested with the brother of the overseer of William Shakspere’s will. Continue reading
This is a long list of short bios for a handful of family lines that share connections to Edward de Vere and William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon. It essentially serves as an overview of material which will be explored with documentation in future posts. Hopefully once it is complete with supporting documentation and links it will be a useful research tool for those studying the authorship question. Continue reading
While enjoying Shakespeare in the park this summer season, if the breakneck delivery of their lines trips you up, you can just pull your Shakespeare library out of your pocket and check the part that you missed. Continue reading
Since it lay there for so long with nothing in it, WordPress has inspired me to launch this long delayed blog with an encouraging auto message and the following quote from Shakespeare:
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM) Continue reading