Apr 15, 2023Liked by Unbekoming

A Gideon Bible! That's remarkable. Did de Vere get it in a motel room in Italy?

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Many, many years ago I was assailed by someone who assured me Shakespeare hadn't written those words. The argument was weak, citing Bacon or Marlowe. 'Have you read Bacon or Marlowe?' I asked. 'I have. They did not write those works by Shakespeare.' And I didn't pursue it further, beyond the 'simple/simplistic' biographies by Margaret Atwood and Bill Bryson. Also, the false flag claims by a kooky Canadian women in the 1800s didn't help convince me of another authorship.

Thank you, Unbekoming, for putting this great argument and history. I loved it. I didn't care too much who wrote these great works of literature, which I consider to be the greatest example of Taoist writing on the planet, because they are great. However, the history you supplied gives the stories a richness and context and depth. Hmmmm. Buddhist concept of interdependence arising: life doesn't come out of of nothing, it is co-existent with life.

Again, this was a wonderful read. And to have yet another rock hard ideological belief exploded out of my system. All lies are unbecoming and create heaviness in our souls. You have helped me lighten mine quite a lot, actually. I'm laughing at this. With covid total freedom from all masks of delusion seem to be happening. What next? Germ theory? Flat earth? Techtonic plate theory? Quantum mechanics as bullshit theory, per Clif High in a recent podcast. https://clifhigh.substack.com/p/math-and-psyops#details

Amazing time to be alive, and to meet the amazing people who are living it instead of having chosen to be zombies

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Thank you Guy.

Yes, it has that effect doesn't. It's a dark heavy cloud that lifts.

My wife is reading Marc Anderson's book on de Vere, and she says with every page it just confirms, again and again, that the guy from Stratford could never have written them.

If you read Scheff's 10th chapter on techtonic plates, I think you come to see all of that very differently too.

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Thank you. Sounds like another hole to worm my way into. I'l see how my time allowance will bring it into focus.

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I thought he had some relationship with Elizabeth as well. A relationship that made her more than a little angry with him for debauching her assistant. Was not that Scheff that wrote about that as well?

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deletedMay 10
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hola, uj.

thank you for the gentle and real courage to show your ignorance — meaning simply lack of knowledge and not a pejorative in the way that word has been twisted to mean — and then to ask me to share my knowledge.

there seems to be a bit of a conflation in how you structured your query: "i have not read tao, why refer to buddhism?" in case you don’t know, these are not the same thing at all, in structure, history, or scripture.

and now i pause, considering how to answer that without doing a vulcan mind-meld of my history of 50 years of reading and reflection. how am i to convey why i wrote that with, perhaps, the possibility of an excess of inappropriate knowledge. for example, i infer from the hint of your query that you would be able to completely overwhelm me with your knowledge of the truth you find in the new testament. it is likely that i would have no significant ability to reply cogently to arguments you can give from new testament scripture beyond, perhaps, extemporaneous responses grounded from my own spiritual and/or secular knowledge. with that consideration, how am i to respond to you without overwhelming you? we’ll see how well i do or do not succeed.

i pondered this quite a bit since reading your kind request early this morning. my initial proposed response was to suggest to you that this query has provided me with an excellent opportunity to write a substack essay to address it. and for you to look to that as an answer sometime in the indistinct future. the other thought i had was to ask if you would be interested in some kind of online meeting for a recorded discussion around this. and that i or we could put that into our substacks. i will continue to consider how this will root my next ‘morality’ essay. and, if you find yourself interested in a recorded talk to explore this, please let me know. fyi, i've not done that before, so it would a new and interesting experience. and you may want to look at some of my writing before you say 'yes', if that was a thought you had.

and with that, now i will see how to answer that with a terse somewhat completeness. and with the idea that it may eventually contribute to that next essay.

synchronicity alert! (and thank you!)

as i began to write my answer two delightful and on point synchronicities arose.

synchronicity 1) it gives a bridge to my next essay and my last two on 'reason'. in the two previous essays i argue that our belief in reason is an act of superstition and that morals/morality are the pusher-enabler of reason so as to create easily the rationalisations we delight in that create witch burnings, the spanish inquisition, pograms, holocausts and the many other genocides and the ritual abuses of people in various ways including the vilification men as patriarchal rapists especially if they are white, and all women regardless of race as irrational and therefore second class citizens, etc. etc.

how is that a synchronicity? to address the taoist part of your query i went to find an old essay i wrote on the taoist nature of edward de vere, aka, shakespeare. i didn't find it. (i think it is on my other computer currently in storage.) i did find another similar essay i had long forgotten that addresses this in my look at orwell's delightful castigation of tolstoy's complete dismissal of shakespeare as the most incompetent and miserable writer of english that has ever existed. this is how orwell described tolstoy's critique: "tolstoy's main contention is that shakespeare is a trivial, shallow writer, with no coherent philosophy, no thoughts or ideas worth bothering about, no interest in social or religious problems, no grasp of character or probability, and, in so far as he could be said to have a definable attitude at all, with a cynical, immoral, worldly outlook on life."

synchronicity 2) last night, for the first time since maybe writing that blog-post-essay, i talked with my guest staying with me about the value he found in tolstoy's war and peace, and my inability to finish anna karanina because it had no value to me — except the opening comment about the uniqueness of family’s in misery. i think now that my antipathy with tolstoy is because tolstoy is a moralising-moralist without humour — the exact topic of my next essay! by ‘chance’ shortly after writing my last essay on morals as the reason-drug’s pusher, the thought/realisation came to me to explore how a lack of humour is a significant tell of the ’true’ moralist.

anyway, if you are interested in that essay within which i connect the ideas of taoism and buddhism at the same time, here is "tolstoy, orwell, and the tao of shakespeare" (2009). https://egajd.blogspot.com/2009/10/20091012-tolstoy-orwell-and-tao-of.html

now more specifically, why did i refer to buddhism? oops! one more slight delay: note that i may be being overly sensitive to your manner of asking your question because it seems to me, the feeling i get, is that my reference to buddhism debased or undermined my previous comments: "... why refer to buddhism? would you mind connecting this brilliant writing with your comment a bit further?' by that it seems to me that you imagine that buddhism isn't brilliant, or has no ability to increase the brilliance of and/or augment or deepen de vere's language? why do you have that thought, if you do? do you have a predisposed opinion of buddhism that came to you from somewhere or someone? is my feeling correct or not? (this is why a conversation would be much easier to explore these subtleties!)

in the context of this particular short comment above, i refer not so much to *buddhism*, which is a multifaceted and fascinating devolution of what gautama actually taught. my specific reference is to gautama's concept of dependent co-arising or dependent origination. (amazingly enough the idea is at the core of heisenberg's uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics.) see 'what is dependent origination?' https://tricycle.org/beginners/buddhism/dependent-origination/

what i referred to in this case is that the previous theories of shakespeare’s brilliance, despite his paucity of exposure to life and education, was that it came into him as a gift from god, as if by an act of divine intervention. i don't dismiss that as a possibility. however, it is much more fulfilling and spiritual and god-like to appreciate that de vere was divinely inspired to pursue his experiences of life augmented by his reading to see what is the context, meaning, experience of life in its fullest expression. so, in the way that all thing are connected de vere was connected to his life and the divine, not as an isolated anomaly outside of somatic life. this makes the writing even more beautiful. to me.

and his writing more taoist because, unlike the likes of the drydens and tolstoys who moralise, de vere engaged the entire range of the human life expression and experience in its full complexity and interweaving of 'good' and 'evil', 'funny' and 'sad', 'tragic' and 'heroic' without moralist imposition. the value of the words as carriers of ideas to be explored for ‘truth’ arise naturally, without them being something beaten into us with moralist pretension and preachiness as singular truths as deemed necessary by the morals de jour.

that is all. i’m not sure if that is enough, too much or too little. again, i thank you for the courage you revealed to reach out into your unknown. you have assisted me a great deal with my own processes of examination of what is, what might be, and what might not be.

all the best, with peace, respect, love and gratitude.

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Indeed, I have displayed my ignorance. Forgive me.

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hola, uj.

there is no need to be forgiven for our ignorance! ignorance is our natural state and you have shown the great and pretty amazing courage to ask openly about what you don't know. that has become even more amazing in this time of the convid, when the demand to remain ignorant has become a halmark of obedience disguised as intelligence and even wisdom. do you remember 'i am the science so you mere underlings stop questioning my truth'?

my reply was not one of judgement at all. and i consider myself more ignorant now than at any time in my life. and you question asked me to really examine what i think i know and provided a path towards greater understanding. be kind to yourself, be compassionate in the highest most gentle ways that jesus asked of us.

all the best, with peace, respect, love and gratitude.

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I withdrew because I was embarrassed over my ignorance and learned a lesson of humility. I will read more extensively before I comment in future. I'm grateful for the kind response, truly.

Indeed, we have learned so very much about ourselves and others.

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You have expressed yourself with beauty and grace.

All the best with what is changing -- everything is changing.

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Thanks again for posting more Liam Scheff. I enjoyed the film Anonymous, very well done and bought the story to my attention. Reading this makes it even clearer. It adds to the list of plandemic, vaccines, moon landings, world wars, 9/11 and all the other official stories we've been led to believe that just don't hold up to scrutiny.

And still, regardless of their authorship, how lucky we are to have 'Shakespeare's' works!

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Mar 11, 2023Liked by Unbekoming

Great article Frank. Thankyou.

" Of all of the wonders I have but heard it seems to me most strange that men should fear. Given that death, a necessary end will come when it will come." Such a great mantra!

Fear is the first enemy of a man of knowledge - Don Juan Matus - the teachings of Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda.

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Thank you for introducing us to Liam Scheff's work. I found this link that is also very informative. https://iccinvestigation.wordpress.com/author/willdraw/ I am very saddened to learn of Liam's death by suicide in 2017.

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I don't think that's correct. He died of natural causes as a result of dental work I believe.

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Thank you for update: what I read might not be correct.

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There are reports his death was suicide and I'm sure we will never the know the truth. As some commentators have suggested he may have been the target of unscrupulous people who felt threatened by the insights he had into 'official stories'. He was definitely in a lot of discomfort towards the end of his life. Very sad.

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What a fantastic article!!!!

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I love this idea....I will get the book (probably more than one).

I have always heard that Shakespeare wasn't really Shakespeare, and what is written makes so

much more sense...thank you!

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Thank you for sharing the fascinating insights into Shakespeare - a welcome departure from Covid news. It reminds me of how enjoyable and engaging reading was before we were all forced to spend our spare time researching vaccines, reading clinical trials and navigating tyrannical mandates.

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My highschool English teacher alluded to the idea that Shakespeare wasn't exactly Bill, pointed to Marlow but that was as much time as could be spared for the conversation. But she did plant the seed of doubt, often the best we can do in the system of systems that we live in. Good teacher.

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Brilliant exposition!

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 27, 2023

Part IV

OK, Oxford.

Oxford, as you know, published under his own name. C.S. Lewis, in his 700-page survey of non-dramatic English literature in the 16th century, disposes of Oxford in a single sentence (kind of like the Earth entry in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). What does he say? “Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, shows, here and there, a faint talent, but is for the most part undistinguished and verbose.” De Vere wasn’t within a million miles of Shakespeare on his best day. You say he wrote in his own name until he started writing as Shakespeare, but the fact is he just didn’t publish enough for a claim like that to mean anything.

We have a bunch of letters Oxford wrote late in life, when Shakespeare was hitting his heights in the 1590s and early 1600s. Unfortunately the links to the original letters at Kathman’s website are broken. That is a pity, because the letters reveal a boring, greedy, rather stupid man. Kathman’s discussion of the letters is below.


So what happened to Oxford the polymath, the universal genius? He doesn’t exist, outside the pages of Oxfordian books. The guy with the “undistinguished and verbose” poetry, the guy begging for a tin concession at the end of his life? That’s the real Oxford.

A few side notes. If you’re going to continue writing stuff like this, you don’t want people to laugh at you. 1. You refer to Oxford’s Gideon Bible. You mean his Geneva Bible. The Gideons are the guys who put Bibles in motels around the world. (Also, Oxford’s alleged Bible is another red herring – see Kathman for details.) 2. You refer to Shakespeare’s two epic poems. You mean Venus & Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Those aren’t epic poems. Examples of epic poems would be the Iliad, the Aeneid, and Paradise Lost – long, serious poems about “heroic” subjects – the Trojan War, the founding of Rome, and the revolt of the angels and the fall of man, respectively. V&A is about 1200 lines, while the Iliad is about 16,000 – big difference. I think the technical term for V&A and Lucrece is epyllia (singular epyllion), but you can just call them narrative poems.

* * *

Since you want to discuss conspiracy theories generally, some closing thoughts. The Shakespeare Conspiracy, pretending for the moment that it existed, has no political valence today. It’s easy to see why Authority might want you to believe that JFK was killed by a lone nut and not by a high-level conspiracy, that AIDS/COVID didn’t come from a lab, and that mRNA vaccines are good for you. But there is no reason for Authority to care who wrote Shakespeare’s plays and poems. In your telling the authorship conspiracy started because the plays were romans a clef about Elizabeth’s court and the true author would have gotten in trouble had his identity become known. It continued for centuries after all that became irrelevant because for some reason everyone who knew the truth died without troubling to set the record straight, so the lie continued to pass for truth out of sheer inertia. De Vere’s candidacy has reactionary implications if any: only a rich privileged nobleman would have the education and life experiences necessary to write the plays, not some clod from the sticks.

In an attempt to give the authorship question significance, you say “children are lied to on a daily basis. They are told that some boob magically became the most important genius or any other, not by working or studying or living or trying or striving or learning – but by pure genius.” Well, sorry, but no one thinks that except you. People who think that Shakespeare was the true author believe that after becoming an actor, he gradually began writing in collaboration with others, and then he progressed from apprentice stuff like TGOV (which would be completely forgotten today if Shakespeare hadn’t written it) and collaborative work like the Henry VI plays, then up to the tremendous histrionics of Richard III to the much subtler poetry of Richard II to the brilliant creation of Falstaff in Henry IV up to the transcendent genius of Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear. It didn’t just happen; it was the product of decades of hard work and, yes, genius. All writers know that writing is hard work, be they grammar school students or post-docs. In his tribute to Shakespeare in the First Folio, Jonson writes, “Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,/(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat/Upon the Muses anvile; turne the same/(And himself with it) that he thinkes to frame;/Or for the laurell, he may gaine a scorne,/For a good Poet’s made, as well as borne.” Just so. Shakespeare made himself Shakespeare through arduous toil, and no one believes otherwise.

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Part III

May as well take up actors…you consider it so disgraceful a profession that saying you were an actor was like admitting you’d done porn in college. Wrong. When Shakespeare’s colleague Richard Burbage died “the citizens of London grieved with an extravagance that surpassed their official mourning for the death of Queen Anne some eleven days earlier.” https://www.jstor.org/stable/24303970 (And if you’re thinking, “Aha, they weren’t that upset about Shakespeare!” well, what can I say. Even today people mourn movie stars, not scriptwriters.) William Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke and one of the dedicatees of the First Folio, wrote to a friend that he couldn’t stand the thought of going to a play “so soon after the loss of my old acquaintance, Burbage.”

You say “whoever wrote the plays got Italy of the era entirely right (and hold that thought).” Yes, hold tight. Did you know that Verona was a seaport and you got from Verona to Milan by sea? Well, that’s what Shakespeare thought, at least at the time that he wrote Two Gentleman of Verona. Nor is that all that’s wrong with the play, if you're manning the "Shakespeare knew Italy" barricade. An outlaw swears by the "bare scalp of Robin Hood's fat friar" -- I can't imagine too many condottieri were in the habit of doing that. The servants Launce and Speed go to an alehouse in Milan where five pence will buy five thousand welcomes -- does that seem Italian to you? Most of the character names are not particularly Italian. Shakespeare thinks Milan is ruled by an emperor rather than a duke and that Verona is ruled by a duke rather than by Venice. In real life there are mountains to the north of Milan and Mantua is to the south, but in the play the Duke/Emperor orders a rendezvous "Upon the rising of the mountain-foot /That leads toward Mantua" to catch Eglamour and Sylvia. "Don" is used as an honorific, which makes lots of sense if you suppose an apprentice playwright with a limited education is using a Spanish source but transposing the story to modern "Italy" to satisfy popular taste. But it makes no sense if you suppose the playwright is a high-ranking noble steeped in Italian ways.

TGOV was very early, of course, and Shakespeare got better at Italy. But he never stopped making mistakes about the place. Even at the end of his career, in The Tempest, the geography of Milan described as Prospero and Miranda are being hurried out of the city into exile is impossible to square with reality, unless you imagine that Milan’s geography is like London’s, in which case it works fine.

You ask where Shakespeare got his kings and nobles. The answer is, he got them from popular histories and chronicles, the same place where his contemporary playwrights (who, like him, were all commoners) got their kings and nobles. Here’s a quotation from Holinshed’s Chronicles that I happen to have handy.

'It fortuned as Makbeth and Banquho iournied towards Fores, where the king then laie, they went sporting by the waie togither without other companie, saue onelie themselues, passing thorough the woods and fields, when suddenlie in the middest of a laund, there met them thrée women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world, whome when they attentiuelie beheld, woondering much at the sight, the first of them spake and said; "All haile Makbeth, thane of Glammis" (for he had latelie entered into that dignitie and office by the death of his father Sinell.) The second of them said; "Haile Makbeth thane of Cawder." But the third said; "All haile Makbeth that héerafter shalt be king of Scotland."'

Sound familiar?

There’s a passage from Anthony and Cleopatra that follows Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s description of Cleopatra’s barge so slavishly that certain weak-minded persons have argued that North was the “true” Shakespeare. And Shakespeare was no more noted for his knowledge of the upper classes than he was recognized as a master of the classics. John Dryden wrote in the 1600s that Beaumont and Fletcher were much better than Shakespeare and Jonson at rendering gentlemen, because B&F had spent more time in good society.

You write that “Military, legal, scientific, and literary historians who study the works of Shakespeare agree that whoever wrote them understood at the highest level the advanced disciplines of his age.” Yeah, no. If I were to pick the topics about which Shakespeare knew the least, I’d probably go with geography, history (except for the chronicles) and military matters. Jonson mocked him for giving Bohemia a seacoast; I bet it would have been funny to see how far away Shakespeare thought Sicily was. He thought the oracle at Delphi was an island. He thinks nothing of having ancient Athens be ruled by a duke. Troilus and Cressida is about the Trojan War, but the leading characters are all medieval knights and ladies, and Hector quotes Aristotle, who lived a thousand years after Hector, had Hector actually existed. Shakespeare talks a lot about artillery in King John, but cannon didn’t yet exist in Europe in King John’s time. Shakespeare seems more or less innocent of the details of military rank. I fail to discern any strategic brilliance in his handling of war. In his battle-scenes, men rush on stage, declaim, and rush off again, as they did in the battle-scenes of his contemporaries.

Turning to the law: I’m a lawyer, and I can tell you with confidence that nothing like the trial scene in The Merchant of Venice ever happened in the history of jurisprudence. As drama it’s tremendous; as law it’s just silly. I have a book from two other lawyers, Paul Clarkson and Clyde Warren, The Law of Property in Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Drama (1942). They conclude, and illustrate with copious examples from Shakespeare and his contemporaries, that Shakespeare’s use of terminology from property law in his plays and poems was, in frequency and accuracy, average for his time. His metaphors drawn from the law were often quite vivid, but that’s because he was a great writer, not because he was a legal wiz. Shakespeare, compared to modern writers, makes pretty heavy use of metaphors drawn from the law; but so do his contemporaries, also non-lawyers.

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Part II

On to Stratford. You think it was a filthy ignorant backwater, but it wasn’t. It had a nice grammar school staffed with masters hired from Oxford or Cambridge. We have a letter from an eleven-year-old Stratfordian, Richard Quiney, Jr., to his father in 1598. It’s in Latin. How good were your Latin letters when you were eleven? We have no attendance records for the school before 1700, but presumably the school wasn’t paying the masters to do nothing. Shakespeare, as the son of an alderman, was entitled to attend for free. You list John Shakespeare as a butcher. He was a glover and an alderman, and for a time mayor of Stratford. He then appears to have fallen on hard times before getting bailed out by his son, who was quite well-off by the late 1590s.

What did they study at the grammar school? Latin, Latin, and more Latin. A little Greek. What authors? Ovid, Plutarch, Cato, Terence. I had to smile when you expressed astonishment that Ovid turns up in Shakespeare’s work so much. Of course he does! Ovid is one of the backbones of a grammar school curriculum. Trying to draw a connection between Shakespeare’s work and de Vere on the basis of Ovid is like saying, “this kid writes about Star Wars all the time, he must have grown up in George Lucas’s house.” Incidentally, there’s an old book by T.W. Baldwin available on the internet archive about the likely content of grammar instruction in the Stratford school. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.3734/page/n685/mode/2up It ties a number of passages from schoolboy passages of Ovid to passages from the plays.

Was Shakespeare some kind of master of the classics, then? By no means! Andrew Lang wrote a nice little book on Shakespeare authorship over 100 years ago. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/5127/5127-h/5127-h.htm Unlike me, and I suspect you, he studied Latin in school. He found errors in Shakespeare’s Latin as revealed by the plays that he, Lang, never would have made. Shakespeare was a brilliant writer, but no scholar. Hence in Jonson’s tribute to Shakespeare there’s the famous reference to Shakespeare’s “small Latine and less Greeke” which T.W. Baldwin later took for the title of his own study.

Jonson’s line is consistent with a lot of contemporary and subsequent commentary on Shakespeare -- that he was natural, untutored, uneducated. An early sample of this is (probably) Francis Beaumont’s lines written to Jonson (probably) around 1608:

. . . here I would let slip

(If I had any in me) scholarship,

And from all Learning keep these lines as clear

as Shakespeares best are, which our heirs shall hear,

Preachers apt to their auditors to show

how far sometimes a mortal man may go

by the dim light of Nature

For the balance of the 17th century, it was standard to compare “natural” Shakespeare and “learned” Jonson. I could fill pages with quotes of that kind. And so could you, if you ploughed through this allusion book. https://archive.org/details/shakspereallusio02ingluoft Of course, this is inconsistent with authorship theories, which claim that the plays and poems betray far too much learning for a grammar school boy to have written them. But no one in Shakespeare’s time or long after he was dead thought of him or his work as learned.

Your reference to Shakespeare’s alleged thick Warwickshire accent, a staple of Oxfordian pseudo-biography, made me smile again. I knew a man, a theater manager as it happens, in London. Although he hadn’t attended university, he spoke some of the most beautiful English I have ever heard. I met his mom and siblings once, and they had cockney accents so thick I could barely understand them at all. I imagine Shakespeare had his Warwickshire accent under control. He was a successful actor in London, after all.

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Part I

You have a theory: the true author of Shakespeare’s plays was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. He had to conceal his identity because his plays contained truthful accounts of events in Elizabeth’s court. In particular, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth’s chief minister and de Vere’s father-in-law, was mocked in the character of Polonius, the garrulous old fool in Hamlet. As his front man, de Vere chose William Shakespeare, a London actor.

This theory makes no sense. First, the plays were subject to censorship before they could be played or printed. Topical references in plays could be, and were, removed. But it could have been much worse than that. Lord Burghley was the most powerful man in England. He died in 1598, probably before Hamlet was staged, but his son Robert took his place as Elizabeth’s chief minister. If Burghley had been written into Hamlet as Polonius, Robert could have gone to William Shakespeare and threatened “to have a tooth torn out, a finger, nose or an ear cut off, or simply [have him] be locked in the Tower of London and executed.”

And what do you suppose William Shakespeare would have done then?

Here’s a high-level overview of your authorship problem. There are a bunch of plays and poems published during Shakespeare’s lifetime with his name on them. In fact he is the most published playwright, by far, in the 1590s and 1600s. His long narrative poems Venus & Adonis and Rape of Lucrece also do very well. There are a bunch of references to him, admiring or envious, as an author of plays and poems. Excerpts from his work get republished in popular anthologies under his name. Some of the references to him seem to point more or less clearly to an author who is a non-university educated actor in a prominent troupe. There’s a collection of 36 plays published seven years after Shakespeare died identifying him as the author. The collection contains a preface and a dedication by two of his comrades from the troupe. The dedication is addressed to William and Philip Herbert, two prominent nobles closely involved in the theater, and notes that they had honored both the plays and the author, when he was alive. It’s also got a great tribute poem from Shakespeare’s chief rival among London playwrights, Ben Jonson. Also, there’s a fancy monument in Stratford put up shortly after Shakespeare’s death.

That’s what Shakespeare’s got. And everybody else has…nothing. No attributions, no praise, no anthologies, no collections, no admiring poems, no monuments. Nothing, nada, zip. What authorship enthusiasts have to offer is: read Hamlet or Sonnet 125 or whatever the way I want you to and you’ll see that Shakespeare the provincial boob couldn’t possibly have written it. And also my reading will prove to you that Edward de Vere or the Earl of Derby or Sir Francis Bacon or whoever definitely did write it. And also please buy my theory as to why the true authorship was concealed for 200 plus years and nevertheless, I’ve figured out who the real author is.

This approach will never succeed. Scholars are never going to throw up their hands and say, “yes, there’s evidence for Shakespeare, and no evidence for your guy, but your reading of Hamlet is really good, so we’re going to ignore the evidence and go with your guy.” Authorship skeptics are putting up Nothing against Something. Something beats Nothing every time.

It’s not impossible that authorship skeptics could come up with Something. If it could be proved, for example, that Shakespeare couldn’t have written the plays – he was illiterate, say, or he couldn’t speak English, or that he died before they were written – that would definitely be Something. But that proof is never going to be forthcoming. Or if there was a manuscript in de Vere’s or Bacon’s handwriting, obviously that would be Something. Unlike proving Shakespeare illiterate, a manuscript turning up is not impossible, but it has never happened, and it seems extremely likely that it never will. So authorship theories are going to stay on the fringe.

That said, a lot of the things that you imagine support your theory are false. Let’s go through them. For the will and the spelling of Shakespeare’s name, I’ll refer you to David Kathman, who put together a very fine website on Shakespearean authorship in solid antique 1990s internet style.


On the will, he notes that lots of people besides Shakespeare who very clearly had books nevertheless didn’t mention them in their wills, and plenty of playwrights failed to mention manuscripts. I’ll add that I own thousands of books, and they’re very dear to me, but I don’t say a word about them in my will. You say that Shakespeare dictated the will to his attorney, but that’s poppycock. I’m a lawyer, and most of the verbiage in that will seems clearly drawn from legal forms of the period. I’ve read other wills from back then and they don’t read very differently.

On the spelling of Shakespeare’s name: Kathman, bless his soul, lists every spelling for Shakespeare’s entire life. You should definitely check out his site for details, but the highlights are: (i) Shakespeare, the way we spell it today, was the most common spelling of his name, both in London and Stratford, and in literary and non-literary contexts; and (ii) the occasional hyphenations mean nothing, and definitely don’t indicate the presence of a pseudonym.


I’ll add that arguments founded on spelling ca. 1600 are a waste of time; it was wholly irregular. As Kathman notes, we have one signature from Christopher Marlow; he spells his surname “Marley.”

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It's great that you're bringing Liam's work to a wider audience.

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I 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒅 this. Thank you!

As I read this, it occurred to me that Einstein's reputation as a genius could bear the same kind of scrutiny.

Of course, that 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 story mentioned toward the end tolerates no scrutiny whatsoever 𝒂𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒍 by anyone. 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒓. It's official. That settles it, and if anyone dares hang a question mark on any aspect of it, prepare for at a minimum vitriolic assault, accusations, ostracism -- and at worst, depending on the gulag one lives in, jail time.

Now. Isn't. 𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒕. Just. So. 𝑺𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍?

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You are correct about Einstein indeed. Once you read Einstein the Incorrigible Plagiarist, you’ll be convinced he was a fraud.

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