Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All about Oxford

I am digging into my research today on Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Most of you have likely not heard of the guy, and I had not until my freshman year of college, oh so many years ago (too many for me to admit). I was in Composition II, and our final assignment was to write a persuasive essay on anything we wished (after writing several on a variety of assigned topics like gun control, capital punishment, abortion, etc.). I couldn't find a topic I really cared about at all, but fortunately my parents watched a lot of public television.

I was watching Frontline on PBS on Sunday evening, the day before our chosen topics had to be turned in, and it's title that week was "The Shakespeare Mystery," and it brought up the idea that William Shakspere of Stratford had not written the plays at all, but instead, as a growing group of people contended, Edward de Vere did. I'll admit I scoffed at first. By the end of the hour, though, I had serious doubts. I researched the topic diligently, and was surprised to find that a huge number of books on the subject were right in my small college's library, ripe for the reading.

And, after much research, I had to admit I had become an Oxfordian, joining such famous people as Kenneth Branagh and Sir John Gielgud. (Shakespearean actors tend to be more open to the idea of Oxford's authorship than Shakespearean scholars--big surprise). I've been fiddling with these ideas ever since, and now that I've found a used copy of Oxford's biography, The Mysterious William Shakespeare, I'm researching everything, constructing timelines, planning out major events, all in hopes of creating a magnificent full-length play.

As most of you know, though, my first drafts tend to stink, so I'll be making a truly mediocre version first, then revising it to death until it's actually worth performing onstage. Wish me luck!


  1. I wish you luck, and my daughters dream is to attend oxford. If you ever need someone to give you an honest opinion of what “they” think of your work, you have my email.

  2. If you feel like digging a little deeper than Ogburn, or perhaps I should say casting a wider net, check out my blog on Oxford and the Authorship Question in general at Discussions occur and feedback and questions are encouraged.

    Stephanie Hopkins Hughes

  3. Thanks, Stephanie Barr! I hope to have a great time!

    Jeff, I would love to go to Oxford myself, too. England is on my bucket list (along with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales).

    Stephanie Hughes, I've already checked out your page, and I will DEFINITELY go back as I research. You handle skeptics well. Believe me, too, Ogburn's text is only one of dozens I'm using for the research. I was just happy to own the copy, since none of my local libraries carry it.

  4. I recently ran into an article on this very topic, but it wasn't Oxford who was getting credit--it was a Jewish Conversa.

  5. The Mother, I will definitely check out the site. Thanks!