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Four Essays on the Shakespeare Authorship Question [Paperback]

Mike A'Dair
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 April 2012
Now in its third edition, Four Essays on the Shakespeare Authorship Question is an introduction to the authorship issue. The first essay examines the evidence for why William Shakspere, the man from Stratford, cannot have been William Shakespeare, the author of the Works. The second essay offers 48 arguments for why Edward de Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, was Shakespeare. The third essay explores the secret identity of Edward de Vere and explains why the timeless works of the aristocratic courtier, poet and playwright were attributed to the journeyman actor and businessman from Stratford, not just during de Vere's life, but for three centuries after his death. These essays draw upon the research and insights of many authors who have been investigating the authorship question since 1859, including Charles Wisner Barrell, Charlton and Dorothy Ogburn, Hank Whittemore, Mark Twain, John Thomas Looney, Charlton Ogburn, Jr., Elisabeth Sears, Paul Streitz, John Hamill and others. Four Essays on the Shakespeare Authorship Question is both a primer on the authorship question and a sophisticated treatise on the Prince Tudor theory. In teasing out the evidence for de Vere's true relationship to Queen Elizabeth, A'Dair offers a new theory on his parentage. In postulating a romantic love relationship between de Vere and his son, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton, A'Dair may have illuminated the most shocking truth of all about the greatest poet in the English language.

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Four Essays on the Shakespeare Authorship Question + The De Vere Code: Proof of the True Author of Shake-Speares Sonnets
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Product details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Verisimilitude Press (1 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615527930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615527932
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 821,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Real conspiracy 25 May 2014
By noddy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This topic fascinates me; there is so little information on Shakespeare and the tiny bit there is is used by academia to hang a ton weight of suppositions and guesses on disguised as fact. So many people are in love with the idea of an 'ordinary' lad done good ie a barely literate rural boy who was able to write like an expensively educated (ie aristocratic) scholar. That romantic ideal is lovely and politically correct but not likely or even possible given the historical period in question. So, of course, that leaves the question of who did write the plays and sonnets and this book is one of a few which attempts to answer it. For me as good as thriller and if you read about Edward Earl of Oxford's life here and in other books such as that by Oxford's modern day ancestor (sorry I forget his name now), a poignant tale of an orphan beleaguered in the Tudor court where he is used and abused at whim. His vast ancestral lands are taken by the state when his father dies in mysterious circumstances and his mother seems to just disappear. I wont tell any more but I found it well worth a read even if you do not believe that Oxford was Shakespeare.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended! 18 Jan 2012
By Gary L - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow! What a book!

However, it should come with a warning label: "Caution - Not for the faint of heart!" The best way to describe it is "The Double Prince Tudor Theory...On Steroids!!" I think most students of the controversy will know what I mean. Those of us who are Oxfordians consider ourselves to be open-minded. Otherwise we wouldn't be Oxfordians in the first place. Well, trust me: Your open-mindedness will be pushed to the limit after you read this book.

As a byproduct of studying the Shakespeare-Oxford authorship question for about 25 years, I long ago came to the realization that Tudor England was a dysfunctional, authoritarian society that produced dysfunctional individuals and dysfunctional relationships. This was especially true in the Elizabethan court circles and is most dramatically personified in the seemingly unexplainable composite biography of Edward DeVere that has emerged in recent years. Without this perspective, it is almost impossible to make sense of the more bizarre revelations about DeVere, Queen Elizabeth, Southampton, the Burghley's, and the many others involved in this complex mystery. Mike A'Dair has succeeded in fitting together all the pieces of this puzzle, weaving an intricate mosaic that, in my mind at least, explains the authorship questions in all its ramifications.

I've read most of the more notable and controversial books that have come along in recent years, including those of authors Charlton Ogburn, Paul Streitz, Hank Whittemore, Joseph Sobran, Elisabeth Sears, Mark Anderson, Diana Price, and Charles Beauclerk, among many others. All have made significant contributions to the Oxfordian cause and all have proposed ideas that seem to make sense. But I've often wondered how could all of them be correct? Don't some theories mitigate against others? They can't all possibly be right. That's true, but A'Dair selectively "picks and chooses" through all these books, adopting many of the major themes and successfully incorporates them into a "big picture" that makes sense of the entire controversy. He offers a coherent explanation as to why DeVere wrote under the pseudonym "William Shake-speare", and why this fabrication had to be maintained after his death and even over the ensuing centuries. Putting it all in the context of dysfunctional Tudor society, he exposes the many bizarre relationships of these major players that have been successfully concealed for over 400 years.

The book consists of four essays dealing with different aspects of the authorship question. The first essay effectively demolishes the quaint notion that William Shaksper of Stratford-on-Avon was the author of the Shakespeare cannon. The second establishes the case for DeVere as the author, writing under the hyphenated pseudonym, "William Shake-speare." Many of the ideas presented here will be old-hat to Oxfordians of long standing, but these are detailed, intricate studies, and I found enough fresh material to make them enjoyable reads. Furthermore, these two essays can be used as an effective primer for those who you are trying to introduce to the controversy.

It's in the third essay where things really get hot, and where A'Dair makes significant new contributions to the authorship question. His conclusions are controversial - no doubt about that - but he makes his points based solely on the evidence that he has before him using his signature unemotional, matter-of-fact reasoning and writing style. He's so calm and controlled, I often wondered if he appreciated the significance of what he was proposing! I won't enumerate his controversial conclusions here - I'll let you read them for yourself. To my mind, he presents a convincing case.

If you are new to the controversy wondering what all the fuss is about, or if you are a seasoned Oxfordian like me, I suggest you read this book and make up your own mind as to whether or not Mike A'Dair has made a convincing case for Edward DeVere. But fasten your seat beats and take your heart medication before you do! And bring an open mind...Otherwise, you'll think Mike A'Dair has gone totally over the edge.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to all who have an open mind, and with no vested interest in this fascinating subject other than an urgent and pressing pursuit of the truth.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet's Ghost Exposed! 26 Feb 2012
By GregrE - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gary Livacari's pithy sub-title above sums it up nicely: Double Prince Tudor Theory...On Steroids!!

Mike A'Dair will knock your socks off. If you thought it took a bit to first come to terms with the shock of the Prince Tudor 2 theory, A'Dair has still more shocks in store. But of course they are only shocking because of their plausibility. He is the first to acknowledge they offer only an alternative to the standard PT2 arguments (from for example Streitz, Whittemore and Beauclerk) but, put it this way, when you read A'Dair's theory on De Vere's parentage, Hamlet suddenly starts to sound like a documentary.

Essentially, this is one essay in four chapters. The first provides an excellent summation of the basis for doubt and the second for Oxfordianism - the 4th is summary of the 3rd. The 3rd is A'Dair's new conjectures. Like Livacari, I will try not to give too much away but will offer a few teasers...

The first conjecture on Oxford's parents is riveting - and if 'Hamlet' can be read literally then the theory seems unimpeachable. Of course, Whittemore, Streitz etc would probably come back and argue that tragically De Vere might have simply not known who his real parents were, that - tragic irony of ironies - his name was in fact not truer than truth ie not 'vere' but Seymour! So not without a serious potential counter but then at least equally plausible.

A second set of conjectures relates to the forgotten participants in this dysfunctional family, Elizabeth Trentham (de Vere's second wife) and the child she had, the future 18th Earl of Oxford, Henry De Vere who had a long and close friendship with Southampton. This conjecture casts fascinating questions over that triangular relationship and the dark lady references in the Sonnets.

A third conjecture asks us to look again at the Sonnets and see what they are telling us about the author's relationship with his son. This conjecture asks us to swallow hardest on our squeamish modern sensibilities but - as Livacari also notes - when we start to fully comprehend the dysfunctionality of this extended family and the times, it starts to sound very credible.

Greg Ellis
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More Recycling 20 July 2013
By B. C. Hackman - Published on
This book is just the usual recycled Oxfordian fluff. But first, the recycler's bio warrants a quick snark, being such a piece of self-serving piffle. Ooh, ooh, I've had an epiphany, and want to share it with you, so I laid out some of my hard-earned cash and had this puppy self-published by the Verisimilitude Press, no less, because everything I say is so true. Get over yourself.

I used the "Look Inside" option, a truly wonderful money-saving feature. By clicking just one entry (#15) from the list of regurgitated pablum that opens this screed, we find another typical example of twisted Oxfordian interpretation re the Ostler suit. Not that any Oxfordian would care to know the truth, but a correct reading of "prefato Willelmo Shakespeare" must consider the "prefato" that precedes and thus modifies Shakespeare, thus separating the "aforementioned" Shakespeare from the following Phillips and Pope, both of whom had died 10 years earlier, and thus to whom the "generosis defunctis" correctly applies--both grammatically and historically. A fuller explanation, including the niceties of legal Latin punctuation, is available in "Shakespeare in Fact" (pp. 38-40). But since Oxfordians have no actual facts for Oxford, it's not surprising that they would steer clear of Matus, or any other actual facts, except for the pretend facts they invent to prop up their fantasy.

A further peek finds Chapter 4 beginning with double Tudor and the unsupported assertion that young Oxford translated Ovid. More wishful revisionist re-imaginings of Elizabethan history to fit Oxfordian theory--where Oxfordians make the evidence fit the theory, rather than the theory fit the evidence. And when the evidence does not fit, e.g., the FF, Oxfordians trot out a ludicrous conspiracy to explain it away.


12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Will Deepen Your Connection to the Canon... 24 Oct 2011
By Lanny Cotler - Published on
At first, I thought "Who cares?" and "Why does it matter?" I've thought about the question since my English Lit major at UC Berkeley in the 60s. Then I read this book. Now it matters.

For years, I read the various contentions and was not persuaded. I didn't believe anyone could prove that Marlow or Johnson or the Earl of Oxford wrote them. Oxford (Edward de Vere) had a number of other functions he was fulfilling that had to do with full time engagement in state affairs and his own tortured and convoluted relationships...what difference could it possibly make: one man is as gone to us as another and someone wrote the canon.

What I find intriguing is that Will's work has become a sort of Holy Writ. And I've rarely heard anyone talk about how terrible some of the plays are--Titus Andronicus, Henry VI--and I've read them all more than once. Many are piss poor by any standard, just as some of Hemmiingway's stuff is bad. So why the fuss about whether Chris or Ben or Eddie wrote the plays and poetry? Does the unevenness of the plays makes it seem more likely, not less, that the Stratford man wrote them? Not at all.

A'Dair's essays are good, thorough, and provocative. They give pith and moment to the humanity of the man who did the writing. What were humans, high and low born, in England at the turn of the 17th century doing with their lives? The plays give us insight; but knowing the truth about the man who wrote them gives us even more. In this case, more is better. Get this book. It will add a whole new level of connection to each of the plays and poems.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars totally biased 27 July 2013
By B. J Robbins - Published on
This is a book written by Oxfordians for Oxfordians....Any of those questions about Shakespeare can be answered by anyone knowledgeable about his life....Of course, it is obvious that Oxies are totally ignorant about Shakespeare, or are simply playing dumb....these are questions that can be easily answered for the most part...others require a little research that of course Oxies are not very good at and don't want to do....

I love "He has no books in his will"....actually my mother had many books in her possession, including a terrific set of Shakespeare, which were not mentioned in her will either...I have them now..."His daughters could not read or write" Susanna probably could, and perhaps taught her mother when they lived together in New Place....Judith we don't know...but Shakespeare left Stratford when the girls were little and it was up to Ann to see that they learned these things, and since girls did not go to school back then, middle class girls at least, there is nothing unusual that they could not read....most girls were kept at home to do those many things that had to be done around the house that don't have to be done now....And.....what the heck does this have to do with William Shakespeare of Stratford writing the plays? NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, there are a few questions about Shakespeare....the Lost Years.....there are a few questions re: Darwin's Theory of Evolution too, but it is accepted as a fact...but both explain so much that they are accepted as the best explanations. The evidence that Shakespeare wrote the plays is, of course, not presented in this book, as it is overwhelming and trumps any questions....

In EK Chamber's book "William ShakespeareD: A Study in Facts and Problems" he goes over the source of "The Tempest" which is more problematic than other plays of was first staged in 16ll, fact, and again in 1613 fact...the Sea Venture sank in 1609 and publish reports were reported soon after.....Chambers lists many different sources of Shakespeare's Tempest....that were available for him to read...and admits that much of it may have come from his imagination, which was at its richest point....there is no mystery about The Tempest...and the attempt of Oxies to arribute it to Oxford after his death is ridiculous...

The evidence for the Gent from Stratford is so overwhelming, that the information on Eddie de Vere, is at best, immaterial and irrelevant...any "evidence" is purely subjective interpretation of the plays, a totally unscholastic attitude of examination....If any evidence had been uncovered in the 100 years since Looney's book, and Eddie de Vere was proven to be the author of the plays called Shakespearean, don't you think it would have been on the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the world? Because that is lacking, it is called "negative evidence".

Instead we get a plethora of books repeating the same nonsense....a tidal wave of misinformation, bad scholarship, and wishful thinking and fantasia.....a cottage industry that will convince only the those newbies to the argument who want to be heretics....
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