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William J. Ray (Willits California)

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Shakespeare Suppressed: The Uncensored Truth About Shakespeare and His Works
Shakespeare Suppressed: The Uncensored Truth About Shakespeare and His Works
by Katherine Chiljan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 20.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definitive Analysis of the Stratford "Shakespeare" Mythology, 3 Mar 2014
I have written a lengthy review of 'Shakespeare Suppressed' in the system and will comment because only a single other review appears in the United Kingdom.

In disentangling fact from customary truth about who wrote Shakespeare––custom being a poor second to actual evidence about the greatest writer in English––the author has delivered enlightening conclusions which she considered and supported with a lifetime of study.

The depth and comprehensibility of the book impressed me as much as the passionate but restrained style with which it was written. Katherine Chiljan, while not an academic, well could and may yet be in future. She has the historian's temperament, never exceeding the available evidence. Unlike any other book in this genre, her last section is "Conjectures and Dares", where she deals with the iffy information and does not draw rigid conclusions, only challenges the reader and the Academy to think. That level of integrity is no slight matter.

I would recommend her study to the curious beginner and the professional scholar. All of us have much to learn in this field. It is unconscionable that the supreme literary talent of the English culture has been warped to coincide with a completely unartistic and penurious personality, who never displayed a single interest in thought or art and who never left a single written line. As Emerson wrote, it is "the first of all literary questions".
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2014 3:29 AM BST

Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare (Kindle Singles)
Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare (Kindle Singles)
Price: 1.49

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Shakespeare by Stanley Wells & Co., 20 Feb 2014
Stanley Well's little tract is not a book, at least not in the understood sense of a researched and considered study. It is fifty-seven pages of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust propaganda, with few footnotes, written in a tense polemical stance and punctuated with personal remarks about the unworthy.

It is marred by hasty error. Concordia University is not located in Vermont but in Portland, Oregon. He explains the turtle dove is not a pachyderm like the turtle--but the turtle is a shelled reptile and pachyderms are thick-skinned mammals. Imogen in Cymbeline is mis-named Innogen. He dismissed Oxfordian claims to authorship because Francis Meres mentioned both Oxford and Shakespeare in the same sentence. But Wells is blind to the fact that their two listing placements were arranged to sum to 10, Oxford's Italian nickname, IO, which sounds out as EO, Earl of Oxford. He put it in his very early poetry.

Whether due to advanced age or entrenched privilege, Prof. Wells is completely unable to consider current questions about the Shakespeare authorship in an informed fashion. He has assiduously avoided the skeptical literature which might inform and rejuvenate Shakespearean scholarship. The rebuttals are cheaply clever and lack the power of intuited truth.

Questioners are "anti-Shakespearians", as if curiosity were a form of treachery. They are "deniers", a calculated piece of smear language, grouping anti-Stratfordians with Holocaust and Evolution "deniers". Such inflammatory wording serves no good purpose.

The Stratfordian narrative remains two-dimensional. It lacks any inkling of an artist's inner struggle and anguish that should accompany some of the most tragic and profound literary works ever penned. Well's summary amounts to a fantasy history full of "he would have known"s and "it is virtually certain that"s. He makes excuses instead of revelations. The gaps are of no particular concern. A catechism of assumptions substitutes.

He is out of his philosophical depth, as all Stradfordian ideologues are, uncaring to explain how a cold-blooded penurious money-lender with not a single piece of writing from his hand could be the artistic personality who broke body and soul for the achievement of his art.

One example of bewilderment will have to suffice. Wells wistfully said of "The Phoenix and the Turtle", "I should dearly like to be able to solve" [it]. He can, with a better perspective historically and interpretively. Of course working from the Shakspere fantasy as author, it can never be plumbed. But explicated by William P. Fowler in 'A Poet's Rage', that little poem becomes fully and cathartically clear.

Elizabeth and de Vere, their love eaten whole in the maw of Power, their son unable and unwilling to succeed her, are doomed to die tragic lives, a dead dynasty. "Beauty (Eliza), Truth (Vere) and Rarity (S'Hampton)/ Grace (Royalty) in all simplicity,/ Here enclosed, in cinders lie."

It will not do to place Stanley Wells at the head of a parade of error, toodling on a cracked trumpet. He and the culture deserve better. A sad and disappointing piece of writing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2014 2:38 AM GMT

On the Date, Sources and Design of Shakespeare's The Tempest
On the Date, Sources and Design of Shakespeare's The Tempest
Price: 18.41

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book has the potential to turn Shakespeare Studies right-side up, correcting the date by which `The Tempest' was written.

Its thesis is revolutionary because the presently accepted late date of 1610-11 for the play's creation has always been tagged to Shakspere of Stratford, using it as the pat conclusion of his legendary career.

The book eliminates any historical foundation for concluding the play could have been written in 1610-11. This was the accepted but unsupported assumption since the early 1800's and became a central precept of the Stratford-Shakespeare narrative.

Since the assumed 1610-11 date ties the play to the life of William Shakspere of Stratford it simultaneously dismisses as impossible any earlier author of 'The Tempest', namely the Earl of Oxford, who died in 1604.

In form the new book is a simple explication de text. It sleuths out every source for `The Tempest'. They all existed long before the accepted main source written by William Stratchey, a notorious plagiarer working as a colonial secretary in Virginia, who wrote his florid account about surviving a shipwreck in the Bermudas circa 1610. The Jacobean account resembles features of the shipwreck described in the play, but the play had stirred parodies and references years sooner.

Stritmatter and Kositsky show that the actual sources which the author used, both medieval and early modern exploration texts, relate closely to the play's language, allusions, and references. Strachey's figures take from the tradition also. But the influence runs in the opposite direction, from 'The Tempest' and its prior references upon him, not from Stratchey's work affecting the play.

In the history of ideas there are many wrong turns similar to this one, e.g., the earth-centered universe, fixed continents. But this one happens to be about the most lyrically and rhetorically powerful author in the English language. And who he really was remains conjectural. This amount of personal uncertainty is unique in world literature.

The establishment of an earlier date for 'The Tempest' removes a long-held block against considering de Vere as author of the play and the Canon.

We are faced now with a fascinating sociological-political question: whether, informed of a dating mistake of cultural magnitude, the priests of our culture-the professional scholars-will jettison an inherited error perpetuated generation upon generation, effacing over time the actual historical Elizabethan-Jacobean reality, in favor of the broad, comfortable, but incomplete body of knowledge we call 'customary truth'.

Regardless of the politics in or out of the Academy, this is a pioneering book which embodies estimable tenacity on the part of the creators. The one co-author Roger Stritmatter had already found the most important Shakespearean literary evidence in 400 years--the Geneva Bible belonging to and annotated by a high English nobleman, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The Bible was the most influential religious text upon "Shakespeare" and the correlations are too numerous to be random.

The reward Stritmatter got for this discovery, a literary excavation evincing a kind of investigative genius, was to be made the scapegoat of the Shakespeare industry. James Shapiro's `Contested Will' went right to the outer limit of libel law trying to marginalize him, his Shakespeare publications, and his quite conventional methods of research. Ad hominem attacks upon Oxfordians abound in this sub-set of cultural credibility, suggesting a certain brittle quality in the Stratford hypothesis.

But hyperbolic attack is not unusual in the course of cultural evolution. To resist is human; to comprehend within one generation remarkable.

Lynne Kositsky has gained the reputation of a skilled writer, richly awarded and highly esteemed in her native Canada. The dense scholastic material comes through without strain. The sub-theme of the play as a masque intimately related to Shrovetide is itself a major contribution to Shakespeare studies.

Though aimed toward the professional guild, any general reader could benefit from the monograph's voluminous knowledge. The English specialist should expand his course bibliography to include its literary source material--the articulated background out of which `Shakespeare' created a high work of art.

What does the authors' ten-year search into 16th century travel narratives tell us? At the minimum, the chronology of Shakespearean play-releases--which substitutes for the accepted author's literary and spiritual growth, since there isn't any biographical evidence of it--must be re-assessed, throwing out any claim to Shakespearean writings later than 1604.

This date coincides with the death of de Vere, considered in his time the Mind of the Age and L'auteur de la Lyre, the Originator of Poetry.

I must stipulate that, despite the temptation to announce more general conclusions, the authors do not mention the name of de Vere in their 261 pages of text, except to quote a derogatory reference about him by "Shakespeare Quarterly" editor Gail Kern Pastor.

Why derogation? The book follows on the heels of other creditable inquiries about the Shakespeare canon. The unsupported assumption that the Italian plays were all imagined,`made up', by the Stratford man, despite their texts containing much explicitly detailed knowledge about the land and people of Italy, seems to be impacted by Richard Roe's discoveries, described in 'The Shakespeare Guide to Italy'(2010). The book has been indignantly dismissed by conventional scholars but not factually discounted. He also did not make general conclusions about the author.

Katherine Chiljan's `Shakespeare Suppressed' (2011) uncovered nearly a hundred "before-Shakspere" references to language that appeared again in the Shakespeare plays. Ramon Jimenez's forthcoming study of the "too-early for Shakspere" dates of proto-Shakespearean plays promises to establish a more accurate play chronology.

In sum, the most exciting scholarly Canon work being done in recent years has occurred outside the Academy. The response from that quarter is illustrated by the prestigious Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which has resorted to classic propaganda methods of repetition psychology and conformist sanction to quell the new thinking's vitality.

As another example, bottom-feeders in the social media, e.g., the Wikipedia Shakespeare pages, have stirred doubt about the traditional position with their doctrinaire bias. They permit only established academic research as references. But it is this misconceived research that is suspect if the status quo authorial assumptions are.

The distinguished New York critic, William S. Niederkorn, who himself was made a pariah by Academe because he took note of a wave of historical inquiry about Shakespeare the person, contributes an erudite Foreword to this study. His history of the cultural etiology by which Western civilization has adopted a fictitious Canon author is also forthcoming.

Whether or not the Shakespeare chronology survives in error, stunting our understanding of Tudor history and culture, and leaving us a fake Prince of literature, remains to be seen. The authors take no extended position.

There is no doubt though that as band and herd animals we are accustomed to look for gestures by the leaders of culture to cue us whether to shift, stampede in panic, or just keep ruminating.

The present generation of Shakespeare scholars has not had the courage to re-assess their increasingly stultified field of knowledge. Perhaps the next will have new energy and reason to do so.

The play `The Tempest' is unchanged. Only we by virtue of our sincere search for understanding it will change.

The cultural drive for spiritual insight would be much aided by perceiving the personal human motivation that created the play, as it is with any other work of art. Identifying the author facilitates such deeper appreciation. Manifestly the author of 'The Tempest' was a soul of enormous learning and classical depth. He was also a philosopher in the Platonic tradition.

Hermetically `The Tempest' portrays Man's various convictions about the "Island", i.e., temporal material reality, after Plato's myth of the cave. Each character sees a different place, based on his own character. Even Ariel the protective angel, formerly under the power of grossly dark Sycorax, sees things differently under the magic compassion of Prospero, whose name in Latin (Pro-Spero: on behalf of- Hope) symbolizes a lighted horizon for us where before the Island was spiritually cold. Gonzalo sees Fortune smiling, that they landed safely ashore. Sebastian sees the dollar--whose linguistic mate is "dolor", sadness. Antonio mocks whatever situation befalls, good or bad.

The auxiliary characters reflect their passions, fears, and emotions, not comprehending a potential balanced humility, which ultimately makes reasoning possible, the process of understanding that can see into the higher Orders. The "Maze", the labyrinth of ritualized self-discovery and transformation, figures into this Hermetic mystery and its human deliverance into higher understanding.

We can see in the play an application to its ancillary authorship controversy--the interplay of the heart versus the rational mind.

All historical authority pressures man in an emotionally conforming direction so as to maintain order and legitimacy. But this conditional social structure can go astray when the social entity has lost touch with reliable methods of thought, tempered by goodness. The latter path is Prospero's example in the play.

Stritmatter and Kositsky employ their historiography painstakingly, for the sake of the unknown Other. We can join them in the hope, like Prospero's own, that we shall be delivered together of temporal error.

The title, as Shakespeare's titles often do, gives a covert key to the play's deepest theme. The 'Tempest' means in the physical sense Nature's Chaos, irrevocably transforming the human condition. But 'Temp Est' also means "Time Is". So, like the master artist dove-tailing the play's beginning tumult with its concluding sea-calm and the protagonist's last prayer, even Chaos is contained in cosmic time's Order, a higher order than man's never-ending calamities and strife.

To quote the mind occulted for centuries behind his visor of pseudonymity, "Time's glory is to calm contending kings, To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light, To stamp the seal of time in aged things, To wake the morn of sentinel the night, To wrong the wronger till he render right, To ruinate proud buildings with thy hour And smear with dust their glittering golden towers." --The Rape of Lucrece

Substitute "authorities" for "Kings" in that litany and we have reached the very great benefits this courageous work of scholarship offers future minds.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2013 11:24 PM BST

Last Will and Testament : Uncovering the works of William Shakespeare / Who wrote the works of William Shakespeare? [DVD]
Last Will and Testament : Uncovering the works of William Shakespeare / Who wrote the works of William Shakespeare? [DVD]
Price: 11.08

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Literary Documentaries Ever Made, 28 Sep 2013
In my view Last Will and Testament is one of the best literary documentaries ever made. As historical inquiry, it is revelatory. As film, it is aesthetically compelling. It removes the mythological crust from the story of the Shakespeare canon and challenges the viewer to re-think what he or she has been conditioned to think and feel about the Bard "William Shakespeare" being the person from Stratford-upon-Avon.

The shocking part of the film experience to me was to realize that, for politically expedient reasons, high figures in the Jacobean court (relatives of the Renaissance genius Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford) had slyly and posthumously contrived a commoner author of the plays and poems which had been undersigned "Shake-speare", an obvious pseudonym that no one had contemporaneously related to the Stratford person. The name got tagged posthumously in the First Folio to Shakspere, confused him with the pseudonym, and made false gold for the ages. This ploy saved face for the deceased author-aristocrat, his family, his class, and the governments that had been his allegorical subject matter.

A thrilling, magnetic literary and historical inquiry--one I wish may be seen in every English and History classroom, so that there is no longer a fiction at the very center of our Western educational systems. Wholesome cultures unmask lies. The film sets an admirable example.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2014 2:22 PM BST

The Earl of Oxford and the Making of Shakespeare: The Literary Life of Edward de Vere in Context
The Earl of Oxford and the Making of Shakespeare: The Literary Life of Edward de Vere in Context
by Richard Malim
Edition: Paperback
Price: 32.95

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Inspired the Elizabethan Literary Revolution Created 'Shakespeare', 17 May 2012
In this book, Richard Malim makes explicit the English cultural history which preceded and prepared the way for the creation of the fictional author 'Shakespeare'. It is a permanent contribution to knowledge on a usually polarizing subject.

Mr. Malim may be familiar to students of the authorship controversy as the editor of 'Great Oxford' (2004), a compilation of the best scholarship from the De Vere Society and still a major source.

The genius-from-out-of-nowhere myth advertising the Shakespeare author was originally perpetrated by Ben Jonson's introductory poem in the First Folio, accompanied by the odd, inhuman etching opposite to the poem.

That remains our impression of Shakespeare today, 400 years later. We were taught to believe it as children and expected to show due loyalty as an element of our adult cultural awareness.

That the story has persisted is a tribute to the power of the herd instinct implicit in human groups.

Mr. Malim's study corrects this historical blind-spot by proving a literary and linguistic revolution started in 1575-80 which initiated a generational change in the quality of English theater and poetry. The crux of the book documents how this happened and, more significantly for English literature, by whom.

The inspiration and leader of the sixteenth-century English language revolution was the very Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who had been galvanized by the Italian civilization, resulting in a dozen Mediterranean-based plays, and who later assumed the nickname 'Shakespeare' as his nom de plume. The supposed prior literary influences on 'Shakespeare' were Oxford's own employees and proxies and himself through anonymous public and court plays.

The English revolution took off in the 1570's, progressed through the 1580's, including the foundational historical myth of the nation-state, and reached fruition, indeed triumph, during the post-Armada Elizabethan era.

This timeline congrues perfectly with Oxford's career. Its last stage was the 1593-1603 decade when he set his own identity into eclipse and gave pseudonymous credit for the seminal works of the English Renaissance, namely the Shakespeare canon. When Oxford died, so did the literary golden age. Within two generations, he was forgotten and his work conflated with his pseudonym's allonym, William Shakspere.

Malim amasses his data and close argumentation in the tradition of Grosart, Greenwood, and Rendell. They were classically trained, familiar with European languages, and skilled at logical analysis. There are references here translated from French and Latin that cannot be found in any other authorship book.

He takes his time to tell what happened. You learn to take yours. It is not a succession of sound-bytes. The end-notes are an integral part of the argument. For the hurried and harried, there is a terse demolition of the Stratford Shakespeare mythology in an appendix.

I rather enjoyed the book's stately approach, as though written in another age but fully informed about this one. There are numerous vignettes expressive of wisdom that can have come only from a lifetime of study and intellectual devotion.

Highly recommended.

The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels
The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels
by Richard Paul Roe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breakthrough in Understanding the Life of 'Shakespeare', 22 Feb 2012
William J. Ray (Willits California) - See all my reviews

'The Shakespeare Guide to Italy' is the most enjoyable book about the plays I have read and the most beautiful. More importantly it proves by overwhelming deduction that the writer of the Shakespeare canon knew Italy and the Mediterranean personally.

The Guide is a big book for the price. It opens up in the reader's hands and recreates, by word and photograph, sixteenth century La Italia, exactly as fixed in the amber of the Bard's descriptions.

Richard P. Roe retraced 'Shakespeare's' journey, which modern scholarship says, even hopes, never really happened. The confirmation by inspection of minute Shakespearean detail is a revolutionary contribution to literary and historical knowledge.

Richard Roe first came to Italy on Army-Air-Force assignment, attacking the Axis's oil refineries in Romania during World War II. The American mortality rate was 80-90%. He survived. Noting his numerous returns to Italy in later years, I wondered if the journey back was a metaphor in him of transcending time, to stand alive on the ancient ground from which he had once risked his life.

In that lifetime odyssey he saw the same places, buildings, rivers, voyage routes, and neighborhoods meticulously described by the author of the Shakespeare canon. They were still there. No one has done this so thoroughly before.

He made a study of the ancient geographical notes, off-hand descriptions, ships' names, abandoned wells, little churches, impresa, all data being alluded to in the Italian plays. To most of us it makes for an unexpected proof of authorship right under our noses.

Using old maps and paintings Roe re-constructed the topography of a dozen cities. The book is as much an aesthetic and architectural as a literary study. The subjects charmingly and eruditely combine in the traveler's narration.

His journey also embodied an indomitable faith that 'Shakespeare' would not and did not fake fanciful lands and places--that so great a mind honored his travels on the earth as he honored humanity's fateful suffering there, in order to permanently capture from it life's truths.

The book's lasting contribution to scholarship will be that it proved 'Shakespeare' did not commit geographical or cultural mistakes in the Mediterranean plays. On the contrary, he was uncannily accurate. The prodigious implication of this, which Roe never stated, not being a big talker, is that our entire conception of who 'Shakespeare' was must now change.

The man from Stratford never left England, a concession that most scholars accept now. An administrative paper trail would exist if he had. But the author of the plays went to Italy and knew it well, including estates and palaces to which that only the privileged found entry.

A few representative proofs. Sycamore trees stand west of the city walls in Verona, mentioned in Romeo and Juliet. The grove of trees, today barely in sight beyond the Porta Palio, has been reduced to copses, it is true, but still there. You can see them through the arch.

Midsummer Night's Dream had a neighborhood locally called 'Little Athens'. It still exists in Sabbioneta, not the real Athens in Greece. Shall we sail from Verona to Milan, as in Two Gentlemen of Verona? A laughable joke today--but by traveling overland to Ostiglia, Italians did it routinely, via the river Adda and connecting canals.

What about visiting the Bohemian coastline, near Trieste? Impossible now, but then Bohemia had thirty miles of access to the Gulf of Venice. Ben Jonson said 'Shakespeare' got it wrong. Jonson was wrong. He himself never left Western Europe. The author had.

The book is full of such gems, not only referring in scholarly fashion to the works of Shakespeare and the medieval past, but also to the race of humbly proud people who aided him as he searched back and forth in time.

The narrative is buoyed with a certain relentless laconic wisdom. Roe was a warrior. He did not give up. An admirable spirit is expressed in a brief passage about what it was like for him to search for and find someone lost to history:

"This is the playwright who is said to be ignorant of Italy. But truth is revealed in trifles, not in the great words that sweep. Truth hides in the words that are overlooked--the dull words, odd words, the words that are dismissed as cluttering, inconsequential, irrelevant. These are the words, not the soaring ones, that tell what a person knows. But one must listen."

The visitor may imagine many heroic ghosts in Italy, Shakespeare's seeker among them. Roe lived just long enough to complete his work. Now his name is mixed with his subject's and with Eternal La Italia's.

Most highly recommended.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2014 4:37 PM GMT

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