The De Vere Society

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Shakespeare Authorship Question

The SAQ attracts everyone from the casually curious to the passionately academic and many more on that compelling continuum, to the greatest literary challenge of all time – understanding the author behind Shakespeare’s plays & poems. Courtier poet Edward De Vere was identified as a candidate in 1918 by J. Thomas Looney, an English writer & teacher who assembled a profile of the author based on the content of the work. Further investigation has only augmented and illuminated the case for Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, to the point where he has become the leading candidate for the man behind the pseudonym. Adherents to the theory, known as Oxfordians, are a large and ever-growing group who find the body of evidence persuasive for his claim to candidacy.  The De Vere Society, founded in 1986, supports and encourages this investigation & conversation in order to reach a better, deeper understanding of the Works & the world that supported their creation.

“I do not [] dismiss the serious examination of the Oxford question for a moment. … I’ll say something else, which will doubtless bring more trouble on my head: serious Oxfordians do things rather well. You’ve a relish for historical investigation, an acceptance of biographical and topical relevance, an open-mindedness about inter-disciplinary studies, and a curiosity about documents, records, artefacts, cryptology, and all manifestations of Elizabethan culture and politics. Shakespeare’s tragedy is that some–by no means all, but too many–of his academic supporters disdain such matters as irrelevant, presumptuous, old-fashioned, grunt work or, worse, done and dusted, conclusively resolved many years ago.” Mark Griffiths, Ph.D., Country Life comments, 24 May 2015; author of the forthcoming The Fourth Man


Have you read his will?

Like Shakespeare’s sonnets, Shakespeare’s last will & testament is a reflection of his personal self.
Compare his writing about debt in, say, Hamlet: “…neither a borrower nor a lender be…” to how he dispenses his own debt issues in his own words, in his will: “household stuffe whatsoever, after my dettes and Legasies paied and my funeral expences dischardged, I give devise and bequeath…”

The actual will and some commentary on reading it.

    • Starting to have Questions?

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