To Thine Own Self Be True

My signature in Italian and Latin, which I doodled in Venice, June 1575. (details)

Edward de Vere
born 12 April 1550 – died 24 June 1604

  • • 17th Earl of Oxford
  • • Lord Great Chamberlain of England
  • • Viscount Bolebec (or Bulbeck), until my son was born in 1593
  • • Baron Scales and Badlesmere
  • • Lord Sanford

I wrote all of it. Of course I did. Honestly, it’s so obvious.

If you want my case bounded in a nutshell, or at least bounded in fourteen pages, start with this summation written in 1991 by Tom Bethell, online at The Atlantic or as a PDF. Nina Green has written my life in a manageable 45 pages [PDF], for those who don’t want to read a book. For those who do, my library page lists some published biographies.

Of course you should read the new things I’ve written on this blog. And read my old things. My life is in that work. Nobody else’s.

I don’t want to fill this site up with a lot of disputation concerning my identity and literary legacy. Although I fail occasionally, I try to avoid contentiousness about details which are ultimately unprovable after more than four hundred years. There are books and societies and websites that cover this ground on my behalf – a bit of googling will return enough results to keep you busy for years. (Just this one site will do it. Makes my head spin.) I’ll leave the academic arguing to the academics. They enjoy it so much, and they get paid for it.

I know the truth of my life, but you have to arrive at your own conclusions. If I could prove a fraction of what I know, we’d all have a happy Christmas. But that’s not the way life, or postlife, works. After four centuries, being dead is boring. I’m here to put things in front of you, things I’d like you to be entertained by while you think about them.

Challenge what you think you know. Common sense will take you a long way. Don’t blindly believe anything as gospel just because it’s popular, or you learned it in school, or it has a huge budget funded by tourism, or some erudite fellow wants you to think like he does and buy his books.

There’s a whole lot out there that you were not taught. Teach yourself.

Question everything
Do your homework thoroughly
Make up your own mind