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. 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 online at The Atlantic or as a PDF, by Tom Bethell. If you’re up for a bit more, Nina Green has written my life in a manageable 45 pages [PDF]. For a dive into the deep end, my library page lists several published biographies and other related books.

Of course you should read the new things I’ve written for this blog, and (re-)read my old things too. My life is in that work, the only life that makes Shakespeare make sense.

I don’t want to post a lot of disputation concerning my identity and literary legacy. Once in a while I fail, but 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 find entertaining while you also think seriously about them.

Re-think what you think you know about Shakespeare. Challenge yourself to open your mind and start anew. 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 soaking the gullible tourism, or some erudite fellow wants you to think like he does and buy his books.

There’s so much out there that you were not taught. Teach yourself.

Question everything
Do your homework thoroughly
Make up your own mind