Q: Sam, what do you make of all the attention paid to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the possible author of the Shakespeare plays?
Sam: The Oxford theory was started by J. Thomas Looney who wrote a book in 1920, "Shakespeare" Identified in Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford. He deduced that the author of the works of Shakespeare had to have 17 characteristics, and he searched among Elizabethans to find that individual. He came up with Edward de Vere. Apparently he never considered Marlowe because the latter was supposed to be dead (ed. note: see page 342 of The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection).
Looney's work spurred the writing of many books in support of his assertion. The latest, "Shakespeare" by Another Name, by Mark Anderson, was published in 2005.
Oxfordians accept the orthodox view that Marlowe was killed in 1593. But their theory has some notable flaws, the most obvious of which is that Oxford was not a literary genius, nor was he a professional writer, and he died before many of the great plays were written.
Oxfordians have had the authorship field all to themselves because Marlovians, until now, had not produced a book proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Marlowe wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare. Calvin Hoffman's book got the Marlovian movement going, but it had many flaws. The publication of my book should change the authorship scene dramatically.
© The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, June 2008
Click here for Daryl Pinksen's December 2008 commentary on Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.
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