Saturday, May 31, 2008

A few words with Samuel Blumenfeld, author of The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, cont.

Q: What were some of the clues you found that Marlowe had inserted in the plays to indicate that he was the author?

Sam: There are several wonderful clues in Hamlet, for example. I’ll just give you one. You know, of course, the scene in Act II, scene ii, where Hamlet welcomes the troupe of thespians who will act out a play showing how his uncle the king murdered his father. He asks the actors for a sample of their work. They ask what would he like to hear. He says:

I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted, or if it was, not above once, for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; ‘twas caviary to the general: but it was—as I received it, and others, whose judgments in such matters cried in top of mine—an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning.

What an exquisite review Marlowe gives his own play, Dido: Queen of Carthage. Hamlet then says:

One speech in’t I chiefly loved. ‘Twas Aeneas’ tale to Dido, and thereabout of it especially where he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line—let me see, let me see:

And so Hamlet continues, after which the actor proceeds to deliver an emotive monologue paraphrasing Marlowe’s own play. To my mind that was Marlowe’s way of saying, “I wrote Hamlet and Dido.”

So there is much in my book that is new.

Q: Was Marlowe a prodigy? Give us a sense of how bright he was.

Sam: You have to read all of Marlowe’s plays and poems as well as the 36 plays in the First Folio in order to get the full impact of this man’s genius. He was undoubtedly a child prodigy, and that is why his father did not even expect his son to become a cobbler like himself. I believe that at age 8, Christopher became a page to Philip Sidney, a young nobleman about to embark on his two-year tour of the Continent. He stayed with Sidney until the age of 14 when he entered the King’s School on a scholarship. From there he went on to Cambridge University where he got the best education England could provide. Because of his intelligence he was recruited into Queen Elizabeth’s Secret Service by Sir Francis Walsingham and Lord Burghley. Thus, his talents were known by the highest persons in Elizabeth’s government.

Q: Sam, what do you say to those who adamantly insist that Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon is the author of the plays?

Sam: I tell them to read my book and answer all of the questions it raises. I will not only have to contend with the Stratfordians but also the Oxfordians who have virtually dominated the authorship debate for the last few decades. But I believe that all of that will change when my book is read and digested and it becomes obvious that the only person who could have written those great plays and poems was Christopher Marlowe.

© The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, May 2008

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Friday, May 30, 2008

A few words with Samuel Blumenfeld, author of The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection

Q: Sam, how long have you been working on The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection?

Sam: I actually began working on the project in 1999. I thought that a book on the Shakespeare authorship question would be an easy sell, but I was wrong. I sent the book proposal to many, many trade publishers and literary agents, but found no takers. But once I got started researching and writing the book, I was determined to finish it. That took about eight years. I was able to find interest at one university press. They held the manuscript for almost a year, then decided not to publish it. I then sent the proposal to Steve Wilson, the editor at McFarland Publishing Company. He liked the book and decided to publish it. So the moral of the story is never give up. By the way, the most wonderful aspect in writing the book is that I had to read all of Marlowe’s works as well as the 36 plays in the First Folio attributed to Shakespeare. It was a tremendous intellectual experience.

Q: That Marlowe is the true author of the plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare is not a new theory. What new ground does your book cover?

Sam: It was Calvin Hoffman who wrote the first book asserting that Marlowe was the true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare. Back in those days, in the late 1950s, I was editor of the Universal Library, Grosset & Dunlap’s quality paperback line, and one day Calvin came to my office with his book, The Murder of the Man Who Was Shakespeare. I knew nothing about the Shakespeare authorship issue. I assumed, like so many college graduates, that Shakespeare’s authorship had been solidly established by documentation. But after reading Hoffman’s book, I realized how wrong I was. The book, which we published in a paperback edition, turned me into a Marlovian. The problem with Calvin’s book is that it made many assertions that were pure fantasy. Although there was enough circumstantial evidence in favor of Marlowe, there were gaps that had to be covered. In writing my book, I decided to use the techniques of a historian and detective and I was able to construct an entirely new story that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Marlowe wrote the works attributed to the so-called Bard of Avon. When I started to read the 36 plays in the First Folio, I had no idea what I would find. But what I did find was a gold mine of clues deliberately inserted in the plays by Marlowe indicating he was the author.

Coming next: Sam reveals some Marlowe clues in Hamlet !

© The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, May 2008

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shakespeare Authorship Mystery Solved?

Who wrote Shakespeare? That’s a question that has been asked by scholars and Shakespeare lovers for over 200 years. The question arose because Shakespeare’s biography does not fit with what he is supposed to have written. In fact, Diana Price, in her 2001 book, Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, examined all of the documents related to Shakespeare and came to the conclusion that he was not a writer. “These documents,” wrote Price, “account for his activities as an actor, a theatre shareholder, a businessman, a moneylender, a property holder, a litigant, and a man with a family, but they do not account for his presumed life as a professional writer.”

Also, there is nothing in Shakespeare’s will, written just before he died in 1616, that makes mention of anything related to a writing career. About this will, Mark Twain wrote: “It named in minute detail every item of property he owned in the world—houses, lands, sword, silver-gilt bowl, and so on—all the way down to his ‘second-best bed’ and its furniture. It mentioned not a single book. Books were much more precious than swords and silver-gilt bowls and when a departing person owned one he gave it a high place in his will. The will mentioned not a play, not a poem, not an unfinished literary work, not a scrap of manuscript of any kind.”

And so, for the last 150 years, the most crucial question has been: if William Shakespeare didn’t write the works attributed to him, who did?

There have been a number of contenders, including Sir Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. But the case for either man has been anything but conclusive. Bacon, a masterful essayist and philosopher, had no reason to hide his authorship, and Oxford, a literary dilettante, did not have the genius to write the plays and poems of Shakespeare. He also died before many of the plays were written.

But Samuel Blumenfeld, author of The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection: A New Study of the Authorship Question, believes that he has found the true author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare: Christopher Marlowe, the literary genius and professional writer, whose alleged murder in a tavern brawl in May 1593, at the age of 29, supposedly ended his career. But the startling truth, according to Blumenfeld, is that the “murder” was a faked death to save him from possible execution by the archbishop’s inquisition. Marlowe, a member of the Secret Service, was then given a new identity and went into exile.

“This is the most extraordinary story in all of literary history, and it has remained virtually untold for over 400 years,” explains Blumenfeld. “I decided to do the detective work, and it took me over seven years to finally piece together the actual story. I believe that I prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Christopher Marlowe who wrote the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare.”

According to Blumenfeld, Marlowe peppered his plays and poems with all sorts of clues so that any future literary detective might uncover the truth. For example, Marlowe’s father was a cobbler, and he honored his father in two plays, Julius Caesar and Henry V. But if you didn’t know that Marlowe had written the plays you would have missed these fascinating clues. As for the man William Shakespeare, he was used as a front so that Marlowe’s new plays could be performed without giving away the secret that he had written them.

“This book,” says Blumenfeld, “should change the way we look at the plays and poems as well as the lives of the men involved in this intriguing story. As Wayne Dyer has observed, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

© The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, May 2008

Watch Sam Blumenfeld on YouTube discussing the Shakespeare authorship controversy.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BOOK! The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection: A New Study of the Authorship Question

By Samuel L. Blumenfeld

McFarland & Company
ISBN 978-0-7864-3902-7
softcover 2008
Pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, etc. Release date: June 30, 2008!

Description, from the publisher: "This book addresses the long-standing debate over the Shakespeare authorship problem and offers a daring solution: that the true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare was in fact poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe. The author suggests that Marlowe, supposedly killed in a tavern brawl in 1593, actually faked his own death in order to save himself from an inquisition and certain execution, then continued writing for several years under the pseudonym of William Shakespeare. Citing substantial and compelling evidence, the author outlines several hypotheses to support his case, including the theory that several top people in Queen Elizabeth’s government were involved in the plot to save Marlowe (who was reportedly a spy in the Secret Service.)"

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