Lecture on Bard may stir up tempest
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet
– “Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2”
If you believe the words of Randall Sherman, the man who penned those lines may not be the rose many thought he was.
In fact, William Shakespeare, who told us all the world was a stage and we were simply players, may have just played us all for a fool.
From his Nevada City home, Sherman explained that Shakespeare was incapable of producing some of the greatest literary works since Gutenberg invented movable type.
Shakespeare, Sherman and at least two others believe, was nothing more than a royal pseudonym.
Sherman has invited those other two into his home in preparation for a lecture he’s sponsoring next month at the Nevada Theatre.
The speaker will be Charles Vere, a resident of Suffolk County, England.
He’s a descendant of Edward DeVere, Lord Chamberlain, the 17th Earl of Oxford, the man Vere credits with authorship of “The Merchant of Venice,” a play first copyrighted in 1598.
“The Stationer’s Register,” a printer’s guild of sorts that’s a record of centuries of published works that predates copyrights.
The register was discovered by Robert Detobel, who lives in Frankfurt, Germany, not far from where the register is kept
Detobel is at Sherman’s home preparing for the Nevada Theatre speech.
A page from the registry clearly states, in Elizabethan English: “The Merchant of Venice … bee not pryinted by the said James Robertes (who entered the copyright) or anye other whatsoeuer without lycence first had from the Right honorable the lord Chamberlen.”
In other words, “The Merchant of Venice” could not be reproduced without Chamberlain’s expressed written consent.
Which, if you are to believe a reproduction of an ancient document, means Shakespeare never penned the prose.
“There is a documentary entry that shows Lord Chamberlain objected to the printing of ‘The Merchant of Venice,'” Sherman said.
Sherman said the mystery is clouded further still, that Shakespeare was not a scholar and, he says, never visited Venice, Verona, or Genoa, Italian venues prominent in Shakespeare’s plays.
“Nothing is known about the man. We have no evidence of letters – the only thing we have is a will.”
Charles Vere, who spent 51/2 years lecturing on Shakespeare’s legitimacy, said the bard’s legacy could be just that – legend.
“There’s no smoking gun. It’s tradition that’s been handed down and embellished over the centuries. People have assumed the body of work was written by Shakespeare.”
The book “Shakespeare Identified” by English scholar J. Thomas Looney challenges many of the theories long held about Shakespeare, including theories that he’d been abroad, educated his daughters, even opened the Globe Theatre, where many of hius plays were staged.
Looney, whose work was published in 1920-21, identifies the real author as Edward DeVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.
If Shakespeare isn’t Shakespeare, that doesn’t bother Vere, the man whose descendant apparently refused to take the credit for his work.
“Without the Stratford man, we would have never had the works in the first place,” said Vere, referring to Shakespeare’s home, Stratford-upon-Avon.
To doubters, Sherman offers:
“Do you have any idea how long it took for us to realize we lived in a heliocentric universe?”
Sherman adds: “It’s the equivalent of Jefferson’s stableboy writing the Declaration of Independence.”
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