Thursday, March 12, 2009

How to create a significant literary community

Tom Veal, who lists one of his interests as Shakespeare Authorship, summarizes the thesis behind Shakespeare's Fingerprints,by Michael Brame & Galina Popova, in a several years old post at Stromata.
"The leaders of Queen Elizabeth’s government wanted to promote the use of English as a literary language in order to secure their country’s position as a Protestant, mercantilist power. To accomplish this end, they called upon Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (whom I shall refer to as “Oxenford”, since that was his own preference), a genius scarcely paralleled in human history. Between 1558 and 1604, the prolific peer wrote most of what is memorable in English Renaissance literature, including the works now attributed to William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Philip Sidney, John Lyly, George Peele, George Gascoigne, Raphael Holinshed, Robert Greene and a host of lesser lights. An appendix to Shakespeare’s Fingerprints lists 38 Oxenford pseudonyms, more are mentioned in the text, and the authors do not claim to have made a complete search of Elizabethan literature. Applying their methods yields, as we shall see, further suspects for the role of Oxenfordian fronts (or “name lenders”, as Brame/Popova call them).

"The motive for this multitude of noms de plume, almost all names of real people who consented to play the auctorial role, was to create the illusion that England possessed a flourishing community of letters. Oxenford shored up this facade by such tactics as having his personae exchange flatteries and dedicate books to one another."

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