A First Folio Found on 400th Anniversary

Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute

Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute

Check your bookshelves! Between the dog-eared copy of Fifty Shades of Gray and the un-cracked Knausgaard, you might find a valuable, out-of-print first edition. Or maybe even a First Folio!

That’s what happened in Scotland. A copy of the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays (roughly a 750 print run) published in 1623, seven years after his death and called the First Folio – was found at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute, of all places. I mean, the Isle of Bute??

The book, owned by the Seventh Marquess of Bute, Johnny Dumfries, had been shelved in the library at Mount Stuart House, an enormous Gothic revival pile and tourist attraction in the firth of Clyde, about 60 miles west of Glasgow.

Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford University, said her first reaction on being told the stately home was claiming to have an original First Folio was: “Like bloody hell they have.” But when she inspected the book she found it was authentic. “We’ve found a First Folio that we didn’t know existed,” said Prof Smith. “It’s like spotting a Panda.” The announcement brings the number of known surviving First Folios to 234.

 

What the Folio Did for Us

The circumstances surrounding the creation of the First Folio are of keen interest to people inquiring into the authorship issue. Of course there are no existing manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets. Nothing much from Shakespeare’s hand at all, except a poorly written will and some business records. He left no letters. No notes. No literary record of any kind, which in itself is strange. Ben Jonson left a ton of stuff behind, as did other writers of the time. So with no record, how do we know about the plays at all? Two ways: the Quartos and the First Folio.

The Quartos were small format imprints of some of the individual plays, rather like today’s paperbacks. The name “Shakespeare” had some currency at the time and printers believed they could make some money by printing and selling small versions, sometimes without having any rights to do so. But not all the plays became Quartos. Of the 36 plays we know about, only 18 were printed as Quarto. So without any manuscripts, and no Quarto, how do we know about the other 18? Right: the First Folio.

In 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the first collected edition of the plays was published. John Heminges and Henry Condell, members of the King’s Men theater company to which Shakespeare had belonged, collected the plays and with some help of Ben Jonson, created the First Folio. Without this book we would have no record of plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and The Tempest.

On the surface the Folio would seem to be clear evidence that a guy named William Shakespeare was the author of the plays. The official story argues that his colleagues loved Shakespeare so much and thought so highly of the that they just had to preserve them (and maybe make a little money as well). Makes sense.

 

Why Wait so Long?

But one question that arises is: why wait seven years? Why hadn’t Shakespeare himself ever made an effort to collect his own work? Or publish it. Ever? When Shakespeare died (the one from Stratford) on April 23, 1616, 400 years ago almost to the day, there was no public outpouring or expression whatsoever. No obituaries about the loss of a great poet. No eulogies. No announcement in the London Times. Nothing. Silence. Shakespeare was a non-entity.

Apparently it took seven years for everyone to awaken to his greatness, after which he was compared to Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles (As he should be). There are other things about the history of this book that also merit thought that goes beyond the official story. Ben Jonson’s participation has some curious aspects. Up to 1623 Jonson didn’t have much good to say about William Shakespeare. And then after many, many years he calls him the “Soul of the Age.” It’s weird that NO other writers were chosen to add nice comments to the new book. Jonson had many more tributes from other writers in his own folio than Shakespeare. In fact Jonson is the only major writer to write a tribute at all—this for the man known as the “Soul of the age.” There are official explanations for all of this. They are reasoned and will be taught in English classrooms throughout the world. But there are some weird things going on with the official story that merits a closer look. (You might start with Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?, edited by John M. Shahan and Alexander Waugh)

A Charismatic Book

A Charismatic Book

That being said, First Folios are among the world’s most sought-after and valuable books. Christie’s recently announced that it was selling what it calls a previously unrecorded First Folio from a “discreet and off-the-radar” private collection, valued at 1.1million to 1.7million.

The Scottish copy is the personal property of Mr. Dumfries, a former Formula One driver who is descended from Robert the Bruce, the medieval hero of Scottish Independence. The book will not be sold and will remain on the Isle of Bute, which has a population of around 6500.

Like the play, the sonnets, the poems; like just about everything associated with William Shakespeare there is a quality of mystery and intrigue surrounding the Folio. A Charismatic book, indeed. Check your shelves. You never know what you might find.

Celebrate the Bard! 400th Years.

SAC

April 23, 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare, the one born and raised in Stratford on Avon and that a lot of people, especially English teachers and people with an equity interest in Stratford real estate, believe wrote the plays and sonnets. The entire world is celebrating the event, including the Roundtable. If you’re local or in town, PLEASE JOIN US!

On Sunday, April 24, at 2:00 we will join with the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition and the Shakespeare Center at Los Angeles to host a celebration of the Bard and at the same time pose a challenge to the orthodox view that the fellow from Stratford authored the plays. The event will be “spear” headed by John Shahan and the Coalition, which is the group that published and promoted The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt. In the face of some pretty nasty intimidation by orthodox Shakespeare scholars, the “Declaration” offered a simple forum where people could stand up and declare what any unbiased person would say is just common sense: that is, there is room for doubt on this subject. Thousands of people – scholars, Supreme Court judges, psychologists, theater professionals — have since signed the document, including great Shakespearean actors like Mark Rylance and Sir Derek Jacobi It’s basically a way to stand together against intimidation and censorship and for free inquiry. If you haven’t already, please check it out and sign. (Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare.)

The co-sponsored event on Sunday will open with an introduction from Actor-Author, Michael York. We’ll screen about 30 minutes of the terrific documentary film that was produced by Roland Emerich, Last Will. & Testament, the portion of the movie that deals with reasons to doubt that Shakespere of Stratford was the author of the plays. Then our own Sylvia Holmes and John will talk about new evidence and arguments that have turned up since the Declaration was issued in 2007.

This is going to be a provocative, enlightening and more than likely emotional event. So mark your calendar. NOTE: it is free, but ticketing is required.

Date:  Sunday, April 24, 2016

Time:  2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Place:  The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

1238 West First St, Los Angeles. Street parking available on First and Second Streets, Edgeware Road, and Bixel St.

To order tickets to this free event, just go to: “Beyond Reasonable Doubt” at the SCLA website. The SAC website is at: DoubtAboutWill.org, and the SAR site is at: shakespeareauthorship.org/

 

Congratulations Mark Rylance

Rylance Wins Oscar

Rylance Wins Oscar

Mark Rylance recently won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel, in, “Bridge of Spies.” It was a thrilling honor for Mark, and huge event for us, too. Mark has been an eloquent spokesperson for the right to inquire into the Shakespeare authorship question for many years.

For a lot of people it was probably the first time they’d ever heard the name, Mark Rylance. Everyone knew Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hardy and of course the sentimental favorite, Sylvester Stallone. After all, they’re movie stars. But many were asking, “Who’s Mark Rylance?” (Sylvester Stallone’s brother was one of them.)

To those of us trying to make sense of the bedeviling questions that surround the authorship of the Shakespeare canon, Rylance has been a bright star for decades. While still artistic director of the Globe Theater in London, (a position he held for over a decade) we’ve often witnessed his genius on stage. In fact, he’s been called the finest Shakespearean actor of his generation, and in England is considered a national treasure. So while many are discovering his gifts as a screen actor, we’ve always known Rylance as Hamlet, Richard III, Vincentio, The Duke in Measure for Measure and yes, even Olivia in 12th Night. His artistry and insights have helped us interpret the plays. And his deep knowledge of Elizabethan historical contexts helped us better understand how those plays may have come about. Mark has questioned the academic conjecture about the man from Stratford for many years. It’s part of his genius: an open-, infinitely curious and chimerical mind, which he brings to his art and life. He is quite certain that “certainty” about “authorship” is not justified. There are just too many unanswered questions. For Rylance it remains a mystery, and one that enhances rather than detracts from the beauty and majesty of the work.

“Our fact-based culture is so terrified by anything mysterious or inexplicable. Being curious outside the set cosmology is still something of a sin. And it’s hard for those people to be faced by mockery and lies, to diminish the question. Life is so much more beautiful and indefinable than our culture seems to admit to.”

The stature that Mark has in the literary, theatrical and now the cinematic world has helped us all stand up to institutional censorship and untoward “slings and arrows” slung our way by the academic defenders of orthodoxy. Never mean spirited. Always thoughtful and optimistic. Rylance has carefully but persistently argued for an “open-minded” inquiry into the subject. And for that we are grateful. Congratulations.

Charles Champlin, SAR Benefactor and Advisor Dies at 88

Charles Champlin To whom we owe a great debt of honor

Charles Champlin
To whom we owe a great debt of honor

All of us at the Roundtable were saddened by the passing last month of LA Times film and arts critic Charles Champlin. His wide, varied and enduring contributions to LA culture were well articulated in the paper’s obituary, a link to which is included below. Champlin was 88.

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-charles-champlin-20141118-story.html#page=1

For us at the Roundtable the loss was also personal. Mr. Champlin was there at the very founding of the Roundtable in 1985. He served on the SAR board of advisors throughout our 30 year history, and was one of our most articulate and reasoned supporters. Writing that he “loves a good mystery, so why not this one?” he devoted several articles in the LA Times Calendar to the authorship question during the mid-1980s, despite the negative criticism from traditional scholars. Mr. Champlin’s support for the validity of ‘questioning’ provided much needed and appreciated encouragement to independent researchers whose work continues today.

In this our 30th year, the SAR and its members honor and remember Mr. Champlin, to whom we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Censorship? Ridiculous!

KneauReeves

People who hold doubts about the authorship of the Shakespeare Canon are used to having insults thrown at them. Elitists! Whack Jobs! Cultish conspiracy theorists. I remember not too long ago Professor Stanley Wells called Mark Rylance, perhaps the finest Shakespearean actor of his generation, “anti-shakespeare.” Wells is a respected scholar, trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford and a dogmatic defender of the orthodoxy. He knows that Rylance (not to mention Sir Derek Jacobi and others) has spent his entire adult life working to better understand the truths contained in Shakespeare’s writing. As part of that search Rylance also asked the question: is the case on authorship closed? Wells could have said Rylance was “anti-stratfordian,” which still would not have been an accurate description of his nuanced ideas about how the Canon came about. But no, Wells chose to call him “anti-Shakespeare” because he knew that in the incendiary atmosphere of authorship discourse, calling Rylance anti-Shakespeare might cause Mark more harm. It was a remark chosen carefully, not to rebut, but to harm. And it happens all the time. Read James Shapiro’s book, and you’ll get a heavy dose of the vipers tongue. When challenged, these orthodox scholars, robed in royal tenure, can get really nasty. They get to say things without fear of being called on it. They’re bullies.

Recently another respectable Shakespeare scholar got his collar in a ruffle and, like some NFL football players of late, lashed out with some excessive verbal smack against another scholar who held different views about how the Canon may have been created. “I simply find your reasoning and your evidence as unconvincing as those of Holocaust deniers, and other conspiracy theorists,” said Gary Taylor, a “distinguished” research professor at Florida State University.

So now, if one questions the orthodox view of the authorship of the Shakespeare Canon one risks, by Taylor’s infallible comparison, being associated with Holocaust deniers. That would include Rylance, Jacobi, 2 Justices of the United States Supreme Court, Alexander Waugh, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York; not to mention Emerson, Freud, Walt Whitman, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud, and over 3000 other scholars and lay people who have signed the Declaration of Reasonable doubt. According to an on-line publication, “Times Higher Education,” here’s how the Taylor remark came down.

Richard Waugaman, a clinical professor of psychiatry and “faculty expert on Shakespeare” at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Waugaman, is also an “Oxfordian”. He believes that there is good evidence that the poems and plays attributed to William Shakespere of Stratford were actually written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Waugamen submitted a scholarly paper to the Italian Journal Memoria di Shakespeare. The title of the paper was “The Psychology of Shakespearean Biography.” In his paper, Waugamen says he examines the Oxford case, but also explores “the conscious and unconscious psychological factors behind the taboo against openly discussing the authorship question”, citing examples from the history of science “where new discoveries that ultimately lead to paradigm shifts are often bitterly opposed by adherents of traditional theories”. The editors of MdS described the paper as “absolutely pertinent” to a 2015 issue on Shakespeare’s biography. In January of this year, the editors of the journal asked Waugaman to revise his paper, and things seemed to be headed toward publication.

Alexander Waugh

Alexander Waugh

On August 17, however, Professor Waugaman received an email from Rosy Colombo, Senior Professor of English at the Sapieza University of Rome. The email, which the Times Higher Education says they have seen, explained that the previous editors of Memoria di Shakespeare had stepped down and that she and her new fellow editor, Gary Taylor had “decided against publishing an article that has come out already”. Professor Waugaman responded that it seemed like “a breach of good faith with contributors” for “an article that was invited by a journal’s co-editors, be rejected by the next co-editors”. This generated an almost immediate reply from Professor Taylor, saying that his agreement to take over as co-editor had been “conditional on rejection of certain contributions, like yours, which seem to me profoundly unscholarly, and which would have the effect of undermining the credibility and status of other contributions to the volume. “I simply find your reasoning, and your evidence, as unconvincing as those of Holocaust deniers, and other conspiracy theorists,” he added.

And so it goes. Not meant to rebut, but to harm.

Times Higher Education reported that Professor Waugaman responded to Taylor by saying, “only assume your emotions have over-ridden your common decency. I know one fellow Oxfordian who lost more than 70 relatives in the Holocaust, and he finds that comparison especially disgusting.” To which Taylor quickly added, “Work like Waugaman’s is fundamentally unscholarly, irrational and illogical. I compared it to the work of Holocaust-deniers not because the damage to Shakespeare is comparable to the damage to the millions of people killed by the Nazis, but because Waugaman’s work depends upon the same kind of conspiratorial claims. You cannot reason with such claims, because they dismiss empirical evidence as just another conspiracy. The idea that anti-Stratfordian zealots are ‘censored’ is ridiculous.”

One can sense here Professor Taylor’s devotion not only to the efficaciousness of hysterical analogies, but to the highest standards of evidence and open-minded inquiry. Censorship? Ridiculous! Wells and Taylor and Shapiro ARE the academy!

In a way one can understand the hysteria. Since “The Life and Adventures of Common Sense,” by Herbert Lawrence was published in 1769 these poor guys have been under siege. In many cases their dissertations, not to mention their careers and livelihoods, demand that all challenges, no matter what the merits, be denounced. They know that even the slightest crack in the fortress that is Shakespeare scholarship and the huge industry that rests upon it, could, like Ptolemy’s geocentric cosmology and so many other historical certainties that could not hold up under careful scrutiny, crumble to dust.

lear2_372These members of the English department (And the hysterical ones are almost always from English departments. Drama and Comparative Literature Departments are not nearly as strident) are like raging Lears who have been denied. Because of tenure and the fog of age and too much Spanish sherry these scholars are used to being loved, especially by the post-docs whose careers and livelihood depend on their modern form patronage. If an undergraduate approached Taylor or Wells or Shapiro or Bates with the question, Sir, we have so few historical documents. There is so little evidence. How can we be sure about who William Shakespeare was and what he actually did in the world? The answer could very likely be, dear boy, do you also deny the Holocaust? Do you hate the Jews? Is that your point? If only these nobles of the academy would read their Lear.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/shakespeare

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews

About Hank Whittmore’s Blog on the Relevancy of Biography in Understanding Literature (and vice versa)

Hank Whittemore, an eloquent Oxfordian

Hank Whittemore, an eloquent Oxfordian

For those of us who have been involved for a while in the search for a credible story about how the works of William Shakespeare was created, Hank Whittemore is a renaissance man. First of all he’s a creative artist himself, and that adds something substantial to one’s understanding of how others create. Indeed, many of the distinguished people who have stood up to the stonewalling and intimidation and expressed doubt about the orthodox view have been artists themselves: Mark Rylance, Sir Derek Jacoby, Jeremy Irons, Michael York, Vanessa Redgrave, not to mention Mark Twain, Henry James, Walt Whitman and many others. As artists, its just very difficult for them to square the biographical facts we possess with the grandeur of the writing. It is easy to place Hank among the notables, because he’s not only been a successful writer throughout his adult life, but also a superlative actor of stage and screen. So when Hank talks, we listen.

Thomas Mallon

Thomas Mallon

Adam Kirsch

Adam Kirsch

And recently, in his blog, he responded to two essays in the “Bookends” section of the New York Times Book Review. The two essays, one by Thomas Mallon and the other by Adam Kirsh were reflections on the relevance of a biographical approach to literature. Both writers were asked to respond to the question, “When we read fiction, how relevant is the author’s biography?”

Not surprisingly the case of William Shakespeare came up, and Hank responded with great insight to their comments. Reading the two essays, followed by Hank’s own, provides a very edifying look into the place of biography in understanding and appreciating the works of great literary artists; and more specifically in understanding the inquiry into the authorship question itself.

The links to the Times and to Hanks blog are below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/books/review/

 Hank’s Blog

Shakespeare by candlelight. Love it! And so did those jaunty Jacobeans

A bit like Blackfriars

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: A bit like Blackfriars

After an almost inconceivable absence of a thousand years, public theater had its renaissance in London during the mid-16th and early17th centuries. At first it was all open-air theaters like The Red Lion, The Theater, The Globe and The Swan. Performances, including Shakespeare’s early plays, thus occurred only during the day.

But come on: once they got used to public theater again, the Jacobeans wanted to attend at night, too. So in 1608 they built Blackfriars, an enclosed theater, not on the West End, but on the north side of the river. It was all candlelight and new types of plays and a cool nocturnal ambiance ever after.

Fast forward 400 years.

In 1997, the Globe Theater was rebuilt and opened to much acclaim. A part of its mission was to discover more about how the original Elizabethan dramas were performed, and the creative process that led to them. Not just all-male casts and authentic costumes and music, but also the spirit of the plays and the mystery of the original spoken language. With Mark Rylance as its artistic director for the first ten yeas, much was revealed.

But still, it was appropriately open air.

Early this year, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opened right next door, as a kind of annex to the Globe. Also inspired by the late great Sam Wanamaker, the new theater is smaller and enclosed and like Blackfriers lit entirely by candles; which will no doubt cast a new light on those illusive times. Hopefully it will also add to our understanding of the creative process that led to that brief renaissance in public theater, and to our ever inscrutable Canon. (In ways, that’s what the authorship inquiry is all about, too: how did it happen?)

There’s a great article about the new theater in The Economist, January 23, 2014. See link below.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2014/01/17th-century-theatre-london?zid=319&ah=17af09b0281b01505c226b1e574f5cc1

“Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection”; A new book by Professor Stephen Greenblatt

"I think Shakespeare loved Montaigne and also wanted to tear Montaigne to pieces." Stephen Greenblatt

“I think Shakespeare loved Montaigne and also wanted to tear Montaigne to pieces.” Stephen Greenblatt

Whenever Harvard Professor Stephen Greenblatt comes out with a new book – in this case, Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection – Charlie Rose invites him to sit “at this table”. And it always makes us crazy!

Out of one side of his learned mouth Mr. Greenblatt says, “We know almost nothing about William Shakespeare, despite the fact that I have written a biography about him. He’s very hidden. He conceals himself.”

Out of the other side he talks about Shakespeare as if he lived next door.

“I believe he thought money – which he was very interested in – was bound up in what his long term life would be. I think earlier in his life he thought poetry, lyric poetry, would probably carry him forward. And he was quite famous in his own lifetime as a great lyric poet. But I think he understood his long term prospects would be in the commercial theater; and that there was no gap; there was no division, between doing well in the commercial theater and having the life that’s led to this conversation 400 years later.”

In the admitted absence of any evidence, Mr. Greenblatt seems to know an awful lot about the great writer’s inner life: what Shakespeare thought about money; what he felt his prospects were as a lyric poet, and what he thought about the relationship between the Elizabethan market economy and the arts. Without any source documents whatsoever, it’s as if Mr. Greenblatt were practicing a kind of imaginative scholarship, and knew quite well that he was making up most of his assertions; an historical fiction of sorts, about which he seems quite proud. His conjectural point in this case was that the greedy, litigious shit we know as the Stratford man, could easily have also been the great lyric poet and playwright.

The part that makes us crazy is that the “made up” assertions give pause to neither Mr. Rose, nor Mr. Greenblatt, nor ninety-five percent of the other practicing Shakespeare scholars. And yet they control what the general public believes about William Shakespeare. And they stifle research.

That’s why we must continue to challenge the academy. That is why we must be steadfast in our inquiry!

Montaigne invented for the world what it means to be autobiographically frank.

Montaigne invented for the world what it means to be autobiographically frank.

On the other hand, Mr. Greenblatt IS an awesome intellectual and elegant writer. His “Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection” looks like a really fascinating book that could indeed shed light on the creative process that led to Shakespeare’s revolutionary depiction of the human character, what Harold Bloom called, “The Invention of the Human.”

No doubt, Shakespeare did read Montaigne, but not in the original French. He (or she) read him in the English translation made by the remarkable Elizabethan scholar, linguist and translator, John Florio. “Shakespeare’s Montaigne” was, in truth, Florio’s Montaigne. Mr. Greenblatt has done everyone a great service not only by reviving the translation, which does enable us to sort of “look over the shoulder” of the writer as he drew on Montaigne to create deeply human characters like Hamlet and Lear, but also by renewing our interest in John Florio himself.

Who IS John Florio?

Who IS John Florio?

Within the Shakespeare Authorship community , Florio is considered a credible candidate for the “true” writer of the poems and plays. Indeed, Montreal scholar and writer Lamberto Tassinari has beautifully documented the case for Florio in his book, “John Florio, The Man Who Was Shakespeare.”

Professor Greenblatt argues with his usual erudition that even though they never met, there was a close relationship between Montaigne and Shakespeare. And we agree. In addition, we suggest that there was probably an even closer relationship between Florio and the bard; that is, if they were not one and the same.

Is Hillary Clinton One of Us?

 

Hillary

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Hillary Clinton is just about everywhere these days, including in the New York Times Book Review.

On June 15, in conjunction with the rollout of her book, Hard Choices, there was an interview in the Review in which Ms Clinton spoke about the books she likes and the ones she doesn’t.

She’s a big reader. She  likes Laura Hillenbrand, Walter Isaacson, Hilary Mantel and Toni Morrison. Dostoevsky made a big impression on her. E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver and W.B. Yeats. She recommends Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice; Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa; and Shindler’s List, by Thomas Keneally. All laudable works.

But our interest was really piqued when we read the answer to this question: “You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited? Instead of naming three writers, she named just one: William Shakespeare.

“I’d choose to have one guest for a long dinner: William Shakespeare. I’m curious to see who would show up and what he really wrote.”

We of course can’t say for sure, but it sure seems like she may have some doubts about who would walk into her dining room, and what manuscripts he might be carrying under his courtly arm.

Mark Rylance Celebrates his 3rd Tony; Comments on “Slander” from Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Mark Rylance accepts Tony (his 3rd)  for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for ‘Twelfth Night’

Mark Rylance accepts Tony (his 3rd) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for ‘Twelfth Night’

           

               Mark Rylance has loved the works of Shakespeare since he was sixteen years old. He has devoted his life to performing the plays (staging over 55 of them) and interpreting their inexhaustible meanings. He helped create the “new” Globe Theater in London and was its artistic director for its first ten years. Mark believes there is both historical and literary merit to inquiring into the Shakespeare authorship question, and even looking at other writers besides the traditional man from Stratford. He has never been strident or overly zealous about the issue, but he has taken a very courageous stand (after all, the Shakespeare establishment launches fierce attacks against any public figure with the tenacity to question their feeble orthodox version of the story), and has encouraged research into this enigmatic question.

   

                 As a result, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (the people responsible for maintaining the legacy of the Stratford Man) has slandered Rylance by publically referring to him as “anti-Shakespearean.” It was of course absurd, but showed how shameless the Birthplace Trust can be when defending their “man.”

                  So it was a great thing for Mark to be recognized at the Tony Awards In New York for his Shakespeare work. He’s won previous Tonys for  Boeing-Boeing and Jerusalem, but it was especially gratifying for him – and a boost for the Shakespeare Canon overall – to be named best actor in a featured role for his portrayal of Olivia in the spectacular production of 12th Night. “It’s nice to be celebrated for my Shakespeare work at the moment,” he said, “because I love Shakespeare. I’ve loved him since I first came across the plays. And it hurts me to be slandered in that way.”  (see link below to his comments)

 Congratulations Mark!

For your artistry and unwavering courage.

                                    The Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable

http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2014/06/watch-britains-mark-rylance-wins-tony-3-lovely-liked/