George Peele, Robert Prechter and Shakespeare

We are excited to welcome Robert Prechter as our May 14 speaker for the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable. Mr. Prechter is known for his work in financial prediction using the Elliott Wave Theory, but that will not be the subject of his May talk.

Robert Prechter

“Who Wrote George Peele’s ‘Only Extant Letter’?” is the subject that interests Mr. Prechter immensely. We can’t wait to find out why and also to examine in more detail this personal correspondence to discover clues that relate to the authorship question. George Peele was the 9th Earl of Northumberland and one of the University Wits; a writer associated with Shakespeare.

George Peele is one of many topics in Robert Prechter’s new 24 volume digital book called Shakespeare’s Voices which proposes that many publications from the era were actually written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, under other people’s names.

Additional reading on the subject of George Peele and Renaissance Drama can be found in, The Predecessors of Shakespeare: A Survey and Bibliography, Recent Studies in English Renaissance Drama. (1973)

For more information on the life and work of George Peele, take a look at the recent book by David Bevington called George Peele (2017)

TO ATTEND THIS EVENT: Please email us for the Zoom link at

George Peele (1556-1596)

Farewell Barbara Crowley, Esteemed Roundtable Benefactor

Barbara Wenzel Gilfillan Crowley,
March 19, 1924 – August 13, 2012

Officer Emeritus, Advisor, Secretary and forever esteemed Roundtable benefactor, Barbara W. G. Crowley passed away on August 13, 2012. Barbara and her husband John were good friends of Ruth Lloyd Miller and at the vanguard of all aspects of the authorship question. Barbara not only helped found the Roundtable over twenty-five years ago, but has continued to advise, nurture and support its evolution. With an unbounded generosity, grace and intelligence, Barbara presided over many SAR planning sessions at “Great Oaks”, the beautiful Crowley home of 54 years. From that generosity, grace and intelligence grew many of the Roundtable’s milestone achievements. We will miss her greatly and with Sylvia Crowley Holmes, Barbara’s daughter and our wonderful Secretary, grieve her passing. 

Should friends wish, donations in Barbara’s name can be made to the charity of their choice, or the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable.

Barbara was born March 19, 1924 to author and social scientist, S. Colum Gilfillan and Louise Wenzel Gilfillan, social worker.  Barbara was raised in Hyde Park, Chicago and attended U. High (University of Chicago Laboratory Schools), also earning her BA in Psychology at the University of Chicago in 1944.  On the first day of her first job, Barbara met John Crowley.  They were married 6 months later and spent 63 fulfilling years together until John’s death in 2007.   In 1949 they moved to California where they raised their family of 6 children.  John and Barbara maintained a partnership throughout their marriage, and Barbara played the part of First Lady of Pasadena when John was mayor for two years.  Barbara believed her biggest accomplishment in life was her children.  A loving mother, she respected their differences and encouraged them to pursue their own interests.  As they grew up, she began her second career as an attorney.  She attended Loyola Law School, where she was one of the few women in her class.  She earned her JD and went on to practice estate, trust and probate law for 25 years at the firm of Barton, Klugman & Oetting in downtown Los Angeles.  She often expressed how lucky she felt to have had two separate careers: one, raising six children, the other, as an attorney.  Before, during and well after working as a lawyer, Barbara’s sense of civic responsibility motivated her to be an active participant in her local community.  She generously gave her time and energy to many organizations including the Pasadena PTA, Descanso Gardens Guild, Westridge School, Women at Work, League of Women Voters, University of Chicago Alumni and Los Angeles Beautiful, to name a few.  But her primary interest lay in the Shakespeare authorship question.  Thrilled by this real-life mystery, she studied and championed it throughout her life.

Barbara was preceded in death by her sister Marjorie Gilfillan, husband John and son Alex. She is survived by her children: Leonard, Philip, Eliot, Louisa and Sylvia, as well as eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held Saturday, September 22 at “Great Oaks”, the Crowley home of 54 years.  Should friends wish, donations in Barbara’s name can be made to the charity of their choice, or the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable.

Nothing is Truer Than Truth

Edward deVere, 17th Earl of Oxford

“Vero Nihil Verius” is the Latin motto emblazoned on the deVere family coat of arms. In English it translates to “Nothing is Truer Than Truth”, which is the title film producer/director Cheryl Eagan-Donovan has chosen for her new and much anticipated documentary film on Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The film focuses on the years 1575-76, when de Vere traveled the Continent from his home base in Venice, gathering the material that many academic and lay scholars believe would become the works of Shakespeare.

The filmmakers have travelled throughout the world, but especially to Italy, and have interviewed authorship authorities with a wide and sometimes controversial spectrum of ideas about the relationship between the content of the Canon and the life of its author. Their argument is that deVere was the author and that the plays reflect very closely the events that occurred in his life.

Orloff: “Why I Played With Shakespeare’s Story”

John Orloff has written a piece for the Wall St. Journal detailing why he chose to confront the authorship question in his screenplay for “Anonymous”.

We at the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable feel hearing his case for the Edward DeVere authorship of  the canon directly from the author, as opposed to merely those reviewing the work either negatively or positively, serves as a much more accurate and explicit explanation of his intent, so we encourage you to give it a read.

An excerpt:


The truth is, there is no truth in film — in any film. Even the films that we think are true, about real people in real places, actually aren’t.

This might seem obvious, but the emotions of a movie often overwhelm our intellect, blurring the line between fact and drama. We walk away feeling as if we have witnessed history.

But does this make a historical drama inferior to a history book or a documentary based on the same subject matter? Not necessarily.

Whatever a film might lack in literal truth, it can be far better at expressing the emotional truth of an event. In a movie, an audience can become connected to characters in a way that they often can’t in a straight historical account.

I researched the screenplay for “Anonymous” — the new movie about the Shakespeare “authorship question” — for several years before I wrote it. I learned as much as I could about Shakespeare, the Earl of Oxford (the leading alternative candidate for authorship of the plays), the Elizabethan court, Elizabethan stagecraft, etc. I wanted my script to be as factually accurate as possible.

But I also wanted to tell a rocking good story and to express a theme that matters to me a great deal: that the pen is mightier than the sword.

At the climax of the film, the Earl of Oxford — through his front man, the actor William Shakespeare — tries to inspire a mob to go to Queen Elizabeth’s palace to peacefully demand the banishment of Sir Robert Cecil, the Queen’s chief adviser and the film’s villain.

How does he attempt to bring this about? Through a performance of one of his plays, of course.

Anyone who knows Elizabethan history knows that Shakespeare’s “Richard II” was performed on the eve of this event, which became known as the Essex Rebellion.

But “Richard II” is a very subtle and complicated play. Why its politics were relevant to London commoners in 1601 — and why it would incite them to start an actual rebellion — would be extremely difficult to convey to a modern audience. I could have done it, but it would have required an additional 20 minutes of film time.

And, as I said, the film is not really about the Essex Rebellion. It is about showing that ideas are stronger than brute force. So how to make that point without wasting 20 minutes of the audience’s time?

Well, Sir Robert Cecil — our villain — was in real life a hunchback. And so is King Richard III in Shakespeare’s play of the same name. By switching the play that precedes the Essex Rebellion from “Richard II” to “Richard III,” I was able to let the movie’s audience immediately see the political implications of the performance. I didn’t have to explain any complicated political metaphors: They only needed to see Richard III’s hunched back to understand instantly a point that would have been obvious to London bricklayers and cobblers of the era.

In the end, the Essex Rebellion failed. In “Anonymous,” it fails because Robert Cecil uses cannons—brute force—to destroy it….


Read much more HERE.

Michael Dunn Solves Shakespeare Mystery