Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Podcast Shakespeare

A listening tour through the works, life, and afterlife of William Shakespeare.

Jul 3, 2018

“The fraud of men was ever so / Since summer first was leafy”

— Balthasar’s song, Much Ado About Nothing

In episode six, we look at that vexing question of whether or not Will Shakespeare was a complete and utter conman. We’ll follow those who dug up rivers, cracked codes, turned to grave-robbing, or occasionally just wrote really, really long books to find the answer. We’ll hear from Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, William Wordsworth, and learn some surprising theories as to why Queen Elizabeth I was the Virgin Queen (or was she…?). It’s a journey from the 1560s to our era and back again, and somehow I manage to bring up Golden Girls, England’s greatest treasure hunt, George W. Bush and Dame Agatha Christie!

Confused? You still will be after listening, but I hope you’ll enjoy this incredibly long investigation of the madness that is the authorship question.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or by email at You can listen to the podcast at iTunes or download direct from Libsyn. We also have a Spotify playlist, which will be updated each week as we work through the plays.

The website for the podcast is On the website, you will find an evolving bibliography.


00:00 - Introduction / searching for Shakespeare

09:33 - Delia Bacon / candidate Sir Francis Bacon

24:50 - Mark Twain / Ignatius Donnelly, codebreaker

35:05 - Dr. Owen's machine / Mrs. Gallup and Mr. Arensberg

41:45 - J. Thomas Looney / candidate Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford

1:04:40 - Other candidates / Christopher Marlowe

1:09:35 - Oxford gets another chance / "Anonymous"

1:13:41 - The "Masquerade" connection

1:18:49 - William Shakespeare

1:37:38 - The enduring appeal of theories / My theories

1:47:15 - The "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt" / hail and farewell

Links mentioned:

Due to the nature of the episode, I have done a separate permanent Authorship page at Some links below.

SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561 – 1626)

Supporters of Bacon

Delia Salter Bacon (1811 – 1859):

Walt Whitman,“Shakespeare Bacon’s Cipher”

Ignatius Donnelly, The Great Cryptogram (1888)

Elizabeth Ward Gallup:

Dr. Orville Ward Owen, Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story (1893-95)

Mark Twain, Is Shakespeare Dead? (1909)

Henry W. Fisher, Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field, Tales they told to a fellow correspondent, (1922) see page 49 for Twain and Fisher’s anecdote Queen Elizabeth being a man.

Walter Conrad Arensberg:


Supporters of Oxford

John Thomas Looney (1870 – 1944)

The De Vere Society of Great Britain

The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship

Why I Became an Oxfordian at the “Shakespeare Authorship Sourcebook”

Charlton Ogburn:

Michael Brame and Galina Propova, Shakespeare’s Fingerprints (2002), discussed in Washington University News, January 23, 2003

Percy Allen, Life Story of Edward De Vere (1932)

Trailer for Anonymous, directed by Roland Emmerich (2011)



The First Folio at the Bodleian online

Shakespeare suing for minor debts – at

The Shakespeare Authorship Page – a vital resource

David Kathman:

James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (2010)

Irvin Leigh Matus, The Case for Shakespeare, The Atlantic, October 1991

Samuel Schoenbaum, Shakespeare’s Lives, 1970

William F. Friedman & Elizebeth Smith Friedman:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men – chapter 6 Shakespeare or the Poet (1850)

Terry Ross, The Code that Failed: Testing a Bacon-Shakespeare Cipher at The Shakespeare Authorship Page

Don Foster:

The moot trials of Shakespeare:

  • 1987 trial – at PBS
  • 1987 trial – the New York Times
  • A 1993 trial at the Boston American Bar Association – at PBS

Giles Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, The Survival of Manuscripts, from Elizabethan Handwriting, 1500-1650: A Manual, W.W. Norton & Co, 1966 at The Shakespeare Authorship Site

Muriel St Clare Byrne, The Social Background“, in A Companion to Shakespeare Studies, page 190, edited by Harley Granville Barker and G.B Harrison (1934)

William Wordsworth, Scorn not the Sonnet (c. 1807)

Robert Browning, House (1876)

Robert Bell Wheler:


Marlovian theory of authorship


Wikipedia’s list of 87 (at July 2018)

Robert Frazer, Silent Shakespeare (1915) PDF

Gilbert Slater, The Seven Shakespeares (1913)

Michaelangelo Florio, aka Crollalanza

Roger Manners, Earl of Rutland, in Claud Walter Skyes’ Alias William Shakespeare, Aldor, 1947

Henry Neville, a very peculiar theory – with Tom Veal’s response


Catullus, Poem 5

Kit Williams’ Masquerade

John Keats’ Lamia

Aeschylus’ Eumenides


Sergei Prokofiev, “Montagues and Capulets”, from Romeo and Juliet (ballet), 1935

Franz Schubert, Im Fruhling, D.882 performed by Barbara Hendricks

Gerald Finzi, Love’s Labour’s Lost, op. 28: Dance, Aurora Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon

Gaetano Donizetti, Overture to Roberto Devereux (feat. God Save the Queen), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras

John Dowland, Galliard for the Queen and Robert Dudley

Hakan Parkman, “Take, O Take These Lips Away” (Madrigal) from 3 Shakespeare Songs, sung by Singer Pur choir

Bonny Peggy Ramsey” (traditional) performed by Tom Kines on Songs from Shakespeare’s Plays and Popular Songs of Shakespeare’s Time

Ambroise Thomas, Hamlet (1868), 1994 recording, London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antonio de Almeida:

  • Thomas Hampson (Hamlet) – singing part of his “Doubt not that I love” letter
  • June Anderson (Ophélie) – Ophélie’s mad scene and death, Act IV