Press release from Sunday April 24, 2016

SAC News Releases

May 4, 2016
Doubts about Shakespeare go international for the 400th anniversary
April 25, 2016
Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance revive the debate over Shakespeare's identity in an interview with NPR's Renée Montagne.
April 24, 2016
Doubters claim victory on Shakespeare 400th Anniversary, and renew their challenge to Stratfordians to participate in a mock trial.
March 23, 2016
The SAC at Age 10; Six New Notables; 400th Anniversary International Events
December 27, 2015
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt still un-rebutted after more than eight years
November 22, 2015
Droeshout engraving in First Folio has Shakspere wearing impossible doublet!
May 31, 2015
RSC removes Stanley Wells' article on “Authorship Debate” from its website!
September 28, 2014
SAC Update through September, 2014
December 6, 2013
SAC challenges the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to a mock trial, to prove that Shakspere wrote Shakespeare, offering a £40K donation to the winning side.'
November 21, 2011
Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon with new reasons to doubt the identity of the author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, Anonymous.
April 30, 2011
Over 2,000 sign Declaration of Reasonable Doubt
September 18, 2010
Theater professionals sign Shakespeare Authorship Declaration
April 20, 2010
Happy Birthday and Retirement, Justice John Paul Stevens!
April 19, 2010
Shakespeare Authorship Coalition updates Declaration signatory lists
November 15, 2009
U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor (retired) sign the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.
April 13, 2009
Award-winning Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance joined by growing list of declared Shakespeare authorship doubters. Michael York joins fellow actors as SAC Patron. Shakespeare Authorship Coalition marks 2nd aniversary of Declaration of Reasonable Doubt. Seven signatories added to SAC “notables” list.
November 17, 2008
Huntington Library staff sign Declaration.
June 3, 2008
Sir Derek Jacobi joins the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition as a SAC patron.
December 1, 2007
First annual report of the Shakespeare authorship coalition: the Coalition’s strategy is working! Over 1,200 people have signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, and we’ve attracted enormous attention to the authorship issue. With each new signatory, it becomes more difficult for orthodox scholars to continue claiming that there is “no room for doubt” about the identity of William Shakespeare.
September 23, 2007
Nearly 800 additional signatories have signed the “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare” in the two weeks since prominent Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, former artistic director at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, gave the Declaration its launch in the U.K.
July 2, 2007
SAC adds 100 signers to the list of signatories of the “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt”.
April 23, 2007
SAC releases its first list of signatories of the “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt”, on the 391st anniversary of William Shakspere's death.
April 14, 2007
SAC and the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable hold a signing ceremony to issue the “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt”
April 11, 2007
SAC and Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable to issue historic “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt”

SAC contact person: John Shahan at (909) 896-2006, or online.

— In a series of international events in Sydney, Australia; Oslo, Norway; London; Toronto: South Florida; Flint, Michigan; and Los Angeles, CA; Shakespeare authorship doubters announced important new evidence and claimed vindication for having signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare, launched in the US and UK in 2007.

The California-based Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC), issuer of the Declaration, renewed its challenge to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon to prove, in a mock trial before judges, its claim that Shakspere's authorship is “beyond doubt.” (Note: we use the convention of spelling the author's name “Shakespeare” and the Stratford man's name “Shakspere” in this release.)

The SAC also said it had examples of concealment and falsification of evidence by Trust officials, which it could present at such a trial. The basis for its claims are in a sequel to the Declaration, titled Beyond Reasonable Doubt, presenting new evidence and arguments.

The most significant new evidence relates to the First Folio, and the monument in Stratford, in Part 2 of Beyond Reasonable Doubt. Anti-Stratfordian scholar Alexander Waugh shows that Ben Jonson's famous reference to Shakespeare as the “Sweet Swan of Avon” refers not to the Avon River in Stratford-upon-Avon, but to Hampton Court Palace, on the Thames west of London, long known as “Avon,” as Ben Jonson surely knew. Hampton Court Palace was the principal venue for court performances under both Elizabeth I and James I. Seen in context, Jonson is referring to plays performed before Elizabeth and King James on the banks of the Thames, not to Stratford.

Elsewhere, Waugh proposes that Ben Jonson designed the monument to go with the Folio and wrote its cryptic inscription. The inscription has defied all efforts to decipher it for four hundred years, but Waugh came up with an ingenious solution that is a shocker. He proposes that the Latin couplet in the first two lines have been mistranslated, and that they do not refer to Shakspere. They seem to compare Shakespeare to three figures of antiquity — King Nestor of Pylos, the philosopher Socrates and the poet Virgil, but Shakespeare had never been compared to them before. Waugh documents that three other English writers were compared to them: Chaucer, Spenser and Francis Beaumont. What they have in common is that they are buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Waugh makes a compelling case that Jonson encrypted a message in the inscription saying that the real Shakespeare is with them.

The sequel also shows examples of concealment of important evidence. In a chapter in the book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt (2013), Professor Stanley Wells, former Chairman and now Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, claims to have included “all” allusions to the author to 1642, but then omits two references that suggest Shakspere was not the author. In 1628, Sir Thomas Vicars refers to “that famous poet who takes his name from 'shaking' and 'spear,'” implying a made-up pen name. In 1635, Cuthbert Burbage, a fellow sharer in the Globe Theatre who surely knew the role Mr. Shakspere played in the acting company, writing a petition in a law suit, describes “Shakspere” and “Shakspeare” as one of several “deserving men” and several “men players.” It doesn't sound like he thought of this “Shakspere” as the famous playwright, but as just another member of the acting company. Here we have “smoking gun” evidence against orthodoxy, and a leading Stratfordian omits it after saying he included “all” references. (To confirm this, read Chapter 7 on “Allusions to Shakespeare to 1642,” by Professor Stanley Wells, in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt.)

Additional examples of new and little-known evidence in Beyond Reasonable Doubt:

Contrary to this year's 400th anniversary celebrations, the record shows nothing but silence when Mr. Shakspere died in 1616. Nothing says that Shakespeare died. His fellow actors, and the playwrights with whom he supposedly collaborated, all remained silent. This is in stark contrast to the outpouring of eulogies for other leading authors, such as Francis Beaumont, who died one month earlier.

The earliest suggestion that Shakspere of Stratford had been the author Shakespeare was seven years after he died, in the First Folio. Here again, not one writer still living, with whom he supposedly collaborated, wrote a tribute to the man Jonson called “Soul of the Age!” In fact, Jonson is the only important writer who wrote a tribute for the First Folio, unlike the numerous tributes to Jonson in his own folio. The First Folio did not even include the Shakspere coat of arms, which he and his father went to much trouble and expense to acquire. That would have left no doubt about the author's identity, and its omission can hardly be an oversight — another anomaly among many.

Orthodox scholars have never been able to explain why so many of Shakespeare's plays are set in Italy (ten, plus four in ancient Rome), and how he became so familiar with Italy that even obscure details are accurate. They dispute that the plays reveal accurate knowledge of Italy, since Shakspere was never there. Now we know the details in the Italian plays are almost always correct, contrary to the claims. What this suggests is that our greatest writer is not a man born in Stratford who never left England, but someone who had traveled extensively in Italy.

This is entirely consistent with the evidence of Mr. Shakspere's will — the one document that we know for sure is the product of his mind. Nothing in the will suggests the mind of Shakespeare. The problem isn't just the absence of books or manuscripts, important as that is. It mentions no book cases, shelves, chests, or other furniture for holding or storing books, nor any desk or writing materials. It mentions no musical instruments, despite the author's evident musical expertise, and no art, tapestries, maps, or intellectual property of any kind. Even the preamble is just stock language. Many people wrote their own preambles. Why did Shakespeare not write his own preamble?

The evidence presented in the sequel is detailed and compelling. Even Professor Stanley Wells of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust now admits that no evidence from the lifetime of Mr. Shakspere proves he was a writer, much less that he was Shakespeare. Together, the Declaration and its sequel, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, are a tour de force. No wonder the Birthplace Trust will not be part of a mock trial.

Background

It has been nine years since the SAC issued the Declaration in the US, and Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance launched it in the UK in a signing ceremony in Chichester, West Sussex, September 8, 2007. Now, after paying close attention to comments and criticisms of it and following developments in the controversy, the SAC concludes that its initial doubts have been confirmed, and that it can now say it is virtually certain Mr. Shakspere of Stratford wasn't the author of the works of William Shakespeare.

After nine years, the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt remains un-rebutted by Shakespeare scholars. Nor have they written a declaration of the case for Shakspere, despite repeated requests to write one.

Over 3,300 people have signed the Declaration, including 1,270 with advanced degrees, 570 current or former college/university faculty members and 52 notables. These include SAC patrons Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance and Michael York, leading academics such as Dean Keith Simonton, one of the world's foremost experts on creativity and genius, and Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor. The list of doubters is long and distinguished, contrary to the Stratfordian stereotype.

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SAC contact person: John Shahan at (909) 896-2006, or online.