Press release from Sunday September 28, 2014

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.

— Our first update in a while. Things are still going our way.

Waugh puts Birthplace Trust on trial

Last year we offered to donate £40,000 to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford if it could prove in a mock trial that William of Stratford was the author William Shakespeare. The offer was published in an open letter in a full-page ad in the Times Literary Supplement. Rather than accept the challenge, back up their claim that his authorship is “Beyond Doubt,” defend the basis of their existence as a charity, expose doubters as the fools they say we are, put the authorship controversy behind them, and pocket £40,000 for doing so, they declined! Why did they pass up such a deal? Simple: they know they can't win on a level playing field. They haven't got the goods, and if it got out it could sink their theme park and a lot more.

Not one to be denied, SAC Honorary President Alexander Waugh sat down and wrote a book, Shakespeare in Court, in which he drags the SBT, kicking and screaming, into court to defend itself. The trial is a hilarious courtroom drama in which key evidence is examined, falsehoods exposed, truth revealed, villains vanquished, doubters vindicated, and the real meaning of Ben Jonson's reference to “Sweet Swan of Avon” explained for the first time since it was written. The authorship controversy will never be the same again.

Here's how Shakespeare in Court (an e-book by Kindle Singles), is described at Amazon.com:

This explosive new salvo in the hard-fought war over the identity of William Shakespeare exposes the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as a prime source of misinformation and subversion concerning the life and times of the World's greatest playwright. Author and Shakespearean scholar Alexander Waugh provocatively accuses the Trust of “making false statements” about its tourist museums, of concealing information about Shakespeare authorship, of abusing those who challenge or contradict its “expert authority” and of having “a clear and obvious conflict of interest concerning its revenues and its representation of Shakespearean history.”

With wit, ingenuity and a profound knowledge of his subject, Waugh combines his exposé of the Birthplace Trust and those individuals driving its “Authorship Campaign,” with a dramatic courtroom cross-examination of “a typical orthodox Shakespeare pundit.” This lively scene, written in sharp, confrontational dialogue, challenges the traditional belief that Shakespeare's works were composed by an illiterate butcher's apprentice from the British Midlands and clearly reveals why the case for Mr. Shakspere of Stratford, if submitted to the judicial scrutiny of any court of law, would be instantly dismissed.

Every doubter will want to read this book, and every Stratfordian will have to read it, just to keep up. As an e-book by Kindle Singles, it must be purchased and downloaded at an Amazon website. If you don't have a Kindle, free software is available to download. Here are direct links to the book at Amazon for nine countries: US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Italy, France, Germany and Spain (yes, we have doubters in all of them). Kindle Singles are short, inexpensive e-books. This one is 112 pages and sells for $1.99 U.S. If you do read Shakespeare in Court, please rate it and post a short review of it on Amazon.

Prince Philip v. Stanley Wells

In case you missed it, last April 27 the Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and his son Charles, Prince of Wales, are at odds over the Authorship Question, with Philip a doubter, while Charles, President of the RSC, is a solid supporter of Mr. Shakspere of Stratford. Charles apparently put Philip in touch with Stanley Wells of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to straighten him out, but when Dr. Wells asked if he was a heretic he replied “all the more so after reading your book!” The book referred to is most likely Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? (SBD) (Edmondson and Wells, eds., 2013).

This was most gratifying to Alexander and me, and to everyone who contributed to our book, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? (SBD), published just weeks after the Edmondson-Wells book. We think ours is clearly the better book, and the ratings and reviews on Amazon support this. But it's especially nice to have Prince Philip confirm that reading SBD, which aimed to put an end to the controversy, had the opposite effect, heightening his skepticism. Very astute fellow, that Prince Philip. Ever since SBD and SBD? came out, we have asked people to read both books, knowing that ours would come off better in the comparison.

Since it was such a hot topic in the Royal household, we sent copies of SBD? to both princes, then a letter to Prince Charles (in his capacity as RSC president) challenging a false claim on the RSC's website — Stanley Wells' claim that the phenomenon of disbelief in Shakespeare's authorship is “a psychological aberration of considerable interest,” attributable to a great variety of intellectual and character defects, including “snobbery …,” and “even … certifiable madness.” This is clearly total nonsense. Wells is an English professor defending his turf, not a clinical psychologist. There is no evidence that authorship doubters are any more aberrant than people in the general population or in a control group of, say, English professors residing in Warwickshire.

The point is that if he is willing to make blatantly false claims, why believe anything he says? In 2010, when the same claim was on the website of the SBT, we challenged Wells to either back it up with data worthy of the high scholarly standards he claims to represent, or take it down. It came down in 2011, only to reappear on the RSC's website. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the RSC to realize that Wells is out of touch with reality, not us (to him, “psychologically aberrant” means anyone who disagrees with his position), and take it down. Or will they agree with Wells that Prince Philip is just another aberrant?

(Speaking of psychologically aberrant doubters, anyone who has not yet seen it should be sure to watch actor Keir Cutler's YouTube video “Shakespeare Authorship — Crackpot to Mainstream.” When Stratfordian scholars start looking and sounding ridiculous, change can't be far off. Their students will be seeing this stuff, so they will have to deal with it whether they like it or not.)

Over 3,000 Signatories, Six New Notables

September 8, 2014, marked the seventh anniversary of the Declaration signing ceremony at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester, West Sussex, featuring Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance. At that time we had 289 signatories. We now have over 3,000, and by a comfortable margin. Thanks to all of you who have used the Declaration to help spread the word during that time.

So what does it mean to have 3,000 signatories? Not much, really, if we knew nothing more about them. Millions of people believe all sorts of strange things, like the earth is flat, etc. What matters is who they are. Here is the profile: 77% are college graduates, and half of those (38.5%) have advanced degrees — 510 doctoral degrees and 665 master's degrees, or a total of 1,175 advanced degrees; 526 are current or former college or university faculty members, from virtually every academic field.

Interestingly, two of the largest groups, both among all college graduates and among current/former college faculty members, are those in English Literature and Theatre Arts — the fields most involved with Shakespeare. Signatories in English Literature totaled 523, or 17% overall, and 97, or 19% among faculty. Signatories in Theatre Arts totaled 273, or 9% overall, and 67, or 13% among college faculty. It is good to see so many people in these departments willing to take a stand despite the risks.

Running through the other fields represented in rank order (faculty and non-faculty combined), 306 said that they are in the arts, 191 in math/engineering/computers, 187 in education, 178 other humanities, 170 social sciences, 169 law, 163 natural sciences, 159 history, 152 other/unspecified, 146 in medicine/health care, 124 psychology, 103 management, and 36 library science. So this “psychological aberration” afflicts large numbers of well-educated people in all disciplines. Perhaps Dr. Wells, out of his genuine concern for all of these poor, deluded people, will contact the CDC to alert them to this strange and terrible epidemic of doubt about Shakespeare's authorship.

Actually, Wells finally conceded in his recent e-book, Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare (Kindle Singles, 2013), that at least some of our “notable” signatories are reasonable people (probably the U.S. Supreme Court justices, who are not often thought to be totally bonkers), but added “so much for the rest,” as if all 1,175 with advanced degrees remain unreasonable, even though their views are the same as those of the notables Wells concedes are reasonable. And this man has the nerve to accuse us, without evidence, of being motivated by snobbery for holding views which we don't, in fact, hold, and never have.

We're glad that Professor Wells clarified that for us. If it's notables he wants, we've just added these six more:

This makes a total of 42 notables. Keep in mind that we set the bar high for the notables list. Many more signatories, especially those with advanced degrees and current or former academics, are very accomplished, but haven't reached the level of public prominence of those on the list. Not many of the twenty-two contributors to the Edmondson-Wells book, SBD?, would qualify.

Notice the international flavor, with two Germans and a Frenchman. Also noteworthy is the addition of two psychiatrists to our long list of mental health experts. We have yet to hear the names of any mental health experts who agree with Professor Wells. Nor has he written a declaration stating his position so we can see who will sign his. Of course he could recruit lots of English professors, but whom besides them? Please join me in welcoming these six outstanding individuals as Declaration signatories.

— John Shahan, SAC Chairman

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