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The Shakespearean Authorship Trust and the Friends of the Globe


The 2006 John Silberrad Memorial Lectures on

The Shakespeare Authorship Question


First Four Thursdays in November 2006


Globe Theatre, Bankside, London


All programmes begin at 7:30 pm





November 2nd: Dr. William Leahy


"Two Households Both Alike in Dignity": The Authorship Question and Academia'

This paper will consider both how and why the Shakespeare Authorship Question has traditionally been resisted as an appropriate subject for study by academics generally, particularly those working in English Literature departments of universities. It will argue that, in many ways this resistance is understandable but that, with certain important modifications and adaptations, the Authorship Question is now a subject with all of the necessary aspects of an academic subject. Finally, the paper will argue that the two "Households" - those working in Shakespeare studies within the institution of academia and those working in this field outside of the institution - are impelled to do what they do by the same impulse and should, in order that better, more rewarding work can be done, acknowledge that indeed they are "both alike in dignity."

Dr. William Leahy is Director of Studies in the Department of English at Brunel University, Uxbridge.  His specialised field of research is Shakespeare’s History Plays and Elizabethan Processions.  He has published widely on both Shakespeare and early modern spectacle, culminating in a book entitled Elizabethan Triumphal Processions, which was published by Ashgate in 2005. He is also a writer and translator of fiction, including poetry.  In 2005 he received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Brunel, where he is currently establishing an MA programme in Shakespeare Authorship Studies.

November 9th: Charles Beauclerk


'Shakespeare's Identity Crisis'

In this paper Charles Beauclerk argues that the Shakespeare authorship question grew out of Shakespeare's own identity crisis, which manifests itself through the principal themes and characters of the plays.  These themes reveal Shakespeare to have been an obsessive man, who reworked certain key ideas throughout his life.  In addition to identifying critical themes and image clusters to elucidate the author’s psychology, Beauclerk argues that Shakespeare used the chivalric romance tradition to bind up and unify his work.   In it he found an ingenious means both of celebrating his alienation and shaping his chief literary persona that of the Spear-shaker, England's hidden champion.

Charles Beauclerk, a first class honours graduate of Oxford University, lectures and writes on 16th and 17th century history.  He founded the De Vere Society in 1986 to foster debate and research on the Shakespeare authorship question, and was president of the American-based Shakespeare Oxford Society from 1995-97.  He has spoken before some 250 audiences in the U.S. and Canada, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Folger Shakespeare Library.  His first book Nell Gwyn: A Biography was published by Macmillan in 2005.  His next book, Shakespeare’s Identity Crisis, will be published by Grove Atlantic.

November 16th: Richard Paul Roe


'The Italy in Shakespeare'

In this paper Richard Roe reports on his critical examination of the topographies of Shakespeare's so-called Italian plays, the result of many years of scholarly and detailed, on-site research into the places and things alluded to in those plays.  Traditionally, the ten plays set in medieval or Renaissance Italy have been roundly criticized by scholars as being flawed or downright absurd in their geographic and cultural details.  Using Romeo and Juliet as his principal vehicle, Mr. Roe argues that the critics have been wrong in every case, and offers examples of Shakespeare's remarkable erudition on matters Italian.

Richard Paul Roe is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with specialization in English literature and European history.  He holds the degree of Juris Doctor Summa cum Laude from Southwestern University School of Law (CA).  In addition to a private law practice spanning more than thirty years he has undertaken a lifelong study of the so-called "Italian plays" in the Shakespeare canon.  His investigation has involved the in-depth examination of all the Italian places in which those plays are set and to which allusions are made as well as detailed research at the British Library, the Public Records Office, the Bibliotheque de Lyon, The Library of Congress  (Washington, D.C.), the New York Public Library, the Huntington Library, the Getty Museum library, and assisted research in numerous libraries and archives in Italy. 

November 23rd:  Stephanie Hopkins Hughes


‘“Hide Fox and All After”: The Authorship Game – Playing to Win’

In this paper Stephanie Hughes argues that Shakespeare was as much of a genius at hiding as he was at writing plays. ‘We can admire his skill at “disguising,”’ she writes, ‘but find it hard to explain to ourselves and to today's readers, why he found it worthwhile.’ To get to the heart of this puzzle, Hughes contends that readers of Shakespeare need to learn his game and how to play it, so that they can follow him through the maze of personal and political events that shaped him and his art. Her approach throws up many interesting questions, for instance: Was Shakespeare the only Court writer who played this perplexing game? How many besides himself knew the secret of his, and perhaps their, identities? And how can we put this awareness to work to reveal to ourselves and others the immense forces at work and the dangers inherent in this deadly game of “Hide Fox and All After?” 

Stephanie Hopkins Hughes is a writer and editor with close to twenty years of research on the Shakespeare authorship question to her credit. Since 1997 she has been Editor of THE OXFORDIAN, the annual journal of authorship scholarship published by the Shakespeare Oxford Society.  Since 1994 she has published articles in various Oxfordian newsletters and journals and has given lectures at various Oxfordian conferences on an annual basis. In 2004 she was the recipient of a fellowship from the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, to do research in England for a book on the 17th Earl of Oxford's education and childhood. Recently she collaborated with Susan Campbell and Malcolm Blackmoor to produce a 2CD recording of Sir Derek Jacobi reading Oxford's Letters.

For further information or to book tickets, please contact:

Jo Matthews at 020-7902-5970 or