Penn Students Remove Portrait of Shakespeare With Black Feminist Author

william-shakespeareWe have previously followed controversies at leading universities where students have objected to reading works by white males (even as part of classic English literature courses). Now, students at the University of Pennsylvania removed a portrait of Shakespeare from a prominent location in the school’s English department because he is a white male. He was replaced by Audre Lorde, a black feminist and author who died in 1992.

The department chair observed that the students removed the portrait as “a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department.”

Here is what I fail to understand. Department Chair Jed Esty explained that the portrait was “delivered” to his office and said that the portrait of Lorde will remain in Shakespeare’s place until he and his colleagues can reach an agreement on what to do next. In a stereotype of the erosion of academic integrity and principles, Esty said that they would create a “working group” to help monitor the process.

Here is another possibility. You put the portrait back and discipline any students that damaged school property (which does not appear to be the case). Whatever the value of Lorde’s work, she is not the equal of Shakespeare as an influence on literature. You do not need a committee to explain that obvious fact.  There is of course no problem is honoring Lorde for her own contributions but the concern among some in academia is that we are watching a comprehensive attack on classical literature and training.  This small story hit a nerve for that reason.

Instead, the working group will discuss the “departmental mission in the current political climate” and “initiate an open and collaborative conversation among students, faculty, and employees in English to come up with ideas for that public space.”

Notably, the English Department voted a few years ago to replace the portrait. Why? I cannot think of a more meaningful image for any English department.

89 thoughts on “Penn Students Remove Portrait of Shakespeare With Black Feminist Author”

  1. HERE is another possibility:
    Create diversion. Rip down Lorde. Replace with Shakespeare. Repeat as necessary until historical revisionists croak. Never apologize. Never surrender.

  2. I know. Let them protest antibiotics and airplanes and trains because they were invented by white men. I have no idea who first invented the boat, so we’ll give them that. Let’s tell them that they have to investigate the race of every single person behind every single thing in their life, and they have to protest equally.

    What a stupid waste of energy. There are people without clean drinking water around the world, trash to pick up, trees to plant, and kids who live in bad neighborhoods who need help with their homework. They need to find a better outlet.

  3. These are the wages of screening every single issue through race. There are now 6 degrees of separation between any possible topic of conversation and race. Instead of making race and ethnicity interesting, but irrelevant to education and the workplace, they have hyper focused on race. And they have over sensitized our young people’s limbic system to the point that they reach fight or flight, angst, and existential crisis over the slightest provocations. We have raised adults to behave as toddlers but we are not allowed to give them a time out.

    Is it a question whether any author is more influential than the Bard? Will Ms Lourde’s works still move students from high school to graduate school in 600 years, and still be relevant? Will she do the equivalent of making the pun and iambic pentameter famous? The double entendre? The Middle Child? The Scottish Play? Revenge, jealousy, teenage doomed love, suicide?

    It is racist to remove or belittle the works of white authors for no other reason than the color of their skin. Art and literature are supposed to stand or fall on its own merits.

  4. The dangers of a spotless mind! I’m reminded of the scene in Life Of Brian where the revolutionaries ask: what have the Romans ever done for us. One pipes up and says “Roads” ok except for roads what have they done for us. Another says “sewers”. Ok, except for the roads and the sewers what have they done for us? Another “peace”. And on it goes. Dead white men weren’t perfect but neither are any humans and they gave us so much upon which to build.

    Takings Shakespeare down because he was white is….RACIST!

  5. Madness. I guess it’s also time to replace the statue of UPenn’s founder, Ben Franklin, with a more inclusive choice, like Nelson Mandela or Frederick Douglass.

  6. What if we valued great ideas and ignored who may have first stated the ideas? Many people come up with similar thinking at around the same time. People like to rank highly those who look like themselves to create a false sense of personal status.

    1. You must be thinking of yourself. I hold Einstein in high regard. Unkept wacky old man. Well, maybe you made a point in my particular case, but I wouldn’t project that on society as a whole. I would say it has to do more with relevant geography.

  7. Shoot! I can not get The Little Rascals on my television channels anymore. I wish Cotton was a monkey. Over and out.

  8. Someone should have asked for clarity when candidate Obama promised a “Fundamental Transformation” of America. Maybe something as basic as; When this transformation is complete, what do you see America looking like?

    Well now we have the answer..

  9. Chrissake, Shakespeare has been under assault by feminist Nazi’s for decades. He is hardly taught anymore.

      1. Ather, OUR loss. Shakespeare is the greatest writer of all time. To go through high school and college w/o reading Shakespeare is criminal. And, since he is difficult to understand, until you are taught how, these teachers are committing educational malpractice. Of course, this is just one of many examples of educational incompetence.

  10. Dr. Erin O’Connor resigned her position in the English department a number of years ago, after a bloc of years as a vociferous critic of the norm in the academic humanities. One thing she had to say about Penn English was that 90% of the graduate students in the department were female and no one on the faculty seemed to think that the least bit odd.

    Here’s a nice penalty for Penn English: mandatory disclosure. Run down a list of students who’ve graduated in the previous dozen years with a BA in English and tell prospective majors (a) what these Penn degree holders are now doing for a living and (b) how much they’re in hoc for their post-baccalaureate professional schooling. Audit the department’s course census after a half-dozen years of this and downsize faculty accordingly.

    1. Downsize the faculty to who’s standards?

      Last I checked Bill’s greatest hits were still being taught here in Kentucky high schools.

      The dude’s work has been around for for over 400 years.
      I think his image removal is up to them.

      Are you trying to protect the students from buyer’s remorse of their education?

      You sound like quite the pedantic dandy ascoffed at your own brethren.

      1. You want an answer for your incoherent outburst. Here goes…

        What the arts and sciences faculty trades in in liberal education. Ditto the visual and performing arts faculties and ditto a section of the communications faculty. This is all the more true of the humanities departments. Liberal education is education for leisure, though it can provide a job market signal indicating trainability (as it does with a school like Penn). As we speak, about 35% of those earning baccalaureate degrees are getting academic and arts degrees. What’s in it for them?

        What’s not in it regarding many English departments, is gaining exposure to and an appreciation of literature. It is in some departments, but for 20 years or more, you’ve been seeing critiques of literature faculties, critiques prevalent enough to make it into Calvin & Hobbes strips. Erin O’Connor and Camille Paglia have been among the more prominent critics.

        Well, if they’re not learning literature, tell them what the job market signal really is in quantitative terms. They know, in a general way, that the degree they seek is impractical. Put it in dollars and sense.

        Many departments are cross-subsidized, particularly at a research university with a large faculty census (and a large student census – Penn has both). At the institutions I once knew well, a typical academic department employed about 9 (fte) faculty and harbored a mean of 30 graduates a year. You get much below a mean of 9 graduates per year, and you can hardly justify hiring the faculty necessary to sustain a course list for an academic major (unless you’ve decided a priori that no program ever disappears). Well, four of the five modern language faculties were underwater and their course enrollments were propped up by those seeking distribution credits (which required taking courses in those departments). The Physics department was at the waterline, which is not so good considering it was a high overhead department with a faculty / major ratio 1/3 the institutional average. The music department was underwater. Every interdisciplinary program was underwater bar international relations, environmental studies, and asian studies.

        And by ‘every interdisciplinary program’ I mean ‘women’s studies’ and ‘black studies’ most of all. Hardly anyone majors in these subjects (1 or 2 students a year), but faculty hiring is distorted and disfigured by the need to generate corresponding faculty for programs that interest only faculty and administration. At Yale University (at one time), the ratio of budget to actual majors for the women’s studies program exceeded that for the economics department by a factor which approached 3 digits.

        Now, here we have the English department emulating the victimology programs. Here’s a suggestion: cut their census through the simple expedient of disclosure, and then fire the redundant faculty who arent’ earning their keep. Better yet, declare the discipline as practiced unserious and can them no matter how many marks they pull in.

  11. I’m working on a petition to have Washington’s and Jefferson’s heads removed from Mount Rushmore. They were slave owners. There is a White Supremacist group connected to Trump out to remove Lincoln’s head, for obvious reasons. Teddy gets to stay for now but we are still digging.

  12. The problem is they always replace the dead white guy with some one who is not qualified to shine their shoes.

    1. Agree with you Paul! If they felt compelled to replace Will they could at least have replaced with a black author of merit like Toni Morrison or Lorraine Hansberry =) But then neither of those are lesbian feminists.

      1. Autumn – the only black playwright of merit that even starts to equal Shakespeare is August Wilson. Be sure to see his ‘Fences’ in a movie theater near you.

        1. The first production of Wilson’s work was in 1982. I’d give it a dozen years minimum before you consider putting any of it in the canon.

          1. Toads – quality is quality. Wilson’s plays are quality and I would place him before Morrison or Hansberry. I like both, but he towers above them. Still not Shakespeare, Jonson or Moliere, but better than just about anybody else.

            1. That may be, but you’re not the only one with a nomination to make. Waiting 45 years allows adequate time for a man’s contemporaries to be out to grass and allows fads to dissipate. And it might not be enough. This dame Lorde was an AC-DC librarian whose first work was published in 1968 and whose concerns seem (from the description) to be sociological rather than aesthetic. Be nice if there were more of a shake-out ‘ere they considered honoring her.

              1. Toads – I was active theatrically in the late 60s and her name never came up. When I took my masters in the 80s her name never came up. However, I was responsible for knowing the plots of all the Shakespeare plays as well as some 200 others. Hers were not included.

                1. She was a poet, not a playwright, and you’d have been unlikely to have heard of her in 1968 because she was a suburban librarian who’d only recently been published.

                  1. Toads – now it is even more insulting to change the pictures. Someone must have done their dissertation on her.

  13. Ralph Adamo and Ratherdrive – it was Will Shakspeare who wrote those plays and who worked as a play doctor after he retired. If it wasn’t Shakespeare, then it was Kit Marlowe who really was not killed and used Shakespeare as a front. It sure as heck was not the Earl of Oxford. Shakespeare was also an actor and we know some of the parts that he played. He was a sharer in the Globe and Blackfriars, which gave him additional income. It was his senior actors who compiled his folio to be printed after his death.

    1. Paul:
      What do you have against Oxford as the probable author? Considering the quality of the material, common reason demands that it must have been written by a highly educated person, well-traveled and well-connected to others who also fit that description and could provide creative fodder. None of those attributes can be applied to Will, in the slightest. There even seems to some doubt as to whether Will could read or write past a most basic level. There is no evidence that he had ever even seen a map of any kind, let alone a map of Italy, let alone being able to locate either Verona or Padua on a map of Italy.

      And yet we are to believe all of that extraordinary material came out of WILL’S head? As if.

      Oxford, on the other hand, had the education, the rich social background, the talent, the time to write, and the wealth to support it. Not to mention the angst from being on the outs with the queen; an extremely dangerous position to be stuck in at that time in history. Had he been so bold as to affix his own name to something as low-life as the theater, he would have been totally ostracized from his aristocratic society. A strong motive for maintaining anonymity.

      Will’s position in all this is what we would consider the producer/promoter, in modern parlance.

      1. Ratherdrive – you make a common mistake, that of the elitist. Shakespeare stole all his plots, but it is how he uses them that is original. Since he has ‘so little education’ he can be freer with the structure of the plot and the character to develop what he wants. My specialty is Ben Jonson, who had a Masters. His plays are very structured, not that he cannot surprise you with a plot twist. Jonson’s plots are mostly original.

        What you do not realize is that Shakespeare was going to school from 8 to 5 every day until he had to quit. You got a very solid education in those days. Jonson had his Masters at 16.

        And if I remember correctly, wasn’t the last play of Shakespeare done after Oxford died? If it was going to be anybody, it would be Kit Marlowe, with Shakespeare as a front.

          1. Step,
            How do we know whether or not Oxford wrote those twelve plays long before he died?

            1. Ratherdrive – those plays would have been registered and produced during his lifetime if he wrote them. You have to know the period, not just Shakespeare and Oxford. You need to know how plays are produced, where they are produced, when they are produced. You need to know the other playwrights of the time. Dekker, Nashe, Marlowe, etc. You need to know who belonged to who’s acting company. You need to know that Shakespeare worked as a play doctor after he retired. You need to know that Jonson and Shakespeare were drinking buddies.

              1. The plays would have been registered? There was a registry of plays? And if so, how would an anonymous author deal with such a registry?

                And were Jonson and Oxford unknown to each other?

                1. Ratherdrive – there was a theory that noble HAD to hide their work but further research has shown that not to be true. Queen Elizabeth was a poet and pretty good, she is on the long list for being Shakespeare.

                  A copy of the play must be registered and after that nothing can be added to the script. You can cut it though. At this point the play is actually pre-censored or can be rejected completely. The level of censorship depended on what was happening in England at the time. In some cases we know the date a play was registered, in other cases we know that date the play was probably first performed.

                  I don’t know if Jonson knew Oxford. I know that he was well-thought of as a playwright and may have known him because of that.

                  1. Hasn’t there been some more recent work done with computer text analysis that reached some conclusions regarding authorship based on the frequency of certain structures in the text?

                    Do you think that work is more or less convincing than the more traditional analysis.

                    1. bfm – there is some new work with computer analysis which shows that Oxford’s work is NOT like Shakespeare’s work. I never thought he was in the running. 😉 There has always been some question about Two Noble Kinsman which is usually attributed to John Fletcher, but now it is a Fletcher/Shakespeare combination (at least the last I heard).

        1. Paul,
          I don’t understand your comment to the effect that a minimal education was a benefit to Will, because that made him “freer.” If that were true, our millions of school dropouts would each have a “boson” named after them, instead of just Higgs, or perhaps solved the riddle of dark matter. Not at all likely.

          Extremely difficult to accept the proposition that anyone with Will’s background could have had such a deep command of the human condition, or be able to set a scene so perfectly in far-flung locales, let alone use the language like it was some form of modeling clay that only he could use to create sculptures never yet seen or imagined. I mean, if He could do it, then I can do it, and I most assuredly cannot. 🙂 Oxford, on the other hand…

          Jonson is fun to read, but the work collected under Will’s name is greater in every dimension, by at least an order of magnitude.

          My familiarity with Marlowe is scant, but I am aware that he and Will had a professional relationship, and many agree with you as to his possible authorship. From a 30,000 foot level of analysis, with a wide angle lens, what is it about Marlowe that convinces you that he was the author? And as you can see, due to the lack of hard evidence, it is the factor of reasonable probability that I find compelling.

          And considering Will’s general role, is it impossible that he used work from not only Marlowe, but also Oxford and Jonson, with or without compensation? Got to fill the theater with something, all the time, right?

          1. Ratherdrive – I think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. BTW, do you know that on his Last Will and Testament he signed his name three times, never the same and never Shakespeare. However, if it is not Shakespeare who wrote the plays, then my money is on Kit Marlowe who was murdered just before he could be called up for treason or something. The details of the murder are so odd as to be unbelievable. So, Marlowe goes to Europe, writes the plays and Shakespeare is his front.

            1. We cannot have an intelligent discussion about the Stratford theory vs. the Oxford opinion unless the Stratfordians read at least some of the literature on the Oxford opinion. I should also point out that NO Stratfordian advocate has written any notable work attempting to dispute the Oxford opinion or to discuss any purported flaws. And the reason for this is not because “they don’t want to get the hands dirty” or “there’s no market for such a book.” The real reason is that the Oxfordian scholars know much more than the conventional Stratfordians about the facts of the case because they’ve actually studied them in depth.

              So without the necessary background on the issues, the discussion is going to be much like I’ve had with lone-nut advocates in the JFK murder case vs. the case for conspiracy. Most lone-nut advocates have never read any of the important literature establishing the conspiracy case. So they end up saying, in so many words, “I don’t care what you say, the Warren Commission and the FBI said xyz happened, and that’s good enough for me; ’cause they would never lie to the American public.”

              But a real thinker and investigator looks into all sides of the case.

                1. Contrary to your premise that the dating is a well settled and undisputed matter, the conventional dating that you refer to is not well settled, and there has been much research in this area contradicting the conventional, but unsupported, conclusions.

                  Do you think that such sticklers for details as former Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, and Sandra Day O’Conner would be subscribing to the Oxford opinion if there were compelling evidential support that the plays were written after Oxford’s death?

                  Here’s an article to get you started on this particular subject, but you should read much more if you want to become enlightened on the dating of the plays:

                  1. Ralph Adamo – this is my area of expertise. What a bunch of SC justices or actors want to think is up to them. I spent 3 years researching the Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre for my Masters and know the key to the kingdom. The Tempest cannot have been written before 1609, 5 years after the death of Oxford. There is a source to the Tempest and it appears in Jonson’s Epicoene or the Silent Woman (1609).

                    1. PS says: “The Tempest cannot have been written before 1609, 5 years after the death of Oxford. There is a source to the Tempest and it appears in Jonson’s Epicoene or the Silent Woman (1609).”

                      The fallacy of your argument is that Jonson’s Epicoene is the “source” of “The Tempest.” There is no support for that conclusory notion, and there are much earlier sources. Scholars have found, for example, that the play “Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay” (c. 1591) by Oxford’s protégé Robert Greene bears resemblance to “The Tempest.” Further, Oscar Campbell (editor of “The Reader’s Encyclopedia of Shakespeare”) wrote that Greene’s play “is one of the earliest examples of the successful interweaving of a subplot with the main story.” In addition, Greene’s play The History of Orlando Furioso (1594) drew from Ariosto’s work of that name (1516). Also, in the book “On the Date, Sources and Design of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”” (2013), authors Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky show how that Italian epic poem is itself an important source of “The Tempest” and of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

                      Again, I suggest some reading of Oxfordian literature before reaching conclusory findings, such as one of the articles I provided the link for earlier:

                    2. Ralph Adamo – In Epicoene an actor makes reference to a member of the audience who had just landed in England after being shipwrecked by a hurricane “The Tempest” in Bermuda. That is the earliest that part of the play would have been known. The rest of the crew will not get back for two years. The person mentioned was a friend of both Jonson and Shakespeare. Jonson and Shakespeare drank and ate at the same taverns in London and I am sure at some point they bought their friend along for the story. That is the part of the story you really have to get past.

  14. I agree about the Earl of Oxford. It sure was nit Will who wrote all that intricate material.

    As to removing portraits, etc., its interesting to see that sophomoric b.s. is alive and well.

  15. ” Now, students at the University of Pennsylvania removed a portrait of Shakespeare from a prominent location in the school’s English department because he is a white male. ”

    Racism and sexism – two out of three ain’t bad. If they try, maybe they can pull the hat-trick and remove the portrait of an old, white male.

    Oh, wait a minute, Shakespeare is old isn’t he.

    1. U of PA Admission’s Committee might want to rethink their criteria for selecting students.

  16. I agree with the decision to remove the portrait of Shakespeare from Penn’s English Department, but for an entirely different reason: he wasn’t the author of the plays and sonnets credited to him. That honor belongs to the Earl of Oxford.

    Of course, the semi-literates at Penn don’t dare to pursue real scholarship in this area, so it’s not surprising that they should behave like little cuckolded wimps genuflecting before some “progressive” ultrasubcretins.

    Here’s the picture that Penn should hang on its walls:

    1. That honor belongs to the Earl of Oxford.

      I see you drank the Joseph Sobran Kool-Aid. Too bad.

      1. SSST, Sobran? No, he’s a latecomer and not an expert in the literature. Kool-aid? No, those who buy into Stratford-upon-Avon theory have to buy into some absurdities.

        So no, I don’t believe that Shakespeare, the Stratford man, who wrote the following as his epitaph, also wrote the plays and sonnets: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.” Pretty lame stuff, huh?

        Now, compare that with this: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” Much, much better, right?

        The works to read on the case for the Earl of Oxford are Shakespeare Identified by Thomas Looney (pronounced like Lhow-knee) and the writings of Louis Benezet, A. Bronson Feldman, and Charles Wisner Barrell. An outstanding modern work on the subject is The Shakespeare Controversy: An Analysis of the Authorship Theories, 2nd edition, by Warren Hope and Kim Holston. Among those who leaned to the Oxfordian opinion include four former Supreme Court justices (John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Harry A. Blackmun). And, notably, the strongest advocates for the Oxfordian opinion have been writers and actors who know Shakespeare’s works better than anyone. They include, Marjorie Bowen, Gelett Burgess, Sigmund Freud, John Gielgud, Jeremy Irons, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Michael York, to name a few.

        If you want and quick and dirty analysis of why the Stratford man didn’t write the plays and sonnets, read this for starters:

        1. The person you need to read on Shakespeare, Marlowe and the entire Elizabethan period is A. L. Rowse. Here are his works:
          On History: a Study of Present Tendencies, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1927
          Science and History: a New View of History, London: W. W. Norton, 1928
          Politics and the Younger Generation, London: Faber & Faber, 1931
          The Question of the House of Lords, London: Hogarth Press, 1934
          Queen Elizabeth and Her Subjects (with G. B. Harrison), London: Allen & Unwin, 1935
          Mr. Keynes and the Labour Movement, London: Macmillan, 1936
          Sir Richard Grenville of the “Revenge”, London: Jonathan Cape, 1937
          Tudor Cornwall, London: Jonathan Cape, 1941
          A Cornish Childhood, London: Jonathan Cape, 1942
          The Spirit of English History, London: Jonathan Cape, 1943
          The English Spirit: Essays in History and Literature, London: Macmillan, 1944
          West-Country Stories, London: Macmillan, 1945
          The Use of History (key volume in the “Teach Yourself History” series), London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1946
          The End of an Epoch: Reflections on Contemporary History, London: Macmillan, 1947
          The England of Elizabeth: the Structure of Society. London: Macmillan, 1950
          The English Past: Evocation of Persons and Places, London: Macmillan, 1951
          An Elizabethan Garland, London: Macmillan, 1953
          The Expansion of Elizabethan England, London: Macmillan, 1955
          The Early Churchills, London: Macmillan, 1956
          The Later Churchills, London: Macmillan, 1958
          The Elizabethans and America: The Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge, 1958, London, Macmillan, 1959
          St Austell: Church, Town, Parish, St Austell: H. E. Warne, 1960
          All Souls and Appeasement: a Contribution to Contemporary History, London: Macmillan, 1961
          Ralegh and the Throckmortons, London: Macmillan, 1962
          William Shakespeare: a Biography, London: Macmillan, 1963
          Christopher Marlowe: a biography, London: Macmillan, 1964
          Shakespeare’s Sonnets, London: Macmillan, 1964
          A Cornishman at Oxford, London: Jonathan Cape, 1965
          Shakespeare’s Southampton: Patron of Virginia, London: Macmillan, 1965
          Bosworth Field and the Wars of the Roses, London: Macmillan, 1966
          Cornish Stories, London: Macmillan, 1967
          A Cornish Anthology, London: Macmillan, 1968
          The Cornish in America, London: Macmillan, 1969
          The Elizabethan Renaissance: the Life of Society, London: Macmillan, 1971
          The Elizabethan Renaissance: the Cultural Achievement, London: Macmillan, 1972
          The Tower of London in the History of the Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1972
          Shakespeare The Man, London: Macmillan, 1973
          Windsor Castle In the History of the Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974
          Victorian and Edwardian Cornwall from old photographs, London: Batsford, 1974 (Introduction and commentaries by Rowse; ten extracts from Betjeman)
          Simon Forman: Sex and Society in Shakespeare’s Age, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974
          Discoveries and Reviews: from Renaissance to Restoration, London: Macmillan, 1975
          Oxford: In the History of the Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975
          Jonathan Swift: Major Prophet, London, Thames & Hudson, 1975
          A Cornishman Abroad, London: Jonathan Cape, 1976
          Matthew Arnold: Poet and Prophet, London: Thames & Hudson, 1976
          Homosexuals In History, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1977
          Shakespeare the Elizabethan, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1977
          Milton the Puritan: Portrait of a Mind (London: Macmillan, 1977
          The Byrons and the Trevanions, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1978)
          A Man of the Thirties, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1979
          Memories of Men and Women, London: Eyre Methuen, 1980
          Shakespeare’s Globe: his Intellectual and Moral Outlook, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1981
          A Life: Collected Poems, Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1981
          Eminent Elizabethans, London: Macmillan, 1983
          Night at the Carn and Other Stories, London: William Kimber, 1984
          Shakespeare’s Characters: a Complete Guide, London: Methuen, 1984
          Glimpses of the Great, London: Methuen, 1985
          The Little Land of Cornwall, Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1986
          A Quartet of Cornish Cats, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986
          Stories From Trenarren, London: William Kimber, 1986
          Reflections on the Puritan Revolution, London: Methuen, 1986
          The Poet Auden: a Personal Memoir, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987
          Court and Country: Studies in Tudor Social History, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1987
          Froude the Historian: Victorian Man of Letters, Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1987
          Quiller-Couch: a Portrait of “Q”, London: Methuen, 1988
          A. L. Rowse’s Cornwall: a Journey through Cornwall’s Past and Present, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988
          Friends and Contemporaries, London: Methuen, 1989
          The Controversial Colensos, Redruth: Dyllansow Truran, 1989
          Discovering Shakespeare: a Chapter in Literary History, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989
          Four Caroline Portraits, London: Duckworth, 1993
          All Souls in My Time, London: Duckworth, 1993
          The Regicides and the Puritan Revolution, London: Duckworth, 1994
          Historians I Have Known, London: Duckworth, 1995
          My View of Shakespeare, London: Duckworth, 1996
          Cornish Place Rhymes, Tiverton: Cornwall Books, 1997 (Posthumous commemorative volume begun by the author; preface by the editor, S Butler)
          The Elizabethan Age (a 4-volume set composed of The England of Elizabeth; The Expansion of Elizabethan England; The Elizabethan Renaissance: The Life of the Society; The Elizabethan Renaissance: The Cultural Achievement), London: Folio Society, 2012

          1. Although Rowse was a prolific writer, as far as I can tell he wrote next to nothing about the Shakespeare authorship question. He simply accepted the Stratfordian theory as true because that’s what he was told in his youth. So, of course, he’s performed not even a cursory review–let alone a scholarly analysis–of the Oxfordian opinion, as the other scholars have done that I’ve mentioned.

            As a result, Rowse has come up with some pretty mindless stuff. For example, although Rowse himself was a homosexual, he argued that the author of the sonnets could not have been homosexual or bisexual, writing that “Shakespeare’s interest in the youth [that was a subject of the sonnets was] not at all sexual.” But Rowse doesn’t analyze the literature to reach this conclusion. He reaches it based on the fact that the there’s no indication that the Stratford man was a homosexual, which is a non-sequitur.

            So while great writers like Henry James and Walt Whitman get it (about the sonnets and also disbelieve the Stratford theory), Rowse remained in the dark because he didn’t want to address the many weaknesses in the Stratford theory.

            As Henry James wrote in a letter: “I am ‘sort of’ haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world.”

            And as Walt Whitman wrote: “I am firm against Shaksper — I mean the Avon man, the actor.” “Conceived out of the fullest heat and pulse of European feudalism — personifying in unparall’d ways the medieval aristocracy, its towering spirit of ruthless and gigantic cast, its own peculiar air and arrogance (no mere imitation) — only one of the ‘wolfish earls’ so plenteous in the plays themselves, or some born descendent and knower, might seem to be the true author of those amazing works — works in some respects greater than anything else in recorded history.”

            1. Ralph Adamo – Oxford died in 1604 before 12 Shakespearean plays hit the boards. Give it up, my friend. 🙂

              1. The dating if the plays has been exhaustively examined by scholars and corresponds point-for-point with Edward de Vere’s life. But I understand the difficulty in refusing to looks into the facts yourself and rejecting something that contradicts what you’ve been told and accepted as true with no foundation. Like the idea that universe did not circulate around the Earth, like the idea that JFK was not killed by a lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald, and many other unsupportable dogmas . . .

                “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

                But if you want a brief primer on the Oxford opinion, read the following:


                1. Ralph Adamo – saying there is a case for Oxford is the same as saying there is a case for Jack the Ripper being let off for self-defense. You cannot get past Oxford dying in 1604 and 12 plays after his death. The ghost of Oxford did not write 12 plays. And when they did the First Folio, it was not the First Folio of the Earl of Oxford’s plays. No. It was Shakespeare’s First Folio put together by two of his friends and senior actors.

                2. The dating if the plays has been exhaustively examined by scholars and corresponds point-for-point with Edward de Vere’s life.

                  Which scholars? It’s very difficult to find a literary historian who specializes in the period who buys into the Oxford thesis. It’s simple to find one who says it’s nonsense and easily disproved nonsense.

            2. Walt Whitman’s comment in your posting is exactly what I was trying to say.
              He just said it so very much better. 🙂

    1. No, people who fancy the study of literature should be an excuse to undertake thrift-shop markdown sociology are running the asylum. Make an example of them: shut the department down and put them out on the curb.

  17. Lorde? Never heard of her. This is not the left but the alt left. Don’t bundle.

    1. Few have heard of Audre Lorde, no one will have heard of her in 50 years. Shakespeare’s work will live forever.

      Another example of leftist lunacy.

    2. Alt left? You’re joking, right? I’m afraid this is par for the course and the norm throughout Western society. This sort of thing happens all the time.

  18. The Left is literally trying to erase history. This is why they are far more dangerous than the Religious Right ever was

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