Tag Archives: Shakespeare Authorship debate


Well, it is official. It has taken a while but Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance have convinced me after all these years. Not that my opinion matters in the least to them, after all, they are huge stars . . . and what am I? A mere unlettered writer who dreams of being a success. I guess I grew up with a fondness for the Stratford man, the Shakespeare we all know by his face and works, since I aspired to be another one of those wannabe writers who did not have the luxury of going to college but aspired to be something greater than a glove-maker.

While in high school, I learned of the extraordinary genius of Shakespeare, and marveled at how this man, a school dropout, could write such words. Mind you, I had big plans of going to college but life circumstances sent me down a different path, a path I do not regret – thus, as Shakespeare, life has schooled me in sometimes the most harsh and bitter way. Don’t get me wrong, Iife has also given me some of the most incredible gifts in the world (i.e. my family).

Anyway, for so long after graduation, Shakespeare was my idol. I absorbed everything he wrote and daydreamed about the day I might get to visit his home in Stratford. And then, it happened. No joke, I fell in KMart . . . slipped through a spilled bottle of detergent after passing two employees chatting nearby. For two months I had to go to a chiropractor to readjust by back but I was in heaven, for not only was my therapy paid for by the BigWigs at Kmart but I paid for my first trip to England with the funds. Two weeks roaming Britain. Ahhhhhh!!!!

1997. September, to be exact, my husband and I touched down at Heathrow airport. Two weeks after Princess Diana was killed. While I played the perfect tourist, gawking at every historical thing I could find, I will never forget the melted candle wax along the pathway to Kensington Palace and the flowers still in the gate. Heartbreaking!!!

We made the normal rounds of sight seeing, onward to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare’s homeplace and walk the streets where he lived (suddenly I’m singing Freddie’s song from “My Fair Lady”). I was quite overcome with emotion and bought countless souvenirs in the local shops. When back in London, we visited the Globe Theatre in Southwark and took a tour. During the tour, a sort of exhibition was being held in the lobby area, a walk-through about Shakespeare’s life, and the very last display depicted the faces of five men with the headline “Who Was Shakespeare?” Needless to say, I had never heard the story, so I stood there and read every word. I’m not sure what drew me to Kit Marlowe but in his eyes I found the compulsion to write my first novel. For the next 15 years, non-college related, I studied and studied and studied . . . and wrote and revised, wrote and revised . . . on and on and on . . . all with the premise that Christopher Marlowe actually wrote the plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare. To me, the story was plausible but I have to say, I never confessed to be a scholarly historian, just a simple writer with what appeared to be a great idea for a book.

In my book, “Blood and Ink”, Marlowe is not killed in Deptford. He is exiled by Lord Burghley but continues to write and publish his plays through Shakespeare. There is a a lot of spies, intrigue, murder, betrayal, love, rejection, ambition; you know, Shakespearean stuff. I had the privilege of corresponding a few times with Mr. Peter Farey about the topic of Marlowe, and whose research fueled my writing to such an extent that I will be forever grateful. I, also, was fortunate enough to meet Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance at the Globe Theatre when I returned in 2007 at an authorship debate concerning the Earl of Oxford and Francis Bacon. I remember asking Sir Jacobi, “what about Marlowe?” He was so congenial and gracious, allowing a quick selfie on my phone (to which I lost ages ago), and even allowed me to tell him about my book. When I left the debate, I was not convinced about Oxford or Bacon, as my mind was fixed upon Marlowe’s star.

Now, thirteen years later after that debate, my book is published (and has won a couple of awards), and I was determined to hold to the idea of Marlowe as ‘the man’, the true author of the plays, even after meeting the two men who are advocates for the Oxford as Shakespeare idea.

That is, until recently. During this pandemic of 2020, as with most people I suspect, I’ve spent my days staring endlessly at the telly watching hours of movies, documentaries, and mindless soul-snatching dribble to fill the soul-snatching historical year. In my clicking and adding to my ever-growing ‘watch list’, I added items I know I’ve watched in the past but piqued my interest once more. “Anonymous” directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Sir Derek Jacobi, “Nothing But the Truth” and “Last Will and Testament”, two documentaries also starring Sir Derek Jacobi – all covering the topic of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, being the true author of the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare. I watched them all with intent, even finding myself chuckling at the same passages I used when referring to Marlowe’s life now being used to show Oxford’s life. Did it cement my resolve towards Marlowe? Well, here is the rub.


By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31673330

I am now a convert. The huge amount of evidence and reasoning portrayed in these documentaries, especially astounded me beyond anything so at the last I am declaring, “How can it not be DeVere?” While this does not at any rate take away from my novel Blood and Ink – I still stand behind what I wrote, after all, as I said before, I am a historical fiction author (alternate historical in this case) and not a historian. Whether it was Marlowe, Oxford, Bacon, or the actual Will Shaksper from Stratford-upon-Avon, you have to admit, the stories do make for great historical fiction. I still present my novel as a sound story. While not historical fiction, it is an alternate theory which will boost those in favor of Marlowe as the author. Who knows, maybe this second watching of these shows have sparked another novel in the making! And I am all for that notion!!

I loved some of the quotes they used in the second documentary, some of the famous men throughout history who also believed in the Earl of Oxford as the man, or at least believed the man from Stratford was not the true author.

Such as, Henry James, author of The Wings of the Dove and The Portrait of a Lady, who said:

 I am “a sort of“ haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world.

Or these others:

“In the work of the greatest geniuses, humble beginnings will reveal themselves somewhere, but one cannot trace the slightest sign of them in Shakespeare … I am not concerned with who wrote the works of Shakespeare … but I can hardly think it was the Stratford boy. Whoever wrote them had an aristocratic attitude.” – Charlie Chaplin, actor

The Egyptian verdict of the Shakespeare Societies comes to mind; that he was a jovial actor and manager. I can not marry this fact to his verse. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I no longer believe that William Shakespeare the actor from Stratford was the author of the works that have been ascribed to him.” – Sigmund Freud

“But what if it turns out, as it just possibly might, that William Shakespeare of Stratford was not the author of the plays ascribed to him? There is a theory, advanced by reputable scholars, seriously and, in my opinion, plausibly, that Shakespeare merely lent his name as a cover for the literary activities of another person … If, by some terrible chance, this theory should be proved, then straightaway Stratford’s tourist status would dwindle.” – Sir William Tyrone Guthrie, Tony award-winning theatre director

“Isn’t it odd, when you think of it, that you may list all of the celebrated Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotchmen … clear back to the first Tudors — a list of five hundred names, shall we say? — and you can … learn the particulars of the lives of every one of them. Every one of them except one — the most famous, the most renowned — by far the most illustrious of them all — Shakespeare!” – Mark Twain, author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

“I think [an alternative candidate] wrote Shakespeare. If you don’t, there are some awfully funny coincidences to explain away.” – Orson Welles, Actor

“I am firm against Shaksper — I mean the Avon man, the actor.” – Walt Whitman, American Poet

Thank you for reading my ramblings or listening to my Southern un-degree’d voice talk about high-falutin’ things!!

D. K. Marley


Simplicity Versus Academia

To me, simplicity is always the answer. If something rings true, then it most often is true. I love the quote from Galileo below in my article, but if you want more of an academic answer to the question of Shakespeare’s authorship, then go no further than the astounding academic research done by Ros Barber, winner of the Hoffman Prize and author of “The Marlowe Papers”. She, along with the incredible research done by Mr. Peter Farey, inspired me to write my own novel on Marlowe.

Here is her newest article: Big Data or Not Enough? Zeta test reliability and the attribution of Henry VI

From the Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection blog: Link: http://marlowe-shakespeare.blogspot.com/2009/03/simplicity-versus-academia-by-dk-marley.html

My Article:

Simplicity Versus Academia

Galileo said, “Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.” Simplicity often reveals truth, whereas there is confusion in an overabundance of words. I do not claim to be an academic, nor do I ascribe to the level of a scholar who spends her days wrangling with Stratfordians about the identity of “Mr. W.H.” or “the Dark Lady.” I am simply a writer who finds beauty in words, the way certain phrases roll off the tongue, the transcending feeling that a mere paragraph can invoke, or when a novel shows the commonality of the human condition. In that beauty, that naked and simple beauty, stands stark truth uncluttered by a convocation of words. At last, seeing the forest and not just the trees. Facts that Stratfordians voice as improbable, the fact that Christopher Marlowe is the true writer of the plays and sonnets, even on scant explanation, such as I am able to produce, being as I am just another common enthusiast, has indeed, to my mind, dropped the cloak which has hidden them and stands bared for all the world to see. Truth is simple. Truth is the one person shouting that the emperor is naked when all others shut their eyes, look away or refuse to believe. And the simplicity of it relates to the everyday ordinary person, which is the vast majority of the world. If the world was able to be presented with the simple facts concerning Christopher Marlowe, as I was, there would be no more doubting. Even if the academic world can never produce solid evidence, we have more than reasonable doubt here that William Shakespeare had the skills, education, knowledge of languages, etc. to produce such profound verse. Simply put, he was an actor, not a playwright or poet. Christopher “Kit” Marlowe, on the other hand, was gifted at an early age with skills that exceeded his years. Educated at the best schools and surrounded by those who prodded him, he travelled to the continent, he excelled in languages and proved himself a capable playwright and poet well before his twentieth year. Where was Shakespeare during those years? Still in Stratford, married with three children, with no evidence that he wrote a single thing. Again, Galileo, an academic himself, revealed the answer in relation to these two men. Simple truth trumps pretentious fabrications any day, all you have to do is to remove the veil from your eyes, to stop gorging on the Shakespearean propaganda fed to you through the years, and hear the ring of truth sounded in Marlowe’s own words in Sonnet 76: “Why write I still all one, ever the same, and keep invention in a noted weed, that every word doth almost tell my name, showing their birth and where they did proceed?”

D. K. Marley

Read the book inspired by the Shakespeare Authorship debate:

The Allure of Marlowe

Imagine this: meandering down a corridor in the great Globe Theatre full of relics of the past, all speaking William Shakespeare’s name. But, of course, before that day you had no reason to consider any other name nor had any such thought been presented to you. And then, it happens. You round the corner and before you is a wall that displays the names and faces of five men that could have been the writer of the plays.

This is what happened to me. I perused the names with interest and amazement. Like finding a rare antique at a yard sale that someone missed, Christopher Marlowe’s face stared back at me and my heart skipped a beat. How could the world have missed the obvious; how could I? The sparkling little trinket of truth that spoke to me as if his ghost whispered in my ear, “Tell my story. Foul deeds will rise though all the world o’erwhelm them to men’s eyes.”

I suppose I could have chosen any of the men, but something moved me. From the very moment, Marlowe’s allure buried in his mysterious eyes made me know a story lay there hidden, waiting to burst forth. Within a week and endless hours on the internet and at the library, the clues he left behind, the secret little smile in his Cambridge portrait and the knowing glint in his eyes lay before me. The pieces of the puzzle fit together like never before: the treasured words of Christopher Marlowe, the Muse’s Darling, and not the man from Stratford, linked into a beautiful and tragic telling of a man who knew the world. Here was the man who travelled the continent, who knew court life and country travails, politics and provocateurs, religion, science, languages, intrigue, love, betrayal, and exile. All the meaty experience to fill the pages of mighty plays and sonnets.

One of the first things that we are told as writers is, “Write what you know.” The adage cannot have changed since the 16th century. Marlowe wrote what he knew, leaving behind the clues, which were a common and clever tool used by writers of the day. So I ask, why buy a reproduction when you can have the real thing? It’s a lot more fun to dig for authentic Marlovian gold than float along with the crowd picking up synthetic Shakespearean souvenirs.

And if you listen closely, you may hear his voice, as well. “I have a whole school of tongues in this belly of mine, and not a tongue of them all speaks any other word but my name.”

D.K. Marley

Original post: http://marlowe-shakespeare.blogspot.com/2009/02/allure-of-marlowe-by-dk-marley.html

“Blood and Ink” by D. K. Marley – published May 2018

Winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal for Best Historical Fiction from The Coffee Pot Book Club Awards

Winner of the 2019 Silver Medal for Best Historical Fiction from The Golden Squirrel Book Club Awards