Shakespeare goes to Trial…and it’s about time!


Justin Borrow

Theatre Theorist

The Shakespeare Authorship Question has been a hot topic in academia for the last couple hundred years or so however it is only now beginning to gain the recognition it deserves. Since the publication of the first folio in 1623, there has been speculation that the author Shakespeare may not be the man we think he is…Notable doubters include Charlie Chaplin, Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James and Derek Jacobi, none of them believe the uneducated man from Stratford could have written the “greatest expression of humanity in the English language” and believe there is more to be discovered. Even though there is a plethora of evidence dismissing the orthodox story, it has been stifled and ignored by scholars around the world…until now.

Over time, there have been many candidates brought forth to claim the authorship; however, today only one candidate really has any claim for the authorship against the orthodox story, that man is Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford. Many Oxfordian scholars, who have studied this question for their entire lives have been pushing back against orthodox scholars and academia to legitimize this topic and make it more publicly known. Their wishes are finally being granted.

On October 4th at 10:30 am in Stratford, ON. Two lawyers; one defending William of Stratford and the orthodox story that a grain merchant from Stratford-upon-avon wrote the works and the other opposing him will battle it out. These lawyers will go head to head in a mock trial in front of the Chief Justice of the supreme court of Canada, Beverly McLachlin. Although no “verdict” will be rendered in the end, the Chief Justice with adjourn the trial and hear both sides. York University Theatre Professor and notable Oxfordian, Don Rubin will assist the Oxfordian side in the build up to the trial date.

This is a huge victory for the Oxfordian side of the debate, as their voices are finally being heard, their topic is being taken seriously and they are reaching a greater, public audience. The main objective of the Oxfordian movement is to not only prove that Edward de Vere was the author of the works, but also to allow students the opportunity to hear BOTH sides of the argument and decide for themselves. Academic freedom is a huge issue regarding this topic, those who study it are sometimes chastised for it. The Oxfordian movement is pushing back against that persecution and successfully winning thus far.

The mock trial will take place on Saturday, October 4th 2014 in Stratford, Ontario. Tickets are available on the Stratford festival website The event is free for anyone to attend. For more information on the authorship question, please visit


  1. Do we have a name of the person who will be arguing against the man from Straford being the author? I’d love to do a little research on that 🙂


    1. Hi Carol, do you suppose it is Mark Twain? Or James Joyce? Or Henry James? Or maybe it is Charlie Chaplin, Walt Whitman, Sigmund Freud, or Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens?



      1. I don’t suppose any of them, but that would certainly change my perspective on the relationship of death to life 🙂 Have they mentioned who will be arguing the non-stratfordian case. I’m hoping it is a heavy hitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The event was largely a surprise to the post-Stratfordian community, and comes after, last fall, the Oxfordians searched up and down Ontario to find an orthodox scholar who would stand up and defend the traditional view of the bard. None could be found. So I am not certain that the event is as well grounded in Oxfordian and post-Stratfordian precedent as might be hoped.

        Further details are available here, including the identity of the lawyer representing the post-Stratfordian view:




  2. on the basis of ‘the truth will out’ by Brenda James et al – it’s clear that Sir Henry Neville was the true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare, his relation by marriage. Shakespeare had no education beyond or even to 12, never travelled, no languages, family illiterate, not recognised as an author till decades after his death versus all travel and links, ambassador to France when plays set in France, actual links to invented words attributed to Shakespeare, and more- it ONLY makes sense if Neville wrote the plays


    1. It is a good idea to read more than one book on this topic. This particular book is a bit of a joke among informed authorship skeptics, for many reasons.


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