Ever Met an Oxfordian?

Recently I started a new job. The last time I had a new job, the place was small enough at the next company meeting new hires were encouraged to stand up and be introduced and talk a little about themselves. Naturally, at the time, I talked about Shakespeare.

So I prepared myself for something similar here.  Only, it’s a bigger company.  Call it maybe 50-100 people?  I wasn’t sure if they still do such things. They are still small enough that the CEO calls together everybody for a quarterly update meeting, so who knew.  I imagined saying something about Shakespeare (since it came up in my interviews), and then anticipated what I would do if somebody asked me my opinion on authorship? Because, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that it’s often one of the first questions people ask (it’s a tie with “What’s your favorite play?”)

I thought of all kinds of snappy answers.  Then I thought, “You will have just met these people, and you have no idea who you’ll offend. For all you know there might actually be Oxfordians working here.”  I decided that my answer would be, “I’d rather discuss politics or religion.” And I’m completely serious about that.

At this particular time, however, nobody has asked. There is no “stand up and be introduced” moment, because they’re simply hiring people too fast. Which is fine. It’s more fun to meet people individually over time, anyway.

But it brings up an interesting question.  Have you ever met an Oxfordian (or other Shakespeare denier) in person?  How’d it go?  We all know that thing we do on the Internet where distance and anonymity make us bold, but honestly and truly if you found yourself in a situation where you were going to see a person on a regular basis (such as a new coworker), and discovered that this person has a deep and fundamental disagreement about something so important to you, what would you do? I wonder.

6 thoughts on “Ever Met an Oxfordian?

  1. My niece's favorite professor in college is an Oxfordian. My husband and I were surprised to find this out when we went to see a production of Antony and Cleopatra that our niece worked on. Our niece had worked for the professor's husband as well and had talked about them both a lot. For the past three years, however, we have avoided the subject with out niece. Some families avoid politics and religion, we avoid "Who wrote Shakespeare". Fortunately we don't have to avoid the subject of the plays with her.

  2. Interesting! Three questions?

    0) Is she a rational Oxfordian? And by that I mean, I think it's ok to let somebody put forth the, "Hey, here's a theory" argument. Theories can exist. I can theorize about multiple parallel universes, whether 9/11 was an inside job and the existence of Santa Claus as well. Doesn't mean I personally think those theories correct. Well, except the parallel universes thing.

    1) Is your niece an Oxfordian, by extension? Or do you just not want to put her in the middle? I know that when my kids come home and inform me that their teacher is saying something I fundamentally disagree with I'll usually try to put it in context for them. Since they're still young I tend to go with, "Well, what she probably meant was this…." but if they're college age and came home talking about Oxfordians or Creationism or something silly like that and it was being taught as part of the curriculum, I'd have a hard time not calling the professor a frickin idiot. I'm not paying for that.

    2) Did you ever say to yourself, "Wait … if this professor actually believes Oxfordian theory, are we sure she's qualified to teach?" This gets back to my initial question. I think it's ok to teach that the authorship argument exists. But if the professor is trying to teach that Oxford wrote the plays, I think that's horrible.

  3. Hello, I am not sure I can answer your questions completely as we have avoided the question not wanting to get into an argument with our niece by criticizing her favorite professor. My niece graduated in 2013, so maybe it would be safe to bring up the subject now.

    I think the professor is committed to the view that the Earl of Oxford wrote the plays. Her biography on the college website says she is working on an Oxfordian edition of Measure for Measure. http://www.lesley.edu/faculty/anne-elizabeth-pluto/ I did not find, on the website, the language that was in the play program that worried us. By poking around on the internet I did see that 20 years ago she was associated with the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship. http://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/quintessence-of-dust/

    Without talking to my niece, though, I don't know how she approaches the subject in class.

    If it were one of my own children, I would definitely express my view about what any professor was teaching that I disagreed with. However, I don't think it's my business to criticize my niece's choices. (I have trouble being tactful so I keep my mouth shut.)

    Susan K.

  4. Hello again,

    Here's the bit from the Director's notes in the program for the 2013 production of Antony and Cleopatra "My Shakespearean work centers around the authorship question. As an Oxfordian, I do not believe that William Shakespeare was the author of the plays, poems, and sonnets; Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author."

    So you can see why I said my niece's favorite professor is an Oxfordian.

    Susan K.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *