Welcome to the De Vere Society. Founded in 1986, it has attracted the casually curious to the passionately academic and everyone on the spectrum in between, to the greatest literary challenge of all time--understanding the author behind Shakespeare’s plays & poems. Courtier poet Edward De Vere was identified as a candidate in 1918 by J. Thomas Looney (Low-nee; the jokes are meant to detract & distract from the investigation), an English writer & teacher who assembled a profile of the author based on the content of the work. Further investigation has only augmented and illuminated the case for Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, to the point where he has become the leading candidate for the man behind the pseudonym. Adherents to the theory, known as Oxfordians, are a large and ever-growing group who find the body of evidence persuasive for his claim to candidacy.
"I do not  dismiss the serious examination of the Oxford question for a moment. … I’ll say something else, which will doubtless bring more trouble on my head: serious Oxfordians do things rather well. You’ve a relish for historical investigation, an acceptance of biographical and topical relevance, an open-mindedness about inter-disciplinary studies, and a curiosity about documents, records, artefacts, cryptology, and all manifestations of Elizabethan culture and politics. Shakespeare’s tragedy is that some--by no means all, but too many--of his academic supporters disdain such matters as irrelevant, presumptuous, old-fashioned, grunt work or, worse, done and dusted, conclusively resolved many years ago." ~ Mark Griffiths, Ph.D., Country Life comments, 24 May 2015; author of the forthcoming The Fourth Man
5 Points to Ponder:
William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon
The man traditionally believed to be Shakespeare never claimed to be a poet or playwright during his lifetime, not did any of his heirs or descendants long after he was dead.
No evidence exists supporting the idea that he was a poet or playwright during his lifetime.
His children seem to have been illiterate; his daughter Susanna learned to write her name after she married Dr. John Hall, but in one instance she failed to recognize her husband’s handwriting.
That same Dr. Hall wrote of luminaries of the town, but did not include his own father-in-law, Stratford-upon-Avon’s most famous son, even though they had been the primary beneficiaries of his will.
That will, one of the most studied documents in history, leaves no plays, poems, books, letters, manuscripts or any other item connecting him with the life of a writer. This is not so of any other writer of the time-period. Only a suspect interlineation connects him with some persons of the Globe in London. The surname of the signature, one of the famous six, is the most legible of all the surviving examples, but the forename William is written by an amanuensis.
You're in good company -- Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Sir Derek Jacobi & more.
Join myriad luminaries & Sign the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for other frequently asked questions (FAQs)
"Any friend of 'Shakespeare' is a friend of ours!"
"In signing the “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt” along with over 1200 others to date, we merely want to set the record straight about why some of us have our doubts."
"We accept that Shake-speare wrote Shake-speare; it is just my contention that he was not the man from Stratford. The name on the plays is hyphenated all the time and I believe it was a pseudonym. I believe the man from Stratford Upon Avon, known as Shakespeare, became the front man for Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. The simple fact is the earl could not be seen as a common playwright. He was living in a Stasi-type London."