Thursday, June 18, 2009


I must be the World's Worst Blogger. So much has happened in the past year and so much is coming up -- I have no idea why I don't blog more often. Maybe I work too much.

In mid-September I leave for London for six to nine months to get a Masters in Shakespearean Authorship at Brunel University, the first post-graduate degree on that topic in the world. I'm hoping that when I am immersed in nothing else except the Shakespearean works and Mary Sidney that I will blog every dang day. But before I leave I have to get four books to press, so back to work I go.



  1. MAYBE you work too much?! Four books to press before September! Robin, you're an inspiration to the rest of us!

  2. Inspiration? Heck no -- I'm a warning!

  3. Did you receive my comments on the last page of the 1609 edition of Shake-speares Sonnets on display at the John Rylands Library? I sent them to you a few days ago. They were about encryptions and the inscription. I had emailed Mark Rylands about the 'hart in level' see through encryption a few weeks ago, and he replied that he had never seen one like that before.

  4. David, yes, your comments are posted and my comment in response as well! They're attached to the previous post, which is where your comments are. Feel free to send me your email address and I'll send you my note directly, if you like.

  5. Hi Robin,

    I am looking for Mary and Davies' handwriting online for comparison. The word 'poet' is pointed to by the inscription on the last page of A Lovers Complaint, through the page, on the next to the last page. The ends of the tail of the letter 'y' in the word 'very' (p), the word 'my' (o) and the end of the 'swoosh' above the word Comendacons (e). These three letters 'p-o-e' form a v-shape in two lines of text. The distance from 'p-o' is exactly the same as the distance from 'o-e'. If you draw lines along 'p-o-e' you will have two sides of a parallelogram, complete the parallelogram and you will point to the letter 't' in the word 'it' hidden under the stamp in the line that reads: "In eithers aptnesse as it best deceives:". A decryption resolved in a line about deception. My email address is: David Ewald P.S. still no luck finding the handwriting samples, I will try to find Greg's book locally (New Hampshire, USA)

  6. Hi Robin,

    I was finally able to get a copy of your book 'Sweet Swan of Avon', and I am about half way through it after one day (a very quick read for me). It is an excellent read and I would think that you will see it used as a constant reference at Brunel. I particularly liked the quotes and guidance for keeping an open mind when researching or reviewing other candidates for the Authorship Question. I am still in the Neville camp (interesting genealogy for Mary back to the Nevilles) because of my own research, but I will be looking for Mary also now. I think that Mary is a very good candidate, after Neville, I would place her well ahead of the rest of them. I hope that you get an opportunity to look at the inscription at the end of A Lovers Complaint in the John Rylands Library copy, to compare with Mary and John Davies handwriting.

    There is an interesting article concerning an investigation into Fulke Greville's tomb that may possibly contain some Shakespeare transcripts, shades of the novel 'Shakespeare's Dark Lady' by Ian Wilson.

    Good Luck at Brunel, and I look forward to further insights by you concerning the Authorship Question.

    Best Wishes,

    David Ewald

  7. No doubt you're weeks, maybe months ahead on this already, but just in case:


  8. Hey you need to check your myspace site more often...I am doing an oil painting of Mary Sidney and calling it William Shakespeare...what color eyes did she have?? I can't seem to find this info or tell from various paintings of her! Help...

  9. I was intrigued by your book, Sweet Swan of Avon (I typically hate email, and cannot figure out how to underline your book title.) I wonder if anyone has commented on the appropriateness of the name, William Shakespeare, as a possible chosen pen name. "I will that I am (William) a man (shakespare: ie one that "shakes his spear" (obvious allusion to masterbation/ maleness). Perhaps Mary Sidney herself paid the actor William Shakespeare to assist in her mascquerade. Or perhaps knowing of the actor William Shakespeare and the practice of memorial reconstruction, she felt using the name of Shakespeare would help scramble the mystery.
    In any case, I suspect Mary Sidney expected to be found out as the true author of her plays in her lifetime, or soon afterward having left such easily discernable hints, imagery of the swan etc. She was careful to chose the name not of a highly regarded author, but an unsophisticated buffoon who, she imagined, no thinking person could have accepted as the true author of her plays. As she grew older, she must have grown increasingly dismayed that the authorship or her writings went unchallenged.
    Finally, was it unusual that no will was every found? Did similar women of her day typically have a will? If so, what was the practice of preparing a will? Would a lawyer be required? Would it hav been easy for her sons to suppress such a will? Was anything written by her confidante and lover Mathew Lister?