Arlington Kiwanis Club Opens Minds

Questions about authorship of Shakespearean writings.

De Vere or not De Vere? That was the question at the March 6 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Arlington when it hosted former journalist and Shakespearean scholar, Robert Meyers, as its guest speaker. Meyers, a member of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, delivered a presentation on the Shakespeare Authorship Question, and proposed that the true author of the Shakespearean canon was in fact Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, writing under the pseudonym of Wm. Shakespeare.

“Meyers presented a fascinating speech to a crowd of 35 members,” said Linda Chandler, president-elect of Arlington Kiwanis. “His presentation style was fabulous, laying out his premise of the profile of the real author.”

Meyers had a 50-year career as a journalist and foundation administrator. He served for 19 years as president of the National Press Foundation, and for two years as director of its Washington Journalism Center. From 1989 to 1993, Meyers was director of the Harvard Journalism Fellowship for Advanced Studies in Public Health. He is a former reporter for The Washington Post, and a former assistant city editor at the San Diego Union. He has published two books with health-related themes.

“(Meyers) included academic research and humor to keep the attention of the group,” Chandler said.

Meyers’ presentation focused on the lack of any historical evidence connecting William Shaksper of Stratford to any literary life. He pointed out that there is no evidence that the man from Stratford could even read or write. No books, no manuscripts, and not even one letter or note from the Stratford man has been found. Six very different signatures that do exist in the historical record suggest that he had trouble even writing his own name. The literary case for the Earl of Oxford, however, is vast and extensive, said Meyers.

After the presentation, Meyers remained to answer questions about the long history of the Shakespeare Authorship Question, and the evidence for Oxford’s authorship of the works, including many specific recorded incidents in Oxford’s life that are paralleled in the various plays and poems in the Shakespeare canon.

“Many people came up to me afterwards and asked individual questions,” said Meyers.

“On behalf of our club, we thank Bob (Meyers) for his presentation,” said Chandler.

Kiwanis Club of Arlington meets noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Knights of Columbus, 5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington. Breakfast meetings are 7:30 to 9 a.m. the last Wednesday of the month. The club welcomes speakers from the local area and beyond to share information, organizations, happenings, and events. Club members participate in a variety of philanthropic programs in the community, including the Arlington Food Assistance Center, Dinner for Doorways, Read Across America, iCan Shine, and others. Newcomers and visitors are welcome.

The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship is a non-profit educational organization devoted to research and discussion of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship Speakers Bureau offers free presentations to community groups, service clubs, schools, libraries, and more. Info: www.shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org.

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