The Shakespeare Code, Revealed

Just in case you were waiting impatiently for the next literary mystery to be solved, I have good news for you: your wait is over. Turns out that the mystery of Shakespeare’s sonnets has been solved. I, for one, am glad. The mystery of Shakespeare’s sonnets solved? Hurrah! I can finally sleep at night.


There’s a new book that explains all of this, a 900-page tome containing the sonnets and critical edition by Hank Whittemore called The Monument: Shake-Speares Sonnets. The apparent mystery? Well, let’s see: Shakespeare was not Shakespeare at all, but was instead Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who was sitting in on the trial of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London following the failed Essex Rebellion of 1601. Even more exciting than that (really) is the fact that within the 154-sonnet collection, there are 100 sonnets that serve as a poetic record of these events (and, according the book’s website) a “correction of the official record.”

In a news release about the book, the author says that all people who are interested in Shakespeare should check this out because it’s really bitchin’ it’s “the first coherent explanation of all 154 sonnets ever presented, placing them in the correct historical context and thereby transforming each line according to the poet’s true meaning.”

So there’s that.

I guess it’s nice to know that someone out there is able to tell us what Shakespeare (a.k.a. the Earl of Oxford, or whatever) really meant with all those sonnets, because God forbid anybody pick them up and enjoy them at face value.

10 Responses

  1. There Seems to BeThere seems
    There Seems to Be

    There seems to be a spate of Shakespeare books out, besides the straightforward Will In The World, also, a new batch theorizing on who Shakespeare really was. (I guess he was everyone except Shakespeare.) I’ve also seen a book about the secret messages in the plays of Shakespeare, so this one seems another in this vein. I’ve thought about writing a book proving Stephen King didn’t write any of his books either.

  2. That’s a lot of hats!I mean,
    That’s a lot of hats!

    I mean, I own a few baseball caps. I think I have a knit hat, you know, for the snow and whatnot.

    But Billy Shakes had over 100 hats? That’s crazy. I wonder when he had time to wear them all. I wonder if he ever got a bee in his sonnet? I guess if that happened, you just grab the next hat and move on.

    I read that people in the U.S. used to wear a lot of hats until Kennedy was elected president. I guess he didn’t wear them so sonnets went out of style.

    I assume all of this is covered in the book. I seem to recall that the witches in Macbeth wore hats. I wonder if any of his other characters wore them. Guess I’ll have to check it out.

  3. 154???I have to read them for

    I have to read them for tomorrow for my English literature class and I didn’t start yet. It’s our last Shakespeare item this year after Antonio & Cleopatra and Othello.

  4. You know, I started to say
    You know, I started to say this as a joke, but it might actually be a good idea for a story: A writer writing a book which attempts to prove that he isn’t the author of that same book.


  5. Waiting for Levi’s
    Waiting for Levi’s comments

    Because I know Levi is a fan of the Bard, as they call Shakespeare for some reason. It’s that Midsummer Nights Dream that I’m curious about. Maybe the donkey wrote the sonnets and sold the rights to Shakespeare, so he could get a tax break. The Man In the Iron Mask might have dropped a couple of rhymes, too.

    But seriously – I was intrigued by one thing I read about this new Shakespeare book, that a large section of the sonnets are supposedly written “in real time” and describe certain events that were taking place during this time – That part has me just curious enough to read the book.

  6. Hmmm, well I do like
    Hmmm, well I do like Shakespeare a lot, but I don’t think I have a comment because I tend to stay away from this whole never-ending issue. To me, this is sort of like this classic joke among historians:

    “They just found out Homer didn’t write the Oddysey and the Iliad. It was a different blind poet who lived at the same time.”

    The reason this line usually gets a big laugh among historian crowds is that we know nothing of Homer other than the fact that he was a blind poet from roughly 800 BC. Therefore, the statement seems to say a lot but actually says nothing at all.

    I feel the same way when I hear people say Shakespeare didn’t write his plays. All I know of Shakespeare is that he wrote the plays. If he didn’t write the plays and some other guy did, than that other guy, as far as I’m concerned, is Shakespeare, in all but name. And as Edward De Vere said, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

  7. Actually, I don’t even think
    Actually, I don’t even think it’s confirmed that he was blind.

  8. That makes sense, because how
    That makes sense, because how would he have known about the “wine-dark sea”. He would have just written “the wet sea”.

    Regardless of its accuracy, though, this was the joke going round the graduate Classics department when I was in college.

  9. Homer wasn’t blind? If he
    Homer wasn’t blind?

    If he wasn’t, then who was? Who is? In what can a person trust?

    As for the Shakespeare code – it is my fervent hope that whoever has solved it, has seen fit to use “Shakespeare” in the generic sense, the politically incorrect sense, in a sense of ribald humour with layered meaning that Shakespeare would have intended.

  10. Good old ribald Judih,
    Good old ribald Judih, focusing the microscope on our literary petri dish.

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