J. KELLY NESTRUCK
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 16 2013, 5:00 PM EDT
Could Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, have been the real author of William Shakespeare’s plays and poetry?
The short answer is: No, there’s no evidence whatsoever. And ever since a fellow named J. Thomas Looney first proposed the idea in 1920, academics in English and Theatre departments around the world have taught their students exactly that – even as the so-called Oxfordian theory has been persistently pursued by a mix of cranks and celebrities and even made into a Hollywood movie.
This week, however, two major Canadian universities are for the first time putting their names and money behind a conference being held by the two largest North American organizations devoted to proving that de Vere was Shakespeare.
Shakespeare and the Living Theatre, organized by York University theatre professor and self-proclaimed “reasonable doubter” Don Rubin on behalf of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship, runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Toronto…