Monstrous Adversary

BookMonstrous Adversary

Monstrous Adversary

The Life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Liverpool English Texts and Studies, 40


August 1st, 2003

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The Elizabethan Court poet Edward de Vere has, since 1920, lived a notorious second, wholly illegitimate life as the putative author of the poems and plays of William Shakespeare. The work reconstructs Oxford’s life, assesses his poetic works, and demonstrates the absurdity of attributing Shakespeare’s works to him. The first documentary biography of Oxford for over seventy years, Monstrous Adversary seeks to measure the real Oxford against the myth. Impeccably researched and presenting many documents written by Oxford himself, Nelson’s book provides a unique insight into Elizabethan society and manners through the eyes of a man whose life was privately scandalous and richly documented.

Author Information

Alan H. Nelson is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
List of Illustrations11
List of Abbreviations13
Editorial Procedures19
Part I: Roots: 1548-156227
1: Oxford’s Essex27
2: Progenitors29
3: Doubtful Marriage34
4: Infancy and Childhood39
5: The Education of Lord Bolbec43
6: Long Live the Queen46
7: The Earl is Dead49
Part II: Youth: 1562-157154
8: London Wardship54
9: Early Teens61
10: First Blood67
11: Restless Youth69
12: Best Friends74
13: Necromancer78
14: Oxford’s Letters82
Part III: Emancipation: 1571-157488
15: Majority and Marriage88
16: Country Muses97
17: Country Matters99
18: Murder109
19: Mayhem112
20: Wanderlust119
21: Desperadoes125
22: Flight128
Part IV: Exploration: 1574-1576137
24: To Italy141
25: Journey Home152
26: Inglese Italianato157
27: A Stranger to his Wife161
28: Orazio Coquo175
29: Oxford’s Poetry (1)177
Part V: Alienation: 1576-1579184
30: The Lure of Rome184
31: Murder by Hire194
32: Put Away your Feeble Pen198
33: In the Chiefest of his Royalty202
34: The Lure of Gold206
35: Superlative in the Prince’s Favour209
36: Alienations211
Part VI: Intrigue: 1579-1580215
37: Oxford vs. Sidney215
38: Oxford vs. Leicester220
39: Table, Gallery, Garden223
40: Atheist229
41: Sodomite233
42: Prophet238
43: A Passing Singular Odd Man245
44: Oxford’s Folly249
45: Literary Patronage (1)256
46: Oxford’s Players (1)259
Part VII: Sedition: 1580-1581269
47: Denunciations269
48: Tables Turned278
49: Knight of the Tree of the Sun281
50: Anne Vavasor286
51: Prisoners293
Part VIII: Release: 1581-1585296
52: Starting Over296
53: Quarrels and Killings300
54: Oxford’s Literary Circle307
55: To Give the Earl Warning309
56: I Am that I Am312
57: Use not thy Birth for an Excuse315
Part IX: Reiteration: 1586-1591320
58: Maintenance for his Nobility320
59: No Enemy can Envy this Match323
60: Another Grissel for her Patience328
61: Rid of my Lord Oxford331
62: City House, Country House339
63: I Have not Had my Health342
64: Weary of an Unsettled Life348
Part X: Renewal: 1592-1595356
65: Mistress Elizabeth Trentham356
66: Oxford’s Grammar School359
67: A New Lord Bolbec363
68: A Husband for Lady Elizabeth365
69: Some Say my Lord of Oxford is Dead369
Part XI: Re-engagement: 1595-1599375
70: The Lure of Tin375
71: Oxford not to be Touched378
72: I Have not an Able Body381
73: The Death of Father Burghley390
74: A Husband for Lady Bridget394
75: Literary Patronage (11)400
76: Oxford’s Poetry (11)404
77: Oxford’s Players (11)411
Part XII: Decline: 1600-1604414
79: The Weakness of my Lame Hand416
80: Nothing more Precious than Gold424
81: Missing Person429
82: This Common Shipwrack438
83: But a Grave444
Part XIII: Aftermath: 1604-1613447
84: A Husband for Lady Susan447
85: The Dowager and the Heir451
Appendix: Oxford’s Letters and Libel Documents507