Reviews of John Thomas
"[Looneys] great contribution to Shakespearean authorship has long been
out of print and the plates were destroyed in the London blitz. It is
particularly fortunate to have it restored to the active lists because many
smaller libraries did not purchase [the English edition] in 1920. Circulating
and many reference copies have long since been worn out . . . Highly
Journal, Vol. 74, Oct. 15, 1949, New York
R. R. Bowker Co., on
appearance of the 1948
American Edition of Looneys "Shakespeare"
"Once having read this book,
I doubt if anyone, friend or foe, will ever forget it."
Gelett Burgess, letter to a
correspondent, May 19, 1920
reviewed "Shakespeare" Identified and five books taking the view that
Shakspeare of Stratford wrote the plays.] The one thing [the five books by
Bliss, Brown, Chute, Cooper and Pearson] have in common besides their
preoccupation with the same subject is the making of bricks without much
straw . . . As a brick maker, Pearson seems to come out ahead of anybody else .
. . Bliss sensibly points out the facts about his subject can be written on a
half sheet of notepaper . . . Brown has drawn too many sweeping conclusions
from too little evidence . . . Let us take Miss Chute at her foreword . . . She
has based her book entirely, she says, "on contemporary documents . . . The
confusion that surrounds Shakespeares life has not been caused by any
lack of information . . ." Having made so large a promise . . . We can only
wait for Miss Chute to stand and deliver . . . But she doesnt. She, too,
is hamstrung by a paucity of source materials . . . she has two ways of
overcoming the difficulty, by making one flat unproved statement after another,
and by using 'if' and 'probable[y]' . . . .
this point I think we had better let Mr. Looney take the stand . . . His
contention, put forward in nearly five hundred sober, modest, heavily
documented pages is . . . That Shakespeare was not the Shakespeare that Mr.
Bliss, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Brown, Mr. Pearson and Miss Chute take for granted . . .
Mr. Looney is no crank. He is an earnest level-headed man who has spent years
trying to solve the worlds most baffling literary mystery . . . If the
case were brought to court, it is hard to see how Mr. Looney could lose . . .
The various "mysteries" that surround Shakespeare . . .
are mysteries no longer
if the man we know as Shakespeare was really Edward de Vere . . . ."
Basso, The New Yorker, April 8, 1950
impossible to do justice to the wealth of evidence collected by Mr. Looney, or
to the ingenuity displayed by him in its coordination . . . The most remarkable
aspect of his labors is that they affect not only the central problem of
William Shakespeares relation to the work named after him, but a whole
series of literary enigmas that have puzzled every painstaking student of this
period for nearly two hundred years. There is the problem of the lyrics
excluded from the plays of Lyly, author of Euphues and private secretary
to Oxford, on their first publication one of which is practically
identical with one of the lyrics in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
There is the problem of Shepherd Willie in Spensers The
Shepheards Calendar, 1579 . . . The peculiar thing is that all these
problems seem to fall into place and form a consistent picture the moment you
accept the theory of Oxfords connection with the Shakespearian plays . .
. Mr. Looney . . . has opened most promising vistas, and it is to be hoped his
leads will be followed up. The days are past when a new Shakespearian theory
can be laughed out of court . . . We should be moved solely by a desire for
truth, and nothing that may be helpful in finding it should be
Edwin Björkman, The Bookman
Vol. 51, 1920
Click for Main Page/Contents
of Minos Publishing Company® Online
for Listings of deVere/Shakespeare