The Summer of Southampton

Henry Wriothesley and Trixie, c.1601-1603. Painted by John de Critz the Elder.

Henry Wriothesley and Trixie, c.1601-1603.
Painted by John de Critz the Elder.

After a month’s hiatus, I’ve returned to blog again!

And now, thanks to the English Department of The College of New Jersey, I can link my extracurricular interest in Shakespeare and the Authorship Question with my academic studies.

This summer semester, I will be researching the dashing nobleman pictured here: Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton.  Why?  For the same reason Charlotte Carmichael Stopes professed in her book,

The Life of Henry, Third Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare’s Patron

“I must confess that I did not start this work for [Wriothesley’s] sake, but in the hope that I might find more about Shakespeare…”(Stopes ).

Shakespeare’s narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, were both dedicated to Henry Wriothesley.  Additionally, many scholars identify Wriothesley as the “Fair Youth” in seventeen of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Unfortunately, according to Ms. Stopes, her venture was not as fruitful as she’d anticipated.  But that was back in 1922.  Since then, documents and personal letters connected to the Third Earl of Southampton have surfaced, giving subsequent scholars the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.

What sort of relationship, if any, did the poet/playwright have with this nobleman?  Is there any proof that the writer and his muse ever even met?  I will do some digging and blog about my findings.  I will also post the seventeen “procreation sonnets” and include some interesting interpretations, as well.

Xavier Samuel as Southampton and Rhys Ifans as Oxford, in Sony Picture's 2011 film "Anonymous."

Xavier Samuel as Southampton and Rhys Ifans as Oxford, in Sony Picture’s 2011 film “Anonymous.”

Additionally, I will explain the Prince Tudor theory, since Southampton plays a role in this controversial concept that divides Oxfordians.  (Note: Those of you who’ve seen the 2011 film, Anonymous, viewed a dramatization of a Prince Tudor variant referred to as PT II.)

So, if you enjoy learning about the history that resides between the lines, I cordially invite you to follow my independent study project: The Summer of Southampton.


2 responses

  1. I hope you will read the articles and book I have written about the Prince Tudor theory, as mentioned in my earlier post [2013]. Also, please correct your label for the theories. PT1 was originally proposed in the 20th century by Dorothy and Charleton Ogburn, that is — Southampton was the son of Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth, born in 1573.
    The later theory by Paul Streitz, dubbed PT2, is more questionable. Streitz thinks that Edward de Vere was the child of Thomas Seymour and Princess Elizabeth, but that would require a birthday of 1548, whereas Edward deVere was born in 1550, as evidenced by the fact that he came of age (21) in 1571.
    Please write and tell me what you learned in your summer research project. Best regards, Helen Heightsman Gordon, M.A., Ed.D.

  2. Good for you, Deb. I have felt a bit ostracized by Oxfordians who consider the Prince Tudor theory unworthy of discussion. I’m convinced it’s the best scenario to clear up the mysteries that still persist among Stratfordians and many Oxfordians as well. I have posted a number of articles on about my research over the past 20 years. My articles have been accessed and downloaded hundreds of times by people all over the world. I have also published a book, The Secret Love Story in Shakespeare’s Sonnets [2008] which can be downloaded free on, or purchased directly from me in a paperback edition. My book supplements Hank Whittemore’s by focusing more on the love story whereas Hank focuses on the father-son relationship. I have matched all the sonnets to events in the life of Edward de Vere, identifying the Fair Youth, the Dark Lady (or dark-eyed lady), and the Rival Poet (who was a rival for Elizabeth’s favor, not for Southampton’s). I also have proposed a solution to the Dedication of the Sonnets in 1609, explained in mybook and articles. Knowing that Oxford was a Rosicrucian and a Freemason helps to interpret the symbolism in the Dedication and also in the Tower Portrait of Southampton. Best wishes in your Southampton project. Don’t neglect the biography of Oxford by Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn, This Star of England, in which they identify Southampton as the son of Oxford and Elizabeth Tudor.
    Best wishes,
    Helen Heightsman Gordon, M.A., Ed.D., author and educator

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