Last week, the New York Times published an article on Shakespeare’s coat of arms discovered by Heather Wolfe, purportedly proving his status as a gentleman and, thus, the author of the Shakespeare plays:
The new documents, Mr. Shapiro added, also come with a nice bonus: they clearly refute skeptics who continue to argue — to the deep exasperation of most scholars — that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was not actually the author of the works attributed to him.
But the discovery doesn’t convince the Oxfordians, those who claim the Earl of Oxford, Edward De Vere, was the true playwright. The De Vere Society published their response three days ago:
What is most puzzling, however, is Columbia University professor James Shapiro’s assertion that this is a “smoking gun.” How so? Of what? In 1600, when this document is purportedly dated (although both the NYT illustration and the Shakespeare Documented website are opaque as to the origins of this document; one version looks to be in a scrapbook of some kind—whose? and when?) Shakespeare was already a famous playwright. Mr. Shapiro’s own book, scant as it is on actual fact, relies heavily on the man’s prolificity as a playwright by 1599. Wouldn’t ‘Shakespeare ye playwright’ be a smokier gun? Or smokiest? If anything, identifying the Stratford man as a player in 1600 reinforces the case stated by Doubters. In fact, citing ‘smoking gun’ evidence underscores the fact that the Stratford Shakspear (a spelling adopted by 19th scholars who noted how he spelt his name; Doubters simply agree) is by no means the prima facie candidate for the renowned playwright.
The link to their full rebuttal is below.