Alan Tarica: Exploring the sonnets, and authorship, of William Shakespeare

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 17, 2014 – Since William Shakespeare’s death nearly 400 years ago, there has been a raging debate about the true authorship of the plays and sonnets that bear his name.

Numerous theories exist and, chances are, the controversy will continue for four more centuries and beyond. For now it is a largely an intellectual exercise. But the various arguments present fascinating possibilities much like who was the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and who really was Jack the Ripper.

It is Shakespeare, however, who captured the imagination of Alan Tarica in the mid-90s while debating a colleague in a bar about how the sciences seem to self-correct while, in his own mind, the humanities “lacked such capability.”

As Tarica points out, he has no formal training in the humanities and came to his project with a a lifelong interest in science and the history and philosophy of science. While searching for validation for his argument, Tarica “accidentally” began probing Shakespeare’s sonnets. Because he came to the subject by chance, Tarica had no preconceived notions which only fueled his curiosity further.


One theory particularly intrigued Tarica. Known as the Prince Tudor theory (also called the Tudor Rose theory), some experts believe that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, and Queen Elizabeth I were lovers with a child who was raised as Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton. The key element that roused Tarica’s curiosity that it might have been the Earl of Oxford who wrote under the name of “William Shakespeare” can be found in the dedications of two epic poems; “Venus & Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece.”

As Alan sees it, both works are totally compatible with a paternal vantage point. From this revelation, Tarica began randomly rereading the Shakespearean sonnets. Eventually, two poems in particular registered with particular poignancy. Sonnet 104 was especially strong from the standpoint of the language as though it had been written for a young child.

The other poem is Sonnet 13 which, as Alan sees it, clearly refers to a mother who does not recognize her own child. Says Tarica, “This led to a gradual but surprisingly fast development of an understanding of all the various metaphors, metonyms, and symbolism embedded in the sonnets which I think clearly infer the concealment of this secret prince. I gained a general sense of the pattern of the Sonnets and then recognized that the W.H. in the dedication (as opposed to H.W.) and the seemingly backward chronology being an important potential clue.”

Working your way through Alan Tarica’s website is a bit like the deductive process in solving a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Realizing that the initials “W.H.” were reversed in the dedications of the two poems mentioned above, Tarica came up with the idea that perhaps the sonnets would be better interpreted in reverse order as well.

Browse through the sonnets and discover Tarica’s meticulous research that is filled with detailed notes and observations. “This project has been an eye opener for me in so many ways,” he says. “It has taught me so much about human psychology and social behavior. And I’ve been happy to employ it as a way of revealing how dogmatic and unreasonable people can be with respect to challenges to orthodox notions.”

Tarica describes his two decade effort as a series of “little epiphanies.” For those with a curiosity about Elizabethan literature and the origins of Shakespeare’s writings. Alan Tarica’s website is a treasure trove of information and discovery.

As Tarica puts it, “I’ve illustrated to so many they are left with the choice of deciding if I’ve written an incredible conspiracy theory with an amazingly rich historical and political back-story and all utilizing Shakespeare’s very own completely unadulterated words versus the notion that virtually every English speaking university is teaching complete nonsense as if it was incontrovertible fact.” As Tarica sees it, “the project is not finished in the least. I don’t think a project like this can ever be finished.”

For Alan Tarica, Shakespeare’s sonnets, or whoever else might have written them, has become a perpetual source of discovery and intrigue.

For lovers of Shakespeare, words, controversy or any combination of the three, Alan Tarica’s research opens a bold new world of Elizabethan literary possibilities.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

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  • Thanks for taking this up. I think Tarica’s theory is fascinating, compelling as dramatic history.

    • Nonsense.

      Tarica’s “theory” is not “history,” it is a conspiracy theory that has the support of not one single respectable academic.

      • bfryer

        “respectable academics” are fusty, rusty and out of ideas. I know whereof i speak for i worked in it too. What’s wrong with cogitating a radical notion now and then, just to shake the dust out of the conventional attic? it might lend a new perspective. Reading the sonnets backwards is an exercise that any undergraduate could do and yield interesting observations.

        • brainfried

          Yes. I agree that BFryer that Tarica’s work has about as much authority and textual support as an undergraduate’s writing exercise.

  • Censorship

    How come comments I post aren’t being submitted? Clearly a censored forum is the only place Tarica’s nonsense could survive.

  • Shoddy Research

    This is awful journalism — the author of this article has been duped by Tarica and failed to investigate the subject thoroughly.

  • Sokal Redux

    Dear Mr. Taylor —

    Have a look at the Tarica’s Twitter where in his tagline he publicly admits to being a con man, describing himself as “Crafting literary illusions so verisimilitudinous, some might mistake them for the work of the Bard himself.”

    Also: where is Tarica’s CV? What are his credentials? Who is Alan Tarica apart from some rude blinkered conspiracy theorist who harasses random scholars on the internet? Has anyone ever met him, or is “Alan Tarica” simply the pen name of an anonymous lunatic who has devoted an obsessive amount of his time to self-promoting his conspiracy theory and insulting people on the internet?

    Have you ever heard of the Sokal affair?

    • bfryer

      Credentials be damned. There are people in governments with credentials abounding who are killing us all and who are sitting in creaky tenure chairs who have no brains left at all. Why must everything be sorted through the credential sorting-hat? can’t someone ask questions? Sheez.

      • deepfried

        Ok Bfryer, “credentials be damned.” — What about the fact that Tarica admits to being a conman (Have a look at the Tarica’s Twitter where in his tagline he publicly
        admits to being a con man, describing himself as “Crafting literary
        illusions so verisimilitudinous, some might mistake them for the work of
        the Bard himself.”)?

        All I’m trying to do here is help people avoid being duped.

    • Appeal to Authority, Credentialism, Well-Poisoning. If you can’t make an argument without resort to logical fallacies, the reason is simple: You know you have no argument to make. This doesn’t make Tarica right, but it makes you very much wrong.

  • Loretta

    Tarcia’s comments are far less outrageous than claims made by traditional scholars who fear for their lucrative jobs and are hamstrung by authority. What is so fearful about reading about Mr. Tarcia’s ideas?

    • bfryer

      amen.

      • Non ho paura

        Who is afraid?

  • Edward deVere cannot be the author of Shakespeare’ sonnets because deVere died in 1604, before any one of the sonnets were first printed (1609) without the permission of the poet, who complained about this unauthorized printing.

    • Guest

      Permit me to clarify my too-brief post:

      Please note that Edward de Vere died in 1604.

      In 1599, 1609 and in 1612, editions of a book entitled The Passionate Pilgrim were printed in London. Each of these editions contained poems, all of which were attributed to “W. Shakespeare.” Only two of these printed poems were by Shakespeare, and are now known as Shakespeare’s sonnets #138 and #144.

      This acts of plagiarism contained in The Passionate Pilgrim were the subject of a public complaint by a poet named Heywood, whose own poems had appeared in the 1612 edition of The Passionate Pilgrim – but attributed to “W. Shakespeare”

      Of the poet (“W. Shakespeare)” Heywood wrote in 1612: “he, to do himself right, hath since published them in his own name.” This is a reference to the 1609 publication of the first ever printing of sonnets by Shakespeare, in a book registered by publisher Thomas Thorpe under the title, “Booke called Shakespeare’s sonnettes.”

      No one can dispute that a living poet – William Shakespeare – was referenced by Heywood in 1612. This was eight years after De Vere had died. De Vere being dead, could not have been referred to by Heywood in 1612, as living, and therefore could not be the author of the sonnets of Shakespeare.

      • bfryer

        Well, if you read everything there is to read, there is a plausible theory that the man called William Shakespeare not the author. I’m not advocating a specific point of view. I’m advocating for open mindedness in the spirit of intellectual curiosity and….well, fun. There have been some good debates around the authorship question, not all by cranks, and i find them fascinating… Google”authorship question” and Atlantic, Harpers, Supreme Court….if everyone would lighten up a little bit we might actually be able to engage in a civilized discussion, but unfortunately people are stuck in their intellectual caves and some people pull out their daggers. Sad.

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  • bfryer

    I think it outrageous that people impugn the ideas of a curious but not stupid unprofessional scholar who is doing what English professors the world over encourage students to do, which is to do close readings. I am open to any discussion of the authorship question and think it fascinating. i find it equally fascinating that those who don’t have any questions at all and take current and common Shakespeare scholarship as Holy Writ do not question their own motives. Any unshakeable, unquestionable belief is dangerous, and welcome to those who question authority. Shakespeare’s work was all about questioning authority as well. Anyone read Hamlet?

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