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From the longer Wikipedia page [1]

Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, 1st Baronet (2 February 1837 – 21 April 1914) was a British lawyer and Member of Parliament.

He is best known for his advocacy of the Baconian theory of Shakespeare authorship, which asserts that Francis Bacon was the author of Shakespeare's plays. He published a number of books on the subject and promoted public debates with the academic community. At his death he donated the large "Edwin Durning-Lawrence archive" to London University.

Lawrence became most famous as an advocate of Baconian theory, to which he was converted after reading Ignatius L. Donnelly's The Great Cryptogram. He wrote a number of books on the topic, the most notable of which was Bacon is Shake-Speare (1910). He also wrote The Shakespeare Myth (1912), "Macbeth" Proves Bacon is Shakespeare (1913), and Key to Milton's Epitaph on Shakespeare (1914).

Following Donnelly, Durning-Lawrence believed that the key to proving Bacon's authorship was the discovery of cyphers within the plays which were hidden there by Bacon. His writings were also notable for the virulence with which he heaped abuse on William Shakespeare of Stratford.

Durning-Lawrence's most famous argument in Bacon is Shake-Speare was his suggestion that the word Honorificabilitudinitatibus, used in the play Love's Labour's Lost, is an anagram for hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi, Latin for "these plays, F. Bacon's offspring, are preserved for the world". He derived the argument from an earlier book by Isaac Hull Platt. Samuel Schoenbaum later argued that the anagram overlooks the fact that Bacon would have written the genitive of his name as Baconi (from Baconus), never Baconis (which assumes his name was Baco). John Sladek also showed that the word could also be anagrammatized as I, B. Ionsonii, uurit [writ] a lift'd batch, thus "proving" that Shakespeare's works were written by Ben Jonson. Durning-Lawrence also claimed that the Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare contained visual codes pointing to the secret authorship. He wrote, "there is no question – there can be no possible question – that in fact it is a cunningly drawn cryptographic picture, shewing two left arms and a mask... Especially note that the ear is a mask ear and stands out curiously; note also how distinct the line shewing the edge of the mask appears

Durning-Lawrence's archive was donated to London University library in 1929, and established there in 1931. It has been described as "a very important collection of about 7,000 volumes largely of seventeenth-century literature containing one of the best collections in the world on Sir Francis Bacon and valuable collections on Shakespeare and Defoe." It is currently part of Senate House Library

Wilmot controversyEdit

In 1932, the year after the library was opened, the Shakespeare scholar Allardyce Nicoll published an article on a manuscript it contained written by James Corton Cowell, entitled "Some reflections on the life of William Shakespeare". The manuscript was a lecture delivered to the Ipswich Philosophic Society in 1805. It stated that an 18th-century clergyman, James Wilmot, had identified Bacon as the hidden author of Shakespeare's works. Wilmot's study of local history in the Stratford area convinced him that Shakespeare could not have authored the works attributed to him. He came to this conclusion in 1781, more than 80 years before the Baconian argument was first published by Delia Bacon and W.H. Smith. Wilmot destroyed all evidence of his theory, confiding his findings only to Cowell.

The authenticity of Cowell's "Reflections" was accepted by Shakespearean scholars for many years, but was challenged in 2002–2003 by John Rollett, Daniel Wright and Alan H. Nelson. Rollett could find no historical traces of Cowell, the Ipswich Philosophic Society, or its supposed president, Arthur Cobbold. In 2010, James S. Shapiro declared the document a forgery based on facts stated in the text about Shakespeare that were not discovered or publicised until decades after the purported date of composition. It is not known whether the forgery was introduced to Durning-Lawrence's archive during his life or after his death; however he never refers to it in his own writings.


See also the London wiki page [2]

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