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Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare?

The Globe

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1audreyfan21
Mar 26, 2009, 10:56am Top

I'm working on a research paper now about whether or not Shakespeare really wrote his plays. Does anyone know of a good biography or other book that talks about this or mentions it? Or even an article or website? Any reliable source that mentions it would be great!

2Caramellunacy
Mar 26, 2009, 2:02pm Top

Personally, I'm a Stratfordian (I think Shakespeare the actor from Stratford probably wrote the plays). But I think it's fun to read some of the debates.

A fairly good book I've read on the subject is Players: the Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare by Bertram Fields.

There's also a long list of works that talk about this under Further Reading on the Wikipedia article here.

Let us know how your research turns out!

3audreyfan21
Mar 26, 2009, 2:34pm Top

Thank you so much! I wrote down that book and others on the Wikipedia list. I'm going to see if I can find them at my library. Thanks again!

4Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Mar 26, 2009, 5:44pm Top

One of the very best resources on the authorship 'question' (non-question, really) is this website: http://shakespeareauthorship.com/ which is the work of LT'er David Kathman.

Or if you want a book in your hands, see this at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Shakespeare-End-Authorship-Question/dp/027598527X/ref...

Or LT'er Tom Veal has some good discussions on his Stromata website, here: http://stromata.tripod.com/id19.htm

5audreyfan21
Mar 27, 2009, 3:29pm Top

Thank you! Those sources will also be quite helpful!

6xieouyang
Mar 29, 2009, 2:14pm Top

There is a book by Mark Anderson called "Shakespeare by another name" about the Earl of Oxford. Anderson makes a real compelling case for Oxford being the author. Although it may be too long to read for a research paper- you may want to look at it.

7Crypto-Willobie
Mar 30, 2009, 9:53pm Top

Unfortunately Anderson's 'compelling case' depends on ignoring Early Modern theatre history, misreading contemporary literary and social context, and bestowing a new meaning upon the word 'evidence.'

8Porius
Mar 31, 2009, 12:35pm Top

is that all?

9Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Apr 2, 2009, 11:18pm Top

It's enough. And to be frank, I'm surprised that people like yourself and Lord Haw-Haw and the others oVER at Vere Gardens-- who, by your libraries and conversations, appear to be intelligent, well-read and strong-minded folk-- could eVER be taken in by such claptrap. The seductions of contrariness, I suppose...

10xieouyang
Mar 31, 2009, 8:15pm Top

I don't think it's necessarily contrariness, as you say. I found the book ineresting and thought it made a rather strong case. Now I don't pretend to be an expert on Shakespeare, or literature for that matter, but find a variety of views interesting and worthy of discussion. Given the fact that Shakespeare is such an enigma, I think that adhering to the conventional view is almost religious. As you well know, for virtually any other writer anywhere in the world, many of them much earlier than Shakespeare, there is a wealth of material confirming his or her identify and life.

11Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Mar 31, 2009, 8:49pm Top

A variety of views? are all "views" equal? If I think Queen Victoria wrote Alice in Wonderland is that 'view' as valid as the 'view' that Lewis Carroll did? And your last statement simply is not true. Compare what is known about Shakespeare with truly comparable cases-- like John Fletcher, Thomas Heywood, John Webster. He wasn't an 'engima' -- that's a post-romantic imposition. He was a working actor who wrote good plays-- like Heywood, or William Rowley or Nathan Field.
Since you value different views on this subject you should check this out: http://shakespeareauthorship.com/

12Porius
Apr 1, 2009, 3:27am Top

C-W: since there can be no legal proof either way, all we can do is hitch our wagon, rickety tho it may be, to one side or the other. i am on the side of those who have WS as their man. i just don't see how the thing could have been covered up all this while. i read the anti-Stratfordians for the pleasure they bring me. especially George G. Greenwood. you wouldn't deny me this simple pleasure. would you?

13Crypto-Willobie
Apr 1, 2009, 6:02am Top

Poor-ious - I can't figure you out. But that's ok I guess...

14Thrin
Apr 1, 2009, 6:07am Top

The play's the thing.

15Porius
Apr 1, 2009, 6:40pm Top

i'd be bowled over if you could figure me out. i turned 60 this year and i know myself but slenderly. but know this, i relish the idea that the fellow from the sticks gets the he couldn't have written it types all bent out of shape. but once again, i'm afraid it will forever remain a delicious mystery. let's have a glass of sack and sing the praises of the lout from Warwickshire.

16tom1066
Apr 2, 2009, 9:22am Top

Ron Rosenbaum has a thoughtful piece in Slate today (http://www.slate.com/id/2214734/) about people's desire to know everything about Shakespeare despite a lack of evidence. The spark was the recent claim by Stanley Wells to have found a new Shakespeare portrait, a claim that appears to be in very serious doubt not two weeks after it was made.

As for the controversy over authorship, I understand Crypto-Willobie's position -- I am going to believe William Shakespeare wrote the plays until someone presents credible evidence that he did not -- but I share poor-ious' interest in the strange, convoluted and always deeply flawed arguments against his authorship. What I find dismaying is the wide-spread belief among the general populace that there is serious evidence Shakespeare did not write the plays. I chalk it up to a general willingness to believe in conspiracy or mystery when presented with a lack of information and a (snobbish?) unwillingness to believe a commoner could write the plays.

17audreyfan21
Apr 2, 2009, 12:02pm Top

Thank you everyone for your recommendations, links, and interesting discussion. I wrote down all of the websites you guys gave links to and also ordered Players: the Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare from Amazon. I got a great deal on the book. Thanks for the suggestion Caramellunacy. I'm sure this will all be very helpful!

18dkathman
Apr 2, 2009, 3:50pm Top

Actually, Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare is a pretty terrible book if you're interested in historical accuracy. Fields provides no references for any of what he says, most of which is a restatement of standard anti-Stratfordian claims, and much of which is just flat-out false or at least badly distorted. You can read the book in order to understand what anti-Stratfordians say, but please don't take anything in there at face value, at least not without confirming it through other (non-anti-Stratfordian) sources. My Shakespeare Authorship web site, which Crypto-Willobie referred to (http://shakespeareauthorship.com), has rebuttals to a lot of those claims, and if you are going to read the Fields book, I would encourage you to do so with my site close at hand.

19Caramellunacy
Apr 2, 2009, 5:29pm Top

The entire reason I suggested the book was that it essentially restates a number of anti-Stratfordian positions - which I think is valuable if you're just beginning to research the question rather than suggesting a number of books each dedicated to their pet theory.

I certainly agree that there are problems with it, but I don't think it's such a terrible starting point. Especially since I personally don't find much value in reading a Stratfordian rebuttal without some idea of what 'the competition' is saying...

I hope you enjoy your research, audreyfan! And if you come across a particularly helpful book or article, please let us know!

20Crypto-Willobie
Apr 2, 2009, 11:55pm Top

There really is a book that argues that Queen Victoria wrote Alice in Wonderland. There is another book that argues that the English language hasn’t changed for a couple millenia and that Old English and Middle English never existed—they’re just the inventions of professors—and that French, Italian and other languages are derived from English. There are people that believe we (or some of us) are descended from a race of super-intelligent lizards; while others believe we are plagued by space aliens who abduct people to administer anal probes. I suppose one could consider these to be ‘viewpoints’ or ‘interesting’ or ‘fun’. Or ‘competition’ – competition for the physical world we live in where things actually happen? The Oxfordian (or Marlovian, or Baconian, whatever) ‘position’ doesn’t really afford any competition to the facts of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre history; nor is it necessary for Shakespeareans to provide a ‘rebuttal’. Because, frankly, all that anti-Stratfordian business is just weak-minded, whack-job conspiracy crap. It’s not an equal viewpoint, and it’s not worth the attention paid it. Unless you want to consider the guy with the tin-foil hat down at the corner yelling at the traffic to be expressing his interesting worthy-of-equal-time ‘viewpoint’…

21Porius
Apr 3, 2009, 3:44am Top

does that mean that there are no more cakes and ale?

22Caramellunacy
Apr 3, 2009, 4:01am Top

Look C-W, the OP wants to write a paper discussing the authorship question. You don't think there's a question or that the Stratfordians need to rebut other theories, and that's fine. But that wouldn't exactly make a good paper, would it?

All I'm saying is that if the OP is attempting to write a paper on the subject, it makes sense to start with a book that gives an overview of various anti-Stratfordian theories as the Stratfordian viewpoint is the most obvious theory and probably the one s/he knows most about.

23Crypto-Willobie
Apr 3, 2009, 11:29am Top

Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted-- I get it. So everything is 'true' in a way. The imagination-- imaginary cakes and ale-- is important and beloved, even of me. I enjoy improbable detective fiction, I like Tolkien and other fantasy, I like novels where Shakespeare's plays are really written by his wife or his dog. After all, the lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of imagination all compact. And this I suppose is where Poor-ious is coming from -- he's not Cred-ulous, he's just enjoying himself. However most anti-Stratfordian writing is earnest and humorless, “full of passionate intensity,” and leavened with the smugness and condescension of the True Believer. You see, they’re intent on “exposing one of the greatest hoaxes of all time,” to quote one misguided individual. Obviously it makes me a little cranky sometimes—it’s so wearisome.
So, of course audreyfan21 can read Fields-- or Anderson or Ogburn or Sobran—to inform her research paper. But I wanted her to be under no illusion that she will be examining two equally reasonable ‘views’ of a valid question. Just like you and I really sat down and had breakfast this morning, someone in 1599 had his breakfast and then went back to writing Hamlet-- and he had a high forehead, not a royal pension.

24Porius
Edited: Apr 3, 2009, 6:47pm Top

i'll always rate the riotous Sir Toby Belch's over the i'm-afraid-someone-somewhere-might-be-enjoying-themselves Malvolio types. how could i do otherwise? once again i am on the side of William of Stratford, but dismissing C. Ogburn as nothing more than marshgas is something i am not prepared to do. one of my favorite books on this hoary subject is R.C. Churchill's, SHAKESPEARE AND HIS BETTERS. he is well informed on the matter, and he writes beautifully.
wasn't Anthony Quayle marvelous as the Fat Knight in the 1979 BBC Henry 4 pt. 1 and 2? Ancient Pistol and the cut-purses are great fun, think you?

25audreyfan21
Apr 24, 2009, 1:19pm Top

I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions and view points. All of it was so helpful in writing my paper. I have it written but I still need to turn it in.

My paper is mainly focusing on anti-stratfordian views only because most readers believe that Shakespeare wrote his plays and I wanted to present the other side so readers could make their own decision. I also mentioned De Vere, Marlowe, Bacon, and Queen Elizabeth I, but also gave reasons why they most likely did not write Shakespeare's works.

Bertram Fields' book was very helpful for me. I understand that it's probably not reliable but it presented Anti-Stratfordian view points, which I needed to make my paper interesting.

Some may be wondering whether I'm Stratfordian or Anti-Stratfordian. I'm neither. I haven't read enough yet to make my decision but I don't know if I ever will because I don't see enough evidence or proof for either side and until someone presents some evidence I will remain undecided.

26xieouyang
May 4, 2009, 9:30pm Top

Did you read about the opinion of US Justice Stevens a couple of weeks ago? He sided with Edward de Vere as the real author of the Shakespeare's works.

27Crypto-Willobie
May 5, 2009, 5:46pm Top

I'm sure that a consensus of people who have no particular knowledge of the era and its theatre is the way to decide this. How can Malcolm X, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, and Justice Stevens all be wrong!?!?!?!?!?

On the other hand, what if Ben Jonson, Dr Johnson, Walter Johnson and Magic Johnson all thought that Shakespeare the actor from Stratford wrote his own plays? Wouldn't that trump those other guys?

Seriously, huh? huh?

28dkathman
May 5, 2009, 6:16pm Top

Stevens has been saying that for 20 years and getting sporadic attention in the press for it, but unfortunately he has no idea what he's talking about. He just keeps repeating Oxfordian talking points, most of which are either flat-out wrong or badly distorted, and shows zero evidence of knowing anything about Elizabethan literature or theater history other than what he has been fed by Oxfordians. I've thought about trying to send him some materials refuting those talking points, but even if I could be sure they would reach him, I don't know that it would make a difference; after 20 years, he's clearly got a big emotional investment in the Oxfordian fantasy. I have a lot of respect for Stevens as a Supreme Court justice, but on this subject he's a real embarrassment.

29tom1066
May 6, 2009, 9:01am Top

As a lawyer, I know firsthand that lawyers are particularly prone to fully investing in one theory of the case, regardless of the evidence. After all, it's what we're supposed to do. Judges are apparently susceptible, too.

30Cariola
Jun 15, 2009, 5:35pm Top

I read an interesting book manuscript at the Folger Library about a year ago that made a claim for Roger Manners, Earl of Rutland. Can't recall who the author was . . . . I'm thinking Richard Dutton, but if not him, it was someone equally well known and credible. I wasn't convinced, however. Most of the argument was based on Manners's presumed impotence and/or homosexuality, focused on his longstanding obsession with Wriothesely and a series of puns on "does" (as in "deer, a female deer"--apparently a term for the submissive partner).

As to some of the other claimants, I personally have a lot of trouble with the arguments that focus mainly on the fact that the Stratfordian didn't go to university and probably never went to Italy.

31dkathman
Jun 16, 2009, 10:28pm Top

Cariola, I'm trying to figure out what this book manuscript you saw at the Folger might be. The only recent Rutland proponent I'm aware of is Ilya Gililov, whose pro-Rutland book became a bestseller in Russia in the late 90s and was translated into English in 2003 as "The Shakespeare Game: The Mystery of the Great Phoenix". I know Gililov did research for that book at the Folger, and I'm sure they have a copy, as they have copies of all the major antistratfordian works, no matter how crazy. But I'm thinking that's probably not it -- I don't see how you would confuse Gililov with Richard Dutton, and your description doesn't sound much like what I've heard about Gililov's book. I know Dutton pretty well (I wrote two chapters for his Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre, which just came out), and I'm fairly certain he didn't write whatever it was you read. In fact, I don't know anybody who's at all well known in the field who could have written something like that, except possibly as a spoof of antistratfordian methods.

32Cariola
Edited: Jun 17, 2009, 2:59pm Top

No, definitely not Gililov, but, as I said, it might not have been Dutton. (Sorry, I was writing off the top of my head.) I have notes on this document at home. I'll be able to check in a few hours and will post the info here. And I don't believe it was a spoof.

33Cariola
Jun 17, 2009, 2:57pm Top

Well, it seems my memory half served: the author was a BRIAN Dutton. The typescript ms is titled Lord Rutland Decoded: The True Shakespeare Revealed, written in 2005. My notes are a bit sketchy as I thought his theory way off the wall; and I was really doing research primarily on the countess. Here are some bits from my notes:

Rutland "a tragic prodigy who by age twenty-one had written some half of the canon" (7).

He mentions three others who support his theory: Celestin Demblon, Pierre Porohovshekov, and Claude Sykes.

The sonnets are autobiographical and depict "impotence and doedom" and relationship w/the king. (Note: "doedom" = taking a buck anally.)

The sonnets were published without his permission in 1609 and were quickly called in, perhaps due to their "burlesque of Queen Elizabeth as a predatory exploiter of alleged boy-toy the Earl of Essex" and of King James, mocked as an incompetent buck w/a small penis(!).

Claims #57 and #149 are about dildoes, and that #39 reveals his name and impotence. Some of his decoding is very stretched. For example, here's how he decodes 39: but = phonetic butt, which the OED defines as a division of plowed land containing contained between two furrows, also called a ridge . . . which could also be land between two ruts . . . hence "rut" + "land."

A few other "proofs" and theories: Rutland has "brother problems," especially with a bastard brother . . . well, you know where this is going. William Shakespeare is the "Poet-Ape" in Jonson's epigram. A 10-line ms poem in Rutland's hand bears similarities to a passage in Twelfth Night. Claims the first 17 sonnets were a birthday gift for Southampton, written when Manners was only 14, and that he wrote Venus and Adonis at 16. Further claims that sonnets 105 and 125 were written by Southampton, and that Rutland replies to them in #107.

A little past my notes on page 245, I scrawled in the margin, "I am tired of reading about Dildo Dick (Dutton's term) and sh*t and doedom!"

My sincere apologies to RICHARD Dutton!

34dkathman
Jun 17, 2009, 4:55pm Top

Ah, that makes sense. I've never heard of Brian Dutton, and the other three people he mentions are authors of pro-Rutland books in the past -- Demblon wrote his around 1917 and died in 1924, and I have Claud Sykes's "Rutland is Shakespeare" book, published in 1947, I believe. Sounds like this guy is pretty out there, though by antistratfordian standards he's almost mainstream.

35harryhaller3
Jul 11, 2009, 12:52am Top

I'm chiming in rather late on this one, but I've just read all the posts here with the same wry smile that's accompanied my readings of Fields, James/Rubenstein, Anderson, and others -- and a fun little piece by Andrew Field. The deforestation wreaked in the name of this 'controversy' is bewildering. I want to scream when I read the hackneyed bit about 'lack of evidence' when it comes to the life of WS; Crypto-W's point regarding the equally misty records for other working writers of the period is wholly valid. Jonson (a mostly self-educated bricklayer, for God's sake), who left us a dedicatory piece from the first folio, has huge gaps in his own bio.

And what about Marlowe? Why no controversy there? Oh, yes, he was an Oxbridge man, and so fully capable of rendering the works for which he's unerringly credited. Ever wonder how much time he spent in class?

Consideration must also be made for the process of writing for the stage at the time, a rather fluid one in which actors and other writers -- rivals and friends both -- had hands in the final product. WS was no Baudelaire, writing in isolation in a garret late into the night. He was out there, participating in the creation of stage-play.

Give me the time, and I'll put together a compelling argument for Will Kempe having written The Merry Wives of Windsor while he morris-danced from London to Norwich.

So why (myself included) do we invest the time in reading this codswallop? I can only liken it to rubbernecking at a car crash, or watching right-wing fundamentalist broadcasts on Sunday morning. Sometimes, I simply can't help myself.

And now, for those of you who still believe that wrestling is fake, or that JFK was the victim of a conspiracy…

Nyuk nyuk

36kend
Jul 24, 2009, 9:06am Top

I own a few books written at the time Shakes-peare was alive, it has always seemed very odd to me that he almost never gets a mention by any of this contemporaries in the same way other living poets did. Its a bit like somebody claiming to be very famous in popular culture now but coming up once in a Google search. You probably would not believe they were well known.
I'm not sure it matters what name we give the writer of the works. But one does not have to be a mad conspiracy theorist to read history books with a degree of scepticism. The contrast between say Ben Johnson’s death and Shakespeare’s is very, very odd. Not a peep out of anyone anywhere when William, this supposedly massively popular poet, snuffed it.
I recommend reading ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare’ by John Mitchell; it’s a very good fair minded review of the issues and of the literature at that period. As I say, believing everything you read is as mad as believing nothing, so perhaps it worth keeping an open mind eh? Particularly when the subject matter is quite interesting.

37Porius
Jul 24, 2009, 12:37pm Top

WS "snuffed" it as you say in Stratford. They wouldn't have been overproud about a mere player and playbotcher as it was yet a muddy little place. It's not certain that WS would be famous in the same sense that , say, Peter Hall would be famous. Ben Johnson collected and published his 'works.' not something usually done by writers of that time. WS, as you remember "snuffed" it and left his papers for someone else to sort out. This makes me think that he hadn't much an idea of his ever-living-poet-ness. Though the Sonnets tell a different story, don't they?
It's a mystery that will never be solved unless they find some documents that prove the matter either way. And this 'proof' will not please either the Gary Taylors' or the deVeres', et al.

38Crypto-Willobie
Jul 24, 2009, 12:42pm Top

> 36

> I own a few books written at the time Shakes-peare was alive, it has always seemed very odd to me that he almost never gets a mention by any of this contemporaries in the same way other living poets did.

This vague general assertion is simply not true. What ‘few books’ are you referring to that ‘mention… living poets’ and how often were which ones mentioned? Shakespeare was name-checked by Sir John Davies, Francis Beaumont, Francis Meres, Ben Jonson, among others.

> I'm not sure it matters what name we give the writer of the works.

In a way, no it doesn’t matter—once art is created it’s out there. So it also doesn’t matter who wrote Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Ulysses, etcetcetc, right? Don’t be selective because you have an axe to grind.

> The contrast between say Ben Johnson’s death and Shakespeare’s is very, very odd. Not a peep out of anyone anywhere when William, this supposedly massively popular poet, snuffed it.

Also not true. That he was a ‘supposedly massively popular poet’ is your retrofit of his current reputation. He was a reasonably popular poet and well-regarded playwright, but not a God of Literature whose death could be expected to rattle the walls of Westminster Abbey. Instead of reading history with a knee-jerk ‘degree of skepticism,’ read it with appropriate context.
The old canards about Shakespeare the player not being known by his contemporaries as a poet and playwright, the ignoring of his death, and many others are well-addressed and refuted here: http://shakespeareauthorship.com/

> I recommend reading ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare’ by John Mitchell; it’s a very good fair minded review of the issues and of the literature at that period. As I say, believing everything you read is as mad as believing nothing, so perhaps it worth keeping an open mind eh? Particularly when the subject matter is quite interesting.

Mitchell’s book is addressed and reviewed several places on the Shakespeare Authorship website (link above). Are our choices really between ‘believing everything’ we read and ‘believing nothing’? How about believing in logic and the rules of historical evidence? In this case ‘keeping an open mind’ is code for believing whatever theory appeals to you whether there’s any actual evidence for it or not.

39Cariola
Edited: Jul 24, 2009, 1:08pm Top

36> One reason that other poets are mentioned more often than Shakespeare is the patron/client system. They were constantly trying to get in favor with important persons who could recommend them for positions in noble households and the court. Most of their published works include at least one dedication to a well-placed person--and often multiple dedications, as well as prefatory praise from other writers. For example, if JONSON (no "h" by his own design) wanted a commission for a Christmas masque, he wrote a poem of praise for the Countess of Rutland or dedicated a work to her so that she might recommend him to her friend, Queen Anne. Or a play by Middleton might include prefatory verse praise by Jonson, Chapman, etc.

You don't see this happening with Shakespeare, for a number of reasons. First, he did not publish his own works, as did Jonson. As I'm sure you know, the Stationer's Register's regulations were nothing like the copyright laws of today; it was more like "first come, first served," and an author's works were often submitted by a printer who got the manuscript from someone other than the author. Shakespeare seems to have had no interest in publishing the plays, and we really don't know if the dedication to the sonnets was by him or by the printer. (In any case, the dedicatee remains cryptic--which wouldn't have been the case for someone vying for the kind of patronage that Jonson sought.)

And I don't think that Shakespeare really wanted a position as secretary to the Master of Revels, official Chronicler of London, masque-writer, etc. He was making a good living in the theatre and enjoying the creative freedom he could express there.

There was still a prejudice against authors who wrote "plays" v. "works" (which is one reason Jonson included his plays in his Works), which means it's logical that those writing "serious" works would more likely be mentioned by others. Think of a modern comparison: it's not likely that you'd find a "serious" writer like Toni Morrison or E. L. Doctorow or Salman Rushdie writing about Stephanie Meyer or (to put it in terms of movies, more relevant to playwrights) Judd Apatow.

(Addendum: And C-W is definitely right that Shakespeare IS mentioned quite a few times by his cohorts.)

40Porius
Edited: Jul 24, 2009, 3:24pm Top

Shake-speare was mentioned often, we are not sure who this Shake-speare was. Who was Jonson (I am reading Meyer's biog. of Samuel Johnson so my fingers typed out Jonson +h without consulting me) spoofing when he had Puntarvolo not accepting Sogliardo's cote of arms without a little mustard. Of course we don't know but it sounds like our man from Stratford who purchased a set for old John. Charlotte Stopes spent her career trying to establsh a conection between WS and Southampton and failed. It's dangerous to speak ex cathedra on the subject of William Shakespeare and co. We don't know much more than the fact that he had what A.L. Rowse called, a "sexy nose." Not much that we can really hang our hats on, ie.

41Crypto-Willobie
Jul 24, 2009, 4:03pm Top

No, it’s not a slam-dunk, because very little is. However, if one applies the same standards of historical research to the question of how the King’s players acquired their repertory that one would normally apply to questions concerning the life or work of Geoffrey Chaucer, or Richard Field, or Aphra Behn, or Richard Topliffe, or John Fletcher, or Hesther Thrale, and leaves aside the aha! method of true-believer argument (to which there can never be any adequate rebuttal as the necessary ‘evidence’ can be conjured at will), then the provisional answer is pretty clear. The ‘evidence’ (using the normal meaning of the word) indicates that Shakspere the player from Stratford wrote or co-wrote the plays and poems associated with his name, and there is no ‘evidence’ at all that the Earl of Oxford, or the Earl of Derby, or Christopher Marlowe, or Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Rutland or Sir Henry Neville, Or Queen Elizabeth, or (your candidate here) wrote them. Auntie Strat plays minds games and they are tiresome ones. Probably I should just ignore them but then they rail even louder about how they don’t get no respect, and the professors are conspiring against them so as to protect their jobs, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
Oh, I forgot to mention—the works of Chaucer were really written by John of Gaunt, but he couldn’t admit it because it would have been undignified for him to be known as the author. Just read between the lines in The Knight’s Tale and you’ll see. And Bos-Well’s Life of Johnson was actually written by Mrs Thrale but was published under a pseudonym because, oh, we’ll think of something. Prove me wrong? C’mon, where’s your open mind?

42kend
Jul 24, 2009, 4:07pm Top

This Shakespeare authorship thing seems to get some folk very hot under the collar! Its only history... which is of course is something quite malleable to changes in fashion. I still recommend reading Mitchell’s book. He talks about how strongly people feel on this subject, of course many academics and the Stratford tourist trade have a lot to lose if doubts were to be entertained...

43Crypto-Willobie
Jul 24, 2009, 4:10pm Top

see?

44Cariola
Jul 24, 2009, 4:15pm Top

I don't know that it would have much effect on most academics, only those few who have made a career of arguing the question. The plays are what they are, and they've been published as the works of "Shakespeare." If that should turn out to be a pseudonym, I don't think my "Shakespeare" classes would be taken out of the curriculum or renamed "Oxford" or whatever. The supposed mystique of the uneducated genius is a miniscule part of why the plays are still read, performed, and studied today.

45Porius
Jul 24, 2009, 4:22pm Top

Think of the uproar if I actually chose someone other than WS as my dog in the fight? I'm perfectly satisfied with William Shakespeare as my Shakespeare it's just that I don't mind ruffling his feathers now and again. Prove you wrong? You carry the load quite well without my help. But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, it's great fun to bat these matters about. Though I could be mistaking the fun that I have for the fun in general. If that's the case I will have to curtail my amusement.

46Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Jul 24, 2009, 4:41pm Top

>45 Porius:
Just to clarify-- I meant 'Prove me wrong?' as a challange to *prove* that John of Gaunt was not the author of Canterbury Tales nor Mrs Thrale of Bos-Well's Life of Johnson. (And now that it's 'out there' I expect to read about the Gaunterbury Tales on the web sometime in the near future.)

Yeah, I should just read the plays and forget about the Aunties. And I'm not really RILED-riled-- think of it as me having *my* fun. I have lots of fun (I think), am fond of give and take, am willing to be proved wrong about stuff (by reputable methods)-- but I don't find the Aunties especially amusing, just wild-eyed and smelly. I'd rather argue about how Christopher Tolkien *should* have reconstructed the Silmarillion, or how much Albert Speer knew and when, or whether Yeshu ha Notzri actually considered himself to be divine.

47kend
Jul 24, 2009, 4:42pm Top

I agree about the academic side of things, what’s in a name after all, but academics seem to be capable of irrational behaviour at times, some seem to take the authorship question very personally and seem to want to ban any debate. I find the Elizabethan period very interesting, so the doubts that have been raised by all sorts of people over many years about whether Shakespeare is in affect a pen name is to me also quite interesting. To me just asking the question acts as an enjoyable means of exploring the historical context.

48Porius
Jul 24, 2009, 4:59pm Top

46: does this mean there shall be no more cakes and ale? 'M' had *his* fun but he surely did not get the last laugh. And first you would have to prove that 'Y' came from such a place as 'N', and that there was such a place as 'N'?

And finally: 'proof' can not be established that John of Gaunt either wrote, or didn't write The Canter-bury Tails. Or put ink to paper in a note to his local alchemist. To try to 'prove' anything, especially something that happened in the 16th Century or before is something of a fool's game, it seems to me.

49Crypto-Willobie
Jul 24, 2009, 5:26pm Top

>48 Porius:
That was my point-- you can't *prove* that John of Guant did or didn't write the CTs-- nor any of a million other 16c or 14c scenarios you may want to invent. But does that mean that any scenario you can invent is equally as valid as any other? and worthy of discussion, and consideration as an alternative 'viewpoint' by the 'open-minded'? Because that's what the Auntie Strat-egies boil down to-- invented scenarios that can't, by their nature, be disproven. And as I've mentioned to you before, Poor-ious, I *love* cakes and ale.

>42 kend:
>Its only history... which is of course is something quite malleable to changes in fashion.

History-as-intepretation is malleable and subject to fashion. But there is also a level of history which consists of a series of verifiable physical occurences. Presumably we all agree that Elizabeth Tudor was Queen of England and died in 1603? And that you had cereal for breakfast today while I had a banana? Whether Shakespeare the player wrote plays for the King's men isn't really a question of political interpretation, or social history -- or rather it may be *now*, but it was a boring question with an obvious answer in 1604.

50Porius
Jul 24, 2009, 5:50pm Top

Invent? When you start talking about inventing and all that you lose me. Who is inventing what? The Oxford people are as welcome to invent as often as the Shakespeare people. Are you deciding what is being invented and what isn't? It seems to me that you are. WS just may be an invention of the Stratford Corporation. Or of Davy Garrick's? Let's not talk about Chaucer, Gaunt, or E1: it doesn't help us here. William Shakespeare does not have the post position in this race. We can only pays our penny and takes our chance. My bet is on WM. son of the Shakespeare's (one of the many spellings, and not the favorite by any means). As for those poor long-shots who you would ban from the race - well I'm afraid you don't have that authority.

51Porius
Jul 24, 2009, 6:08pm Top

tee-hee is it? Worthy of discussion? Validity? Who and who isn't open minded? I think you choose the best cakes for yourself and leave us benighted the crumbs. All you lack is the yellow garters. When a Greenwood writes a book that casts a doubt on the Authorship Question, does the rhino ask the tick-bird when he should charge?
It was fun till you sent me that self-satisfied giggle. The anti-Statfordians write what they are pleased to write, they do not look to such as you for their lead.

52Crypto-Willobie
Jul 24, 2009, 9:48pm Top

sheesh. have some cakes and ale. the tee-hee was to demonstrate i was having 'fun'. no, i don't have or claim 'authority' -- doesn't mean i can't vigorously advocate my position, even to the extent of pooh-poohing the opposition. and if it wasn't clear in 49, when i said 'you' i meant 'one'. sheesh...

53rolandperkins
Jul 25, 2009, 3:01am Top

What ever happened to the Earl of Southampton, who used to be a highly-touted candidate as the "real" author of Shakespeare?

As Southampton seemed - 20 or 30 years ago(?)-- to have replaced Bacon in that role, has Oxford now replaced Southampton?

Anyone know?

54Porius
Jul 25, 2009, 3:53pm Top

Oxford's Earl seems to be the flavor of the month. But he died in 1603 or so so that presents a little problem. By that time, maybe, Shaxper learned the ropes and could carry out the task himself, of putting together The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, Cymbelline, not to mention King Lear and Macbeth. Shakespeare was a quick study, so they say.

55Rule42
Edited: Jul 25, 2009, 7:30pm Top

"As Southampton seemed - 20 or 30 years ago(?)-- to have replaced Bacon in that role, has Oxford now replaced Southampton?"

Roland,

I'm afraid you are a little out of date WRT this issue. There are probably now way over 50 horses in the "Who wrote Shakespeare?" race. This topic could arguably be considered to be its own literary genre. Some years there are as many as a dozen new titles released on the subject, which is one a month, so you could probably spend the rest of your life reading only Shakespearean pseudo-biographies. And in using that term I'm not taking a position in this religious debate - one day some hard evidence may be discovered that demonstrates that the Stratfordian biographies are as much pseudo-biographies as those of some of the wackier alternative candidates that have been put forward over the years.

The only candidates with any real traction - meaning they have the most number of individual works supporting their claim to the "true authorship" of the Shakespearean canon - are the lad from Stratford himself, Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford). That doesn't mean the arguments in favor of those particular candidates are necessarily the strongest and most defensible arguments per se; that statement was merely a reflection of the quantity, rather than the quality, of the books supporting those candidates. The cases for each of those four authors of the Shakespearean canon simply have the most individual works supporting them.

That doesn't mean that a single book advocating, say, the Earl of Southampton as the real Bard of Avon might not be better researched and more convincingly argued than any of those other candidates. OTOH, if such a book really did argue its case so convincingly, it wouldn't be long before a whole slew of other books would hit the market supporting that advocate written by people that had been converted to his cause by the first one, so counting books (viz. determining the quantity of books advocating a particular "true author"), rather than individually reviewing the quality of the arguments of each and every book written on the subject, is not such a crude a determination as it might at first appear.

A Little Background

Outside of the Warwickshire lad himself, Sir Francis Bacon is the oldest candidate claimed to be the real author of the Shakespeare canon. He was first proposed as the "true author" just before the turn of the 18th century by a British rector, Reverend James Wilmot, and that suggestion was, in turn, gradually taken seriously by some other adherents over the next few decades. But the Baconian theory mostly languished until the year 1857, when first Dr. William Henry Smith and then Delia Salter Bacon independently published contrarian books that advocated for Francis Bacon being the "true author" of Shakespeare. DSB's book actually argued for some kind of joint authorship by a coterie of Elizabethan intellectuals that included, amongst others, Francis Bacon, Edmund Spenser and Sir Walter Raleigh, but because of Dr. Smith's book promoting just Bacon, readers mostly regarded her book as simply providing secondary support to Smith's prime candidacy of Bacon.

Nevertheless, back in 1857 it was still a two horse race, and it remained that way up until around 1895, which was the year that the Christopher Marlowe steed officially entered the race. Wilbur G. Ziegler proposed Marlowe's candidacy in the forward to a fictional novel that year, but it took until 1923 before this theory was advocated in a more serious essay by Archie Webster. The main Marlovian contention is that that playwright's death in 1593 (due to being stabbed above the eye in a room in Deptford) was in fact faked so that Marlowe could assume a new identity, and it was in this newly assumed false identity that Marlowe then proceeded to churn out the entire corpus of work normally attributed to the lad from Stratford.

Meanwhile, three years earlier, J. Thomas Looney had introduced one more new colt into this race when he first proposed Edward de Vere as another possible candidate for being the "true author" of Shakespeare. So by 1923 it had become a four horse race. Looney's initial Oxfordian claims in 1920 gathered a quick but very select following among some early twentieth century intellectuals that included such notables as Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles and Marjorie Bowen. But this was still not nearly enough intellectuals to create any sort of "critical mass" likely to offer a serious challenge to the Stratfordian status quo. And things remained pretty much that way for the next sixty-odd years or so when, in 1984, the Oxfordian theory was brought to a much greater prominence by the publication of Charlton Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare.

At this point the Oxfordian horse rapidly picked up pace and passed the other two anti-Stratfordian front-runners to now became the favored steed amongst the three main rivals that have historically come anywhere close to seriously challenging the primacy of the orthodox Stratfordian view of authorship. For the last 25 years or so the strongest challenge to the mainstream Stratfordian stallion has come mainly from this newly energized Oxfordian thoroughbred. Books advocating either Baconian and Marlovian authorship in some form or other are still being newly published, but those two horses both appear to have tired somewhat and dropped back from the remaining two front-runners.

OTOH, fresh horses keep on entering this race. In addition to your own mentioned Henry Wriothesley (3rd Earl of Southampton), William Stanley (6th Earl of Derby), Sir Edward Dyer and Roger Manners (5th Earl of Rutland) also have their backers. Two of the most recent entries are Sir Henry Neville, a distant courtier relative of the traditionally accepted author William Shakespeare whose nickname was Falstaff (proposed by Brenda James and Professor William Rubinstein in 2005) and Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke (proposed by A.W.L. Saunders in 2007). Due mostly to the recency of the appearance of these latest two colts, they still lag way behind those other four seasoned steeds by quite a few furlongs, along with all the other 50-odd also-rans (which include quite a few variants of the "group theory" of collaborative co-authorship that was originally proposed by Delia Bacon in the mid-nineteenth century).

The Oxfordian Case

Since Ogburn, the Oxfordian theory of "true authorship" has been considerably strengthened with a burgeoning addition of new popularly marketed books by such authors as William Plumer Fowler (1986), Richard Whalen (1994), Joseph Sobran (1997), Roger Stritmatter (2003) and Hank Whittemore (2005). Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of such books but it's rather a summary of the more notable ones; nor does this list address any of the many academically published papers supporting Oxfordian theory during this period. Mark Anderson's book (published 8/2005) is one of the latest works of substance (supported by quality annotation to referenced sources) to be added to this list.

So I would suggest that your statement that "Southampton seemed ... to have replaced Bacon in that role", if it was ever true, was only true during the immediate media publicity hype surrounding the release of that particular book 20-30 years ago. I don't believe that Henry Wriothesley has ever been taken very seriously as a candidate for the "true authorship" of the Shakespeare canon. BTW, that's just my observation about other people's opinions. I personally have no strong views on whether the Earl of Southampton did or did not write the Shakespearean canon because I have spent no time examining the arguments supporting that viewpoint. However, based on what I have read elsewhere about the "true authorship" of the Bard it seems to be an unlikely avenue for myself to pursue (given all the other potential claimants that require to be similarly checked out) so I guess I do have some bias in my opinions.

56Rule42
Edited: Jul 27, 2009, 10:41pm Top

More on the Oxfordian case ...

The most notable support of the Oxfordian position comes from Roger Stritmatter who received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for his analysis of de Vere's "Geneva Bible" (now in possession of the Folger Shakespeare Library) which contains 1,028 handwritten underlinings and marginal notes. In his Ph.D. thesis Stritmatter demonstrated that of those 1,028 annotations, approximately one in four of them appear in the Shakespeare canon. While the Shakespeare canon as a whole contains hundreds of biblical allusions, there are only 81 verses referenced four or more times; so these verses held particular meaning and significance for the Bard.

Stritmatter labels those 81 verses favored by the Bard the "Shakespeare Diagnostic" verses. De Vere's "Geneva Bible" was just one of multiple copies of the Good Book that he owned, so one cannot expect that his markings in it to incorporate the whole of his biblical consciousness. Nevertheless, the overlap between the markings in de Vere's "Geneva Bible" is substantial and statistically beyond what might be put down to mere coincidence. De Vere had marked and annotated 30 of those 81 (or 37%) favorite passages of the Bard - the "Shakespeare Diagnostic" verses - in his own Bible.

For comparison's sake, Stritmatter also assembled a control set of biblical diagnostic verses for the canons of three of the Bard's literary contemporaries - Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser - and applied the same rules of analysis to those. Francis Bacon refers to 101 verses in the Bible four or more times, but only 2 of those (2%) are marked in de Vere's "Geneva Bible". Similarly, the overlap between the "Spenser Diagnostic" and "Marlowe Diagnostic" verses and de Vere's Bible are respectively 5.4% and 6.8%. However, the statistical analysis only made up a portion of Stritmatter's Ph.D. thesis. The markings in de Vere's Bible embody a number of major themes which were obviously of interest to de Vere, and these same themes prove to also be a fascination to the Bard throughout his whole canon. To explain the extent of those thematic overlaps would be way beyond the scope of this post.

Note that Stritmatter’s analysis does not prove anything conclusively. OTOH, none of the 50+ other camps can muster a single fact that conclusively proves that their advocate is the true author of the Shakespearean canon either, including the Stratfordian camp. Who one believes really wrote Shakespeare can only be based on circumstantial evidence. However, few of the other camps have analyses of the depth, detail and academic approval as Stritmatter's 2001 Ph.D. dissertation to back their claims.

To shift metaphors from horse racing to religion, there is no definitive proof of the existence or non-existence of a God, so people's views on this matter fall into three basic camps: atheists, agnostics, and believers (of all religions and creeds). At some point in the future we may indeed discover a definitive proof for who wrote Shakespeare, but in the mean time the search for that definitive proof is somewhat akin to a search for a definitive proof of the existence of God. Except the issue of Shakespeare's authorship is at least one degree simpler ... there are no atheists. That is, there are no factions that believe that no one wrote Shakespeare (e.g., his plays just magically appeared) or that there are really no works of Shakespeare to dispute over (e.g., his plays are just figments of someone's imagination). In the Shakespeare authorship debate there are only agnostics (e.g., don't knows or don't cares) and zealous believers (e.g., Marlovians, Baconians, Oxfordians and Stratfordians).

When it comes to the intense "religious debate" concerning the various beliefs WRT the "true authorship" of Shakespeare, many people are unaware of the issues; or if they are aware of them they don't really care; or if they do care they don't really know what to believe one way or another. So most people are probably simply agnostic on this issue. IMO Mark Twain's Is Shakespeare Dead? is probably still one of the best exposés of the Stratfordian dogma and most lucid expositions of why we should keep an open mind and adopt an agnostic viewpoint WRT this issue. My advice to anyone would be to be very wary of opinionated zealots that claim they personally know who wrote Shakespeare, particularly those that resort to belittling anyone that disagrees with their viewpoint.

Many, perhaps most, of those 50+ theories of who the Bard really was were written by crackpots, and so an obvious tactic of the most religiously zealous - and this applies particularly to the Stratfordians since they represent the currently dominant paradigm, so they feel they can afford to be closed-minded and arrogant - is to try and dismiss any serious alternative opinions over Shakespeare's true authorship that they personally disagree with, or are too intellectually lazy to investigate for themselves, by simply lumping that serious contrary viewpoint in with the views of the zaniest wackos and then poking fun at it. Thus an argument you'll frequently hear from these pompous zealots is: "Are all 'views' equal? If I think Will Kempe wrote The Tempest is that 'view' as valid as the 'view' that William Shakespeare did?"

IOW, since the claim that Will Kempe wrote some or all of the works of the Bard is ridiculous and not worth the effort of serious investigation, then ALL claims that someone other than the Swan of Avon wrote some or all of the works of the Bard are equally ridiculous and similarly not worth the effort of serious investigation. That argument is based on the same faulty logic as a statement such as this one: because some swans are white, all swans must be white. Although such faulty reasoning is clear to the rest of us, it remains unknowable to the zealots, who get so high on their own religious dogma they can no longer see the irrationality of their own arguments.

57kend
Jul 25, 2009, 9:07pm Top

56. I think your answer to roland is an excellent review of the issues. I have only read 'Who wrote Shakespeare' and remain an agnostic on the subject. But I do find it very interesting. I wish I could write so clearly and well, so quickly! Cheers, Kend

58rolandperkins
Jul 26, 2009, 8:13am Top

Hi Rule42:

Thanks for answering my " has Southampton been replaced by Oxford?" question of #53. Good and substantial answer, as #57 has noted. I was asking just a simple "what ever happened....?" question, not making a scholarly inquiry. You call Southampton "your own mentioned". Well, he was mentioned by me, but isnʻt in any sense "my own" -- not even as the topic of a "weird" (borrowing from another thread,here) book that I donʻt even own A question, really, about ephemeral "newspaper lore", as my wife would call it, and about "hype" as you suggest, not about personal support for any of the "horses" in the race.

59Crypto-Willobie
Edited: May 2, 2010, 11:32pm Top

I’ll try to make this as explanatory and impersonal as I can, since I hope it will be my last entry in this thread. (Though you never can tell – people are unpredictable.)

The reason that ‘Stratfordians,’ (i.e., the overwhelming majority of trained scholars in the areas of English literature or history who pay any attention to the question) tend to ignore this authorship question (when they are not reacting with condescension, frustration, or outrage) is not because they are operating from a position of hegemony, or want to stifle discussion, or are intolerant of other viewpoints, but simply because they feel that there really is no ‘question.’ The anti-Stratfordians have been replied to over and over again with reason and evidence, but they don’t seem to hear. They are invested in their alternative narratives, are endlessly inventive in their manipulation of the meaning of texts and events, and can always fall back on their triumphant claim that it can’t be *proven* who wrote the plays and poems of Shakespeare—that is, there is no videotape, no notarized affidavits from a panel of his contemporaries stating in so many words that Shakspere the player from Stratford wrote Hamlet in November 1599. (Although if there were such evidence that would likely not guarantee the end of the question, as we have people arguing that videotapes of the moon-landing have been faked, and documents proving the Holocaust have been forged.)

It is noteworthy that it never occurred to anyone to question Shakspere’s authorship of his own works until late in the 18th century. Before that he was one of many well-regarded writers from the 16th and 17th centuries, and by comparison with many of his contemporaries he was considered to be relatively crude—he was a *playwright*, after all—no Spenser or Milton he! The evidence of his authorship (to the extent that anyone even thought about it) was taken at face value. It was only after he was elevated in schools and in people’s minds into a God of Literature that they began to feel uneasy. If he was The Greatest, why didn’t we know as much about him as we did about Mr Pope or Mr Wordsworth or Mr Browning? Why wasn’t he knighted? Why didn’t Queen Elizabeth mention him in her table-talk as Queen Victoria did Lord Tennyson?

It is understandable how this happened. But the bottom line is there is nothing defective about the contemporary evidence that Shakspere the player from Stratford wrote Venus & Adonis and Othello. True, the evidence does not compare with the evidence concerning the life and work of Wordsworth, but it does quite well when viewed in its context, that of the lives and works of professional poets and playwrights of the late 16th and early 17 centuries when, remember, Shakespeare was just one of many talented writers. Why are there not books dedicated to proving that the Earl of Derby wrote the works of Thomas Heywood? Because Heywood’s cultural currency registers now at a very low rate, whereas Shakespeare is in those terms a multi-billionaire—so the stakes are very high and he is a sitting target. Our knowledge of Shakespeare is sometimes contrasted to our knowledge of Ben Jonson, but that is not a good comparison, as Jonson was a tireless self-promoter who aggressively marketed his literary career among patrons, printers and younger writers—hence the unusual notice taken of his passing. The actual evidence for the life and works of Shakspere the player from Stratford can be easily found at http://shakespeareauthorship.com/ , a site maintained by Shakespeare scholar and LT member David Kathman (dkathman), or in books such as The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question by Scott McCrea, Shakespeare, In Fact by Irvin Leigh Matus, and William Shakespeare: A Compact Documentary Life by S. Schoenbaum. The facts of Shakespeare’s life and work may seem slim by modern standards but they are perfectly consonant with what we would expect from a writer at his level in his time.

By contrast, there is no evidence at all (according to the normal definition of that word) that the Earl of Oxford, or Christopher Marlowe, or Francis Bacon or anyone else wrote Venus & Adonis and Othello—there are only imaginary scenarios. Marlowe was murdered in 1593 so his advocates must imagine that his murder was faked or that the standard dating of the Shakespeare plays (which is based not on their connections to Shakespeare’s biography but to Court records, literary sources and allusions and the like) is incorrect and they were all written before Marlowe died. But there is no actual evidence for any of this, only wishful thinking. Oxford died in 1604, before about a third of the plays were written, so the same re-dating must be applied; and the fairly abundant records of his life (see Alan Nelson’s biography Monstrous Adversary) give no indication that he wrote 40 plays and two best-selling narrative poems. Oxford had his own company of actors who were distinct from the Lord Chamberlain’s Men/King’s Men who acted the plays of Shakespeare; and while Francis Meres in 1598 testified that Oxford had at some time written at least one play, there is no other contemporary indication of this, and Meres names Shakespeare as a distinct person in the very same list of playwrights. Oxfordians are reduced to straining to discredit the positive evidence for Shakspere the player from Stratford, and imagining autobiographical connections between occurrences in Oxford’s life and passages in the plays. But the latter is by its nature a mug’s game that can be manipulated to *prove* almost anything about almost anyone. It doesn’t help the anti-Stratfordian ‘case’ that, as Rule42 admits, ‘Many, perhaps most, of those 50+ theories of who the Bard really was were written by crackpots.’ There are some truly amazing theories out there, some of them being pushed right now, such as that promulgated in Shakespeare’s Fingerprints (2002) by Michael Brame and Galina Popova claiming that coded words in various texts prove that Oxford wrote not only the works of Shakespeare, but also the works of Spenser, Marlowe, Sidney, Lyly, Peele, Gascoigne, Greene, Holinshed and others (see http://stromata.tripod.com/id408.htm ).

It is a commoplace of the anti-Stratfordians that Shakspere the player from Stratford (if he even existed and wasn’t a fake planted in the records) didn’t have the education to write The Works of Shakespeare. But those works don’t display the sort of classical learning one would get from a university education—they are surpassingly eloquent and show great insight into the human mind, and much knowledge of dramatic construction, but this is nothing that a writer with a modest education cannot achieve if he or she is truly talented. Think of Keats, Dickens, Conrad (and many others) – or Jonson the bricklayer’s son who was a soldier and an actor until he turned himself into a classical scholar by study and application. They make much of the fact that there is no record of Shakspere’s education at the Stratford Free School where he would have been entitled to go since his father was a leading Stratford burgess, but that is because there is no record *anyone* went there during Shakspere’s boyhood, as those records don’t survive. Jonson’s classical attainments are sometimes explained by his supposed education by William Camden at the famous Westminster School—but although Jonson made this claim, there is no trace of him in the Westminster School records (which *do* survive) during the time he would have attended. Hmmmm… a conspiracy?

Anti-Stratfordians sometimes try to borrow respectability by rattling off a list of famous people – Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Malcolm X, Derek Jacobi, US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, etcetcetc, who have had doubts about the authorship of The Works, as if this meant anything, that because these people were prominent in their fields they must be qualified to judge the adequacy of life records and the circumstances of literary production in the 16th and 17th century. If it mattered I’m sure that an astronomically longer list of Famous People could be produced who had no doubts on the subject. Much is made of the intellectual respectability of certain anti-Stratfordians, such as Charlton Ogburn, a respected military historian who wrote The Mysterious William Shakespeare, the Oxfordian ‘bible’; or Roger Strittmatter whose Ph.D. thesis at the eminently respectable U. Mass, Amherst argues the Oxfordian case. For a criticism of Ogburn’s approach to this question see http://shakespeareauthorship.com/whynot.html. For a critique of Roger Strittmatter’s Ph.D. thesis see these discussions by LT member TomVeal on his Stromata blog: http://stromata.tripod.com/id288_march_16_2002.htm ,
http://stromata.tripod.com/id288.htm ,
http://stromata.tripod.com/id317_august_17_2002.htm ,
http://stromata.tripod.com/id459_february_3_2004.htm .

I don’t want to stifle ‘discussion’ – discuss away. But that’s a summary of why the anti-Stratfordians simply aren’t taken seriously by most scholars. They invent scenarios, switch scenarios when the old ones don’t pan out, argue according to their own biased rules of logic rather than using accepted scholarly norms, norms that were not invented to protect Shakspere of Stratford but are accepted across disciplines. This is why it is so tempting to mock anti-Stratfordian theories (John of Gaunt wrote the Canterbury Tales, Will Kemp wrote the Tempest), because in the end they really do boil down to ‘anything goes.’ I think part of their attraction is their ‘alternative’ nature. For better or for worse, Shakespeare and his works have long since been co-opted into ‘the establishment’ and it’s popular (and fun!) to not trust the establishment and to doubt and deconstruct—to ‘renounce it and all its works.’ But it’s really got nothing to do with Shakespeare.

Enjoy!

edited to correct a date

60Cariola
Jul 26, 2009, 6:46pm Top

And the president is not an American citizen because we haven't seen his birth certificate (although it HAS been published, as well as other evidence, like the newspaper announcement). Just saying that, for whatever reason, people will believe what they want to believe. Especially if it makes for a good story.

It seems contradictory to me that so many of the folks who discredit scholars for having an "academic" or "elitist" view find it hard to believe that anyone other than a wealthy, university-educated man could have written the plays. Wouldn't you expect that to be the elitists' POV?

61Rule42
Edited: Jul 28, 2009, 7:52pm Top

>59 Crypto-Willobie:

I read your post with much interest. I agree with most of what you said. Or, to be more accurate, I agree with most of the details that you provide. What I would more strongly disagree with is the frame of reference in which you provide those comments.

You appear to me to apply a double standard to the interpretation of circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence in support of the lad from Stratford being the Bard is significant and helps to conclusively establish the correctness of the Stratfordian viewpoint. OTOH, circumstantial evidence that is proffered in support of any of the alternative camps, such as the Oxfordian one, is "by its nature a mug’s game that can be manipulated to 'prove' almost anything about almost anyone." Although you acknowledge there is no hard physical evidence to support the view that the Warwickshire lout did indeed write the Shakespeare canon, nevertheless you conduct your arguments as if it was an established fact that has been proven beyond question.

Surely the reason we are all here discussing this issue, the very reason this thread exists, is the fact that the "true authorship" question CANNOT be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. If it could be so proven, there would never have been an opportunity for the first anti-Stratfordian theory to be formulated by old Reverend Wilmot over 200 years ago. The reason that anti-Stratfordian theories have only proliferated since then is because the handful of hard facts that we do know about the man who was born and also died in Stratford-upon-Avon do not include any evidence that categorically establishes his authorship of what we separately understand to be the Shakespeare canon.

You are quite right to point out that: "if there were such evidence that would likely not guarantee the end of the question, as we have people arguing that videotapes of the moon-landing have been faked, and documents proving the Holocaust have been forged." The problem I have with what you state in your post is that your choice of word usage throughout it gives the distinct impression to me (and I don't believe I'm the only reader of your whole body of posts on this thread that feels this way) that you clearly feel all of the other posters that have stated here that they are receptive at some level or other to anti-Stratfordian arguments fall into exactly the same category in your mind as the sort of people that actively spend their time advocating and promoting Holocaust Denial or claiming that some or all of the Apollo moon-landings were faked to some lesser or greater degree. Do you see yet why this viewpoint of yours might be coming across to others as being a little intellectually pompous, and that it might even be quite a serious problem for some people?

The two situations are NOT even close to being equivalent. The Holocaust deniers and faked moon-landing advocates deny mountains of hard evidence such as eye-witness testimony from multiple people (many of whom are still alive and could give it first hand to them if the "deniers" were only willing to listen), not to mention miles and miles of video and/or film footage, nor whole libraries worth of written documentary records and museums full of artifacts. Both these classes of people (who are quite small in number) DENY the reality or significance of what constitutes, for the rest of us rational and intellectual beings, pretty damn convincing and overriding evidence that the moon-landings and mass genocide did, in fact, occur.

In contrast, as you yourself readily assert, there is no such hard physical evidence to support the view that the lad from Stratford who was christened William Shaksper was the one and same person as the William Shake-speare that is reputed to have written probably the finest corpus of plays and sonnets in the modern English language. Therefore, there is NOTHING for anti-Stratfordians to DENY. Surely it is obvious to anyone that the two situations are completely different, and the fact that you believe they are merely two sides of the same coin (viz. your insistence that people who are simply receptive to the idea that the works of Shakespeare might have been penned by someone other than William Shaksper are really no different than Holocaust deniers and "the guy with the tin-foil hat down at the corner yelling at the traffic") only serves to demonstrate your faulty reasoning and intellectual arrogance in that context.

BTW, in pointing out that there is no hard evidence to support the Stratfordian position, that does not mean I advocate an "anything goes" nihilism in this matter. Clearly with 50+ claimants to the crown of the "true authorship" of the Shakespeare canon, 49+ of them must be wrong (or even 50+ of them if the person that really wrote the canon has not been suggested yet). As I've already stated, and you have quoted, many of those 50+ theories are somewhat wacky. Or perhaps to be more correct, many of the people writing books in support of ANY of those 50+ theories are a little wacky, because quite a few of the comments I've read on the internet by people arguing the case that the lout from Stratford is the "true author" have had totally bizarre ideas about what we actually know about him, so "wackyness" is not the sole preserve of the anti-Stratfordian camp as you repeatedly like to make it out to be. It is my experience that when it comes to the "true authorship" issue, nutjobs come in all kinds of flavors, including Stratfordian.

The trouble I have with the comments you've expressed on this thread is that you, and other people like you, always tend to want to throw the baby out with the bath water. There is a big, big difference between the book by Mark Anderson (Shakespeare by Another Name) and, for instance, the Shakespeare's Fingerprints book. I haven't read the latter work but its basic premise - that de Vere wrote not only the complete canon of Shakespeare but the works of just about every other Elizabethan author - is so ridiculous that it doesn't exactly entice me to want to read it. At least I would not want to read it as a reputable work of serious non-fictional literary research. OTOH, if it was a well-written "faction" (viz. the blending of fiction and non-fiction to create "fictional non-fiction") that was an entertaining read then I might still wish to read it purely for its entertainment value, just as I might similarly wish to read any mystery or sci-fi genre novel.

Of course, you yourself would claim that ANY book entertaining the idea that anyone other than the Stratford lad wrote the canon is equally ridiculous ... and that that has been your point all along. However, my basis for calling the premise of the Shakespeare's Fingerprints book ridiculous is based on the physical impossibility of the Earl of Oxford, or for that matter any other human being, single-handedly writing almost all of the known works of Elizabethan literature. Thus I could not accept such a book as a serious work of non-fiction, while I probably might be able to enjoy it as a work of faction. OTOH, the concept that the name "Shake-speare" might have been a pseudonym for someone in Elizabethan society that wished to preserve their anonymity (such as Edward de Vere, but not necessarily him) does not defy my sense of credibility at all. Far from from it, the use of such nom de plumes on published works in Elizabethan times appear to have been as equally ubiquitous as the use of pseudonymous handles and monikers on the internet in our own times.

Thus the likelihood that someone involved with the stage would use a "stage name" on his published plays does not make my eyes roll back up in my sockets in quite the same way that the concept that one man single-handedly produced almost the entire corpus of Elizabethan literature under multitudinous names does. The fact that both theories target Edward de Vere as the protagonist is somewhat unfortunate, nevertheless I am intelligent enough to still be able to recognize the vast difference in the "credibility factors" involved in both these two undertakings. Similarly, I am intelligent enough to determine a genuine biography of Elvis, Lady Di or JFK from the ones that link the lives of these characters to space aliens in some manner. I can also tell the difference between an op-ed piece in the National Enquirer and one in the New York Times (although in the case of that particular paper it's getting harder all the time; so perhaps I had better play safe and substitute the Christian Science Monitor there!).

Perhaps this debate all reduces down to an issue of where one should draw the line between faction and serious non-fiction. You, and others of your ilk, would claim that only something written from the perspective of the Stratfordian position can even start to be considered as serious non-fiction. For you, anything at all anti-Stratfordian - no matter how well researched, peer-reviewed, eruditely written and critically acclaimed - must by its very nature be something else. I have suggested the label "faction"; you might prefer a more opprobrious term such as "crap"! Or perhaps the term "heresy" might be nearer the mark. I personally think your viewpoint shows a closed-minded censorious bias; but then again, that's just my opinion, and therefore represents my own bias. I think your attitude is dangerous because it allows you to continually throw out babies with the bath water. It was a similar labeling by the Roman Catholic church of anything considered to be antithetical to its core belief system that kept us in the Dark Ages for so long.

I too would like to draw a line between what I consider to be faction and serious non-fiction. This demarcation would similarly separate out much of the dross that exists in this genre from the few good works that are worthwhile reading. But my demarcation would be based on the quality criteria listed above - well researched, peer-reviewed, eruditely written and critically acclaimed - and it would cross all camps (Stratfordian, Oxfordian, Baconian, Marlovian, etc.) rather than be centric to any one of them in the same way that yours is. That is, if I labeled a Marlovian work as being "entertaining faction, but not to be taken seriously" it would be because it defied credibility and not because it was heretical to my own pet belief system (which I don't have, because I'm agnostic).

The bottom line is, if you find the whole corpus of anti-Stratfordian "true authorship" works as truly irksome as you obviously do, I recommend that perhaps you approach them with the attitude that they are merely entertaining faction, or better still, simply avoid them. I believe that that's also what poor-ious has kind of been recommending that you do all along if only you had listened to what he was telling you instead of trying to pigeon-hole him (cf. post #13). There is more that I would like to say (because you make a lot of points in your post that deserve response or even outright rebuttal) but this post is now a little long, so I'll save it for another day.

62Porius
Jul 28, 2009, 7:57pm Top

No Shakespeare, he?
From Robertson Davies letters, I think it helps us somewhat.
. . . Judith's book will be a storehouse to be pillaged by future writers if there are any and what that might bring about I dread to think. Her version of my relations with my mother is badly skewed; after I had grown up we were on the best of terms and I never failed in the duties of a son brought up as I was owed to a parent. But I refused to bow the knee - as Irving did, I find - and thus I escaped being eaten alive. She has no notion at all of my father, and I sometimes wonder if I did, either. These things cannot be captured by a third party, when they are not clear to the principals. To compare small things to great, what was Johnson REALLY like before Bozzy imposed him on the world in a superb portrait - chiefly of the biographer. I tried many times to tell Judith that a biography was as much a portrait of the writer as of the subject, but she smiled the superior, Johnson would have pronounced it shuperior, kindly smile of the academic dealing with an untrained mind. Haven't we all been the recipient of this kindly smile.
As I said before, I hold no brief for Ogburn, et al., I don't think he should be lumped in with the 'scholar' who was convinced that Wriothesley's cat wrote THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.

"Let us have the evidence first and let speculations - which of course may be very valuable and even necessary - be founded upon that."
J.A.K. Thompson, Shakespeare and the Classics.

I am one for William of Stratford. Though I can't help but notice all the could-very-well-have-beens in the standard biographys. Shoenbaum and others treated the book of the kindly school teacher from the Isle of Man very badly. It's my opinion that there is room for all serious lookers-in on the subject of who wrote Shakespeare. The discussion should never fall from the level of civility. Petulance and intolerance are not the best way to advance the discussion. Because it is a discussion, no matter what either sides thinks about it. And I'll wager a nice sum that the Upstart Crow from Warwickshire would get a Falstaffian belly laugh from the thing.

63Rule42
Edited: Jun 4, 2010, 8:55pm Top

>60 Cariola:

"It seems contradictory to me that so many of the folks who discredit scholars for having an 'academic' or 'elitist' view find it hard to believe that anyone other than a wealthy, university-educated man could have written the plays. Wouldn't you expect that to be the elitists' POV?"

The more I think about it, Cariola, the more I find the argument that people are anti-Stratfordians because they cannot accept "that anyone other than a wealthy, university-educated man could have written the plays" to be an over-simplistic and rather naive one in the form that you stated (and I just quoted) it. Whether you intended to or not, you make it sound like a simple issue of class snobbery. That's most certainly not the reason why I hold that view. My own personal rejection of the lad from Stratford being the "true author" of the Shakespeare canon has nothing whatever to do with his social class background relative to my own. Because if it did, I would favor him over any of his other more privileged rivals (Oxford, Bacon, Derby, Rutland, Southampton, Essex, et al) since I relate to his background much better than I do to theirs.

BTW, when he is represented as being working class (and I'm probably guilty of having called him that quite a few times myself) that is quite a misnomer. His father, John Shakespeare, was of the yeoman class and a successful entrepreneurial businessman and tradesman, while his mother, Mary Arden, was an heiress from an aristocratic family line dating all the way back to William the Conqueror. His father was a member of the board of aldermen in Stratford (which included being, in 1569, bailiff or mayor of the town) and in 1596 he was finally granted a coat-of-arms, his earlier application for which (on being made chief alderman in 1570) having been denied. So his mother was a descendent of landed gentry and his father achieved the official status of gentleman in his own right during his lifetime. The granting of the permission to display a coat-of-arms (and thus also to bear arms) applied not only to the father but also to his sons. Thus in 1596 William Shakspere became a bona fide member of the gentry along with his father and younger brothers,

Thus our lad from Stratford is upper middle class / gentry, which puts him more on the same social level as Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser and Christopher Marlowe. His background is much less grand than most of the other nobility (and even royalty) that are supposed to have written the Shakespeare canon, but he is no peasant or ragged orphan made good. If he did indeed write the canon then he is an upper middle class lad that bettered himself by the fruits of his own talent and labors. However, once you realize that fact, it kind of deflates that underdog image of the free grammar school educated lad from a working class background beating out all of the rivals (to the "true authorship" title) that were born with silver spoons in their mouths and who had both the best possible educations and wealth to boot. William Shakspere of Stratford is NOT a working class hero in the way that some people have tried to portray him.

The orthodox Stratfordian biography of the Bard divides naturally into the three different stages of his life. There is the opening period at Stratford-upon-Avon which conjectures that he attended the local free grammar school despite the fact that both his parents, all his siblings, his wife and all his children were illiterate; not to mention that there are no records of his having ever done so. Then there is a middle period during which he is supposed to have resided mainly in London away from all family and childhood friends and produced the remarkable literature to which he now owes his worldwide fame and reputation. Finally, there is the closing period of his life spent, like the first one, in the unwholesome intellectual atmosphere of that rural Stratford backwater, once more reunited with the surviving members of his family.

The seven years 1585-1592 are normally called the "lost years" by the Shakespearean scholars, which I have always found rather amusing since all we actually know about his first 21 years are little more than the dates of his baptism, marriage and Susanna's birth. Thus the first 28 years of his life could just as easily be called the "lost years"! However, application of Ockham's razor leads one to conjecture that he spent his first 18 years living at home and helping in his father's glove business with his other siblings once he graduated from / left the local grammar school that we have no evidence he actually attended. Even after he got an older woman (Anne Hathaway) pregnant at age 18 and had to be hurriedly married to her, application of Ockham's razor once again leads one to conjecture they probably both still lived at home with his parents in the house on Henley Street that today is identified as being "Shakespeare's Birthplace"; and that that situation probably remained the same through the birth of Susanna (six months later) until the birth of their twins (nearly three years later).

After that there is absolutely no information on the lad from Stratford until he shows up in London as an actor seven years later still (at age 28) - hence these are his lost years. Over the centuries the Stratfordian scholars have kindly speculated for us (as they did for the first 21 years - see above) how those lost seven years might possibly have been spent, and now all those additional conjectures have similarly become part and parcel of his orthodox biography. If Will's orthodox bio had him walking out of Stratford an ignorant boor in 1587 and then returning ten years later having learnt nothing more during his absence in London than how to get hold of money and hang onto it, I would probably have ungrudgingly embraced it. However, according to every Stratfordian authority that I've read, Will Shakspere lived and worked for many years in London whilst directing a mass of important business in Stratford. Then he lived for many years in retirement in Stratford whilst plays from his quill pen were making their first appearance in London; some of which plays he is attributed to having cowritten with authors that were resident in London while he was, in his turn, residing in Stratford.

To quote J. Thomas Looney: "In all, he followed this divided plan of life for nearly twenty years (1597-1616); a plan which, if ever in this world a man's affairs called for letters, must have entailed a large amount of correspondence, had he been able to write; yet not the faintest suggestion of his ever having written a letter exists either in authentic record or in the most imaginative tradition. And the people who believe this still stand out for a monopoly of sane judgment."

There would have to be a vast number of major modifications to the accumulated body of "official conjecture" in all portions of what currently constitutes Will's orthodox life biography (which would still be consistent with the few hard facts that we actually know about him) that must be made before I could ever be enticed to passionately believe it was still the lad from Henley Street "what done it"! Consequently, I cannot wholeheartedly believe Will Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon to be the only feasible candidate for the claim to the true authorship of the Shakespeare canon until a burgeoning mass of all those "officially sanctioned conjectures" are significantly changed to appropriately redress:

(1) his not having life experiences outside of England - nor his being exposed to legal, musical, medical, astronomical, but mostly literary influences - that are currently precluded by the orthodox bio; and

(2) the nonsense of the Bard of Avon, reputedly the possessor of the most facile pen in England at that time, never having written so much as a single word or phrase in a letter or personal message to any other person (in either Stratford or London) during all those years he was supposedly conducting business (viz. acting, play-writing, play-publishing, money-lending, malt-selling, property-buying, etc.) in both places.

I haven't completely ruled out the possibility of it being him; I'm just not at all convinced it's him given the rather nonsensical way his orthodox biography currently reads. Which is why I'm agnostic and willing to entertain heterodox arguments in favor of alternative candidates for the "true authorship" title. Some of them are very compelling; some are quite bizarre (and worth investigating if you have a sense of humor and are amused by creative nonsense - which, for instance, is a market the National Enquirer caters to); but the majority neither compel nor amuse. I have no fixed opinion on who wrote the canon; I'm just not comfortable at all with it being the lad from Stratford as he's been presented to me via mountains of scholarly conjecture. Nevertheless, my rejection of the Stratfordian orthodoxy has nothing at all to do with class snobbery (either direct or inverted) about who I would prefer to have written the Shakespeare canon.

edited to fix a couple of typos

64Porius
Jul 29, 2009, 5:27pm Top

Callow weighs in on the controversy, after a couple minutes or so.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UElrMaIiH4&feature=related

65Porius
Jul 29, 2009, 6:04pm Top

Wm. is still my Shakespeare, tho Mr. Hudson is hardly a crack-pot, and if he is is a very informed one. If he goes flying out of the bath he makes a great splash indeed. Did his candidate do all the hard digging and dredging that Shake-speare had to do. Well, not likely though she had something to offer as she was warbling her wood-notes wilde.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyn-3GNOd7w&feature=related

66Rule42
Edited: Jun 8, 2010, 11:57pm Top

Oh come on, now! A woman writing the complete works of Willough Shakespeare? How ridiculously absurd !!

SPLOSH * sounds of running water refilling the bath *

I'm sorry, Porius, but my money's on Walt Whitman and Boswell (who I think looks pretty good for his age in these videos).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQBDaGhi6Yk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_rgcDnrzuw

Pay attention. The clue to his real identity is in Hamlet's book. Mystery solved. It's a slam dunk!

Returning back to Amelia Bassano / Aemilia Lanyer, here's the first video to which the video linked by Porius is a follow-up.

Hmmm, I think there might be a lot to what Hudson claims. Not many people know that Bassano's maternal cousin Robert Johnson, the most popular composer for any of the Shakespeare plays, got his phenomenal lute playing gifts from a large black Jewish woman called Muddy Willows while standing at the crossroads (cue Eric Clapton). It's little details like that that convince me that he's not making this stuff up! :)

Do you think there is any connection between what Hudson calls the "dying swan" signatures and the fact that our lad from Stratford is now known as the Swan of Avon? Presciently knowing (after her visits to the astrologer-cum-doctor Simon Forman) that she would be referred to as the Swan in our own day, perhaps this is yet another example of Aemilia encoding her name into those three plays? Oooooh, scary shit, eh? As Hudson says, "There's just too many coincidences here!" I'm getting goose bumps down my back as I type this.

OTOH, I think I may have spotted a flaw in Hudson's thesis. If Ms. Lanyer really encoded her name into the plays like Hudson claims, then shouldn't it be called the "Willoughby Song"? Unfortunately, "Willoughby, Willoughby, Willoughby" doesn't sound so good, does it? Notice that when they put up her 4 names (using "Willough" instead of "Willoughby") he skips over the additional third syllable of her name really quickly. Mr. Hudson, I'm afraid you're busted. Pity really, his British accent made him sound really believable, although personally, I think a beret and heavier framed glasses might have added a lot more credibility to his arguments. :)

Sheesh, now I'm trying to remember all the Hebrew and Italian puns I've read in Shakespeare ...

Hamlet: That's a fair size dildo to lie between maids' legs.
Polonius: So the scuttlebutt is true?
Ophelia: Nay my good lord. They are nuttin' butt rotten rumours and tawdry tittle-tattle.
Polonius: Rumours p'raps, sweet lass, butt be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence.
If thou persist in suche lewd companie, what thou dost dildo will hurt thee innuendo.

Edited to add another video and make some other minor changes.

67Rule42
Edited: Jun 9, 2010, 12:23am Top

>65 Porius:

On a more serious note ... the role more frequently assigned to Aemilia Bassano Lanyer in some orthodox Shakespearean biographies (e.g., the one by Rowse) is the "Dark Lady" of the Sonnets - the only woman that Stratfordian scholars (and then only some of them) have permitted the Bard to have ever loved in his life, if one holds that it was only youthful lust allied to the seductive feminine wiles of an older woman who come-hithered our "elusive willy" by exciting him with her "maiden presence", thus causing our teenage hero to tumble Anne Hathaway in the corn meadows of Shottery, ultimately resulting in her pregnancy with Susanna and their winter "shotgun wedding" to keep the lass honest and the child legitimate.

So to play Devil's Advocate for a moment here ... If we accept at face value all of the occurrences of name-encoding and feminism in the plays that Hudson identifies in his videos, but if rather than accepting his conclusion that that can only mean Aemilia wrote the entire canon of works we instead assume that the highly intelligent literary and musically talented Jewish Moor Aemilia was indeed the mysterious "Dark Lady" of the Sonnets - and thus William Shakspere's romantic "bit of stuff" on the side and "poetic inspiration" during the period when W.S. wrote The Merchant of Venice - then it could just as easily have been W.S. himself that included all the feminist ideas and encoded names of the mistress he so adored into the plays; and Aemilia could likewise have been reciprocally influenced in her own literary writings by her lover's genius and extensive vocabulary. Consequently, one could just as easily spin and gloss all the "unusual coincidences" that Mr. Hudson points out to us in his videos as simply being yet more evidence for the lad from Stratford-upon-Avon being the author instead.

Or similarly for the Earl of Oxford if you wish to believe he wrote the entire canon ... since one would now simply have to surmise that Aemilia would have been his mistress instead of Shakspere's. Which isn't at all as far-fetched as it may initially sound because before this hook-up between the "Dark Lady" and the canon's author (as reported in the Sonnets), which is speculated by some orthodox scholars to have occurred in the summer and fall of 1597, Aemilia was the mistress of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, who was not only Henry VIII's ex-wife Anne Boleyn's nephew, but was also the Lord Chamberlain of the Household for Queen Elizabeth, the man in charge of the whole of the English theater, as well as being, as of 1594, the noble patron of William Shakspere's troupe of actors, the Lord Chamberlain's Men.

Because of her very good looks, intelligence, wit, and excellent poetry, dancing and musical abilities (her family originally came to London from Venice in order to be King Henry VIII's royal Court musicians and many of her close Jewish relatives were now royally appointed musicians in Queen Elizabeth's Court) Aemilia would have been considered to be very sexually desirable (if not a socially acceptable match in a highly anti-Semitic Elizabethan environment) by all the nobles at Court, both the married and eligibly single ones. It is now generally understood that Aemilia became the teenage mistress of the elderly Lord Hunsdon around the age of 13 and she bore by him a bastard son (one of a number of illegitimate offspring spawned by the good lord in addition to his 12 official progeny) who was named Henry. Before she gave birth to Henry, in late 1592 (when she would be aged around 23), Lord Hunsdon had her removed from Court and married off for the sake of appearances to her first cousin, Alphonso Lanyer (note: this would be considered to be a somewhat incestuous relationship by today's standards). Lord Hunsdon was some 43 years Aemilia's senior, so as his mistress for ten years or more the attractive, intelligent and socially well-rounded Aemilia was what we would probably, in today's parlance, call his "trophy girlfriend" - or at least one of them!

Once he died in 1596 Aemilia would have been free in the summer of 1597 (whilst her husband Alphonso was away at sea with the Earl of Essex as part of his ill-fated expedition to intercept the Spanish treasure fleet off the Azores) to become another nobleman's mistress. Oxford was only 19 years her senior if you so want to speculate on his nibs having written the Sonnets, while our lad from Stratford was only 5 years her senior if you wish to hold the more orthodox conjecture that he wrote the Sonnets. I'm sure arguments could also be created that similarly surmise either Francis Bacon or the now incognito Philip Marlowe were similarly Aemilia's hot passionate lovers of the summer of 1597 (or perhaps a little earlier). Of course, you don't have to jump through any of these hoops of speculation if you are inclined instead to reject, or not even consider (as did most of the earlier Stratfordian biographers, mostly because they did not know enough about Aemilia back then), the possibility of Aemilia being the "Dark Lady" of the Sonnets. In which case, unless you wish to believe, like Mr. Hudson, that Aemilia is the true author of the canon, all of the "unusual coincidences" identified in Hudson's videos are just that; unusual coincidences. And the "Dark Lady" of the Sonnets will continue to remain an enigma (if you are a Stratfordian, that is; but, of course, not so, if you are an Oxfordian).

68Porius
Edited: Aug 1, 2009, 1:30pm Top

T.S.Eliot once noted: "the essential of any important heresy is not simply that it's wrong; it is that it is partly right.' AFTER STRANGE GODS: A Primer of Modern Heresy (London 1934), p. 26.
Our little discussion features C-W, who feels that it is wholly wrong to take up the argument for deVere et al., and Rule42 who sees clearly the argument for the heretics and feels that it is partly right. Our job is to look into both of these approaches and with a cool head, with the temperature of the duellist, decide for ourselves. It's not likely that we can come across something that is wrong in its entirety, well Dick Cheney pushes that envelope to the bursting point; it is more likely that we, in our daily travels, are introduced to more heresies which are partly right.

70Cariola
Aug 8, 2009, 12:54pm Top

63> First, do you not know the difference between "so many" and "all"?

Yes, those who have explored the issue extensively certainly have more cogent reasons for rejecting the Stratfordian; but his lack of a university education and the means for extensive foreign travel, and the fact that he isn't part of the upper hierarchy ARE the most commonly cited by the non-academic scoffers.

Second, you've misread a lot into my brief comment--but there's probably little point in attempting to respond to that.

71Rule42
Edited: Jun 7, 2010, 8:13pm Top

A strong case for agnosticism in the religious wars that the age-old "true authorship" question always seems to instigate ....

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7004942638729319523#

72Cole_Hendron
Dec 22, 2009, 11:43am Top

I have started a new thread about this, primarily because I was horrified about the Wikipedia article on this. A casual reader going there would actually think it's a current, credible, valid argument and that the jury was truly out.
This does a massive disservice to literature, IMHO. It's precisely this kind of thing that I think makes Wikipedia look really, really bad (undeservedly. I happen to think Wikipedia has flashes of brilliance and would be a great resource).

73tom1066
May 2, 2010, 12:21am Top

Just saw a new book by James S. Shapiro called Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?. The book is a history of the authorship controversy, though Shapiro has no doubt that Shakespeare was the author of the plays and sonnets. Incidentally, Shapiro recently dissed Roland Emmerich in the LA Times for making a movie called Anonymous that posits that the Earl of Oxford was the true author (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/11/opinion/la-oe-shapiro11-2010apr11). The film's screenwriter John Orloff made a feeble attempt at rebuttal, in which he essentially quotes Justice Stevens (who, while an excellent jurist, is not a Shakespeare scholar) and claims the plays cannot be accurately dated (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/19/opinion/la-oew-orloff19-2010apr19). Of course, Shapiro had originally pointed out that the Earl of Oxford died in 1604, which would make it difficult for him to have written the later plays - including Henry VIII, which was described as "new" in 1613 by contemporary sources.

I'm not sure whether the fact that a schlockmeister like Emmerich buys into this silliness will help or hurt the Oxfordian cause, though Shapiro sees cause for alarm. Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading his book.

74Rule42
May 13, 2010, 12:30am Top

>73 tom1066:

Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua

75Crypto-Willobie
May 13, 2010, 7:39am Top

... though in your case it's a cardboard cutout of Apollo offering you bootleg firewater...

76Rule42
Edited: May 14, 2010, 2:55am Top

Oh no, it would appear that the ghost of Hamlet's father has returned and is roaming the battlements. Welcome back from the other side, Mr. Willobie, Willobie, Willobie. I believe the last we all heard from you (in post #59) your poor soul was dying under a sycamore tree ...

What did thy song bode, laddie?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan.
And die in music.

(Singing...) "Crypto-Willo, Willo, Willobie"


So speaking as you thought, alas, you died.

I feel I should tell you, Mr. C-W, it's not considered very good thespian form to come back to life again after you've performed a swan song! From the perspective of compelling drama it's an absolute no-no. LMAO

Nevertheless, I'm very flattered that you've resurrected yourself simply so that you could post an ad hominem attack on me. Anyways, now that you are back please feel free to resume slinging barbs and arrows of outrage at everyone else on the this thread whose opinion you disagree with, just like you did in your previous incarnation. * Rule42 puts on his tin-foil hat and adjusts it to a natty angle so as to make himself an easier target for C-W. *

It's funny how people like yourself always say you want to discuss the true authorship question but as soon as the discussion turns against you, or perhaps simply takes a turn in a direction you don't like, you then resort to casting scorn and personal attacks on all those with whom you disagree. If you so closed-mindedly believe that no one else but the lad from Stratford could have possibly written the Shakespeare canon then why are you even here (and here for a post swan song second time, at that!)? What, from your perspective, is there to discuss? Although you stated at the beginning of your post #41, "it’s not a slam-dunk, because very little is", almost everything else you've posted here belies that you actually believe that statement. You are not here to discuss anything, but merely wish to take every opportunity you can to cast scorn on others that are more open-minded and less gullible than you WRT the ideas they are willing to entertain. Additionally, if you bothered to check out the profiles of those LTers you so like to pompously scorn, you'd see that many of them have sizeable and serious libraries and are well read (some, quite possibly, much better than yourself).

I have yet to see two people of different religious beliefs (let's say a Roman Catholic and an Atheist) sit down together and during the course of one conversation (or even after a series of such conversations) one of them convert the other over to their own religious viewpoint. At best they will agree to disagree; at worst, they will resort to fistycuffs. Because there is NO definitive proof of the existence or non-existence of God. It all comes down to what each individual chooses to believe or not to believe. Similarly, there is NO definitive proof that the man born in Stratford and christened on 26 April 1564 is the one and same William Shakespeare to whom the canon of plays and poems have been traditionally attributed.

Until someone discovers or uncovers a play or poem - in a manner similar, say, to the way they found a copy of his father's spiritual testament in the rafters of his house on Henley Street (although there was a lot of fraud involved with that particular document and it now has a very dubious status) - that is part of the Bard's established canon and that has been written in the same hand that signed the Stratford lad's last will and testament as well as being authentically carbon-dated (or some other sort of equally compelling evidence is similarly produced that directly links the authorship of the canon to the glover's son) then one does NOT have to be a total crackpot in order to give due consideration to the possibility that the canon might map instead to someone other than the Warwickshire lad ... one merely has to be intellectually curious and open-minded.

If you would genuinely like to discuss the true authorship issue here "with a cool head, with the temperature of the duelist" (as Porius suggested in post #68) then I would be happy to do so, and I'm sure he and other participants on this thread would be too. OTOH, if all you want to do is liken me and others with whom you disagree to a Holocaust or moon-landing denier or, as Cariola did in post #70, attack my basic numeracy skills, then I strongly suggest that you exit this thread pronto with another swan dive, only this time please spare us the long diatribe on the way out.

77Crypto-Willobie
Edited: May 14, 2010, 10:15am Top

That was an ad hominem attack? for a controversialist you're pretty sensitive. Let me interpret for you - I suggested that you allow yourself to be deceived.

Yes, I think the "authorship question" is waste of time. If it weren't sad it would be funny. Instead it's tiresome, though your outrage at my disdain borders on the funny. No, I didn't liken you on a moral level to Holocaust deniers -- read it again -- I was speaking in general of the kinds of logical back-flips 'true believers' are capable of when in pursuit of their particular cardboard cutout 'truths.' If you don't like the company, get real.

Finally I never promised to exit this thread permanently. What I said was: "...I hope it will be my last entry in this thread. (Though you never can tell – people are unpredictable.)" So I may or may not revisit thus the glimpses of...

edited to correct typo

78Crypto-Willobie
Edited: May 14, 2010, 5:33pm Top

I shouldn’t be bothering, but…

>76 Rule42: “Additionally, if you bothered to check out the profiles of those LTers you so like to pompously scorn, you'd see that many of them have sizeable and serious libraries and are well read (some, quite possibly, much better than yourself).”

See my comment on LT’s anti-Strats from post 9: “by {their} libraries and conversations, {they} appear to be intelligent, well-read and strong-minded folk.”

In fact I haven’t ‘cast scorn’ and made individual personal attacks on those I disagree with. I have, indeed, disagreed with them; and have made general comments regarding the lack of logical rigor, the anything-goes approach to history and evidence that characterizes their arguments; and mocked (but not viciously) the anti-Strat ‘type.’ And sometimes professed myself weary…

But if you are looking for scorn-casting in this thread, you need look no further than your post 77 (and previous posts) where you lay into me for not wanting to respect (well, humor) the helter-skelter arguments of the antis, fairly frothing about my supposed pomposity and lack of ‘open-mindedness,’ the breadth of my reading, and the size of my… library. But a little scorn-casting is part of arguing or ‘discussing,’ no? It seems to me you can dish it out but retreat behind a wall of high dudgeon when asked to take it.

>76 Rule42: “It all comes down to what each individual chooses to believe or not to believe.”
Really? Is that what it ALL comes down to? Any individual can believe anything he or she chooses to believe, and each individual’s belief must be accepted as just as valid as anyone else’s? In other words, anything goes. That’s part of the problem.

>76 Rule42: “Until someone discovers or uncovers a play or poem... that is part of the Bard's established canon and that has been written in the same hand that signed the Stratford lad's last will and testament as well as being authentically carbon-dated (or some other sort of equally compelling evidence is similarly produced that directly links the authorship of the canon to the glover's son)…”
But that handwriting evidence can be forged. A good prosecutor, or even just an insistent person determined not to agree, can call carbon dating into question. What “it all comes down to” is just what constitutes evidence of past events and how we should process it. But just because I said "it’s not a slam-dunk, because very little is,” doesn’t mean that “anything goes.” If we go by the standards to which you insist on holding the evidence that Shakspere the player from Stratford wrote Othello and Venus and Adonis, we can’t prove that Webster wrote the Duchess of Malfi, that Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales, or that Julius Caesar ever existed. But if I want to doubt any of those propositions, well, that’s just what I “choose to believe”? Not one of Christopher Marlowe’s works was attributed to him during his lifetime, there are no literary works extant in his writing, his name was spelled a number of different ways in a number of (presumably) genuine documents – sound familiar? And I can multiply examples of Shakespeare’s contemporaries in the same circumstances. Where does it stop? Wherever one “chooses,” I suppose. But that way madness lies.

Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.

edited to correct typo

79TheHumbleOne
Edited: May 14, 2010, 6:47pm Top

There is indeed very little that can be proved. In the absence of conclusive DNA evidence I suppose Elizabeth I could have been switched shortly affer birth with a foundling - one wouldn't exactly bet the mortgage on such an occurance but it is possible. Equally one of the better documented private events of the Early Modern era is the death of a certain dodgy character fond of exaggerated hyperbole in a Deptford pub - but that has never stopped some people banging on about Kit Marlowe writing Will's stuff.

I suppose if it keeps them off the streets and out of more serious trouble such behaviour may even do a modicum of good but I don't really think it should be generally encouraged.

(Edited for yet another typo)

80Rule42
Edited: May 15, 2010, 2:16am Top

>77 Crypto-Willobie: & 78

ROTFLMAO here. Thanks for giving me my weekly LTMB laff, C-W. Oh my, where to begin? ...

"I shouldn’t be bothering, but…"

Well, Mr. Willobie, there is something we can probably both heartily agree upon. IMHO (and that of a few other people too) you most definitely shouldn't be bothering ... especially if you don't even know why yourself! :)

"That was an ad hominem attack? for a controversialist you're pretty sensitive. Let me interpret for you - I suggested that you allow yourself to be deceived."

Let me interpret your statement a little further for you. You suggested that I am so weak brained that I'm easily deceived. Personal insult? Nah, couldn't possibly be! You appear to be every bit as much in denial about your own use of ad hominems as the Holocaust and moon-landing deniers you so obviously despise are about their own respective subject matter. BTW, in my post I was merely calling you out in passing on your desperate resort to an ad hominem attack. The fact that I recognized it and called it for what it was has nothing at all to do with how I feel about it (for which, read on).

"It seems to me you can dish it out but retreat behind a wall of high dudgeon when asked to take it."

As for being offended by it I wasn't upset at all. In fact, it made me LOL and I had to wipe coffee of my PC screen. Listen C-W, I can talk smack with you all day long on this topic, or any other one you care to bring up. And I can most certainly dish it out as well as take it. So bring it on if you really want to. However, you will probably lose everybody else participating in this thread along the way - in fact, you already have, and you pretty well knew that when you decided to make your first ranting swan song exit. The main point of my post #76, and I'll repeat it once again here since you are not very swift on the uptake, was that repeatedly accusing everybody that disagrees with you of wearing a tin-foil hat won't really forward the discussion very far. Surely even you can see that? It also becomes as equally wearisome for others as you claim you find the whole 'authorship question' to be for you.

"But a little scorn-casting is part of arguing or ‘discussing,’ no?"

Yes, it is, and I don't disagree with that statement. However, to date, you have not presented any arguments for the Stratfordian position on this thread; all you have done is simply claim that in your opinion it is the only viable stance to take on the matter, pimped a few pro-Stratfordian (actually, anti-anti-Stratfordian would be the more correct term) web sites here, and then indulged in deluging scorn on anyone who might possibly disagree with you (whether they have posted here yet or not). What I disagree with is your own, "a little arguing or 'discussion' is part of scorn-casting,’ no?" approach to the debate.

IMO, you need to redress the balance a lot better. If the Stratfordian position is so obvious and clear-cut in your opinion, why are you not able to provide on this thread some argument in a few cogent paragraphs that supports it without any reference to tin-foil hats, Holocaust denial, moon-landing fakery and all the rest of it? Are you too stupid to understand that attacking the worst adherents of an idea or theory in no way undermines the strength of the core idea or theory itself? If a complete lunatic accepts the Theory of Relativity does that in any way undermine the validity of Einstein's work?

The underlying faulty logic of your whole approach to this discussion can work both ways, you know ... viz. if you sincerely believe that all you need to do to defeat the Oxfordian (or any other anti-Stratfordian) position is point out that someone that wears a tin-foil hat and believes in Holocaust denial is likely to support that theory, then all I or anyone else has to do to defeat the Stratfordian position is point out someone equally wacko who supports the theory that the lad from Stratford wrote the entire canon. And right now, you are my favorite candidate to be that wacko person. So be very careful, C-W, because the whole future survival of the Stratfordian school rests squarely on your wacko shoulders! :)

"I have, indeed, disagreed with them; and have made general comments regarding the lack of logical rigor, the anything-goes approach to history and evidence that characterizes their arguments ..."

Would that be the same lack of logical rigor that your whole approach to this debate is founded upon which I exposed in my post #56? In case you've forgotten already, here is a quick reminder: Since the claim that Will Kempe wrote some or all of the works of the Bard is ridiculous and not worth the effort of serious investigation, then ALL claims that someone other than the Swan of Avon wrote some or all of the works of the Bard are equally ridiculous and similarly not worth the effort of serious investigation. Apparently you only see faults in the logic of others but are in complete denial when it comes to spotting your own faulty premises.

"See my comment on LT’s ant-Strats from post 9:"

Your comment in post #9 referred only to anti-Strats posting on this thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/51904 . It did not apply to anyone posting here that may have disagreed with you whom you have continually scorned, and it is quite disingenuous of you to now claim that it did. But no matter, your disingenuity in this matter is the very least of your demonstrated hypocrisy here.

"No, I didn't liken you on a moral level to Holocaust deniers -- read it again -- I was speaking in general of the kinds of logical back-flips 'true believers' are capable of when in pursuit of their particular cardboard cutout 'truths.' If you don't like the company, get real."

Actually, it's YOU who needs to READ AGAIN my response to your Holocaust denial accusation. I'll make things very easy for you by copying my earlier response here for you once more: "The two situations are NOT even close to being equivalent. The Holocaust deniers and faked moon-landing advocates deny mountains of hard evidence ..." (you'll have to read post #61 to get the rest of it). As you can see, I did not object to your likening others to Holocaust deniers on moral grounds (although I did also object to it on those grounds I made a specific point of not tackling that aspect of it). As is clear for anyone to see (except, of course, for Rule42 post deniers such as yourself!), I objected to your analogy because there is a big difference in the quantity of available hard evidence in the three mentioned scenarios. So your two scenarios of Apollo moon-landing and Holocaust denying are not anything closely similar to the anti-Stratfordian situation, neither morally (as you yourself just pointed out) nor to the extent of the mountains of prima facie hard evidence that requires to be denied in order to hold that countrary viewpoint.

"Yes, I think the 'authorship question' is waste of time. If it weren't sad it would be funny. Instead it's tiresome ..."

So you keep telling us. And it makes you weary too. We all got that. So I'll ask you once again the question you so carefully avoided answering ... if the 'authorship question' is such a waste of time and you're so darn weary of it, then why do you keep posting on this thread? What is there, from your perspective, to even discuss? You are clearly not posting here in order to advance any cogent arguments that would seriously counter anything the anti-Stratfordians might proffer, so why exactly have you reincarnated yourself to post here again? To return to my point of entry in this post, do you even know yourself why you are bothering to post here?

81Crypto-Willobie
Edited: May 15, 2010, 2:25pm Top

As self-appointed guardian of this thread you seem obsessed with my ‘tude and a handful of colorful things I said while expressing it. If it will help, I’ll withdraw anything I ever said about tin-foil hats, the Holocaust, the moon-landing, etc. That doesn’t change the poverty – non-existence, really – of the Oxfordian ‘case.’ There is no evidence worthy of the name, nor any good reason to believe, that Oxford or anyone else wrote Othello and Venus and Adonis. Marks in a bible, speculative connections between life events and fictional works, and such like don’t constitute real evidence because they can be interpreted to mean whatever the advocate wants them to mean. Title pages, performance payments, statements by contemporaries, references in wills and other legal documents – that’s evidence. Anti-strats must get around these by claiming that each one really means something else, but again you can ‘prove’ anything you want by this method. You challenge me to cite my evidence – but I don’t see the point of cut-n-pasting the same things that have been cited repeatedly by others—for instance, on the website I ‘pimped’ above, David Kathman’s shakespeareauthorship.com. If you’ve actually read everything on that site and still think that Ogburn and Strittmatter make a better case then I won’t be able to convince you. But I don’t need to convince you—you’re fine just like you are.

As the Beav once said, "Ave atque, Wally!"

82Rule42
Edited: Jun 1, 2010, 12:11am Top

>81 Crypto-Willobie:

Well, C-W, it appears like my previous post served as an adult-rated catalyst for your adulterated Catullus! :)

"... you seem obsessed with my ‘tude and a handful of colorful things I said while expressing it."

My exposure of your "'tude and a handful of colorful things" you have continuously expressed here was Non Sans Droit ... nor, I might add, without mustard too! When I see in the forest so deep-contemplative a motley fool with lack-lustre eye as you quothing such rot you'll have to pardon me if I don't exercise my right ...

To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.


"If it will help, I’ll withdraw anything I ever said about tin-foil hats, the Holocaust, the moon-landing, etc."

Once again your "gracious retraction" thoroughly demonstrates the basic disingenuity in your manner of discourse. You know full well that a bell cannot be unrung, and all that stuff you are now willing to retract is already out there (because you have personally made a point of repeatedly putting it there) and has thus already served your purpose of subconsciously associating any anti-Stratfordian viewpoint with inherent wackiness in the reader's mind. Nevertheless, I will move on. Let's see if you can do the same?

"That doesn’t change the poverty – non-existence, really – of the Oxfordian ‘case.’"

What "poverty of the Oxfordian 'case'"? Has it never occurred to you that there may well be some serious substance to the core Oxfordian position WRT the "Shakespeare Problem" that is, as you yourself admit, continually attracting intelligent, well-educated and well-read people to investigate it further? The sheer fact that there even exists a "Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare" web site, plus the fact that James Shapiro felt the need to write his latest book, are both proofs positive that the momentum is now clearly with the anti-Stratfordian schools of thought WRT the true authorship issue. If De Vere's Geneva Bible, and the marginalia therein, is completely irrelevant to the issue of who wrote the Shakespeare canon, why is it right now the prized possession of the Folger Shakespeare Library, as are a number of portrait paintings of Edward de Vere? These should all be worthless artifacts to a "Shakespeare Library" that was as a cocksure and adamant as you are about the lad from Stratford being the ONLY reasonable candidate for the authorship of the canon.

BTW, I used the term "core" in the foregoing because I cannot honestly include some of the more peripherally irrational ideas that frequently get passed off as being Oxfordian (such as Charles Beauclerk's doubly incestuous "Prince Tudor" theory or the idea promulgated by Brame and Popova that De Vere almost singlehandedly wrote the entire corpus of Elizabethan literature under other names in order to advance the status of the English language) as being a fair representation of the more serious body of mainstream scholastic Oxfordian study, anymore than I can honestly include the nonsense promulgated by John Jordan and William Henry Ireland as being a fair representation of the more serious body of mainstream Stratfordian scholarship.

That is, if I were to take your own closed-minded and narrowly blinkered approach to the "Shakespeare Problem" I could just as equally ridicule the "poverty and non-existence" of "the Stratfordian ‘case’" and completely dismiss it out of hand by similarly focusing my attention solely on the "evidence" supplied by a whole slew of fringe Stratfordian frauds and charlatans such as Jordan and Ireland.

"There is no evidence worthy of the name, nor any good reason to believe, that Oxford or anyone else wrote Othello and Venus and Adonis."

Actually, there is quite a bit of evidence, but like ALL Stratfordian evidence it is ONLY circumstantial NOT conclusive. As you yourself have said, there is "no slam dunk" for either school of thought WRT the true authorship issue. The only reason you so believe there is "no evidence" supporting the Oxfordian hypothesis is because you insist on sticking your fingers in your ears, squeezing your eyes tight shut, and rocking backwards and forwards while chanting your Rain Man mantra of "Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare" whenever that evidence is put in front of you. That is your choice and your loss, I'm afraid.

"Title pages, performance payments, statements by contemporaries, references in wills and other legal documents – that’s evidence."

That is all "evidence" that supports Will Shakspere from Stratford as being an actor in various Elizabethan and Jacobean troupes (viz. the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the Lord Hunsdon's Men and the King's Men) and a shareholder in various Elizabethan and Jacobean playhouses (viz. the Theatre and the Curtain in Shoreditch, both incarnations of the Globe in Southwark, and the Blackfriars Theatre in the Liberty of Blackfriars) as well as being an owner of multiple properties in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London. There is no denial of any of those "facts" in any of the core Oxfordian positions. So all of your listed "evidence" above, plus much more evidence that you did not list, either directly supports, or consistently coexists with, both the Stratfordian and Oxfordian theories of authorship.

The point you continually miss or are unable to understand is that none of your listed "evidence" conclusively supports Will Shakspere as having written all the plays, lyrical poems and sonnets. In fact, the extant signatures we have of Will Shakspere give much more evidential support to the claim that - like both his parents, all his siblings, his wife, all his children and his granddaughter - our glover's son was barely literate and could only just sign his name, rather than that his was the most facile hand in the whole of English literature. It takes as much of a leap of faith to completely ignore the whole lack of literacy that pertains to almost every facet of Will Shakspere's lifestyle as portrayed in the orthodox Stratfordian biography(ies) as it does to accept the heterodox possibility that this actor and shareholder from Stratford was possibly used as a front by someone that was, in Elizabethan terms, now royally and socially stigmatized, or to use our own modern day terminology, politically incorrect.

Neither core theory violates all the few pieces of hard evidence we have about either of the historical persons Will Shakspere and Edward de Vere. OTOH, as already mentioned, there are quite a few wacky fringe theories associated with both camps that stretch the credulity of a sane, rational person. But to attack Oxfordian theory on the basis of ideas promulgated in The De Vere Code or Shakespeare's Fingerprints (which is what you have done) is just as inappropriate and erroneous as attacking Stratfordian theory on the basis of ideas promulgated by John Jordan and William Henry Ireland, etc.

"Anti-strats must get around these by claiming that each one really means something else, but again you can ‘prove’ anything you want by this method."

Actually, stretching, twisting and even inverting the possibly true meanings of the evidence provided by extant artifacts - let's just call the whole process "sympathetic interpretation of all available evidence" - is EXACTLY what the Stratfordians have been doing for the last four centuries. So I am absolutely delighted that you have just admitted that you realize that "you can ‘prove’ anything you want by this method"! Such as, for instance, that the barely literate glover's son and grain merchant from Stratford created the most literate and poetic body of work in the English language! Furthermore, when the modern day school child that is taught this long-standing orthodox myth incredulously asks, "How can that be?" he is invariably fobbed off and prevented from asking any more such questions with an inevitable fundamentalist mantra such as, "That's hard to explain. All we know for certain is that he was an incomprehensible genius! Trust me." So the fact that you admit you recognize the tricks of the trade, even if you have not yet correctly identified which side of the debate is most often resorting to their use, may mean there is hope for you yet, C-W.

"I don’t see the point of cut-n-pasting the same things that have been cited repeatedly by others—for instance, on the website I ‘pimped’ above ..."

And that's because you are intellectually comatose. As I have already demonstrated in my previous posts, your approach to rational debate consists only of casting aspersions on anybody with whom you disagree and/or posting a few links to pimp locations offsite to where others will (possibly) argue your case better than you are capable of doing so yourself. Your suggestion of plagiarizing the work of those others here, by cutting and pasting their arguments inline rather than just linking to them externally, when you really should be presenting your own arguments in the same manner that I am doing, only goes to demonstrate what a flimflam caboodler you really are.

"If you’ve actually read everything on that site and still think that Ogburn and Strittmatter make a better case then I won’t be able to convince you."

I did actually read every one of the links you included in your initial swan song at the time you posted your rant and am quite capable of providing cogent counter arguments to everything I read there in the same manner I have done for all your other specious casuistry and sophistry posted on this thread. But I refuse to respond here to arguments presented solely via links to external web sites. Because that would entail that I first summarize what is being said offsite before I could even start to rebut it, and I refuse to make all your arguments for you. Exactly what kind of intellectual moocher would lay claim to having "convinced someone" to his way of thinking when all he did was include a link in his post to a web page where all the cerebral heavy lifting was done for him by others? Also, surely you cannot seriously expect someone to rebut a whole website (or even just a web page) in a single LTMB post? Once again your whole approach demonstrates your insidious disingenuity.

"But I don’t need to convince you—you’re fine just like you are."

Yes, indeed I am. However, if you don't feel that you need to convince me then, I now ask for a third time, what exactly are you hoping to achieve by continually posting on this thread? What is your real agenda?

83TheHumbleOne
Jun 1, 2010, 12:26am Top

> 82 "The sheer fact that there even exists a "Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare" web site, plus the fact that James Shapiro felt the need to write his latest book, are both proofs positive that the momentum is now clearly with the anti-Stratfordian schools of thought"

I'm afraid the above is the point at which I lost interest. If that is the kind of argument which passes for logic on this thread then I despair of this whole increasingly unpleasant wrangle.

84Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Jun 1, 2010, 12:47am Top

>82 Rule42:
You sure do get wound up. I've seen and read the 'core' Oxfordian arguments and there is no 'serious substance' to them. That's my open-minded opinion of them. Your coup de grace is that his signatures were irregular and illegible? So are mine and many other people's, and it doesn't follow we're illiterate. Your equation of the solid evidence that Shakespere the player wrote his company's plays with the speculative scenarios about DeVere only makes me question your judgment. That many other people are deluded as well means nothing.
Why do I keep posting here? what's my agenda? hmmm... to draw you out? because the more you rant the sillier you look?

85Porius
Jun 1, 2010, 12:53pm Top

84
I am a non-believer in the case of Will Shakespeare v. Everybody. But it's hard to watch without finding a few things silly myself. Your paltry effort in message 84 and your smug conclusion about just who is silly? It seems to me that if you are going to put any weight behind who is silly and who is not, you are going to have to put a little more shoulder into it. You can't stand on the shore and throw a few pebbles at a large boat and hope to do some damage to it.
I am not convinced by the arguments of the Oxfordians or any of the anti-Stratfordians. But I know this: dismissing Greenwood, Looney, Ogburn, or any of the challengers as silly is a mistake. Not to mention that I prefer keeping the silly and childish language out of the fray. I don't see how a civil discussion could hurt the matter - I think it might even help.

86Porius
Edited: Jun 1, 2010, 1:28pm Top

from Stuart Gilbert's JAMES JOYCE:
It must, however, be noted that Stephen never takes himself quite seriously in his role as dialectician. Thus at the moment he asks himself:
"What the hell are you driving at?
" I know. Shut up. Blast you! I have reasons.
"Amplius. Adhuc. Iterum. Postea.
"Are you condemned to do this?"

When the symposium is over John Eglinton takes Stephen to task. "You are a delusion. You have brought us all this way to show us a French triangle.
Do you believe your own theory?"
" 'No,' Stephen said promptly."
For Stephen, in fact, it is the intellectual interest, the aesthetic value of the dialogue that counts, rather than the truth of its conclusion. Indeed, to his mind one conclusion is as good as another - provided, only, it be fitting. There is an aesthetic validity, acceptable to the spirit, and that is the only absolute.

87Crypto-Willobie
Jun 1, 2010, 5:50pm Top

Well, Porius, my friend, as far back as post 59 on this thread I tried to ratchet my discourse down to a calm level. But Mr 42 (as the NYTimes would call him) isn't interested. He wants me to be 'open-minded' but he seems to define being open-minded as having to agree with him, or accept his premises, or at least be willing to say 'Hmmm you might have something there'. But I dont agree and I don't think he has anything there; nonetheless I have for the most part resisted the impulse to sneer for the last couple dozen posts. My reward you can see in his over-heated post #82. He complains that I have indulged in ad hominum attacks but his high-falutin lambasting of me there puts to shame my few idle mockeries -- a case of the pot calling the hashish dope? (I've been looking for place to use that one...) It's a double standard -- I must show respect for him or I'm a bounder, but Auntie Strat can say whatever she wants.

And to clarify, I did not refer to all Oxfordians as silly (though I might do so in the privacy of my gilded jakes) -- I referred to Mr 42's display of foaming argumentation in post #82 as making him look silly...

88Porius
Edited: Jun 1, 2010, 6:11pm Top

I think it would be wise, for all concerned, to suppress cleverness when ever possible. Oh once in a while we can toss out a Jakes Pierre or something silly as that. Though we should for the most part respect one anothers' ideas that we find little more than Wormwood in the comfort of our restroom.

There's no doubt that R42 is in high dudgeon concerning all things 'Controversy'; I believe he is in earnest, though, and if on occasion prolix, you can't deny that he would never be described as 'punching above his weight.'

89Crypto-Willobie
Jun 1, 2010, 6:19pm Top

Well, I would...

90Rule42
Edited: Jun 2, 2010, 11:55am Top

>84 Crypto-Willobie: & 87

"what's my agenda? hmmm... to draw you out?"

To draw me out? Why ever would you need to do that? I stated what my own position on the true authorship issue was with my very first post (#55) on this thread and I've repeated it many times since then. I'm an agnostic WRT this issue. I just did a quick count, and if my calculation is correct, you had posted 14 times on this thread before I ever saw it and made my first post. So to now claim that your agenda for posting here is "to draw me out" is yet another prime example of your disingenuous approach to any kind of intelligent discourse as well as serving as one more exposé of your overall denial and avoidance of any sort of truth. With such an avoidance of both courtesy and the truth do you seriously expect to win others reading this thread over to your viewpoint? Which is why I have been repeatedly asking you why you are even bothering?

"Your coup de grace is that his signatures were irregular and illegible?"

FYI, I never stated that Will's signatures were "irregular and illegible". If you reread my post you will see that those are your words, not mine. His signatures being "irregular and illegible" is hardly proof of anything; almost everybody's signatures are either one or both of those things. It was the lack of deftness and fluidity to which I was alluding in my post; the sort of deftness and fluidity you would expect from someone that had spent the last 30 years or so of his life quill-penning and correcting (multiple times) over 30 plays plus much poetry. The fact that you call me silly based on words I never wrote, but which you put into my mouth purely for that purpose, demonstrates exactly how puerile, disingenuous and disrespectful your whole approach is towards anyone that might hold a contrary - or even just an oblique - position to your own.

BTW, I don't think I could possibly look any sillier than this chappie looks right now. He takes silliness to a level well beyond the "tin-foil hat wearing" mark on my stupidy gauge. This light-weight charlatan and his notorious "hyphen gaffe" makes him the biggest national laughing stock since Christopher Darden argued to the jury in the 1995 O.J. Simpson criminal trial that slain victims Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman had rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as stated in the Constitution!

A Shakespearean scholar who demonstrates such basic ignorance about his core material has no business holding such a prestigious professorial post at a top notch Ivy League university with responsibility for educating and forming the minds of young adults. He is every bit as laughable as a lawyer that confuses this country's two most fundamental legal documents (a distinction that even a relatively illiterate illegal Mexican fruit picker must understand in order to be granted amnesty citizenship!). I was going to précis the following blog and only post the link as backup, but I think I'll just take a leaf out of C-W's lazy book instead (note: the blog is two web pages long): http://shake-speares-bible.com/2010/04/18/james-shapiro-and-the-notorious-hyphen...

91Porius
Jun 2, 2010, 2:52pm Top

Sheesh, even I felt the sting of 42's left jab. Did you even see the punch, old boy.

92Rule42
Jun 2, 2010, 3:06pm Top

>88 Porius:

Hey Porius, please quit with the insults will ya? I quite resent your comments hinting that you think I'm boxing way below my class, because it appears to me that it implies I'm some sort of major underachiever! :(

Also, please note, I'm not in earnest. That's only a nasty rumor. Ernest and I are just good friends! :)

Hmmm, was that high or low dudgeon? I'm afraid my dudgeometer is in the shop being repaired right now.

Yours, an Upstart Crow

93Porius
Jun 2, 2010, 11:20pm Top

Well I'll be wangdoodled. You can't even insult a fellow nicely these days. I didn't mean anything by the insults.

94Rule42
Jun 3, 2010, 1:04am Top

That's OK, Porius. To your credit I have noticed that you have resisted the impulse to sneer in your last couple of posts. All I ask is that you please try to ratchet your discourse down a bit from now on. A few idle mockeries are OK now and then; just stay away from all that high-falutin lambasting of yours. :)

95Porius
Jun 4, 2010, 12:08am Top

If the shoo fits . . .
When a man's verses (or anything else for that matter) cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.

96Porius
Jun 4, 2010, 1:53pm Top

'If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.'
(Advancement of Learning (1605) Book 1, Part 8)

97Rule42
Jun 4, 2010, 8:12pm Top

>90 Rule42:

If there is one good thing that might be said about Shapiro's latest book (and there aren't very many) it is that in it he criticizes many of the recent Stratfordian biographies, especially Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World, with all their ham-fisted efforts to connect Will Shakspere's life to the Shakespeare canon. Shapiro justifies his attack on fellow English professor Greenblatt by admitting his own waywardness in this matter in his younger days: "I flinch when I think of my own trespasses in classrooms and in print, despite my best efforts to steer clear of biographical speculation."

Stephen Greenblatt is, of course, the Harvard scholar (but hardly a gentleman) that first likened anti-Stratfordians to Holocaust deniers: http://doubtaboutwill.org/greenblatt_slip. James Shapiro - like a giggling little school boy who thinks, "Coo, this is so neat!" - immediately embraced this inappropriate comparison to his bosom and has since aped it in public a number of times himself. The result is that there is now a herd of mindless "ditto-heads" (who hang on the every word of this pair of "distinguished" Ivy League English Literature professors) that have all similarly incorporated this spuriously snide simile into their own basic lexicon of anti-anti-Stratfordian rhetoric and, like Shapiro before them, just cannot wait for an opportunity to try it out themselves in a public debate - as we have just witnessed being demonstrated here on this thread.

>81 Crypto-Willobie: "I don’t see the point of cut-n-pasting the same things that have been cited repeatedly by others..."

I find it very illuminating that C-W is too lazy to get off his duff and muster enough energy to cut-n-paste here a cogent argument in support of the Stratfordian position, but when it comes to pirating a number of their more childish and specious mantras he's able to spring off his Damask and brocade La-Z-Boy and be typing at his keyboard in a heartbeat. Yet he has the hypocrisy to accuse me of double-standards! Ha! :)

98Crypto-Willobie
Jun 4, 2010, 11:34pm Top

I was unaware of Greenblatt's Holocaust-denier comparison -- I have his book but have not cracked it. Since it's simply another example of True Believers being invested in improbable theories, it might occur to anyone writing on the subject.

And in response to your litany of insults, Yah! so's yer old man!

99rreis
Jun 5, 2010, 4:56am Top

well, this has been a very entertaining read... just for the sake of curiosity, has anyone put forward the idea that W.S. never wrote the plays but just dictated them?

just curious

cheerio!

100TheHumbleOne
Jun 5, 2010, 5:00am Top

I merely wish to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to actually agree with Rule42 in dismissing Will in the World as largely speculative and distinctly unhelpful. Now if only he would remove the beam in his own eye peace and harmony might finally break out.

101Rule42
Edited: Jun 5, 2010, 7:01pm Top

>98 Crypto-Willobie:

But of course you haven't cracked it open. Why does that not come as any surprise? How very convenient for you that you've never cracked open a bogus Stratfordian biography while the only anti-Stratfordian biographies you've ever condescended to glance at are just the wacky fringe ones such as Shakespeare's Fingerprints. No wonder you can remain so zealously despotic and peremptorily dismissive of anything anti-Stratfordian on the true authorship issue and post all the dogmatic drivel that you do with such a perfectly clear conscience. :)

Your selective cracking open of books probably also explains why you are able to confuse the epistemological certainty we normally only apply to a priori knowledge and doltishly misapply it to academic interpretations of empirical information and data that is clearly only, at its best, surmise, speculation and conjecture (even if it might be very good and highly convincing surmise, speculation and conjecture when you first encounter it). Your never having cracked open a book on linguistic analysis, critical thinking, logical reasoning, the hermeneutics of Elizabethan texts, epistemological problems of ‘genuine evidence', the media caricaturing of what constitutes evidence (cf. Marshall McLuhan), etc. might also account for your apparently divinely-inspired certainty on this particular topic.

If the true authorship question were a legal matter, and Will Shakspere stood in the dock accused of being the true author, then no reasonable jury would be able to convict him because, based on all the evidence and arguments introduced into the trial to date, his guilt CANNOT be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet you would have him sent to the chair (assuming, that is, that writing the world's greatest canon in English literature is a capital offense). I now find myself praying to a God, whose existence I actually doubt, that you are never, ever selected for jury duty.

The ONLY reason that Shapiro entered the fray of the true authorship debate and undertook to write his Contested Will book is because so many people came up to him on his book-promoting tour for his previous outing (viz. 1599 : A year in the life of William Shakespeare) and told him they had serious concerns and doubts about "Shakspere having written Shakespeare". Like a true Protestant Inquisitor in Will's own time, Shapiro sensed serious sedition in the air and became determined to suppress this heretical Roman Catholic recusancy and covert church papistry once and for all. Contested Will is that effort ... to continue my metaphor, it is his response to the Somerville Plot. The book is the modern day equivalent of Lord Burghley's and Francis Walsingham's efforts to try to win over the hearts and minds of the burgeoning number of secretly heretical Catholics (read newly concerned and doubting anti-Stratfordians) and bring them back into the fold of the mandated orthodoxy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Anglican Church (read Schoenbaum-toting and A.L.Rowse-quoting true-believers).

Whether Shapiro will be successful in his quest only time will tell. Personally, I think his effort appears more akin to King Canute on the seashore. But I'm sure you'll disagree. You always do. :)

"And in response to your litany of insults ..."

What insults? Calling someone a "stupid bastard" who is not, is indeed an insult. Applying that term to someone that was born out of wedlock and is now in a lunatic asylum would be correct terminology, thus it is NOT an insult. Your calling me "silly" is an insult because anyone reading my posts can clearly see that I'm not. If you look at every term I've used to describe you, you will see that I've always justified its application, and thus it is a correctly used adjective, NOT an insult. If you don't want me to call you disingenuous then don't keep posting in such an obviously sleazy and puerile manner. If you don't want me to refer to you as being intellectually moribund then you will need to put much more effort and thought into your posts, as others participating here have also suggested, instead of just posting dismissive scorn and ... wait for it ... insults!

Based on your above quoted comment, you now appear to be the new dudgeon master of this thread. I'll refrain from pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of the fact that it was you that initially accused me of high dudgeon (oops, sowwy about that, looks like I just did!). If it is any comfort, just think of yourself as being Henry Wriothesley's spiritual twin; because I believe he was also kept behind a wall of a high dungeon in the Tower of London after the Essex Rebellion.

BTW, if in attributing your Holocaust denial insult to Greenblatt when, in truth, you thought it up all by yourself, all on your lonesome, then I profusely apologize for my mistake. I sure as hell would not want to deprive you of any recognition due for the only creative idea, other than tin-foil hats and moon-landing fakery, that you've contributed to this discussion so far. So you have my hearty congratulations for being able to think up all of your own insults - IMO credit should always go where credit's due! :)

102Rule42
Edited: Jun 5, 2010, 6:11pm Top

>99 rreis:

"... has anyone put forward the idea that W.S. never wrote the plays but just dictated them?"

For W.S. to have dictated the plays, that pretty well implies that there must have been someone else present who would have written down what he dictated. Two or more people alone in a room creating the entire Shakespeare canon sounds rather a lot like a conspiracy theory to me ... I really don't think we should go there! :)

103Crypto-Willobie
Jun 5, 2010, 7:45am Top

(wiping Rule42's venomous spittle from his face) Whew!

104Porius
Jun 5, 2010, 1:04pm Top

I suggest to you C/W that you might either put up your dukes or retire gracefully, you are rather graceful, after all. Courtly even. But we are eager to hear your side of the story. Your responses to R42. So far you have been battered to a pulp like old 'Irish' Jerry Quarry was when he stepped into the ring. To save face, your face, ie., put on the gloves or just fade away.
I have no doubt that you would be a credit to your tribe if you would bluepaint your face and run naked and bellowing into the fray.
Honestly you look a little silly wiping R42's venomous? spittle from your face. Whew, indeed.

105Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Jun 5, 2010, 3:09pm Top

Maybe someday. I do have other things to do, however, than spend a lot of time defending a 'case' that doesn't really need defending from someone who isn't going to be convinced anyways.

His hopes and your perception to the contrary, I don't feel battered at all by Mr 42's swipes and jabs. Bewildered perhaps; for though he is certainly full of sound and fury it signifies nada about the strength of his argument. It's true I have poked him sometimes, but I have also tried to speak frankly, civilly and sensibly at other times only to see him twist my words, translate my statements into straw men to be knocked down, and generally jump up and down waving his arms. (This is what I find 'silly' -- the over-vehemence of his reactions.) I know he accuses me of the same thing -- word-twisting, straw men, etc; but to borrow one of his favorite words, it seems disingenuous of him to accuse me of what he does. He doesn't see it this way because he's a man with a mission. Me old da used to have a little picture of two fellas arguing, one with folded arms saying "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts." This is how he seems to me, and there's just no talking to him.

I reject the notion that I must either shut the fuck up or reply in endless detail, internet boxing rules, to every sentence and half-sentence he produces. Sometimes I'm just gonna disagree with something, and walk away. If he wants to wave his fists and shout at my receding back I can't stop him. And I'll be back when and if I want to come back.

106Porius
Jun 5, 2010, 4:08pm Top

You must do what you must do. I am envious of your Machen Diaries, green with envy.

107Rule42
Edited: Jun 5, 2010, 9:44pm Top

>106 Porius:

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents. - George Orwell

Based on our recent exposure to Greenblatt, Shapiro and C-W, perhaps it is now time to update that famous quote from old George ...

As with the Christian religion and political Socialism, the worst advertisement for Stratfordian theory is its adherents.

He's made over two dozen posts on this thread but only one of them (post #59) contained any beef. Where's that little old lady from the Wendy's TV adverts when you really need her? Since his reincarnation ... nada. If it wasn't so pathetic it would probably be funny. He accuses me of "twisting his words" and "translating his statements into straw men to be knocked down" but that's pure casuistry because he cannot cite any examples. BTW, did I miss the post where he "tried to speak frankly, civilly and sensibly"? It doesn't show up on my screen. Maybe I need to get an LT software upgrade?

Hmmm ... an agnostic (that sees both sides of the issue) "on a mission" to try to convert a zealot (that can only see the one side) ... now there's a bizarre concept if I ever heard one! Lewis Carroll could have written a third "Alice" book based on that scenario alone. I would love to see what happens when the Mad Hatter finally meets his modern nemesis - the guy wearing the tin-foil hat. ROTFLMAO.

C-W claims there is no talking to me but that is exactly what both you and I have been trying to get him to do ever since he reincarnated himself almost fifty posts ago. The man appears to live in his own hermetically sealed mental bubble and he just doesn't want to cope with the reality of potentially conflicting ideas to the ones he was socialized into as a child and undergraduate. His quoted anecdote from "his da" is a perfect example of someone who, thinking he's an apostle, looks into his mirror and sees a monkey staring right back at him. In order to preserve his own self-image the deluded apostle must now attribute the monkey to being the image of someone else - such as Rule42! Once again LMAO.

I would have liked to post more here but I don't want it to be misconstrued as my jumping up and down furiously waving my arms. Besides, right now, Captain Ruley has a bit of trouble up on deck that he needs to go take care of - some old geezer over on the shore wearing a tin-foil hat has started throwing pebbles at his boat again. :(

108Crypto-Willobie
Edited: Jun 5, 2010, 7:29pm Top

There’s an example, right there. Here’s how we got here…

- I made a comment about how people invested in alternative narratives are difficult to convince:.
“The anti-Stratfordians have been replied to over and over again with reason and evidence, but they don’t seem to hear. They are invested in their alternative narratives, are endlessly inventive in their manipulation of the meaning of texts and events, and can always fall back on their triumphant claim that it can’t be *proven* who wrote the plays and poems of Shakespeare—that is, there is no videotape, no notarized affidavits from a panel of his contemporaries stating in so many words that Shakspere the player from Stratford wrote Hamlet in November 1599. (Although if there were such evidence that would likely not guarantee the end of the question, as we have people arguing that videotapes of the moon-landing have been faked, and documents proving the Holocaust have been forged.)”
My point here is that True Believers by their nature can find their way past any evidence – even documentary and videotape evidence – if it gets in the way of their beliefs, so (it seems to me that) convinced antistrats will remain convinced no matter what evidence you offer them.

- This is converted by Mr 42 into an accusation that I have equated antistrats with Holocaust deniers. The imagined imputation of moral equivalence with such scum of the earth must have stung, for he returns to this again and again.

- Sometime later he accuses me of taking my Holocaust ‘accusation’ from Stephen Greenblatt’s Shakespeare biogrqphy.

- I clarify, stating that although I have Greenblatt’s book “I have not cracked it”. Actually, this is not strictly true—I have looked into it but have not sat down and read it through and was unaware of any reference he made to Holocaust deniers.

- This calls forth from Mr 42:
“But of course you haven't cracked it open. Why does that not come as any surprise? How very convenient for you that you've never cracked open a bogus Stratfordian biography while the only anti-Stratfordian biographies you've ever condescended to glance at are just the wacky fringe ones such as Shakespeare's Fingerprints. No wonder you can remain so zealously despotic and peremptorily dismissive of anything anti-Stratfordian on the true authorship issue and post all the dogmatic drivel that you do with such a perfectly clear conscience.”
Spirits from the vasty deep must have told him what I have and haven’t read. But they got it wrong. Although I haven’t plowed through Greenblatt’s or Ackroyd’s bios, I have read Honan’s, Duncan-Jones’s, Shapiro’s, as well as biographical writings by Honigmann, Eccles, Schoenbaum and many others. And I have read a number of the “core” mainstream antistrat books – Ogburn, Anderson, Sobran, Whalen, Michell and some amount of on-line stuff on Oxford sites and in discussion groups. I admit it’s been a while since I read these—I don’t lose sleep over the authorship question.
Now, please note the aggressive language offered me—I am despotic, condescending, and I post dogmatic drivel? I have made some general statements about the illogical ways of antistrats (and yes I said that ‘tinfoil hat’ thing which he also won’t drop – I thought I was being humorous but I guess not), but I have not drenched Mr 42 personally with insulting epithets.
Eventually he finds his way to my LT profile, notes my latest acquisitions, and my cat pix and comes up with:
“Furthermore, I'll bet my shirt that none of those diaries have been cracked either. Why waste one's time reading when it can be more profitably spent cataloguing and scorn-casting. I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that his cat has read more of his books than he has ... nor that it has a deeper understanding and appreciation of them too!”
I won’t condescend to answer his imputations concerning my reading—needless to say he knows nothing about it or me. But I will give him credit for his mastery of Le Sneer Puerile…

110Cariola
Jun 6, 2010, 3:31pm Top

109> :)

111Porius
Jun 6, 2010, 3:49pm Top

When do we start passing out the crayons?

112Rule42
Edited: Jun 6, 2010, 8:11pm Top

>108 Crypto-Willobie:

I apologize for the delay in responding to your "20 tonnes of dudgeon" post, brother C-W, but today is Sunday and, although you obviously already know via this thread that I'm a somewhat devout practicing agnostic, what you may not know is that I'm also an active missionary for the local diocese of the Church of the Holy Undecided. So I'm afraid Sunday is my busiest day of the week in terms of time away from the PC (and thus the LTMB).

For today is the day that I put on my leather trews and other articles of my agnostic raiments and go out into the streets of my local community, with my leather-bound agnostic missal in hand, and try and persuade people without the inner light to come on over to the agnostic point of view. This involves approaching disorderly walkers as they lurch along the sidewalk and, having first ascertained their current religious affiliation, offering them the choice of a dozen other religious faiths in which I feel they should also be actively participating. This is because we brethren of the Church of the Holy Undecided believe in the Reverent Round Robin approach to pious worship, since those of us with the inner light of the agnostic 'True Believer' within our hearts all fervently hold that no one single faith should be favored by any church celebrant more than once a quarter.

So I have to admit that it's a fair cop, my brother - you are perfectly correct in calling me out as being "a man with a mission". Nevertheless, it is a fine, good and wholly holy mission. As world history has repeatedly demonstrated, those of us born with an agnostic disposition often feel a natural tendency - a sort of rabid zeal, if you would - to spread the divine joy and bliss we find in following multiple faiths and holding diverse viewpoints to those other brothers and sisters in the flock that are much less fortunate than ourselves; because they have not yet seen the light and are consequently trapped in a life of darkness that is plagued with the paucity of only being able to hold just the one religious belief or a single point of view.

You are also amazingly prescient, my brother, to have rightly guessed that spirits from the vasty deep do indeed appear to me on a regular basis and furtively whisper to me such arcane and cryptic secrets as what each LT member is currently reading or has recently read - although, to be honest, I'm not quite sure why the spirits take all that trouble to whisper to me since anyone can also divine what they tell me by simply looking at LT member profiles. Unfortunately, it is these very same spirits from the vasty deep that also sometimes cause me to speak in tongues and use nasty, vile and evil words such as 'despotic', 'glibbery', 'condescending', 'prorumped', 'dogmatic', 'oblatrant', 'drivel' and 'obstupefact' and many other foul-mouthed expressions that cannot be repeated here. So please show mercy towards this agnostic sinner, brother C-W, and forgive him for drenching you with a deluge of such utterly obscene and wicked utterances.

I would now like to close this post with a short prayer - the Agnostic Credo. So please join together with me, brother C-W, and recite along as best you can ...

We are gathered here together, sister side by side with brother
To proclaim we are agnostic; don't know one way or the other
In this we won't be shaken though hard the winds may blow
In doubt we are united, and we cry "we do not know"

We hold no fear of persecution, it pains us not to be derided
As we stand here in the Church of the Holy Undecided
Oh my brothers and my sisters I know I speak for you
When we say that we know for certain that we haven't got a clue

I believe that some believe that just their beliefs are true
Do I believe what they believe? I don't believe I do
Oh my friends be ye contented, for ignorance is bliss
We stand foursquare behind our message but we don't know what it is

We know that we don't know so that our vision still be pure
We are agnostic fundamentalists; we are fundamentally unsure
Peace my sisters and my brothers, the agnostic does not smite
We are tolerant of others; there's a chance they might be right

113proximity1
Feb 19, 2016, 10:58am Top

>82 Rule42:


..."Neither core theory violates all Neither core theory violates all the few pieces of hard evidence we have about either of the historical persons Will Shakspere and Edward de Vere."...


Of course the Stratfordian "core" theory violates "all the few pieces of hard evidence we have about either of the historical persons Will Shakspere and Edward de Vere."

In the construction--the interpretation--of the evidence the Stratfordian views are a pure violation of the evidence, "hard," "soft" and everything in between.

114proximity1
Feb 19, 2016, 11:37am Top

General query to any readers of both Joseph Sobran 's Alias Shakespeare and Charlton Ogburn Jr 's The Mysterious William Shakespeare :

I am interested in hearing views of how these two books' contents compare. In particular I am interested to know of any facts revealed by Sobran that are not also in Ogburn's book. Thank you.

115Podras.
Edited: Feb 21, 2016, 9:48pm Top

I've noted at least twice in the posts above a claim that the first questioning of Shakespeare's authorship was by James Wilmot, with Wilmot favoring Oxford for the real author. That appears to incorrect.

Wilmot didn't make the claim directly in 1785 as is conventionally believed. Instead it was supposed to have been made on his behalf by James Cowell in 1805. On close examination, the Cowell manuscript with the claim turns out to be a cleaver 20th century forgery. (Ref. James Shapiro's Contested Will, Prologue.)

Top honors for originating the authorship controversary still belongs to Delia Bacon nearly a quarter millennium after Shakespeare's death, with quibbles about whether R. A. Smith and/or William Smith preceded her.

116Podras.
Feb 21, 2016, 10:38pm Top

>114 proximity1:

I'm curious, too, about whether Sobran's book echoes Ogburn's, especially the part about Augustine Phillips' will from which Ogburn quotes this extract: "unto and amongst the hired men of the Company which I am of ... the sum of five pounds ... to be equally distributed amongst them". Ogburn continues by saying that the first of those to be named was "my fellow William Shakespeare".

Here is a fuller extract from Phillip's will without Ogburn's elisions: "Item, I give and bequeath unto and amongst the hired men of the company which I am of which shall be at the time of my decease the sum of five pounds of lawful money of England to be equally distributed amongst them. Item, I give and bequeath to my fellow William Shakespeare a 30 shilling piece in gold. To my fellow Henry Condell one other 30 shilling piece in gold."

There seems to be quite a difference in meaning between Ogburn's version of Phillips' will and Phillips' own version.

117proximity1
Mar 8, 2016, 8:56am Top

"There seems to be quite a difference in meaning between Ogburn's version of Phillips' will and Phillips' own version."

This "quite a difference" consisting in which words, precisely, please? I looked and I confess I don't see anything I'd call "quite a difference."

118Podras.
Apr 4, 2017, 11:28am Top

In the current run of FutureLearn's Shakespeare and His World conducted by Prof. Jonathan Bate (a MOOC), a new video has been added that addresses the authorship question.

119proximity1
Edited: Apr 4, 2017, 1:56pm Top

>118 Podras.:

LOL!

Bate, who couldn't rightly parse Jonson's "small Latine and lesse Greeke" ; Bate, who holds that


"The genius of King Lear is that it was written by a man who was totally unlike his creation. The poetry of a teenager in love is sincere: that is what makes it bad. The key to dramatic art is Insincerity, i.e. that the author should only pretend keenly to feel what he expresses.” — (p. 150,
The Genius of Shakespeare (original edition, 1997, Picador/ Macmillan Publishers, Ltd. London); )


that Professor Bate.

For those who like to get their Shakespeare Authorship material from Youtube videos,

SEE Also :

"Shakespeare Authorship Question: Why Was I Never Told This? "

"Actor Keir Cutler, Ph.D., tells what changed his mind about Shakespeare's authorship, and why he signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare (DoubtAboutWill.org/declaration)."

at this link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyVjR9FNo9w

Actually, there really is no reasonable doubt left about the identity of the rightful author of the works of "Shake-speare". The credit is due to Edward Oxford.

In Elizabethan England, a full grammar-school cursus by itself could not make a school boy "literate" (litteratus) as that was then undersood--not even close. And certainly no one just "picked up" such a status by informal hanging about with literate people having such a literacy. Literacy in Elizabethan England implied a mastery of polished spoken and written Greek and Latin from the classics, as the rightful author of "Shakespeare's" works clearly possessed. For this, people went to university; and not all of them actually succeeded in their studies, of course. But, if one graduated from his studies and was pronounced fit, it meant in effect that he'd achieved the required mastery. Shaksper didn't have the opportunity for this education and, lacking it, even if he'd been a genius, which he gave no indication of being, he could not have produced the poems, plays or exhibited the verbal creativity of the rightful author.

120Podras.
Apr 4, 2017, 2:13pm Top

Regarding post #118 above, the video is accompanied by a list of recommended books for those interested in researching the question further.

--Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare (Picador Classics, 2016), Chapter 3, The Authorship Controversy [This is the best compact summary of the authorship question that I've seen.]

-- James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who wrote Shakespeare? (Faber and Faber, 2011) [This is excellent for the history of the use and abuse of Shakespeare's reputation, including forgeries and attempts to rewrite history, down to modern times.]

-- Irvin Matus, Shakespeare, In Fact (Dover, 2012) [Matus delves deeply into and corrects denier claims and distortions. It is also valuable for its illuminating chapter on Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who was never the man who wrote Shakespeare.]

For another in-depth refutation of anti-Shakespearean claims, I also recommend Scott McCrea's The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question (Praeger, 2005). It overlaps Matus's book somewhat, but it has a lot of additional material, and it is better organized.

Another recommendation accompanying the video for further reading is the web site, The Shakespeare Authorship Page. It has a ton of fact-laden information about the subject. A good place to start is How We Know That Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare: The Historical Facts.

Perhaps I've missed it, but I can't recall ever seeing a response from the authorship question conspiracy theorists that doesn't depend at least some on ad hominem attacks on the authors of these works and/or scholars in general. That is only one of the many ways in which they discredit themselves.

121proximity1
Edited: Apr 5, 2017, 7:10am Top

Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare (Picador Classics, 2016) : laughable junk.

James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who wrote Shakespeare? (Faber and Faber, 2011) : inane nonsense and crap-ola.

"The Shakespeare Authorship Page" ... and... How We Know That Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare: The Historical Facts. : noxious bullshit from ignorant poseurs and lame con-artists.

122Podras.
Sep 2, 2017, 11:55am Top

>117 proximity1:, Ogburn's edited version of Augustine Phillips' will conveys the impression that Shakespeare was just one of the hired men in the King's Men. The fuller version of that passage makes it clear that Shakespeare was not merely a hired man. He was the first among several people who were singled out for special bequests. It was a common practice of Ogburn's to misrepresent the historical record to support his beliefs.

123proximity1
Sep 3, 2017, 4:04am Top


>122 Podras.:



... "That’s it. Apart from his name on the title pages of published plays, there are only 21 documented uses of the name William Shakespeare that connect William of Stratford in any way (some extremely minor) with the world of the London theater, and, apart from the Meres book, every single one of these stems from a connection to the Lord Chamberlain’s/King’s Men. Ergo, the coverup was created by the Company at some point shortly after its formation. It was maintained by them over time by inserting mentions of him in their wills and themselves into his will. And it was finalized by them in 1623 with their publication of the First Folio."

--- Stephanie Hopkins Hughes from Authorship Timeline

124Crypto-Willobie
Sep 3, 2017, 11:31am Top

Twenty-one? not enough? she thinks she's scoring points by representing everyday theatrical life as some kind of conspiracy?

Twenty-one is, however, a whole lot better than zero which is the number of evidentiary connections between the plays and de Vere.

125proximity1
Edited: Sep 3, 2017, 1:15pm Top

>124 Crypto-Willobie:

"21 documented uses of the name William Shakespeare"


"There are only 21 mentions of the name Shakespeare between its first appearance on the dedication page of Venus and Adonis in 1593 and the publication of the First Folio 30 years later. Some of these are more significant than others, but until the First Folio, not one points towards Stratford."

-- Stephanie Hopkins Hughes (ibid)



Each of the 21 is deservedly suspect (as a snare and delusion deliberately planted) as far as their holding any genuine indication of William Shaxper's or Shaksper's part as the real author of the poems, plays and sonnets. That's explained in the article which you didn't read.

... "zero which is the number of evidentiary connections between the plays and de Vere."

Well, that's false because De Vere's finger-prints are to be found all over the poems, plays and sonnets--in their puns, in their other word-play, in their erudition which could not possibly have come from the person we're given William Shaksper of Stratford to have been. But, again, Stratfordians have refused to deal fairly with that evidence--because they cannot account for it. Again, all this is laid out "in spades" in the full treatment of the issues at the Politic Worm site. But you pretend that you're actually doing something here by taking lame pot-shots in this way rather than honestly addressing the cavernous holes in the Stratfordian view--holes which Oxford's authorship explains rather well and leaves filled in.

See "litteratus" @ >119 proximity1:

126Podras.
Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 10:49am Top

Many of the items in Hughes' incomplete list of 21 uses of Shakespeare's name re. the London theater (and poetry; Hughes includes poetry in her list, too) lack meaningful context. For one example, nearly all published plays up to the late 1590s lacked authorial attribution, not just the ones deniers arbitrarily attribute to Oxenford. Also, it is worth noting that Francis Meres' Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury names Shakespeare nine times for excellence in writing in various categories and Edward, Earle of Oxforde, only once. That once was in the same sentence as one of the mentions of Shakespeare.

Some of the items in Hughes' list mingles the basic facts with attempts to cast doubt on Shakespeare's authorship; i.e. it isn't entirely objective. An example is her observation regarding the 1609 publication of Shake-speares Sonnets in which there is a lack of a name "in the space where the author’s name should be" as if that was problematical. Uh ... look at the title. No first name? Yup. Fascinating detail. I guess that by 1609, Shakespeare's last name in the title was sufficient to identify whom the author was (think Madonna, Prince, Dante, et. al.). (Incidentally, the idea that a hyphen in a name indicated that it was a pseudonym was an invention of Marlowe enthusiasts in the late 1800s. Oxenford fanciers coopted the idea. Not a scintilla of evidence for it exists.)

Hughes' list omits several relevant items that clearly belong in it. A few that I can recall off the top of my head include a reference to him in The Second Part of the Return from Parnassus (~1601); a 1602 complaint letter by Peter Brooke, the Harold of York; poetical encomiums to Shakespeare in John Davies' 1610 The Scourge of Folly; and William Basse's eulogy to Shakespeare written sometime between 1616 and 1623, the publication date of the First Folio. Anti-Shakespeareans who claim to be knowledgeable about the historical record should easily recognize these references.

An oblique reference to Shakespeare appears in Thomas Haywood's 1612 An apology for actors in which without naming him, Haywood says Shakespeare was offended that the publisher William Jaggard "presumed to make so bold with his name" by identifying him as the author of Jaggard's 1612 edition of The Passionate Pilgrim. (Some of Shakespeare's sonnets were contained in the volume, but it also included works of other authors, Haywood among them.) After An apology for actors came out, Jaggard sold his remaining stock of The Passionate Pilgrim with a revised title page omitting Shakespeare's name.

The Stratford monument to Shakespeare erected sometime before the First Folio's publication clearly refers to him as a writer. Anti-Shakespeareans have a whole load of self serving assumptions and false claims wrapped up in that monument that I'll address elsewhere if necessary.

For those looking for an explicit Stratford/London connection while Shakespeare still lived, look to Shakespeare's 1608 civil law suit, tried in the King's court in Stratford, against John Addenbrooke. The final court document dated June 7, 1609 identifies the plaintiff as "William Shakespeare, gentleman, lately in the court of the lord James, now king of England" (translated from Latin). The King's Men were officially members of King James' court and served him at his pleasure.

Hughes' list is an example of the kind of incomplete and sloppy scholarship common among those who look for supporting evidence to bolster beliefs already held and no further.

127Podras.
Edited: Sep 3, 2017, 8:47pm Top

>125 proximity1: "De Vere's finger-prints are to be found all over the poems, plays and sonnets"

I've been listening in on anti-Shakespearean discussions sporadically for a few years now and occasionally pitching in; not enough to make me an expert (on abnormal psychology?) though I have read a fair sampling of their stuff, but enough to begin, I think, to detect a few patterns.

In summary, the "finger-prints" referred to rarely point to anyone in particular if anyone at all. It is extremely doubtful in most cases that they are real finger-prints in the sense that deniers will to believe. (Sonnets 136, in which the author tells us that his name is Will, and 145, in which Anne Hathaway is almost certainly referred to, are exceptions.) Clearly, de Vereïans see links to their absurd idol, but the links are nearly always as ephemeral as wishful thinking. A representative example is an instance in the Drueshout portrait of Shakespeare in which two etched lines meet at a narrow acute angle, forming what looks like a sideways letter "V" if one squints and ignores the context.
Ah ha! says one anti-Shakespearean; that is definitely a secret code that positively identifies de Vere as the author of Shakespeare's works. It couldn't possibly be anything else.
I wish I were making that up, but that individual really exists. I have no idea of how many others have been infected with his particular mania. Few of the so-called finger-prints are any more explicit than the so-called letter "V" code.

Another example is the claim that Francis Meres expresses doubt about Shakespeare's authorship in his Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury. Here is a representative sentence from Treasury about Shakespeare:
The best Poets for Comedy among the Greeks are these, Menander, Aristophanes, Eupolis Atheniensis, Alexis Terius, Nicostratus, Amipsias Atheniensis, Anaxandrides Rhodius, Aristonymus, Archippus Atheniensis, and Callias Atheniensis; and among the Latines, Plautus, Terence, Næuius, Sextus Turpilius, Licinius Imbrex, and Virgilius Romanus: so the best for Comedy amongst vs bee Edward, Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Master Rowley, once a rare scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Edwardes, one of Her Maiesties Chappell, eloquent and wittie Iohn Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Mundye, our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.
I confess that I can't see doubt about Shakespeare's authorship being expressed by Meres, but at least one anti-Shakespearean apparently can.

Conclusion: Anti-Shakespeareans find what they are looking for, whether it is there or not. Their evidence is in the eye of the beholder and not on the printed page. That is true in particular for the sonnets in which a great temptation exists even among real scholars to deduce things about Shakespeare's life from their content. An honest assessment of the nature of literary works, plus a little knowledge about Elizabethan poetical conventions, should be enough to leave tendrils of doubt in the minds of even the most ardent supporter of a particular point of view.

Some of the more sober deniers attempt rational thought and ask questions like, Why wasn't every scribbling and every pen nib of the greatest writer in the English language preserved for the ages? The answer to this particular question is, of course, that nobody before the latter half of the 18th century knew Shakespeare was the greatest writer in the English language. His poetry was good, but most of his output was that popular but disgusting stuff being strutted on the stage amidst the stews of Southwark. Stuff that the Bodleian Library refused to sully their shelves with.

Anti-Shakespeareans of this sort are generally projecting their own views, shaped by 21st century attitudes and values, onto the 16th and 17th historical record, a period with vastly different attitudes and values. They are usually abysmally ignorant about the early modern period; even ones who have spent a considerable time researching it, looking for and not finding anything more solid than vague "finger-prints" in support of their faith; finger-prints that, if one is being honest, can be interpreted in any number of ways, and which may not mean anything at all.

The single greatest area of ignorance is represented by claims that Shakespeare's works "could not possibly have come from the person we're given William Shaksper of Stratford to have been". This quote references deniers' beliefs about the supposed abysmal or nonexistent education the person they imagine Shakespeare (by whatever spelling), the glover's son from Stratford, to have received. That kind of absolute claim, that rigidity of thought, is a clear indication of someone who hasn't meaningfully paid attention to history, and who, in this case in particular, is totally ignorant about education in the Tudor era.

A possible cure for such beliefs is education. It doesn't have to be formal. Plenty of informal educational resources are available if one takes the time to search them out. But one has to be capable of thinking for his or her self and be open to receiving and processing information that contradicts firmly held doctrine. I know of several individuals who have done that and "turned"--have rejected denier views. Unfortunately, many steadfast anti-Shakespeareans take the lazy way out and demonize anyone who holds opposing views. This most often takes the form of ad hominem attacks. Such an approach merely undermines their own credibility and doesn't advance their cause at all.

128proximity1
Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 11:24am Top

>127 Podras.:

The Stratfordian view of Shaksper's life as the rightful author raises a good many very difficult questions which typically Strafordians have to ignore or tie themselves into knots to dismiss. I don't think you would or could address these questions adequately here--that is, in a way that a genuinely disinterested person would find compelling.

When I write that Oxford's finger-prints are all over his work, I do that from a rather overall view of his biography's details and how these are found over and over within the texts. There is, as is generally the case with authors of this standing, a mutually revealing correspondence: the written pages and the person of their author reveal each other.

But the features of this are very often quite subtle--all the more so for a noble who was acutely aware that he was not at liberty to sign his own name to his work that was intended to be or might become published.

When we carefully examine William Shaksper's life (the real fellow from Stratford) there's an utterly inexplicable character to his having cared at all for the things which, by Oxford, a high-ranking nobleman, present nothing peculiar at all.

Among the clearest indications (which Stratfordians have to wave away) are the exquisite and uniformly accurate, faultless portrayal of details of Italian manners and geography and history which it is impossible to account for as having come from the Stratford Shaksper. Noemi Magri's detailed account of these and what it unmistakably means is still unanswered by Stratfordians. Because their case cannot answer her.

https://politicworm.com/2014/11/26/reviewed-such-fruits-out-of-italy/

_________________________

the following comes from Richard Paul Roe's book, The Shakespeare Guide to Italy, 2011, Harper Collins Publishers:

Guess what is common to all the following excerpts:



“Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the East,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad,
Where. Underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the ((First Folio): >this) city's side,
So early walking did I see your son.”

Romeo & Juliet, I, i.
(Roe, 2011) p. 8

"alone in the playwright's Romeo & Juliet--there and nowhere else, not in
any other Italian or French or English version--has it been set down that at Verona, just outside
its western walls, was a grove of sycamore trees." (Roe)
Part of that grove still stands there.

___________

LADY CAPULET
“Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,
The gallant, young and noble gentleman,
The County* Paris, at Saint Peter's Church,
Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.”
JULIET
“Now, by Saint Peter's Church and Peter too,
He shall not make me there a joyful bride.
I wonder at this haste; that I must wed
Ere he, that should be husband, comes to woo.
I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam,
I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear,
It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,
Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!”
LADY CAPULET
“Here comes your father; tell him so yourself,
And see how he will take it at your hands.”
Enter CAPULET and Nurse

... … ...
CAPULET
“How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
'Proud,' and 'I thank you,' and 'I thank you not;'
And yet 'not proud,' mistress minion, you,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
You tallow-face!”
Romeo & Juliet, III, v.
(Roe, ibid) p. 29

* ( “County” is apparently a faulty rendering of what was probably, in the original, “Conte” (Italian) for the English noble title, "Count," by the genuine author—who knew Italian well ( pronounced “cont-ay”).

Saint Peter's Church-- (San Pietro Incarnario) renovated (and reduced in scope) since the 16th century but still there as a very small church. No longer the parish church, it is _easily_ overlooked.

___________

“But mount you presently
And meet with me upon the rising of the mountain foot
That leads toward Mantua,
Whither they are fled.”

The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Pt. 2, I, i.
(Roe, ibid) p. 83

(Still) Located outside Milano's old city walls' north gate--its postern by the (then) abbey wall, led along a path to a forest within walking distance (a few km.).
___________

“If, Biondello, thou wert come ashore,
We could at once put us in readiness,
And take lodging fit to entertain
Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.”

The Taming of the Shrew,, I, i.
(Roe, ibid) p. 103

In Padua, a particular bridge presents a vista where all the scene's visualized parts mentioned are visible from the vantage point of a barge tied up along the waterway which the bridge spans. The Port, "landing", a lodging (building still extant) at the time. A nearby street leading to Saint Luke's church a short distance away. A piazza, (plaza) opposite the landing, where lodgings would have been visible from the barge. Etc.

_____________

“This is the penthouse under which Lorenzo
Desired us to make a stand.”

The Merchant of Venice, II, vi.
(Roe, ibid) p. 139

Still extant: In Venice, in the old Jewish Ghetto, : "the only structure of its kind." (Roe.)

(“In all the works of Shakespeare, 'penthouse' is only used twice, once here, and once in
Much Ado About Nothing in its Act III Scene 3.”)

_____________

Bottom:

We will meet, and there we may rehearse
Most obscenely, and courageously. Take
Pains, be parfit: adieu.

Quince:

“At the (D)uke's (O)ak we meet.” (capitalized or not)

A Midsummer Night's Dream I, ii.
(Roe, ibid) p. 183-185

There remains to this day a "duke's oak" (this is not a Public House ("Pub") name , it refers to an oak tree ) known by that name at Sabbioneta, forty km. southwest of Mantua. PLEASE NOTE THIS CORRECTION: (This is an error on my part, not that of Richard Roe). A plausible source of the meeting-place name, "Duke's Oak," refers not to an actual tree, but, rather, and even more tellingly, to a passageway (while the play's dialogue indicates that the meeting is at a tree referred to by that name) :

Quince :

..."and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the
town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse, for if
we meet in the city, we shall be dogged with
company, and our devices known. In the meantime I
will draw a bill of properties, such as our play
wants. I pray you, fail me not."

(p. 182) "...as we stood in the shade of the arched Porta della Vittoria, the architectural main gate of Sabbioneta, our guide explained that this passageway was also known as 'il Quercia dei Duca.' Not understanding the word 'Quercia,' I questioned one of our group. 'Oak,' he said, 'the Duke's Oak.' ...'he repeated,'The guide said, 'the Duke's Oak.'"


Please forgive that error on my part. I wonder, is it the Stratfordian line that some "wayfaring" sailor, had visited Sabbioneta and learned of the passageway called the Duke's Oak? or heard of it and, now, back home at--or on a port of call at--London, supposedly informed Shaksper of this passageway within the grounds of Sabbioneta? Just how did the sailor come to be invited there? Or was he passing on at third, or fourth or fifth hand, stuff he'd heard on his journeys? Really? This is the best Stratfordians can do? And then, I guess, back in his London chambers, writing A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shaksper, who has apparently set his play in "Athens," chooses to have Quince indicate as specific meeting-place by proper name:

Bottom:

We will meet, and there we may rehearse
Most obscenely, and courageously. Take
Pains, be parfit: adieu.

Quince:

“At the (D)uke's (O)ak we meet.”

(Notice that the play's dialogue has all those concerned by the meeting familiar with it by the name alone-- "At the duke's oak (or Duke's Oak) we meet." None of the players in the interior-play's cast ("The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby") is made to ask, "Where, again, is the Duke's Oak?" They already know the place. Notice, too, that this place, though named, is not otherwise a point which is in itself of essential importance to the play's progress. Had any other designation been used, the audience would not have batted an eye. Nor, on hearing "At the dukes' oak we meet" should anyone have had to pause and wonder about this oak. But the playwright uses what's available in his mental store. Thus, if he needs to assign his characters a meeting place, he's going to draw from that mental store which is constituted by his lived experience. The playwright could use "duke's oak" because the phrase was not entirely unknown in his memory and to have been there, he had to have created it spontaneously or taken it from his experience. I find on the internet (yes, sorry, but it's "so damn easy" isn't it?) no reference, for example, to a "Duke's Oak" public house, either current or historic. That's of course not proof that there wasn't one in the authors' time. Numerous other "Duke of..." pubs but not his Oak. Back to business.)

Seriously?

The traveller-come-to-Shaksper's-London so impressed Shaksper with the tale of this 'Duke's Oak' passageway that, suddenly, he leaps from Attic Athens to a passageway in Mantova as the place of a meeting in the player's action?

And it's just an amazing coincidence that Sabbioneta has had as a nickname since the 16th century, La Piccola Atene, "Little Athens"?

Thus we have a marvelous compounded coincidence in that in the play set in Athens, there's a meeting place which happens to also be the nickname of a passageway within Sabbioneta, called, familiarly, "Little Athens"--where none of us suppose Shaksper ever set foot?

As Roe notes, in classic Greek Athenian culture, there were no "dukes", no title which translates as such from Greek parlance. ETA : Note: There was, however, during a period of Frankish rule, from early in the 13th century (1204) down to the middle of the 16th century (1566) or later a "Duchy of Athens" in which a feudal rule was imposed in Athens and elsewhere in Attic territory. Over these approximately three and a half centuries, dozens of rulers held a title denominated "Duke." See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchy_of_Athens and, Latins in the Levant: A History of Frankish Greece (1204-1566) (1908) by William Miller; E.P. Dutton & Co., New York. This period should have of course been relatively "recent history" as far as Oxford was concerned and I assume he'd have been aware of these Ducal families' reign in Athens of the Medieval period. This does complicate the task of deciding about the precise import of the play's setting being called "Athens." Personally, I think that Sabbioneta as "la Piccola Atene" is what the playwright had in mind.

_____________



They all reference very specific locales which actually exist (or, in Shakespeare's day, existed) in various places where the plays are set. There are _many_ other examples which relate either to places, to people or to historical events--all of which have been found to be precisely accurate, even, especially, when and where modern Stratfordian scholars have ridiculed the plays' author for having committed blunders: these scholars misinterpreted the text (sometimes changing a valid term for nonsense) and blamed what they misinterpreted on the author's "errors." In fact, it is the scholars who are or who were in each and every instance mistaken--and, in this, they've mislead and misinformed their readers about Shakespeare's knowledge of Italy.

How do you account for these (sample few) astounding features of specific detail about Italy?

Over the course of many months, if not a few years now, I've raised numerous specific questions in threads at this site challenging Stratfordians on issues which they typically refuse to answer in any honest and straight-forward manner. To those specific questions I've not once received anything which I can recall even approaching a worthy answer . Mainly, the questions are simply ignored--which is what I expect to see in this present case.

There are literally dozens of other problematic issues which I haven't listed here surrounding the Stratfordian claims. Again, these are raised and treated in detail--with the Oxfordian counter-view presented alongside--at the Politic Worm site.

129Podras.
Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 6:48pm Top

>128 proximity1: A number of Shakespearean scholars up through the early 20th century believed that Shakespeare had traveled to Italy, probably during the so-called lost years, to account for the knowledge of the place contained in his works. During the course of the century as critical examination of the historical record and Shakespeare's works became more stringent, those views changed to the present consensus that he probably never left England.

Early modern English interest in Italy is easy to account for. Roman occupation was part of English history, and Roman ruins littered the landscape--still do. The core of the educational philosophy, grammar school and university alike, was based on the study of classical Roman authors; sometimes classical Greek authors, too. Many English attended Italian universities and presumably knew a bit about the place when they returned. London was one of the busiest trading ports in Europe, and Italian cities were among its most active trading partners. Italian clothing fashions were all the rage. Italian troupes performing commedia dell’arte toured the country. Foreign travelers besides sailors and traders went both ways, some of them writing books about their experiences.

It hardly matters if scholars can't specifically account for Shakespeare's source for every detail about Italy, something that Richard Roe attempts to argue using fallacious logic, trying to make something of the fact that a source for every Italian reference can't be specifically identified. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. There were so many opportunities to learn about Italy without ever leaving London.

So why were so many plays set in Italy, written by authors who hadn't been there, not just Shakespeare, some of whom wrote more convincingly and with more detail about the place than he did? People were interested; it brought in the pence; bums on seats or wherever. It didn't hurt when Parliament passed "An Act to Restrain Abuses of Players" (1606), levying £10 for every instance that players "jestingly or profanely" spoke the name of God or Jesus. A playwright could avoid the penalty by setting plays outside of England and using the names of pagan gods when occasion demanded.



Richard Roe makes anti-Shakespeareans' best case for the idea that the Author (as Roe continually and transparently refers to de Vere) had to have traveled to each and every location written of in the Italian plays in order to write what he did. So how good is Roe's case?

Roe spent around 3 years (if memory serves) traveling throughout Italy and visiting every location mentioned in the plays in an attempt to prove his point. All that that accomplished was to show that some of the detail in the plays corresponds with facts and locations in Italy. Some don't. Roe detects and discusses a couple of the latter. One instance he dismisses by asserting that the Author was taking literary license. (Tsk, tsk!) My favorite had to do with The Tempest. Roe decided that the real island of Vulcano off the coast of Sicily was Prospero's Island. Noting that it was well nigh impossible for Prospero and Miranda's "... rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd, / Nor tackle, sail, nor mast" to have drifted around the boot of Italy from the Adriatic Sea where they had been set adrift (the Adriatic is down stream from Milan where they were originally put aboard a bark) and arrive eventually at Vulcano, Roe asserts that the Author had originally written Genoa, not Milan. Someone else changed Genoa to Milan later on. His evidence? Roe asserts as a given, here and elsewhere in his book, that the Author was infallible, so no actual evidence is necessary.

Just how accurate was the Author's knowledge of Italy? It is true that a number of details in the plays do correspond with real Italian locations. As stated above, some don't, and not just the few that Roe detects. The Author thought that the region between Milan and Mantua was mountainous, that Padua had a harbor, that the Adige River at Verona was affected by tides, etc., etc., & etc. The region between Milan and Mantua is flat; Padua had no harbor other than a mooring where wherries, barges, and gondolas could tie up; and the Mediterranean has no tides (well, maybe a centimeter or two), let alone the Adige at Verona, 194 feet above sea level. On the other hand, the Thames River at London is strongly affected by tides. I have it on good authority (but unverified by me) that Verona's grove of sycamores (R&J) are really plane trees. Plus, Roe's photograph of the gate where they are planted is said to have been taken from the wrong side of the gate.

Roe spends a lot of time disparaging scholars for their criticism about the impractically of traveling by water from Verona to Milan (from Two Gents in which a character is in a hurry to catch a ship before the non-existent tide turns), and he even tells of all the trouble he went to to locate a shortcut canal that must have been used to save travel time between the cities. Roe is honest enough to admit that the shortcut he "found" isn't in any official record. His discussion of Two Gents includes an extended decoding of the name of Crab, the dog. Spelled backward, it becomes "barc", which must have really meant "bark". That wasn't just the sound a dog makes, it must have been a secret clue to tell us that the vessel taken to travel from Verona to Milan was a bark, just as the Author says that Prospero and Miranda in The Tempest were originally hustled aboard a bark in Milan when being exiled.

What Roe apparently did not look into was what a bark was (alternate spelling, barque), or try to explain how a deep-keel, high-masted ocean-going ship like a bark could have navigated an extensive canal system designed for flat-bottomed vessels, and over which were many bridges too low to allow masts to pass. Some relatively small vessels were designed to allow masts to be easily lowered, but based on a discussion I had with an expert at a local maritime museum, barks were not among them.

Roe made a number of dubious discoveries while searching for supports for his thesis. In one of them, for example, he managed to find the only house with a penthouse window above a street in all of Venice, a characteristic of Shylock's house in Merchant. The Author could only have written that into the play, Roe says, if he had actually been in Venice and seen that house. It didn't trouble Roe that the house wasn't located in Venice's Jewish ghetto, though he did address that fact. Roe also doesn't seem to consider the possibility that many such houses in London may have been models for Shylock's house, just as he doesn't seem to consider the possibility that the Thames River at London with its tides might have been the Author's model for Verona's river.

Roe's book is fairly well written and is mostly entertaining. He gets into trouble when any sort of logic is involved. His thesis that the Author had to have personally witnessed all of the places written about in the plays is not proven by any rational standard. Quite the opposite. If scholars haven't pointed Roe's flaws out before, it is because most of them have much better things to do than debunk junk theories.



So how about de Vere himself? Could he have been Roe's capital "A" Author?

Focusing just on de Vere's foreign travels, we know that he spent time in Italy. From what we know of his itinerary and the time he was there, he did not travel to all of the places written about in the plays. It is extremely unlikely that he would even have had the time to travel that much if he had wanted to, given that travel times in those days were a lot longer than Roe experienced. Much of the time he did have was spent converting to Catholicism, catching up on all the latest Italian fashions, and playing with his boy toy.

Even if de Vere really was the Author, he had to have gotten a lot of his information from secondary sources. That blows Roe's thesis out of the water and makes de Vere no better a candidate for being the Author than Shakespeare as far as foreign travel is concerned. In Shakespeare's case, however, there is plenty of real evidence of his authorship if anti-Shakespeareans can be persuaded to actually look at it instead of concocting conspiracy theories and being almost perpetually in denial.

130Podras.
Sep 5, 2017, 1:39am Top

>128 proximity1:

Noting that some parts of the last few posts have a ring of familiarity, I went back to last year's threads that were mostly about the sonnets to review what was being said. Relevant to the claim that "finger-prints" in Shakespeare's works point to de Vere, I rediscovered one of my own posts about the subject which I repeat in part below:
    Here are a few observations drawn from Shakespeare's works:
  1. Christopher Sly in the Induction to The Taming of the Shrew makes mention of Warwickshire locations including the villages "Greet", "Burton Heath", and "Wincot", all of which were close to Stratford. Joan Lambert, an aunt of Shakespeare, lived in Burton Heath, and Shakespeare's mother was born in Wincot. A Hacket family, also mentioned by Sly, lived in Wincot. Sly also mentions a Stephen Sly who was a real servant of William Combe of Welcombe, yet another town near Stratford.

  2. The names of three of the characters in Henry V are Fluellen, Bardolf, and Court. The same names appeared on the 1592 list of recusants that included Shakespeare's father's name.

  3. Imogene in Cymbeline disguises herself as a boy whose master, she says, is "Richard du Champ" (IV.2). That name is French for "Richard Field". Field was a fellow Stratfordian who had moved to London and become a printer and publisher. It was he that published the first works of Shakespeare's that appeared in print, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

  4. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comparison is made between the shape of a character's beard and the shape of a glover's knife (I.4). Shakespeare's father was a glover. Another glover's term, "cheveril", the kid skin used in making high quality gloves, appears in Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Henry VIII.

  5. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's father personally involves himself with kitchen staff preparing for Juliet's marriage with Paris (IV.2 and IV.4), this in a household which must consist of hundreds of people including a whole hierarchy of servants, not counting the twenty additional cooks that are to be hired for the wedding. It is behavior that is much more likely to be found in a relatively modest household such as that of a Warwickshire gentleman than that of an aristocratic family such as Juliet's.

  6. Shakespeare uses Warwickshire colloquialisms. Examples from Henry IV, Part 1 are "God save the mark" (I.3--God keep evil away, an expression of indignation), "a micher" (II.5--truant), and "dowlas" (III.3--dirty linen). Others are "unwrappered" (unfatigued or fresh--The Two Nobel Kinsmen, V.6), "ballow" (cudgel--Folio King Lear, IV.6), "batlet" (paddle for beating laundry--As You Like It, II.4), "gallow" (terrify--King Lear, III.2), "honey-stalks" (clover--Titus Andronicus, IV.4), "mobbled" (muffled--Hamlet, II.2), "pash" (smash--Troilus and Cressida, II.3), "potch" (poke or thrust--Coriolanus, I.11), and "tarre" (provoke--King John, IV.1, Troilus and Cressida, I.3, and Hamlet, II.2).
  7. These are examples that came readily to hand and are only a subset of the greater number that I've run across but not bothered to take special note of over the years. A book could be written documenting all of the Shakespeare/Warwickshire connections in his works. None of this "proves" anything, but the occurrence of such things in his writing needs no explanation when the author is Shakespeare, the glover's son from Stratford in Warwickshire. If the author is proposed to be an aristocrat with no notable background in Warwickshire, then they require at least an attempt at justification. Unqualified denial won't do it.
Yes, there are finger-prints in Shakespeare's works that point to the author.

131proximity1
Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 9:27am Top

>129 Podras.:

"The Author could only have written that into the play, Roe says, if he had actually been in Venice and seen that house. It didn't trouble Roe that the house wasn't located in Venice's Jewish ghetto, though he did address that fact."

Fucking bullshit.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/venice-ghetto

click on the link, above. It goes to a site with a map of the ghetto. Looking at the map (bottom of the page which loads), choose the "Satellite" view and notice the prominent open Square in the photo. This Square is the Campo del Nuovo Ghetto (of the Ghetto), just where Roe indicates he located the sole "penthouse"--Mid. English from the word "pentis": a small structure attached to, or dependent on, another building" (Ency. Britannica)

Drag the little Yellow avatar into the center of the Square and allow the photo to focus. Then, rotate the viewer so that you can see the buildings (opposite side of the Square from the surrounding canal) which, in the photo, throw a shadow containing a rooftop chimney. There, you have a view of the "penthouse" Roe features in his text by a photo courtesty of Sylvia Holmes. There is no other similar building in the ghetto. If you deny that, please show us the evidence of it.

Since the play is about Venice, why should the author, if he'd had no personal knowledge of the actual Venice ghetto, be "inspired" by London's similar buildings to place one them in his play's dialogue and then make it such a feature of a meeting point? That's what the Stratfordians try to dodge because they cannot explain such an otherwise very odd thing.

Your reply has numerous other flat-out falsehoods which I can only take up when more time allows.


" Richard Roe attempts to argue using fallacious logic, trying to make something of the fact that a source for every Italian reference can't be specifically identified."


Cite, please.

_____________________


"So why were so many plays set in Italy, written by authors who hadn't been there, not just Shakespeare, some of whom wrote more convincingly and with more detail about the place than he did? People were interested; it brought in the pence; bums on seats or wherever."


It happens that, in our times, people with genius-level computer-programing skills can command handsome salaries. Do you, on that account, have genius-level programer's skills? Does the fact that something provokes a lucrative interest in the public of his time simply translate to William Shaksper's having the talent and skill to supply what would amount to these interests' salable goods?--that is, what prove to be realistically-detailed plays set in Italy? Why? The point is not "Why were "people" interested in writing plays set in Italy?", rather, it's specifically, "Why was Shaksper of Stratford himself so interested?" You have no specific reason particular to him for an answer. With Oxford, we do.
_____________________


"Early modern English interest in Italy is easy to account for. Roman occupation was part of English history, and Roman ruins littered the landscape--still do. The core of the educational philosophy, grammar school and university alike, was based on the study of classical Roman authors; sometimes classical Greek authors, too. Many English attended Italian universities and presumably knew a bit about the place when they returned."


But there is _zero_ evidence of and no reason to suppose that William Shaksper had any of that education. Quite the contrary in the case of Oxford, who is also known to have travelled to all the "Italian" plays' areas.
______________


“All that that accomplished was to show that some of the detail in the plays corresponds with facts and locations in Italy. Some don't. Roe detects and discusses a couple of the latter.”


No, he doesn't, since Roe's own conjecture, whether right or wrong, that the island which figures in The Tempest is actually the island of Vulcano is not itself evidence of, let alone proof that, the play's author himself either claims this or that the author is therefore possibly, probably or surely siting the action in a locale which doesn't correspond to any actual place in Italian waters. What the fuck kind of reasoning is that!?


“One instance he dismisses by asserting that the Author was taking literary license. (Tsk, tsk!)”


Which “instance” is that? Cite, please.


"My favorite had to do with The Tempest. Roe decided that the real island of Vulcano off the coast of Sicily was Prospero's Island. Noting that it was well nigh impossible for Prospero and Miranda's "... rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd, / Nor tackle, sail, nor mast" to have drifted around the boot of Italy from the Adriatic Sea where they had been set adrift (the Adriatic is down stream from Milan where they were originally put aboard a bark) and arrive eventually at Vulcano, Roe asserts that the Author had originally written Genoa, not Milan. Someone else changed Genoa to Milan later on. His evidence? Roe asserts as a given, here and elsewhere in his book, that the Author was infallible, so no actual evidence is necessary."


That Roe may be mistaken about the location of The Tempest's island doesn't mean that the play's author could not have had a real Italian-locale in mind when he wrote, now, does it? What the fuck kind of reasoning is that!?


“Just how accurate was the Author's knowledge of Italy? It is true that a number of details in the plays do correspond with real Italian locations. As stated above, some don't.”


Yeah? Well, precisely which ones do we know of which don't 'correspond' "? CiteS, please!!!!!!!

______________



________________________

(Your comment)

"All that that accomplished was to show that some of the detail in the plays corresponds with facts and locations in Italy. Some don't. Roe detects and discusses a couple of the latter. One instance he dismisses by asserting that the Author was taking literary license. (Tsk, tsk!) My favorite had to do with The Tempest. Roe decided that the real island of Vulcano off the coast of Sicily was Prospero's Island. Noting that it was well nigh impossible for Prospero and Miranda's "... rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd, / Nor tackle, sail, nor mast" to have drifted around the boot of Italy from the Adriatic Sea where they had been set adrift (the Adriatic is down stream from Milan where they were originally put aboard a bark) and arrive eventually at Vulcano, Roe asserts that the Author had originally written Genoa, not Milan."


Where does Roe claim this? Cite, please.

______________

..."The strait was greatly feared by sailors in antiquity, mainly because of the rocks and whirlpools known as Scylla and Charybdis, which were personified as female monsters in Greek mythology. The strait’s currents do, in fact, present considerable difficulties. The main current runs from south to north, but a subsidiary current flows in the reverse direction. These usually alternate every six hours, and the water falls 6 to 8 inches (150 to 200 mm) during the main current;" ...
(https://www.britannica.com/place/Strait-of-Messina)
_______________________



See "figure 3" (at page 5 : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1755876X.2010.11020116 )



http://www.ifremer.fr/lobtln/OTHER/Terminology.html

132Podras.
Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 5:46am Top

>131 proximity1:

1. Watch your language. People have been thrown off of LibraryThing for less. If this sort of thing continues, I won't hesitate to file a complaint.

2. Unlike most of my sources, I do not own a copy of Roe's book. My comments were based on loose notes I took when I read it a couple of years ago and some pretty vivid recollections, bolstered by conversations I've had with others who have read the book, too. As a courtesy, and because I want to be certain that my "facts" are accurate, I will reorder it from the library and read it again. It will take roughly two weeks before I can make a meaningful response. If I'm wrong, I will apologize and correct any factual errors I've made.

In the meantime, identify any other factual statements of mine that you want to challenge vis-à-vis Roe's book. Keep it focused. Also, keep it civil. It's not hard to do.

133proximity1
Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 3:38am Top

>132 Podras.:

1 ) Which language?! File your "complaint," then! Nothing I wrote is a rule-violation.

2 ) "Unlike most of my sources, I do not own a copy of Roe's book. My comments were based on loose notes I took when I read it a couple of years ago and some pretty vivid recollections, bolstered by conversations I've had with others who have read the book, too."

You did write, "Roe spent around 3 years (if memory serves)..."

however, that is VERY far from a general acknowledgement on your part that the entirety of your post relies on your memory and that, as you now inform us, "Unlike most of (your) sources," you "do not own a copy of Roe's book." Rather, your "comments were based on loose notes (you) took when (you) read it a couple of years ago and some pretty vivid recollections, bolstered by conversations (you)'ve had with others who have read the book, too."

So, if your memory ill-serves you, you may have posted a load of erroneous nonsense about what Roe actually claimed and wrote.

Unlike you, I have Roe's book at hand* and ready to consult.

While you're ordering sources you lack, if you lack Noemi Magri's "Such Fruits Out of Italy, you could consider filling that gap, too.

3) ..."In the meantime, identify any other factual statements of mine that you want to challenge vis-à-vis Roe's book."

Uhm, I believe I've done just that. (more may follow from the time-stamp of this post.)

____________

* When I'm at the present place from which I write this. As for Magri's book, I obtained and read it just prior to reading Richard Roe's, also obtained (by gift) at the same time. Unfortuantely, after reading Magri's book (Such Fruits Out of Italy), since it is so very hard to find one in *these parts*, I donated it to a local library, specifically asking that they promise to put it in their circulating holdings, And, on checking and looking for it since then--months and months ago-- I have not been able to find a trace of it! But I recommend it as one of the best and most important sources on this topic.

_______________

ETA: I'll summarize the gist of Roe's treatment of The Tempest (pp. 264-295) to rectify the greatly distorted picture we're offered by >132 Podras.:

(p. 264) Except for The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream, locations in Italian-set plays "are identified through a proper name." In The Tempest we have only the geo-physical descriptions of the setting as an indication of its location. According to the play, this is an island with (Roe, p. 292) "yellow sands, hot mud pools, volcanoes, springs, fumaroles, sulphur and acrid stink, pines, oaks, lings, Spanish broom, cliffs, caves, grottoes,mulberries, hedgehogs, and scammels. Indeed, everything mentioned in the play is readily seen, touched, felt--and smelled--by a visit to this one magical island off the coast of Sicily today." This includes, notably, Ariels' reference to the "deep nook" (photo at page 290 of Roe's candidate for this location).

Roe identifies the island of Vulcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy's western coast) as superbly fitting the details of the island offered in the play. For all I know, he's right.

But, for Roe, this presents a problem because the play has the shipwrecked survivors starting out from Milan--and, as Roe explains, they could not have gone from there via water-routes (though canals were extensively used) to Italy's western coast: (p. 268) "Never, in all the history of the Italian peninsula, was there a continuous navigable waterway linking Milan with the Mediterranean."

But rather than saying, as Podras has it, that "it was well nigh impossible for Prospero and Miranda's "... rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd, / Nor tackle, sail, nor mast" to have drifted around the boot of Italy from the Adriatic Sea where they had been set adrift (the Adriatic is down stream from Milan where they were originally put aboard a bark) and arrive eventually at Vulcano," Roe actually writes, (p. 268) "Prospero and Miranda's watery trip to Vulcano, had it originated in Milan, would have been possible, but very complicated, and extremely lengthy." They'd have gone "in their 'bark' by canal to the...Adda River; then, after traveling the length of the Po, transfered to their 'carcass of a butt,' and finally cast off into the Adriatic Sea."

Instead of that, Roe's theory (p. 269) is that, for reasons of sensitivity to contemporary political realities, instead of an original version of the play which had the characters setting out from Florence, on the Arno, and going to the port of Livorno and then, into the Mediterranean sea on which they could easily drift down to Vuclano on their 'rotten carcass of a butt,' for a court performance, the point of departure was altered to have the voyage embark from Milan. This is because the play's characters and action would have suggested to Tuscan readers their own Grand Duke Francesco di Medici (1541-1587) in an unfavorable light. Such a depiction "could have appalled the ('friendly') Tuscans."(p. 269) Again, in my opinion, this is entirely plausible and for all I know it could be correct.

I think the play as it has come down to us may present such a long and arduous route for a different reason--and that reason is in keeping with what we have learned about this playwright's careful and accurate treatment of Italian settings in his plays: his portrayals are faithful and painstakingly accurate in their details because they present in dramatized form itineraries of his own real travels. So, I suspect that, if Prospero's and Miranda's journey takes them down the Adriatic (Italy's eastern coast) and south, down to and westward around the southern toe of Italy to Vulcano, lying just to the north of Sicily, this is because it conforms to the playwright's own experience and not because the published play had to take into account the feelings of important people in friendly Tuscany, who'd be offended seeing their Grand Duke portrayed as Prospero. It happens that, in fact, The Tempest had not appeared in Quarto (that we know of) and was first published in 1623's first Folio. Tuscan grand Duke Francesco I had already died by that time, as had his next two successors, Ferdinando I di Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (30 July 1549 – 17 February 1609) and Cosimo II de' Medici (12 May 1590 – 28 February 1621). Roe's reasoning is that since the plays were typically performed at court and that this could be long before they ever appeared in any printed form, the risk (very plausibly) was that a details of an offending court performance would almost certainly be related one way or another to various people by those who were in the audience and eventually make their way to, in this case, the Medici. I grant that as a very reasonable rationale for a decision to alter an original manuscript of the play and present it at court with an Adriatic route starting from Milan. But even if that were the case, unless all manuscripts of the original form were lost in the meantime and only an altered version survived to 1623, it wouldn't explain why the First Folio text wasn't portraying the itinerary as starting from a west coast port--Genoa, Livorno, etc.--as Roe's theory logically implies the original version would have had it.

Whatever the real explanation, Roe gives us no reason to doubt that the island is the real-life locale of the island depicted in the play. And Roe does not in the slightest suggest that the playwright has deviated from what would be his otherwise impeccable fidelity to historical and geographical fact in the Italian plays' settings where these are indicated by proper names. And we have no particular good reason to think that the playwright would or did simply abandon that documented habit.

I close by returning to this:

"All that that accomplished was to show that some of the detail in the plays corresponds with facts and locations in Italy. Some don't. Roe detects and discusses a couple of the latter. One instance he dismisses by asserting that the Author was taking literary license. (Tsk, tsk!) My favorite had to do with The Tempest."

So it turns out that Podras's "favorite" example of Roe supposedly discussing a case in which the playwright's work's details don't "(correspond) with facts and locations in Italy" fails on examination. In fact, I know of no example where, according to what's known to be in the plays as we have them, there is a clear case of an Italian-set play's failing to accurately portray some matter of consequence in geography, in history or in culture except where it is obvious that the play's details deviate in relation to some necessary theatrical factor that would understandably preclude that accuracy being in the dialogue, the action or the scene-setting.

For, this island, with its known characteristics, corresponds quite well to the details in the play and is indeed a location which can be fairly and reasonably described as "in Italy." (Aeolian Islands, Italy) And that is true whether or not Vulcano is the actual place the play's author had in mind.

Again, the pertinent question, which can so easily become lost in the back-and-forth of argument is, simply, how and why William Shaksper of Stratford, who, as Podras tells us, according to "the present consensus ... "he (Shaksper) probably never left England," should ever have had this particular island in mind as his play's setting.



(Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcano)

134proximity1
Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 8:14am Top

>129 Podras.:

"I have it on good authority (but unverified by me) that Verona's grove of sycamores (R&J) are really plane trees. Plus, Roe's photograph of the gate where they are planted is said to have been taken from the wrong side of the gate."

But sycamores and plane trees are merely two types of the same family of trees. An American would naturally call the Platanus orientalis a "sycamore tree" (Platanus occidentalis ) and, by the way, the play's author also refers to Platanus orientalis (which also are found in London) as "sycamore."

Wikipedia (from "Platanus") :

"The following are recognized species of plane trees:"

"Platanus occidentalis American sycamore, American plane, buttonwood, occidental plane eastern North America 1–2 Subgenus Platanus"

"Platanus orientalis Oriental plane southeast Europe, southwest Asia 3–6 Subgenus Platanus"

Fruits and leaves of Oriental Plane tree (from Wikipedia)

Platanus occidentalis
(https://it.pinterest.com/augustengstrom/platan/)

_____________________________

We're invited to suppose that Richard Roe, who we should reasonably figure must have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds and hundreds of hours researching for his book, criss-crossing Italy, making notes, taking photos, interviewing local residents and experts, visiting archives, engaging translators, comes to a particular spot near Milano's Verona's** old city wall and that there, Roe fails to look on the correct side of the wall and finds there what he calls sycamore trees but which some Stratfordians insist (?) are actually plane trees instead—as though these two aren't of the same family. We're invited to suppose that, from the play's text alone, we know that the playwright had to have meant by “the grove of sycamore” Platanus orientalis while, of course, Roe must have mistakenly found and photographed (indeed, inside the old city walls, (photo, p. 10*) just as the play's text reads) -- Platanus occidentalis. (by the way, what are we to suppose if, on examination, Roe's photo shows sycamores outside the old city walls' westward side? Must we conclude that, four hundred years ago, there surely weren't and couldn't have been also some of the same type of trees growing just on the other side-- on the "city-side" of the wall? Seriously? )

It's a wonder, isn't it? that, in the play, Benvolio isn't made to say,



(in Verona)

“Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the East,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad,
Where. Underneath the grove of Platanus orientalis
That westward rooteth from the city's side,
So early walking did I see your son.”

— Romeo & Juliet, I, i.


Like many Oxfordians, I am used to having this kind of low-grade speculative nonsense offered in rebuttal to documented and well-reasoned arguments. To other readers newly-come to this controversy, such a reply might be thought to be an attempt at humor. I would like to assure them that there is no reason to think that Podras is kidding us.

I hope that I am not the only one reading here who finds his attempt to off-handedly discredit Richard Roe's careful work, intellectually, deeply insulting. What many Oxfordians must now wonder is, simply, “How is the Stratfordian edifice even still standing at all?”

_________________________

* I think I must admit that from the distance between the camera lens and the trees, in the photo on page 10, it's not very obvious that, first, what we're seeing is from the city-side of the wall. In the photo we see cars parked along the wall beside and below the trees shown but the view could be of the outer (exterior) side of the wall; and, secondily, that the trees are sycamores. Thus, perhaps Podras would have had Roe strip a tree of its foliage and send it to Harper Collins publishers in order that a leaf might be placed inside each copy of the book distributed by the publishers. However, in such a case, we must suppose that Podras would next object, demanding Oxfordians answer, "How do we know these leaves come from the same trees as those pictured in Roe's book?!"

Please See also: the site, "Oxfraud" where the topic is given a treatment which is completely typical of Stratfordians:

http://oxfraud.com/100-sycamore-grove


________________________________

ETA : ** In the course of all this, I can no longer keep straight where I am-- on a bark in the Adriatic or the Tyrrhenian sea or in Verona or Milano or Firenze or Venezia.

135Muscogulus
Sep 6, 2017, 1:29pm Top

>128 proximity1: In the wrangling over Italian locations, I'm surprised this was overlooked:
___________

“At the (D)uke's (O)ak we meet.” (capitalized or not)

—A Midsummer Night's Dream I, ii.
(Roe, ibid) p. 183-185

There remains to this day a "duke's oak" (this is not a Public House ("Pub") name , it refers to an oak tree ) known by that name at Sabbioneta, forty km. southwest of Mantua.
_____________
That's lovely, but it has nothing to do with A Midsummer Night's Dream -- which (besides being full of fairies, magic, and an Amazon bride, so not that keen on verisimilitude) is set in and around Athens, Greece.

136Podras.
Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 2:26am Top

>135 Muscogulus: Excellent point!

In any case, whenever a place or thing in the plays can be matched up with something that really exists with confidence, it is only evidence that the author knew of it, not that he ever saw it in person.

Things like Shylock's pent-house window from Merchant of Venice are generic and can't be legitimately assumed to have been inspired by any specific pent-house window, let alone any window of any type at all. It seems most likely that that text was merely to provide a verbal cue about the setting of the scene; sort of like the "vasty fields of France" from Henry V or Much Ado About Nothing's "pleached bower" where Beatrice crouched hidden. Jessica is supposed to climb down from the second level opening at the back of the stage to the waiting Lorenzo below; the reverse of Romeo's climb to Juliet's window.

Roe's excitement about finding a pent-house window in Venice, whatever that is supposed to look like, really is much ado about nothing.

137proximity1
Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 8:17am Top

>136 Podras.:

">135 Muscogulus: Muscogulus: Excellent point!"

No. Really, it's not that excellent.

________________________________

>135 Muscogulus:

I somehow gather you haven't read Roe's book. You know one of the problems of these, your ("your" meant generally in this thread--not only you, but others, too) critical obsevations about Roe's "faults"--other than, that is, that I gather you haven't read his book--?

It's that, again and again, Roe is taxed with charges that he's made the most obvious and ridiculous blunders. Do you seriously suppose he "forgot" that "Midsummer Night's Dream" was ostensibly supposed to be set in Athens? You never seem to get it that, with Roe, we're dealing with one who knows his materials well. This is completely typical of the sort of thoughtless mistakes by Stratfordians. And it's very tedious.

Here is how Roe's text reads:



(p. 182)
"Some of the buildings in Sabbioneta were originally commodiuos quarters for the Duke's invited guests, his pleasure having been in inviting the erudite among both Italy's, and other western Europe's, nobility and intelligensia for a visit to his model city. While there, they would admire
his rich collections of paintings* and sculpture and take part in festivities, salons, and scholarly lectures that he sponsored during his lifetime. Thus, in addition to the name "Sabbioneta," Vespasiano Gonzaga's guests __and then its steadily increasing numbers of visitors--gave it a second name, La Piccola Atena--"Little Athens"--not because of its architecture but because of its immediate reputation as a hospitable gathering place for scholars and intellectuals." ...

(p. 183)
... "A Midsummer Night's Dream! The playwright had been in Sabbioneta! A world of understanding burst in my brain. Of course. It made so much sense. I reached my parked car and collapsed. I grabbed my dog-earred paperback of Dream and quickly leafed through it. Indeed, the play was set in Athens. It was so designated, not only at the beginning of Act I, but I counted more than thirty references thoughout the play to "Athens" or "Athenian" --though, tellingly, no references to Greeks, Greece, Grecians, Attica, or Atticans: only "Athens" and "Athenians." It was no accident. The playwright had wanted his Dream to take place only there, in "Athens." But it was increasingly clear that there was here--in Sabbioneta, La Piccola Atene--"Little Athens." Here in Italy."

And the Duke's Oak, Gears clicked into place."

(My note: as they somehow never do for Stratfordians.)



____________

* ( Oxford came on the site of the painting which was the inspiration for, for example, Sh-Oxford-speare's poem, Venus and Adonis in the course of his travels in Italy. (See Magri, "Such Fruits Out of Italy.") ; can Stratfordians present us with a better explanation for this author's--as William Shaksper of Stratford-- having been inspired to write this poem? Again and again the question poses itself: Why was the Stratford fellow so interested in this topic!? All of the sources of interest are as evident in Oxford's life as they are conspicuously lacking in Shaksper's. )



"Sabbioneta è il centro monumentale più ricco di tutta la provincia di Mantova, tanto da essere chiamata la ‘Piccola Atene’.

La città fu creata nella seconda metà del XVI secolo da Vespasiano Gonzaga, ambizioso principe, nato da uno dei rami cadetti della numerosa famiglia. Avendo egli ereditato alcune terre periferiche del mantovano con il modesto villaggio di Sabbioneta, decise di distruggere quest'ultimo e di edificarvi, in minuscole dimensioni, una città ideale concepita da lui personalmente.

Chiusa da una cinta di mura di pianta stellare, la città rappresenta il più completo esempio di una raffinata sede ducale cinquecentesca. Il suo nome richiama alla mente l'idea della sabbia; e forse una desolata landa sabbiosa doveva essere il luogo dove sorse poi la cittadina. Si dice anche che sia stata così chiamata da San Sabino che predicò in questi luoghi.

Al centro della piazza castello, antica Piazza d'Armi, si erge una colonna romana, con base e capitello in bronzo, opera di Andrea Cavalli nel 1584. Sul capitello poggia la statua di Pallade, pregevole scultura in marmo bianco, che fu acquistata dal duca per la sua collezione archeologica.

Sul lato destro di Piazza Castello sorge la Galleria degli Antichi, una lunga, imponente costruzione in mattoni con porticato di 26 arcate, a cui corrispondono altrettanti archi chiusi al piano superiore. Eretta nel 1583, presenta pareti affrescate da Pietro Pesenti e Giovanni e Cherubino Alberti. Questa galleria costituisce un vero trionfo dell'arte pittorica che richiama alla memoria la corte papale e quella dei re di Francia, entrambe note per il loro fasto.

Il teatro di Sabbioneta, eccellenza architettonica del manierismo italiano, fu progettato da Vincenzo Scamozzi tra il 1588 e il 1590. Voluto da Vespasiano Gonzaga, costituisce ad oggi il prototipo del teatro moderno, superbo esempio di tecnica ed eleganza architettonica ideato per lo svago e il diletto del duca e della corte sabbionetana. A pianta rettangolare, con scena fissa demolita nel secolo scorso e sostituita da un palco, fu il primo teatro coperto costruito appositamente fin dalle fondamenta. Moderni restauri hanno riportato alla luce gli affreschi di scuola veneta che ornavano le pareti. La facciata esterna presenta una raffinata architettura divisa in due ordini da una fascia a marcapiano, in cui si rincorre la scritta ‘ROMA QUANTA FUIT IPSA RUINA DOCET’ volta a celebrare la grandezza di Roma attraverso le rovine dei monumenti antichi.

La piccola Sabbioneta, nata dal sogno umanistico di Vespasiano Gonzaga, dopo quasi 500 anni, rimane un piccolo gioiello urbano di valore inestimabile, che riesce sempre ad emozionare.

http://www.crema.laprovinciacr.it/news/questione-di-stile/160180/la-sabbioneta-d...


138proximity1
Sep 7, 2017, 5:09am Top


I do have an error to correct:

back at >128 proximity1: I've had to amend the post to correct an error of mine in the presentation of details.

I apologize for the error.

139Muscogulus
Sep 7, 2017, 8:20pm Top

>137 proximity1: Very entertaining! I love how anti-Stratfordians follow long chains of speculation to try to prove that Shakespeare's plays contain "exclusive content" that no commoner could possibly be privy to. Yet they go temporarily blind and deaf when confronted with evidence of Shakespeare using Midlands dialect, village names from the Stratford-on-Avon vicinity, and distinctive surnames from Stratfordshire. Not to mention the sonnets' several puns on the name Will.

Oh well. If you insist on believing the plays were written by an English earl who felt he had to use a pseudonym, I don't suppose you're doing much harm. Sure, you're perpetuating a reductive picture of early modern Britain, with all the subtleties bleached out. It's as if Shakespeare inhabited a video game kingdom instead of a real one. But such errors will not cause civilization to fall, nor will they make people stop reading Shakespeare. Who knows? Maybe some people will read a few more plays than they otherwise would have because they believe the author's true identity has been concealed for centuries.

Since you brought up Venus and Adonis, maybe you can explain why Oxfordians think the earl had to conceal his identity when publishing poetry -- not just plays. I mean, Elizabeth I published sonnets. James VI and I published books about religion. The number of Oxford's scribbling peers is legion. So when writing verse, why would he have pretended to be "Shakespeare," a player from the provinces, instead of himself?

140proximity1
Edited: Apr 16, 12:30pm Top

>139 Muscogulus:

"I love how anti-Stratfordians follow long chains of speculation to try to prove that Shakespeare's plays contain "exclusive content" that no commoner could possibly be privy to." (emphasis in the original)

Don't you just?!

And, with that, you neatly obscure the point under a false assumption. So allow me to remind readers of what you're apparently eager that they not bear in mind:

No one is saying so categorically that these are facts which "no commoner could possibly be privy to." (My emphasis added on "no") Rather than that, Oxfordians are employing reasoning which is part of any good detective's basic skills. Given competing hypotheses, Oxfordians are trying sincerely to recognize the more plausible. What we're asking--and not getting any respectable answer to-- is, rather, why "this commoner--Shaksper of Stratford-- could and should be thought to have probably been "privy to" so much that is in the poems, plays and sonnets. We have to repeat that important distinction and you have to keep trying not to notice it.

You write with this challenge: "... maybe you can explain why Oxfordians think the earl had to conceal his identity when publishing poetry -- not just plays."

Citing an earlier post of mine.



Sonnet 76:

"Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same ,
And keep invention in a noted weed ,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed
?"

"Though I find multiple meanings in th(ese) phrase(s)--including a covert one--I'm interested here in only the plainly obvious meaning: his style is such that, practically everything he writes -or might one day write-would be infallibly recognised as his. So, while he could openly claim credit for the poems, he had other writings and other plans for writings which should have been too controversial to have published under his own name"



from Politic Worm, Hopkins Hughes offers her explanation for: "Why couldn’t Oxford admit to writing Venus and Adonis?"-Michael Egan

Egan: “Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece are respectable poetry. Why were they not published under Oxford’s name?”



SHH throws just about everything into her catalogue of reasons why and, while I think all of them have some bearing, they don't all share an equal weight in explaining what we, today, might find so puzzling about a set of circumstances which Elizabethan nobility took for granted. Oxford basically (a tiny few exceptions aside) wrote under a pseudonym all his life. Before writing as "Shakespeare," Oxford did his youthful training writing as "Robert Greene" of "Greene's Groat's Worth" fame. ( Some credit Oxford as the real mind behind the English translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses published under Oxford's Uncle's name, Arthur Golding. I agree with that speculation.)

In addition to that, you could read (or re-read) about the history of publishing in Tudor England. Publishing was completely controlled. Presses, though used commercially, weren't used at their proprietor's own sole discretion. Before something was published, it had to be registered at the Crown stationer's office--essentially a routine step which gave the crown the purview to censor whatever it pleased for whatever reason or, (in the view of some) no good reason at all. People took such proscriptions very seriously. Noble men and women went to the exectutioner's block for serious offenses to the norms of required social customs of their class. But death wasn't the only penalty. Lesser offenses were punished by confinement in the Tower, house-arrest or temporary banishment from the Court. Oxford himself was confined for a time in the Tower and he was also temporarily banished from the Court in separate incidents. ETA : Attainder, and Bills of attainder :
"Attainder refers to a person or family losing a noble title, plus any or all the rights and privileges attached to it, due to treason. The Crown may by a bill (or writ) of attainder deprive you and your family of lands and goods as well as your precedence and title, and possibly your life."

Sure, in Tudor England certain books could be published --especially religious ones, provided that they weren't heretical. And what was heretical in one decade might be orthodox in a subsequent one, and vice versa.

Consider, for example, the life of William Tyndale as presented in David Daniell's,

William Tyndale: A Biography.



Now, what I just "love" is how Stratfordians will do anything, tie themselves into knots, to avoid having to recognize the far more compelling case for Oxford as the author. He had the indispensibe education and the opportunities without which, as was the case in Wiliam Shakper's case--one could not at all plausibly have become the personality revealed in the writings of "Shakespeare" and, without that, could not at all plausibly have produced those works.

Completely unlike the chain of reasoning employed by Oxfordians, Stratfordians are entirely dependent on a prior assumption that the title-page name "William Shakespeare" indicated Shaksper of Stratford and no one else. In fact, there is simply no evidence for this except that which comes to us covered in suspicious circumstances--as being part of the work of one of two sets of behind-the-scenes actors--on one hand, Oxford's genuine friends, the Herberts, above all, in getting his work into print and, on the other hand, his adversaries, the Cecils, Oxford's powerful in-laws. who sought to expunge from the record all traces which revealed Oxford's authorship--because so much of it was so initmately a part of the touch-me-not social scene of the theatre.

Oxford faced a problem which he "solved" in the only way then available to him. He accepted the fact that it was forbidden that he publish the vast majority of his writing in his own lifetime and under his own name. But that does not mean that he was either happy about it or that he resigned himself to a fate in which he would never be known for and credited with the work which he did under the pseudonym "Shakespeare". His solution was such as his own peculiar genius made evident to him as, indeed, he himself understood and wrote, in Sonnet 76:


"Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name(*),
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?"


(Further comment here on the word-play in this sonnet.)

Maybe you could answer a question for me--so far, despite my repeated challenges to them, no Stratfordian has yet answered it:

If your view is correct, and William Shaksper actually was the author, then, first, why in the hell would he have penned those lines at all?! After all, with his name on the published Sonnets --in his own lifetime, for crying out loud!--why would he even feel there'd be this importance that his "every word almost tell" his name, hmm? His name was on the fucking title-page if indeed it was he who was the rightful author. Writing those words ought to tell us --and it does tell Oxfordians--that the author's name was not to be discovered through the usual means.

And, second, why the hell should he have written in such amazingly intimate terms and on such personal topics to the Earl of Southampton--and, to top it off, include such a line in sonnet LXXVI when, we might suppose, Southampton might have received them both personally from their author in manuscript form as well as later, in printed and published form!?

But, even if only given in their final printed form, Southampton still should well have said, "Uh, yeah, 'Will,' you did after all send me these sonnets personally. Indeed, even if your every word didn't tell your name, I'd still know it without a doubt."

Why, also, would Shaksper have given a damn about his having, (in Sonnet CX )

"made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear," ?

Nothing about Shaksper's humble origins--acknowledged by Stratfordians but without their recognizing and admitting what this means in practical terms during the 16th-century--should lead us to suppose he had anywhere to go "but 'up', socially-speaking. So what the hell if he'd made himself a motely to the view?

Care to explain that?

On the other hand, among Oxford's most formidable adversaries, the Cecils faced a problem, too. Their problem could be stated this way: "How do we, the Cecil family, preserve and perpetuate our entrée to our all-important noble status--namely, through daughter Anne's marriage to Edward Oxford--without at the same time sullying our name for all posterity by so close a relation's participation in the seamy, disgusting and socially-unacceptable world of the common theatre?"

The solution was to cook up phony documentation to support Oxford's pseudonym's real-life personality who, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with writing anything and nothing to do with any of Oxford's intellectual passions--theatrical or otherwise. Being the Cecils, they were as perfectly-placed to accomplish this as anyone could be. More important than creating phony documents or amending real, existing ones to mention Shaksper name post-facto, the Cecils used their positions to seize and eliminate vital state papers--The court revels record, for example, during Oxford's most important years of activity--so that these would not testify to Oxford's claim to the authorship of "Shakespeare" 's works. Since, in the early days, outside the circle of the royal court--most all of whom already knew Oxford was "Shakespeare" anyway-- among commoners, on the contrary, none except a tiny handful of people either knew of or cared a damn about any real personality behind the name "Shakespeare."

____________

"Yet they go temporarily blind and deaf when confronted with evidence of Shakespeare using Midlands dialect, village names from the Stratford-on-Avon vicinity, and distinctive surnames from Stratfordshire. Not to mention the sonnets' several puns on the name Will."

There's no reason at all why Oxford shouldn't have easily been able to employ such traits in his characters and such place-names and surnames. What's bizarre is Shaksper's apparently incredible familiarlty with the Italy of his time. There is simply no way to reasonably account for it. So Stratfordians employ the wildest and most unreasonable tactics trying to explain this. It makes them stupendously ridiculous.

Stephanie Hopkins Hughes has other essays related to the question, " Why couldn’t Oxford admit to writing Venus and Adonis?" (or other epic poetry, The Rape of Lucrece, etc.)

"Why did the cover-up continue past Oxford's death?" (asked by Alex Neil)

"Why was it dishonorable for peers to write?" (asked by Michael Egan)

"Why did Oxford have to hide his identity behnd real people?" (asked by Chris Kaiser)

_______________________

I know it's a minor quibble but, last I heard, Stratford on Avon was in Warwickshire and I'm not familiar with the shire of Stratford.

_______________________




(*)
(J. Thomas Looney, writing in Shakespeare Identified in Edward De Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford )

“When to all this we find him adding the fear

'That every word doth almost tell my name,'
from Sonnet 76

“it is made as clear as anything can be that he was one who elected his own self-effacement, and that disrepute was one, if not the principal motive. We may, if we wish, question the sufficiency or reasonableness of the motive. That, however, is his business, not ours.”
(p. 174)





For me, this is a wholly mistaken interpretation of the import of the words,

“That every word doth almost tell my name,”

That was not entirely the fruit of a fear of discovery. Read the line in its context and it should be
clear that, here, Oxford is, one, stating this as a matter of fact and two, he is not fearful of or ashamed of this fact but, rather, proud of it and three, this is a direct and intended allusion to
his real name, Edward de Vere, in a cleverly rendered cryptic. E(dward)VER(e)Y (ed)WO(a)RD or “ E VER WORD ” doth almost tell my name: “Edward de Vere” and not. literally “every word” throughout his sonnets (as yet unpublished when he penned these lines.)

First, the sonnets themselves were hand written and sent, piecemeal or in batches, to their addressee(s). They constitute one side of what was surely a prolonged exchange in writing by (at least) two people (the principal two of these) who were intimately acquainted. The idea that the recipient would not have very well known his correspondent's real name or that, as Looney believes, that Oxford feared being known—
at this stage, at any rate, and by the person to whom this sonnet was addressed—is simply too far-fetched. Throughout the body of the work of the sonnets it is clear that Oxford was intensely proud of his work despite periods of dejectedness in which he belittled all human effort and existence itself as a vain affair. He repeatedly assures his correspondent that both of them shall, as a result
of the writings, be known for as long as men read and write, thus outlasting that renown which many other forms of human accomplishment can confer. They are some of his plays which were the main concern for annonymity to the general public rather than the sonnets, which, in any case were published posthumously.

----
(1) I join others, (see, esp. Stephanie Hopkins Hughes at www.politicworm.com because this insight, extended more broadly to other period writers, is her own, above all) who argue that Oxford also wrote under other pen-names as, for example, when he introduced the first published allusion to the pseudonymous “Shakespeare” in a text, “Greene's Groatsworth of Witte” (1592) which he wrote under the pen-name of “Robert Greene.”



"The printer to the gentle readers.

I Haue published heere Gentlemen for your mirth and benefite Greenes groates worth of wit. VVith sundry of his pleasant discourses, ye haue beene before delighted: But now hath death giuen a period to his pen: onely this happened into my handes which I haue published for your pleasures: Accept it fauourably because it was his last birth and not least worth: In my poore opinion. But I will cease to praise that which is aboue my conceipt, and leaue it selfe to speake for it selfe: and so abide your learned censuring.

Yours VV. VV."




_________________________________

For reference:

Auchter, Dorothy: Dictionary of Literary and Dramatic Censorship in Tudor and Stuart England, 2001, Greenwood Press.

141proximity1
Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 1:00pm Top

>139 Muscogulus:

RE: "Sure, you're perpetuating a reductive picture of early modern Britain, with all the subtleties bleached out. It's as if Shakespeare inhabited a video game kingdom instead of a real one.

RE: But such errors will not cause civilization to fall, nor will they make people stop reading Shakespeare."

RE: "Who knows? Maybe some people will read a few more plays than they otherwise would have because they believe the author's true identity has been concealed for centuries."

These comments deserve separate treatment because they so spectacularly get things backwards and up-side down and, in doing so, reveal exactly why the Stratfordian view of "Shakespeare" and his identity is so tremendously harmful.

Taking them in the order above --and, reader beware: this reply requires more time than I have in what remains of the day.

"Sure, you're perpetuating a reductive picture of early modern Britain, with all the subtleties bleached out. It's as if Shakespeare inhabited a video game kingdom instead of a real one." ...

On the contrary, it is the Stratfordian view which is disastrously reductive of life in Tudor England and so much more than that. It is the Stratfordian view which bleaches out subtleties, it is the Stratfordian view which makes of Shakespearean literature little more than a video-game concoction. And these factors are important in explaining a good deal about the decline in other-than-superficial interest in Shakespeare among a mass-audience. For a smaller number of people, not only experts but also devoted amateurs, "Shakespeare" will remain indispensable. But for many, man people, even now in academia, the work has become quite dispensable.

Many subtleties are now lost to us simply because we no longer share the insights which Oxford's own peers brought to the audience of his plays because they knew him and his life's details personally in a way we cannot. So, there are more trenchant puns than we can recognize. The word-play in general is less evident to us today. But the loss of richness does not begin and end with puns--of which there are >many because Oxford was so given to their use.

We can find much richer meaning and significance in the work when we correctly identify its author. Without that correct identification, his plays and sonnets are cropped, shorn of much of their vitality and richness. "Shakespeare's" words and his meanings and messages are quite differently and quite better (or even simply "at last") understood in some cases only when one understands that a high-ranking but iconoclastic nobleman wrote them. In addition, when the plays are taken to be the work of a simple commoner from Stratford, the essential "back-story" --which often concerned matters of state and conflicts of interest between crowned heads, foreign and domestic--behind the author's motives for dramatizing old well-known tales first written by one or sometimes several others before his versions of them.

(I need more time to gather and post examples of this point.)

_______________________

"But such errors will not cause civilization to fall," ...

A certain view of, a certain idea of "civilization" is and has for some time now been failing. Some of these aspects which are least to be regretted are, unfortunately, tangled up with the parts which are most to be treasured. Life is like that and--justement: Oxford's work as "Shakespeare" is in itself a poignant lesson in this respect and one which we don't get to profit by when we refuse to credit the rightful author with his due. Thus, the parts of endangered civilization which are either at risk now or which are already largely lost to us and which are most to be regretted if an when lost are, in fact, as I see it, intimately associated with both the most important things in "Shakespeare" as well as what is no less important: the ability, combined with the inclination on the part of significant numbers of people to see and value the insights transmitted in Shakespeare's ( that is, Oxford's) genius as that is revealed in the poetry and plays.

In brief, if we want to save much about civilization's most important features, we had better save Oxford's work under the pseudonym of "Shakespeare." And, to do that, we had better come to understand that it is to Oxford that the authorial credit is due and we had better understand why grasping this is vital to saving the virtues of this work--not only for what that work has already contributed to civilization but, just as much, for what it could contribute but, due to the misidentification of its author, has been prevented from contributing. The most valuable aspects are in part among this as-yet-untapped potential for civilizational succor.

_______________________

nor will they make people stop reading Shakespeare."

I've tried to make the point that it is far from "good enough" to merely read "Shakespeare" with a woefully stunted and wholly misconceived idea about who "he", the author, really was. Not only are the everyday senses of his language being lost as these become ever-stranger to our ears, but the meanings as metaphor and the special significances which lie strictly in the correct knowledge of the author's identity cannot be grasped and their benefits reaped. That doesn't only entail utilitarian advantages; there is richer aesthetic value to be gained from rightly identifying the work's author.

So carrying on reading Oxford ignorantly--ignorant of his place as author-- is an automatic devaluation of reading "Shakespeare."

My point, indeed, is that, for the vast majority of people, because they cannot correctly first identify the rightful author, they've actually never even "begun" to read "Shakespeare." Only after getting the author's identity correct can they take up the then-far-more-interesting tasks of grasping what that author is saying for, be assured, William Shaksper of Stratford as "Shakespeare" does not and cannot say or mean the same things which Edward Oxford as "Shakespeare" says and means.



“In fact, I'll admit that I hardly ever go to a performance of one of Shakespeare's plays without experiencing blind panic during the first five minutes. I sit there thinking: I'm the director of the National Theatre, and I have no idea what these people are talking about.” --Nicholas Hytner
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/william-shakespeare/10371300/Keep-it-...



__________________________________________________​

"Horatio, I am dead, thou liv'st; report my cause a-right to the unsatisfied".

"Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! Who understandeth thee not, loves thee not."

142Muscogulus
Sep 8, 2017, 5:27pm Top

>141 proximity1: Nice try, Proxi. When one's argument lacks substance, it's always a sound move to introduce a new topic, preferably one that demands nothing more than expressions of feelings.

My question was: Why would an English earl feel compelled to assume the identity of "Shakespeare," a player from the provinces, when publishing poetry like Venus and Adonis?

Your answer: Oh dear, there are a million reasons why the grandest earl in the land could never be seen to be publishing inky books; it would soil his reputation. There's censorship; he might get his head cut off for getting crossways with Her Majesty. There's religion; writing poetry could be a gateway to Sin, and the Reformation demanded that nobles be exemplary models to the common folk. But mostly there's the class system, which was ever so much more demanding than modern Americans can understand. Anyway, had he been merely noble, he might well have published, but he was also a courtier, and courtiers couldn't be seen as idle scribblers. And there's still hundreds of thousands of reasons you don't have time to mention, so if you haven't persuaded me yet, I should read J. Thomas Looney, Stephanie Hill, and Richard Paul Roe.

In other words, there is no good reason.

Point not addressed: Why Oxford should publish as "Shakespeare," a real person with unsavory ties to the theater, rather than using an invented pseudonym like "Astrophil," as one of his Elizabethan peers did. It would have been a simple means to prevent all this heartbreak you and your fellow Oxfordians feel. And there's his inconsistency: De Vere did write and publish under his own name, including comedies for the allegedly reprehensible theater. So why are we to believe he also pretended to be Shakespeare?

I challenge you to reply as briefly as you can. Between Harvey and Irma, we're already getting more than enough stormy breath in my region of the world.

143Podras.
Sep 8, 2017, 8:51pm Top

>142 Muscogulus: As you point out, De Vere was happy, anti-Shakespeareans say by implication, to publish mediocre poetry under his name but hid his authorship of the hottest, most prestigious poetry in the early 1590s, Venus and Adonus and The Rape of Lucrece. The whole nonsensical argument, about the so-called stigma against aristocrats publishing anything (except when they did), was an invention to try to account for de Vere's failure to published anything of value. Tudor Aristocrats and the Mythical "Stigma of Print" is an excellent discussion of the issue.

I do have one question about your statement: "De Vere did write and publish under his own name, including comedies for the allegedly reprehensible theater." I knew of de Vere's comedies from Francis Meres' Palladas Tamia: Wits Treasury, but I wasn't aware that any had made it into print, thinking that they were just masques for use at court. Can you provide more information about that?

144Crypto-Willobie
Sep 8, 2017, 9:17pm Top

>143 Podras.:
If Oxenford had written just a single comedy (probably under Lyly's tutelage) that would be enough for the flattering world to account him one of the "best for comedy".

145Muscogulus
Sep 8, 2017, 11:28pm Top

>143 Podras.:
>144 Crypto-Willobie:

Not having read Oxford's comedy myself -- as no texts survive -- Podras may be right about them having been court masques. The references to him as an author of "comedy" are ambiguous.

Anyway, as a patron of actors, Oxford may well have written comedy for the theater, not just the court.

146Podras.
Sep 9, 2017, 2:37am Top

>144 Crypto-Willobie:
>145 Muscogulus:

I keep forgetting about de Vere's association with ... what was it ... a boys' company? If he wrote for his company, whatever it was, it would more easily explain how Meres knew of his stuff and could assess its quality than if de Vere's comedies were court masques. The notion that he might have written under Lyly's tutelage, assuming he wrote any such thing at all, is very compelling.

All of this is, at best, mere speculation since there is zero evidence for any of it; just de Vere's name on Meres' comedy list.

Here is Meres' list of English writers who are best at comedy:
    Edward, Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Master Rowley, once a rare scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Edwardes, one of Her Maiesties Chappell, eloquent and wittie Iohn Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Mundye, our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.
Someone I know speculates that Meres' lists were arranged by social rank, with the highest being placed first. That would mean that de Vere wasn't necessarily the best at it. A cursory glance at some of Meres' other lists seems to verify this. I suppose that it is something to have made Meres' list at all.

147proximity1
Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 4:06am Top


>146 Podras.:

"Someone I know speculates that Meres' lists were arranged by social rank, with the highest being placed first. That would mean that de Vere wasn't necessarily the best at it."

"Someone" over at the piece-of-shit site, "Oxfraud"?

LOL! Anything to denigrate Oxford.

148proximity1
Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 4:38am Top

>142 Muscogulus:

I notice you've completely ignored the questions I posted to you above. What a "surprise"!

And here, you're back with more questions to me after I've addressed those you posed--at greater length--i.e. with greater care and attention--than you can bother to find time for.

Here is your question, from >139 Muscogulus::

"The number of Oxford's scribbling peers is legion. So when writing verse, why would he have pretended to be "Shakespeare," a player from the provinces, instead of himself? "

That was your question and that's the question I addressed. Now you're asking a different question: "Why was Shaksper of Stratford (a real person, rather than a fictitious one) the mask for Oxford?"

RE: "Why Oxford should publish as "Shakespeare," a real person with unsavory ties to the theater, rather than using an invented pseudonym like "Astrophil," as one of his Elizabethan peers did. It would have been a simple means to prevent all this heartbreak you and your fellow Oxfordians feel."

"Shakespeare" (first appearing in print as "Shake-speare") wasn't a real person. It was an invented pseudonym. The real person, William Shaksper of Stratford, in trouble with the authorities (i.e.the Cecils, who were interested in putting some innocuous person in the place of an author--not to satisfy any particular current curiosity about the author's identity (there wasn't much of that anyway) but for the purposes of duping posterity's eventual curiosity) was easily susceptible to their "invitation" to do nothing, say nothing, just act his usual self--an illiterate knob--and pocket a nominal stipend for doing nothing special--which he wasn't going to do anyway--and became a living-mask only after the fact.

Explain to us, please, why Shaksper's son-in-law, Dr. John Hall, made no mention in his published journal about his supposedly illustrious father-in-law, the great William Shakespeare. This enigma completely stumped Mrs. Stopes who couldn't account for it either. So I don't suppose you shall.

Shaksper had no ties to the theatre--unsovory or otherwise--except those invented post-facto by inauthentic amendations to old records, intended to present an association which was never in fact there.



"And there's his inconsistency: De Vere did write and publish under his own name, including comedies for the allegedly reprehensible theater. So why are we to believe he also pretended to be Shakespeare?"


That, too, has been asnwered at length by Oxfordians--including Stephanie Hopkins Hughes--not Stephanie "Hill".

Go look it up and read for yourself--that is, if you're really all that fucking interested.

When do you answer my questions to you? My impression is, as the New Yorker cartoon hilariously puts it,

" 'Never'? Is 'never' good for you?"

LOL!

RE:

..."so if you haven't persuaded me yet, I should read J. Thomas Looney, Stephanie Hill (Sic; it's Stephanie Hopkins Hughes), and Richard Paul Roe. "

You could of course read them but you apparently haven't--doesn't stop you from commenting out of ignorance on their work--but there's no indication that you shall and I don't suppose you shall. It would, after all, be a waste of your time since your mind is closed on this topic.

149proximity1
Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 11:48am Top

>142 Muscogulus:



"And there's his inconsistency: De Vere did write and publish under his own name, including comedies for the allegedly reprehensible theater. So why are we to believe he also pretended to be Shakespeare?

"I challenge you to reply as briefly as you can."


You "challenge" me to reply to you?! You've got a lot of fucking nerve to post that, mister. Until you answer the previous questions you're ignoring and do them justice, you can take your challenge for me to answer briefly and go to hell with it.

Encyclopedia Britannica apparently isn't aware of these extant plays written by Oxford under his own name--and neither am I. You ought to inform them--and us--of them.

I guess if you had solid evidence to back that up, you'd have posted it in the first place. And I'm expecting that, like the other unsubstantiated bullshit you post, and like the other questions you're ignoring, you'll ignore this, refusing to provide sound answers to the questions I've put to you.

Which and Where are Oxford's extant plays? Cite, please--those you claim he "did write and publish under his own name" (emphasis added)



"English lyric poet and theatre patron, who became, in the 20th century, the strongest candidate proposed (next to William Shakespeare himself) for the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. Evidence exists that Oxford was known during his lifetime to have written some plays, though there are no known examples extant."

-- Written By:
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-de-Vere-17th-earl-of-Oxford



150Podras.
Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>147 proximity1: Re. your question, the answer is, No.

Thanks for reminding me about Oxfraud, however. I poked around the site a little when I first heard about it a couple of years ago and have returned sporadically. It is chock full of valuable information. I've been meaning to spend some quality time there, and thanks to your reminder, I will make it a point of it.

For those not aware of it, Oxfraud describes itself as "A site for Shakespeare lovers. Who aren't keen on authorship impostors." A good place to begin is the 100 Questions section, "A list of 100 reasons why The 17th Earl of Oxford did not write, contribute to or have any connection with the work of William Shakespeare." The list is 102 items long, with, I suppose, the potential to grow even further. Besides the authorship nonsense, one can pick up quite a lot of information about early modern England.

151proximity1
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 11:18am Top

>150 Podras.:

Yes, the open-minded reader who is uninitiated in Stratfordian stupidity really ought to go acquaint himself with that site. Stratfordian stupidity is there on full garish display and the "facts" presented are a catalog of bullshit.

152proximity1
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 8:46am Top

I'm asked to explain why Oxford should have written his long poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece and published them under his pseudonym, “William Shakespeare,” rather than under his own name—since, it's argued, they, being merely poetry and, therefore, supposedly free of the social stigma which was attached to publishing for the theatre, nothing should have prevented Oxford from publishing the poems in his name in the first place.* Then it's mentioned that, as these poems were extremely popular—what we would call “best-sellers”—Oxford would surely have decided to reissue them under his own name given their popularity.

All of these “points” betray a person's exporting modern views on writing and publishing to Elizabethan England where they do not apply.

Oxford not only didn't know what would be the probable reception to Venus and Adonis by the general reading public, even if he'd known, it should have been completely out of character for him to have taken an interest in the commercial value of the poem. As an Earl, he did not write for money and to have done so would have been personally as well as socially (in the eyes of his peers) a disgrace to his class and rank. Commoners might write with an eye for the commercial value of their writing but a nobleman worthy of respect did not. A Duke or Earl would no more write and publish for money than he would seek and accept a military command out of an interest in the pay. These things were done for honor, not for money. So no wonder we today can hardly make sense of such an old-fashioned attitude.

Second, just because a noble might once or might even occasionally happen to publish something under his own name does not mean that this was often or easily done. Again, nobles were not professional writers in all of the senses we think of today.** Whether one wrote only once or wrote prolificly, a nobleman who wrote wasn't “a writer” and didn't think of himself in the way that a person who baked and sold bread commercially was a “baker”— by trade. The nobility didn't practice trades and writing done for money rather than strictly for personal honor and self-expression would be stooping to doing tradesman's work—work of that kind was not socially acceptable for nobility even if one wanted to do it.

Third, if Oxford put Venus and Adonis under his pseudonym “Shakespeare” when he'd already published a small number of other poems under his own name, Edward Oxenforde, he may have thought (and may have even confirmed) that Venus and Adonis could not be published otherwise than under a pseudonym. To know that for sure, he'd have had only to ask his father-in-law—if he'd been so inclined but I thikn it's unlikely that he was so inclined. So, “best-seller” or not, a prospect he neither knew nor cared about in advance, if the pen-name had been, in Oxford's sole view, a prior condition of publication, then popular sales of the poem wouldn't alter that fact even if he'd been interested in money from trade work.

Finally, Elizabethan authors didn't typically get “royalties” on the sale of their writings. Instead, the bookseller/printer bought the texts and their rights outright from the author in advance. Thus, whether a book sold well or very poorly, it was the bookseller who bore the risk and reaped the profits, not the work's author.

___________________

* I offer this for open-minded readers to consider.

** One could object that there is one sense in particular in which Oxford was like a professional writer of our time: he was proud of his work and would have been pleased to have been able to take credit for it openly. That's true. And that's why he did everything in his power to leave his unmistakable mark on his writing--apart from the given fact that any writer of genius on his level is bound, in any case, to put his unique mark on his work--Oxford went to lengths to leave indications, as clearly as he dared to do (if he'd made them too obvious, the Cecils would have seen them and supressed the publication, even post-mortem). So there are many instances in his poems and plays where phrases strike the reader as strangely unnecesary or out of place; or, in his plays, he has a habit of mentioning certain things three times over in a brief space. In those cases, the mention is often a pointer to something that only he--rather than his stand-in Shaksper--could have known about.



ETA

-- LXXVI--

"Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O! know sweet love I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told."



Here is Oxford, writing with full irony intended to alert our attention:

He asks,

"Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?"

and then immediately introduces "compounds strange":

"Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?"

Indeed, why?

because he's leaving us his markers--

often in puns:

Here Oxford tells us that he writes still "All one
meaning that "Shakespeare" and Oxford are "all one",
"ever the same": E(dward) Ver (e)the same

as for creativity, his "inventions," these he "keeps" (confines) "in a "noted" ('Not Ed Weed" (Ward))
"noted weed"
"Not Ed Weed"

"That every word doth almost tell my name" --
"Every" ("E.Ver)y & "Word" (Edward) almost "tell" his name.



Benvolio, Malvolio ---- "E.O." Edward Oxford,

153Podras.
Edited: Sep 10, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>151 proximity1: Thank you for your endorsement of the Oxfraud site.

The following information has been posted before, but it never hurts to remind people about sources of real historical information, given the authorship fantasies being bruited about. The Shakespeare Authorship Page is another great source of information. Between the two sites, my own preference is this one, though both are good. Both sites are heavily fact laden; real facts drawn from the real historical record.

A final recommendation is a freely available short e-book on the subject, Shakespeare Bites Back by Stanley Wells that succinctly capsulizes the authorship controversy.

154Muscogulus
Sep 11, 2017, 2:47am Top

>152 proximity1: "Commoners might write with an eye for the commercial value of their writing but a nobleman worthy of respect did not."

Nice try, Proxy, but you're more than a century premature. Writing for the public was not a viable "commercial" venture until the lifetime of Defoe in the 1700s. Success in Shakespeare's day was defined as consistent patronage by a noble.

Hence those ubiquitous obsequies to some lord or lady, or to the monarch, in the front matter of early modern books. I'm omitting some nuance here, but the essential point is that literary artists were still more like dependent vassals than merchant adventurers. This remained true for generations after both Oxford and Shakespeare were dead.

(And you're the one who keeps heaping scorn on everyone else's ability to understand how things worked in early modern England.)

Good examples of the patronage-seeking behavior of an Elizabethan author are the paeans to the Earl of Southampton at the beginning of both Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. It is difficult to imagine the Earl of Oxford — who didn't need anyone else's funds and who, as you say wrote only for honor — abasing himself to a junior and lower-ranking noble in this way. I suppose you'll say it was all part of the project of convincing the world that the real author of these poems was the ordinary, talentless William Shakespeare.

OK, let's indulge you. So important was this Shakespeare ruse that people kept it up for years after Oxford's death, writing elegies to the name of a man you dismiss as an "illiterate knob." Even King James VI and I seems to have joined the conspiracy.

A century ago, when Shakespeare was the object of cult-like veneration but precious little historical research, it made sense to question the literary superman's origin story. "Serious" Shakespeare scholarship wasn't much more rigorous than the letters John Keats wrote to his girlfriend about the exquisite feelings he got from rereading a play. But you know, times have changed. A lot. Scholars and amateurs have turned up evidence for not just Shakespeare's life but his relationships with fellow players, co-authors, and business partners in the "sharing" of the Globe Theatre.

For a man who lived in an age before vital records — we don't even know what year Sir Francis Drake was born, for example — Shakespeare left a substantial paper trail.

It takes considerable naïveté to sustain a belief in a conspiracy to hide the true identity of the author of Shakespeare's works. No one let the secret out in an extant letter or diary. No one talked on their deathbed. No one showed the least concern, as Shakespeare's posthumous reputation grew, that the wrong man was getting the credit. Well — no one, until a 20th-century English schoolmaster named Looney became convinced that a grammar school boy could never have achieved such literary greatness. (Maybe Looney projected his frustration with his own young charges into the past. Or he rationalized his failures by assuming that all grammar schools throughout history had achieved equally poor results.)

I mentioned King James, who hired Shakespeare and his fellow dramatists (that patronage thing we just discussed), letting them call their company The King's Men. Shakespeare's name turns up in quotidian court documents, receiving fabric for ceremonial clothes, for instance. All that, just to reward him for letting Oxford use his name as a pseudonym, and for no achievements of his own? By this point one wonders who was left to be taken in by the alleged deception.

Oxfordians sustain their belief by feeding on mentions of Shakespeare that can be read aslant as Oxford references, if you take them out of context and squint hard at them. Speculation is honored insofar as it supports Oxfordism. When Ockham's razor directs us to accept that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, Oxfordians label the historical method as dogma. They overlook the rather obvious fact that if some junior scholar could marshal a convincing case that Shakespeare was a fraud, that scholar would become an academic superstar and could write their own ticket. It would be the greatest debunking since Lorenzo Valla proved that Constantine did not write "The Donation of Constantine." And the more "the establishment" attacked him or her, the more publicity the debunking would get.

Oxfordism is so weak, though, that even a Hollywood movie dramatizing the conspiracy theory, and depicting Shakespeare as a contemptible little man, couldn't turn the tide.

William Shakespeare from Stratford was a poet, actor, and playwright, and he is the same man commemorated for these achievements in manuscripts, in print, and in a hard-to-miss tomb monument. Skepticism about him made sense back when Shakespeare scholarship was weak and "Bardolatry" was at its height. It doesn't make sense anymore.

155Podras.
Sep 11, 2017, 2:48am Top

>152 proximity1: "All of these “points” betray a person's exporting modern views on writing and publishing to Elizabethan England where they do not apply."

Cute. In a way, it is a compliment for something I wrote to be reused by you in your own argument. (See >127 Podras.:: "Anti-Shakespeareans of this sort are generally projecting their own views, shaped by 21st century attitudes and values, onto the 16th and 17th historical record, a period with vastly different attitudes and values. ") At least I gave a relevant example to illustrate the point. You just used it like a club to bash Muscogulus and his apt questions. I very much doubt that Muscogulus or anyone else following this thread was impressed. I also doubt that your own credibility was harmed by it.

156Podras.
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 3:42am Top

>154 Muscogulus: Your point about the dedications is excellent. Both are addressed to Henry Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield. For reference, I've copied them below.

Venus and Adonis
    I KNOW not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden only, if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a god-father, and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your heart's content; which I wish may always answer your own wish and the world's hopeful expectation.
The Rape of Lucrece
    THE love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with all happiness.
Someone like de Vere, one of the highest ranking aristocrats in England, would rather die than write lines like those to a social inferior; even using a non-existent pseudonym. If Southampton responded favorably, as we think he did, what would he say when he passed along the reward? "Here, Dad; take this money."?

A rational interpretation of the dedications is that they were written by a social inferior of Southampton's. The first seeks patronage, a common objective of books dedicated to aristocrats by authors who didn't normally get much from publishers. The second implies that Shakespeare's plea in the first was favorably received and he is hoping for more.

>152 proximity1: The dedications are what is known as evidence.

157proximity1
Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 11:37am Top

>154 Muscogulus:



>152 proximity1: proximity1: "Commoners might write with an eye for the commercial value of their writing but a nobleman worthy of respect did not."

Muscogulus:
Nice try, Proxy, but you're more than a century premature. Writing for the public was not a viable "commercial" venture until the lifetime of Defoe in the 1700s. Success in Shakespeare's day was defined as consistent patronage by a noble.



There's no need for me to dispute either of those since they're not denied by what I'd written.

The fact that the 16th-century had no Edgar Rice Burroughs, no Robert Ludlum, does not mean that booksellers had no wares to sell nor any commercial sense about them. All I'm saying is that a commoner could, --as some did-- take an interest in the potential of his writing being bought by a bookseller/printer for a sum which made a difference to him while a high-ranking noble would be scandalized to have this thought about his motives. That's all I said and all I meant by it. It's sad that you're so devoted to your Stratfordian group-think that you can't bother to read with enough patience and fairness to have seen for yourself what I've just had to set out.

As I said, your mind is closed--and I no longer post here with any interest in your fucking gainsaying my arguments. No matter what I posted, you'd blindly and foolishly piss on it with contempt. In "answering" your lame attempts to fail to see the point, I address not you but the other readers who, unlike you, could be here with an open mind about all this.

You "have" the "Shakespeare" you deserve and that, for me, is one of the richest ironies in all of this.

______________

ETA : (stuff to come)

RE : >142 Muscogulus:, >143 Podras.:, >144 Crypto-Willobie:, >145 Muscogulus:, >146 Podras.: :



from The Arte of English Poesie , George Puttenham (1589)
CHAP. VIII.

In what reputation Poesie and Poets were in old time with
Princes and otherwise generally, and ho{w} they be no{w}
become contemptible and for {w}hat causes.




... So as, it is hard to find in these dayes of
noblem|en| or gentlemen any good Mathematici|an|,
or excellent Musitian, or notable
Philosopher, or els a cunning Poet
: because we find
few great Princes much delighted in the same studies. Now
also of such among the Nobilitie or gentrie as be very well
seene in many laudable sciences, and especially in making or
Poesie, it is so come to passe that they haue no courage to
write |&| if they haue, yet are they loath to be a knowen of
their skill. So as I know very many notable Gentlemen in the
Court that haue written commendably, and suppressed it
agayne, or els suffred it to be publisht without their owne
names to it
: as if it were a discredit for a Gentleman, to
seeme learned, and to shew himselfe amorous of any good Art.

In other ages it was not so, for we read that Kinges |&|
Princes haue written great volumes and publisht them vnder
their own regall titles. As to begin with Salomon
the wisest of Kings, Iulius Caesar the greatest of Emperours,
Hermes Trismegistus the holiest of Priestes and
Prophetes, Euax king of Arabia wrote a
booke of precious stones in verse, Prince Auicenna
of Phisicke and Philosophie, Alphonsus king of
Spaine his Astronomicall Tables, Almansor a king
of Marrocco diuerse Philosophicall workes, and by
their regal example our late soueraigne Lord king
Henry the eight wrate a booke in defence of his
faith, then perswaded that it was the true and Apostolicall
doctrine, though it hath appeared otherwise since, yet his
honour and learned zeale was nothing lesse to be allowed." ...

( pp. 16 - 17)


"And in her Maiesties time that now is are sprong vp an other
crew of Courtly makers(*) Noble men and Gentlemen of her
Maiesties owne seruantes, who haue written excellently well
as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and
made publicke with the rest
, of which number is first that
noble Gentleman Edward Earle of Oxford." ...


(p. 50)

(all Emphasis added in the above-cited)

________

(*) "maker" : "poet": from Greek ( ποιέω ) poiētḗs ---> 1. A maker, inventer,





Muscogulus:
"Good examples of the patronage-seeking behavior of an Elizabethan author are the paeans to the Earl of Southampton at the beginning of both Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. It is difficult to imagine the Earl of Oxford — who didn't need anyone else's funds and who, as you say wrote only for honor — abasing himself to a junior and lower-ranking noble in this way."



Fucking crap-ola. There was no "abasing." Genuine affections were possible to arise between peers--"even" "juniors" and "seniors". And Oxford's and Southampton's biographies are so similar in so many essential points about each of their youths that there's every good reason to see why an elder Earl of Oxford would dote on the youthful Southampton. This is actually already noted in historical work on these men so no one should imagine that I'm making this up.


Muscogulus:
I suppose you'll say it was all part of the project of convincing the world that the real author of these poems was the ordinary, talentless William Shakespeare.


No, what "I'll say" instead is that it was _not_ part of any ruse. It was a genuine expression of devoted affection--on the part of Edward Oxford and there's every reason to be assured that Southampton appreciated and returned this affection. Coming from William Shaksper, such a dedication is a wildly ridiculous thing which, had it happened, should have landed Shaksper in the stocks or worse. Commoners could not address nobles that way--certainly not publicly--and get away with it.


Muscogulus:
"OK, let's indulge you."


LOFL!


Muscogulus:
"So important was this Shakespeare ruse that people kept it up for years after Oxford's death, writing elegies to the name of a man you dismiss as an "illiterate knob." Even King James VI and I seems to have joined the conspiracy.


Of course they did. Robert Cecil! , FFS!

Why shouldn't James have carried on as Elizabeth and Burghley had?! And, a tougher question which, like all my questions, you ignore: "Why should James have suddenly "blown" Oxford's cover as the person behind "Shakespeare"?! What would he have gained by doing that!? A paltry stipend paid to the moron of Stratford? BFD!



Muscogulus:
Scholars and amateurs have turned up evidence for not just Shakespeare's life but his relationships with fellow players, co-authors, and business partners in the "sharing" of the Globe Theatre.



What they've done is repeat, ad nauseam, their echo-chamber academically-subsidized bullshit and shamelessly conned generations of trusting students and readers. Now that's a fucking disgrace!



Muscogulus:
"Shakespeare left a substantial paper trail."


False. He left no "paper trail" at all as a writer of anything--published or not.



Muscogulus:
"It takes considerable naïveté to sustain a belief in a conspiracy to hide the true identity of the author of Shakespeare's works. No one let the secret out in an extant letter or diary. No one talked on their deathbed. No one showed the least concern, as Shakespeare's posthumous reputation grew, that the wrong man was getting the credit. Well — no one, until a 20th-century English schoolmaster named Looney became convinced that a grammar school boy could never have achieved such literary greatness."


No naïveté required. Quite right: No one did (as far as is known today, regarding diaries and letters of courtiers and others in England**) "let the secret out in an extant letter or diary" Who would a courtier have told? Another courtier? Oxford's use of the pen-name "Shakespeare" was known already by many at Elizabeth's court. What these courtiers who knew could not do and did not do was notify others beyond the court's boundaries. Who would they have notified in that case? Who, then among the commoner public, cared prior to Oxfords' death who was behind the name "Shakes-peare"--except Oxford's own friends and family?-- and they of course already knew. So, why would anyone then living have disclosed this outside the court? What would he or she have to gain which could outweigh the risks of being found to have disclosed a matter which was strictly privy to court company according to known etiquette? And how?! Suppose you were a noble--would you have dared breach this etiquette? Do you have any idea what that would mean in risk to you, your family and your social standing--on which everything in your life depended? No, you fucking don't. But they did. and that explains their completely expectable silence even after Oxford's death and Shaksper's.



" a 20th-century English schoolmaster named Looney became convinced that a grammar school boy could never have achieved such literary greatness. (Maybe Looney projected his frustration with his own young charges into the past. Or he rationalized his failures by assuming that all grammar schools throughout history had achieved equally poor results.) "



Martin Irvine's book, ( JSTOR Review ) The Making of Textual Culture
'Grammatica' and Literary Theory 350–1100
; ((1994) Cambridge University Press)
(inadvertently) explains/answers the ignorance on display in the above comment. You haven't read it and you won't read it. A pity, that. But, again, your mind is closed. Even if you read it, you'd refuse to see its significance here.



"In the terms of medieval scholars themselves, grammaticagrammatica was the only point of entry into litterate culture but because grammatica was universally understood to supply the discursive means for constructing language and texts as objects of knowledge."

(Introduction, p. 2)

_________

"The centrality of grammatica in the fourth through the eleventh centuries produced an elite literate culture that succeeded in giving the knowledge and skills of the litteratus the status of normative experience. Learning, interpretation and religious understanding were all defined in the terms of the large field of discourse that spread out from the practice of grammatica in schools, libraries, and scriptoria. It is difficult for us in an era when literacy is multiple, achieved through varied methods, and largely taken for granted to gain a sense of the grammatical culture, the social power of the litteratus, and the universality of grammatica in forming medieval literate culture. It is difficult to grasp the universality of the grammatical path to literacy, which meant, for many generations,an almost lock-step program that worked from Donatus's Ars and its clones to the works of the auctores,from the parts of speech to tropes and allegories in biblical and secular texts, from syntax to sensus and significatio, from latinity to lectio and enarratio, from the littera of a text to the gloss."

( Conclusion, p. 461)

_________________

( Underlined emphasis added)




Muscogulus:
"I mentioned King James, who hired Shakespeare and his fellow dramatists (that patronage thing we just discussed), letting them call their company The King's Men. Shakespeare's name turns up in quotidian court documents, receiving fabric for ceremonial clothes, for instance. "


All that was the work of the Cecils--William and, later, Robert. And, yes, James was aware. Again, James, succeeding Elizabeth, had no reason to disclose Oxford's use of the "Shakespeare" pen-name. By then, virtually everyone at court, both friend and foe of Oxford, was quite well aware of this use of a pen-name. So, why in the world would the new King do or say anything about it? Is James supposed to make a public declaration of the fact? Why would he do that? It should have embarrassed and angered some of his closest advisors needlessly--Robert Cecil and others who, having gone to enormous effort to arrange the person of William Shaksper as fake and surrogate for the author, would see that work made a mockery.

One of James' first acts on succeeding Elizabeth was to renew the annual £1000 pension Elizabeth had granted to Oxford. After Oxford's death, his friends, most notably the Herberts (and Ben Jonson, who went along with the ruse of "Shakespeare" when he knew it was Oxford behind the name) wanted to see to the publication of the work. This, they understood, was only to be done under the pseudonym, "Shakespeare", not under Oxford?s own name.


Muscogulus:
"All that, just to reward him for letting Oxford use his name as a pseudonym, and for no achievements of his own?"


Yes. For that and nothing else. Shaksper of Stratford had no "achievements of his own" which were such as a king would recognize and reward.

__________________________________________________​__________________________________________________​
__________________________________________________​__________________________________________________​

**

This is because, had such a letter or diary been known then, and Walsingham or one of the Cecils were or became aware of it, it might have gone badly for the diary's or letter's author-- and then the authorities would have expunged that record. And this is why I think the best potential for finding such a manuscript document lies outside of England, Wales and Scotland--in the state and private archives from that period in the the capitals and major cities of Europe where Oxford traveled and where embassies to Elizabeth's court were likely to have written and sent contemporary reports of what they saw, heard and learned at court themselves or directly from informants there. For example, it's not unreasonable to imagine that a Spanish or Italian diplomat with open or covert access to courtiers and secondary sources could have learned of Oxford's being the author of writings published under the pen-name "William Shakespeare" and included this in a compte-rendu sent home to Rome, to Madrid, to Antwerp, or Paris or wherever the home office may be.

158Podras.
Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 10:08am Top

>154 Muscogulus: The originator of the idea that Shakespeare had little or no education and could thus not be the author was Delia Bacon (not related to Sir Francis), an American. :-( Nathanial Hawthorne helped her to get her nearly unreadable book, The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded (1857), into print. Though he didn't believe her thesis, he was very impressed by Bacon who was very intelligent and extremely knowledgeable about Shakespeare's works. Just like anti-Shakespeareans today, Bacon was clueless about the quality of Tudor grammar schools. Looney merely added his two bits into what had by 1920 become something a denier cottage industry by popularizing the notion that de Vere was the author.

Self-edited to remove inappropriate comment.--Sept. 12

159proximity1
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 1:44pm Top

>158 Podras.:

"Fun fact: Delia Bacon passed away in 1859 in an insane asylum."

"Fun fact"?

This is typical of Stratfordians.

In the context of this thread, that's evidence or proof of what?--other than what it says about you, I mean.

160proximity1
Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 4:09am Top



( from Ernesto Grillo's book, "Shakespeare
and Italy
."


_____________

(Chapter title) "THE GEOGRAPHY OF ITALY IN SHAKESPEAREAN DRAMA

"Notwithstanding the fact that his Italian scenes are depicted in colours
faithfully reproduced from the originals, the majority of commentators
tell us that Shakespeare knew nothing of conditions in northern Italy,
and that he was totally ignorant of the geography of these provinces.
Three well-known passages are quoted in support of their assertion: the
first in The Tempest, the second in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and the
third in The Taming of the Shrew. Sidney Lee, our dramatist’s
biographer, never tires of reiterating this argument to prove
Shakespeare guilty of saying things which in fact he neither said nor
thought. It is erroneously repeated that Shakespeare described Verona as
a city on the sea coast, and Bergamo as a place where canvas was woven
for the making of sails, without considering that Shakespeare in his
allusions to Verona was careful to mention not the sea but the very
river--the Adige--which flows though the city; and that if he asserts
that Tranio’s father followed the trade of sail-maker in Bergamo he
cannot have been famous for that industry until recent times. Indeed,
Manzoni, in his I Promessi Sposi, describing the flight of Renzo, speaks
of the sail-making industry which flourished in that district. But
perhaps it will be better to give here some further examples to
illustrate our argument. I The Tempest, Prospero relates how he had been
taken out of the gates of Milan, put upon a ship and dispatched some
leagues to the sea. The poet's sole error here is in making the voyage
too short; but even this is explained in the line,

" 'In few, they hurried us aboard a bark.'

"The words 'in few' indicate that he has much else to say and cannot
waste time on useless descriptions. 'In few' corresponds to the Italian
'in breve', which is sufficiently significant. In those days it was
quite possible to embark at- the gates of Milan for ports on the
Adriatic Sea, and since, in the sixteenth century, there were no
railways, a journey by water was often preferable to one by road because
of its greater safety and comfort." ...

__________

"Shakespeare's accurate knowledge of the geography of Italy is all the
more noteworthy as it contrasts strikingly with his ignorance of that of
other European countries, France, for example. In his allusions to
French towns we find nothing to indicate that he knew them well. In the
three plays of which the scenes are laid in France--Love's Labour's
Lost, As You Like It and Alls Well That Ends Well--local colour and
topographical realism are entirely absent. The scene is for the most
part set in districts far removed from the direct route to Italy; but
all the cities where a traveller on his way to Italy would stop to
change horses or coaches are accurately named by our dramatist, e.g.
Calais, Amiens, Longueville, Troyes, Marseilles and Genoa. When we
consider that in the north of Italy he reveals a more profound knowledge
of Milan, Bergamo, Verona, Mantua, Padua and Venice, the very limitation
of the poet's notions of geography proves that he derived his
information from an actual journey through Italy and not from books. All
that he says about our country is marvellously accurate, and this
precision is manifest not only in the passages already cited but in all
those adduced by the critics to prove his ignorance of the geography of
Italy.
A German critic asserted that he could not have known Padua and
Venice because in The Merchant of Venice he describes these two cities
as ‘neighbouring'. Since Padua is only about twenty miles from Venice
one can hardly deny the proximity of the two cities. A statement such as
Shakespeare's, besides being correct to-day, seems all the more exact
when one remembers that he wrote it towards the end of the sixteenth
century."

_____________

161Muscogulus
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 1:00pm Top

>157 proximity1: I no longer post here with any interest in your f*cking gainsaying my arguments. No matter what I posted, you'd blindly and foolishly piss on it with contempt.... F*cking crap-ola.... BFD!... Now that's a f*cking disgrace!... No, you f*cking don't....

I suppose this is your idea of persuasive discourse: using coarse language while insulting the character and conduct of anyone who contradicts you. The technique speaks for itself.

>158 Podras.: The originator of the idea that Shakespeare had little or no education... was Delia Bacon....

Thanks for the clarification. Ms. Bacon has an interesting and affecting life story.

>158 Podras.: Fun fact: Delia Bacon passed away in 1859 in an insane asylum.

This is a bit of a digression.

You probably didn't mean to imply this, but I don't think mental illness is an automatic indictment of someone's ideas. Had I been a gifted intellectual woman in the first half of the 19th century, I can easily imagine ending up in the same place Delia Bacon did. It may have been the best alternative available. American asylums in the 1850s were nothing like Bethlehem Hospital, the place that gave our language the word "bedlam." The word "asylum," in contrast, designated a tranquil place of refuge. The point of these places was to banish chains, beatings, and prison bars and to see what fresh air, sunlight, and peaceful surroundings could do for patients' mental health. Tourists ca. 1830-1850 visited these places in droves, expecting to be moved and uplifted by the experience.

Decades later, as the public lost interest, these places became overcrowded and fell into disrepair. Gradually the word "asylum" acquired its present primary meaning: a place of horrors where the inmates are often suspected of being saner than the management. This shift was under way by the end of the 1800s when journalist Nellie Bly posed as a mental patient and endured physical abuse, documented in her news articles and book Ten Days in a Mad-House.

(ETA: This topic is on my mind since learning that since the asylums were closed mental patients are still exploited by caretakers today and little is being done about it.)

I'll resist the impulse to loop back and make make some kind of comparison with the present thread.

162proximity1
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 2:01pm Top

>161 Muscogulus:

"I suppose this is your idea of persuasive discourse: using coarse language while insulting the character and conduct of anyone who contradicts you. The technique speaks for itself." (emphasis added)

Are you really so dense? Did you not read above,

this?:

>148 proximity1::
"You could of course read them (i.e. cited references) but you apparently haven't--doesn't stop you from commenting out of ignorance on their work--but there's no indication that you shall and I don't suppose you shall. It would, after all, be a waste of your time since your mind is closed on this topic."

or this?,

>157 proximity1::
"As I said, your mind is closed--and I no longer post here with any interest in your fucking gainsaying my arguments. No matter what I posted, you'd blindly and foolishly piss on it with contempt. In "answering" your lame attempts to fail to see the point, I address not you but the other readers who, unlike you, could be here with an open mind about all this."

____________________________

You've made it completely clear that you're not open to being persuaded, completely clear that your mind is closed on the "Authorship Question(s)". I am no longer writing and posting in this thread with any expectation of persuading you. You've foreclosed that possibility. My comments which relate to you are for other readers' potential interest.

Pointing out your reasoning deficiencies is possibly useful and instructive to them. You have nothing to learn here given your attitude so there is no point in my addressing you as though you're interested in "persuasive discourse." You get the coarse language which I reserve for the likes of you. Your participation here is, intellectually, consistently insulting. You've deserve and you get insulting dismissals in return.

163proximity1
Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 2:53pm Top

>161 Muscogulus:

"You probably didn't mean to imply this, but I don't think mental illness is an automatic indictment of someone's ideas."

No wonder you can't see through the "Shakespeare" mask. "...don't mean to imply"? What other point could there be in Podras' posting that--in his words, "fun fact"--?

Clearly, his post is intended to impeach the work of Delia Bacon on the ground that she died in an "insane asylum"--

Here is the chain of logic spelled out in clear terms:

P1 1) Delia Bacon died in an insane asylum.

Intermediate conclusion: 2) Therefore, it is shown that she was insane.

Conclusion: 3) Since we have shown that Bacon was insane, it follows that her views on Oxford that Shakepeare's work was "written by a coterie of men, including Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser, (per Wikipedia's article) as Shakespeare are the product of an insane mind.

Conclusion 3 a) products of an insane mind are factually unsound and therefore, being of no probative value, are without value and unworthy of consideration.

Supplementary conclusion: Oxfordians are in general suffering delusions which account for their views about the Authorship Question because, like Delia Bacon, they are not mentally sane.

Clear enough for you? What other import does the "fun fact" have in this thread?

(there are very good reasons to exclude Bacon, Raleigh and Edmund Spencer from the running; See politicworm.com

https://politicworm.com/oxford-shakespeare/the-big-six-candidates/

https://politicworm.com/oxford-shakespeare/the-big-six-candidates/oxford-versus-bacon/ )
_____________________

P.S.

re: >158 Podras.:

"The originator of the idea that Shakespeare had little or no education and could thus not be the author was Delia Bacon" (emphasis added)

Since there is simply no direct or indirect* documentary evidence of William Shaksper's ever having attended any school at any time, anywhere--the Stratfordians' case merely presupposing that he is the rightful author, they conclude on that basis alone (*i.e. their a priori assumption of his being the author) that it must be the case that he had an education (schooling in letters, reading and writing, at a minimum**)--it is almost certainly false that she, Delia Bacon, is the "originator" of the claim that William Shaksper had little or no education. (emphasis added).

(**) At that point, Stratfordians are divided in two principal groups--one being the "native genius" camp which sees little or no need for Shaksper's having gained any impressive store of book-learning because his work is the product of pure genius. The other main view is that, in a variety of ways, he, being a genius, got his impressive knowledge of a world of things contained in his plays (and wholly outside the possibility of his own direct personal experience) second-hand from the rich resources which life in London afforded him.

Such is the reasoning of people who conclude that, since Delia Bacon died in an insane aslyum, here views are unworthy of our consideration here.

164Podras.
Sep 11, 2017, 2:51pm Top

>161 Muscogulus: Re. Delia Bacon's commitment to and death in an asylum, chastisement accepted. It was unworthy of a serious discussion, though it is featured in every biography of her life that I've seen. Though her role in starting the anti-Shakespearean mania is worthy of distain, she was in fact a highly intelligent person and worthy of respect in many ways.

Nathanial Hawthorne admired her and wrote about her twice as far as I am aware. The one piece I've seen, Recollections of a Gifted Woman (1863) is in Shakespeare in America, published by The Library of America. It is an excellent piece.

165proximity1
Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 3:32am Top

>164 Podras.:

LOL! Now we're back to a "worthy "--"serious discussion"! ;^)

( What a "relief"! LOL! )

No admission of exactly what the matter was--that is, nothing about why "It was unworthy of a serious discussion," rather, just the typical passive-voice type, "mistakes were made." This is really all we can expect in the way of a concession here. LOL again! You guys and your *We're serious-and-respectable-participants-in-an-adult-discusson*-act just cracks my shit up! ;^)

166Muscogulus
Sep 11, 2017, 3:56pm Top

>162 proximity1: I am no longer writing and posting in this thread with any expectation of persuading you. You've foreclosed that possibility.

I'm not sure how. I'm always open to changing my opinion if the evidence is compelling.

As I think I've pointed out, I probably would have been an anti-Stratfordian if I'd lived in the 19th century, when Shakespeare scholarship consisted of little more than swooning appreciation of his genius. (Well, that and rioting and killing over who was the better Shakespearean actor.)

But the scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged -- and there just isn't enough there to sustain a reasoned argument for anyone besides William Shakespeare having written Shakespeare.

Maybe show evidence that doesn't argue backwards from the conclusion. Address objections courteously, perhaps, explaining whether and why you don't find an objection convincing. Apply the same evaluative standards to all evidence, whether it supports or contravenes your hypothesis.

Stop maligning everyone who debates you as an idiot, a malefactor, or both.

Then you might get somewhere with the open-minded people you say you wish to communicate with.

167proximity1
Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 2:36pm Top

>166 Muscogulus:

This,


"I'm always open to changing my opinion if the evidence is compelling."

is flatly and mortally contradicted by this outrageous falsehood,


"But the scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged -- and there just isn't enough there to sustain a reasoned argument for anyone besides William Shakespeare having written Shakespeare."


--and I do mean falsehood, for, as the saying goes, "everyone is entitled to his own opinion"--in those matters on which opinions can honestly differ--but no one is entitled to his own facts, defying facts as they are, in favor of holding views which fly in the face of facts.

Orthodox scholarship went, a long time ago, from an embarrassing mistake on the parts of people who unfortunately were simply incompetent at applying a knowledge of history (which, in most cases, they simply lacked) to the art of literary studies of "Shakespeare" 's work, to, today, where it is an out-and-out industry of fraud practiced (badly) by con-artists in college-classrooms and at academic and commercial presses.

Orthodox scholarship on Shakespeare has had nothing new, interesting or factual to say about their supposed author since before J. Thomas Looney wrote Shakespeare Identified in Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford in 1920.

________________________________


"As I think I've pointed out, I probably would have been an anti-Stratfordian if I'd lived in the 19th century,"...


You "think" you've pointed this out?! Aren't you sure? If not, you could go back and re-read what you've posted.

Your comment reeks of patronizing condescension: presuming to tutor me on how to play nicely with my opponents, the better to open their generous hearts and minds to my arguments, when those opponents and the scholars on whom they depend have morals which are on a par with back-alley card and dice hustlers using loaded dice and marked cards.


"Then you might get somewhere with the open-minded people you say you wish to communicate with."


I believe I'm doing just fine with open-minded readers here. These do not include you or Podras. This is another point* you pretend to overlook.

RE your advice:



"Maybe show evidence that doesn't argue backwards from the conclusion.

Address objections courteously,

perhaps, explaining whether and why you don't find an objection convincing.

Apply the same evaluative standards to all evidence, whether it supports or contravenes your hypothesis.



Yes, you ought to try those out yourself. I don't see you doing any of that here.

The Stratfordian thesis is "the original" case of arguing backwards from the conclusion:

► "We know that "Shakesperare" 's works were produced by William Shaksper of Stratford on Avon because the name on the works is 'William Shakespeare' and so it obviously must refer to him."

►"We know that Oxford couldn't be the author since some of the plays (which were all written by William Shaksper) appeared, according to our time-line, only after Oxford is supposed to have died."

►"We know that Shaksper of Stratford had to have had an excellent education somewhere because, as author of the poems, sonnets and plays. his brilliant learning is obvious--and, since he was from Stratford on Avon, it is there at the town grammar school where he began his studies which laid the foundation for eventually mastering Latin, Greek, Italian, and French."

Re: "Address objections courteously, ...explaining whether and why you don't find an objection convincing."
Since you ignore altogether my observations, my objections and my questions to you, I consider that addressing yours at all is more consideration that you show me.

"Apply the same evaluative standards to all evidence, whether it supports or contravenes your hypothesis."
Means what, in your case, when you simply refuse in the first place to recognize and deal at all with evidence when it is beyond your ability to explain or refute it? Thus, your "evaluative standards" don't even get a start.

__________________

* : >140 proximity1:

"No one is saying so categorically that these are facts which "no commoner could possibly be privy to." (My emphasis added on "no") Rather than that, Oxfordians are employing reasoning which is part of any good detective's basic skills. Given competing hypotheses, Oxfordians are trying sincerely to recognize the more plausible. What we're asking--and not getting any respectable answer to-- is, rather, why "this commoner--Shaksper of Stratford-- could and should be thought to have probably been "privy to" so much that is in the poems, plays and sonnets. We have to repeat that important distinction and you have to keep trying not to notice it."

168proximity1
Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 1:59pm Top

For the next object lesson offered to the open-minded reader (OMR), let's take and use as example,

"But the scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged -- and there just isn't enough there to sustain a reasoned argument for anyone besides William Shakespeare having written Shakespeare." from above (>166 Muscogulus:)

If this were a discussion of differring views in which the correspondents were both (or all) people seeking a common understanding rather than what we see here, the above statement could be taken at face-value because it should have been stated and intended to be taken at face-value, its terms intended in their common everyday sense, rather than carefully chosen and loaded with meaning which is designed for service in the Stratfordian cause. But that is rarely the case between Stratfordians and Oxfordians.

So one is obliged to decipher the probable underlying meaning of this statement to arrive at what it's author really means since, as it reads on its face, it is not true. But it might be made more or less understandable as approximately true if it is re-interpreted in a way which is familiar to those who are used to Stratfordians' word-gymnastics.

Here, "the scholarship," a seemingly innocuous term, really means, the Stratfordian orthodoxy's work, not the entirety of relevant work on the subject of Shakespeare.

Here's an candidate-example of how we have a larger body of scholarship:

"The Elizabethan Cipher in Shakespeare's Lucrece" -- JSTOR

Is that what is meant by "the scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged"?

Next, we must understand the special meaning of "has improved." This, I suspect, refers to a real or supposed change from former practice--described above: ..."when Shakespeare scholarship consisted of little more than swooning appreciation of his genius," as distinct from another feature of our circumstances today versus what was the case decades or centuries ago: ..."the body of evidence has been enlarged."

How are we to understand "the body of evidence has been enlarged"? and, especially, what is intended by "evidence"? Matters of fact alone?--those facts on which Stratfordians and Oxfordians are in agreement? Or, does "evidence" mean only any and all orthodox scholarship which does not tend to discredit the Stratfordians' views about any aspect of the Shakespeare canon? Does it really mean, "all of that more-modern-scholarship which Stratfordians are pleased to claim as helping to show that "William Shaksper wrote 'Shakespeare' " (others' rejections and objections notwithstanding) ? In that case, "evidence" would mean all evidence that Stratfordians regard as answering our thread's topic-question in the affirmative, "Yes," : "Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare?" and only that evidence.

When Stratfordians say, "the scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged," they're probably not referring to any work on Shakespeare which they would not cite favorably--they're probably not referring to the work of Noemi Magri, or of Richard Paul Roe or of Stephanie Hopkins Hughes. Yet, thanks to these three and like-minded others, the body of Shakespeare scholarship has been enlarged and significantly so, especially on the topic which this thread treats: "Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare?"

But since they cannot adequately answer what this evidence indicates, they do not accept it as evidence and they do not attempt to respond to it. Instead, they ignore it.

That is what distinguishes the discussion here from the kind I described above, "a discussion of differring views in which the correspondents were both (or all) people seeking a common understanding."

If, however, we were to take these words in their everyday, i.e., their unloaded, sense, (..."scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged") we would understand them to express the claim that,

-----> since the days when "Shakespeare scholarship consisted of little more than swooning appreciation of his genius," there have been new facts discovered and these facts are accepted as facts by both Stratfordians and Oxfordians alike, and they indicate something previously not known or understood to be true and also which relate specifically to the issue which concerns us here: ""Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare?" or, as I would put it, "Did William Shaksper of Stratford write the work attributed to 'William Shakespeare' ?"

Thus, reinterpreted, the everyday sense of the statement above changes to read,

Orthodox scholarship from Stratfordians has changed since the days when Shakespeare scholarship consisted of little more than swooning appreciation of his genius. There is more of it than was previously the case and, like all worthy prior scholarship on Shakespeare, it leads to the conclusion that "Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare"-- and there just isn't enough there to sustain a reasoned argument for anyone besides William Shakespeare having written Shakespeare."

You may notice that the above re-stated comment absolves the Stratfordians from any obligation to actually produce an example of "improved scholarship" by which "the body of evidence" on the question concerning us here has been "enlarged."
And, as it happens, not a single example was given.

Understood that way, I can say I know of no such "improved scholarship," and no such "enlarged body of evidence." None at all. Further, I can say that I do not believe that those here or anyone else claiming the contrary (as understood that way) can produce even a single example.

It would constitute a significant fact, accepted as a fact by Stratfordians and Oxfordians alike, not a disputed opinion, and the fact would be such as alters the understanding of the identity of the author of "Shakespeare's" work (in other than merely some trivial aspect) as that has been known about and disputed over since the 1920s.

_______________

(all emphasis in cited phrases is added)

169proximity1
Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 11:59am Top



( ETA: Chapter 7, “Emilia Bassano and Alphonso Lanier” (pp. 101-113) is jointly the work of David Lasocki with Roger Prior. Roger Prior is the sole author of the principal chapter on Emilia Bassano's place as the "dark lady", chapter 8, “Was Emilia Bassano the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's Sonnets?” (pp. 114-139) )

part II :The Dark Lady

Chapter 8: "Was Emilia Bassano the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's Sonnets?"


"Modern literary criticism is dedicated to removing the author from the text. The author's thoughts and intentions, it is claimed, can never be known, and are in any case quite irrelevant to our understanding of his work. A Shakespeare sonnet may seem to be addressed to the Earl of Southampton, but this may be no more than a clever fictional trope. Or, even if we admit that tej poem really was intended for the Earl of Southampton, there is not the slightest reason to 'believe' what it appears to 'say'. The feelings that the poet expresses may be wholly invented. The literary work of art has nothing to do with the world. It is 'autonomous', so that it can allow 'the free play of the imagination'. From this point of view the desire to know the identity of the young man or of the dark lady is both pointless and vulgar. It can tell us nothing about Shakespeare's art. On the contrary, it is a misconception that actually prevents proper understanding of the poems. Although applied with extreme inconsistency and often abandoned in practice, this is the 'received' critical doctrine in current Shakespearean studies." ... (p.115-116)

"The dark lady ... We shall see that they constantly refer to actual situations and recognizable attributes. If they accurately depict a living woman, then she is not a fiction, and it becomes harder for scholars to claim that the poet's feelings about her are also fictional. If her promiscuity is real, his jealousy is likely to be real as well. The author is back in the text with a vengeance, and the text itself is no longer 'autonomous' but caught in the viscosity of the real world.

Yet Emila Bassano presents an even more formidable challenge than this to critical dogma. Critics have always claimed that an interest in Shakespeare's life could not only tell us nothing about his art, it has 'bedevilled' the study of his work. Rowse's indentification proves that the reverse is the case. Again and again, Emilia's identity throws new light not only on the Sonnets but on the plays as well. It explains passages that have always been obscure, allows us to see ingenious new structures, and helps us to understand Shakespeare's choice of themes and subjects. Knowledge of Shakespeare's life, so far from being pointless, turns out to be essential for a proper understanding of his work. This is the revolution in Shakespeare studies to which Rowse's discovery leads."
(p. 116)

The Bassanos: Venetian Musicians and Instrument Makers in England, 1531-1665
| authors: David Lasocki with Roger Prior; Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. (1995)



(All emphasis in the original.)

_________________________

170Podras.
Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 7:46pm Top

>169 proximity1: Rowse's identification of Emilia (or Aemilia) Lanier née Bassano as the dark lady of the sonnets was based in good part on Simon Foreman's diary which, Rowse believed, said she "was brown in youth." After Rowse published his discovery, it was learned that Foreman had actually written "brave", not "brown". Handwriting can be difficult. The search for the identity of the dark lady of the sonnets, assuming she was based on a real person, continues.

The attention Rowse drew to Emilia resulted her becoming recognized by scholars as the first woman to publish a book of poetry in search of a patron.

("Just the facts, ma'am; just the facts."--Sgt. Friday. The only opinion in the above is the sentence, "Handwriting can be difficult.")

171proximity1
Edited: Sep 15, 2017, 7:03am Top

>170 Podras.:

RE: " was based in good part on Simon Foreman's diary which, Rowse believed, said she "was brown in youth." After Rowse published his discovery, it was learned that Foreman had actually written "brave", not "brown". Handwriting can be difficult."

Cite, please.

Yes, it can be. But, Forman's diary aside, Emilia's biography suggests that both "brown" and "brave" are accurate and correct descriptions of her. You know, you reply almost as though you want to say that, because of Rowse's error in reading Forman's manuscript, we have proof here that Miss Bassano wasn't "dark", or "brown"--whatever term one prefers to use-- and, most important of course, wasn't the "Dark Lady" of the Sonnets. Unfortunately, this is not the case: Rowse's error does not of itself indicate either of those conclusions.

What David Lasocki and Roger Prior do in this book is present a wealth of indications which show an otherwise rather inexplicable correspondence between the details of certain female characters in some of Shakespeare's plays as well as details specifically relating to the "dark lady" he mentions in numerous of the sonnets, and the details of the real-life Emilia Bassano, who surely could not have failed to have met and known Edward Oxford. About all that, which you would love to off-handedly dismiss with the observation that Forman's diary read, "brave in youth," you pass over in silence--even when it's expressly brought to your attention. Unlike my response here, which takes up (and even does some checking, answering for myself the "cite, please," request by going and finding the background of the affair) you, if experience is any guide, won't say shit about any of this. Instead, you'll ignore it because, according to your view, there is no way to account for the amazing coincidences between "Shakespeare's" "dark lady" of the Sonnets and Emilia Bassano.

From an Oxfordian's point of veiw, it's of course not only interesting but telling that Lasocki actually takes the Stratfordians' view of Shakespeare's identity. In other words--as incredible as it seems to us-- Lasocki does not draw the obvious conclusion from the wealth of correspondences he brings to the readers' attention--namely, that they point not only to Bassano as the "dark lady" but, even more, also point to Oxford as "Shakespeare"--and that explains why you're so interested in discrediting this work by Lasocki, one of your fellow Stratfordians. And Lasocki and Prior (?) are far from the first or only Stratfordian scholars to have produced work which is both solid and which points not to William Shaksper, but to Edward Oxford, as the true author. The facts (as Lasocki's and Prior's work show) simply fit better that way.

But you write, vaguely "After Rowse published his discovery, it was learned that Foreman had actually written "brave", not "brown", offering nothing as a citation or source for this information. Tell us, won't you: where does this come from? Who "learned" that Forman had actually written "brave"?

ETA:


Here, I'll supply the information which Podras couldn't be bothered to include:

Stanley Wells, checking Forman's papers, found that the manuscript's better reading was "brave in youth," an opinion which Rowse also came to accept as correct:



"The broadcast attracted attention. Letters to newspapers referred to my criticism, and, urged on by Dame Helen Gardner, I wrote to The Times "Literary Supplement" stating my case. More importantly, Mary Edmond, an expert on archival research, demonstrated in The Listener that the word Rowse had read as "William" was actually "Millia" - Forman's version of "Emilia" - and showed indisputably that Emilia's husband's name was not William but Alphonso. This was a more important and a more skilful correction than mine; Emilia might have been brown as well as brave, whereas her husband could not have been both William and Alphonso.

"Writing to me on May 14, Rowse accepted my correction, saying: 'You see, I am more open-minded than the old blimps and prefer your reading to mine'. He still contested Mary Edmond's correction, but in July admitted both errors, while still insisting that he was right in his identification, in a series of articles in the Times."

Stanley Wells in The Daily Telegraph (London), 20, February 1999.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4716890/Arguments-over-a-woman.html



You see, when you read the Telegraph excerpt above, you discover that, quite sound in his reasoning, Rowse both accepted Wells' correction and continued to insist on his (i.e. Rowse's) having rightly identified the "dark lady" of the Sonnets because, quite simply, even with Wells' correction, the evidence in favor of Bassano is nothing short of overwhelming.

Also related in Shakespeare's Styles: Essays in Honour of Kenneth Muir by Kenneth Muir, & Philip Edwards
and in Shakespeare's Sonnets: Critical Essays selected by James Schiffer.

________________________________

"The mistress is more than just dark: her hair and eyes are 'raven black'; they are 'as black as hell and as dark as night' and as black as mourning. Not only is her blackness a central theme of the Soonnets, it is reflected in the plays as well. Rosalind in Love's Labours' Lost closely resembles her.; she is wanton and black-haired, and has 'two pitch balls stuck in her face for eyes.' (III, i. 192) ... 'O! but her eye!--by this light, but for her eye, I would not love her; yes for her two eyes' (IV, iii. 8-10) Romeo, too, before he meets Juliet, is miserably in love with a black-eyed Rosaline--he is 'stabbed with a white wench's blackeye (II, iv 13-14). In As You Like It, the shepherdess Phoebe has 'inky brows','black silk hair', 'bugle eyeballs' (eyes that are as black as glass beads) and a 'cheek or cream' (III, v. 46-47).

"Such physical description is highly unusual in Shakespeare's plays.... Since we now know that Emilia was not only Italian but from a family of Sephardic Jews who are known to have been dark, she may well have had hair and eyes which were, in an English context, of an unusual blackness.

"Second, ... the young romantic hero of The Merchant of Venice is a Venetian called Bassanio....

"Socially, Shakespeare could hardly have helped meeting Emilia, since they both belonged to the same small group of professional court entertainers. When the actors played before the Queen, they would naturally meet her musicians, who were in daily attendance."

(p. 117, Lasocki and Prior, 1995, The Bassanos: Venetian Musicians and Instrument Makers in England, 1531-1665 )

Emilia Bassano, (spelled variously, Amelia, Aemilia, Emilia, with the associated surname "Lanier," or "Lanyer") lived in the late 1500s in Long ditch, off Tothill Street and on Canon Row (as Henry Carey's (i.e. Baron Hunsdon's) mistress in what is today the SW1 postcode part of the City of Westminster. See historical map: http://mapco.net/london/1593westminsternordenb.htm.

Later, 1617, she lived in St.Giles-in-the-Fields, today's St. Giles High Street, WC2, in the burrough of Camden.
(historical map: https://stgilesonline.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/st-giles-map-1570.jpg)

See also :

http://deveresociety.co.uk/articles/JC-2016Jan-Aldgate.pdf

(William Farina 2006) p. 204 De Vere as Shakespeare: An Oxfordian Reading of the Canon William Farina

And



The above-pictured Letter to the Editor, is signed by Peter Bassano (then) of London, SW7, a descendant (relative) of Emilia Bassano and, as it happens, a professional musician who "studied trombone and singing at the Royal College of Music, where after many years as a member of London's Philharmonia Orchestra (he) was appointed a professor and became a staff conductor and Head of Brass Faculty in 1990, a post (he) held until August 2004" (from his website's Homepage) There, he has a page concerning Shakespeare, where, among many other interesting things, he notes,


"I argue that many of the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays are based upon Emilia, the obvious ones bearing her Christian name (including a male version of it) these are Aemilius in Titus Andronicus, Emilia in The Comedy of Errors, Emilia in Othello, Emilia in The Winter’s Tale and Emilia in The Two Noble Kinsmen. I suggest that Emilia’s character, her broad and detailed classical education, fierce intelligence, quick wit, scalding tongue and mercurial temperament can be detected in Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, in Rosaline in Loves Labours Lost, in Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in Beatrice in Much ado about Nothing, in Rosalind in As you Like It, in Cressida in Troilus and Cressida and as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra.

"In The Shrew, the name of Katerina’s father, Baptista, is also the name of Emilia’s father. Before she became Queen Elizabeth 1, she lived at Hatfield House. Baptista visited the young Princess Elizabeth on a least two occasions to provide strings for and technical advice on playing the lute.

"What is unlikely to be a coincidence (are) the names of two characters who appear in the 1593 performance of A Taming of A Shrew,
(an alternative version of The Taming of The Shrew) at the Rose Theatre; the list of characters includes an Aemilia, an Alfonso,
the name of Emilia’s husband, they were married on 18th October 1592 at St Botolph’s Bishopsgate."

(content © Peter Bassano)






William Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus,
Dramatis Personae


Saturninus, son to the late Emperor of Rome, and afterwards declared Emperor.
Bassianus, brother to Saturninus; in love with Lavinia.
Titus Andronicus, a noble Roman, general against the Goths.
Marcus Andronicus, tribune of the people, and brother to Titus.
... ...

Others.

Aemilius, a noble Roman.

"William Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus, Dramatis Personae." Infoplease.
© 2000-2017 Sandbox Networks, Inc., publishing as Infoplease.
13 Sep. 2017 .

(full list at the hyperlink's page)

William Shakespeare: Othello,
Dramatis Personae


Duke of Venice
Brabantio, a senator.
Other Senators.
Gratiano, brother to Brabantio.
Lodovico, kinsman to Brabantio.
Othello, a noble Moor in the service of the Venetian state.
Cassio, his lieutenant.
Iago, his ancient.
Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman.
Montano, Othello's predecessor in the government of Cyprus.
Clown, servant to Othello.
Desdemona, daughter to Brabantio and wife to Othello.
Emilia, wife to Iago.
Bianca, mistress to Cassio.
Sailor, Messenger, Herald, Officers, Gentlemen, Musicians, and Attendants.

"William Shakespeare: Othello, Dramatis Personae." Infoplease.
© 2000-2017 Sandbox Networks, Inc., publishing as Infoplease.
13 Sep. 2017 .

Concerning Othello (which, as an Oxford-relevant pun, could be "Oath! Hell! O!" ("O!" "Oxford")
Wikipedia's page "Iago" informs us that,

"The character's ("Iago") source is traced to Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio's tale "Un Capitano Moro" in Gli Hecatommithi (1565)." and that, "While no English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible Shakespeare knew the Italian original, Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation, or an English translation in manuscript."

(LOL! It's also just "possible" that William Shaksper was literate in none of these languages and thus wasn't the real author of the play.)

William Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice,
Dramatis Personae


The Duke of Venice.

Suitors to Portia.

The Prince of Morocco
The Prince of Arragon

Others.

Antonio, a merchant of Venice.
Bassanio, his friend, suitor likewise to Portia.

Friends to Antonio and Bassanio.

Salanio
Salarino
Gratiano
Salerio

Others.

Lorenzo, in love with Jessica.
Shylock, a rich Jew.
Tubal, a Jew, his friend.
Launcelot Gobbo, the clown, servant to Shylock.
Old Gobbo, father to Launcelot.
Leonardo, servant to Bassanio.

"William Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, Dramatis Personae." Infoplease.
© 2000-2017 Sandbox Networks, Inc., publishing as Infoplease.
13 Sep. 2017 .

(Bold emphasis added)


172Muscogulus
Sep 13, 2017, 11:02am Top

It has finally become clear to me. proximity1 comes to LibraryThing bearing The Truth. The following guidelines, adapted from the linked Wikipedia help page, may be instructive to those who do not yet know The Truth.
It is sometimes hard for the uninitiated to differentiate between simple facts or opinions and The Truth. Some defining characteristics of The Truth include:
  1. The Truth, unlike an opinion, is not open to reasonable debate. Any reasonable person presented with The Truth will agree with it, so by definition, any debate or resistance must be unreasonable.
  2. The Truth will encounter great opposition. Therefore, opposition from many people is clear evidence that you come bearing The Truth. Do not feel discouraged when you are the sole bearer of The Truth. Eventually, reasonable people will come to agree with The Truth, and although you may have to bully many people away, The Truth will be written.
  3. The Truth is appropriate everywhere. Mere facts can sometimes be irrelevant, such as the molecular structure of a lettuce leaf in a debate about Albanian politics. But The Truth is always relevant, and should be included everywhere that text can be put.
  4. The Truth does not require verification through reliable sources. That sort of thing may be necessary for mere "facts", but we're talking about The Truth here, people!
  5. The Truth is best communicated through repetition. The first attempts to insert The Truth into a discussion are often met with resistance. When other people oppose The Truth in such a manner, the most likely explanation is that they have not heard it repeated frequently enough.
  6. The Truth will cause the blinders to fall from your eyes, whereupon you will fall to your knees and weep. Conversely, those who refuse to see The Truth are death choosers and will always devalue life.
At last I understand my manifold errors in trying to carry out a debate — a debate, look you; may God save the mark! — regarding The Truth.

173proximity1
Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 6:00pm Top

>172 Muscogulus:

No. It's a discussion in a public forum on a topic about which your mind is closed. You therefore argue your views blindly and refuse to consider the opponents' case fairly. In that way, your positions are weak and intellectually often both ridiculous and insulting to the intelligence of your better-informed readers.

This helps us understand why, rather than argue issues here on the merits, you resort to the pathetic device above. If you had cogent and relevant arguments, you'd present them--I suppose. What you have presented has been examined, taken apart and revealed to be either irrelevant or, in its most important aspects, simply false.

Your posts:

>135 Muscogulus: "That's lovely, but it has nothing to do with A Midsummer Night's Dream -- which (besides being full of fairies, magic, and an Amazon bride, so not that keen on verisimilitude) is set in and around Athens, Greece."

"Athens" (as, specifically, "Little Athens" in English (La piccola Atene" in Italian) ) was shown to be very reasonably the setting place related as the then (16th-century) popular denotation for Vespasiano Gonzaga's Sabbioneta (in Italy). Of course, it does not seem reasonable to expect the author to have used "Little Athens" literally as a play's setting. This does not preclude its having been the actual place in which he envisioned his play set.

In >139 Muscogulus: You challenged--having ignored my earlier questions to you--with this: "Since you brought up Venus and Adonis, maybe you can explain why Oxfordians think the earl had to conceal his identity when publishing poetry -- not just plays."

Which I answered at >152 proximity1: and (esp. with this) at >159 proximity1::



from The Arte of English Poesie , George Puttenham (1589)

CHAP. VIII.

In what reputation Poesie and Poets were in old time with
Princes and otherwise generally, and ho{w} they be no{w}
become contemptible and for {w}hat causes.




... So as, it is hard to find in these dayes of
noblem|en| or gentlemen any good Mathematici|an|,
or excellent Musitian, or notable
Philosopher, or els a cunning Poet
: because we find
few great Princes much delighted in the same studies. Now
also of such among the Nobilitie or gentrie as be very well
seene in many laudable sciences, and especially in making or
Poesie, it is so come to passe that they haue no courage to
write |&| if they haue, yet are they loath to be a knowen of
their skill. So as I know very many notable Gentlemen in the
Court that haue written commendably, and suppressed it
agayne, or els suffred it to be publisht without their owne
names to it
: as if it were a discredit for a Gentleman, to
seeme learned, and to shew himselfe amorous of any good Art.

In other ages it was not so, for we read that Kinges |&|
Princes haue written great volumes and publisht them vnder
their own regall titles. As to begin with Salomon
the wisest of Kings, Iulius Caesar the greatest of Emperours,
Hermes Trismegistus the holiest of Priestes and
Prophetes, Euax king of Arabia wrote a
booke of precious stones in verse, Prince Auicenna
of Phisicke and Philosophie, Alphonsus king of
Spaine his Astronomicall Tables, Almansor a king
of Marrocco diuerse Philosophicall workes, and by
their regal example our late soueraigne Lord king
Henry the eight wrate a booke in defence of his
faith, then perswaded that it was the true and Apostolicall
doctrine, though it hath appeared otherwise since, yet his
honour and learned zeale was nothing lesse to be allowed." ...

( pp. 16 - 17)


"And in her Maiesties time that now is are sprong vp an other
crew of Courtly makers(*) Noble men and Gentlemen of her
Maiesties owne seruantes, who haue written excellently well
as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and
made publicke with the rest
, of which number is first that
noble Gentleman Edward Earle of Oxford." ...


(p. 50)

(all Emphasis added in the above-cited)



Failing on the argument side, you then in >161 Muscogulus:, accuse me (falsely) of "I suppose this is your idea of persuasive discourse: using coarse language while insulting the character and conduct of anyone who contradicts you. The technique speaks for itself."

It would speak for itself if it were true. But I don't, as a matter of fact, insult the character and conduct of anyone who contradicts me -- only those who are arguing in bad faith, who resort to blatant use of special pleading and who deliberately misrepresent facts, employ calumny instead of reasoned argument and refuse to mount a responsive case, instead ignoring the arguments and the questions which are put to them.

I answered your complaint of >161 Muscogulus: with this, at >163 proximity1::


"You've made it completely clear that you're not open to being persuaded, completely clear that your mind is closed on the "Authorship Question(s)". I am no longer writing and posting in this thread with any expectation of persuading you. You've foreclosed that possibility. My comments which relate to you are for other readers' potential interest.

"Pointing out your reasoning deficiencies is possibly useful and instructive to them. You have nothing to learn here given your attitude so there is no point in my addressing you as though you're interested in 'persuasive discourse.' You get the coarse language which I reserve for the likes of you. Your participation here is, intellectually, consistently insulting. You've deserve and you get insulting dismissals in return."


which you've flagged, attempting to "bury" with little red flags what you're unable to argue effectively against.

At >166 Muscogulus: you posted these claims:

But the scholarship has improved, the body of evidence has been enlarged -- and there just isn't enough there to sustain a reasoned argument for anyone besides William Shakespeare having written Shakespeare.

Maybe show evidence that doesn't argue backwards from the conclusion. Address objections courteously, perhaps, explaining whether and why you don't find an objection convincing. Apply the same evaluative standards to all evidence, whether it supports or contravenes your hypothesis.


which I answered (>168 proximity1:), challenging you to present even one respectable example of what you called, "improved scholarship" and "enlarged" "body of evidence" (ETA) that is, obviously, evidence that significantly advances the position of Shaksper of Stratford as the author. That challenge remains ignored by you.

Since your participation now seems to consist of ignoring my posts except to flag them as violations of the site's terms of service, I have carried on posting more examples with supporting references to articles to further make the already ample case in favor of Oxford, imagining that you may have simply abandoned your participation here (such as it was). But I see you're not finished using tactics and methods which aren't part of any credible reasoned presentation of evidence in your case's favor and a respectable, fair, honest rebuttal of your opponent's case and evidence.

To which you've responded with this latest implied admission that you have nothing pertinent and respectable in a responsive argument to bring to readers of this thread.



I suppose you'll now redouble your effort to summon a posse and copiously distribute TOS-violation flags. That, too, "speaks for itself," as you say.

RE : "At last I understand my manifold errors in trying to carry out a debate"

LOL! No, you really don't. I'd be embarrassed to resort to such stuff as that.

174proximity1
Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 12:58pm Top

>154 Muscogulus:

"They overlook the rather obvious fact that if some junior scholar could marshal a convincing case that Shakespeare was a fraud, that scholar would become an academic superstar and could write their own ticket."

Lord in heaven above! More absolutely incredible nonsense. Do you seriously suppose that we have not heard this tired stuff over and over and over again?! No Oxfordian with any substantial experience in arguing with those who try to maintain the Stratfordian line could "overlook" this. So, that, again, is grossly to add insult to injury. Our case has left yours dead and buried--except for the fact that this is a matter in which your priesthood is defiantly defending its privileges--as the monastery burns.

Besides, Shaksper himself wasn't, strictly-speaking, a "fraud" since, to the best of our knowledge, apart from getting a bit of a "big head" and attempting to get himself officially-recognized heraldic Arms, he did and said nothing to defraud the rightful author. That was Shaksper's value: he was a null entity and didn't try to actually "take credit" at all. All of the fraud and deceit was practiced by others--starting with the Cecils--and abundantly taken up and multiplied many times over by modern scholars who, after a certain point (post- J.Thomas Looney's published work) had to know that they were selling snake-oil.

If our topic were part of the natural sciences--physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc.--the Stratfordian view would now be an example of a hypothesis which is defunct, replaced by a better understanding of the facts as we know them. It's not a popularity-contest. But Stratfordians do bet their entire futures on their ability to "front-load" matters by instructing unsuspecting people in a wholly-biased manner to accept their case "as-is," uninformed of the counter-case's existence-- their questioners' innocent questions fobbed off with disingenuous fairy-tale stuff-- and then count on these people to never look back and never pose the questions we, Oxfordians, pose.



"Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford , (born April 12, 1550, Castle Hedingham, Essex, England—died June 24, 1604, Newington, Middlesex), English lyric poet and theatre patron, who became, in the 20th century, the strongest candidate proposed (next to William Shakespeare himself) for the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays."




The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
Article Title:
Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford
URL:
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-de-Vere-17th-earl-of-Oxford
Access Date:
September 13, 2017


175Podras.
Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 1:48pm Top

>171 proximity1: Recommendation--You ought to avoid attempting to describe the motives behind others' posts. You aren't very good at it. "Abysmal" comes to mind. I anticipated that the fact of Rowse's mistake might be unwelcome and generate another outpouring. (At least it keeps you off the streets--I think.) That is why I included the quote from Dragnet.

I didn't comment on the implications of "brave" versus "brown" because, while I appreciate that it undermines any assertion of absolute certainty about the identity of Emilia as the Dark Lady, it also doesn't resolve the issue. We are left where we were before Rowse's identification. He wasn't the first to propose Emilia, though his assertion was the strongest, and based on continuing scholarship, other candidates continue to be proposed. I actually like the idea that a real person was behind Shakespeare's Dark Lady, and I like Emilia as a candidate regardless of her coloration. But what I like is irrelevant to the question. Rational alternatives exist, including the possibility that the Dark Lady was an invention, a foil for poetic purposes.

You originally requested my source, though it seems you found your own verification. I was aware that after Rowse's announcement, other scholars eventually began to propose other candidates again. I first heard the "brown" versus "brave" story from Michael Dobson in a post of his in the comments section of a Hamlet MOOC a couple of years ago, including that Rowse never forgave Stanley Wells for the discovery. (Rowse wasn't known for playing well with others.) A succinct write-up of Rowse's mistake can be found in The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, 2nd ed. I suspect that the reason for its inclusion in an encyclopedic resource like that is that Rowse's "discovery" made a huge public splash at the time. Its inclusion in the Dark Lady article shows why the issue isn't settled.

176proximity1
Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 3:21am Top

>175 Podras.:

"I didn't comment on the implications of "brave" versus "brown" because, while I appreciate that it undermines any assertion of absolute certainty about the identity of Emilia as the Dark Lady, it also doesn't resolve the issue. We are left where we were before Rowse's identification. He wasn't the first to propose Emilia, though his assertion was the strongest, ..."

______________________

How "strong" Rowse's assertion was--unless, by that, you mean compelling in its bases, and if so, then fine--would be otherwise rather a trivial matter. What counts is this: if there is a "stronger" candidate, never mind "assertion", then I'd like to know who it is because as far as I'm aware, there's no other candidate which even remotely compares to Emilia Bassano's circumstantial credentials.

And, as usual, you offer none for our consideration. Instead, you minimize the virtue of people's judgement of observable facts with this:

"I actually like the idea that a real person was behind Shakespeare's Dark Lady, and I like Emilia as a candidate regardless of her coloration. But what I like is irrelevant to the question."

That's a very good example of your poor discernment because, in fact, what you, I and all the other interested and informed people "like" is entirely "relevant to the question." Rather, what no single individual can have is a judgement which is both "relevant" and determinative. There's an important distinction between these and you apparently confuse them as all the same.

So, in like manner, it is not the case that "We are left where we were before Rowse's identification" even if Rowse "wasn't the first to propose Emilia...."

We have a candidate whose biography throws yet more positive light on an already premium case--Oxford's; while, on the other hand, it doesn't aford one any clear and direct known link to Shaksper--of whose supposed life in London we have practically no pertinent records at all other than the Cecil's doctored documents. For, Bassano as the "Dark Lady" affords significant and readily credible support in every way to Oxford's position as the author. Both of their histories place them together--from Bassano's early youth--in the company of the Queen's courtiers. To get Shaksper there, we require enormous efforts in make-believe; for there is no sound evidence that he himself ever acted or took part in any theatre work which could by any reasonable stretch put him personally in the court of Elizabeth.

177proximity1
Edited: Sep 15, 2017, 7:00am Top

In my posts conerning the text The Bassanos: Venetian Musicians and Instrument Makers in England, 1531-1665 by David Lasocki with Roger Prior, please note that
"Roger Prior is the co-author of the section of Chapter 5 on the family's coat of arms," (pp. 69-91) "the main author of Chapter 6 (on the Bassanos' religious identity)" (pp. 92-98) "and the sole author of Chapter 8 (on Emilia as the dark lady)" (pp. 114-139)


(page-number references added by me, above)

178proximity1
Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 8:49am Top

>38 Crypto-Willobie:

>36 kend:

> I own a few books written at the time Shakes-peare was alive, it has always seemed very odd to me that he almost never gets a mention by any of this contemporaries in the same way other living poets did.

This vague general assertion is simply not true.

… …

The old canards about Shakespeare the player not being known by his contemporaries as a poet and playwright, the ignoring of his death, and many others are well-addressed and refuted here: http://shakespeareauthorship.com/

1643
“In Shakespeare's Eulogies (http://shakespeareauthorship.com/eulogies.html), David Kathman compares Shakespeare with the most prominent playwrights and poets of the day, and concludes that William Shakespeare was actually the best-memorialized English playwright until Ben Jonson more than 20 years later. “


“The playwright who finally broke the pattern, and who finally surpassed Shakespeare in the number of eulogies he received after his death, was Ben Jonson. As Oxfordians (e.g. Ogburn, 112) are fond of pointing out, Jonson was honored within a year of his death in 1637 by a volume of elegies (Jonsonus Viribus). But this volume did not appear in a vacuum; its existence was the result of a number of converging factors which had not been present when Shakespeare died 21 years earlier. For one thing, the professional theater had been steadily growing in respectability, and by the 1630s plays were almost considered literature by some people. Although Jonson was at least as well known for his nondramatic poetry and his court masques as for his plays, he had done the unheard-of by including his plays alongside his other poetry in the Folio edition of his 1616 Works. While this move was ridiculed at the time, in retrospect it was a major step in making plays more respectable as reading material, a process which was helped tremendously by the publication of the Shakespeare First Folio in 1623 and the Second Folio in 1632. Then, too, Jonson was a relentless self-promoter and flamboyant personality who cultivated a band of proteges (the "Tribe of Ben") to carry on his poetic legacy.”




____________________________________________
____________________________________________

I reply :

Sir Richard Baker (c. 1568 – 18 February 1645), in his A Chronicle of the Kings of England from the Time of the Romans Government unto the Death of King James (1643),
(https://ia801804.us.archive.org/21/items/chronicleofkings00bake/chronicleofkings00bake.pdf) at page 402 of a work that goes on for another 347 pp. (not counting the index's pages which are un-numbered) mentions William Shakespeare only once, at the very end of a long list of “Men of note in her time” who lived during the reign of Elizabeth I. As Kathman’s views would have us expect, the order follows what is roughly a kind of view of social rank. However, Shakespeare is not mentioned among Baker’s listing of “Learned Gentlemen and Writers—who follow (first-mentioned) “Statesmen,” “Sea-men,” and “Great Commanders by land”— Learned Gnetlemen and Writers includes Roger Ascham, Sir Thomas Smith (Edward Oxford’s own prinipal tutor), Sir Henry Savill and Sir Philip Sydney followed by commoners—divines John Jewel and William Whitaker and Richard Hooker.

Baker then continues, coming at dead-last to write, "For writers of Plays and such as had been Players themselves..."



“After such men, it may be thought ridiculous to speak of Stage-players: but seeing excellency in the meanest things deserves remembering, Roscius the Comedian (Quintus Roscius (ca. 126 BC – 62 BC) was a Roman actor) is recorded in History with such commendation, it may be allowed us to do the like with some of our Nation. Richard Burbage and Edward Allen, t(w)o such Actors as no age must ever look to see the like: and to make their Comedies compleat, Richard Tarleton, who for the part called the Clown's Part never had his match, never will have. For writers of Plays and such as had been Players themselves, William Shakespeare and Benjamin Johnson (Sic) , have specially left their Names recommended to posterity."

(emphasis added)




Now, let us expect the denigrations of Baker and this commentary on Shakespeare which Stratfordians are bound to make; for that, they can point to such readily-available critical commentaries on Baker and his work as the following:



(Wikisource : DNB: Baker, Richard (1568-1645) (DNB00)



... "Utterly destitute, Sir Richard had, about 1635, to take refuge in the Fleet prison. There he died on 18 Feb. 1644-5, and was buried in the church of St.Bride's, Fleet Street. Several sons and daughters survived him. Wood reports that one of his daughters, all of whom were necessarily dowerless, married 'Bury, a seedsman at the Frying Pan in Newgate Street;' and another, 'one Smith, of Paternoster Row.' Smith is credited with having burned his father-in-law's autobiography, the manuscript of which had fallen into his hands. ...

..."Baker's 'Chronicle' was long popular with country gentlemen. Addison, in the 'Spectator' (Nos. 269 and 329), represents Sir Roger de Coverley as frequently reading and quoting the 'Chronicle,' which always lay in his hall window. Fielding, in 'Joseph Andrews,' also refers to it as part of the furniture of Sir Thomas Booby's country house. But its reputation with the learned never stood very high. Thomas Blount published at Oxford in 1672 'Animadversions upon Sir Richard Baker's "Chronicle," and its continuation,' where eighty-two errors are noticed, but many of these are mere typographical mistakes. The serious errors imputed to the volume are enough, however, to prove that Baker was little of an historical scholar, and depended on very suspicious authorities...."

(emphasis added)





But the point we ought to bear in mind is that Baker wrote this and saw it published as a mature man, at age 75, about two years before his death (Baker spent the last decade of his life as a debtor prisoner at the Fleet). His remarks indicate that he was relating either another's or others' views on Richard Burbage and Edward Allen, where he writes,

..." t(w)o such Actors as no age must ever look to see the like: and to make their Comedies compleat, Richard Tarleton, who for the part called the Clown's Part never had his match, never will have."

or, as a devote of the theatre himself, was writing from his personal knowledge of these actors' work on the stage. Furthermore, Baker, born in 1568, was only four years junior to William Shaksper of Stratford, eighteen years junior to Edward Oxford and one year older than Emilia Bassano. Baker died in 1645, well after Shaksper and Oxford and within a couple of months of Emilia Bassano Lanier's death--their lives being nearly exactly co-contemporaneous. Thus, Baker's times were just those of Bassano's, most of Shaksper's and much of Oxford's. He'd have had an attentive commoner's views on life, politics and society; so, when he gives such short shrift to Jonson and Shakespeare, we must wonder whether he thought of Shakespeare as nothing other than a publicly-known name attached to poetry and plays or had some idea of its being a pen-name since the first appearances in print of Shakespeare's plays and poems and sonnets were all within Baker's adult life: Venus and Adonis, and The Rape of Lucrece, aged 25 and 26, respectively, and 41 years of age when the Sonnets appeared in 1609.

In other words, Baker's lifespan afforded him ample time in which to become acquainted with and follow contemporaneously, the person and work of Shakespeare as these were supposedly available to an educated commoner* of his day. Thus, he'd have known nothing of the "Bardolatry" to come later. Rather, he'd have looked on Shakespeare as a feature of the world of the emerging theatre society which he witnessed from its earliest days forward, beyond the death of the author of Shakespeare's work.

Rather than class either (!) Shakespeare or Ben Jonson (!) with "“Learned Gentlemen and Writers" they come last, as "writers of Plays and such as had been Players themselves."

( Baker was five year's the senior of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, and long outlived him.)

___________________

* : "Sir Richard Baker, the writer, became a commoner of Hart Hall (afterwards Hertford College), Oxford, in 1584, where he shared rooms with Sir Henry Wotton. He left Oxford without graduating, and studied law in London. His education was completed by a foreign tour, which extended as far as Poland (Baker's Chron. sub anno 1583). On 4 July 1594 the university conferred on him the degree of M.A. (Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 268). In 1603 he was knighted by James I at Theobalds, and was then residing at Highgate. In 1620 he was high sheriff of Oxfordshire, where he owned the manor of Middle Aston." DNB: DNB : Baker, Richard (1568-1645) (DNB00)

179proximity1
Edited: Sep 17, 2017, 8:56am Top

What sort of beauty was Emilia Bassano's?—some researchers' favorite candidate for the “dark lady” of “Shakespeare's” sonnets.

She was not, of course, a Black-skinned beauty. She was, I believe, of a Mediterranean-look, having, at most, a Spaniard's or an Italian's olive-skinned complexion

As I imagine her to have been, she was something simply stunning, like, in my opinion, these beautiful “dark” women--

(Cecilia Bartoli )


(Ava Gardner )


(Penelope Cruz )


(Salma Hayek )


(Samantha Dorman )


180proximity1
Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 12:36pm Top

Shaksper and Oxford as "Shakespeare" : Anomalies and congruences

Some major themes in Shakespeare:

This post: Nobles' and Courtiers' Exile, Isolation and loss of one's peers' esteem
__________________________________________________​



from Nabokov’s Shakespeare, (2014) Samuel Schuman, ( p. 8-9 )



“In many of their works, Shakespeare and Nabokov express a shared thematic vision. These themes are by no means exclusive to these two authors. But it is significant that Nabokov’s view of the place of humankind in the cosmos, our mortal, temporal and consciousness limitations, and the potential to escape those bounds is congruent with Shakespeare’s.

“Both authors begin with the motif of exile. Of course, in the case of Nabokov, this theme has a biographical root. In 1919 he left Russia, never again to see the country of his birth, and never again to live in a home he himself owned. For the rest of his life, in poverty and in wealth, in transition and in security, Nabokov, and later his wife and son, lived in rental housing, transients and exils. He spent his last years in a splendid suite at the lavish Montreux Palace Hotel overlooking Lake Geneva (or, more poetically, Lac Léman) in Switzerland. Shakespeare, of course, is an entirely different case. Unsupported speculation aside, we have no evidence that he ever strayed very far from the Stratford/London axis, a distance of about 100 miles.

“Nabokov’s protagonists are almost always strangers living in strange lands. His very first novel, Mary, written in 1925, was advertised as ‘a novel of émigré life,’ according to Boyd, ‘a portrait of exile’ (Boyd, Russian Years , 244). Its hero, Ganin, is a Russian émigré, living in Germany. The last novel published during his lifetime, almost exactly a half-century after Mary, is Look at the Harlequins! Similarly, it centers on Vadim, a Russian exile living first in Western Europe and then in America. Many of Nabokov’s greatest works focus upon exiled characters. Humbert Humbert in Lolita is a European living in America. ; Pale Fire’s Charles Kinbote wants his readers to believe he is the exiled king of mythic Zembla. Timofey Pnin is a comic yet heroic Russian professor trying to reinvent himself in the United States, while clinging to his lost language and culture.

“A surprising number of Shakespeare’s plays also feature central characters who are, at least temporarily, exiles. Perhaps most notably among the tragedies is Othello, the hero of which is, of course, a Moor in Venice, then Cyprus. King Lear spends most of his time on stage wandering, homeless, across the kingdom he once ruled. Macduff flees from Macbeth to England, to which Hamlet, too, is banished. The comedies, as well, often involve leaving home. The core of the action in A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes place as the lovers have fled to the woods. In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio has to leave home to come to Padua to woo and wed Katherina. The two gentlemen of Verona leave Verona for Milan; As You Like It’s characters have fled to the forest. In an interesting twist, it is the female characters in Love’s Labours’ Lost who have left the court of France, and are encamped outside the precincts of the court of Navarre. The Tempest (as we shall see, one of Nabokov’s favorite Shakespearean sources) centers upon the theme of exile. And, importantly for Nabokov and Pale Fire, Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens leaves Athens to live and ultimately to die in a cave in the wilderness.

“The physical isolation of exile is, clearly, rich in philosophical possibilities.. Literary characters who have had to leave their homes and homelands and live permanently or temporarily alone, surrounded by strangers, can be powerful emblems of human psychological solitary confinement, and what Nabokov calls in his autobiography the prison of time, which ‘is spherical and without exits’ (Speak, Memory , 20). Physical exile is obvious but potent metaphor for spiritual and/or temporal isolation. The human being, trapped within his—or her—solitary consciousness and limited to one ’brief crack of light’ ( Speak, Memory , 18) is an important thematic corollary to physical exile in both Nabokov and Shakespeare. In a rather serious comment on one of his lightest comedies, Shakespeare observes:


Brief as lightning in the collied night
That in a spleen, unfold both heaven and earth
And ere a man hath power to say “behold”
The jaws of darkness do devour it up
So quick bright things come to confusion
—Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream , (I, i. 145-149)


Indeed, one way of understanding the Shakespearean dramatic monologue is to see it arising from a character who can only speak to himself (and an eavesdropping audience) but who cannot escape the prison of selfhood sufficiently to speak of important matters with others, in dialog. Shakespearean characters from Hamlet to Timon seem victims of such psycho/spiritual exile.” …






_____________

"To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,"
_____________

"Then is doomsday near: but your news is not true.
Let me question more in particular: what have you,
my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune,
that she sends you to prison hither?

"Prison, my lord!

"Denmark's a prison.

"Then is the world one.

"A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.

"We think not so, my lord.

"Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me
it is a prison."
_____________




"Both authors begin with the motif of exile. Of course, in the case of Nabokov, this theme has a biographical root. In 1919 he left Russia, never again to see the country of his birth, and never again to live in a home he himself owned. ... Shakespeare, of course, is an entirely different case. Unsupported speculation aside, we have no evidence that he ever strayed very far from the Stratford/London axis, a distance of about 100 miles."



Never mind for a moment that, once again, in getting the identity of "Shakespeare" wrong, one is invariably mislead about myraid things "downstream" from that misidentification. Schuman's take on exile here is simply too literal. Oxford's kind of exile, while he travelled widely, was mainly and most importantly an emotional, intellectual and spiritual exile. And he'd have known and lived it even if he had not travelled so much.

If, as Schuman writes, "in the case of Nabokov, this theme has a biographical root,"-- thus, Nabokov's themes in his creative writing reflect his preoccupations, his life's experiences and his trials and triumphs-- then why in the world should it be that, "Shakespeare, of course, is an entirely different case"?

As a matter of fact, "Shakespeare" 's case is not an entirely different matter. Like Nabokov, Oxford, writing as "Shakespeare" did indeed reflect his preoccupations, his life's experiences and his trials and triumphs in his writing and he did this in the plays, the poems and the sonnets. Oxford's mainspring themes were straight out of his own life and they are reflected in characters who experience a loss of the ancestral home, their noble title and privileges suspended or threatened by challengers, usurpers. They feel, despite high-born noble rank, trapped, prisoners within a system which constrains and controls them. These characters frequently seek escape from such socially-prescribed rigors through flight into nature, escape to the forest, to the sea, to a foreign land, etc. Nothing we're given about William Shaksper suggests that these should have been his driving preoccupations, the stuff from which he again and again worked out his dramas and with which he infused his poetry.

Shaksper--according to tradition--went to London. But this was not, as far as we can reasonably deduce, because Stratford was a prison to him in the sense that he felt socially-trapped or cecause, beyond Stratford, he had inherently greater personal freedoms or escaped from problems which, once in London, were then behind him. If Shaksper pined for the freedom of the forest, or of open spaces, he had only to return to Stratford or any of a hundred other towns like it rather than fleeing to London where, we're supposed to believe, he set straight to work trying to use the urban center to make something of himself, that is, trying to climb the social ladder for, in practically any way one spelled it, such "success" by necessity would seem to be somewhere upward on the social scale--while, his plays repeatedly present us with characters already well up or near the top of the social ladder and find it leaves much to be desired.

Oxford could meet the Bassano family members, musicians at court--themselves being true exiles from a place which for him was a source of immensely fascinating interest to him--and recognize and share with them an intimately-felt understanding of what it is to have lost one's ancestral home and be suddenly among people who hold out potential for both personal prosperity and peril--depending on the way Fortune's Wheel may turn. The Bassanos would have much to inspire Oxford with their skills in making and performing on musical instruments. With them, he could practice speaking Italian, hear stories of their former lives in the foothills of the Alps northwest of Venice and their later lives in Venice itself.They would be living ambassadors to his interest in the culture of Italy--they'd have examples of its food, its music, it clothes and its manners--all at a time in Oxford's life when, his father deceased, he a ward in under the supervision of William Cecil, he felt something of an émigré to the court, as the Bassanos themselves were.

ETA:

By a perceptive attention to the author’s words, even a Stratfordian critic can gain better insight than Schuman offers us* into the real author’s mind without necessarily correctly recognizing that author’s identity—as David Young shows in the following excerpt:




“Four of Shakespeare’s plays—As You Like It, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest—have precisely in common a story concerned with the exile of some of its central characters into a natural setting, their sojourn in that setting, and their eventual return. All four exhibit, moreover, the themes which had become attached to thisstructural pattern in earlier pastoral writings. In addition, certain external features, mainl stylistic, which had become part of the pastoral tradition can be found in each of the four.

“The fundamental appeal of pastoral to an artist like Shakespeare is difficult to isolate, given the variety of possibilities open to writers who chose to worrk with it. The relation between subject and audience, however, provides an important clue. Pastoral was about rustic life, but it was not for rustics. The man who wrote it might pose as a shepherd, but everyone knew he was not. Arcadia, or its equivalent, was always elsewhere—often in time as well as space. Pastoral offered an alternative to the complex, hectic, urban present, but it was an imaginary alternative. For if pastoral writers sometimes appealed to a historical Golden Age, or praised the life in a known, accesible region, there was generally a shared understanding that the pastoral novel, poem, or play was to be held to fictive standards only. Our own attitude to science fiction is perhaps analogous; most of us suspect or believe that there is life on other planets, but we do not expect science fiction writers to document it. They must rear their imaginative structures, we understand, out of the here and now.

“If pastoral was an alternative, it could not help but be, in one way or another, a criticism of life. As a member of the family of myths based on ‘human resentment at the conditions and struggles of life,’ (1) it tended to branch off toward idealism on the one hand and satire on the other. But its idealism was of a special sort, based not so much on perfection and abundance as on retrenchment, renunciation and retreat. Take less, the pastoral writer seemed to suggest, and you will have more; reduce your needs to the only legitimate one, harmony with nature, and you will experience fulfillment.” (2)

“His (Shakespeare’s) work reveals to the fullest Renaissance pastoral’s tendency toward self-consciousness, toward a stressing of the connections between aesthetic values and the dreams of contentment and fulfillment. If the pastoral could not be true to life, it could be true to the imagination, and that in turn enhanced the meaning and value of art.” (3)



__________________________

(1) F. Kermode (1953) p. 15
(2) David Young, ‘Pastoral Poetry and Drama’ (1972) in John Russell Brown (ed.), Shakespeare: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘As You Like It’ (Critical Essays Casebook Series) (1979), Macmillan Education Ltd. Publishers pp. 200-201 ; Young's article in Brown's collection was drawn from Young's The Heart's Forest: A Study of Shakespeare's Pastoral Plays, New Haven & London, (1973) pp. 11-13, 27-99
(3) ibid (2) above, p. 204


I suspect that this analysis of Shakespeare’s effort as being his intention, from the start, to work on a play in the “pastoral form” is to overdo the analyst’s job. It’s not necessary to subscribe to the whole of Young’s analysis in order to appreciate a number of revealing aspects of the author’s motive interests. Oxford was, above all, of course, giving voice through his plots and characters to his own needs for expression of his most deeply-felt ideas about himself, his times and the social and moral conditions he found and the challenges these posed to one of such a rare sensibility as was his own.

________________________

* Though Schuman comes closest to a keen insight into the real author where he wrote, (also cited above)

"Indeed, one way of understanding the Shakespearean dramatic monologue is to see it arising from a character who can only speak to himself (and an eavesdropping audience) but who cannot escape the prison of selfhood sufficiently to speak of important matters with others, in dialog. Shakespearean characters from Hamlet to Timon seem victims of such psycho/spiritual exile.” …

181proximity1
Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 4:08am Top


From Ulrike Küpper’s (Ph. D. Dissertation) William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream" in the History of Music Theatre, (Volume 7 Literary Studies, Edited by Heinrich F. Plett) 2011, Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main



“So numerous and varied are the musical references and allusions in Shakespeare’s plays that few aspects of contemporary musical knowledge fail to find memorable expression. Shakespeare’s frequent use of musical terminology in his dramatic writing suggests that he had a more than superficial knowledge of both the art of composition and the design of musical instruments. His knowledge, both theoretical and practical, included familiarity with the idea of the music of the spheres, and an interest in the curative power of music and its effect on human emotions. His ’understanding of the lyrical and dramatic effects of actual song, dance and instrumental performance’ (1) is discernable in several of his plays. Though the main source of Shakespeare’s musical awareness cannot be identified for certain, Thomas Morley and John Dowland are two Renaissance composers whose names are often mentioned by scholars when the question of Shakespeare’s musical associations is addressed. … (p. 7)

“The ‘very tragical mirth’ (V, i. 57) of Pyramus and Thisbe, enacted by the mechanicals for the wedding festivities at Theseus’s court in Athens (‘What masque? What music?’ V, i. 40), is a play-within-a-play at the end of Shakespeare’s comedy. The mechanicals’ ‘tedious brief’ (V, i. 56) scene of Pyramus and Thisbe offers and inversion, in both matter and manner, of the framing of the lovers’ plot and and mirrors the tragic potential of the conflict between Egeus and the couple Lysander and Hermia, even though this goes unnoticed by the stage audience. The performance ends with a ‘bergomask’ (V, i. 347) an element taken from masque tradition and the only dance in the play not performed by the fairies. Though popular, the bergomask was often supposed to be a clumsy and ‘ridiculous imitation of the movements of the peasants of Bergamo.’ (2) … ( p. 10)

“As Harold Brooks has remarked, ‘For Shakespeare and in the thought of his time the harmony of music and movement in the dance signified concord.’ (3) In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as in several of his other plays, Shakespeare deployed these elements to ‘prepare or accompany the supernatural.’ (4) He knew precisely when and how to make music serve a dramatic end. Unfortunately, not a single contemporary melody from any of the original A Midsummer Night’s Dream songs has survived. (p. 11)


______________

(1) Carpenter, in Orgel and Keilen (eds.) 1999. p. 125
(2) a. Brissenden, (1981) p. 45
(3) Brooks (ed.) (2001) p. cxxiv
(4) Ross W. Duffin (2004) p. 480

182proximity1
Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 4:17am Top

Where did the first-generation of Bassanos from il Veneto live in London?

Using an Inter-active London historical map , you can see where the Bassano family (five brothers (all sons of Jeronimo) :

1) Alvise (Alvixe) , A)

2) Jasper (Gasparo), A) , B) , C)

3) John (Juane, Giovanni), A) , B)

4) Anthony (Antonio), A), B)

and

5) Baptista (Batist) (Aemilia's father and the youngest of the five) ) lived. A) , D)

Habitations (indicated above by the corresponding LETTERS below) :

A) "Charterhouse"

B) Mark Lane (parish of All Hallows, Barking)
(not the modern-day "Barking" of the east greater London area.)

C) St. Olave, Hart Street

D) Norton Folgate, St. Boltoph, Bishopsgate

Bookmark of Marked Map showing A) , B) , C) , & D)
+ / - Zoom In / Out at left-hand of map. To see entire image, Zoom Out. For detail, Zoom In.

Clicking on a colored location will open an informational window describing the locale.

183proximity1
Sep 23, 2017, 12:03pm Top


IN chapter eight of The Bassanos author Roger Prior shows he has an excellent ability to see into the wordplay of “Shakespeare's” sonnets and plays as these reveal what I agree is the true-life story of the author's triangular relationship with his “dark lady” and the Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, to whom the sonnets are dedicated. Prior sees the puns—in “Shakespeare's” use, often having not just double meanings but often triple and sometimes quadruple meanings—as I'm convinced their author intended them to be seen and understood and this ability is frankly quite unusual from a Stratfordian scholar. For, despite his ability to read and discern the double and triple meanings and how they point again and again to Emilia Bassano and her life circumstances, Prior somehow, incredibly, as I see it, remains in his view of Shaksper of Stratford as the author—neglecting an immeasurably stronger case for Edward Oxford in all the very details his readings reveal.

For Prior, it is “Shakespeare's” close relationship with Bassano, his mistress, his dark lady of the sonnets, which accounts either largely or completely for his knowledge and use of details about Italian history, geography and customs which fill his plays' scenes set in or based on locales in Venice, Milan, Verona, Padua, Mantua, Bergamo and Florence or the isle of Vulcano.*

Emilia, however, unlike her father and uncles, was born in London in 1569—four years the junior of William Shaksper—and she apparently never lived in or even visited Italy. All her acquaintance, therefore, she'd have heard growing up, listening to stories told her by her elders. Her father (Baptista**) was buried in April of 1576 only a few months after Emilia's seventh birthday. Emilia's mother, who died eleven years later, was described in Baptista's will as 'Margaret Bassany, alias Johnson, my reputed wife.' (1) Thus, Emilia's mother wasn't even herself from Italy.

Furthermore, besides neither Emilia or her mother having any personal experience of their own visiting in Italy, her uncles are so far not known to have had any direct personal experience of certain parts of Italy beyond Veneto and Venice and those areas they'd have travelled through in leaving Italy for England. The eldest were from the ancestral home of Bassano del Grappa in the foothills of the Alps north of Venice and all six brothers eventually came to Venice where they worked as musicians and makers of musical intstruments. And, as Richard Roe explains (p. 5),

(“Verona is the first Italian city a sensible traveller from England would reach”...) most travelers overland to and from Italy's north used either the Montgenèvre pass or the Brenner pass through the Alps.

We are thus at something of a loss as to the source of “Shakespeare's” knowledge of, say, Vulcano or Siena or Ilyria on the eastern Adriatic coast.

____________________

* Both authors David Lasocki and Roger Prior assume William Shaksper as the author of “William Shakespeare's” work.

** A character in The Taming of the Shrew is given the name “Baptista.”

(1) p. 26; Lasocki and Prior The Bassanos (1995)

184proximity1
Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 12:11pm Top

The meaning which Oxfordians ascribe to "Bermoothes" still seems to depend on an allusion to the islands--which weren't apparently known to Oxford--so why "Bermoothes" unless it alludes to something else? In Italian, there's a term, "pèrmutes" (three syllables) which might have a historical sense in which it is similar to England's "liberties"-- Blackfriars, etc. If so, still-vexed "Bermoothes" could be a pun on "pèrmutes" or "permuta"* (pair-moot-es) and could also carry a sense of "Vermouth", which, exactly when Oxford was touring the Veneto, had become an important product of vintners --especially around Torino. Vermouth is a very old concoction but it had only recently become a fashion in northern Italy when Oxford visited. It comes from the German for "Wormwood --"Wermut" (Getränk) " and Italians spell it "Vermut."

In Italian, the word and its variants have numerous meanings and these were in use in the 16th century. Among the conotations is "change," as in our "permutation"; "barter," (exchange), "allow" (permit), and even "molt (moult) (as in feathers moulting). Since "liberties" were locales which were exempt from usual trade restrictions and requirements, several of these senses are associable with the Italian conotations of "permuta." In addition, in Italian (today, at least) some words which are spelled with a "p" are pronounced (or sound, to the Anglophone ear, like they're pronounced) "b". For example, when children playing football in a public park kick the ball and it strays far from their playing area, they're often heard to shout to those who could retrieve it for them, "Palla!" ("Ball!"). But it was months before I understood that the word they pronounced as (to my ear) "Balla!" was in fact "palla", the Italian for "ball." They were shouting "Palla!" but I distinctly heard them shout "Balla!"--though, of couse, since I was also observing their playing football, I was mentally "primed" to "hear" "Ball(a)!" and certainly not "Pall(a)!"

| (*)So, "permuta" could be pronounced with barely a detectable difference from "bermuta" which brings us reasonably close to punning territory. | The point wouldn't be that the Oxfordian exegesis on "Bermoothes" as a reference to a still-infested area of London is wrong--merely that the term isn't a pun on "Bermuda" as an island and whatever the Londoners' origin for the term "Bermoothes" was, if it became associated with the Bermuda Islands, that would have been an ex post facto linguistic coincidence. |

Had Venice had "liberties," Oxford would certainly have been aware of the fact--and interested from numerous points of view. legal, commercial, sporting, theatrical, etc.

"Still-vexed," of course, is a pun on the distillery device, a "still". A particular human-habitated locale may be "vexed" with stills and distilling and all that reasonably goes with it. Why the Bermuda Islands should be "vexed" in any sense is not at all clear to me. If "vexed" refers to their propensity to suffer storms, it doesn't make much senes to say "still-vexed since the storms are a feature of the natural environment and not something which can ever be suppoesd to definitively end. "Still-vexed" by storms? The Bermudas? When would they _not_ be subject to these storms' recurrance? I see no reason why the islands would ever qualify as "vexed" even in a metaphorial sense. And, as for Ariel, what difference to him whether the island to which he goes to fetch "dew" (16th century slang for "whisky") is vexed with storms? As a sprite, it's all the same to him whether it be day or night, sunny or stormy, when he's sent to fetch "dew" for Prospero. And, in that vein, the remark itself is completely dispensible from a dramatist's point of view. Left out, the play is not altered in any significant way. So we ought to suspect that Oxford put it there for reasons which weren't essential to the play's dramatic course.

_____________________________

ETA:

Actually, why wouldn't the Bermuda Islands have been known to Edward Earl of Oxford?



Juan de Bermúdez
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Juan de Bermudez)
Juan Bermúdez
Born Juan Bermúdez
(locale) unknown
Palos de la Frontera, Province of Huelva, Crown of Castile
Died 1570
(locale) unknown
Nationality Castilian
Occupation Navigator

Juan de Bermúdez (/bɜːrˈmjuːdɛz/; Spanish pronunciation: berˈmuðeθ; d. 1570) was a Spanish navigator of the 16th century. In 1505, while sailing back to Spain from a provisioning voyage to Hispaniola in the ship La Garça (or Garza), he discovered Bermuda, which was later named after him

______________________

Note: Historia general y natural de las Indias by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (1478-1557)

185proximity1
Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>132 Podras.::

RE: "As a courtesy, and because I want to be certain that my "facts" are accurate, I will reorder it from the library and read it again. It will take roughly two weeks before I can make a meaningful response. If I'm wrong, I will apologize and correct any factual errors I've made." (last) (Edited: Sep 5, 5:46am)

I don't care to nit-pick over the difference between two weeks or three. If you needed 6, 8 or 12 or 15 to get around to reading a book containing evidence which you already know you disagree with, I wouldn't mind. But, in the meantime, I've already posted replies in which I cited where Roe's texts refutes your posts' portrayals of his claims and presented the page numbers for each. If you have the book, it would require at most an hour to check through each of these and confirm that your presentations were inaccurate.

So, it seems to me that you could post this acknowledgment of error any time soon.

Otherwise, so much for your telling us "If I'm wrong, I will apologize and correct any factual errors I've made."

>129 Podras.: : "Some don't. Roe detects and discusses a couple of the latter." (needs an example)

"It hardly matters if scholars can't specifically account for Shakespeare's source for every detail about Italy, something that Richard Roe attempts to argue using fallacious logic, trying to make something of the fact that a source for every Italian reference can't be specifically identified."

The strength of the case made by Richard Roe's book is that there are numerous examples of details concerning Italy which, by the Stratfordians' view of it, cannot be most reasonably explained and which Roe's account shows us can be far better understood (or often, only understood at all) by the light of the case he (and others like him) makes.

Thus, if Stratfordians have a demonstrably poorer account or no account at all for details which Roe marshals evidence, then, yes, that does demonstrate that the Stratfordian case is inferior at the least. Where is the "fallacious logic" Roe uses and why is it fallacious? Example, please.

186Podras.
Sep 23, 2017, 2:16pm Top

>185 proximity1: No need to get impatient. The library took longer than anticipated to deliver Roe's book, and since I'm reading through the whole thing again--slowly--my response will take a little longer to come, too. While waiting for my response, one might ponder in what way the very existence of Roe's book contradicts his own thesis.

187proximity1
Edited: Sep 25, 2017, 3:16am Top

>186 Podras.:

I'm not sure what you mean by ..."one might ponder in what way the very existence of Roe's book contradicts his own thesis."

The fact is, Roe's book, in English of course, and appearing in 2011--even so recent a year!--was one of the first of its kind and it preceded the finally-published-as-a-collection work, equally (if not more) admirable also done in English by Noemi Magri: Such Fruits Out of Italy. I've read them both. Before these two authors, there were a very few people--Italians, mainly--who'd done some due diligence work showing the remarkable extent of "Shakespeare's" presentation of Italian geography, history and culture. Most or all of them did their work in an effort to demonstrate that some other person than Shaksper must have been the real author and--as far as I know--all their candidates were other than Edward Oxford. A number of Italians would like to make John Florio into Shakespeare.

So, when Roe sets out what could be reasonably argued to be his thesis:


"There is a secret Italy hidden in the plays of Shakespeare. It is an ingeniously described Italy that has neither been recognized, nor even suspected--not in four hundred years--save by a curious few. (empahasis added) It is exact; it is detailed; and it is brilliant," (p. 1, "Preface")


he's stating what the circumstances were in general at the time of his book's publication. The fact that a few Italian scholars in the early 20th century had remarked on Shakespeare's interesting and detailed apparent knowledge of Italy does not alter the fact that, in English-language scholarship, the work of Roe and Magri presented at the time a fresh and unusually-detailed critique of the standard views of "Shakespeare's" error-ridden-by ignorance-of-Italy works which, strangely enough, he persistently chose to situate in that country. Roe and Magri expose as absurd the still-orthodox claims that "Shakespeare" (Shaksper) either had to have visited Italy or that he needn't have ever done so in order to have gathered up the details about it which abound in his plays and, more subtlely, implied in his sonnets.

In what follows from Roe, much is the result of his own research and presentation of primary and secondary sources.

So, yes, please do explain to us, among the other things you're erroneously claiming about Roe's views, how his book's very existence belies his own thesis.

But, before you do that--please dispense with such subject-changing dodges and attend to the distortions you've alerady posted and left uncorrected, your errors unacknowledged.

I've been patient. And your snide comment that suggests otherwise is just more of your so typical misrepresentation of others.

RE:

"since I'm reading through the whole thing again--slowly--my response will take a little longer to come, too."

What constitutes "a little longer"? Just give us a good, fair, accurate idea. Pick a number--be generous to yourself. If you really need six weeks, say that. If it's ten or twelve, tell us. That way, we can estimate whether your absence and silence means you are at work on reviewing Roe or that it means something else.

Your posts with their misstatements of fact and my replies correcting them are on record here in this thread. Your plodding slowly through Roe (for the first time, I gather) is not going to alter any of that.

188proximity1
Edited: Sep 25, 2017, 3:05am Top



"Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Limited Art of Interpretation" (Thursday, September 21, 2017) |
Posted by Peter Dorman at 7:26 PM




"The thing is, he seldom makes arguments in the sense I understand that term. There isn’t extended reasoning through assumptions and implications or careful sifting through evidence to see which hypotheses are supported or disconfirmed. No, he offers an articulate, finely honed expression of his worldview, and that’s it. He is obviously a man of vast talents, but he uses them the same way much less refined thinkers simply bloviate.

"But that raises the question, why is he so influential? Why does he reach so many people? What’s his secret?

"No doubt there are multiple aspects to this, but here’s one that just dawned on me. Those who respond to Coates are not looking for argumentation—they’re looking for interpretation.

"The demand for someone like Coates reflects the broad influence that what might be called interpretivism has had on American political culture. This current emerged a few decades ago from literature, cultural studies and related academic home ports. Its method was an application of the interpretive act of criticism. A critic “reads”, which is to say interprets, a work of art or some other cultural product, and readers gravitate toward critics whose interpretations provide a sense of heightened awareness or insight into the object of criticism. There’s nothing wrong with this. I read criticism all the time to deepen my engagement with music, art, film and fiction."

... ...

"The problem, of course, is that much about the election is subject to social science investigation. We have opinion polling and the factual record of specific campaign strategies and tactics. We have a variety of models that predict voting behavior—testable models. If you go through Coates’ article, you’ll find statements (especially sweeping generalizations) that are dubious in light of the evidence or even flatly refutable. This isn’t because Coates isn’t well informed or unable to examine the data, but because he is applying the method of cultural interpretation, not evaluating hypotheses."





"Mutatis mutandis," the same could be rightly applied to Statfordian Shakespeare work. By the way, Dorman does really good literary criticism (See, e.g., John W. Aldridge's work) a disservice in denigrating it thus:

"This current emerged a few decades ago from literature, cultural studies and related academic home ports. Its method was an application of the interpretive act of criticism. A critic “reads”, which is to say interprets, a work of art or some other cultural product, and readers gravitate toward critics whose interpretations provide a sense of heightened awareness or insight into the object of criticism. There’s nothing wrong with this. I read criticism all the time to deepen my engagement with music, art, film and fiction."

Good literary criticism requires good thinking, good reasoning, good exposition, i.e. clarity in presentation and argument. If it lacks these, it's not really any better than what Mr. Dorman is deploring here.

ETA :

“She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.” (Much Ado About Nothing (V, iv. 66) )

(i.e.: she died only as long as slanders against her lived)
_________________________________________


Much Ado About Nothing” is not, I think, among Shakespeare's most popular comedies. It lacks many of those perpetuating devices that we look for to give us a sense of timeless pleasure.”... —“Something of Great Constancy,” by Barbara Everett (1961)

_________________________________________

Here, for an example of superior literary criticsim:



“The gaiety of Much Ado About Nothing is consistently praised; its somber aspects are either ignored or disparaged. Most critics agree that Much Ado is the gayest of Shakespeare's three joyous comedies, that its theme is courtship, and that the main plot centers on the wooing and winning of Hero.

… …

“The interpretation of Much Ado in this article is, point for point, at variance with the view generally accepted. We hold that the theme of this comedy is honor, that its spirit is less joyous than reflective, and that courtship, a peripheral concern, is presented as an imminent threat to masculine honor. Once the accent on honor is established, interest in the witty lovers becomes subordinated to interest in the troubled lovers; John, the malevolent match-breaker, becomes more than a nominal villain; the main plot focuses less on the birth and growth of love than on the death and rebirth of love. Finally, seen in the light of lost faith restored and sincere atonement for 'unintentional' injury, the recantation scene (V, iii.) restores the moral equilibrium lost in the repudiation scene (IV, i.) with the result that Hero becomes more credible and Claudio more admirable. The intermittent gaiety of Much Ado is not an end in itself, it serves as a foil to the gravity. This comedy is of mingled yarn, in which the grave and the gay are sometimes contrasted, at times fused—so artfully that they sometimes temper, sometimes enrich each other.”

“Illusion and Metamorphosis,” by Paul and Miriam Mueschke (1967) (p. 130)

In Brown, John Russell (ed.) (Macmillan Education, Ltd. (1979)) : Shakespeare : Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It .


The excerpt above from Paul and Miriam Mueschke's essay “Illusion and Metamorphosis,” is an example of what superior literary criticism looks like. They see and understand things about a work of literature which most or all of their contemporary colleagues have not seen and understood. Then, with insight and clarity, they go on to explain what this is and why it is, leaving their readers with a clearer idea of the work and, no less, a clearer idea of the work's author—even if they haven't, for all their insights, been able to break free from the error of identifying that author as William Shaksper of Stratford.

The theme of honor placed right in the midst of what so many less astute Stratfordian critics have taken and continue to take as only a light comedy is one more quite good reason why "Shakespeare's" work is far better--and, really, only rightly--understood as having come from Edward Oxford. Why is chivalrous, courtly honor so very important to Shaksper? Where did Shaksper come by his knowledge of Peter Beverly's Ariodanta and Ienuera and Castiglione's (Il Cortigiano)Courtier?

The Mueschkes go on, at page 132, in setting out their four-part "interlocking sections" of their detailed interpretation--note, that is their term--

"(ii) The rigid concept of honor which flares up in the crises and climax of Much Ado is illuminated by references to Castiglione's Courtier (trans. by Hoby, 1561*) and Peter Beverly's Ariodanto and Ieneura (1565-1566). Once this courtly ethos is seen as the determining factor in Hero's three transfigurations, a significant number of characters and scenes take on added dimension.

" (iii) A re-examination of tone, structure, and imagery in key scenes provides a broader perspective, from which Much Ado emrges as a masterpiece of Shakespeare's maturing dramaturgy.

(iv) This play, a milestone in Shakespeare's development, is less closely related to the two 'joyous comedies' with which it is generaly associated than with the history plays with which it is contemporaneous and the tragedies by which it is followed."

(p. 132) Mueschke (1967)

______________________________

* Though Oxford, who revered Castiglione's book, could and almost certainly did read it in the original Italian.

190proximity1
Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 8:07am Top

Lessons on “Shakespeare” from Paul and Miriam Mueschke (“Illusion and Metamorphosis,” by Paul and Miriam Mueschke (1967))

The play's title, Much Ado About Nothing is, beside being a double-pun, intensely ironic. Much Ado About Nothing is much ado about everything most important to the members of the social class of the nobility, of courtiers.

In this “comedy,” the Oxford presents a serious drama in which he holds up to an unsparing scrutiny the courtly mores and masculine and feminine codes of honor as only one who has himself so intimately known and lived these can do. We are shown the treachery of the jealous and the petty-minded and how artfully a skilled villain can, through deft use of hearsay, rumor and slanderous insinuation and inuendo, dupe more respectable and well-meaning but gullible peers—using their own moral codes to mislead and trap them into what are revealed as truly more serious moral failures: betrayals of justice and of faith and fairness toward others who are wrongfully maligned.

This play—like his others—is a spiritual-outsider-and-critical-oberserver's “insider's account” of the frailties and the deceptions, the intrigues and the self-deceptions which made up the daily experience of courtly life. Though it comes to us measured and mediated through the actions and the words of players, behind these is Oxford's own real-life drama of life within the court, his struggles against his own frailties and those of his friends and his arch-enemies. We see malicious people using their clever understanding of human nature in a duel-like match of wits with others whose places and prestige they seek to supplant. And Oxford, for all his dazzling literary genius and insight into himself and others, did not always turn out the victor in these contests of power and influence. He dramatized the hard-learned lessons of his court-life.

Nor are these deeply-felt preoccupations unique to this play's plot. The same essential themes—mistaken views of honor, truth betrayed for vain and selfish purposes, of justice denied, of the power of lust, greed, jealousy, shame and pride, of foul-play triumphing temporarily or definitively over fair-play—these run through and through Oxford's poetic and dramatic work.



(in the forest of Arden)

Duke:

“Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old* custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference?—as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity;”

As You Like It, (II, i., 1-12)
__________
*: “old custom”: rustic, as opposed to courtly, custom



With Oxford writing as “Shakespeare,” we are in the presence of a very serious man of high social standing and long experience in the society of the powerful dealing with issues of the most serious kind. What he presents are, it is true, “universal themes” now--but he lived through what his art teaches us. His comic artistry conceals this for too many observers and that is a pity.

The Mueschkes write,

“The repudiation scene, examined with the courtly code of honor in mind, is much more than a coup de théâtre. In terms of Renaissance mores, it is a scene of poignant disillusionment and despair. In the conflict between appearance and reality, between emotion and reason, tension increases when lover turns inquisitor and father turns executioner. Here, in a conflict between good and evil, truth clashes with error in a charged atmosphere of contradictory moods and shifting relationships while the outraged moral sense oscillates between absolute praise and absolute blame. Here, when malice triumphs, shame so submerges compassion that slander, mirage, and perjury are accepted as occular and auditory proof. Incensed by defiled honor, men argue in absolutes shorn from any rational mean, and under the aegis of the courtly code act and react with prescribed cruelty.” (p. 141)

In an end-note, they cite Curtis Brown Watson from his Shakespeare and the Renaissance Concept of Honor (Princeton, N.J., 1960): “much modern Shakespeare criticism reveals, on many key points of 'interpretation'...historical ignorance...(and) a basic lack of sympathy with Renaissance pagan-humanistic values in general and Shakespeare in particular...our critics are often insufficiently aware of their own preconceptions and of the many respects in which our democratic ideals in the 20th century basically contradict the aristocratic assumptions of Elizabethan society' (p. 9 and passim).”

What this citation from Watson perhaps does not make clear enough is that these assumptions were just that, “aristocratic assumptions", and, even more precisely, courtiers' and nobility's assumptions—as distinct from the assumptions of the commoner who lived in and practiced a rather different set of assumptions, ones which were not less defining or less confining merely because they were the assumptions of commoners. Indeed, Oxford can and does demonstrate how, no matter where one found one's self on the social spectrum, across this divisive social reality, one's class-based social assmptions ruled one's manners, customs, one's expectations and one's aspirations for all except a very few and very rare individuals, Oxford himself among them. Oxford's poems and plays were, in addition to other things, primarily extended and detailed criticisms of life—especially social life and especially the social life of the ruling class of which he was a member—and their force, their vitality, comes from the fact that they sprang from his own lived experiences, not from second-hand accounts passed to him by friends or acquaintances.

Without this as a conditioning view, much, and unfortunately, most, of what is most important about “Shakespeare's” work—Oxford's life-earned insights—is simply never gained in the first place, let alone “lost.”

191Crypto-Willobie
Sep 26, 2017, 10:18am Top

Your typewriter ribbon must be wearing thin...

192proximity1
Sep 26, 2017, 11:01am Top


(p. 36, Lasocki and Prior, The Bassanos Ashgate, 1995)

"On 7 August 1577 Arthur (Bassano) and his younger brother Andrea were issued a passport for themselves and their man servants* to go to Venice 'and thence to return with all diligence, with license to carry with themtheir necessary bags and baggages, without stay or molestation to the contrary,'" (Source: Acts of the Privy Council of England, New series, Vol. X (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1895) p.12 )

Table 5.1 The Wages of the Bassano Family at court
__________________________________________

.............................................Per diem...........per annum
Alvise ................................. 2 s. 4d. ............. £50
John .................................. ...... 20 d. .......... £42, 11 s., 8 d.
Jasper................................. ....... 20 d. ......... £ 30, 8 s., 4 d.
Anthony (1st gen.) ............. . ..... 20 d. ......... £ 30, 8 s., 4 d.
Baptista ............................. . ..... 20 d. ......... £ 30, 8 s., 4 d.

(continued on p. 71)

___________________________________________

We know, for example, that Arthur B. and Andrea B. went from London to Venice, leaving on 7 August, 1577 because crown records show a passport was issued for their travel--without which, they wouldn't have been legally able to leave and travel. We know their daily and annual pay rates for attending the court as musiciasn (right down to the last penny) because records of such payments were kept, month after month, year after year. We know they were issued alotments of cloth (or its equivalent in money)--red for coronation and other celebratory state occasions, black for state funerals, because these records, too, were scrupulously kept. (pp. 69-73) Notes on sources: p. 88)

Where are all the (many) records for William Shaksper's payments as actor or other appointment to the court's service?

___________

Anthony (I) is a first-generation Bassano immigrant to London.
Arthur (b. 31/10/1547) Anthony's second surviving son.

* as court-appointned musicians, the Bassanos, from the first generation, had become gentry
and could afford the company of servants in their foreign travel.

193Podras.
Sep 26, 2017, 11:19am Top

>191 Crypto-Willobie: The use of inky bits by mostly quoting from the work of others, inane though the selections are, costs very little thought, a resource that seems to be much scarcer from the way it is being hoarded.

194proximity1
Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 11:48am Top

Thus, Nothing* here >191 Crypto-Willobie: or here >193 Podras.: in the way of reasoned argument in rebuttal on the merits of what I wrote--of my own--and what I cited from others. You know what's also interesting? Since I've begun to find and cite cogent points by Stratfordian scholars, the peanut gallery here finds that its usual knee-jerk derogatory dismissals don't come so easily. Instead of cheap, shallow mockery, there's just a passing remark, "from the work of others, inane though the selections are" which is a dig at my "inane" "selections".

Go figure. From people who don't answer and cannot answer and whose posts reveal (See the "Sycamore" 'objection >129 Podras.: and my reply >134 proximity1: ) that one can't even be bothered to do the flimsiest of due-diligence before posting what turns out to be simply worth nuthin' as an objection.

Given such examples of your bad faith participation, how do you expect others to read and respect what you post here? (That, of course, is a rhetorical question. You don't "do" "answers.")
_______________________________________________

* " I thank you for your company; but, good faith, I had as lief have been myself alone."

195proximity1
Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 9:20am Top

Shaksper and Oxford as "Shakespeare" : Anomalies and congruences II

The author's death
__________________________________________________​

We’ve just touched on (>190 proximity1:) one of the most important of the distinguishing features of Oxford’s work* : how it reveals its author as an iconoclast, as one not merely ready but actually driven to expose through his literary work the flaws and hypocrisies of a court society and its constricting rigors of comportment, rigors under which he (and others, too, of course) chafed.

This presents a convenient point of departure for addressing next a question which challenges both the Stratfordians and the Oxfordians—as, indeed, it challenges all camps who champion some candidate for the identity behind the “Shakespeare” pen-name: namely, why, upon Shaksper’s of Oxford’s death, wasn’t there a great outpouring of memorials from society’s high and mighty? I propose that this matter be considered from a simple reasoning-problem point of view, as one would take up a “thought-experiment” and, using what we know of the people concerned and the times in which they lived, try and work our way logically through the issues.

In this way, below, we’ll consider in turn a “What if… had actually been ‘Shakespeare’?” for Shaksper's and Oxford’s respective places as the then-still-unacknowledged-publicly person —not name—behind the name on the then-published work at the time of their deaths in considering the matter of how news of each one’s death ought to have been met by contemporaries had he been the author behind the name “William Shakespeare” and how each one’s death was actually received—at least as far as any still-extant public record can inform us of this.

How we approach a problematic question can make all the difference in the world. Consider, for example, this, taken not from literary criticism but from the world of science:


" 'I was looking at the brainwave patterns of people with different forms of dementia, but I was failing miserably at finding any difference between them,' he recalls now. One night, however, he read a scientific paper that changed everything. It described which parts of the brain were being attacked by these different types of dementia: 'Some were attacking parts of the brain that had to do with controlled sleep, while other types left those sleep centres unaffected. I realised my mistake. I had been measuring the brainwave activity of my patients while they were awake, when I should have been doing so while they were asleep.' Over the next six months, Walker taught himself how to set up a sleep laboratory and, sure enough, the recordings he made in it subsequently spoke loudly of a clear difference between patients. Sleep, it seemed, could be a new early diagnostic litmus test for different subtypes of dementia." ( "The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life: the new sleep science" | Leading neuroscientist Matthew Walker on why sleep deprivation is increasing our risk of cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer’s – and what you can do about it —Matthew Walker interviewed by Rachel Cooke, Sunday 24 September 2017, The (Sunday) Observer (London).



and this, from Curtis Brown Watson's Shakespeare and the Renaissance Concept of Honor (at p. 165: Forewod to Part II: "Does Drama Have a Moral Function?"

"The 20th century has been an age of brilliant and perceptive Shakespeare criticism....

"In my opinion, however, we are far behind the critics of the 18th and 19th centuries in one important respect. We have allowed our ever-increasing knowledge about the details of Renaissance social history in general and of the Elizabethan mores in particular to blur and confusee our perception of the values of the age. As Janet Spens has remarked: 'the inner life of the age of Elizabeth, only three centuries distant, and the experience of men of our own race, is far less intelligible to us (than the cultural life of Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages). Scholars have done much to elucidate a mass of allusions to the minutiae of daily life; we can make a picture of that life, but we do not understand how a true Elizabethan felt in the inner chambers of his heart.' With similar feelings of scholarly frustration, Hardin Craig, who has studied the intellectual background of the Renaissance as exhaustively as any man, admits that 'it does little good to learn the kind of houses the Elizabethans inhabited' if it is impossible to discover 'how people thought and felt while they were living in those houses.'

"The cultural historians themselves, in other words, are admitting that the work of historical restoration of a given age may be held back if we permit ourselves to be buried under an avalanche of historical detail so that we are never free to get sufficient perspective to perceive the essential values of the age. The wealth of our accumulated knowledge may be preventing us from understanding how an Elizabethan felt in the inner chambers of his heart.

"But is there not a more serious reason for our defective vision when we try to perceive Shakespeare's relation to his age? We live in an age in which didactic literature is not in fashion. We resent the artist who tries to make us better men. Indeed, we sometimes refuse to admit that moral evaluations can do anything but distort our aesthetic response to the work of art.

"The current tendency to avoid all 'value judgments' (in such disparate realms as art and sociology) has become so fashionable that such evasion has sometimes come to be considered an irrefutable canon of critical good taste. In my opinion, this tendency is preventing us from properly interpreting Shakespeare's plays. In his 'naive' willingness to speak in moral terms, the 18th century critic is often closer than we are to an understanding of the text, even though our 20th century critics have much greater historical awareness. Shakespeare usually rises above crude didactic effects, yet each of his plays is basically organized as a conflict between good and evil. This being true, we must employ the finest scales to detect the precise values relevant to our judgment of character and action. As Arthur Sewell has pointed out, in reading Shakespeare 'character and moral vision must be apprehended together.' "

"The remaining (304) pages of this book will have little or no meaning for the reader who fails to perceive that the greatness of the classics stems essentially from the clarity and grandeur of their moral vision, and that, in Shakespeare particularly, there is profound interpenetration of moral and aesthetic values." (pp. 165-167)



____________________

* >190 proximity1: Oxford's poems and plays were, in addition to other things, primarily extended and detailed criticisms of life—especially social life and especially the social life of the ruling class of which he was a member—and their force, their vitality, comes from the fact that they sprang from his own lived experiences, not from second-hand accounts passed to him by friends or acquaintances. The "aristocratic assumptions" referred to above in the citation from Curtis Brown Watson's book are, more precisely, courtiers' and nobility's assumptions—as distinct from the assumptions of the commoner who lived in and practiced a rather different set of assumptions, ones which were not less defining or less confining merely because they were the assumptions of commoners. Indeed, Oxford can and does demonstrate how, no matter where one found one's self on the social spectrum, across this divisive social reality, one's class-based social assmptions ruled one's manners, customs, one's expectations and one's aspirations for all except a very few and very rare individuals, Oxford himself among them.

_____________________

ETA

Though this topic could be treated in a very abbreviated form, reducing many interrelated issues to more general themes, such a simplification should produce a self-defeating result by sacrificing the very details which might afford readers the insight they may need and seek, insight of the sort which the best among Stratfordian scholars themselves point out as lacking among certain of their colleagues when it comes to understanding the social and moral circumstances of what was a period of profound change and reordering in English life--especially in the lives of the people with whom we're most immediately concerned: the elite aristocracy, the noble ranks from Barons to reigning monarch. It happens that Edward Oxford's generation was born into a watershed period in the life of the nobility and aristocracy. His father's generation and the generation of Oxford's daughter's children were formed in very different times and grew to maturity under sets of social assumptions and generally-held moral views which differed in important ways. Added to his time of great social change is simply the extraordinary character and mind of Oxford himself, which, whatever had been the social conditions in which he was been born, should have made his life singular and remarkable. As I've browsed from text to text, the scope of the topics involved has ramified considerably. Since adding Graham David Kew's Shakespeare's Europe revisited : the unpublished "Itinerary" of Fynes Moryson (1566 - 1630) to my library (Wishlist) on the 10th of September, my browsing for this area of interest has led me to add 138 other titles on a variety of matters related to the question of how to understand the social and moral climate in which Oxford lived.

What is most clear at this point is that it is simply impossible to approach "William Shakespeare's" work from a position of ignorance about this social and moral climate and some sketch of its background and expect to draw from readings of his work anything more than the most superficial appreciation of their significance and, still less, their author's meanings and intentions as revealed in his writing.

To understand Oxford's social position, his standing in the eyes of the court's most important members at the time of his death, entails a prior grasp of the changing social and moral climate in which he was born—with, as Koenraad Swart describes it, "(t)he spiritual crisis of the later Middle Ages" (p. 14; see reference below)—and came to maturity. Without this, it strikes the modern reader of our time as hardly credible that Oxford could have been the author of "Shakespeare" and yet his death have been apparently so little remarked publicly by his peers. There are, of course, other very different reasons why William Shaksper's life was not officially celebrated by the social elite of his time when he died. But to view each man's case in its proper context requires some preparatory ground-work in studying the moral scene as it was before 1500 and how and why powerful forces worked to change it from that time to the end of the first decade of the seventeenth century. Curtis Brown Watson, in Shakespeare and the Renaissance Concept of Honor (1960, Princeton, N.J.), goes into depth on the issues surrounding the Renaissance concept of honor--so important to any understanding of Oxford and of his writings which have come to us as "Shakespeare's" work.

(Interestingly enough, the introduction and first two cof Koenraad W. Swart's study, The Sense of Decadence in Ninteenth-Century France ( Chap. 1:"The Old Fears," Chap. 2: "The New Sense of Crisis" pp. 1-45) do a fair job of surveying and summarizing the Medieval social and moral background prior to the 1500s.))

196proximity1
Edited: Oct 8, 2017, 12:59pm Top

(Continued from >195 proximity1:)



“This book sets out to do two things: firstly, to describe the total environment of an élite, material and economic, ideological and cultural, educational and moral; and secondly to demonstrate, to explain, and to chart the course of a crisis in the affairs of this élite that was to have a profound effect upon the evolution of English political institutions. … The secondary object of this book is to describe in as much detail as can be reasonably tolerated the way of life of this élite, ….

( Lawrence Stone, (Oxford, 1967) The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641, pp. 5-6)

“The socio-political breakdown of 1640-42 had three main causes. The first was a long-term decline in respect for and obedience to the Monarchy, caused partly by the personal ineptitude of kings, partly by growing financial impoverishment, partly by structural defects in the Court system, and partly by the widening gap btween the moral standards, aspirations, and way of life of the Court and those of the Country. … The second was the failure of the Established Church (the (protestant) Church of England) to comprehend within itself all but the Roman Catholics. … These two factors could not alone have caused the prolonged upheaval of the 1640s if it had not been for a third , the crisis in the affairs of the hereditary élite, the aristocracy. …

“This book is primarily concerned with the third of these seismic shifts in English life, although it is designed to throw some incidental light upon the other two.”

( Lawrence Stone, (Oxford, 1967) The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641, pp. 9-10)


"The key symbols of Tudor and Early Stuart society were the hat and the whip. The former was for ever being doffed and donned to emphasize the complex hierarchy of ranks and authorities. Everyone, every day, many times a day, by removing his hat or by putting it on, gave visible proof of his acceptance of the great principle of subordination universally at work at Court, in the street, in the great household, in the university and even within the family." ( Lawrence Stone, (Oxford, 1967) The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641 (p. 21)





“Middle-class Puritanism, which, in the early 17th century, had come increasingly into conflict with the aristocracy, leading finally to the civil war between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads, clashed violently with Aristotelian humanism on the issue of magnificence, pomp, and ceremony. Questions of the propriety of sumptuous and gaudy apparel, of stately and expensive ceremony, of magnificent buildings and homes, and of large and well equipped retinues may appear to be unrelated to the concept of honor since they are partially a demonstration of the aesthetic taste of the period. Actually, however, the taste of the aristocratic class was shaped largely by the central Aristotelian concept of magnificence; sumptuousness and pomp were integral to the whole concept of honor. As Elyot says, 'Lette it be also considered that we be men and nat aungels, wherfore we knowe nothinge but by outwarde significations. Honour, wherto revernce pertaineth, is (as I have said) the rewarde of vertue, which honour is but the estimation of people, which estimation is nat every where perceived, but by some exterior signe, and that is either by laudable reporte, or excellencie in vesture, or other thinge semblable.'

“The values of our own middle-class society are so strongly opposed to the aristocratic values of the Renaissance in this particular respect that it is difficult for us to sympathize with the taste of the Elizabethan nobleman. Our values, or prejudices, are reflected in the word pompous. Pomp to us suggests pride and an over-emphasis on form. It seems almost incredible to us today that the word had a favorable connotation in the Renaissance.” ... C. B. Watson, (1960), Princeton, (p. 150-151)

...

“The extent to which the Elizabethan nobleman was conscious during every minute of his existence here on earth of his place in the social hierarchy and the extent to which the question of proper apparel was directly related to the aristocrat's position in the social caste becomes apparent from the following table, which appeared in 1574 in one of the homilies against gorgeous apparel:


“ Men's Apparel” (n 49)

'None shall wear in his apparel any:

“Silk of the colour of purple, cloth of gold
tissued, nor fur of sables

| but only the | King, Queen, King's |
| Mother, Children, Brethren and Sisters, Uncles and Aunts,

and except Dukes, Marquesses and Earls, who may wear the same in doublets, jerkins, linings....

(or any) “Cloth of Gold, Silver tinseled satin,
Silk of cloth mixed or embroidered with any gold or silver,

✸ Except : All degrees above Viscounts

(or any) “Woolen cloth made out of (produced ex patria) the realm....
Velvet, crimson or scarlet, Furs, black jenets, lucernes, Embroidery of
tailor's work having gold or silver or pearl therein,

✸ Except : Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, Barons ….

(or any) “Satin, damask, silk chamlet, or teffeta, in gown, coat, hose, or uppermost garments,
Fur, whereof the kind groweth not within the Queen's dominions...

✸ Except : the degrees and persons above mentioned and men that may
dispend £100 by the year, and so valued in the subsidy book (i.e., a public tax roll)

(or any) “Hat, bonnet, girdle, scabbards of swords, daggers,, etc., shoes and pantofles (slippers) of velvet...

✸ Except the degrees and persons above named, and the aon and heir apparent of a knight...

(or any) “Spurs, swords, rapiers, daggers, skaynes, wood-knives, or hangers, buckles of girdles |

(being) gilt, silvered, or damasked |

✸ Except : Knights' and Barons' sons, and other of higher degree or place.

n 49 : (Cited in Karl Holzknecht, The Backgrounds of Shakespeare's Plays, New York, (1950), p. 44. )”


from C. B. Watson, (1960), Princeton, (p. 153)

197proximity1
Edited: Oct 9, 2017, 3:39am Top

(Continued from >196 proximity1: )

________________


“That a 'middle-class culture' of educated artisans, small shopkeepers, and merchants grew up in Elizabethan England cannot be doubted, but the dominant value system remained that of the landed gentleman. … the social prestige and the standards of value of the landed classes were never seriously challenged except for a brief period during the Interregnum.

“Active personal occupation in a trade or profession was generally thought to be humiliating. The man of business was inferior to the gentleman of leisure who lived off his rents. Retail trade was always degrading....

“The ranking of the professions was only slightly higher than that of tradesmen.”
(p. 24, L. Stone, 1967, Oxford)



“Along with the supremacy of land went a continued respect for medieval aristocratic ideals. One of the most characteristic features of the age was its hyper-sensitive insistence upon the overriding importance of reputation. Many of the punishments of the day, the stocks, the pillory, the apology read out in the market-place, were based upon the theory that public humiliation was a more effective penalty than a swingeing fine. The extraordinary seventeenth-century code of the duel, under which men felt impelled to risk their lives to avenge a casual word, was merely a cancerous growth from the same cells. A by-product of this cult of reputation was an insistence upon the aristocratic virtue of generosity. Though contemporaries lamented the decay of hospitality—and it undoubtedly did fall away during this period—this is less remarkable than the vigorous persistence of the ideal, and in some measure the practice, in direct opposition to Calvinist ideals of frugality and thrift. The prime test of rank was liberality, the pagan virtue of openhandedness. It involved wearing rich clothes, living in a substantial well-furnished house, keeping plenty of servants and above all maintaining a lavish table to which anyone of the right social standing was welcome. This was the quality most admired by the leading squires and nobles of England, and this that they were most anxious to impress upon posterity.

“There is little or no direct evidence of any weakening in the attachment to this doctrine before the Civil War, despite the fact that it was directly opposed to the Puritan imperative to save rather than to consume. Some early seventeenth-century Puritans like Sir Thomas Heselrige of Noseley, Leicesterhsire, were content for posterity to know that they were of 'great temperance and sobriety,' but the majority of gentry and nobility –even those of a puritan cast of mind—would have scorned so tame an epitaph.
“The motive behind this emphasis on liberality was the maintainance of status, which in turn depended more on ways of spending than on mere income. As Sir Thomas Smith* remarked in the reign of Elizabeth, 'a Gentleman, (if he will be so accounted) must go like a Gentleman.' This use of expenditure as the acid-test of rank means that status bore a closer relation to income than it does in some Western communities, like England, where education, accent, and professional occupation are all of crucial importance. It also means that in the effort to maintain status many families overreached themselves, fell heavily into debt, and eventually sold their patrimony and disappeared. …

“On the broad view this was a two-class society of those who were gentlemen and those who were not. As a contemporary put it with disarming simplicity, 'All sorts of people created from the beginning are divided into 2: noble and ignoble.' …

"Despite the blurring of the line by the devaluation of the word 'gent.', despite the relative ease with which it could be crossed, the division between the gentleman and the rest was basic to Elizabethan society. An essential prerequisite for membership of the élite was financial independence, the capacity to live idly without the necessity of undertaking manual, mechanic or even professional tasks. But other equally important qualifications were birth, education, and willingness to adopt the way of life and the system of values which prevailed among the landed classes. Moreover, the source of wealth was just as important as the amount, as many a great London merchant was mortified to discover." …

“This fundamental social division was therefore not based exclusively on wealth—indeed social divisions never are—even though achievement or retention of the higher status was impossible without it. Money was the means of acquiring and retaining status, but not the essence of it: the acid-test was the mode of life, a concept that involved many factors. Living on a private income was one, but more important was spending liberally, dressing elegantly, and entertaining lavishly. Another was having sufficient education to display a reasonable knowledge of public affairs, and be able to perform gracefully on the dance floor and on horseback, in the tennis-court and the fencing school.”

(pp. 25-28, L. Stone, 1967, Oxford)




“The titular peerage, then, was a status group defined by special privileges of its own, and the major component of a power élite. …

“If we regard the gentry élite and the titular peerage as forming a single class, we can see that it is defined in a number of different ways. In the first place, its members stood out because of their wealth. As a result of this wealth, they lived in a more opulent style than their neighbors. They mostly married among themselves. They or their sons controlled or filled the county seats in Parliament. They were bound by the same moral pressure to spend freely, to serve the State, and to treat their tenants well. Whatever may be said of the earls, therefore, the baronage at any given time only represented the majority of the greater landowners of the country. Although for some purposes the lives of this non-noble gentry élite are freely drawn upon for illustrative material, the statistical skeleton of this book is the titular peerage. This is a defensible procedure since the peerage, embracing as it does about two-thirds of the total families in this economic class—and all of those in the really high income bracket—may fairly be taken as a representative selection.”

(pp. 31-32, L. Stone, (1967), Oxford)


___________________

bold & italicized emphasis above is added

* Sir Thomas Smith was, in Edward Oxford's youth, Oxford's primary tutor (at William Cecil's behest in his capacity as the official in charge of the nobility's minor wards-of-the-Court).


Note: Compare the citation of Lawrence Stone, in italic bold just above, "the pagan virtue of openhandedness", from pages 25-28, with the citation of C.B. Watson's observations from pp. 150-151, in >196 proximity1: (..."the taste of the aristocratic class was shaped largely by the central Aristotelian concept of magnificence"... ).

Stone's choice of words in one of the citations above, and again, here,

...characteristic features of the age was its hyper-sensitive insistence upon the overriding importance of reputation.

tells us as much about how far we had come—even fifty to sixty years ago when he was writing or revising his text—from the honor surrounding one's reputation as it does about this so-called "hyper-sensitivity" on the part of the nobility stretching over a dozen centuries and manifested in myriad ways over that time but in a durable set of core ways.

Indeed, Oxford, as author of Shakespeare, clearly shows us the importance of a deservedly good reputation as a central aspect of the complexity that entails "honor" for the nobility.

Just take this list of his references to "reputation" as an example.

Follow the link and you may clink on and open each of the following citations to see in context the dozens of times he makes reference to "reputation" in his plays and poems.



All's Well That Ends Well AW III.vii.6 And would not put my reputation now

All's Well That Ends Well AW IV.iii.132 commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation and

All's Well That Ends Well AW IV.iii.174 i'th' camp, a Frenchman; what his reputation is with the

All's Well That Ends Well AW IV.iii.193 What is his reputation with the Duke?

All's Well That Ends Well AW IV.iii.242 Dumaine: you have answered to his reputation with

All's Well That Ends Well AW V.iii.176 Your reputation comes too short for my daughter;

Antony and Cleopatra AC III.xi.49 I have offended reputation,

As You Like It AYL I.ii.168 Do, young sir, your reputation shall not therefore

As You Like It AYL II.vii.153 Seeking the bubble reputation

Cymbeline Cym I.v.108 confidence than her reputation. And to bar your

Hamlet Ham II.ii.330 both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Henry IV Part 2 2H4 II.i.129 wrong; but answer in the effect of your reputation, and

Henry V H5 IV.vii.137 he be perjured, see you now, his reputation is as arrant

King Edward III E3 III.iii.78 Or dim the reputation of my birth,

King Edward III E3 V.i.46 Is held in reputation none of ours.

Love's Labour's Lost LLL II.i.155 And wrong the reputation of your name,

Love's Labour's Lost LLL V.ii.699 mean you? You will lose your reputation.

Measure for Measure MM V.i.219 For that her reputation was disvalued

Much Ado About Nothing MA II.ii.35 reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance

Much Ado About Nothing MA IV.i.239 As best befits her wounded reputation,

Othello Oth II.iii.188 That you unlace your reputation thus

Othello Oth II.iii.255 Reputation, Reputation, Reputation! O, I have lost

Othello Oth II.iii.256 my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself,

Othello Oth II.iii.257 and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

Othello Oth II.iii.261 than in reputation. reputation is an idle and most false

Othello Oth II.iii.263 deserving. You have lost no reputation at all, unless you

Pericles Per IV.vi.162 Would not in reputation change. Thou art

Richard II R2 I.i.178 Is spotless reputation. That away,

Richard II R2 II.i.58 Dear for her reputation through the world,

Richard II R2 II.i.96 Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;

Richard III R3 I.iv.155 thy reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?

Romeo and Juliet RJ III.i.111 In my behalf – my reputation stained

The Comedy of Errors CE III.i.86 Herein you war against your reputation,

The Comedy of Errors CE IV.i.72 This touches me in reputation.

The Comedy of Errors CE V.i.5 Of very reverend reputation, sir,

The Merry Wives of Windsor MW I.iii.73 I will keep the haviour of reputation.

The Merry Wives of Windsor MW II.ii.238 ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow,

The Merry Wives of Windsor MW II.ii.278 bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation

The Merry Wives of Windsor MW III.iii.111 senses to you, defend your reputation, or bid farewell to

The Two Gentlemen of Verona TG I.iii.6 While other men, of slender reputation,

The Two Gentlemen of Verona TG II.vii.87 My goods, my land, my reputation;

The Two Noble Kinsmen TNK III.iii.11 Having our ancient reputation with us,

The Winter's Tale WT I.ii.420 Turn then my freshest reputation to

Timon of Athens Tim III.v.19 Seeing his reputation touched to death,

Troilus and Cressida TC III.iii.187 And case thy reputation in thy tent;

Troilus and Cressida TC III.iii.227 I see my reputation is at stake.

(use the key-term search engine at the site's homepage: http://www.shakespeareswords.com/ )



But Oxford's emphases on the importance of reputation aren't encompassed by the totality of his use of that term. He makes the point again here without employing the term directly--though reputation is what this is all about:

IAGO

"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed."


( Othello III, iii, 154-160)

198proximity1
Edited: Oct 20, 2017, 12:13pm Top

Edward Oxford's literary genius—surely neither for the first nor the last time in human history—came with a rare heightened sense of the tragic and a particular sensitivity to injustice and to the selfishly motivated dishonesty and fakery which have always made up so much of life's experience. In addition to these factors, he lived during a time and within a social elite in which late-medieval latin was still used routinely in speech and writing; as an accomplished master of latin, his own name, “Vere”, must have constantly reminded him of its english-language sense, “truth.”

So when, as a boy, Edward came to the study of the history and the languages of ancient Greece and Rome, he found in them not only the same drama which had captured and fired the imagination of young boys for centuries before and since his time, he was learning this history and these languages after having been told over the course of his earlier childhood of his own family's noble history through the preceding fifteen generations down to his father, the sixteenth Earl of Oxford. Thus, ancient Attic and Roman times, through monarchies and republics, were the very social backdrop for the fabric which composed his own elders' and their immediate ancestors' lives, the heritage of which he had to know himself heir to in the most literal as well as figurative senses. This, in sum, explains the source of Oxford's special affinity for Classical and later latinate culture--poetry and plays-- his great admiration for not only the works of Ovid but for Ovid himself, both remaining one of his life-long passions; it explains Oxford's intense interest Italy, its Renaissance which preceeded England's by a century--which English renaissance owes so very much to Edward Oxford's literary genius-- and everything about Italian culture and, in particular and for his having made Italy the setting in part or in whole for eight plays: Romeo & Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Othello (Act I), A Midsummer Night's Dream, All's Well That Ends Well, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest and ancient Rome the setting for three: Coriolanus, Titus and Andronicus and Julius Caesar and ancient Greece (Timon of Athens) or Troy (Troilus and Cressida). The rest of his plays are set in historic England of the 1100s to 1500s or ancient Britain (King Lear, Cymbeline) or in Scotland (Macbeth) or one of seven other foreign settings. (R. Roe, (2011) p.3)

Edward, born into the upper ranks of a social class system which for centuries had been divided lopsidedly between a relatively tiny nobility on one hand and the mass of everyone else of low or of no rank, the commoners comprising the bulk of society, was from the time he could speak, raised and instructed in the details of this class system. All around him he saw his elders as they practiced daily the habits of observance of their own and their peers' ranks—expressed in manners and codes of dress, of gesture, and of speech. C. B. Watson (1960) cites, in the following excerpt, a translation of Castiglione's Il Libro del Cortegiano (1528) (The Book of the Courtier) by Thomas Hoby (London, 1561) —which Edward Oxford praised:


From The First Booke of the Courtyer:
XIV : (The facioning of a Courtyer
A Gentleman borne)

“...a noble line of ancestors provided an incentive to emulate their renowned and pre-eminent virtues. The aristocrat had not only his own reputation to consider but also the good name of his family. (Baldessare) Castiglione, for example, insists that his ideal courtier must be born of noble stock:
'For it is a great deale less dyspraise for him that is not born a gentleman to faile in the actes of vertue, then for a gentleman. If he swarve from the steppes of his auncestours, hee stayneth the name of his familie.' (Th. Hoby, (p. 44)
(continuing, Hoby translates Castiglione) “and doeth not onely not get but loseth that is already gotten. For nobelnesse of birth is (as it were) a clere lamp that sheweth forth and bringeth into light, workes both good and badde, and enflameth and provoketh unto vertue, as wel with the feare of slaunder, as also with the hope of praise. And wheras this brightnesse of nobelnesse dothe not discover the workes of the unnoble, they have a wante of provocation and of feare of slaunder, and they recken not themselves bounde to wade anye further then their auncestours did before theym, whereas the noble of birthe counte it a shame not to arrive at the leaste at the boundes of their predecessours set foorth unto them.”

__________________

B. Castiglione's original text
(See this link: http://www.vicoacitillo.it/biblio/cortegiano.pdf )
(at p. 24-25) reads:



... (Chapter) "XIV.
"Voglio adunque che questo nostro cortegiano sia nato nobile e di generosa famiglia; perché molto men si disdice ad un ignobile mancar di far operazioni virtuose, che ad uno nobile, il qual se desvia dal camino dei sui antecessori, macula il nome della famiglia e non solamente non acquista, ma perde il già acquistato; perché la nobiltà è quasi una chiara lampa, che manifesta e fa veder l'opere bone e le male ed accende e sprona alla virtú cosí col timor d'infamia, come ancor con la speranza di laude; e non scoprendo questo splendor di nobiltà l'opere degli ignobili, essi mancano dello stimulo e del timore di quella infamia, né par loro d'esser obligati passar piú avanti di quello che fatto abbiano i sui antecessori; ed ai nobili par biasimo non giunger almeno al termine da' sui primi mostratogli."

(p. 24-25) Baldassare Castiglione - Il libro del Cortegiano)





With all of the above in mind, let's turn to consider this view of the personality or, rather, the lack of a discernable personality of the author of “Shakespeare's” works:



( (Note: this following italicized part in parentheses,omitted in Watson's cited excerpt (presented in original following these translations), is included here)
"However, there has been a great deal of discussion of the philosophy of Shakespeare. The power of reflections across myriad places in his plays presents the illusion of a superior wisdom which the author would have shared. It was tempting to tell one's self that in uniting these scattered fragments of his thought one reconstitutes the body of his doctrine and that we could then find an answer , his answer, to the mysteries of life. In fact, no such code exists.; this philosophy receeds as we attempt to approach it. The contradictions multiply and the incongruities appear equal to those which are found in real life itself. The disappointment is less for those who reason that, if the author had intended to convey such a message as his philosophy, he'd have taken the occasion of his non-dramatic works, above all, his Sonnets, to present it and that he made no such effort. No, in fact, we do not find that his personal morality is distinguished and imposed through the work. The true miracle is the extraordinary flexibility with which he has succeeded in making the most striking and ingenious arguments, in support of passions or interests and expressed by the most diverse characters. Each one of them...)
(Boldface emphasis added)

..."from the kings to the clowns, has indeed a philosophy, which he makes singularly clear. Each judges life in his own way, from his own angle, whence he may utter a remark strikingly true, and profound also, in many instances. But all this is the emanation of a vigorous dramatic genius...( (the following omitted in Watson's cited excerpt is included here) "They are a scattered series of cirumstantial reflections, express opposites, the strength of which is in their subject, the penetration of which is due to the feeling which gives birth to them, like beauty to the poetry of the words with which they are clothed. But to sum them up in the hope of finding there a higher wisdom which is that of the poet himself would be a vain enterprise. These are not maxims that add up.") ...Their number is commensurate only with the diversity of human judgments, and reveals only the playwright's marvelous versatility and his consciousness of the relative nature of all things." (1) (emphasis added) (The parenthetical translation above and the part which follows below are my own.)


Legouis and Cazamian go on to say,

"Hence the fragility of the contradictory constructions (i.e. of the author's personality) which have been ventured in his plays through the use of (these interpreters') a smattering of ideas. Protestsants, Catholics and free-thinkers have all tried, by equally plausible arguments, to claim the author for one of their own. As it is with popular sayings which are all striking, all true in a certain sense within their limits but which, placed one next to the other, jar against each other, often contradicting each other, one black, the other white, so it is with these interpretive formulae for Shakespeare: 'like father, like son,' 'miserly father, spendthrift son.' Hamlet has his reasons to hesitate just as Henry the Fifth has his to act decisively. The former is discouraged by 'something rotten in the state of Denmark,' while the latter declares that 'There is some soul of goodness in things evil,' and finds within obstacles themselves the cause for action and for hope. Each temperament, each circumstance, has in Shakespeare its appropriate philosophy. There is no over-arching philosophy which captures them all." (2)

_________________


(1) : (Original fr.) ( (Note: the following italicized part omitted in Watson's cited excerpt (above) is included here) "Pourtant, il a été beaucoup parlé de la philosophie de Shakespeare. La force des réflexions faites en mille endroits de ses pièces a donné l’illusion d’une sagesse supérieure qu’il aurait eue en partage. Il était tentant de se dire qu’en réunissant ces fragments épars de sa pensée on reconstituerait tout un corps de doctrine, et qu’on aurait ainsi une réponse, sa réponse, aux énigmes de la vie.
“En fait ce code n’existe pas; cette philosophie s’évanouit quand on cherche à l’étreindre. Les contradictions se multiplient et l’incohérence apparaît égale à celle de la réalité elle-même. La déception est moindre pour ceux qui se disent que si le poète avait eu pareil message à délivrer, il eût saisi l’occasion offerte par ses œuvres non dramatiques, surtout par ces Sonnets, et qu’il n’y a rien tenté de pareil. Non, vraiment, sa morale personnelle n’a rien qui la distingue et l’impose. Le vrai miracle est l’extraordinaire souplesse avec laquelle il a su faire exprimer par les personnages les plus divers les arguments les plus saisissants et les plus ingénieux, à l’appui de leurs passions ou de leurs intérêts.
")

"Chacun d’eux a bien sa philosophie, depuis le roi jusqu’auclown, et la formule avec un relief singulier. Chacun juge la vie à sa façon, selon l’angle d’où il la contemple, et à cette occasion émet quelque remarque qui frappe par sa vérité et souvent par sa profondeur. Mais cela reste essentiellement vigueur de génie dramatique. (C’est une série éparse de réflexions de circonstance, exprès opposées, dont la force est dans leur à propos, dont la pénétration tient au sentiment qui les fait naître, comme la beauté à la poésie des mots dont elles sont revêtues. Mais en faire la somme avec l’espoir d’y trouver une sagesse supérieure qui soit celle du poète lui- même serait une entreprise vaine. Ce ne sont point des maximes qui s’addtionnent.) Leur nombre ne sert qu’à établir la diversité des jugements humains; il ne dévoile que la versatilité du dramatiste, et le sens qu’il avait du relatif."

(2) : "D’où la fragilité des constructions contradictoires qui ont été essayées à l’aide des idées èparses dans son théâtre. Protestants, catholiques, et libres penseurs se sont efforcés, par des arguments également plausibles, de le réclamer pour eux. Il en est de ses formules comme de ces dictons populaires qui sont tous saisissants, tous vrais dans leurs limites, mais qui s’affrontent et se contredisent souvent deux par deux, l’un noir et l’autre blanc: “Tel père tel fils;” “A père avare fils prodigue.” Hamlet a ses raisons pour hésiter comme Henri V pour agir. Le premier est découragé, par “ce quelque chose de pourri qu’il soupçonne dans le royaume de Danemark;” le second déclare qu’il “y a une âme de bien dans les choses mauvaises,”et trouve dans les obstacles mêmes des motifs d’action et d’espoir. Chaque tempérament, chaque circonstance, a dans Shakespeare sa philosophie appropriée. Il n’en a pas de supérieure qui les embrasse toutes et les résume.”
___________________

(Both excerpts combined (1) & (2) from:
(Chapter VI: “Le théâtre de Shakespeare” (10. Sa Philosophie) . pp. 427-428; E. Legouis & L. Cazamian; Histoire de la Littérature Anglaise, 2ème édition, Paris, 1925, Librairie Hachette)


I cite Legouis and Cazamian in the excerpt above for reasons similar to those for which I suppose Watson in Shakespeare and the Renaissance Concept of Honor has cited them. The excerpt is an apt statement of a commonly-held view among Stratfordian scholars over decades—as Watson's work dates from 1960 and the views are still current among some Stratfordian scholars. T.S. Eliot, who Watson also cites (p. 170), went so far as to write,

“I would suggest that none of the plays of Shakespeare has a 'meaning,' although it would be equally false to say that a play of Shakespeare is meaningless. All great poetry gives the illusion of a view of life.” (Selected Essays, (1932) p. 115)
____________

“I can see no reason for believing that either Dante or Shakespeare did any thinking on his own.”
(Selected Essays, (1932) p. 116)
____________

“I doubt whether belief proper enters into the activity of a great poet.”
(Selected Essays, (1932) p. 118)
____________

“The end of the sixteenth century is an epoch when it is particularly difficult to associate poetry with systems of thought or reasoned views of life.” (Selected Essays, (1932) p. ibid)


Still, and fortunately, Watson, of course. and other Strafordians—David Lasocki and Roger Prior, for instance—don't subscribe to this view of the author despite their taking him to be Stratford's William Shaksper.

“The fallacy here,” Watson writes (p. 182), “is indicated in the way which Shakespeare reflects the hierarchical and aristocratic ordering of Elizabethan society in his presentation of character. Shakespeare's clowns, fools, and rogues may be lovable in a simple way but they are not ordinarily portrayed as worthy of high esteem (Lear's fool is a notable exception).”

Indeed, the fact that our author presents characters from high to low all across the social spectrum of his time does not necessarily mean that we are entitled, on that basis, to suppose that, in esteem, he regarded them all equally worthy—no matter how we may happen to see these characters' social rank or their worthiness of our esteem. But “the fallacy” on view here goes a great deal beyond simply this aspect. Legouis and Cazamian have, after all, contended that the social diversity of characters “reveals only the playwright's marvelous versatility and his consciousness of the relative nature of all things” and thus does not reveal any particular views on the playwright's part: because so many apparently incompatible views are presented with more or less equal vigor and force, he could not, it's supposed, have been partial to any one over any other and, at the extreme, simply held no philosophy at all, no point of view which might be identified as his own. Here, recall A.C. Bradley: “We cannot be sure, as with those other poets we can, that in his works he expressed his deepest and most cherished convictions on ultimate questions, or even that he had any.” (Lecture I, Shakespearean Tragedy)

We mustn't, we're told by Stratfordian scholars, even attempt, let alone draw, any conclusions about the playwright's own views, beliefs, philosophy of life from the words and deeds of his characters because, first, these are too varied and, in their great variety, contradictory and inconsistent rather than coherent and consistent (and therefore how are we ever to distinguish what the author's position is on any given matter?) and, two, because, in any case, the characters' thoughts, fears, hopes, their confidence or their doubt, their wavering or their resolution, are all creatures of the force of the dramatic circumstances in which they find themselves and certainly not due to anything characteristic of them as personalities in a staged drama. Thus, if the playwright held any convictions of his own, we are neither to look for nor to find them in his creative writings. Legouis and Cazamian tell us that, had he wanted to express a philosophy, he could have done that in non-dramatic writing—such as his sonnets—but that he didn't.

I propose to note, as I see them, the presuppositions, the preconceived notions—often unstated—which lie behind the assertions of certain Stratfordians as laid out just above and then to examine them for their soundness in reason and their worthiness to be applied to what is apparent from the words and the acts of the playwright's dramatic characters and, in certain cases, from his sonnets, in which, despite the claim of Legouis and Cazamian, he did present to us a great deal of his philosophical convictions and his views of life and the world he knew.

199proximity1
Edited: Oct 29, 2017, 10:30am Top

According to (U.K. (The Guardian (London)) press reports, Alexander Waugh is to present "Shakespeare’s Grave Problem Part 2" today (Sunday, 29 October, 2017) at the (New) Globe Theatre's Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre on London's Thames bankside, during which he's expected to present further decryption details which are supposed to indicate that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was reburied in (then known as) "The Collegiate Church of St Peter" in today's Westminster Abbey


(Wikipedia page : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Abbey#/media/File:London_westminster_1894.jpg )

If it proves true that Edward Oxford's burial place is now known, that is welcome news and interesting in itself as news.

But this revelation is not likely to convince many people who aren't already subscribers to the view that Edward Oxford was the real author of the literary work attributed to "Shake-speare." And, if the mere fact of the revelation of Oxford's burial-site within an encrypted design of the Sonnets' original dedication-page's text did convince many that it was Oxford after all who wrote the Shake-speare opus, they may accept and file this datum away without ever bothering to reflect much on its many important implications. That would be a shame--just as it's a bit of a shame that so many people simply associate the name of Albert Einstein with his famous equation, E=mc² but have no idea of what this means, why it's important and don't really care to know. ( Why Does E=mc²? )

Oxfordians' object ought to be to bring as full an appreciation as possible of Edward Oxford's life and work to as many people as possible, rather than merely seek their empty and simplistic recognition of him as "the person who really wrote 'Shake-speare's' works." That is, after all, what Stratfordian's have sought and, for more than two centuries, largely obtained--the simple and not-very-interested shallow (and false) awareness of William Shaksper of Stratford as the person behind the name.

In the meantime, for generations, society has moved ever-further from a meaningful grasp of and appreciation for the work which goes under the name of "Shake-speare."

200Podras.
Dec 8, 2017, 4:28pm Top

Review of Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy.

*** I’m writing this while still recovering from a severe injury and associated illness, making the process painfully slow, literally as well as figuratively, and it took much longer than I had originally intended or anticipated. Besides, since I was going to the trouble of going through Roe’s book again, I wanted to do a much more thorough job of reviewing it this time. ***

From >186 Podras.:: "... one might ponder in what way the very existence of Roe's book contradicts his own thesis."

I first read Roe’s Guide a couple of years ago, mostly for my own satisfaction. As its flaws were pretty apparent, I took only cursory notes and dismissed it as being of little importance. In comments elsewhere on the web, the book keeps coming up, so from some time now, I’ve been thinking of going back to it for a closer look. That is why I sort of welcomed the excuse to do so when a statement of mine in >129 Podras.: was challenged.

I completely stand behind every word of the first section of >129 Podras.: dealing with scholars’ views about whether Shakespeare had ever been to Italy (they mostly thought that he had been there up through the early 20th century), and about the general interest that the English had about Italy (considerable). However, yes, I was wrong in >129 Podras.: when I stated that the penthouse Roe found wasn’t in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto. I was wrong about another thing, too. Roe asserts that his author originally wrote that Prospero’s exile in The Tempest began in Tuscany (i.e. Florance), not Genoa as I stated. I deeply regret both mistakes. I strive for accuracy, but these are instances in which my memory failed me, and my notes weren’t sufficient to properly back me up.

A clarifying note about Mediterranean tides in >129 Podras.:: It is true that the average tide there is only a few centimeters, but there are local areas in which they can be as much as a meter or more.

Regardless of earlier misstatements, on rereading Roe’s Guide, I’ve verified that it is far less than it claims for itself. Its flaws are just as glaring as when I first read it—perhaps even more so. The following posts expand on that assertion.

201Podras.
Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 11:02am Top

Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy—INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL

Roe’s book is a sort of travelogue about his journeys throughout Italy, tracing the locations he believed that the author of Shakespeare’s plays visited in the early 1570s. That makes it obvious that Roe does not believe that Shakespeare, who was active as a writer from the late 1580s through the early 1610s, was the person who wrote the works bearing his name. The book’s real objective is to convince readers that someone else was the “real” author, a person who had to have been to Italy. Roe is coy about who he thinks the real author was, but it is clear from various hints that he thinks that it was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Roe attempts to prove that his author could only have written what he did from personal experiences in Italy.

The Foreword, Introduction, and Preface to Guide all make it abundantly clear that these were written by anti-Shakespeareans. They make a number of claims, many of them standard denier shibboleths, intended to discredit both scholars and the glover’s son from Stratford. It is only necessary to address a couple of them in order to demonstrate their bias and disregard for the historical record.

The Introduction was written by Daniel L. Wright, Director of The Shakespeare Authorship Research Center at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon. In it, he makes the following assertion:
“Roe helps us to recognize that if we are to pursue a better understanding of Shakespeare, we cannot probe the life of a dull and almost assuredly illiterate man (Shakspere of Stratford neither wrote nor received so much as a single letter in his lifetime, and none of his children could write either).”
One would think that someone in Wright’s position would comprehend that the absence of evidence does not equate to evidence of absence, but apparently not. It is true that any letters that Shakespeare (by whichever spelling of his name one chooses to use) may have written or received haven’t survived these intervening 400+ years. But as Robert Bearman writes:
“There is nothing ‘suspicious’ about this poor harvest [of personal documents, etc.]. The survival of documentary evidence from this period depended overwhelmingly on whether or not it remained in the hands of either an institution or a great landed family with the resources to provide a safe haven over a period of time."
--Shakespeare’s Money (2016)
Wright doesn’t acknowledge that a letter addressed to Shakespeare (1598) does exist that may or may not have been delivered—most scholars think not. Its existence implies that the writer, fellow Stratfordean Richard Quiney, knew that Shakespeare could read.

A signature by Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, is extant, written in a clear and apparently experienced hand, a strong sign that she had received some education. People that couldn't write signed with a mark, and Stratford’s petty school did accept female students. Reading was taught before writing in Tudor schools, so it is highly probably that Susanna was at least partly literate. No evidence to the contrary has ever been presented; just negative evidence—the idea that if something can’t be seen, it must not have existed. That is an extremely ego-centric view. The same goes for Wright’s asserted image of the dullard Shakspere he has chosen to believe in.



Roe’s Preface has pretty significant problems, too. At one point, he says:
“All such publications [referring to books about the authorship question], including the multitude declaring William of Stratford to be the “true author,” have the same shortcoming: their arguments are only conjectural.”
Like Wright in the Introduction, Roe seems to have a problem with historical evidence if it contradicts his beliefs. Taking him at face value, it would be news to Roe that:
  • Shakespeare’s name, with some variations in spelling, is on the title pages of 12 of his plays (in 27 editions by my count) published during his lifetime, not counting various editions of his poetry. Shakespeare is also named as the author on the title page of the First Folio, and two of the encomiums inside link Shakespeare, the author, with Stratford. One explicitly mentions his Stratford monument. Correspondingly, Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer.
  • Shakespeare is named for the excellence of his writing in Francis Meres’ Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury in multiple categories. Meres names Shakespeare to be the author of 12 plays (including 1 lost play), and of “Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, [and] his sugred (sic) Sonnets”. Meres also lists de Vere once in one of the same lists that includes Shakespeare. Meres knew they were different people.
  • Shakespeare’s father’s coat of arms was challenged because it was being worn by William Shakespeare (as a matter of right, being John Shakespeare’s son) because he was a mere player. William Camden, one of those defending Shakespeare’s right to the arms, identified him as a writer in his Remaines of a greater work concerning Britain (1605), a supplement to his Britannia.
  • Shakespeare was included in a list of the members of the King’s Men when King James I took the throne and assumed patronage of the former Lord Chamberlain’s Men—the only name before his on the charter was that of an actor that James had brought with him from Scotland—and cloth for the making of livery was issued to him. A 1609 document for the Stratford law suit, Shakespeare versus Addenbrooke, identified Shakespeare as having been in the court of King James.
  • Of Shakespeare’s six extant signatures, three are on his Stratford will which includes bequests of money for mourning rings to members of the King’s Men, and two are connected with the purchase of the gate house at Blackfriars (close to the theater at Blackfriars, one of the King’s Men’s venues) which he acquired with the assistance of John Heminges, a member of the King’s Men. Shakespeare’s remaining signature is for a deposition in the Bellott v. Mountjoy lawsuit regarding his involvement in an incident that occurred when he lived on Silver Street in London. Another deponent in that case was George Wilkins, one of whose occupations was playwright—an interesting association.
  • None of the items listed above are either arguments or conjectural. They are all facts drawn from the historical record. They show connections between the Stratford glover’s son and the player, the poet, and the playwright in London, whose signatures, incidentally, are a match for the handwriting of Hand D in the manuscript of the play, Sir Thomas More. There are other historical facts about Shakespeare that reinforce that identification; many more than are acknowledged by anti-Shakespearean compilers of lists with a mere 21 items from the historical record relating to Shakespeare. The refusal to acknowledge let alone attempt to refute these facts speaks volumes.



    The clearest statement of Roe’s thesis is contained in the Foreword, written by Hilary Roe Metternich, Roe’s daughter. She writes about the correspondences between statements in the plays and Italy that:
    ”… the only conclusion possible was that the descriptive references uttered by the characters in Shakespeare’s Italian plays reflected, to a surprising degree, realities on the ground.” (My emphasis).
    She ends by asserting that:
    ”… the only possible conclusion one can come to … is that whoever wrote the Shakespearean plays set in Italy … could only have seen Italy with his very own eyes.” (My emphasis)
    A necessary corollary of that claim is that "words, words, words," to quote Hamlet, are incapable, whether communicated orally or in print, of conveying the knowledge about Italy contained in the plays.

    So, how well does Roe defend that thesis?

    202Podras.
    Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 9:24pm Top

    Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy—THE EVIDENCE

    Whatever else might be said of Roe, it can’t be disputed that he diligently approached his task with a single mindedness that produced an amazing amount of detail. The predominantly Italian plays appear to have been thoroughly scanned to extract references, large and small, that might help to support his thesis—that his author had to have been to Italy. He spent years of research and travels throughout Italy in search of confirming evidence.

    WHICH WAY AM I FACING? One of the earliest confirmations Roe writes about occurs in his chapter on Romeo and Juliet, set in Verona. He writes, almost breathlessly:
    “I leapt from the car to get a closer look at the broad-lobed leaves and mottled pastel trunks, to make absolutely certain that it was true; that the playwright had known, and had told the truth. Benvolio was right. And I was not a fool.”
    What Roe is talking about relates to something a friend of Romeo’s, Benvolio, tells Romeo’s mother in the play; that he recently saw him “underneath the grove of sycamore / That westward rooteth from the city's side.” Roe had taken a cab to a surviving gate, Porto Palio, that was once part of the city’s wall on its western side and found sycamores, remnants of the old grove that Benvolio mentions.

    Roe’s write up of the discovery helpfully provides two supporting photos. One is of the gate, Porta Palio. It depicts a structure with an archway through which can be seen part of a tree on the other side. There is no vegetation visible on the viewer’s side of the gate. Though Roe doesn’t explicitly say so, the impression given is that the photo was taken on the city side, the eastern side of the old gate looking west toward the outside of the old city where Benvoio’s grove of sycamores was located in the play. The second photo is mostly of heavy shade from a clump of trees, plus a few cars and vaguely seen walls. Could that be a photo of the sycamore grove’s remnants on the western side of the gate?

    Thanks to Google Map’s satellite view and street view features, a computer can be used to see the gate, “drive” all the way around it to inspect every side, and to pull back to get a longer view. The first thing one discovers is that Roe’s photo was taken from the western side of the gate, looking east toward the inside of the old city, not the other way around as Roe allows us to believe. The tree seen through the gate in the photo and in Google’s street view is not where the author put the sycamore grove. When the tree is seen from the other side, the east side, without the gate obscuring the view, it turns out to be one of a double row of identical trees resembling sycamores that line both sides of a modern street. That part of town has clearly been rebuilt since Roe’s author’s day, and the trees were obviously planted as part of a beautification project. The closest trees to the gate on that side as well as to the north and south are across adjacent roadways, not ”rooteth from the city's side”.

    On the western side of the gate where Benvolio placed the sycamore grove is a mostly open area, kind of a plaza, with scattered trees of different kinds, planted in a more or less symmetrical arrangement. It is not the remnants of an old grove. The two trees closest to the gate, symmetrically placed, appear to be approximately 30 feet away from it. Sycamores are deciduous trees. Those two closest trees appear to be conifers; they definitely do not have the broad-lobed leaves of sycamores.

    The other photo with the heavy shade? From looking at all sides of the gate with Google’s street view, the location from which that photo was taken can’t be identified. It could have been taken from numerous locations, but it isn’t a picture of trees adjacent to the gate.

    There is another issue with Roe’s “discovery” of sycamores at the gate. People knowledgeable about trees say that there are no sycamores there, though some are scattered about Verona. The planted trees that resemble sycamores lining the street inside the old city’s boundary are really plane trees. Roe may have inadvertently verified this by saying that his sycamores had “mottled pastel trunks”. That description seems to more closely match photos of plane tree trunks than it does the very different sycamore trunks.



    TOO MUCH INVESTIGATION, OR TOO LITTLE? Roe frequently delves deeply into history and relations between nations to support his arguments, and the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Ed. (OED) is frequently referenced, too, for word usage in early modern England. There are instances in which Roe doesn’t reference it enough.

    The word “Argosy”, used by Antonio in The Merchant of Venice to describe his fleet of ships, prompts Roe to launch into pages of exposition to explain that an Argosy was a specific type of sailing ship associated with “the Illyrian city once known as Ragusa” (now Dubrovnik, in Croatia). He follows up with more pages of historical information up to the 1570s about how Antonio got around violating a Venetian rule against the use of foreign ships by a Venetian merchant, and how he was able to work around political barriers to send his ships to various international destinations named in the play. Antonio also makes reference to “my wealthy Andrew” which Roe claims is another type of ship, flying the flag of Andria (Andrew) Doria, a wealthy ship-owning family.

    What Roe apparently didn’t do was to check for alternate definitions of “Argosy” and how else Shakespeare may have used the word. “Argosy” is a general word for a merchant ship or a fleet of them under a single ownership. The word didn’t need to be associated with any particular place to have that meaning. (To paraphrase Roe, Elizabethans would have known that.) Shakespeare clearly uses the word in its general sense in Henry VI, Part 3 and in The Taming of the Shrew. It doesn’t require either a great stretch of the imagination or pages of exposition to think that it was meant that way in Merchant, too. Further, the OED says the following in the entry for Argosy: “That argosies were reputed to take their name from Ragusa, is stated by several writers of the 17th c.” The OED lacks any citation for any connection with Ragusa earlier than 1600, undermining Roe’s whole rationale for delving so deeply into the use of that one particular word.

    As for “my wealthy Andrew”, a Spanish galleon named San Andrés (Spanish for Andrew) was captured by the English in the Cadiz expedition of 1596. It is possible that Antonio’s ship was named Andrew as a reference to one of the many contemporary events that Shakespeare alluded to in his plays. The date of its capture is consistent with the approximate period that scholars think Merchant was written; 1596–1599.

    Richard Roe, meet William of Occam.

    A similar issue on the too little side has to do with “Scamel”. Roe points to a speech by Caliban in The Tempest in which he says, “sometimes I'le get thee young Scamels from the Rocke”. Scholars generally consider the second letter in “scamel” to be a typographical error, and the word should have been “seamel” or “sea-mell”, alternates for “sea-mew”, a kind of seagull. Instead, Roe claims that a scamel is really an alternate word for a bar-tailed godwit. He gives no source for his claim, nor does he mention scholarly views.

    The only support found for Roe’s claim was a book titled Folk-lore of Shakespeare (1883) by Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer, but that attribution turned out to be wrong. Thiselton-Dyer initially reports scholars’ views that scamel means “sea-mew, or sea-gull”. Then it quotes from another book, Birds of Norfolk, by a Mr. Stevenson:
    “the female bar-tailed godwit is called a ‘scammell’ by the gunners of Blakeney. But as this bird is not a rock-breeder, it cannot be the one intended in the present passage, if we regard it as an accurate description from a naturalist’s point of view”.
    In other words, neither Thiselton-Dyer’s book or its source, Mr. Stevenson’s Birds of Norfolk, supports the bar-tailed godwit claim. And it appears that “scammell”, or alternatively “scamell”, is merely a local colloquial term.

    The OED has two citations for “scamel”. The first is The Tempest, but no definition is provided. The second is Stevenson’s book, Birds of Norfolk II, published in 1866, more than two and a half centuries after The Tempest was written. Roe doesn’t hesitate to cite the OED when it supports his claims, but when it doesn’t, he seems to find it too inconvenient to bother with.



    WATER ON THE BRAIN: Another area that Roe spends a considerable amount of time and ink on is his rationalization of the use of a water route to travel from Verona to Milan in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, though the land route seems much simpler and has a number of stopping places on the way. Roe says that his author knew that, but that route had “dangerous difficulties”, justifying the gents’ need to travel by water.

    Roe then moves on to Julia’s determination to walk to Milan—via the land route. Roe quotes a line spoken by Lucetta, Julia’s waiting-woman, who was trying to discourage Julia from going. In the passage, we learn what those “dangerous difficulties” were that necessitated the men’s travel by water. Lucetta says, “… the way is wearisome and long.” Possibly not wanting Roe’s author, the route planner here, to be thought callus about Julia’s upcoming “dangerous” trek, Roe helpfully adds that the land route was “the cheapest and most common route between the two cities.”

    Roe has undermined his own argument that Two Gents’ protagonists needed to travel by water, a more expensive and much more “wearisome and long” route. By implication, it was also a much less commonly traveled way to get to Milan from Verona.

    Scholars have long pointed out the impracticality (not impossibility) of traveling between the play’s cities by water in Two Gents, given the necessity to travel downstream from Verona to the Adriatic on the Adige River, then upstream on the Po and through Milan’s extensive canal system, a long, slow journey of several hundred miles. Roe’s research uncovered a pair of obscure and long forgotten canals (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt) that could shorten the distance by water from Verona and Milan, reducing the time the journey would take by water—the shortcut still required travel to begin toward the Adriatic, the opposite direction from Milan. But the shortcut would still be much longer than the approximately 100 mile direct journey by land.

    Two Gents is silent about the route taken by the play’s protagonists. We just know that they left Verona by water and ended up in Milan. If Roe is right that his author would only have written the play that way if real travel by water was practical, the shortcut Roe found must have been unremarkable and in common use. However, Roe doesn’t explain why it fell out of use and so thoroughly from memory that it took an extensive amount of research to rediscover its mere existence.



    REWRITING SHAKESPEARE: A major problem with Two Gents for Roe is its several references to tides. There are none to speak of in the Mediterranean, let alone on a river at Verona at an elevation of 194’ above mean sea level and more than 100 river miles from the Adriatic Sea. Roe attempts to explain away these references by claiming that his author was referring to “time”, not “tides”. Roe’s argument would be pointless except that he wants to show that his author was never wrong about Italy. Because his author was never wrong, he must have meant something other than the literal meaning of “tides” when he wrote “tides”, or when he used synonyms for tide like “flood”, too.

    For support, Roe references Shakespeare’s Language by Eugene Shewmaker which contains examples of Shakespeare’s allegorical usage of “tide” and “flood”. The OED supports Roe’s claim that early uses of “tide” meant “time”, but only in specific ways. One of the ways closest to Roe’s claim in the OED provides a 1590 example (around the time that Shakespeare wrote Two Gents) from Edmund Spencer’s The Fairy Queen: “There they alight … and rest their weary limbs in the meine tyde;” a usage essentially meaning a span of time.

    Roe’s discussion quotes from Two Gents’s uses of “tide” and “flood” to illustrate his argument. Leading up to it, we learn that Proteus is about to leave on a journey, implicitly following in the footsteps of his friend Valentine who departed Verona by ship earlier in the play, but Roe doesn’t explain that. As Roe presents it:
    Proteus: My father stays my coming. Answer not. The tide is now.
    Nay, not thy tide of tears! That tide will stay me longer than
    I should. Julia, fairwell!
    The meaning of “tide” as it is used here is partly allegorical and, out of the context of Proteus’s need to catch a soon-to-depart ship, partly ambiguous. Roe takes advantage of that by rewriting it the way he wants readers to understand it.
    My father stays (awaits) my coming. Answer not.
    The time is now. Nay, not thy rush of tears!
    That flood will stay me longer than I should.
    Julia, farewell! (Roe’s italics)
    Eventually, Roe gets around to describing the play’s other usages of “tide” and “flood”. He attempts to impose his interpretation on those passages, too, but I’m including relevant excerpts of the scene without his running narrative:
    Panthino: Launce, away, away, aboard! thy master is shipped
    and thou art to post after with oars. What's the
    matter? why weepest thou, man? Away, ass! You'll
    lose the tide, if you tarry any longer.
    Then comes some wordplay on “tide” and “tied”, followed by:
    Panthino: Tut, man, I mean thou'lt lose the flood, and, in
    losing the flood, lose thy voyage, …

    Launce: Lose the tide, and the voyage, and the master, and
    the service, and the tied! Why, man, if the river
    were dry, I am able to fill it with my tears; if the
    wind were down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.
    Roe would not agree that the tide and flood being referred to here was the watery kind because that would ruin his thesis of the perfection and absolute accuracy of his author, but there seems little justification for believing that Shakespeare meant anything else. In looking over Shakespeare’s other uses of “tide” in the canon, it always seems obvious when he is referring to water tides or is using the word allegorically.

    This is one of many occasions in which Roe, in essence, rewrites Shakespeare to suit his purpose.

    Another such instance in Two Gents has to do with the direction toward which some of the play’s characters flee in Act IV. Silvia wants to join the banished Valentine when she says to Sir Eglamour: “I would to Valentine / To Mantua, where I hear, he makes abode”. Later, the Duke says: “… meet with me / Upon the rising of the Mountain foot / That leads toward Mantua”. Roe is aware that there are no mountains in the direction of Mantua from Milan which is quite a long distance away, E by SE, across a flat plane. However, there are mountains to the north of Milan. Roe talks about city gates, travel conventions, and marshes—things that he says only someone who had been to Italy would understand—to explain why his author wrote “toward Mantua” instead of simply, “toward the North” or something equivalent. Roe is again asking us to accept that his author had perfect knowledge and wrote perfectly accurately of everything about Italy based on Roe’s rationalizations. But for some reason, the author didn’t write it in a way that reflected real geography. Instead, he wrote “toward Mantua.”



    LESS THAT IT APPEARS: The sheer number of the correspondences that Roe finds between what is in the plays and that also occur in Italy seems very impressive. However, when looked at closely, there are fewer of them than it seems at first glance. I give credit to Roe for locating such things as St. Gregory’s Well, mentioned in Two Gentlemen of Verona (again Roe gets the benefit of the doubt), which he found in the outskirts of Milan. (Trust me, if Roe is right, that particular “well” is unique.) Such things appear to be inextricably connected with Italy. But a penthouse in Venice as in The Merchant of Venice? It matters not that Roe found a penthouse in Verona’s Jewish ghetto. Penthouses were generic structures that were located all over, including in London. The idea that his author would only, only, only use the word if he had seen a penthouse with his own eyes, at a real world location, corresponding to the locale of a scene in a play, is ludicrous. Besides, judging from the play, we have no reason to believe that his author even knew of the Jewish ghetto. The scene in which Jessica climbs down from the gallery above the back of the stage (excuse me; Shylock’s penthouse) seems to be a place where gentiles feel free to wander, and to which Shylock’s activities do not seem to be restricted as would be the case for Jews in the real Venice of the time.

    Roe finds lots of other generically named or referenced locations in the plays that he then attempts to connect with specific Italian sites, “proving” that his author knew of them. In one case, wordplay on “grave” in The Taming of the Shrew by a character from Pisa shows, Roe says, that a cemetery named Campo Santo (aka Camposanto Monumentale) in Pisa is being referred to. Could he be right? Yes. Should we accept that unconditionally? No. The play just has some wordplay on “grave”.

    Vincentio, a character in Shrew, says that Tranio’s father is a sailmaker in Bergamo. At the end of a several paragraph long discussion about Bergamo, Roe concludes,
    “The playwright knew that Bergamo was the principal source of sails for the Mediterranean world, and knew that Tranio’s father could, indeed, have been a sailmaker there.”
    Roe is correct about Bergamo. Roe says Mediterranean, but I understand that Bergamo was well known throughout Europe for its sailmakers. What Roe fails to explain is why something that all of Europe knew required his hypothetical author of Shakespeare’s plays to have been to Italy in order for him to know it, too.

    Roe’s example of common terms posing as something specific that I like the best is the “Duke’s Oak”. According to Roe’s account, he practically had a case of the vapors when he heard the name applied to a passageway, part of an architectural structure, to an oak forest in a small Italian town named Sabionetta. The real name of the passageway was is Quercia dei Duca; “Duke’s Oak” is Roe’s translation. Furthermore, an alternate name for Sabionetta is “La Piccola Atnea” or “Little Athens”. Roe writes: “A world of understanding burst in my brain. Of course. It made so much sense.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream wasn’t supposed to be set in Greece, Roe says, it was set right there in Sabionetta, Italy. The connection with the “Duke’s Oak” is that that is where the rude mechanicals were to meet to rehearse Pyramus and Thisbe. To reinforce his claim, Roe also says that Dream makes “no references to Greeks, Greece, Grecians”, etc. I wonder what nationality he thought Theseus, Hippolyta, and Titania were supposed to be.

    Elsewhere, Roe tells us that we should pay close attention to small details like the capitalization of Shakespeare’s words because they have meaning—they signify that a specific real world location is meant. Roe consistently writes “Duke’s Oak” with both words capitalized. A quick check with the First Folio, however, shows that the phrase is written “Dukes oake” without a capitalized tree name (or an apostrophe, either). By Roe’s own criteria, the phrase does not refer to a specific real world location. Judge for yourself whether or not Dream is an Italian play; whether or not Theseus, Hippolyta, and Titania are Greek names; and whether or not the “Dukes oake” is supposed to be a tree in the forest where most of the action of Night takes place, or a passageway of an architectural structure.



    CONVENIENT OMISSIONS: Again, Roe often emphasizes that it is important to closely pay attention to things like capitalization in his author’s printed works. He says that words are capitalized because they are proper words that most likely (a rare qualification for Roe) refer to something unique. One thing that Roe omits to tell us is how capitalized words are supposed to be pronounced when spoken on stage. Theater is performance art, and words are intended to be spoken by actors, not read by individuals. So, how was an actor supposed to pronounce the word “Temple” in Much Ado About Nothing, for example, so that the audience would know that it was supposed to reference, according to Roe, Il Tempio di San Giovalli Battista detto di Fiorentini in Messina, Sicily? The same question applies to all of the many times in which Roe cites the importance of capitalized words in Shakespeare’s text.

    Plays sometimes made it into print, but that was generally an afterthought and often against the wishes of acting companies who owned them. In the case of Much Ado About Nothing, the play was prepared from Shakespeare’s foul papers according to scholars, but we don’t know who, if anyone, oversaw its printing. Couldn’t the capital “T” in “Temple” have been the work of a compositor or some other intermediary? If we accept Roe’s view that the printed version of Much Ado (1600) precisely represented his author’s wishes, then we need to understand why his author wanted us to see that he sometimes substituted actor’s names for character names in speech prefixes. By my count, he does this twelve times for William Kemp who played Dogberry; nine times it is spelled “Kemp”, twice spelled “Kem”, and once spelled “Kee”. The actor Richard Cowley played Verges. Cowley’s name is substituted for Verges’ three times in speech prefixes; twice as “Cowley” and once as “Couley”.

    These name substitutions with their inconsistent spellings seem to represent something with far more significance than whether a single word is capitalized or not. Roe has overlooked a great opportunity to enlighten us about what his author was covertly telling us. Given Roe’s silence on the issue, we might be tempted to think that this was a strong sign that the author was a working member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, writing parts for specific actors. Also, that a capital “T” in print was at most a sign of respect for a generalized institution having nothing to do with any specific location. Another possibility is that Roe wants us to pay attention to the capital “T” when he thinks it supports his thesis and ignore the rest when it doesn’t.

    When discussing The Taming of the Shrew, Roe says that he is bypassing a discussion of the Induction because that takes place in England, not in Italy, the focus of his book. It is a convenient omission because it removes the need to explain all the references the author makes in it to locations in the vicinity of Stratford, England; Shakespeare’s birthplace and childhood home.

    Roe's discussion of The Winter’s Tale claims that it is set it in the 13th century because that is when the real Bohemia had a coastline, something that it has in the play, too. Roe uses that to assure us again that his author was all-knowing about Italy. He fails to tell us that a source for the plot of The Winter’s Tale was Robert Greene’s Pandosto (1588), and that it, too, represents Bohemia with a coastline. Shakespeare didn’t need to know anything about Bohemia and coastlines; he only needed to take the information from his source. If Roe had told us that, then he might have felt compelled to explain why his author was so meticulously precise in his geographic references, according to Roe, on some occasions and was careless about them on others.

    Roe admits that Winter’s Tale has anachronisms. (A great many of Shakespeare’s works do.) That could be seen as a subtle way of saying that the plays are not totally accurate in all of its Italianate detail without actually acknowledging it.



    TEMPEST IN A TEA POT: In Roe’s Preface, he says that his objective is to show that his author had to have been to Italy; not to identify who he had chosen the “real” author to be. Regardless, on one occasion he mentions the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, in a seemingly incidental way. Perhaps Roe couldn’t help himself. The Earl, a favorite anti-Shakespearean alternate to the man who wrote the works bearing his name, traveled to Italy in the early 1570s, which helps to explain why that time frame pervades so much of Roe’s book. For anti-Shakespeareans, it is especially important in The Tempest.

    In the play, Prospero and Miranda are hustled aboard a bark in Milan and set adrift in a frail vessel a few leagues at sea with meager supplies and no way to maneuver the craft. No mention is made of the weeks-long journey through Milan’s canal system and down the Po River to the Adriatic Sea, the only logical drop-off point. Roe decided that Prospero’s island, too, is a real place; an island named Vulcano off the northeastern tip of Sicily. Though insistent that his author was perfectly accurate in everything he wrote, Roe fails to point out that unlike Prospero’s isolated island, Vulcano and Sicily are within sight of each other.

    Roe appreciates that it is highly improbable that a drifting boat could manage to float in the Adriatic all the way down the eastern coast of Italy to the boot, around the boot, and finally make its way north past Sicily to Vulcano. Roe’s solution? His infallible author didn’t write “Milan”, he wrote “Tuscany” instead, and someone later changed it to Milan “by high authority”. From Tuscany’s capital, Florence, the western coast of Italy is fairly readily accessible, and then Prospero’s boat only needed to drift more or less directly to Vulcano (setting aside issues like ocean currents and the need to dodge shipping traffic to avoid a rescue that Roe doesn’t trouble himself with).

    Replacing Prospero’s exile from Milan with Florence, besides solving Roe’s geographical problem (created by himself by assuming his author had perfect knowledge of Italy and had never once created imaginary locations) is where the 1570 dating comes in again. Roe explains that a political situation around that time would have caused great offense to certain foreign powers and embarrassment to Elizabeth if The Tempest was performed with Milan as a setting. Ergo, his author wrote one thing, and “by high authority”, someone changed it. No evidence of Roe’s assertion is provided, unless one wants to consider cooking up a rationale for the sole purpose of removing Prospero’s inconvenient drift around the boot of Italy to be evidence.

    The composition dates of many of Shakespeare’s plays present devotees of Edward de Vere problems because the earl died in 1604 before the dates that many of Shakespeare’s plays were written; dating confirmed by numerous criterion. That is the major reason why alternate dating schemes for the plays have been pushed by anti-Shakespeareans, the lack of meaningful supporting evidence notwithstanding. The Tempest presents a special case because scholars have identified a 1610 letter by William Strachey, published as A True Reportory, as a major source of inspiration for it.

    The letter reports a great storm in 1609 that caused the shipwreck of a vessel on Bermuda that had been bound for the Virginia colony. Besides describing the storm, the letter also describes measures the crew took to save the ship, features of the island, abortive attempts to mutiny, and a variety of other things that correspond at many points with The Tempest; dozens of them in all. Though not published until 1625, Strachey’s letter circulated among members of the Virginia Company in manuscript form, several of whom Shakespeare had connections with, possibly including Strachey himself.

    Roe tells us nothing of this. Instead, he asserts that Vulcano was Prospero’s island and that it and only it, unique among all the islands in the world, has a combination of features that match those described in the play. Roe doesn’t trouble himself with a comparison between Vulcano and Bermuda; in fact, he avoids a direct mention of Bermuda altogether. The support for his claim that he does provide is to describe his own set of correspondences between the play and Vulcano; far fewer of them than between Prospero’s island and Strachey’s letter. Roe provides supplementary information—sometimes a lot—to help make the connections clear or to make them specific to Vulcano; e.g. Shakespeare writes “berries” and Roe says “mulberries”.

    One of his connections is the scamel/bar-tailed godwit issue discussed earlier, about which the OED records no correspondence before 1866. A reason why Roe might prefer the bar-tailed godwit over seamel is that seamel is another term for sea-mew, a type of seagull. A passage in Strachey’s letter about Bermuda speaks of:
    ’“sea-meawe" which can be caught by “standing on the rocks or sands … where of the birds would come flocking to that place near and nearer.”’
    Remember that Caliban needed to get “young Scamels from the rocke.” Roe’s preference for bar-tailed gotwits may be for the purpose of distancing his version of Prospero’s island from Strachey’s real-world Bermuda.

    In any case, flocks of bar-tailed godwits have been reported on Bermuda but not on Vulcano, possibly because of a lack of observational data from the latter.

    203Podras.
    Edited: Dec 8, 2017, 11:21pm Top

    Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy—SUMMING UP

    My objective has not been to find and refute every one of the problems with Roe’s book but to identify classes of errors with examples. The book has a lot more specific issues than just the ones that have been discussed above.

    Problem categories highlighted by claims of Roe’s that were explored are:
  • Rejecting or discounting historical evidence by calling facts arguments.
  • Making discoveries that don’t match visual evidence, like the so-called sycamore grove at Verona’s Porta Palio gate.
  • Elaborating extensively on historical background to explain usages, like the word “argosy”, when much simpler explanations are available.
  • Referencing resource material like the OED when it supports arguments and ignoring it when it doesn’t, like the etymology of “argosy”.
  • Presenting contradictory arguments to justify one situation when a slightly different situation arises, as when some characters choose to travel by water and another one by land.
  • Rewriting Shakespeare to attempt, for example, to erase errors like tides at Verona.
  • Adding information to create the impression that more is meant than what was actually written, like claiming that wordplay on “grave” was a reference to a specific location.
  • Omitting information that might contradict an argument, like the fact that Bohemia with a coastline was contained in the source for a plot.
  • Elevating the significance of trivial details like a capital letter on a generic word without evidence that the author intended anything by it or was even personally responsible for it.
  • Contriving ridiculous explanations to explain away problems of one’s own making, like assigning a real-world location to an imaginary island and having to rationalize away concomitant imaginary difficulties.
  • Roe appears to be seeking out Italian information that looks like it might be related to something in the plays, no matter how superficial, and then finding some rationale to justify a claim that a linkage existed. Or he just accepts that they are linked. The only meaningful test is whether or not it seems to support his conviction that his author had to have been to Italy. Conversely, when the plays present problems for his thesis, he goes to great lengths to try to explain them away. Some of Roe’s claims may be valid; he isn’t necessarily always wrong. But he is wrong often enough that nothing he writes should be accepted without independent confirmation.

    Contrary to appearances—the blizzard of claims and politics and historical background and such—Roe never defends his thesis and never even tries to defend it. He just presents it along with a plethora of assertions and assumes that it is correct. In order to defend it, he needs to have sought alternative explanations for things written in the plays, fairly present them, and honestly weigh the various explanations. Roe shows no interest in doing that. The closest that he comes is to make occasional disparaging remarks about scholars and a few of their conclusions with no more than a passing glance. Scholars’ conclusions are falsifiable; Roe’s aren’t.

    By insisting that his author had to have personally witnessed every Italian scene, always wrote accurately, and by extension, never created fictitious locations, Roe effectively discredits his author’s ability to utilize a creative imagination, at least not about Italy, or to deviate from Roe’s reality for the purpose to telling a story on stage. And if not about Italy, why should he be allowed to exercise his imagination about places and things other than Italy?

    It is well known that Shakespeare used numerous sources of inspiration as the basis for his works. By modern standards, some would call that plagiarism. But drawing from the work of others, sometimes almost verbatim, and improving on it was a standard practice in early modern England that had been handed down from the Middle Ages. Shakespeare’s importance lies not in creating totally original plots but in what he creatively did with his sources that improved so much on them. Roe would have it that his author never used his creative imagination for Italian matters.

    Question: In what way does the very existence of Roe’s book contradict his own thesis? Roe’s author has, he says, to have been to Italy in order for him to have written what he did. Only by seeing Italy with his own eyes could he have learned what he knew about the place. After reading Roe’s book, we now know what his author knew, too, assuming that we accept what Roe says he knew. We know that because Roe told us. Roe used the printed word. Oral ones would have done as well. We didn’t have to go to Italy to know it because Roe told us in his book. We were sitting in our easy chair at home or at our desks, far from Italy, while we read Roe’s book and learned what Roe says his author could only have known by traveling to Italy. We must be smarter than Roe's author.

    Knowledge is hard to corral. It doesn’t stay put. Books were written and atlases were available. Englishmen traveled to the continent for extended stays, and some studied in universities before returning to England. Traders with wide knowledge of Europe moved back and forth, and sharing brews and tales in local ale houses with sailors from trading ships wasn’t unheard of. Some of Shakespeare’s acting fellows, like William Kemp, had traveled on the continent, and Shakespeare lived for a time with a French Huguenot family on Silver Street. There were innumerable sources of information about foreign countries, including Italy, available to Shakespeare without requiring him to leave England to get it.

    In final response to Roe’s claim that his author couldn’t possibly have written Shakespeare’s plays without having been to Italy, I present Olfert Dapper (1636–1689). Dapper became well known in his own time for writing authoritative works about foreign lands, including China, India, Persia, Georgia, and Arabia. His Description of Africa (1668) is still an important book for African studies today. (He also reported the existence of unicorns in America, but one can’t have everything.) Dapper never left his native Holland.

    Roe’s thesis is flat out wrong.

    204proximity1
    Edited: Dec 9, 2017, 9:16am Top

    It's going to take me a while to read all that has been posted in several new/recent posts by Podras

    –– certainly more time on the computer than remains to me today. Meanwhile, for others who have been following this, here is the point to look for in all of his text:

    Is there, after all, in all the posts we're given in reply, even a single factual error shown us on Richard Roe's part?

    Podras taxed Roe with having committed the most elementary kinds of mistakes--the kind of mistakes which Stratforians have long alleged against either "Shakespeare" the author or those defending Edward, Earl of Oxford as the rightful author: i.e. not recognizing correctly where a play or a scene in a play was set; or claiming that “Shakespeare” used terms such as “port”, “tide” and “shipping” or “ship” in a sense which indicated that he, “Shakespeare” was confused or careless about the geography of the Italian places in question, indicating these terms to be references to sea-coast settings when writing about inland Italian towns. Rather, as Roe certainly understood, in each and every such case, the issue related to inland waterways—canals and rivers commonly used for centuries in Italy.

    So, are those aspects and others relating to history or chronology, correctly treated by Roe, but wrongly criticized as errors of “Shakespeare” or Roe's interpretation—are they left unretracted by Podras?

    Let the reader bear these things in mind as he or she reads Podras' replies.

    ______________________________

    "Some of Roe’s claims may be valid; he isn’t necessarily always wrong. But he is wrong often enough that nothing he writes should be accepted without independent confirmation."

    So, then, where, specifically, is Roe wrong? Cite the text verbatim--with the page number.

    Where have you done this?

    I have asked you to cite any specific factual error from Roe.

    So, where is it? Where are they? Cite, chapter and verse or, failing that, I challenge you to retract a claim which you do not and cannot substantiate.

    I would say these words,

    ... "but he (Roe)is wrong often enough that nothing he writes should be accepted without independent confirmation,"

    rather than applying to Richard Roe, apply to you.

    205proximity1
    Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 7:46am Top

    Let's get started ---

    In fact, reviewing what Podras took months to produce reveals almost nothing new at all. With the exception of a couple of retractions of obviously erroneous claims--things which could have been done in about ten minutes--not including twenty minutes of reading time for Roe's text—the pages of which he'd been given—there is nothing new or interesting here above in his posts. The above is a re-hash of things he'd already posted: utterly erroneous or logically untenable stuff which has been critiqued and in certain cases debunked for years already. He keeps repeating these things as though he's unaware of this.

    So, in due course (in this and subsequent posts), I'll point out again why his claims are rubbish, why they offend logic and reason and why they insult the memory of Richard Roe's intelligence and his conscientious work—a care and attention on Roe's part with which Podras's posts do not begin to compare.

    To begin, all issues in the authorship question concern in one way or another some conjecture. There is still no clear and unequivocal documentary proof of the identity of the author—though it remains possible that one day that may be discovered. That long-standing lack is in itself one of the elements which argue in favor of a thesis which suspects an authorial identity for which much of the normally-expected documentary evidence is missing today because it was the object of a deliberate and sophisticated effort to eliminate it. And this is why these issues have persisted for generations. But the fact that we are in the realm of conjecture doesn't mean that we are entitled float free from evidence-based reasoned argument--as Podras and others like him attempt to do. There is evidence—both in what has survived and in what has unaccountably gone missing at just-crucial periods in this saga. Tellingly, taken together, both what survives and what is missing lend compelling evidence for the case which holds that Edward Earl of Oxford was the actual author.

    The evidence which supports the conjectures pointing to Edward Oxford as author is, unlike that concerning William Shaksper, quite powerful. Conversely, that for Shaksper is either non-existent (most cases) or irrelevant (many others) or it is explained better as having arisen as the result of a deliberate use of a pen-name which coincidentally slightly resembles the name of a historical person, William Shaksper of Stratford. Oxfordians don't dispute that this man existed. What they (we) dispute is that the Stratfordians' claimed evidence actually (except, again, as a pen-name cover) does or is supposed to refer to the Stratford Shaksper as the author. It isn't that Podras is not aware of this, it's that he tries to ignore or circumvent it.

    But the facts are these:

    1) There is zero credible evidence for the claim that the title-page name, "William Shake-speare" refers—except as an authorial pseudonym—to William Shaksper of Stratford.

    2) Podras's entire cases consists of and depends on one's accepting as an a priori given fact the very question at issue here: whose identity is behind the title-page name? Unless one simply starts from an unquestioning acceptance of William Shaksper as the author, there is no independent evidence to support such an assumption--no "independent evidence" for the supposition that the Stratford man is the really the true author and the person to which the title-page name refers.

    3) we are repeatedly offered a few stock-phrases as part of a supposedly compelling argument. One, which by now ought to be scandal-ridden and disgraceful for its recent history of use in defending an utterly discredited claim that, in Iraq, there were hidden somewhere dangerous quantities of weapons of mass-destruction—weapons for which existence no evidence could be produced prior to the planned armed-invasion of Iraq. That invasion's advocates parroted the phrase, now infamous: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" With the overthrow of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and free rein to search the territory, “absence of evidence” eventually proved an insurmountable problem. With nothing and no one to hinder the search, the “absence of evidence” became, at last, proof of absence. No such claimed stock-piles of weapons of mass-destruction were ever found either before, during or after the overthrow of the Iraqi Hussein regime.

    But there's more wrong with this phrase as it is so often used than merely this disgraceful episode in Iraq. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" misconstrues the point:

    Where various hypotheses compete to explain a set of disputed facts, each has a duty, the same duty, to meet a burden of evidentiary proof. Where all evidence, taken piece by piece, is inconclusive, it is the burden of each of various competing views, competing schools of thought, to demonstrate that, overall, its case is superior in sound reason, to demonstrate why its evidence is stronger, more authoritative, more coherent. In such circumstances, we have to ask, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"—of what?” because, indeed, if one cannot produce the required evidence to support the elements of a case, then one has no “case.”

    In reply to the objection, “How do we know that the title-page name “William Shake-speare” is supposed to refer to the William Shaksper of Stratford?” it is not adequate to reply, “Because his name is on the title-page.” To attempt to reason that way is to assume that the issue in question is itself proof for one of the contesting views of the answer to the question and proof against the competing views.

    Yet such is precisely the reasoning urged again and again by Stratfordians:

    How do we know that William Shaksper went to school?

    How do we know that he learned to read and write English?

    Or that he gained a knowledge of Latin and Greek sufficient to open to him classic literature in these languages –some of which had not yet even been translated into English?

    He must have, we're told: otherwise he couldn't have produced the poetry and plays he wrote! Since Stratford had a grammar school, Shaksper must have attended—otherwise he couldn't have learned his letters in English and Latin as his writings indicate he had to have known rather well.

    Another catch-all phrase is "scholars think,...” or “scholars agree...,”—often offered without examples cited. "Scholars agree..." that this, that and the other is (or isn't) the case. In fact, it turns out that where Shakespeare is concerned, there is not very much about which nearly all “scholars agree” and this is true even of only Stratfordian scholars.

    Once upon a time, scholars agreed that Shakespeare had mistakenly indicated that Verona was situated on a sea-coast and that this was one of numerous blunders in his depictions about Italy. Now, not so much. Though Podras repeated the canard that Shakespeare had gotten this wrong. It has turned out that it was the scholars who had gotten Shakespeare wrong and not Shakespeare who had gotten Italian geography wrong.

    Once upon a time, “scholars agreed” that in Ben Jonson's First Folio eulogy to Shakespeare, his phrase, “Even though thou hadst small Latin and lesse Greeke,...” means that Jonson attributed to Shakespeare a scant knowledge of Latin and an even scantier knowledge of Greek when, in fact, his phrase actually means,”Even if you had had (only) small Latin and (even) less Greek...”
    That blooper of a misconstruction has survived among some right up to the present. But it is no longer a point on which even Stratfordian “scholars agree,” This mistake has been pointed out and corrected by others, both Stratfordians and non-Stratfordian scholars.

    And if one is simply going to accept on Podras's mere claims of what certain Stratfordian scholars agree on, then there is no point in examining the questions here--we can simply refer to what Stratfordian scholars tell us. (And that is actually the goal of most Stratfordians: they don't want an examination, they want unquetsioned acceptance of what, as Podras repeats, "scholars agree" where "scholars" always refers to those who hold and repeat the Stratfordian orthodoxies. But, even here, on fair examination, an open-minded reader will find that in fact there are many important aspects to the authorship question about which even Stratfordian scholars do not all agree.

    Scholars agree:

    The author could have—and so he must have—picked up his knowledge of Latin and Greek literature catch-as-catch-can here and there among London's more learned--

    Or, no, he couldn't have done that, It's simply too far-fetched.

    He must have travelled in Italy.
    No, he could have—and so he must have—also picked this up through conversations with travellers he met who told him of their experience or the experiences others had told them.. These, we're supposed to believe, were either copiously noted-down by Shakespeare—who must have been quite diligent in this—or he kept all these details in his prodigious memory. But then he was a genius, wasn't he? Never mind that his son-in-law, John Hall, M.D., of Stratford, never bothered to note anything at all about his genius father-in-law, the renowned poet, playwright, and much-travelled visitor to Italy.

    How do we know that "William Shakespeare" refers to William Shaksper of Stratford?

    Podras first answer is, "His name (Williiam Shaksper's) is on the title-page:


    “Shakespeare is … named as the author on the title page of the First Folio, and two of the encomiums inside link Shakespeare, the author, with Stratford. One explicitly mentions his Stratford monument. Correspondingly, Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer. ”



    “Shakespeare is named for the excellence of his writing in Francis Meres’ Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury in multiple categories. Meres names Shakespeare to be the author of 12 plays (including 1 lost play), and of 'Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, and his sugred (sic) Sonnets'.”



    “Meres also lists de Vere once in one of the same lists that includes Shakespeare. Meres knew they were different people.”


    “Or Meres didn't know that they weren't “different people” in fact. But this possibility apparently never occurs to Podras because Podras and others like him simply take the “fact” of Shaksper's and “Shakespeare's” identity as one and the same for granted. Again, Meres' remark is taken as conjectural evidence that these were two different people. But that conjecture is, taking all the evidence into account, an extremely weak and improbable stretch because it raises more difficult questions and problems than it resolves. Indeed, it does not resolve any questions or problems.”


    “Shakespeare was included in a list of the members of the King’s Men when King James I took the throne and assumed patronage of the former Lord Chamberlain’s Men—the only name before his on the charter was that of an actor that James had brought with him from Scotland—and cloth for the making of livery was issued to him. A 1609 document for the Stratford law suit, Shakespeare versus Addenbrooke, identified Shakespeare as having been in the” court of King James.



    “Of Shakespeare’s six extant signatures, three are on his Stratford will which includes bequests of money for mourning rings to members of the King’s Men, and two are connected with the purchase of the gate house at Blackfriars (close to the theater at Blackfriars, one of the King’s Men’s venues) which he acquired with the assistance of John Heminges, a member of the King’s Men. Shakespeare’s remaining signature is for a deposition in the Bellott v. Mountjoy lawsuit regarding his involvement in an incident that occurred when he lived on Silver Street in London. Another deponent in that case was George Wilkins, one of whose occupations was playwright—an interesting association”



    “None of the items listed above are either arguments or conjectural. They are all facts drawn from the historical record.”


    On the contrary, these are all entirely conjectural in character. You do not have to believe me on this. Go and read any good text on Evidence (read, e.g., Cross's classic law treatise, Evidence) and on logical inference

    Cross & Tapper on Evidence, (2010) Oxford Univ. Press, Twelfth Edition

    1993. Pinto, Robert C. and J. Anthony Blair. Reasoning, A Practical Guide. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

    On Reasoning and Argument: Essays in Informal Logic and on Critical Thinking
    Hitchcock, David / Springer International Publishing AG, z.Hd. Alexander Grossmann ; 2017

    and you shall see that these are fully instances of conjecture. And the more history one knows about the period, the stupider, the more far-fetched, these conjectures are found to be.

    We haven't even scratched the surface.

    206proximity1
    Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 9:23am Top


    This post has 2 QUERIES from me


    >129 Podras.: "A number of Shakespearean scholars up through the early 20th century believed that Shakespeare had traveled to Italy, probably during the so-called lost years, to account for the knowledge of the place contained in his works. During the course of the century as critical examination of the historical record and Shakespeare's works became more stringent, those views changed to the present consensus that he probably never left England."

    (1) Which do you believe is the case? You can't have it both ways: either the author did visit Italy or he didn't. So which do you believe it was?

    ____________

    By the way, Query (2) to which years, according to you, do Shakespeare's "lost years" refer?

    According to Wikipedia's pages, the biographical notes on Shaksper's life has this: ( a period of six or seven (depending on how one counts) between 1585 and 1592)



    "After the birth of the twins, save for being party to a lawsuit to recover part of his mother's estate which had been mortgaged and lost by default, Shakespeare left no historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatrical scene. Indeed, the seven-year period between 1585 (when his twin children were born) and 1592 (when Robert Greene called him an "upstart crow") is known as Shakespeare's 'lost years' because no evidence has survived to show exactly where he was or why he left Stratford for London."

    207Podras.
    Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 1:25pm Top

    >205 proximity1:

    Hmmm. Into conspiracy theories I see.

    To repeat the quote from Roe's book:
    “All such publications referring to books about the authorship question, including the multitude declaring William of Stratford to be the “true author,” have the same shortcoming: their arguments are only conjectural.”
    In response, I cited a number of what most people would recognize are facts. The purpose was to show that conjecture or not, there is evidence in the historical record supporting Shakespeare's authorship even before conjecture begins. Your response seems to reject that notion. Perhaps you could provide some clarification. The first item I cited was:
    Shakespeare’s name, with some variations in spelling, is on the title pages of 12 of his plays (in 27 editions by my count) published during his lifetime, not counting various editions of his poetry.
    Are you saying that it is not a fact, not evidence of any sort whatsoever, and is merely conjectural? Here is a source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Shakespeare_plays_in_quarto, and here is an expanded image from the title page from one of the publications: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Loves_labours_tp.jpg. It cites the author's name as "W. Shakespere". For clarification, could you point out what part of that is conjectural? Is it that Shakespeare's name in a variant spelling is on the title page? Is it that it was published in 1598 during Shakespeare's lifetime? Is it conjectural that such a publication ever existed? Please help to clarify what you mean.

    Is it conjecture that:
    Of Shakespeare’s six extant signatures, three are on his Stratford will which includes bequests of money for mourning rings to members of the King’s Men.
    Are you saying that the very existence of a will by Shakespeare is conjectural, or that the names of members of the King's Men are listed among the beneficiaries, or is it something else? It shouldn't be necessary to go through the whole litany. Which of the bullet points in >201 Podras.: is conjectural? Your response might help us to learn something new.

    You stated that there is:
    no "independent evidence" for the supposition that the Stratford man is the really the true author and the person to which the title-page name refers. (sic)
    In the same bullet point in which I stated that variants of Shakespeare's name appeared on the title pages of several of the plays attributed to him during his lifetime, I also included this:
    Shakespeare is also named as the author on the title page of the First Folio, and two of the encomiums inside link Shakespeare, the author, with Stratford. One explicitly mentions his Stratford monument. Correspondingly, Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer.
    Leonard Digges' encomium to Shakespeare whose "Workes" are published in the First Folio refers to his "Stratford Moniment". It turns out that there is a monument to Shakespeare in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford, and it does have an inscription that refers to him as a thinker and writer. Most people would consider Digges' mention of a monument to Shakespeare at Stratford and the confirmed existence of a monument to Shakespeare in Stratford to be independent confirmation.

    Four of the five bullet points in that section contain similar juxtapositions. The fifth, the one with information from Francis Meres' Pallidis Tamia: Wits Treasury, presents a fact that Meres included both Shakespeare's name and de Vere's name (Edward, Earle of Oxforde) in the Comedy category. Yes, there is one statement I made that could be considered to be conjecture; that Meres knew that they were different people. Perhaps writing Shakespeare's name and de Vere's name as separate people makes Meres part of a conspiracy to hide the evidence-free conjecture that de Vere was the real author of Shakespeare's works.




    >206 proximity1: I'm personally agnostic about both of your questions. I look to scholars (real ones) for such information. I took Roe to task primarily for insisting that his author had to have been to Italy to write what he did. Roe's book has lots of other problems, too.

    By the way, how should an actor pronounce "Temple" with a capital "T"?

    I will say that the term, "lost years", has too romantic a sound. They are merely years in which Shakespeare, like the vast majority of his contemporaries, didn't do anything that made it into the historical record except for some dubious (i.e. without independent confirmation) anecdotes first told decades after his death.

    208proximity1
    Edited: Dec 12, 2017, 5:52am Top

    >207 Podras.:


    "To repeat the quote from Roe's book:


    “All such publications referring to books about the authorship question, including the multitude declaring William of Stratford to be the “true author,” have the same shortcoming: their arguments are only conjectural.”


    In response, I cited a number of what most people would recognize are facts. The purpose was to show that conjecture or not, there is evidence in the historical record supporting Shakespeare's authorship even before conjecture begins. Your response seems to reject that notion. Perhaps you could provide some clarification."



    Sure:

    it is sheer conjecture that what you've cited and referred to as "evidence in the historical record supporting Shakespeare's authorship" are facts which relate a particular title-page name to a particular Stratford man known as William Shaksper (to family and friends) in the first place.

    As though you did not already undertand this:

    It is conjecture, not proven fact that the First Folio reference to "Shakespeare" indicates as author the William Shaksper of Stratford. I don't know how to put that more plainly. You and others are assuming as an established fact that "Shake-speare"--a name on a printed-page--does and must in this case refer to the Stratford Upon Avon fellow, William Shaksper. But that is not a proven fact nor even "evidence"--other than sheer conjecture as "evidence"-- of Shaksper's being in fact the real author. In other words, if a person hadn't already taken for granted your position--that "Shake-speare" refers to William Shaksper-- then there is no independent evidence to support that assumption.

    As though you have not understood this.

    In other words, you are starting from the given assumption of the relevance of certain claimed evidenced-based "facts" which you presume to support with this same "evidence" itself: Shaksper is the "author" because (so you assume), it is to him that the title-page "William Shake-speare" name refers.

    Yes, indeed, as "evidence" for an alleged "fact" I am rejecting the immediate and pre-supposed truth of, validity of, the the alleged "fact" itself without any other support than this prior assumption itself.

    This same fatal reasoning-flaw applies in turn to ALL your alleged "evidence" of taken-for-granted-facts without any other support than their being taken-for-granted as "facts":

    These are conjecture:

    ... two of the encomiums inside link Shakespeare, the author, with Stratford

    only if it's already assumed that the title-page name refers to the Stratford Shaksper.

    ... One explicitly mentions his Stratford monument. Correspondingly, Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer

    only if it's already assumed that the title-page name refers to the Stratford Shaksper.

    "Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer"

    only if it's already assumed that the title-page name refers to the Stratford Shaksper.

    " Most people would consider Digges' mention of a monument to Shakespeare at Stratford and the confirmed existence of a monument to Shakespeare in Stratford to be independent confirmation."

    They might if that's really about all they knew of the authorship question. But if they were actually well-read, well-informed, they'd suspect Digges' mention as being other than legit, sincere. And that's because there are good reasons to suspect its validity--his sincerity.

    Why didn't Shaksper's own son-in-law notice and note in his copious and published diary the interesting "fact" that the local church housed a monument to his father-in-law, as William Shakespeare, author--renowned author by then--of plays and poetry?

    You and other Stratfordians have to stare at the ground, push the dust around with your big toe and pretend you didn't hear or don't understand the devastating implications of that lacunae.

    "Yes, there is one statement I made that could be considered to be conjecture; that Meres knew that they were different people. Perhaps writing Shakespeare's name and de Vere's name as separate people makes Meres part of a conspiracy to hide the evidence-free conjecture that de Vere was the real author of Shakespeare's works."

    The problem for you is that Edward, Earl of Oxford, as author is anything but evidence-free.

    209Podras.
    Edited: Dec 12, 2017, 9:13am Top

    >208 proximity1: From above:
    Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer

    only if it's already assumed that the title-page name refers to the Stratford Shaksper.
    FYI, the first two lines of the inscription for Shakespeare's Stratford Monument are in Latin and read:
    IVDICIO PYLIVM, GENIO SOCRATEM, ARTE MARONEM,
    TERRA TEGIT, POPVLVS MÆRET, OLYMPVS HABET
    The English translation of that is:
    A Pylian in judgement, a Socrates in genius, a Maro in art,
    The earth buries him, the people mourn him, Olympus possesses him.
    The remainder of the lines are in English, thus:
    STAY PASSENGER, WHY GOEST THOV BY SO FAST,
    READ IF THOV CANST, WHOM ENVIOVS DEATH HATH PLAST
    WITH IN THIS MONVMENT SHAKSPEARE: WITH WHOME,
    QVICK NATVRE DIDE: WHOSE NAME, DOTH DECK YS TOMBE,
    FAR MORE, THEN COST: SIEH ALL, YT HE HATH WRITT,
    LEAVES LIVING ART, BVT PAGE, TO SERVE HIS WITT.
    Rendered in modern English, it reads:
    Stay Passenger, why goest thou by so fast?
    Read if thou canst, whom envious Death hath plast
    Within this monument Shakspeare: with whom
    Quick nature died: whose name doth deck this tomb
    Far more than cost: sith since all that he hath writ
    Leaves living art, but page to serve his wit.
    It appears to be news to some people that the inscriptions continue to say those things regardless of what assumptions one makes about anything whatsoever. What a novelty.



    This has been fun, but I find that my time will be mostly occupied from now on at a conclave of former UFO abductees being held at the studio where the Moon landings were faked. We need to arrive at a consensus about where the space aliens should build the next set of pyramids when they return. I may step out from time to time if signs of intelligent life are reported in this vicinity or the need arises to untangle even denser knots of confusion and incomprehension. Until then, ta ta.

    210proximity1
    Edited: May 14, 4:14am Top

    >209 Podras.:

    I figured you'd run when pinned down and required to answer specifics.

    However, I'm not done with you and I'm not "leaving." With or without your replies, I'm going to take apart, brick-by-brick, fatuous claim by claim, your sophistry here.

    And I'm going to take right up where you've fled the field:

    You write--

    "Shakespeare’s Stratford monument has inscriptions that refer to him as a thinker and writer"

    true but that's an evasion of my point--as if you didn't know that already.

    The point isn't and never was, "do references to "William Shakespeare"--playwright--refer to "William Shakespeare", playwright? Of course they do. No one disputes that. As if you didn't understand that already.

    But "Shakespeare's" Stratford (Church) monument does not and never has referred to your candidate, William Shaksper, oF Stratford Upon Avon. If it had, John Hall, M.D., Shaksper's son-in-law, would never have failed to have made MUCH of such an illustrious father-in-law. But instead, despite keeping a diary of miscellaneous notes about remarkable observations concerning those in the town he knew through his medical practice, and despite doing this for posterity, for he published this diary, nowhere did he bother to mention a single word about his supposedly great father-in-law--nothing, no accounts of anything they ever shared in word or deed.

    And that is a fact you've just fled. We don't need a crystal-ball to figure out why that should be.

    ___________________________

    Unlike Stratfordians, who can take or leave the historical record as suits their whim, Oxfordians are bound to reason from the historical facts as far as they can be known or as best they can be understood. We don't get the luxury of "agnosticism" on the matter of whether or not Edward Oxford travelled to Italy. We're bound to admit that he did--whether that helps our case or not. As it happens, it helps--as does virtually everything in fact about his life as far is it's known. That's because we have recognized the correct author-candidate.

    You and other Stratfordians have no coherent narrative to offer other than a decrepit skeleton, lacking in living flesh. So you have a variety of positions you can take--hypothetically. You can at one moment recount pure speculations about how maybe Wm. Shaksper travelled to Italy--during his lost years. Asked when, according to you, these occurred, you dodged the question. And, later, if, for some reason, it's convenient, you can switch to the view by which you speculate that, maybe Wm. Shaksper never went to Italy. Instead, you speculate that he might have easily just picked up his detailed and remarkably-accurate knowledge of that peninsula from the random hap-hazard conversation of travellers returning to or passing through London or elsewhere as they crossed paths with Shaksper. It is by such means that you and other Stratford scholars attempt to make sense of a literary genius's artful use of intimate knowledge of Italian geography, history and politics.

    To support this daft argument, you offer us this:



    >203 Podras.:

    "In final response to Roe’s claim that his author couldn’t possibly have written Shakespeare’s plays without having been to Italy, I present Olfert Dapper (1636–1689). Dapper became well known in his own time for writing authoritative works about foreign lands, including China, India, Persia, Georgia, and Arabia. His Description of Africa (1668) is still an important book for African studies today. (He also reported the existence of unicorns in America, but one can’t have everything.) Dapper never left his native Holland."


    So you're taking a 17th century (the heyday of the encyclopedists) encyclopedist's work as a model case and extrapolating from it to the plays and poetry of "Shakespeare," (E. Oxford writing as "Shakespeare") arguing that, since Dapper could collect, catalog and organize such details--the results are transferable to the creative tasks and processes by which a poet-playwright such as Shakespeare would employ little tid-bits of scene and dialogue--draw them from his foolscap of notes.

    from the website of the Musée Dapper :


    Dapper spent three years researching his book on Africa, perusing a huge number of history and geography books, as well as numerous travellers' accounts. Not content with simply compiling facts, he produced an interesting synthesis of the documents he had consulted, and although some of the information it contains should be viewed with caution, his Description of Africa remains a key text for Africanists.


    So Dapper is a model example for us here when it comes to understanding and explaining Shaksper's amazingly intimate and precise knowledge of some of the Italian peninsula's geography, history and politics? In that case, I must suppose that you are alleging that Shaksper spent years doing effectively the same things with regard to Italian city-states: "perusing a huge number of history and geography books, as well as numerous travellers' accounts." Tell us--did he learn Italian first? In that case, add a couple of years, minimum, to his preparatory work or nevermind about texts in Italian-only: he could not have "perused" these. That leaves only translated works.

    Fortunately, for that, we have Dr. Mary Augusta Scott's 1916 (revised) work, Elizabethan Translations from the Italian (houghton Mifflin). "

    Scott wrires in her introductory notes (p. xi of the original printed-book's pagination and p. 18 of the (linked) .pdf file) that she has catalogued 466 titles over twelve sections, namely:

    Contents page: p. xvii (book) / p. 24 .pdf)
    I Romances in Prose (pp. 1-108 (orig. bk pages / .pdf: pp. 91-188)) ..........................titles numbered 1 to 79
    II Poetry (pp. 109-194 / .pdf: pp.191-271 ) ..................................................​titles number 80 to 136
    II Plays (pp. 195-219 / .pdf: pp. 275-297) ..................................................​ titles numbered 137 to 158
    IV Metrical Romances (pp. 223-242 / .pdf: pp. 301-320) .............................................. titles numbered 159 to 172
    V Religion & Theology (245-297 / .pdf: pp. 323-374) .................................................. titles numbered 173 to 230
    VI Science and the Arts (301-341 / .pdf: pp. 378-416)................................................. titles numbered 231 to 267
    VII Grammars and Dictionaries (345-358 / .pdf: pp. 420-433) ........................................ titles numbered 268 to 281
    VIII Collections of Proverbs (361-367 / .pdf: pp. 436-442) ............................................... titles numbered 282 to 291
    IX Voyages & Discoveries (371-390 / .pdf: pp. 446-465) ................................................. titles numbered 292 to 314
    X History & Politics (393-442 / .pdf: pp. 468-517) ..................................................​ titles numbered 315 to 371
    XI Manners & Morals (445-482 / .pdf: pp. 520-557) ..................................................​ titles numbered 372 to 394

    XII Italian and Latin Publications in England (485-515 / .pdf: pp. 560-590) ................................. titles numbered 395 to 428 (publications in England of Italian works translated to English)
    ..................................................​..................................................​ tiltes numbered 429 to 466 (publications in England Latin works translated to English)
    (pp. 500,, 506, (text) / p. 575, 581, (.pdf) corrupted in the facsimile page)

    Unfortunately, while the above-listing may appear at first glance to represent a genuine wealth of material, in examining the catalogue, one finds that from chapters (sections) I through XI, these topical categories can include any and all sorts of books--not necessarily only books originally either written or published in Italian but books from various languages and from various countries and epochs--from ancient to the then-modern. Within "Voyages and Discoveries", for exmple, the works can include books about voyages to the Caribbean by Spaniards. Thus, within this long catalog are simply "books" translated from Italian editions, original or not. These are far from all being about things and places and people in or of the Italian city-states or peninsula. Thus, after weeding through, the material here that relates to life and letters and geography and politics and manners and morals of Italy and Italians is only a fraction of the 466. And we haven't yet taken up how and where Shaksper got access to these treasures, had the time to study them--as Dapper did--"perusing a huge number of history and geography books."

    Then there's the actual living- and working practicalities of a poet/playwright's work as opposed to an encyclopedist-- that vital aspect of this, an absurd piece of bluff and bullshit, which you never even begin to bother to present. So: Shaksper wrote his masterworks by cobbling together minutiae about exotic places he'd never seen or experienced first-hand---though they read and convey a lively feeling that he had drawn them from experience---from cribbed notes.

    I guess that he must have had a great many more notes jotted down than he actually used; for it would beggar belief to think that virtually everything he noted was both marvelously useful and marvelously put to use. It stands to reason from plain odds of daily life that he had taken many more notes than he used and then picked out from among these the details which happened to serve the needs of the moment. WTF! Did he have an index-card file?

    "Italy - geography - the Veneto - river course travel in," etc.

    It's strange but his poems and plays do not read like they were made of patch-work pieces drawn from a box of notes and assembled. Just as Beethoven's or Mozart's music doesn't sound like it was produced from a hodge-podge of musical-notes of a bar here, a few bars there, heard at random and jotted dowm for potential use when inspiration needs a little "realistic" touch of detail. Nor do Rembrandt's or Da Vinci's paintings give the impression of being piece-work, made of a jumble of thoughts and ideas which have no overall informing motive and idea that give them shape and form. You picture for us not a literary genius at work but a hack writer, a cribber of notes who took to them whenever he could access them, could find them--and despite this practically ensuring results which were bound to produce something unspontaneous, something leaden-footed and clumsy--as is the case after rifling through the collected note papers just so that he might yield a useful detail in a story which, rather than unfolding naturally, as though a living thing, is tacked on, stitched together here and there like Dr. Frankenstein who had to assemble a mass of unrelated body-parts from various and sundry bodies he scavenged. You give us Shaksper, hack poet-playwright, haunting London taverns and always scavenging, scribbling notes or trying to commit the detail to memory long enough to find quill and paper-- repairing to a writing table somewhere and then take up his cobbler's work. And yet, all those details of Italy--numerous of which though later mistakenly ridiculed as bloopers by supposed scholars--turned out to be accurate in their every detail. One would think that just by dumb bad luck, a traveller's account should have saddled Shaksper with a pience of faulty hearsay or description. Amazing how things work!

    Yet, you can't explain for us in any developed narrative way how and why, for example, your particular candidate, William Shaksper of Stratford, happened to develop a penchant for classic Greece and Rome's history and literature. So, as with all Stratfordian exegesis, we're offered speculations: instead of explaining specifically how and why he Shaksper of Stratford, developed so keen a passion for these classic languages, for Ovid, for Caesar, for Plautus, or Livy or Seneca, Horace or Juvenal, you explain rather how people of the time generally --again, in full speculating mode--might have developed such interests:


    "Early modern English interest in Italy is easy to account for. Roman occupation was part of English history, and Roman ruins littered the landscape--still do. The core of the educational philosophy, grammar school and university alike, was based on the study of classical Roman authors; sometimes classical Greek authors, too. Many English attended Italian universities and presumably knew a bit about the place when they returned."...


    You are obliged to speculate--and it's true that there are occasions in which Oxfordians must resort to speculation--but they aren't at any, let alone many, of those points which comprise the most essential aspects of the case for Oxford's authorship. The Oxfordian speculations relate to relatively minor matters--if the Sycamore grove isn't precisely where you say it's supposed to be--though the playwright never specified a wall, nor any place more precisely that "westward rooted from this city" our case does not collapse. But you need wildly absurd speculation in order to account for the kind of knowledge and education which Edward Oxford did have and the kind which Wm. Shaksper needed but in no reasonable way could have mangaged to obtain: maybe Shaksper had a London neighbor who happened to have an unusually good library of greek and latin classics (maybe his good friend, Henry, Earl of Southampton, lent William his latin classics, yeah, that could have been it!)?--or had them in translation, and, more's the miracle, placed these at the disposition of our amazingly lucky young Shaksper?--who, having left his wife and young children at home, struck out for London where miracle would stack upon miracle to allow him to gain by catch-as-catch-can means the kind of education which our documented history indicates that Edward Oxford gained through years of patient effort and practice-- learning, mastering Greek and Latin to a level to have a full and fluent command of the pride of Rome's and Athens' classic-period poets is not easy, it's hard work.

    Without sustained study and determined practice, without grammar study and practice speaking, under corrective supervision, one does not become fluent in Latin or Greek-- one does not simply "pick up" a language mastery in these from bar-room conversation.

    Edward, however, was, after, if indeed not before, the death of his father, when Edward was about twelve, taken and placed in the household of William Cecil, a ward of the court of Elizabeth. Cecil was to see to Oxford's education under the tutelage of Sir Thomas Smith, one of the foremost greek and latin scholars of his day. Edward would find that Cecil, his guardian, had one of the finest private libraries in Europe--and his tutor, Smith, had an excellent library as well.

    Against this alternative, you urge that we prefer William Shaksper because, for example, people in his time, it being common that the gentry and the nobility spoke, wrote and read latin--their own late medieval spoken latin, of course, not latin as Augustinians spoke it, the people would just naturally have a great affinity for the days, the people, the history and the literature of ancient Greece and Rome--they could see ruins of these civilizations in their own countryside, after all. Edward Oxford, on the other hand, was merely the seventeenth in a line of Earls stretching back to the early 12th century.

    Maybe, though, as your agnostic position allows you to indulge, maybe Shaksper did visit Italy.

    It's strange-- here's your reply to my query: when, according to you were Shakespeare's "lost years"-- Do you answer "when"? No. Instead, in your agnosticism, you dodge the question with this:

    "I will say that the term, "lost years", has too romantic a sound. They are merely years in which Shakespeare, like the vast majority of his contemporaries, didn't do anything that made it into the historical record except for some dubious (i.e. without independent confirmation) anecdotes first told decades after his death."

    I really don't care whether the sound of "lost years" is romantic or "too romantic" or not I wanted to know when you site the particular set of years known and referred to as Shakespeare's "lost years," and you refused, you dodged the question.
    about speculating about Shaksper's potential travels to Italy in those years and, perhaps because you simply have no fucking idea about this--maybe you've never bothered to think about it, being "agnostic"--you preferred not to specify any interval and in that way avoid the questions.

    It's all right. I'll go ahead without you.

    Let us, in due time, speculate: when could William Shaksper of Stratford On Avon have travelled to Italy?

    Meanwhile, in a following post, let's turn again to the relative importance of the damned Sycamore grove on the edge of Verona.

    211Crypto-Willobie
    Dec 12, 2017, 3:13pm Top

    "for he published this diary"

    Hall's diary was published by others, after his death.

    212proximity1
    Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 4:57am Top

    >211 Crypto-Willobie:

    "Hall's diary was published by others, after his death."

    As were Oxford's "Shakespeare" plays--published in collected form after his death.

    From (the piece-of-shit) website, Wikipedia:


    " Hall prepared two notebooks of his case notes with the intention that they be published. "


    --fair enough. Others published Hall's diary after his death.

    Correction noted. But it doesn't alter the central point:

    The point was, Hall's diary, for which lack of any mention of his supposedly-famous, illustrious father-in-law you still still have no respectable explanation, was intended for publication.

    Can you address the central point? Or does this quibbling of yours indicate your admission that, in fact, you're stumped?

    213proximity1
    Edited: Dec 14, 2017, 4:15am Top

    à propos the sycamore grove, let's review:

    from >128 proximity1:



    “Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
    Peer'd forth the golden window of the East,
    A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad,
    Where. Underneath the grove of sycamore
    That westward rooteth from the ((First Folio): this) city's side,
    So early walking did I see your son.”

    Romeo & Juliet, I, i.
    (Roe, 2011) p. 8

    "alone in the playwright's Romeo & Juliet--there and nowhere else, not in
    any other Italian or French or English version--has it been set down that at Verona, just outside
    its western walls, was a grove of sycamore trees." (Roe)
    Part of that grove still stands there.



    The play's author doesn't in fact mention a "wall" --as in a city-fortification wall, common surrounding Medieval city-states--at all. Rather, all he says is that the Sycamore grove is "westward rooteth from the ((First Folio): >this) city's side." Where did Roe get the impression that the grove in question was just against the old city walls near the Porta Palio? From the locals, that's where.

    What's important here is a piece of corroboration-- the presence of such trees is a nice but in no way decisive feature. It would prove exactly nothing if there were not, in Roe's visits then, or today, a sycamore tree within 100km. of Verona--east, west, south or north. It's merely a nice detail to find there are these tree groves abutting the old city's wall-line--whether or not today the walls remain where they were in the 1500s; it's simply "interesting," that, like _all_the other details concerning the playwright's allusions to geophysical details, this one also has both a completely plausible basis and it "checks out" on examination: there are groves of tress some of them sycamores and, notwithstanding the inane quibbling of Podras' posts, this has been dealt with above (>134 proximity1:): these trees are not distinguishable at a glance by 99.99999999% of the population. Moreover, they're both "sycamore" trees and Podras doesn't have a shred of fucking evidence to indicate that the author intended something other than the type of tree which Richard Roe photographed.

    214Podras.
    Dec 17, 2017, 9:27pm Top

    There was a debate between Jonathan Bate and Alexander Waugh on Sept. 21 at Emmanuel Centre, London titled Who Wrote Shakespeare. In it, Waugh cited several sources in an attempt to show that there was doubt being expressed about the authorship before Delia Bacon's 1857 book, The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded. At one point, Waugh mentioned a 1796 source he claimed said "the thief of all thieves is a Warwickshire thief." No other comment was made about it.

    Waugh's source has been identified. It was a song sung on Sept 7, 1769 at Stratford's Shakespeare Jubilee (note the transposition of the last two digits of the year Waugh gave). The term "thief" in the song can be taken either literally or allegorically.

    Here is the full text of the song:

    YE Warwickshire lads, and ye lasses!
    See what at our Jubilee passes!
    Come, revel away! Rejoice, and be glad;
    For the Lad of all lads, was a Warwickshire Lad;
    Warwickshire Lad!
    All be glad,
    For the Lad of all lads, was a Warwickshire Lad!

    Be proud of the charms of your County;
    Where Nature has lavished her bounty.
    Where much she has given, and some to be spared;
    For the Bard of all bards, was a Warwickshire Bard;
    Warwickshire Bard:
    Never paired;
    For the Bard of all bards, was a Warwickshire Bard!

    Each shire has its different pleasures,
    Each shire has its different treasures:
    But to rare Warwickshire all must submit;
    For the Wit of all wits, was a Warwickshire Wit;
    Warwickshire Wit:
    How he writ!
    For the Wit of all wits, was a Warwickshire Wit!

    Old Ben, Thomas Otway, John Dryden;
    And half a score more, we take pride in.
    Of famous Will Congreve we boast too the skill;
    But the Will of all Wills, was a Warwickshire Will;
    Warwickshire Will;
    Matchless still!
    For the Will of all Wills, was a Warwickshire Will!

    Our Shakespeare compared is to no man;
    Nor Frenchman, nor Grecian, nor Roman.
    Their swans are all geese to the Avon’s sweet Swan;
    And the Man of all men, was a Warwickshire Man;
    Warwickshire Man;
    Avon’s Swan!
    And the Man of all men, was a Warwickshire Man!

    As ven’son is very inviting,
    To steal it our Bard took delight in;
    To make his friends merry he never was lag;
    And the Wag of all wags, was a Warwickshire Wag;
    Warwickshire Wag;
    Ever brag!
    For the Wag of all wags, was a Warwickshire Wag!

    There never was seen such a creature;
    Of all she was worth, he robbed nature;
    He took all her smiles, and he took all her grief;
    And the Thief of all thieves, was a Warwickshire Thief!
    Warwickshire Thief;
    He’s the chief!
    For the Thief of all thieves, was a Warwickshire Thief!

    215moibibliomaniac
    Dec 18, 2017, 5:05pm Top

    This topic begins in March 2009, and there is too much scrolling to be done to get to the current page. May I suggest you continue this topic in another topic in the New Year?

    216Crypto-Willobie
    Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 10:04am Top

    ATTENTION -- Don't go to the partisan linked offered below; instead go to this continuation:
    http://www.librarything.com/topic/278305

    218Crypto-Willobie
    Dec 19, 2017, 11:52am Top

    lock me up

    219proximity1
    Dec 19, 2017, 12:21pm Top


    >218 Crypto-Willobie:

    No, you see, I thought I might just try and reason with you--ask you to see the right thing to do here. Creating after-the-fact a second, hostile "alternative" "continuation thread" and actually calling on readers to shun and ignore the prior continuing thread--I'm asking you to see your gesture as doing effectively that and that this cannot really be in the spirit of this site's intended operating principles.

    Question: what kind of person are you? Capable of seeing an error on your part and doing the right thing?

    There's no threat or danger of your being "locked up". But you might be showing others what they may see as rather unflattering tendencies in Stratfordians. Did you consider that?

    220Crypto-Willobie
    Dec 19, 2017, 12:27pm Top

    No, what you don't see is that's its your thread with the question-begged title that is really the "second, hostile alternative continuation thread". My new thread is the real continuation of the original, and yours is a bad-faith set-up.

    And you don't give a damn about 'doing the right thing' except when you can use it to score points.

    221proximity1
    Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 12:45pm Top

    >220 Crypto-Willobie:

    This, from you, is factually false :

    " its (sic) your thread with the question-begged title that is really the "second, hostile alternative continuation thread"."

    ___________________________

    The thread's original title, "Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?" automatically implies as a given what the thread's whole purpose in the first place was poised to Enquire:

    Did someone other than the Stratford-Upon-Avon fellow, traditionally taken to be the author of the works attributed to an authorial name and first published as William Shake-speare (SIC), really write these works?

    In her OP, >1 audreyfan21: , Audreyfan21 writes,



    "I'm working on a research paper now about whether or not Shakespeare really wrote his plays. Does anyone know of a good biography or other book that talks about this or mentions it? Or even an article or website? Any reliable source that mentions it would be great!"



    those are not the words of a person who has a sophisticated grasp of the very loaded character of the phasing which she fairly obviously used innocently.

    But you and I know better: we know that posing the OP question as she did unfairly biases the issue-- and my correcting this to clearly indicate an open question on the identities of the actual author and the person from Stratford of course eliminates that undue advantage which those with your view of things have enjoyed in this thread for close to eight years.

    Yes, I see you don't like that. But it isn't unfair. On the contrary, the first continuing thread's title places things in a properly un-decided fashion.

    Your position here indicates that you're insisting on a playing-field which, indeed, does "beg the question"-- and you know this.

    So, again, you're showing us what kind of person you are and, in my opinion, it's typical of Stratfordians generally.

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