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The great Shakespeare authorship question

1 May 2014

1 May 2014

Was William Shakespeare just a nom de plume? The question is usually dismissed as boring, only of interest to snobs and cranks. Clever people, like the Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, know better. But the old authorship debate has been given new life of late, thanks to the energetic writer Alexander Waugh, who is adamant that Shakespeare was not a poor boy from Stratford, but the aristocrat Edward De Vere. At a debate at Ye Olde Cock Tavern in London on Wednesday, Waugh and fellow author Ros Barber roundly thumped Professors Duncan Salkeld and Alan Nelson.

The ‘anti-Stratfordians’, as Waugh’s side are known, are on a roll. On Sunday, it was reported that Prince Philip had joined their ranks. The scholar Stanley Wells was quoted in the Mail on Sunday as saying he had ‘crossed swords’ with the Duke of Edinburgh, who reportedly believes that diplomat Sir Henry Neville is the mastermind behind Shakespeare’s works. Meanwhile, Professor Jonathan Bate has revealed that Prince Charles, president of the Royal Shakespeare Company, ‘wanted some arguments to put in front of his dad.’

So if the man from Stratford did not write the plays, who did? At the packed tavern on Wednesday, almost everyone was willing, by the end, to concede that the Shakespeare Authorship Question deserves to be studied in schools and universities.


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  • fe26

    Go to drferris68.wordpress.com

  • http://barryispuzzled.com/ barryispuzzled

    A new PhD thesis from Brunel University, UK, suggests that Francis Bacon contributed to The Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and The Tempest. It can be examined here but the ‘Developments’ booklet is a good place to start for a summary of the results: http://barryispuzzled.com/shakepuzzle . It also argues that there is no test that can rule out Shakespeare as a contributor to a play.

  • Tom Reedy

    In case anyone is still following this discussion, I debunk Mr Waugh’s assertions that John Weever was an anti-Strat at http://oxfraud.com/100-weever.

  • Paul Crowley

    I hate it when I see Oxfordians accused of not answering. OK — it happens. Some of my Oxfordian brethren have not done the work, or have got lost down some historical blind alley. Nothing the least surprising there. But it can be distressing.

    http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo wrote:

    > ” . . . Don’t tell me that, out of a whole town, in which William Shakespeare owned the largest house (New Place, demolished in the eighteenth century, but well documented

    Who ever heard of the owner of a large centre-town house willfully tearing it down? Something amiss there?

    > nobody was willing to look at this preposterous monument in the parish church and say, “What a load of crap!”

    Those few who asked were told the monument was put up for the father by his London friends (who maybe got a few details wrong). Remember the name on it is merely ‘Shakspeare’ — no ‘William’ nor ‘John’. By then (~1625) all who would have remembered John’s London dealings (~1570) would have been dead.

    > .For that matter, I don’t see why the publishers orc the first folio, trying to pass off this grain merchant as a great writer, would construct this monument portraying him with a sack of grain. Sorry, but that simply doesn’t make sense.

    > Come to that, why try to pass off a grain merchant as a great writer at all?

    1) Since his earliest years, the poet had been published anonymously, or under a variety of other names (Arthur Brooke, Will Painter — here a real person, but with a name that was irresistible to the bawdy-minded court — Norton & Sackville, Thomas North, Marlowe, etc., etc.,)

    2) The poet used the name “Will Shake-speare” for its manifold and manifest punning potential. It is a perfect example of an Elizabethan literary pseudonym. The poet intended to “shake the emblematic spear” of his goddess / queen Athena / Elizabeth — the wise all-seeing guardian of the city, patron its arts, who loved men but who would never let them touch her . . etc., etc. Each syllable of the name has numerous meanings, many of them bawdy.

    3) Ignorant people saw the name “William Shake-speare” in use, and some claimed to know the poet personally.

    4) The court fell about laughing.

    5) The Queen and her Poet wanted to publish much more (of the material built up over decades) but there was some concern that too many anonymous works might lead to questions. The poet’s had revealed much of the atmosphere of the early Elizabethan court. Many (especially Puritans) would never understand it. The Queen and her Poet were afraid that ridiculous stories — as hideous as those we see in Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous’ — could proliferate.

    6) So they hit upon the notion of a new playwright, writing after ~1596, whose work would obviously have no connection to the royal court of the 1560s, 70s, and early 80s. He would publish the plays which would bear the (truly absurd) name of “William Shake-speare”. They could see that the ignorant, barely-literate masses, as well as the academics, would be taken in by this simple device.

    7) But — as a fall-back — they felt that they should also have a stooge — who lived in some remote place in the country and who could, if push ever came to shove — just about pretend to be the author. Of course, he would have to never meet a serious enquirer, and he would need a couple of minders. One of these was his lawyer — Thomas Greene, and another, the doctor, John Hall. The latter became his son-in-law. That might not have been planned, but was very welcome.

    The beauty of this scheme was that everyone could take the plays and poems at the level of their understanding. The court could continue to enjoy them for what they truly were. The ignorant populace (and the academics) could see them as pure fables, as ‘stories’ or as ‘entertainments’. Everyone was happy.

  • William Corbett

    The answer has been found.

    http://www.leweslewkenor.com

  • http://barryispuzzled.com barryispuzzled

    How can anyone believe that the Shakespeare plays are the result of a single lone genius? The evidence points to there being several hands in some of these plays: Henry VI, Pt 1 (Nashe), Henry VIII (Fletcher), MacBeth (Middleton), Timon (Middleton), Titus (Peele), Pericles (Wilkins), and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Heywood). No doubt traditional scholars would claim that Shakespeare collaborated with others but the dates of intervention by others are unknown – they could be earlier or later than Shakespeare’s contribution (if he contributed). In other words, a play could have been originated by someone other than Shakespeare then acquired by his company for revision.

    For me, this is the problem with the whole authorship debate, the assumption of a single lone genius which then leads to deification and entrenchment. The argument then takes the form of ‘it’s not your man it’s mine’. I think the reality is that the Shakespeare First Folio is a collection of plays acquired and revised by Shakespeare’s company in an age when the author was largely unheralded, and it seems to me that some of these originated in the Inns of Court.

    • Dingdong

      Where do you see Thomas Heywood’s hand in Love’s Labour’s Lost?

      As for 1 Henry VI, I suspect several hands in it. Harold Bloom (Shakespeare – The Invention of the Human), relying on Peter Alexander’s suggestion, thinks that this play might have been what Shakespeare’s Hamlet of 1588-9 looked like, writes: “Attempts by critics to ascribe much of Henry VI, Part One, to Robert Greene or George Peele, very minor dramatists, do not persuade me, though I would be pleased that other botchers had been at work in addition to the very young Shakespeare. What I hear, though, is Marlowe’s mode and rhetoric appropriated with great zest and courage but with little independence, as though the novice dramatist were wholly intoxicated by the Tamburlaine plays and The Jew of Malta.” (p.43). But even the “integrationist” E.K. Chambers could not reconcile himself with the view that there was little Shakespeare in 1 Henry VI.

      What I think to hear in that play is Marlowe himself, and that only partly. But Bloom likes to stick to the usual chronology and the usual representation of one author. I can subscribe to your view that there are several hands in the plays. But this view has its limits in the great tragedies and comedies and, above all, in the Sonnets, as Bruce Leyland has, in my opinion, rightly pointed out on this blog.

      • http://barryispuzzled.com barryispuzzled

        Thanks for your message. Here are some rare phrases from LLL as searched in EEBO.

        Heywood is the first dramatist to use “body pine” after LLL in ‘King Edward IV’ (1600), with only two other uses before Heywood. The phrase “light wench” does not appear before LLL and it also appears in CofE after which it next appears in Heywood’s ‘If you know me not’ (1606). Rarer is “gift is good” with only one use before LLL and was still rare with four previous uses when Heywood used it in 1632. Of the major writers, he has exclusive use of “twelve celestial signs” in ‘Londini artium’ (1632) after LLL. This should be enough to intrigue!

        Best Wishes

        • Dingdong

          First a correction in my previous mail. I wrote that even the “integrationist” EK Chambers could not accept there was little Shakespeare in Henry VI. The opposite is true. EK Chambers, was countering J.M. Robertson’s attempts to “disintegrate” the canon. Chambers even was not willing not to ascribe large parts of Timon of Athens to another (Middleton had not yet come into play). But about Henry VI, Part One, he writes: “Shakespeare’s presence is only clear to me in (e), the Temple garden scene, and (f), an unrhymed Talbot scene leading up to (c).

          Best regards

        • Dingdong

          Is not Thomas Heywood rather the borrower in this case? LLL was printed in 1598, all the occurrences in Heywood are later.
          Comedy of Errors was not printed until 1623, but it must have existed in 1594 or before.

          • http://barryispuzzled.com barryispuzzled

            It’s a fair point. All Heywood’s correspondences are later than 1594. There is an argument that LLL was intended for the 1594-5 Gray’s Inn revels but cancelled. Heywood, not being an Inns of Court member, could not have been involved at this point as the evidence points to the exclusion of non-members at the Inns of Court. It is also earlier than his first known play ‘hawodes bocke” (1596). Revels plays were shorter than popular stage plays. So there is a good chance that it was expanded around 1604 for the King’s Men to play at the royal court, in which case the later revision date gives Heywood a chance to have matches both before and after its revision, especially in Scene 1.1. This state of mutual borrowing is an argument for his contribution.

            • Dingdong

              Love’s Labour’s Lost was printed in 1598, According to the title-page “As it was presented before her Highness this last Christmas”. This can only mean at court on 26 December 1597.
              But there was an earlier quarto as it was “Newly corrected and augmentes. By W. Shakespere.”
              It is thought that this surreptitious quarto was printed by John Danter.
              In Nashe’s *Have With You to Saffron-Walden* there is indeed an allusion which corroborates this hypothesis. If you are interested I could quote Nashe’s allusion. I think it has been overlooked.

  • Dingdong

    I am in a depressive mood for I’ve to apologize for a mistake. I’ve been too rash, not unlike Sicinius on the previous Spectator blog when he implicitly assumed that there could be only one Duke of Richelieu though the Duke of Richelieu in question had a son and could impossibly be the cardinal, the first Duke of Richelieu. My mistake is somewhat different. But it is also due to rashness. I’ve an honest friend whom I asked to read my last posting. She promised me to read it
    carefully and to give her opinion. This she did. After receiving her opinion
    I’m more than ever before convinced she is honest… but she is no longer a
    friend, for she pointed out I had misquoted the anonymous author of *Sir Thomas Smith’s Voyage into Russia*. Indeed, I’d overlooked one single word, f***, only four letters, no, not f***, but l***, “late. I quoted “I am with the English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid”. In fact — for this is a fact — the quote reads: “I am with the

    l a t e English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid”. I replied that 4 letters out of 45 made for less than 10%, statistically rather irrelevant. But she didn’t give in and
    maintained that the meaning of the whole quote was not only fundamentally altered by my omission but outright distorted. But I was not willing to drop my newly
    won conviction so soon. Thereon an overheated debate between me and my friend set in. Here a partial record of our phone conversation:

    She: Either
    Shakespeare is not Shakespeare or there is not only one Shakespeare.
    I: How that?

    She: The phrase on quick-witted Ovid was written in 1605. In 1605 quick-witted Ovid was “late”, that is, he had recently died. The alleged “only one Shakespeare” died in 1616. If the anonymous author is correct, he cannot have meant the man who died in 1616, then the man who wrote Hamlet must be somebody else. Or do you know another meaning of “late” in this context?
    I: The anonymous author probably meant the author of the Ur-Hamlet.
    She: Is there any evidence for the existence of a Ur-Hamlet?
    Or for an author named Ur-Shakespeare. Did Francis Meres mean the
    Ur-Shakespeare when he wrote that the soul of Ovid lived on in Shakespeare?
    I: Without doubt he meant Shakespeare; possibly the anonymous author meant Thomas Kyd, the presumed author of the Ur-Hamlet.
    She: Boy, where and when has you been robbed of your logic? Thomas Kyd died in 1594, too early to be late in 1605. But English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid” could apply to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who in 1605 had recently died, namely in 1604, which at the same time could explain why the stream of good Shakespeare texts was suddenly interrupted in 1604, never to be resumed afterwards; and that it would explain why in the preface to the First Folio it was said “It had been a thing, we confess, worthy to be wished, that the Author himself had liv’d to have set forth, and overseen his own writings, but since it has been ordained otherwise, and he by death departed from that right…” And could explain Hamlet’s legacy to Horatio to heal his “wounded name” by reporting his “cause aright to the unsatisfied”. It would make sense, no?
    I: But Tom Reedy says that confronted with logic or facts Oxfordians either
    abandon the field, change the subject, or complain about your manners”. And also that Oxfordians “are not too quick on logic”. And Tom Reedy is one of the
    greatest experts in the world. He was exuberantly praised by James Shapiro.
    Here what Shapiro recently wrote: “Those who believe in Shakespeare’s
    authorship owe a considerable debt to unsung heroes like Tom Reedy, who is not
    a professional scholar yet spends countless hours ensuring that the site [
    Wikipedia ] remains fact rather than faith based and draws on current
    scholarship to blunt the efforts of anti-Stratfordians to bend those facts.”

    She: Did Shapiro really write “those who b e l i e v e in Shakespeare’s authorship”?
    I: Yes, he did.
    She: So Stratfordianism is “fact-based faith” and anti-Stratfordianism is “artefact-based faith”? Well, please, confront Mister Reedy with the fact that our anonymous author spoke of the author of Hamlet as “l a t e English quick-spirited and clear-sighted Ovid” in 1605. Or perhaps, having proclaimed himself so great an expert in all things Elizabethan, he might find another, more suitable meaning for “late”.
    I: I’m pretty sure Sicinius will be able to find the exact meaning. He is very
    quick-witted too, even quicker witted than English Ovid.
    She: But if quicker, still witted?
    I: His great wit lies in his quickness, therefore he will Willy.
    She: He always repeats the same “Oxford’s poetry is bad, bad, bad…” as if bedlam.
    I: Be not so disparaging.
    She: Disparaging? On the contrary, I mean it highly positively: if there existed a
    text for the Bolero of Ravel, Sicinius would be the outstanding singer.
    I: But Fergus Pickering wrote: “But de Vere’s poetry is no bloody good. His sonnets
    are particularly risible. Queen Elizabeth wrote better verse and she had a
    country to govern.” And Fergus Pickering is a poet.
    She: How many sonnets exist und de Vere’s name? As far as I remember only 1. And how many poems are known to have been written by Queen Elizabeth I? As far as I know very very few. Here the poet Pickering is rather erythropoetical, doped, that is. The hematocrit level seems dangerously high. He should ask Sicinius, who may know how dangerous the level is, for the literary biologist Sicinius is very knowledgeable about the “genome” of the drama.
    I: But both Fergus Pickering an No Good Boyo pretend it’s all “bollocks”
    She: Is “bollocks” a possible meaning of “late”? But maybe they mean, unconsciously, “bullock”, “ox”.
    I: But you can’t brush aside so simply all these people. All of them have a high
    intelligence quotient, much higher than ours. Take Sicinius again: “When you
    ask an Oxfordian for direct evidence, Dominic, you know what is coming next.”
    And Dominic Hughes answers: “Silence”. Dominic wouldn’t be that self-assured if to him it wasn’t evident.
    She: If to somebody something is self-evident, he doesn’t need himself evidence, either direct or indirect. He only needs himself. The evidence has to be delivered by the opponents. Now, the “late English quick-witted Ovid” is a fact, it has to be treated as direct evidence. So Don Dominic Hughes’s rest will certainly be more than “silence”. And also: not everything possesses the quality of additivity, otherwise said, they cannot be added together. One excellent example, precisely, is the intelligence quotient. The IQ of an idiot is about 70, the IQ of a genius lies between 140 and 200, the more genius, the closer to 200. Could IQ’s be added together, 4 idiots would be far more intelligent than a genius. But do you have an
    applicable alternative meaning for “late” in this specific context?
    I: Be not so brazen. I do have.
    She: I’m on tenterhooks.
    I: I’ve done a comprehensive Google search.
    She: I’m on tenterhooks.
    I: The fortuitous clue was given by Kitty MLB.
    She: Let me hear.
    I: She wrote: “These discoveries are like a handful of sand, they all come
    to nothing as they always have and always will.”
    She: The clue?
    I: Sand.
    She: I can imagine that “earth” and “ashes” can be associated with “death”, “burial”, but “sand”?
    I: Well, I’m sad to have to tell you that it can and that I’ve found one example, only one, but that peremptory!!
    She: What is it?
    I: The combination of “bury” and “sand” yields a result, yea. Does yield a result.
    She: Tell me, please.
    I: The word is “ostrich”.

    At this point our debate degenerated into mutual insults. At which I’m not very good, my inventory of abusive terms being very limited. Yet I was able to stand my ground, mainly thanks to Tom Reedy to whom, in this respect, I owe as great a debt as James Shapiro in other respects. Thank you very much, Tom Reedy.

    Here I stop, for it’s late here, very late, late, late, late…

    • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

      Nurse! The screens…

      • Dingdong

        I understand that these are the first lines of your song to the Bolero of Ravel. Right?

    • Alexander Waugh

      Dear Ding Dong – notice how quiet Reedy, ‘Hughes'(liar by the way’), ‘Sicinius’ and the rest get when you challenge them to explain ‘the late English Ovid’ (1605). It’s like when you mention Weever’s Epigramme 4/11 (1599), or Brome’s description of Shakespeare as ‘that English Earle that loved a play and a player’ (1636), or when you bring up John Warren’s description of a ‘twice lived’ Shakespeare for whom ‘The Labour’s his, the glory still thine own’ (1640). Interesting that E. K. Chambers left all of those four allusions out of his two volume compendium – something about them that Stratfordians simply cannot stand! But it is a dim position being a Stratfordian and you cannot expect much from them by way of serious concentration on evidence. They are out to protect the wrong man at all costs and if they cannot deal with your evidence, they will ignore it, or simply carry on insisting when everything points against them.

      One hilarious example of this: If you go on the amazon.com website you will find Leadbetter ‘Sicinius’ (there calling himself ‘Alfa’ after some failed company he once directed) as the last man in the world who still insists there was no boat route from Verona to Milan. It is extremely funny, but you must hurry before he returns there to edit out all his bloomers and then pretend he never wrote them. AW

      • Tom Reedy

        Why not claim he was an emperor or Caesar? It makes about as much sense.

        Letoy. I tell thee,
        These lads can act the emperors lives all over,
        And Shakespeare’s chronicled histories to boot,
        And were that Ceesar, or that English Earle
        That lov’d a play and player so well, now living,
        I would not be out-vied in my delights.

        The Antipodes, 5.1.73-78.

        This is the type of cloud-gazing required to be an Oxfordian.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Well done! You’ve quoted it! Now you can explain it. Or do you think that murmuring about cloud gazing Oxfordians does the trick? Go on – tell everybody what it is about, who is talking to whom, give us some context, explain why he mentions Caesar and ‘that English Earle’ and how they relate to ‘the lads’ acting emperors’ lives and Shakespeare’s histories. Just quoting it is not quite enough I fear. AW

          • Tom Reedy

            You first, Alexander. Kindly inform us how this indicates that Shakespeare was an earl. Merely having a word or two in conjunction with Shakespeare’s name does not indicate the connection you seem to think is there. Anybody can read the play–or at the very least the scene–and tell that Brome was not casting aspersions on Shakespeare’s authorship. It is Oxfordians who take five or six words out of context, as you did, and claim they suggest Shakespeare was a front. So go ahead, explain to us how that is so.

            (And BTW, Letoy is saying that were Caesar and Leicester still alive, they would not out do his enthusiasm for the theatre.)

            • Alexander Waugh

              I shall happily go first (you coward!) as there is only one possible explanation for this passage. You clearly have not read the play. I advise you to do so. In this scene Letoy, ‘a Phatasticke Lord,’ is boasting to Blaze ‘an Herald Painter’ about the quality of his acting servants. “I keepe not a man or boy but is of quality,’ he says, ‘The worst can sing or play his part o’th’ Violls, And act his part too in a comedy.’ At dinner the conceited fool asks Blaze if he thinks his player servants look like pedlars. Oh not at all responds the sycophantic Blaze. ‘I tell thee’ says the boaster, my actors are so good they can act Roman Emperors and Shakespeare histories as well and even if Caesar himself were present he would not be able to act an emperor better than my boys, and even if ‘that English earle that lov’d a play and player’ were still living and here today he would he would not be able to surpass them for Shakespeare. That is the only explanation.

              You were cowardly to ask me to explain first. My whole point was that no Strat has ever offered any explanation ever. It is cheap and lazy and easy for you to ask me to explain first just so you can pick holes in what I write, while offering nothing yourself to explain the passage, Your drooling about Leicester is complete nonsense pulled from thin air and you know it. Now while you are trying to offer A BETTER explanation to the Brome passage, perhaps you will do me the courtesy of ‘going first’ on Weever and Rushia. And good luck to you,

              Alexander

        • Dingdong

          <>

          What about “I am with the l a t e English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid”in 1605? Apparently written by a connoisseur, someone with insider knowledge of the literary scene,
          possibly Leonard Digges. He seems a good candidate . What is required not to see it? Type of sun-gazing required to be a Stratfordian? Any answer? If possible, no insults such as “idiot”, “moron”, “ninny”, etc. I accept only new ones. I would like to add them to my stock. Thanks.

      • Tom Reedy

        Of Mr. William Shakespeare.

        What, lofty Shakespeare, art again revived?
        And Virlius like now show’st thyself twice-lived,
        Tis [Benson’s] love that thus to thee is shown,
        The labour’s his, the glory still thine own.
        These learned poems amongst thine after-birth,
        That makes thy name immortal on the earth,
        Will make the learned still admire to see,
        The muses’ gifts so fully infused on thee.
        Let carping Momus bark and bite his fill,
        And ignorant Davus slight thy learned skill:
        Yet those who know the worth of thy desert,
        And with true judgement can discerned thy art,
        Will be admirers of thy high-tuned strain,
        Amongst whose number let me still remain.

        John Warren
        Prefixed to *Shakespeare’s Poems* (1640)

        Anybody who gets an anti-Stratfordian message from that is an incompetent reader.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Great Scott! You’ve done it again. you have simply quoted it (actually misquoted – it should be Virbius not Virlius) – an important point if you want to understand this poem. And look at your square bracket ‘[Benson’s]’! Where did you get that from? I know Ingilby, but of course there is no ‘[Benson’s] in the anti-Stratfordian volume of 1640 where the poem was originally printed is there? So why have you added it there now? And what is your evidence to show that ‘Benson’s’ [ho, ho!] is the intended meaning? Please explain. And by the way you still have two to go: Weever (about whom you claim expertise) and Smyth’s Journey to Rushia. I look forward to your quoting both of those and posting derisive sentences after each. Very instructive – super way to show you have good arguments, Tom!

      • Tom Reedy

        Weever 4, 11:

        In Spurium quendum scriptorem

        Apelles did paint so faire Venus Queene,
        That most supposed he had faire Venus seene,
        But thy bald rimes of Venus sauour so,
        That I dare sweare thou dost all Venus know.

        Please do tell us what an epigram about Clément Marot has to do with Shakespeare. Perhaps you don’t know that Weever followed several of Timothe Kendall’s epigrams, including this one.

        To Cl. Marotus

        Apelles learned hand, so fine
        Did paint fair Venus Queene:
        That every one susposd that he,
        Had Venus vewd and seen.
        But workes of thine Marotus lewd,
        Of Venus sauour so;
        That euevery one sure deemes, that thou
        Dost all of Venus know.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Thomas – YOU ARE SERIOUSLY HOPELESS IF YOU THINK THAT JUST QUOTING WEEVER AND KENDALL TO ME DOES ANYTHING TO BOLSTER YOUR ARGUMENT. You need to read up. And you can start with my piece in the current edition of De Vere Society Newsletter which deals with all these points as well as the MS128 which you failed to examine properly when last you came to London. AW

          • Tom Reedy

            “My” argument? I’m not the one making an argument here. I asked you what an epigram about Marot has to do with Shakespeare. If you can’t answer it, just admit it; don’t try to put the burden of proof on me. I’ll be happy to read your article when I get a copy. Not being a member I’m at the mercy of the kindness of friends.

            And yu’ll have to excuse me fro the rest of the day, Alexander. It’s not even noon here yet and I have things to do.

            • Alexander Waugh

              ‘Yu’ll have to excuse me fro the rest of the day…’ and so the worm slithers under his noontide rock. All questions unanswered, all challenges unexplained. He can’t get a copy of the right article, so he cannot cope with the bright glare of contention. I hope he can find a copy of ‘Shakespeare’s Works’ before his return , or perhaps he is waiting upon the ‘kindness of friends’ to lend him one of those too!

              • Tom Reedy

                My, for a member of a group (and one of the prize leading lights at that) which chronically complains about manners you’re certainly quite nasty today. I don’t remember ever calling you a coward or a worm or any other name. Did you just now get up? Are you hungover?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Sorry Tom – I think I did get out the wrong side of bed today and am still bitterly saddened by the death of a friend of mine last week – but I should not take it out on you. However you are a very naughty chap and very exasperating. Like all Stratfordians you never confront difficult evidence head on. Please – when you have had your lunch – try and come back with something brave and constructive, at least to Ding Dong – who has been waiting quite a long time (and much more patiently than I) to hear your Stratfordian response about ‘Our Late English Ovid’ (1605). Just quoting the line and insulting him won’t help. Who do you think was meant by the ‘late English Ovid’?

                  Again you will find a whole thing on this in the current DVS Newsletter by Jan Cole. AW

                • Tom Reedy

                  No worries, Alexander, and my condolences for your loss. I’m very busy today and I’ve done my SAQ quota, but I will try to get back with a reply tomorrow. (And I’m not against a bit of invective myself, I just ask that it be a bit more clever than what is usually offered up.)

                • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                  Like all Stratfordians you never confront difficult evidence head on

                  I think it’s because most of us have encountered what you people have to say, and figured it was utter bollox, actually. You can only hear so much bollox before you start tuning it out.

                  Or perhaps it’s because we don’t really give a sh!t. The plays exist. They’re fantastic. Who cares who, exactly, wrote them?

                  Were the Iliad and the Odyssey actually written by a bloke called Homer? Was Gerald of Wales really called Gerald, and was he Welsh? Who cares? Does it affect the literature in any way, shape or form?

                  Suppose it could be definitively proved that the plays were actually by Mistress Jemima Snogworthy, housewife of Great Shagging on Sea, and the sonnets by her husband, Master Praisegod Snogworthy. What of it?

                  Are the plays any better or worse for that? Is the poetry denigrated? Are they of less applicability? Is anybody missing out on a shedload of royalties? Will Master and Mistress Snogworthy bask in their new-found fame?

                  No, they’re dead.

                • Dingdong

                  Are you sure this is NOT the second time you are posting this? I vaguely remember the names Homer, Gerald Wales, Jemina Snogworthy, Master Praisegod Snogworthy. Either you are plagiarizing somebody else or yourself.

                • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                  And if I were, do you have an answer to the question?

                  I don’t think you know what plagiarism is, do you? Were I to copy Hamlet, word for word, present it to a publisher, and claim that I’d just written it all myself, that would be plagiarism.

                  To take what somebody has said, and recycle it in your own thoughts, is what’s generally known as “education”.

                  I haven’t the faintest idea how you’d plagiarise yourself, as opposed to stating the same thought twice.

                  You don’t know much about literature, do you? When was the last time you actually read a Shakespeare play, or watched one performed? Do you not think your intellectual development would be better served by devoting your time to studying the literature, rather than bickering about these silly, pointless conspiracy theories?

                • Dingdong

                  <>

                  You’re not kind! And I was so kind!! I wanted to avoid telling you that your repetitions are soporific. “Self-plagiarism”
                  or “autoplagiarism” sounds so much more learned and therefore polite.

                  <>

                  Another repetition of yours. But I can answer that. In the context of the problem at stake now, I’m just, hic et nunc, reading *Hamlet*, not for the first time. But I’ve no intention at all of copying it and passing it off as my own. People wouldn’t believe me. I would incur the risk of being committed to an asylum – which in your opinion is
                  probably the proper dwelling for me, though it would be a proper place for reading *Hamlet*.

                • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                  “Self-plagiarism”or “autoplagiarism” sounds so much more learned

                  No, it just makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

                  And you still haven’t answered the question. Who cares, exactly who wrote them? Why is it even important?

                  You duck the question. I repeat it. If you want to avoid my repetitions, just answer the f****** question already!

                • Dingdong

                  Who cares? I care and you care. I take the low road
                  and you take the high low road.

                  If it sounds (to you) as if I didn’t know what I’m
                  talking about how can you be so silly, you, so much more intelligent than I — I’m confident you’ll agree with that — to hope I would know what you’re talking about?

                  Indeed, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

                  This topic is about English Ovid. Let us turn to Roman
                  Ovid. In *Tristia* Ovid bewails his exile. He expresses his gratitude to a friend for his life-spending friendhip. What? Is it important that Ovid was really exiled? No, you say, it does not matter whether it was Ovid or Praisegod Snogworthy.
                  Didn’t you say you were passionately interested in history?

                  Shakespeare (sonnet 29) bewails his “outcast state”. An outcast state is sort of exile, a socially marginalized existence. We shouldn’t care?

                  I answer: I do care. Question answered? What do you
                  want, dictator? My answer or the answer you would like to extract from me?
                  What, please, what?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Have you done this Snogworthy jig already? I think you are going round circles Boyo. I refer you to the answer I gave last week…AW

                • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                  Yes, but your answer last week was rubbish. And you still haven’t explained why this question that so exercises you is even important.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  It’s not important to any of us…is it?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  It’s not important. I enjoy it, that’s all, and I want to share my enjoyment with others. AW

                • Tom Reedy

                  “Like all Stratfordians you never confront difficult evidence head on.”

                  The only real difficulty about the evidence is trying to figure out exactly how it qualifies as evidence and for what. I have not yet come to any kind of satisfactory answer about the reference Mr. Ding-Dong (an apt moniker indeed) furnished for us (“I am with the late English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid”), and in fact I’m stuck at interpreting the first three words. Is the writer “with” the said Ovid in the sense of agreement? Or is he saying he is with him in spirit? Or is there another definition of “late” that changes the meaning?

                  All these and more need to be answered, but in the meantime would it be too much to ask that DD or AW make it clear exactly what this is evidence for and how it functions as such?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  You are obviously unaware of the context. I have just sent to your private email address a facsimile of the four pages in question from the original 1605 edition. When you have digested them perhaps you could kindly post your answer online to the simple question – to whom do you think the author is referring when he talks of ‘the late English quick-spirited, clear sighted Ovid?’ You really need no more information from Ding-Dong or me to answer that question. So please no more delaying tricks. Just answer it.Alexander

                • Tom Reedy

                  Wrong. I found the quotation and the surrounding context at http://bringingdeformedforth.blogspot.com/2013/12/i-am-with-late-english-quick-spirited_7.html a few days ago. What I’m looking for is critical comment about the 1605 publication, which seems very sparse (yes, Stratfordian historians censoring history, I know), so I’m out the door to retrieve the entire book and some bibliographic information.

                  And why is it that you ignore every question, calling them “delaying tricks”, while I am expected to jump to your every bidding? How about answering the question about the Weever epigram?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  You are panicking quite unnecessarily. All I am asking is very simple: Who do you believe is referred to as ‘The Late English Ovid’?

                • Tom Reedy

                  Oh, I’m panicking?

                  Sorry Alexander, old boy, but it doesn’t work like that. I know Oxfordians like to read a sentence or two and then make a declaration, but we do things a bit differently on this side of the fence (you know how slow we Strats are, insisting on actual evidence instead of wishful thinking). I downloaded the book today. It’s only about 50 pages, so I should be done reading it sometime in the next few days between all the other things I have to get done. You and Robert will just have to wait a bit longer for my answer.

                  Meanwhile I see that Dominic has come up with some interesting information. Maybe you could amuse yourself with him while I study.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Tom: I have attempted to post additional information three times now, but my posts are not showing up.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Tom…I have attempted to post additional relevant information on this question, but my posts are not appearing in the thread. I have no idea why the posts are not being allowed.

                • Dingdong

                  I try to parse the first three words. I could not find another meaning of “late” preceding a person than this: “[only before noun] used for talking about someone who has died, especially recently, eg my late aunt“. From the start we can exclude that the anonymous author were now with the said late Ovid in the sense that the anonymous author had also recently died and so had joined the late Ovid, more precisely, the late English Ovid.

                  I think I cannot be accused of a total lack of logic for arriving at that conclusion.

                  You ask, “is there another definition of “late” that changes the meaning?” But probably Alexander Waugh can more clearly than I explain how it functions as such. My explanation may be too simple. I’d say “late English quick-spirited clear-sighted Ovid” had recently died and the anonymous author agreed with “late English quick-spirited that dreams are to be feared,” that is, he agreed with
                  Hamlet and the author of *Hamlet*.

                  There might be an alternative explanation. Would be fine if Dominic Hughes (or anybody else) could give an opinion.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Thank you for the kind invitation, Dingdong. The following response may be somewhat disjointed as it is pretty much just a record of some preliminary thoughts on the issue.

                  The entry for Leonard Digges in the DNB [1885-1900, Vol. 15] states that Digges went to University College, Oxford, in 1603, aged fifteen, and proceeded B.A. 31 Oct. 1606.
                  There is no indication that he traveled to Russia with Sir Thomas Smith or that he had anything whatsoever to do with editing Smith’s notes or interviewing other witnesses while still attending school in 1605. The entry does state that after 1606 Digges travelled
                  abroad, studying at many foreign universities. In consideration of his continental studies he was created M.A. at Oxford on 20 Nov. 1626. After the death of Digges’ father in 1595, his mother married Thomas Russell. Thomas Rusell was named by William Shakespeare of
                  Stratford as one of the two overseers of his will.

                  I want to be sure that I understand your argument. Your speculation that the 17 year old Digges edited the notes of Sir Thomas appears to be based upon the
                  following:
                  1. Smith had a close relationship with Sir Dudley Digges;
                  2. Leonard Digges was the younger brother of Sir Dudley Digges;
                  3. Leonard Digges had some literary ambition;
                  4. The anonymous author states that he is a “younger brother” [which, as you concede, may relate to the better pens of Sidney, Greville, du Bartas, and Jonson].

                  Is that a fair summation of the basis for your speculation that the young Leonard Digges was the anonymous author behind ‘Voiage and Entertainment in Russia’? If so, there doesn’t appear to me to be sufficient evidence to claim that
                  Digges is a probable author of the work. He might possibly be a candidate for the authorship, but, based on the evidence as it currently stands [unless there is more], I doubt that there can be [or ever will be] any certainty at all in such a claim. I would think that his youth and his involvement in obtaining his education might argue against him being involved.

                  Let’s turn to more speculations. You state that the mention of Greville “implies” that the anonymous author had read Greville’s “dramatical work in manuscript.” This is a leap that, in my opinion, is not justified. It is not necessary that the author had read Greville to know of Greville’s reputation, and yet you speculate that he has read certain
                  manuscripts. It is instructive that you later turn this speculative “implication” into a fact [“At the least the
                  author of *Sir Thomas Smith’s Voyage and Entertainment in Russia* had insider knowledge of the literary world (he knew the unpublished dramas of Fulke Greville).”]
                  in order to transform the young student, Leonard Digges, into a literary insider. I don’t see that such a claim is justified by the evidence. How is it that you would contend the young Digges would be privileged to have the secret knowledge of a hidden author?

                  A further speculation…you appear to assume that when the anonymous author writes, “I am with the late English quick-spirited, cleare-sighted Ouid: It is to be feared Dreaming, and thinke I see many strange and cruell actions, but say my selfe nothing all this while: etc.,” it is a reference to Shakespeare and to Hamlet, specifically to the following passage from the play:

                  Haml.: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

                  Guild.: Which dreams indeed are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

                  Haml.: A dream itself is but a shadow. (II.ii)

                  How do you interpret this to passage to mean that “dreams are to be feared” and that the passage in question must necessarily be a reference to this part of the play?

                  Additionally, the passage relating to Hamlet in Smith’s ‘Voyage’ is separated from the “late English Ovid” passage by a good bit of prose, and I don’t see that the text itself justifies connecting the two. Why is it that you speculate there is a necessary connection?

                  You further speculate that “’English Ovid’ is in all probability drawn from Francis Meres,” when he wrote: “As
                  the soul of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras; so the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous & honey-tongued Shakespeare, witness his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugared Sonnets among his private friends, &c.” This may or may not be correct. Why is it not equally plausible that it could refer to Golding’s ‘Metamorphoses” which had recently been republished, in 1603, making it late in the OED sense of “recently, of late,lately, not long since”? The phrase may or may not have anything whatsoever to do with Meres. I don’t think it is required that we must see it this way.

                  Let’s look at the phrase in its entire context: “I am with the late English quick-spirited, cleare-sighted Ouid: It is to be feared Dreaming, and thinke I see many strange and cruell
                  actions, but say my selfe nothing all this while: Bee it so that I am very drowsie, (the heate of the Clymate, and of the State) will excuse mee; for great happinesse to this mightie Empire is it, or would it haue been, if the more part of their State affyres had been but Dreames, as they prooue phantasmaes for our yeares.”

                  This is some tough language to decipher. I would say that it may very well be read so that the author is agreeing “with
                  the late English quick-spirited, cleare-sighted Ouid” that
                  dreams are to be feared since “many strange and cruell” things are seen in those dreams, actions which he has not commented upon. But he is made drowsy by the heat of the State and that may excuse him commenting upon these actions. It would have been better for the Russian empire had these events been mere dreams, but may the events serve as warnings to his own country in future years.
                  I’m not at all satisfied with this reading at the moment and I
                  definitely intend to revisit it. I have the feeling that
                  “quick-spirited” and “cleare-sighted” may be specific
                  references to some other work [a translation of Ovid?] but I haven’t been able to locate such a reference yet.

                  Now, let’s look at Leonard Digges again and what we know that he did write about Shakespeare.

                  As you acknowledge, it was Digges who in a short note compared “our Shakespeare” to Lope de Vega and in the prefatory matter to the FF wrote: “when that stone is rent,/And Time dissolves thy Stratford Moniment,/Here we
                  alive shall view thee still./
                  If Digges is your anonymous author, and he believes that Shakespeare is dead in 1605, some explanation must be offered for why he is connecting the author Shakespeare to the man from Stratford?

                  At the present time, with all of the speculation and ambiguity involved, I think it would be more than an exaggeration to equate this passage with even circumstantial evidence, much less direct or hard evidence. Nothing at all seems self-evident about this passage or its anonymous author.

                • Dingdong

                  A reference to Golding and his translation? Congratulations, Dominic Hughes, that’s funny, as funny you are as Will Kemp in IV.ii of *The Return from Parnassus*: they smell too much of that writer Ovid and that writer Metamorphosis.” The late poet Metamorphosis! Oh, that’s good. Good it is you accepted the invitation to tell us such a joke. Golding, BTW, died in 1606, not in 1605. But the late writer Metamorphosis. As good as the clown Will Kemp.

                  Meres mentions Golding as translator, but it is Shakespeare who is equated to Ovid. No?

                  The anonymous author (I didn’t say Leonard Digges was certainly the author but I still think he is a viable candidate as long as no better can be identified).
                  The anonymous author states that Philip Sidney would have been a better author. Would he say that if he had not read Sidney? That Du Bartas would have been a better author. Would he say that if he had not read Du Bartas? And he says that Fulke Greville would be a better author. Would he have said that without knowing the dramas of Fulke Greville? They were written at an early stage. They circulated in manuscript, in 1609 * Mustapha* was surreptitiously printed from a circulatingmanuscript.In about 1610 John Davies refers to Greville’s drama *Mustapha* “not as it is printed but written” (my quote is perhaps not exact but I could give you the exact wording, it wouldn’t change the meaning)
                  Funny, funny, funny.
                  And why would the anonymous author have named Sidney, du Bartas and Greville and not Golding? But not explicitly the late English Ovid?
                  I agree with you that my suggestions are speculation and yours are not. Yours are plain nonsense.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  And here I thought we might have an actual discussion without insults, but it seems that you are incapable of doing so. As to Meres, Drayton is equated with Ovid as well [see my other posts], and in a work that deals with affairs of state, just as ‘Voyages’, and the particular passage at issue, also deals with affairs of state. Drayton is specifically referred to as “our English Ovid” — can you find any such reference to Shakespeare or can you explain why his Ovid-influenced works would have any connection whatsoever to ‘Voyage’?

                  And, thanks, but I already knew when Golding died. I am glad that you recognize that your argument is entirely speculative.

                • Dingdong

                  Setting the record straight:

                  Meres compares several English writers to Ovid

                  – Harding for his Chronicle (eres probably means Ovid’s Fasti)

                  – Michael Drayton for England’s Heroical Epistles (Ovid’s Heroides)
                  – Shakespeare for elegy
                  – Golding for his translation of Metamorphoses
                  – Turberville for translation of Heroides
                  – Robert Wilson for extemporal verse

                  and

                  Shakespeare for lyrics: “As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras: so the sweete wittie soule of Ovid lives in mellifluous & hony-tongued Shakespeare, witnes his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred Sonnets among his private friends, &c.”

                  Then, if you think Drayton would be a plausible candidate for the anonymous author of *Sir Thomas Smith’s Voyages*, he cannot be at the same time “late English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid”.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I have not said, nor do I believe, that Drayton would be a plausible candidate for the anonymous authorship of ‘Voyages’. I do believe that he is a more than plausible candidate for the title of “English Ovid” as alluded to in ‘Voyages’. It is unfortunate that I am being prevented from presenting the evidence which I believe tends to support such an argument.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I just came across a reference in Burton’s ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ to Michael Drayton as “our English Ovid”, arising from Drayton having written ‘England’s Heroical Epistles’ [1597], a series of historical studies, in imitation of those of Ovid’s ‘Heroides’ . They were reissued in 1598 with additions; the number was again enlarged in 1599 and in 1602

                  Here is the reference from Burton:

                  As Eleonora, that exiled mournful duchess (in our English Ovid), laments to her noble husband Humphrey, duke of Glocester

                  “Sawest thou those eyes in whose sweet cheerful look
                  Duke Humphry once such joy and pleasure took,
                  Sorrow hath so despoil’d me of all grace,
                  Thou could’st not say this was my Elnor’s face.
                  Like a foul Gorgon,” &c.

                  “it hinders concoction, refrigerates the heart, takes away stomach, colour, and sleep, thickens the blood (Fernelius l. 1. cap. 18, de morb. causis), contaminates the spirits.”

                  I think it is entirely plausible that the anonymous author is referring to Drayton.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  And then there is Meres on Drayton: As Virgil doth imitate Catullus in ye like matter of Ariadne for his story of Queene Dido: so Michael Drayton doth imitate Ovid in his Englands Heroical Epistles.

                • Dingdong

                  How?? Drayton died in 1631, was alive in 1605, was not “late” in 1605.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I
                  would very much like to answer your question, and, in fact, I did
                  post a response. However, that post provoked a message
                  saying,”Hold
                  on, this is waiting to be approved by Spectator Blogs.”
                  As
                  I wrote to Tom Reedy earlier, I have been attempting to post
                  additional information in support of my argument since last night,
                  and none of my posts have been allowed. My earlier posts resulted in
                  receiving the same message before the
                  posts disappeared entirely. I
                  believe the same fate has now befallen my attempt to respond to you.

                • Tom Reedy

                  Regarding my earlier query about the meaning of “late”:

                  And now to our French causes:
                  Who are the late commissioners?
                  H5 2.2.61-62

                  The commissioners are not dead.

                  Question your grace the late ambassadors,
                  With what great state he heard their embassy,
                  H5 2.4.85-86

                  The ambassadors are not dead.

                  Ay, noble uncle, thus ignobly used,
                  Your nephew, late despised Richard, comes.
                  1H6 2.5.35-36

                  Richard is not dead.

                  The late queen’s gentlewoman, a knight’s daughter,
                  H8 3.2.128

                  Catherine of Aragon is not dead.

                  This is the result of a very incomplete and cursory search.

                • Dingdong

                  I agree, it is the result of a “very incomplete and cursory” search. Much, much too cursory. You seem very good at that but not so good, rather bad, at contextual understanding. Let us begin with:

                  “The late queen’s gentlewoman, a knight’s daughter”.

                  The broader context:

                  WOLSEY. [Aside]

                  The late Queen’s gentlewoman, a knight’s daughter,
                  To be her mistress’ mistress! The Queen’s queen!
                  This candle burns not clear. ‘Tis I must snuff it;
                  Then out it goes. What though I know her virtuous
                  And well deserving? Yet I know her for
                  A spleeny Lutheran;

                  Who is meant here? Not Catherine of Aragon. The woman whom is spoken of is named some lines upward: Marchioness of Pembroke, that is, Anne Boleyn, indeed a knight’s daughter and, in Cardinal Wolsey’s view “a spleeny Lutheran”. Anne Boleyn had until recently been Queen Catherine’ s gentlewoman. But no longer. Anne Boleyn had been created Marchioness of Pembroke while Henry VIII was courting her, certainly with view to marrying her. Let us proceed slowly, step by step. 1) Anne Boleyn was still Marchioness of Pembroke, she became queen in 1533;
                  2)Hence, Catherine of Aragon was still queen, she was deposed in 1533; 3) Cardinal Wolsey was still alive and Lord Chancellor (he died 1530), hence the events refer to a period before 1530. The play is historical a little inaccurate, Anne Boleyn was created Marchioness of Pembroke in 1632 (Wolsey was dead). So:

                  “Late” does not refer to Catherine of Aragon but to her former gentlewoman. Her former gentlewoman Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn was no longer her gentlewoman but was still Anne Boleyn.

                  But if I say “my late aunt” my aunt must be dead, for if she were alive she would still be “my aunt”.

                  Second example:

                  Ay, noble uncle, thus ignobly used,
                  Your nephew, late despised Richard, comes.
                  1H6 2.5.35-36

                  This is Richard Plantagenet, future Duke of York, still in disgrace, not restored in blood, because of his father’s high treason, until recently “despised”, “late” despised. But “late Richard Plantagenet” would mean that he’s
                  no longer Richard Plantagenet, that is, no more at all, dead.

                  Third example:
                  “Late ambassadors” and “late commissioners” mean that the people in question had recently been ambassadors and
                  commissioners respectively but are now no longer ambassadors and commissioners respectively.

                  “Gentlewoman,” “commissioner,” “ambassador,” are functions. Functions don’t generally cover the whole span of life.

                  But “the late English Ovid” is not a function, it is a figure of speech called “antonomasia”. An antonomasia is
                  defined by “The Oxford Companion to the English Language”: (1) ”In rhetoric, the use of an epithet to
                  acknowledge a quality in one person or place by using the name of another person already known for that quality ; (2) The use of an epithet instead of the name of a person or
                  thing: *the Swan of Avon* William Shakespeare.” Epithet and person are interchangeable: if the epithet is said to be “late”, the person is also “late”, has recently died. For the name of a person covers his whole life.

                  Here you can see “Stephanie
                  Mills remembers the late great Whitney Houston”, recorded on 2/12/2013; Whitney Houston died on 2/11/2013:

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GibG-FZCvc

                  And here the two relevant definitions of “late” from “The New Fowler’s”:

                  5) *sometime*:
                  principally used in the sense ‘former(ly)’ of a person who once held office…

                  6) *late*: preceded by *the* or by a possessive pronoun… means (a) no longer alive… (b) no longer having the specified status.

                  You are confounding (a) and (b). And I feel sure (I may err) you’ll be trying to sell us a (b) for an (a).

                • Tom Reedy

                  I think any comment by me would be gilding the lily. Ask any native English speaker what I mean. I would suggest you look up the Dunning–Kruger effect, but you wouldn’t understand it.

                • Dingdong

                  I’m troubled. The comment I received via Disqus contained one more sentence: “Ask any native speaker what I mean.”

                  Now, yesterday I quoted from *The New Fowler’s – Modern English Usage,” third edition by R.W. Burchfield, first edition by H.W. Fowler, subtitle: “The acknowledged authority on English usage”, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

                  Do you think Fowler and Burchfield are not native speakers?

                  And native speakers can err, misread, misinterpret. One flagrant example was delivered yesterday by Master Thomas Reedy who confused Anne Boleyn with Catherine of Aragon. Whose other examples showed he cannot, as yet, discriminate between two different usages of the adjective “late”, according to Fowler’s:
                  a) no longer alive, recently dead
                  b) no longer having the specified status.

                  Don’t throw in the towel. You can still resort to abusive language.

                • Tom Reedy

                  I had appended a snarky comment but deleted it in the interest of internationals cooperation.

                  > Do you think Fowler and Burchfield are not native speakers?

                  I think you are not a native speaker, to which I have in the past charitably attributed your misunderstandings in the several discussions we have at at hlas and the Shakespeare Fellowship forum.

                  > And native speakers can err, misread, misinterpret. One flagrant example was delivered yesterday by Master Thomas Reedy who confused Anne Boleyn with Catherine of Aragon.

                  The late Queen’s gentlewoman, a knight’s daughter,
                  To be her mistress’ mistress!

                  Sorry to ruin your party, but you are the person who has erred, misread, and misintepreted. “Late” here refers to the previous queen, Catherine of Aragon.

                  > Whose other examples showed he cannot, as yet, discriminate between two different usages of the adjective “late”,

                  Again you fail to see that my entire point in posting those examples was to point out the different uses of the same word.

                  Try again.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  It hardly matters whether you consider it ambiguous or not in this case since both Catherine of Aragon and Ann Boleyn survived Wolsey, late here does not mean dead.

                • Tom Reedy

                  Did you not read to the end?

                  “my entire point in posting those examples was to point out the different uses of the same word.”

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  Yup.

                • Dingdong

                  Sicinius,
                  For the next blog you should choose as user name “Dogberry” or “Costard”. This is what I wrote yesterday: that both queen Catherine and Anne Boleyn survived Wolsey, that the play is historically slightly inaccurate because Anne Boleyn was created Marchioness of Pembroke in 1532 and Wolsey died in 1530, that “late” in this case means “former(ly)”. But that “late” within a certain context means “recently died”, as in the case of “the late English quick-spirited clear-sighted Ovid.

                  And “late” does not mean “dead” because Wolsey was still alive or because the queen and Anne Boleyn survived Wolsey but because in this scene they are referred to as alive. By whom? Well, by Wolsey, man! And, Sicinius, note that: a person cannot speak without breathing, and when he breathes, he’s still living. Did you know that? As an Oxfordian I didn’t know that, I learned it right now, from you.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  Yesterday.
                  All my troubles seemed so far away.

                • Dingdong

                  But your declared intention was to continue your search and to look for further comments. You said your search was very incomplete and cursory. Now more additions would not be necessary. Yesterday more, even many more additions were held out in prospect. You should at least indicate the reason why you changed your mind.

                • Tom Reedy

                  Again, I attribute your misapprehension of my comment, as well as the flatness of your sarcasm, to your non-native English abilities.

                • Dingdong

                  You’ll find my diagnosis in the next posting. In short , the police spokesman who turns hooligan spokesman when running out of arguments

                • Dingdong

                  Your deleted comment heralds your strategy which is as predictable as the progression of a well-known disease: the police spokesman will turn hooligan spokesman, two
                  roles he’s equally proud of. I could reckon up your own past blunders, due to a deficient knowledge of old English law. I leave that, also out of charity. So we are even.

                  Yes, I probably misread that passage, thinking Wolsey was speaking in the present. Then, “late” could, logically, only refer to the gentlewoman. At the moment Wolsey speaks, queen Catherine is still queen, not late or former queen. But if Wolsey was anticipating the future, was thinking of what was going to happen, then your reading is correct, both grammatically and logically.

                  You write: “Again you fail to see that my entire point in posting those examples was to point out the different uses of the same word.” No, your purpose was to show that “late” in the phrase “the late English quick-spirited clear-sighted Ovid” did not mean “recently died”. And this your examples did not prove, which is why you were apparently unsatisfied with your results, termed them “very incomplete and cursory” and announced the continuation of your efforts. The “gilding of the lily”? I’m sure you also came across examples in which “late” meant not “former” but “recently died”. Which you know anyway. Why didn’t you mention those examples? You were probably hoping for better examples.

                  An example from the letters of James I, a letter to Viscount Cranborne (Robert Cecil) which G.V.P. Akrigg dates at the end of 1604 : “Great Oxford when his state was whole ruined got no more of the late queen.” Here “late” means “recently died”. In the example about Whitney Houston I quoted yesterday “late” means “recently died”.

                  But let us examine what we get when in the phrase about English Ovid we understand “late” as “former” and what as “recently died”. “Quick-spirited Ovid” is an an antonomasia. Again, the definition from the * Oxford Companion* : “In
                  rhetoric, the use of an epithet to acknowledge a quality in one person or place by using the name of another person or place already known for that quality.” The English person who is spoken of had the quality of “quick-witted clear-sighted Ovid”.

                  Substitute the word “former” for “late”, then the person in question would have had that quality but no longer have it. But then it makes no sense still to refer to him as “quick-witted clear-sighted Ovid”!! A traitor is often said to be a “Quisling”. If some traitor is called a Quisling and referred to as “the late Quisling” this does not mean he is no longer a traitor, not that he was only formerly a traitor, it means he is still considered a traitor but is no longer alive. And this is why “the late quick-witted clear-sighted Ovid”must be
                  a person who had recently died in 1605, and why he cannot be Michael Drayton, Arthur Golding, Sir Edward Dyer, etc. “Former” does not work here.

                  To this you have not replied. Because, I think, you cannot. And the examples of “late” you have adduced were, in my opinion, simply a not too clever diversionary maneuver.

                  As for Leonard Digges as the anonymous author I still think he is a candidate to be considered. There was no need for his having accompanied Sir Thomas Smith on his voyage to Russia for he writes he had his information from other people and from certain notes.
                  I do not pretend he is doubtlessly the anonymous author. I know no better candidate because thus far I couldn’t learn more.

            • Dominic Hughes

              Tom: Perhaps if you asked him directly Mr. Waugh would be so kind as to provide you with a copy of his piece from the current edition of the De Vere Society Newsletter.

              • Tom Reedy

                Why yes, that sounds like a good solution. Maybe it would clear up my confusion over Weever’s epigram. How about it, Alexander? Would you be so good as to share?

          • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

            Are you really losing your rag and shouting about who wrote Shakespeare’s plays? Seriously?

            I understand people getting worked up about religion, or politics, or even third-world charity work.

            But the authorship of Shakespeare? Really?

            • Dingdong

              It’s not up to me to reply but for myself I can say: yes, seriously, yes, really, as seriously and really worked up as you manifestly are.
              By the way, what does the word “late” mean when used before a person?

            • Alexander Waugh

              Don’t worry Boyo we’re only pretending!

            • http://www.leylandandgoding.com/ Bruce Leyland

              Dear No Good Boyo
              I don’t think anyone has attempted to answer your question among these posts. For me, authorship is very important because we don’t really understand the poems at all – particularly the sonnets. There seems to be more meaning still locked in these poems than has ever been revealed. They’re multi-layered personal statements that reference personal events, people, places and ideas. One might argue, perhaps the author wanted the meaning hidden. But then, why publish? Agreed it’s not world hunger, but perhaps one of the greatest minds of our species has more wisdom to share, from which our world can benefit. The generosity in his work suggests that he would want to share. Perhaps this was not possible at the time of writing.
              All the best. Bruce

      • Dingdong

        A restatement of the case of “the late English quick-spirited Ovid” seems necessary.

        The quote: “ I am with the late English quick-spirited, cleare-sighted Ouid: It is to be feared Dreaming, and thinke I see many strange and cruell actions, but say my selfe nothing all this while: Bee it so that I am very drowsie, (the heate of the Clymate, and of the State) will excuse mee; for great happinesse to this mightie Empire is it, or would it haue been, if the more part of their State affayres had been but Dreames, as they prooue phantasmaes for our yeares.”

        First question: who is English Ovid? Secondly: what are the possible meanings of “late”? Thirdly: which of the two possible meanings applies?

        Who was English Ovid?

        The prime candidate is certainly Shakespeare. Francis Meres wrote in 1598: “witnes his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred Sonnets among his private friends, &c.” Meres also
        compares others with Ovid, among them the chronicler John Harding, who is irrelevant here, and, as Dominic Hughes pointed out, Michael Drayton for his *English Heroical Epistles*, which might be relevant. Moreover, Meres is not necessarily the only source of our anonymous author of *Sir Thomas Smith’s Voyages to
        Russia*. If my recollection is correct, another author than Meres compared Samuel Daniel to Ovid. However, the anonymous author is dealing with events at the court of the Russian tsar and
        likens them to what happens in *Hamlet*. Dominic Hughes has objected that the passage mentioning Hamlet and the passage containing “English Ovid” are separated by several paragraphs (exactly two). But the author is s t i l l dealing with the same events at the Russian court when he refers to English quick-spirited Ovid, which makes it highly likely that the phrase “It is to be feared dreaming” is also an allusion to Hamlet. It is indeed easy to
        identify the passage in *Hamlet* which is alluded to. So that we can paraphrase the quote as: “ I hold with the author of *Hamlet”, “the late quick-spirited clear-sighted Ovid”, that dreams are to be feared.

        There can hardly be a reasonable doubt that the anonymous author means Shakespeare.

        The meanings of “late”

        It may be best to quote Fowler’s in full:

        “ 5 *sometime*: principally used in the
        sense ‘former(ly)’ of a person who once held office (*sometime Lord Mayor of Oxford*) or a building which has changed its function (* the old Ashmolean Building, sometime the headquarters of the OECD*)

        6 *late* preceded by *the* or by a possessive pronoun (*my*, *his*, etc.) means (a) no longer alive, recently dead (*the late Nicolae Ceauşescu¸her late father bequeathed the house to her*) ; (b) no longer having the specified status (*the late chairman of the Parish Council*). In ordinary, non-literary, English, *former(ly) is the most serviceable word in this group, followed by *late* (but only in contexts requiring sense 6a)…” I dispense with the
        remaining comments because they concern the use of *ex”.

        Sense 6b: former(ly)

        “English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid” is an antonomasia. An antonomasia attaches to a person in a similar way as a nickname, or as a Roman cognomen, originally a nickname that was later integrated with the name. It can replace the person’s name. “Late” in the sense 6b) makes no sense here. An antonomasia does not
        express a status, an office, or a function. A borderline case is “late king/queen”. Either meaning applies. It may mean that the king/queen is deposed or has resigned, it may mean that the king/queen is dead.

        Suppose the anonymous author had wanted to express: the person I mean was formerly considered as the English quick-spirited Ovid, suppose “late” means formerly, then the author would have meant that NOW he no longer was so. But what sense
        would it have to call him, who was NOW no longer considered so, what sense would it have to so call him NOW? No sense at all!

        Sense 6a:
        recently passed away.

        This makes sense. The anonymous author knew or thought to know that Shakespeare had recently died in 1605.

  • Dingdong

    In *Notes & Queries*, 5th S.IV. Nov. 27, 1875, pp. 421-2. C. Elliot Browne, a then well-known Shakespeare researcher, published a contribution on the fragility of the concept of the Ur-Hamlet. Among the allusions to Shakespeare’s play he cites some extracts from * Sir Thomas Smithe’s Voiage and Entertainment in Russia*,
    London, 1605. Surprisingly the allusion is not retained in E.K. Chambers’s 2
    volumes, though, after a little analysis, it offers fairly direct evidence for the
    authorship of William Shakespeare of Stratford, provided we can identify the
    anonymous author, which on the basis of the clues he gives us should be
    relatively easy.

    Thomas Smith (1558-1625) was the son of Thomas “customer” Smith, a merchant heavily involved in overseas investment. Sir Thomas Smith Jr himself was also heavily involved in overseas investment; in 1609 he became the first treasurer of the Virginia company. Before, in 1604, he was appointed as special ambassador to Russia. This embassage is the subject of the book. It is evident that the anonymous author of *Voiage and Entertainment in Russia* must have been in close contact with Sir Thomas Smith. Sir Thomas Smith, in turn, entertained a close relationship with Sir Dudley Digges (1583-1639), his colleague in the North West Company that continued the search for the North West passage. Dudley Digges had a younger brother, Leonard (1588-1635), a translator from Spanish and himself a minor poet. In 1622, one year before the First Folio, Edward Blount, publisher of the FF, published Digges’s *Gerardo the Unfortunate Spaniard*, a translation from Spanish. It was Digges who in a short note compared “our Shakespeare” to Lope de Vega and in the prefatory matter to the FF wrote: “when that stone is rent,/And Time dissolves thy Stratford Moniment,/Here we alive shall view thee still./

    As a younger brother of Dudley Digges, the younger partner of Sir Thomas Smith,
    and with some literary ambition, 17 years old Leonard Digges would be well
    placed in 1605 to edit the notes of Sir Thomas Smith on his embassage to
    Russia. The events related in the book concern the murderous succession struggle in 1605 after the death of the tsar Boris Godunov in 1605. The author compares these events to Hamlet: “that his father’s empire and government was but as the Poetical Fury in a stage-action,complete yet with horrid and woeful tragedies: a first, but no second to any Hamlet; and that now Revenge, just Revenge was coming with his sword drawn against him, his royal mother and dearest sister, to fill up those murdering scenes.”

    The author goes on to say that the dramatic events would call for a better pen such as Sir Philip Sidney, Salluste du Bartas or Sir Fulke Greville. The mention of
    Greville implies that he had read the latter’s dramatical work in manuscript: *Mustapha*, surreptitously printed in 1609, and *Alaham*, first printed in 1632, and proves him a literary insider. He also mentions Ben Jonson, and adds that he himself is “neither Apollo nor Appelles, no nor any heir to the Muses: yet happily a younger brother, though I have as little bequeathed me, as many elder Brothers, and right borne Heirs gaine by them: but Hic labor, Hoc opus est.” It is not quite clear to me whether “younger brother” and “bequeathed” refer to his family status or to the elder poets and/or literary talent (the latter interpretation seems more likely, but both meanings could apply). Subsequently he refers to Shakespeare and Hamlet. “I am with the English quick-spirited, clear-sighted Ovid: It is to be feared Dreaming, and think I see many strange and cruel actions, but say myself nothing all this while.” “English Ovid” is in all probability drawn from Francis Meres: “As the soul of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras; so the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous & honey-tongued Shakespeare, witness his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugared Sonnets among his private friends, &c.”

    The word “dreams” occurs several times in Hamlet, but the
    closest match is;

    Haml.: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

    Guild.: Which dreams indeed are ambition; for the very substance of
    the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

    Haml.: A dream itself is but a shadow. (II.ii)

    At the least the author of *Sir Thomas Smith’s Voyage and Entertainment in Russia* had insider knowledge of the literary world (he knew the unpublished dramas of Fulke Greville). The most probable candidate is young Leonard Digges. Digges must have known Hamlet and possibly Shakespeare himself. This would add additional strength to the thesis that Shakespeare of Stratford is the author of Hamlet. It seems no exaggeration to equate this insight to direct or hard evidence.

  • Laurence

    Where do you get the impression that ‘Professors Duncan Salkeld [his actual title is Doctor] and Alan Nelson’ were thumped? Where you there? If so, you would have witnessed the following: Mr. Waugh accusing Doctor Salkeld of making a statement which was absent from Doctor Salkeld’s opening statement, and Doctors Lehy and Barber suggesting that the authorship question cannot be discussed within the academy – that would be the same Dr. Barber who has a DPhil from the University of Sussex and whose thesis included academic research on the authorship question, and the Dr.Lehy who runs a module on the authorship question at Brunel. You would also have witnessed ‘soft Right’ references to tax payers money and Lehy’s former student declaiming from the audience about academics in their ‘ivory towers’ who will not debate the question. I’m in the fifth year of essentially a 0-hours contract with a part time fixed contract at a second institution. I take students who are incapable of using a semi-colon and transform them into original researchers who build their argument through use of primary source material. The ‘anti-Stratfordians’ may like to apply similar methods instead of avoiding questions, answering the question they would prefer to address, and aping the rhetorical devices of the American Right.

    • hewardwilkinson

      Lawrence I agree with you that partisan accounts of such a debate are inevitably one-sided. I am sure both sides ‘won’ to their own supporters. Though, interestingly, I have not seen a Stratfordian equivalent to this Spectator report and the De Vere Society Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship ones. Certainly, no one had any doubt it was fiercely and articulately contested on both sides, in an atmosphere that did manage to stay within the bounds of good humour. And all present seemed to agree that it DOES matter. So let us debate it in our schools and colleges. I take it you would agree that ad hominem attacks on BOTH sides are not argument.

    • psi2u2

      Laurence,

      Last fall organizers of the Shakespeare Fellowship/Shakespeare Oxford Society spent weeks trying to find Stratfordian professors in the Toronto area to debate. None could be found. This is for a very good reason: Oxfordians and other post-Stratfordians have read the Stratfordian secondary literature, but most most Stratfordians are as blind as bats when it comes to knowing what “the other side” has said or thinks. It is therefore predictable that Stratfordians will lose lost rounds in any public debate, and they have routinely been doing so for over thirty years now.

      I was not able to attend the debate in question, since I live in North America, but judging by my past experience with Professor Nelson, whom I have heard speak many times, I am sure that he was not only, as has been widely reported, extremely rude, but also that he lost the debate. Judging by the few public comments of Professor Salkeld since the debate, it is clear, also, that he brought nothing to the conversation that would have swayed an unprejudiced audience. I cannot tell that he has ever read a book on the subject, and when I asked him if he had, he did not answer.

      Dr. Leahy (you might wish to learn how to spell his name) and Dr. Barber are correct, as anyone knows, that the authorship question is still widely regarded as a taboo topic within the academy. When I got my PhD on de Vere from the University of Massachusetts CompLit department in 2000, David Kathman threatened the chair of the Department, saying he and his cronies would shut the department down if it approved the dissertation (which he had not read and about which he was in fact wholly ignorant). They failed. The academy is only losing its grip on the conversation due to the focused commitment of those, like Dr. Barber or Dr. Leahy, with the courage to step forward to correct the platitudes of orthodox apologists.

      • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

        I recently had dinner as a guest at an Oxford College and discovered to my surprise that you are correct.

        The idea that someone other than Shakespeare is the principle author of the canon, especially the idea that the Earl of Oxford was responsible, would, if seriously advanced, be tantamount to academic suicide.

        This not just because the idea is fundamentally ridiculous (Oxford did die before a third of the work was written) but because it would imply, by association, an alignment with Oxfordian ‘scholars’ and what people such as yourself call scholarship.

        • psi2u2

          It is not academic suicide, and even if it were, that would not mean that it is incorrect. Stop trying to bully other people.

          As for Oxford dying before a third of work was written, ha! You need to do a little more reading. Here’s a good place to start:

          http://www.amazon.com/Dating-Shakespeares-Plays-Critical-Evidence/dp/1898594864

          Now, will you please explain what you mean by “people such as yourself”? Please be explicit. Exactly where in my long list of publications do you find fault?

          • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

            Well as I said, I was at a dining table so my sample was necessarily small. But I’ll take steps to expand it,

            All Oxfordian chronology is mush, an unavoidable amalgam of careless ignorance and misinterpretation of scholarship made necessary at the time of candidate selection back in 1920 when Looney, the school teacher from the back of beyond, was keen to jump on the authorship bandwagon.

            Amongst the 70 candidates for the authorship, I’d like to say that choosing a candidate who was inconveniently dead for much of the playwright’s active career is a mistake only Oxfordians have made. But there are people out there who favour Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare’s father and even Geoffrey Chaucer. Amongst the popular candidates, however, no other group has demonstrated sufficient hubris to demand that Shakespeare scholarship be overturned in its entirety. My Little Johnny is marching in step. It’s everyone else who is wrong.

            There is broad consensus, stiffening daily, on when the plays were written. It has its basis in sound analysis and increasingly reliable metrics.

            It all eliminates the Earl of Oxford as a candidate.

            Perhaps you should bring yourself up to date with the latest thinking on collaborative authorship. You should find the RSC’s edition of the Collaborative Plays immensely helpful.

            • Alexander Waugh

              Dear Mike Leadbetter (‘Ethelburga’, ‘Sicinius’ whatever you need to be today), I don’t like the sound of your ‘Little Johnny…stiffening daily’. I hope you are not playing pocket billiards as you type all this nonsense about de Vere. It sounds as though you are very distracted, Alexander

              • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                Hi Alexander. Thoroughly enjoyed your online reunion with Fergus Pickering – like watching two King Charles Spaniels reunited in the park. And I loved your youtube video. Very entertaining.

                psi(2u2) (what Oxfordian high priest Roger Stritmatter needs to be today) just needs the usual straightening out, I’m sure you’ll agree. He gets a bit confused these days. Mike.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Dear Mike Leadbetter,

                  C. R. M. F. Cruttwell, late Dean of Hertford College, Oxford, liked to sit on park benches watching spaniels with a newspaper on his lap. I think it made his lead better! AW

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  That was his story and he stuck to it. M

            • psi2u2

              “All Oxfordian chronology is mush an unavoidable amalgam of careless ignorance and misinterpretation of scholarship…” hmmm…

              Maybe readers would care to decide for themselves. Here are two recent books published on the chronology. Apparently most Amazon reviewers don’t really agree with you:

              http://www.amazon.com/Dating-Shakespeares-plays-critical-evidence/product-reviews/1898594864/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

              “A Shakespearean” writes: “Finally, a research work comes along that starts with the sources behind Shakespeare’s works, and works forward from there.

              It also appears to be the first such work that avoids the many unsubstantiated “traditions” and myths that typically surround all things Shakespeare. How often have we heard that Merry Wives was written at the personal request of Queen Elizabeth? Never mind that this story was completely made up.

              Thankfully, this book relys on verfiable facts, and acknowledges what most scholars avoid – that the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays is unknown and most chronologies are built on guesswork and circular reasoning. This book explains why.”

              “There is broad consensus, stiffening daily, on when the plays were written.”

              hmmmm, “stiffening” is an interesting adjective to use here, and may be quite revealing. It more or less means the same thing as brittle, it seems.

              Here is another book (you already know about this one and have already reviewed it, but just in case there are any curious readers who want to know what lies behind your gregarious cliches), which shows how precarious the orthodox chronology is becoming:

              http://www.amazon.com/Date-Sources-Design-Shakespeares-Tempest/dp/0786471042/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399429912&sr=1-1&keywords=tempest+stritmatter

              In the words of the most highly rated reviewer for this book: “Who would have thought that a scholarly book on the subject of when a play was written would be so fascinating that you couldn’t put it down? This book on the dating of Shakespeare’s “Tempest” is that kind of book. It is both a thrilling work of scholarly investigation and a parable about modern academic closed-mindedness, where a fixed idea has become so entrenched in universities that traditional scholars will not let go of it.

              The fixed idea in this case is that Shakespeare’s “Tempest,” whose earliest documented performance was in 1611, had to have been written in the period of 1610-11 because it allegedly uses imagery from William Strachey’s description of the wreck of the Sea Venture off the coast of Bermuda in 1609. The authors of this book, however, demonstrate that Strachey himself was an inveterate borrower (i.e., plagiarist) of other people’s writings and much of the language of his narrative about the Sea Venture is taken from earlier works, such as Richard Eden’s “The Decades of the New World” (1555). Furthermore, Strachey’s narrative wasn’t published until 1625, so adherents of the theory that Strachey influenced “The Tempest” are left to hypothesize (based on pure speculation) that Shakespeare somehow had possession of Strachey’s manuscript around 1610.

              With methodical precision and unflagging persistence, Stritmatter and Kositsky dismantle the Strachey myth piece by piece. They show that there is no reason to believe that the wreck of the Sea Venture influenced the description of the shipwreck in “The Tempest” because all the imagery in the play derives from earlier writings on nautical disasters.”

              Consensus? Maybe you need to run a google search on that word. But if it makes you feel better to keep saying it, by all means keep on keeping on. After all, its part of your job description, right?

              • Tom Reedy

                “most highly rated reviewer”

                Amazon reviews are the Oxfordian equivalent of peer review. The majority of their books are reviewed by Oxfordians, so they are literally correct.

                http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A6LSWAP1OPLEB/ref=cm_cr_dp_pdp

              • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                Roger, I really hate to be the one to break this to you but consensus about matters Shakespearean extends beyond the Oxfordian community and the little flock of followers you shepherd into the cellars on Amazon to pimp your publications and reviews.

                Prior to its appearance, you told me your forthcoming book was about to ‘revolutionise Tempest Studies’. I presumed you meant astonish the academic community with new information that directly challenged the dating of the Tempest to the end of Shakespeare’s career, years after the death of De Vere.

                Can you explain why, nearly a year after it appeared, it has not caused even the tiniest ripple of interest in the academic community you imagined to be quaking with fear at its arrival, let alone a revolution?

                Is it anything to do with its misguided ideas on the location of Propsero’s island, the completely unconvincing overlay of Shrovetide links and your total failure to connect it to a claimed earlier version. Or is it the irrelevant obsession with whether Will knew about the Strachey letter before he wrote it?

            • Shelphi

              Please be advised that this person is not a Shakespeare or Shakespeare authorship scholar. He has no credentials except as a former police officer in Texas whose crusade it is to repeat over and over…the same counter-arguments without actually citing evidence…

              • Guest2

                He was not a police officer….just a spokesman for the Sherrif’s department….the person who did press releases, etc. He is the county government version of a PR man / spin-meister.

                • Tom Reedy

                  That’s FORMER spokesman (and a job in which I took much pride). And a former journalist and former college English instructor (adjunct), with credentials, among about 30 other things. But what real difference do credentials make anyway, with all the nasty things anti-Strats say about Professor James Shapiro, Professor Stanley Wells, et al? The most laughable strategy Stritmatter pulls is disrespecting scholastic authority on one hand while simultaneously flaunting his credentials on the other.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Thre is no question. It is only silly, snobbish people who think there is. The more interesting question is why they do.

    • Elke Brackmann

      Scholarly decency – that’s all that is needed.
      So much to your question as to why people doubt.

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        Except it’s NOT scholarly. Generally, the starting point seems to be, “Shakespeare didn’t write them.” That metaphysic presumed, all effort is then directed at ignoring anything and everything that might suggest that he did.

        That’s the stuff of conspiracy theories, not scholastic endevour. Scholastic endevour would probably focus more on the significance of the plays themselves, not on pointless bickering about whether the greatest body of literature in history was written by Od, Bod or Cod.

        Were Homer’s fables actually written by a bloke called Homer? Who cares?

        Were the Canterbury Tales actually written by a chap called Chaucer?

        Was Gerald of Wales really called Gerald? And did he come from Wales?

        Who cares? The point is that the literature exists, it’s good, it’s deep, and it’s historically and culturally significant. Would the works attributed to Plato be any more or less worthy if they turned out to have been written by Bigus Dickus?

        • Elke Brackmann

          No, No good
          Boyo, that’s a clear case of projection; your metaphysic seems to be that the Stratfordian
          candidate wrote the works etc. “Conspiracy theory” is a killer phrase, but not
          an argument.

          Scholastic
          endeavour does focus on the plays but always sees them in the context of their
          historical background. If you want to read literature ahistorically, you are
          free to do so, but then you must be consistent. I can enjoy Hölderlin’s poetry
          without knowing anything about his private life, but they do make more sense if
          I learn more about him, nobody would doubt that.

          This also
          applies to Shakespeare. We have become used to ignoring his biography because
          what we know is thin and insignificant, but as soon as you begin to dig deeper
          your understanding widens.

          My starting
          point has never been “he did not write them”; a couple of years ago I became
          intrigued by such hard facts as when Shakespeare retired to Straford he lost
          interest in his works, nobody, not even his son-in-law John Hall mentioned his
          death, the signatures we have are shaky indeed, Elizabeth nor James I ever
          mentioned his name, no literary paper trail was found, his detailed
          descriptions of the Italian settings suggest he must have been there etc. Then
          I suddenly began to care. I forgot to mention that some of his sonnets begin to
          make sense when you connect them to the life of Edward de Vere. But you must
          know something about the ethical code of the aristocracy in order to come to
          terms with the fact that it was taboo for an aristocrat to write plays for the
          public.

          And you
          call this conspiracy theory? The fact that such questions must be taken
          seriously?

          Then Alfred
          Wegener who discovered the continental drifts was also a conspiracy theorist as
          he was ridiculed publicly by his fellow scientists, whereas decades later his
          knowledge has become part of every
          schoolbook.

          • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

            Oh come on! You’re never going to learn anything significant about Shakespeare, or any other candidate, because they lived five hundred years ago!

            You’ll never learn anything significant about John Milton either. How much do we know about Francis Bacon or Thomas Kyd that would significantly enlighten their writing?

            We’re talking about a different era. One in which Leonato can ask, “How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?”, and the herald can reply, “But few of any sort, and none of name.” You didn’t count if you weren’t known, as Shakespeare was well aware. Look at Henry V, which dwells extensively on the nobodies who die anonymously for a cause in which the king takes all the glory.

            Following which, fifty years later, a massive civil war destroyed half of such records that existed, and ninety percent of what was left has since rotted. The lack of information is hardly surprising, but it’s no justification to assume the opposite.

            • psi2u2

              “You’re never going to learn anything significant about Shakespeare, or any other candidate, because they lived five hundred years ago!”

              Once again, the ignorance on which the orthodox view is based raises its ugly overgeneralizing head. Please read a biography of Ben Jonson.

              “You’ll never learn anything significant about John Milton either. How much do we know about Francis Bacon or Thomas Kyd that would significantly enlighten their writing?”

              Huh?

              • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                What has Ben Jonson to do with the price of tea in China?

                If you imagine that the lives of common people in the sixteenth century were carefully documented, recorded and archived, you should try doing some genealogy for that era. See how well you get on.

                • psi2u2

                  What has Ben Jonson to do with the price of tea in China?

                  O, so that’s what you were discussing? No wonder your comments seem so irrelevant.

        • psi2u2

          Dear No Good Boyo,

          Here are a few questions raised by your claims:

          1) Can you please tell us what your own scholarly qualifications are? In order to pass judgement on whether or not something is scholarly, it would seem to be a pre-requisite that you have some credentials, right?

          2) Can you please tell us what research lies behind your claim. The pronoun “it” in your first sentence, in other words, refers to what books or articles, specifically, that you are criticizing. Until you can name some actual books or articles, it will be assumed that you like to hear yourself talk but actually have no basis for the generalizations given in your post.

          Thanks.

          • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

            How strange that you expect me to answer questions when you won’t answer mine. I’m still waiting for a response to my post below, requesting that you provide a good reason to care.

            But no, I’m not going to go into those kinds of details, for the following reasons:

            1. It would be laborious

            2. I doubt you’d read it anyway

            3. Unless I claimed to be the professor of English at Oxford, or the ghost of Laurence Olivier, I’m sure you’d declare it insufficient.

            4. Your insinuation, again, that nobody is entitled to air any opinion but yours is distinctly anti-scholarly

      • Kitty MLB

        ‘ Why do people Doubt’
        You could also ask, why do people have faith.
        Yet there will be those joyless souls forever nit picking, something
        to prove, regardless of all proving to end somewhat fruitlessly.
        Somewhat obsessive and indecent to most scholars with any credibility.

        • Elke Brackmann

          You pretend to have a tremendous insight into people who ask questions. Congratulations! Your comment is as general as can be. What has that got to do with the issue of scholarly decency?
          Well, new findings have often met with a lot of suspicion. Once again I would like to mention Alfred Wegener whose theory concerning continental drifts was publicly ridiculed by his fellow scientists, probably with the same observations you have just made about people who doubt. So what?

          • Tom Reedy

            Don’t forget Galileo!

            • Elke Brackmann

              How could I, Tom Reedy! Thanks for reminding me and being an attentive observer.

              • Tom Reedy

                There’s even a name for it: the Galileo gambit.

                http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Galileo_gambit

                • Elke Brackmann

                  I see, that’s why you wanted to lead me up the garden path by mentioning the name Galileo. The Tom Reedy Gambit, so to speak. :-)
                  Whatever we do, we cannot help using rhetorical devices; but they are actually a bad substitute for an argument, don’t you agree?

          • Kitty MLB

            I have never pretended to have tremendous
            insight into people who ask questions.
            I am a humble soul and others I am sure
            have greater insight into those with a infinate
            obsession.
            Galileo and his battles with the so superior
            Catholic Church, another benighted fellow,
            has been mentioned to you.
            Plato made a few mistakes with his spheres,
            but such as life and the trial and error of
            Cold soulless science.

            • Elke Brackmann

              What are you aiming at? A verbal tit-for-that fight just because our views differ?

              • Elke Brackmann

                Sorry, it should be “tit-for-tat”

    • psi2u2

      Please stop throwing stones from your glass house. It just makes you look bad.

  • WPW1

    Those who dispute Shakespeare’s authorship do tend to use immoderate language, which doesn’t generally accord with one’s idea of academic rigour. Those who don’t dispute the authorship are told they are “terrified” or “desperate” or ignorant of “clever word tricks” (scholarly stuff indeed). What is the general reader supposed to think? The ad hominem stuff all comes from the disputants.

    • Elke Brackmann

      I fully agree, inappropriate ad hominem attacks exist – be sure from both sides. Would be a nice topic for a PHD to do some research on it.

      • Shelphi

        That is totally untrue.

        • Fergus Pickering

          He sounds very accurate to me.

          • Elke Brackmann

            To only be able to use such killer arguments is definitely a sign of weakness. It does not lead us anywhere.

            • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

              Comparing the other side to conspiracy theorists isn’t an argument (albeit an entirely legitimate comparison, in my experience). it sounds more like a gasp of exasperation, one that I’ve felt myself many times when dealing with a group of people determined to believe almost anything except the most probable explanation.

              • Elke Brackmann

                No Good Boyo, another commonplace, no argument. No good.

        • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

          Stephen Greenblatt and Jonathan Bate both apologized to me in the past month for insinuating that authorship doubters are like Holocaust deniers. Things are so bad in this discourse that this must count as progress.

          When I posted this information on another thread, one person said he sees nothing wrong with comparing us with Holocaust deniers.

  • WPW1

    Pretty sure it has nothing to do with ‘tradition’ but rather more to do with the weight of evidence. If we doubt Shakespeare why do we not doubt Marlowe and Jonson and Ford and the rest, about whom there is far less evidence?

    • Elke Brackmann

      What kind of evidence? The 5% facts Prof. Wells mentioned?

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        Which is rather more than exists to support any other candidate.

        You do realise that there are now more true authors of Shakespeare’s plays than there are Shakespeare’s plays? At least some of those theories have to be wrong!

        • Elke Brackmann

          Not really true. You know de Vere is the most likely candidate, that’s why he is so violently fought against, In fact there are not too many candidates to be taken into account seriously.

          • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

            Oh please! I’ve seen bloody dozens of candidates!

            Taken seriously by whom? Clearly, he’s your favoured candidate. I’ve seen no lack of others hard-core dissing de Vere to promote their favourite — Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth, the local butcher, or God knows who else.

            • Elke Brackmann

              I don’t know how much you really know about Oxfordians and the latest developments.
              Okay. But the local butcher – be careful not to annoy the vegetarians!

  • Richard Clement

    Dear Sandor: I look forward to your solution to the authorship mystery. For a solution confirmed by Ben Jonson go to shakespearedeciphered.com. In his Poets’ War plays Ben spilled the beans about Oxford, Shakspere, the Queen and the Earl of Southampton.

    • Szabó Sándor

      Dear Richard, sorry, but among the countless responses I missed your comment. Thank you for the kind words. I can’t give more detail for the time being, but Ben Jonson plays an important role in the solution – in a sense, at least. What’s sure is that he did know the truth.

      • Richard Clement

        You make me even more eager for your solution. I strongly believe that Oxford did leave a cipher message in his Shakespeare plays, though Looney did not think so.
        Perhaps our approaches have a common element. See shakespearedeciphered.com, particularly my analysis of Jonson’s Poets’ War plays. Jonson plainly despised Shakspere (e.g., vulture, python, swine, brainless, etc.).

  • Elke Brackmann

    Undoubtedly the authorship question deserves to be studied at school and university. Some professors and other university staff in the German-speaking countries simply do not have the guts to deal with this issue, mainly for their lack of knowledge of the historical facts. An estimated professor of linguistics, when faced with this question, answered me in a mail that he cannot assess this question as he is not an expert in literature. At least this is an honest answer. Otherwise there is such a thing as peer pressure at universities and to question tradition may put you in an unfavourable light or negatively influence your career. Peer pressure and social taboos were also the reason why de Vere could not publish his works under his own name. A similar phenomenon existing in Western civilizaton nowadays as well…
    Prof. Stanley Wells from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust once admitted honestly: “Shakespeare’s biography is 5% facts and 95% fiction.”
    It’s nice to believe in a fiction with such enormous financial side-effects.

    • Shelphi

      Recently, Elke, you might be interested to know, at the Folger Library in DC an orthodox scholar of Shakespearean biography referred to the Stratford man’s biography as a “black hole.”

      • Elke Brackmann

        I can imagine what made this scholar think so. The fact, however, is that we know everything about Shaksper of Stratford – the only problem being there is nothing that links him to his literary works.

        • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

          How about the monument in Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon?

          We have nothing to link Shakespeare to going to the toilet, but that’s not a reason to assume he suffered from extreme constipation.

          How much have we to link Marlowe, Kyd, or Fletcher to their literary works?

          We are talking about the sixteenth century here. Half a millennium ago. Were you referring to the nineteenth century, you might have a point.

          • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

            Thanks for mentioning that deliberately deceptive monument in the Stratford Church. Do you have any idea what it looked like before it was “restored”? It showed Shakspeare holding (hoarding?) a sack of grain. No quill. No paper. No insinuation that he knew how to write.

            And this is typical of Stratfordian “evidence.” It convinces only those who do not wish to know the truth by digging under the surface.

            • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

              Yes, I’ve heard that story about the sack of grain. I happen to think it’s bollox. I’ve lived in thirteen countries on three continents. I’ve travelled to a dozen more. Never have I heard of a grateful community raising a public monument to a grain merchant.

              • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                For those who don’t know the documentary record on the Stratford monument, it was erected in 1623, presumably to coincide with the effort of the 1623 First Folio to connect the literary works with Shakspere, the Stratford businessman. But the good people of Stratford were too honest to make their neighbor look like something he wasn’t.

                Just 20 years later, in 1653, the antiquary Sir William Dugdale made a detailed sketch of the monument, that was published in his 1656 book, The Antiquities of Warwickshire. The only people who have questioned its accuracy are partisans of the Stratfordian authorship theory (some have even gone so far as to claim it must be a bust of John Shakspere).

                The bust of the Stratford monument underwent massive changes during the 1747 “restoration” project. It’s comical that the piece of paper is placed on that sack of grain. Who writes that way? Someone who wasn’t a writer in the first place.

                Yes, I know that no amount of evidence will change the minds of those who are emotionally attached to the traditional theory, and who have believed all the misleading propaganda of its leading promoters.

                Fortunately, many members of the younger generation are more open-minded, and willing to think for themselves.

                • Tom Reedy

                  > Yes, I know that no amount of evidence will change the minds of those who are emotionally attached to the traditional theory,

                  How will we be able to tell unless you actually give us some evidence? Noting you wrote qualifies.

                  OTOH, these are facts:

                  1. The monument was in place by 1618-19, when John Weever toured the area and copied the inscription on Shakespeare’s monument and tombstone. See Duncan-Jones and Woudheysen’s edition of the poems.
                  2. The only people eligible to be buried in the chancel were lay rectors, which Shakespeare was because he had purchased the tithes of Stratford parish–after the death of his father.
                  3. John Shakespeare was prosecuted as an illegal wool dealer and was listed on the lists of recusants–those who refused to come to church–hardly a person the church would have allowed to be buried inside the church, much less the chancel.
                  4. George Vertue made two sketches of the monument a quarter of a century before the restoration, and both look the way it appears today.
                  5. Before the mid-18th century restoration, a painting was made of the monument for purposes of comparison. That painting still exists today and is owned by the Earl of Warwick. You can see it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare%27s_funerary_monument#History.

                  I know these facts won’t change your mind. Positions that are held because of prejudice and emotion cannot be changed by reason and logic. Oxfordians are perhaps the best demonstration of this.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Confronted with the actual facts and the evidence that rebuts all of his specious claims, Dr. Waugman goes silent. No amount of evidence will change the minds of those who are emotionally attached to their conspiracy theory, and who have believed all the misleading propaganda of its leading promoters.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  He’s waiting for the right time* to argue that the good people of Stratford put the monument there because they were anticipating the growth of tourism in the second half of the 20C.

                  *a few weeks after we’ve all gone away. the Spectator needs to learn to close comments after the first flush dies away. Oxfordians are terrible staircase wits.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  For anyone who is interested in a good summation of the issue as to the Stratford Monument, and the fact that it was not altered in any significant manner, the following sites are quite helpful:

                  1. http://marlowe-shakespeare.blogspot.com/2012/09/was-monument-altered-by-peter-farey.html

                  This post is by Marlovian Peter Farey and the comments and links therein are especially beneficial to an understanding of the Monument’s history.

                  2. http://www.academicroom.com/article/reconsidering-shakespeares-monument

                  This article is by anti-Stratfordian Diana Price. It is particularly invaluable for providing a copy of Dugdale’s original sketch of the Monument and his notation that it depicted William Shakespeare the famous poet. Of course, anti-Stratfordians, in their arrogance, believe they know better than Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  OTOH? That’s a new one, normally it’s ‘Uh’ with you Tom. Your facts are all wrong as usual.

                  1. Weever did not copy Shakespeare’s inscription in 1618-19. He did not copy it all. Unless you think Weever is capable of writing on sheets of paper that were made at least a decade after his death!
                  2. Wrong. You did not have to be a lay rector or or oen tithes to be interred in a chancel.
                  3. Correct – well done.
                  4. Vertue was a known crook and forger. His sketch does not look as it does today.
                  5. Prejudice and emotion yourself. What is your evidence for the date of this picture?

                  Alexander

                • Tom Reedy

                  Have you been on the Internet long, Alexander? OTOH = on the other hand.

                  1. Obviously you are not familiar with Shakespeare allusions or with Weever’s manuscript deposited in the Society of Antiquaries library. You should go by there and have a look. It’s MS 128, f. 375r. Are you possibly confusing Weever with Dugdale?

                  2. Right. You could also be buried in the chancel if you were the spouse of one. But either way, John Shakespeare is disqualified from being buried there or having a monument there.

                  3. So I take it you agree with me that it is impossible that John Shakespeare could have been buried in the chancel or that a monument to him could have been erected in the church. Very good. I like to see progress. You’ve already set yourself off from the vast majority of Oxfordians.

                  4. Vertue’s map forgery has nothing to do with the Shakespeare monument. It is unclear to me how he could have “forged” two representations of the monument that are similar to how it appears today. You can see his sketches here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare%27s_funerary_monument#Gallery

                  5. You can find the evidence in The Correspondence of the Reverend Joseph Greene (1965) and in Spielmann’s The Title Page of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s Plays (1924). To summarize, Halliwell-Phillipps bought the painting from a descendant of Greene as agent for the Earl of Warwick.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Reedy – unlike you I do not just sit about in my Texan armchair spouting online tosh. Unlike you I have been to the Society of Antiquaries and unlike you I have examined MS 128 and unlike you I have held it up to the light and unlike you I have examined the handwriting, the watermarks and the countermarks. You don’t even know what the marks are on those sheets do you? So when you have quite finished choking on your humble pie perhaps you would be so good as to explain why the great scholar, Weever, made two Latin errors in the first two words of that transcription, why he changed his handwriting specially for the occasion, and how he succeeded in committing all this to a sheet of paper that was manufactured at least ten years after his death. The world awaits with baited breath. AW

                • Tom Reedy

                  Unlike you, I don’t make assumptions based on my massively swollen egotistical opinion of myself, so I’ll take your word that you have been there and examined the MS. I’m sitting here looking at the photos I took of the MS the last time I was there, and Weever did not change his handwriting for the Shakespeare inscription; it is consistent throughout the notebook and with the rest of the volume.

                  Weever made many errors of transcription in the MS, both Latin and English. Since you say you’ve read it, you should know that.

                  I regret to say that I did not look at the watermarks or countermarks at
                  the time; I’ll have to do that the next time I’m in the city. The
                  volume has been dated to the early 17th century. I and the rest of the world look forward to your
                  published paper proving it was written after his death. that should enhance your reputation quite a bit as a Shakespeare scholar.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  I do not need my reputation enhanced as a Shakespeare scholar. It is really very easy to look at a watermark and a countermark and I have no doubt that others have seen it before me, but being so wedded to what they want that document to be – a testimony from Weever about Shakespeare – they have simply swept it under the carpet. Just like when no one in 400 years bothered to try to work out what the printed marginal note Sweet Shak-speare had to do with the text beside which it was printed in Covell’s 1595 Polimanteia. I still await a serious Stratfordian explanation of that.

                  You misunderstood me. I was not saying that Weever changed his handwriting just for the inscription I am saying that the whole of that document – all 18 pages of it – is not in Weever’s hand. If you say you have seen it I will take your word for it. However you should always check watermarks as a matter of policy especially where they have anything to do with Shakespeare. The Weever document is not a forgery it has simply been wrongly identified as Weever’s but it dates from the Commonwealth period. AW

                • Tom Reedy

                  Whether you need the enhancement or not is hardly the case. If you can prove the paper was made 30 years after Weever’s death in 1630, this is information that shouls be made public. Commentary sections on newspaper blogs count for nothing. If you have this proof, it should be easy.

                  > I am saying that the whole of that document – all 18 pages of it – is not in Weever’s hand.

                  I don’t agree. Weever had several varieties of handwriting, and this accords well with other examples of his English secretary hand in MS 127. You did look at that one too, I presume.

                  > it dates from the Commonwealth period

                  Why then are there no examples of epitaphs dated later than 1618?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  The proof, as I say, is in the watermark and, more precisely in the counter-mark – anyone can go and look at it and publish whatever they want, whenever they want. I’ll try and get something out, but I have other things to be getting on with. Also I am quite keen to discover who actually wrote it and I have not had time yet to check out various possible contenders’ handwriting and seek corroboration of the counter-mark. For instance I would like to examine Nicholas Burgh’s handwriting in the Ashmoleum. But there is much else to be done on the Shakespeare front. I do not mind sharing my discoveries on blogs and I have no interest in reputation. You and the other Strats will always despise me and others may use what I find as they please. In answer to your last question, which is indeed a good one, I suspect that it is a transcription of an earlier document. It is not in Weever’s hand whether you think it looks like one of his ‘several varieties of handwriting’ or not because the paper is too late.

                  You say that it was my ‘massively swollen egotistical opinion of myself’ that made me assume that you hadn’t examined the manuscript – what was it, pray, that made you first assume that I hadn’t examined it?

                • Tom Reedy

                  You don’t have to go to the Ashmolean to see Burgh’s handwriting; Schoenbaum reproduces two examples in his *Documentary Life*, and you can take my word that the two handwritings do not match. You can compare MS 158 with other known Weever MSS and see that it is the same. Until you produce the proof, I and the rest of the world will continue to take the words of Honigmann, Duncan-Jones, and Woudhuysen.

                  And nobody despises you, Alexander, that is a conceit solely in your head, like your Polimanteia “discovery”. In fact I find you very amusing. That is your public role, right? To make yourself a motley for the view to furnish amusement? I consider that a high calling and wish you every success.

                  > what was it, pray, that made you first assume that I hadn’t examined it?

                  You wrote, ‘He did not copy it all.’ In fact he copied not only the entire inscription, but his gravestone inscription also.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  I appreciate your email. We have thrown some punches at one another of late on various different websites. I dislike your sarcasm and sometimes recoil at your use of English, but in truth I have come to trust you best of the full-time blogging Strats. I believe you when you say that you do not blog under false names, and I believe you when you say that you are not a hired lobbyist and that you take the trouble to examine original mss. You and I know that we shall never reach agreement on Shakespeare authorship, but that is not the point – a good public testing ground is healthy for both sides. As to your more prominent comrades-in-arms I am not so sure. You may have followed a discussion on this blog about Richard Baker. If you did you will have noticed that I became thoroughly disillusioned and disheartened by the low deceit of “Dominic Hughes.” I have no further wish to engage with him or any of those who edit their posts after I have responded to them and pretend that they never wrote things they actually wrote, or with those who copy and paste my posts and email them to cream-puffs in the Midlands so that they, in turn, may conjure up some deceitful unscholarly response which is then routed back via Massachusetts or South Carolina, to be posted online under a pseudonym. What is the point? As I said I do not mind sharing my finds on public blogs and I expect you to take some good hard shots at them, but I shall never engage again with people too dishonest to post under their real names or too mendacious to admit to their mistakes. If there is no honour in this game, then there is no lure in it for me. You however…..

                  with best wishes, Alexander

                  PS you keep misunderstanding me (see your last sentence). I know exactly what is and what is not contained in the Weever ms. AW

                • Tom Reedy

                  I appreciate your straight-forward post. I engage with this solely because I think it’s interesting (though I know most people don’t), and one of my main motivations is to avoid boredom. It has caused me to learn a lot more than I would have without it. (And of course we all know that being right is a powerful attraction!)

                  I really have no clue why anyone would go to all the trouble you outline to post under an assumed name. I once posed as an English professor on an Oxfordian website to demonstrate how easily they could be taken in, but that was a horse of a different color. My ruse was very successful, BTW, but I grew bored with it after a few weeks and blew my cover. Unfortunately the forum was taken down when the two Oxfordian groups merged and revamped their website, so the discussions are lost.

                  The SAQ is so contentious because it is made up of amateurs on both sides. With no professional standards, ad hoc methods of scholarship, and popular media venues such as Facebook and blogs instead of peer-reviewed journals, it’s no secret why it resembles professional wrestling more than academic discourse. Unless one is in it for the entertainment, one is likely to be disappointed. I for one find it to be a lot of fun.

                  I found the Weever MS to be interesting also. If you want to discuss it further, email me at tom.reedy@gmail.com.

                  Cheers, AW!
                  TR

                • Alexander Waugh

                  I am embarrassed because the big Schoenbaum volume sits not 5 paces from my desk and I had not noticed the illustration of Nicholas Burgh’s hand-writing on p. 186. You are quite right, we may rule him out of any involvement in the SofA’s ms. Thank you for saving me a trip to Oxford.

                  The reason why some people post on the Shakespeare Authorship Question under assumed names is very simple. Their incomes or professional reputations are threatened by advances in non-Stratfordian arguments, and what they do not want (and this is quite understandable) are people endlessly saying ‘you are only expressing that opinion because it is in your professional or financial interest to do so.’ So it makes sense for them and I do not see anything intrinsically wrong in their protecting themselves in this way. However when using a pseudonym allows the bearer to cheat, deceive, insult, patronize and to make any number of factual blunders with impunity, then I do not consider the blogosphere to be a level playing field.

                  Who list complain of wronged faith or fame
                  When he may shift it to another’s name?

                  If you and I make errors on our posts we have to defend or retract our statements if we do not wish them to be thrown back in our faces. “Dominic Hughes” and “Nat Whilk” (and we know who they are) just skulk like cuttle-fish in the black cloud of their own vomiture, smugly supposing that no one can prove who they really are. Leadbetter, that Canterbury cretin, uses endless aliases to launch sneers and personal abuse across the internet. He calls himself ‘Alfa’, ‘Sicinius’ ‘Ethelburga’ ‘SaxonRed’ ‘hammertapping’ and god knows what else. These people do not deserve the dignity of debate. In time I shall expose their racket and embarrass them, but there are other matters of greater interest to be accomplished first – not least I need to write a funeral oration today. Thank you for supplying your email. I shall be in contact separately on other matters, Alexander

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Mr. Waugh: I have already pointed out that the deceit which you allege I committed did not, in fact, take place. I edited my original post before such time as you ever responded to it. I never edited it subsequent to your post in response. I also have apologized for the misunderstanding which I no doubt caused by making the original mistake.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  WARNING TO ALL READERS OF THIS BLOG:
                  DO NOT TRUST JESUITICAL HILTON ISLAND AMBULANCE CHASERS WHO PARADE UNDER FALSE NAMES AND TELL APPALLING LIES!

                  cc. Mark H Johnson (mhjohnsonatty@gmail.com)

                • Dominic Hughes

                  WARNING TO ALL READERS OF THIS BLOG:
                  Mr. Waugh is as incorrect in his claims here as he is in his conclusion that his idiosyncratic interpretations of literary works qualify as evidence. I do wish to thank Mr. Waugh for illustrating just how petty and small he can be, in this current post, and in other posts where he is now stalking me across this thread.

                  I do not live on Hilton Island, I do not chase ambulances, and I have not lied about anything in this thread. I was educated by Jesuits for a time. Dominic Hughes is a part of my actual name.

                  Astute readers will note that Mr. Waugh’s slander of me began when he was unable to respond to a request to produce a single piece of actual evidence in support of his claim. Deflection is a typical course of action for Oxenfordians when their wishful thinking is exposed for what it is.

                • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                  To add to Tom Reedy’s post below, surely you must recognise that when you start writing good people of Stratford were to honest to make their neighbour look like something he wasn’t,” you’re entering the realms of stereotype?

                  Were these good people of Stratford all saints, or something? Did they have a special quality of goodness that marked them out from everybody else in England? Anne Hathaway it’s thought to have been several months pregnant when William Shakespeare married her, so that makes at least two residents who weren’t entirely goody-two-shoes!

                  I think you’ll find people of Stratford on the early seventeenth century were much the same as they are today. Some were no doubt very polite. And some were very crass. Some were aggressive, antisocial, drunkards, humble, pacific, intellectual, studious.

                  Don’t tell me that, out of a whole town, in which William Shakespeare owned the largest house (New Place, demolished in the eighteenth century, but well documented), nobody was willing to look at this preposterous monument in the parish church and say, “What a load of crap!”

                  For that matter, I don’t see why the publishers orc the first folio, trying to pass off this grain merchant as a great writer, would construct this monument portraying him with a sack of grain. Sorry, but that simply doesn’t make sense.

                  Come to that, why try to pass off a grain merchant as a great writer at all?

                • Tom Reedy

                  I doubt you’ll get any reply. When confronted with logic or facts Oxfordians either abandon the field, change the subject, or complain about your manners.

                • Tom Reedy

                  See? I told you. Facts and logic go with Oxfordians like light and cockroaches.

                • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

                  Yes. I’m beginning to see that!

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Most of the members of the younger generation haven’t read a line of Shakespeare or indeed anyone who is dead. They are the first generation stupider and less educated than their parents. And don’t speak to me about those worthless pieces of paper called university degrees

                • KCV

                  Oh you mean that John Weever in 1631, Lieutenant Hammond in 1634 and 2
                  anomymous poets in the 17th century did not see a monument for the poet
                  with inscriptions mentioning ??

                  Dugdale was not the infallable scetch-artist you make him out to be, he got artistic details of a lot of monuments wrong…
                  BTW Dugdale’s account of his travels to Stratford?
                  “One
                  thing more, in reference to this antient town is observable, that it
                  gave birth and sepulture to our late famous Poet Will. Shakespeare,
                  whose Monument I have inserted in my discourse of the Church.

                  [Shakspere Allusion-Book, II, 62]”

                  But
                  you are right about the emotional attachment that Oxfordians or
                  anti-Shakespeareans in general have towards the hatred they have towards
                  the Stratford Shakespeare, without making it impossible for him to have
                  written the plays their hero would not even get into the picture

                • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                  I would like to reply, but I can’t quite understand what it is that you’re saying.

                • KCV

                  Dugdale did change many tombs, some face left instead of right, order reversed etc. His book cannot be seen as an inerrant depiction of the tombs.

                  John Weever and Lieutenant Hammond described the tomb for the poet Shakespeare.. as did the 2 anonymous poets.. (with references to the subscript about wit and such)
                  If the tomb had been altered in 1747, how is that possible??

                  Dugdale wrote in his book (opposite page to the engraving) “One thing more, in reference to this antient town is observable, that it gave birth and sepulture to our late famous Poet Will. Shakespeare, whose Monument I have inserted in my discourse of the Church.
                  [Shakspere Allusion-Book, II, 62]”

                  Dugdale saw a tomb to the poet..

                  So whoever erected the tomb made one to the poet Shakespeare, in church..

                  Anti-Shakespeareans in general (a huge portion of them) a profound hatred towards the Stratford man (low-IQ, grain merchant, bit actor etc etc) because they know that the evidence for their alternative hero is shaky at best.

                  First question I always want to know is:

                  – What is the physical connection between the alternative author and the canon??

                • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                  Thank you for that clarification. Much new evidence has come to light that is relevant to the authorship question. It only began receiving wide-spread attention during the years after the Shakespeare documents “discovered” by Ireland and by Collier were exposed as forgeries. Few people know that we have no definitive evidence that any contemporaries considered Shakspere of Stratford to be an author.

                  Inconveniently for his partisans, more and more evidence documents what a successful businessman Shakspere was. Since that makes it difficult to believe he also had enough time to act and to write, his defenders have come up with the creative but hilarious theory that it must have been Anne Hathaway who was the business success in the family.

                  Marcy North has shown that most Elizabethan plays were published without the name of the actual author. Circumstantial evidence suggests Edward de Vere often disguised his authorship– using his actual initials; using “E.K.,” perhaps to suggest Spenser’s friend Edmund Kirke wrote the commentary in the Shepheard’s Calendar; using the pseudonym “Ignoto”; writing prefatory material for works he actually translated himself; using his uncle Arthur Golding as his “front man” for his translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; signing one 1569 poem “A.G” for the same reason.

                  As you may know, the 1589 Arte of English Poesie tells us de Vere was known as a leading author of comedies (now lost?) and a leading courtier poet; it also tells us he preferred to write anonymously.

                  There is absolutely no documentation that “Shake-Speare” ever acted after 1604, when de Vere died. There is also not a single definite literary source for Shakespeare after 1604.

                  Not to mention de Vere’s Geneva Bible.

                • KCV

                  Oh dear, you are one of those who think that by the age of 16 the boy had already translated Ovid??
                  Not to mention he had to have translated all the other translations falsely attributed to Golding… let’s stay consistent translate one translate all..

                  “Inconveniently for his partisans, more and more evidence documents what a successful businessman Shakspere was. Since that makes it difficult to
                  believe he also had enough time to act and to write, his defenders have come up with the creative but hilarious theory that it must have been Anne Hathaway who was the business success in the family.”

                  First of all, why is it a problem for a poet/playwright to be a successful businessman?? There are a number of business documents, but none that needed Shakespeare’s presence in Stratford for extended times. And are you saying that a woman could not have had a business head, she would have been the head of the household most of the time??

                  Burbage btw was a successful man as well… or his wife was.

                  “As you may know, the 1589 Arte of English Poesie tells us de Vere was known as a leading author of comedies (now lost?) and a leading courtier poet; it also tells us he preferred to write anonymously.”

                  The arte of poezie had the list on rank… earls on top, lower ranks at the bottom, and Oxford is not on the list for drama…
                  And you fell for the slight of hand that put together chapter 8 and chapter 31 as one paragraph…

                  “There is absolutely no documentation that “Shake-Speare” ever acted after 1604, when de Vere died. There is also not a single definite literary source for Shakespeare after 1604.”

                  Aside from a performance at court in the winter of 1604/05 and various registries and printed books..

                  And you do not accept the Tempest’s similarities in language and imagery that is closely linked to the Strachey and Jourdain letters.

                  Or that Shakespeare started to write for an indoors theater after 1608.. When the King’s men had an indoor theater

                  The bible of the beginning of Shakespeare’s career was the Bisshop’s bible.. later he switched..And there are great discrepancies between the annotations and the usage by Shakespeare (mainly differences in the
                  books; gospels or revelations etc.)

          • Elke Brackmann

            No Good Boyo – magnificent Dylan Thomas. I adore him. Was he clairvoyant?ß(This is meant to be a joke, not an insult).:-)
            Richard Waugaman has answered this question.
            You may be widely travelled and not have heard of a community raising a monument to a grain merchant. Well, I come from Austria and near the Alpenzoo in Innsbruck there is a monument for a teacher students have not treated nicely. Would you believe it without seeing it? So I would advise you to do your homework and gather some information on the Stratford monument..

            • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

              Is there any reason to assume the people of Stratford-upon-Avon would raise a monument to a grain merchant?

              You write of an absence of evidence for the playwright. What evidence have you of an especially highly regarded sixteenth-century grain merchant in Stratford; one who did not, apparently, do much to attract the community’s sympathy? Bearing in mind that Shakespeare’s father was known as a wool merchant.

              • Elke Brackmann

                I have no idea whatsoever this monument before the monument meant and for whom it was designed. Fact is that somebody made a sketch of it and it showed somebody with a sack of grain. And later..you are well acquainted with the story..
                Thanks for your compliment concerning my English. Do you really want to say you have underestimated Austrians so far? You are walking on thin ice, be careful. I do not really know what I could do to you, but Lear didn’t know either when he was angry.
                Well, I studied English and German for grammar school and have been a teacher. But ever since I was young I have loved poetry and learned it by heart. Dylan Thomas was like magic to me. I must have discovered him nearly at the same time as Shakespeare.

  • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

    Who cares who wrote them? I can’t help feeling that the intellect of most people who sit around arguing the toss about Shakespeare’s authorship would be better served if they actually devoted their time to studying the plays rather than to these pointless trivialities.

    Suppose it could be definitively proved that the plays were actually written by Mrs Jemima Snogworthy, housewife of Great Shagging Upon Sea, and the sonnets by her husband, Mr Praisegod Snogworthy. Would they be any better for it? Would the poetry be of higher quality? Would anybody get filthy rich from the royalties? Would the Snogworthys be able to regale in their new-found fame? No, they’re dead!

    • Alexander Waugh

      If you don’t care who wrote Shakespeare then you don’t care about history. Ignorance to you is just as good as knowledge is it? Is all search for historical truth just ‘pointless triviality’? I think not. I think you care very much indeed which is why you have entered this discussion.

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        I do care passionately for history. But not all historical questions are of equal value. That this tremendous body of literature, with much to say of the human condition and the English sixteenth century, was written is of great value. Whether the guy who wrote it was called William Shakespeare, Jemima Snogworthy, Francis Bacon, or Johnny Come Lately is of far lesser importance.

        What is more important: what Macbeth has to say about moral corruption? Or whether “When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning or in rain” was scrawled by a geezer known to his mates as Bill?

        • psi2u2

          Your assumption is a barn door which any reasonably competent 17-year-old with a learner’s permit could drive an eighteen wheeler through: you assume that without knowing the identity the author, you know what the works are or might be saying. But then, if you’ve only tried one theory, how could you possibly know?

          • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

            How it’s that relevant to what the. lays say?. What is Romeo and Juliet about? A romantic tragedy? A commentary on the pointlessness of tribalism? That purple should consider how their actions affect others?

            How does who wrote it have any bearing on any of that?

            This isn’t some quiz, in which you Have to guess what he’s saying. It’s about what YOU get out of it. What does the play say to YOU, and why? And people have been analyzing them and finding endless new interpretations for four centuries.

          • Fergus Pickering

            So you assume that Homer has nothing to tell us.

            • psi2u2

              huh?

            • Tom Reedy

              You’ll have to excuse your interlocutor. He’s not too quick on logic, which explains his Oxfordism.

              • Fergus Pickering

                It’s the uptake he’s not too quick on.

            • psi2u2

              Huh?

      • psi2u2

        “I think you care very much indeed which is why you have entered this discussion.”

        Alexander, here is an anecdote you might enjoy.

        Over twenty years ago, when I first began studying the authorship question, my adviser at the time was Dr. Mark Shell, then chair of the Umass Complit department. It took him a few weeks and some reading to realize the seriousness of the authorship question, and in recognition of the fact that I was then his research assistant, he put in his book *Children of the Earth* a footnote about Oxford as a court ward and how the contradictions of his relationship to Anne Cecil were mirrored in the quai-incestuous relationship of Ophelia and Hamlet.

        Of course it was a passing comment and I am in no way suggesting that Dr. Shell, now at Harvard after winning a McArthur award, is or ever was an “Oxfordian.” However, I think it is fair to say from his many comments that he is also not a Stratfordian.

        One of the phrases he used then to describe the behavior of some Stratfordians was “false-consciousness.” That is what we regularly witness in these kinds of comments such that from No Good Boyo, who as you say, evidently cares a lot or he would not be putting so much energy into ridiculing the discussion. As you suggest, the contradiction of the position indicates some kind of psychological defense.

    • psi2u2

      No Good Boyo,

      You are of course welcome to “not care.” In fact, one could even cite the bard himself, from Sonnet 71:

      No longer mourn for me when I am dead
      Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
      Give warning to the world that I am fled
      From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
      Nay, if you read this line, remember not
      The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
      That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
      If thinking on me then should make you woe.
      O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
      When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
      Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
      But let your love even with my life decay;
      Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
      And mock you with me after I am gone.

      You see? The bard himself tells you to forget his name, to not say it, to go on living your life like who he was doesn’t matter. He even says you will be better off if you *don’t care.* So go ahead, but please stop trying enforce your cultivated disdain on others with these kinds of ridiculous arguments, which only demonstrate a stunning curiosity about the world you live in.

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        Like what? Name me a good reason to care.

        How am I trying to enforce my cultivated disdain on you? And why is nobody entitled to air their opinion but you?

    • hewardwilkinson

      Suppose they were written by Sir Richard Topcliffe, Elizabethan torturer inquisitor and proto-Gestapo person – would that matter, do you mind how many people the author of Shakespeare broke on the rack? And if THAT matters, then subtler biographical attunements matter too. Can we really conceive of finding a letter by Gerard Manley Hopkins saying – ‘fooled them all – I was never a Catholic and a Celibate – just a rhetorical exercise chaps!’? All that authentic existential stuff about nuns in The Wreck of the Deutschland was a school exercise!’
      Come come!

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        Would it matter to me? No, not especially. I don’t really see why you think it should.

    • Szabó Sándor

      You will be extremely surprised (if interested at all) how much different meaning have many works of Shakespeare – different from the recent canon. First of all the sonnets and The Tempest.

  • Alexander Waugh

    Am I dreaming or has the original article upon which we are all commenting been surreptitiously changed? Nice to see that I am now given top billing but I am not at all sure that it is correct to say that the authorship question is ‘usually dismissed as boring, only of interest to snobs and cranks.’ A minority of petrified, cornered and speechless Stratfordians might think that, but the lively debate on this blog site and also on the previous Spectator blog ‘Shakespeare is a Nom de Plume – get over it” testify to the fact that the authorship question is one of the most lively and exciting debates of our time that attracts a large number of extremely intelligent, quick-minded and learned people. On this blog already we have posts from two university professors and two doctorate level academics. Of those four I note that three are anti-Stratfordian and only one is supporting the orthodox position.

    Alexander

    • Tom Reedy

      The authorship argument IS usually dismissed as boring. Otherwise we wouldn’t keep seeing the same old names and faces and there would be thousands of posts like you see on almost every celebrity story. That it is not boring to you and me means nothing; not everyone shares our obsessions, Alexander. I find pigeon racing, for example, to be utterly boring, yet tens of thousands of pigeon fanciers exist, many more than there are SAQers. I doubt there are 5,000 Oxfordians in the entire world, and I doubt there are 500 Shakespeare scholars who have written about the SAQ. More like 50.

      • psi2u2

        If is so damn boring, what are you doing here?

        • psi2u2

          Further on the “boring” nature of the authorship question, here is my account of the recent Folger library conference on “Problems in Shakespearean biography.” http://shake-speares-bible.com/2014/04/07/aloha-vere-folger-library-confronts-problems-of-shakespearean-biography/

          Evidently orthodox scholars are not bored by the authorship question, they are terrified of it.

          • Timothy Beck

            No, we just want people, especially those in academic positions who should know better, to be willing to change their point of view when presented with new evidence. Someone trying to do research while rigidly biased towards one particular candidate like Oxford is not doing science. A true investigator should be willing to adjust their assumptions as new evidence comes in. If not, I suggest that their work is not to be trusted.

            • Tom Reedy

              Bring some evidence and you will be listened to. Subjective interpretations are not evidence.

              • Timothy Beck

                I imagine that, despite your presumption, you are not in charge here. So I feel that I’m free to express my opinion.

                • Tom Reedy

                  I see that I got my wires crossed; these threads are confusing. My comment applies to Oxfordians.

            • Szabó Sándor

              This is a very clever remark. That’s why I admire those Shakespeare-scholars in my country, who are about to arrange a lecture, held by me. They are true investigators, internationally acknowledged stratfordians, yet they are open to the real proof. It’s the (final) truth they are interested in, should it come from whichever side.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Science? What has science got to do with it? This would be historical research which is not a science but an art.

            • psi2u2

              “we just want people, especially those in academic positions who should know better, to be willing to change their point of view when presented with new evidence.”

              Exactly.

              “Someone trying to do research while rigidly biased towards one particular candidate like Oxford is not doing science. A true investigator should be willing to adjust their assumptions as new evidence comes in.”

              Exactly. What is your evidence that Oxford can’t have been the author. Please do share. Assumptions get you nowhere.

        • Tom Reedy

          Read what I wrote and see if you can decipher what it means.

          • psi2u2

            Read what I wrote below and see if you can answer it.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I think he is combatting error.

          • psi2u2

            He is not doing a very good job of doing so, if that is his goal. Having read his work on the Tempest, and criticized it in print, Mr. Reedy is full of error. He should seek to remove his own mistakes before being so arrogant about the alleged errors of others.

        • Kitty MLB

          He and all traditionalists are here to watch others chase shadows in the dark.

      • Alexander Waugh

        It may be something to do with the way you talk about it. I find that in discussions of the Shakespeare authorship question everyone is riveted whether they are new to the subject or very knowledgeable. I agree with you that the bare-bones of Stratford Shakspere’s biography – all those deeds and debts and conveyances – are very boring. The authorship question, however, is different. I have never discussed it with anyone who has ever told me he or she thinks it boring. I really do not understand where you are coming from on this.

        Alexander

    • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

      Alexander, you are correct. The original article has been changed quite significantly. Thank you for pointing that out.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Tell me, Alexander. Do you thin Jesus ever existed? There was a lively Victorian debate that he did not, but it seems to have gone out of fashion. And then there is Mohammed. But perhaps you’d better lay off there.

      • Alexander Waugh

        Dear John, as a poet operating under a pseudonym I would expect you to have some sympathy with John Marston, William Covell, Joseph Hall, John Weever, Thomas Edwardes and all those poets of the 1590’s who suggested that ‘William Shakespeare’ was a nom-de-plume. What does ‘Phoebe Flood’ have to say about all this? Alexander

        • Fergus Pickering

          Phoebe thinks that Willum Shagsberd couldn’t spell.Tell me what you think Ben Jonson was up to? Have you any views on whether the author of the Odyssay was indeed a woman. You’d have Samuel Butler and Robert Graves on your side for that one, much bigger guns.

  • barryispuzzled

    My thoughts are that 95% of the discussion was based on a redundant premise: there is a single author of the Shakespeare work (pseudonymous or otherwise). This leads people on a wild goose chase to find this mystery man/woman with the added excitement of a conspiracy theory. The reality is that there are many hands in some of the plays and there are several academic papers and books arguing this including my PhD thesis (2013).

    It needs to be accepted by academia that Shakespeare would have had difficulty getting The Comedy of Errors enacted at the 1594-5 Gray’s Inn revels if it were his, and that The Tempest needed access to a classified Virginia Company document which Shakespeare could not have seen. The evidence cannot sustain this lone genius theory. The followers of alternative single-author religions need to accept that there is no test that one can perform to rule Shakespeare out of contributing to this or that play (whether as an originator or later reviser).

    In the end, all one can do is perform a rare phrase test to argue for this or that author making a contribution. That’s the best way to use the available evidence in the contemporary literature databases and it is the best that one can hope for.

    • Szabó Sándor

      The Tempest is perhaps the most misunderstood play. I find the part of your argument concerning The Tempest to be plainly false.

      • barryispuzzled

        Then you’ve misunderstood it! 😉

        • psi2u2

          I haven’t misunderstood it and it is false.

          • Szabó Sándor

            I can’t argue with you, as (for the time being) I may not show my proof. But stay tuned.

            • Shelphi

              When you can refute the most recent arguments, we will look forward to your input!

              • Szabó Sándor

                Considering the Shakespeare Year, things go even slower than they would do normally. But the break-through is inevitable. Please, be patient. Thank you.

            • psi2u2

              Why would you want to argue with me? And why would you argue with me without first reading my book (co-written with Lynne Kositsky and linked in my previous post)? You are starting to make me regret my tentative support for your claim of “new discovery.” Is that your intent?

              • Szabó Sándor

                Sorry that you can’t see from the reply-chain, who was the addressee of my words. And sorry that you immediately express your punishment as “no longer being tentative”. I don’t need it, for sure.

                • psi2u2

                  Sorry that you can’t see from the reply-chain that your comment registered as a response to me. That is what Szabó Sándor psi2u2 means. If you didn’t intend it to be a reply to me, then please just say so for the purpose of clarifying the record. Thanks.

                • Szabó Sándor

                  Actually, it went to barryis puzzled. He thinks I did misunderstand it. Let it be.
                  Now, I don’t want to argue with you. I’ve read about your book on the blog of Hank Whittemore. As I live in Hungary, it would take a longer time to aquire it, but maybe I’ll have it. Anyhow, the real story of The Tempest is shockingly different from the interpretations. I dare say this was the biggest joke of our Oxenford. Yes, a joke. A mere and plain joke.

                • psi2u2

                  Thanks for the clarification. I look forward to reading more about your insights. There is ongoing Oxfordian discussion on the ShakesVere facebook page, established and moderated by Mark Anderson, whose book you surely must know, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/shakesvere/

                • Szabó Sándor

                  My main source, kind of Bible was Hank Whittemore’s The Monument. Hank has become my friend, he is a great person and what he did for clarifying things in the authorship question is invaluable. My main motiv was firstly to prove things in order to help him to the well deserved victory, after the decades of bitter hostility. Now I think we’re not far from this goal.

                • Timothy Beck

                  I’ve read the Mark Anderson book and I’m afraid it’s very poor scholarship. It assumes almost from page 1 that Oxford wrote the work. Anyone who accepts this work must be incredibly biased and disinterested in truth-seeking unless of course it points to Oxford,

              • Fergus Pickering

                You mean we can none of us cry ‘Bollocks!’ unless we have read your book. What proof have we that you wrote it anyway?.

              • Kitty MLB

                ” new discovery” this must happen a lot. The latest ‘ I am Spartacus moment’ those who spend a fruitless amount of time searching for clues in the usual microscopic way and
                really wasting there time. If true you, with respect it would have
                been realised by now.

          • Timothy Beck

            Might I recommend a course in simple logic. How does a source earlier than 1610 exclude the play from being written in 1610? Surely, it would be a source later than 1610 that would do this? Also, I’m wondering why you are using this blog to advertise your book. No one else is. This space is for a reasoned discussion not plugging merchandise. Thank you.

    • psi2u2

      Sorry, but 95% of the plays are written by a single author. And speaking of assumptions, your claim that “The Tempest needed access to a classified Virginia Company document which Shakespeare could not have seen” is vitiated in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Date-Sources-Design-Shakespeares-Tempest/dp/0786471042/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399042414&sr=1-1&keywords=stritmatter+and+kositsky

      • Fergus Pickering

        Well of course they are written by a single author. Any foll can see that. The main evidence is that they are so much better than anybody else’s.

  • Duncan Salkeld

    I invite readers to consider the irony of these people telling you Shakespeare was an illiterate.

    • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

      No-one is saying Shakespeare (the author) was illiterate, Duncan. Some people are saying the chap from Stratford might have been. To be able to participate in this debate and be understood, you have to learn to make a distinction, even if you believe (as I know you do) that they are one and the same person. I suspect the man you believe was the author had a functional level of literacy, as it would have been rather hard to do business otherwise (and he was certainly good at that). But hard to tell, as we only have six signatures (which some scholars don’t believe were all written by the same person), all from the end of his life. However, none of them look like someone who was comfortable with the pen, let alone earned his living through the wielding of it. You only have to compare it with the signatures of (other?) literature Elizabethans to see the rather stark contrast.

      • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

        Ros, my understanding is that business at that time required only numeracy, not literacy. A prominent Stratfordian made that very point in a presentation at the “Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography” conference at the Folger Shakespeare Library last month. She proposed that Shakespeare’s wealth came from Anne’s business success in Stratford. Yes, seriously! And she made that point about business only requiring numeracy. I believe there’s something of a consensus on that issue.

        One of the wonderful things about this presentation is that it reveals that the Stratfordians know that Shakespeare’s wealth creates a problem for them. Namely, how did he have time to run such a successful business; and act; and write the greatest works of literature we have. When I asked her, she confirmed that Henslowe’s diary does not record a single payment to Shakespeare for any of his plays.

        You and I know the answer, of course.

        • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

          I’m not sure whether there’s a consensus on this issue (business only requires numeracy) but as we know, even where there is a consensus, it is not necessarily correct. How would an illiterate business avoid finding himself disadvantaged due to the wording of contracts which he could not read? To me, we have insufficient evidence to say for certain that he was functionally illiterate, but the signatures do not sit comfortably against those of highly literate Elizabethans.

          • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

            As you know, Ros, one intriguing theory concerns the words on Shakspere’s coat of arms, “Non Sans Droit.” If he knew French well enough to write Henry V, why did he use such unusual wording on his coat of arms? One plausible theory is that when his application was rejected earlier, it was with the words “non, sans droit”– “no, he has no right.”

            French was still being used in the courts in the Elizabethan period. In fact, the gravediggers’ scene in Hamlet borrows from the transcript of the Petit v. Hale alleged suicide lawsuit, whose transcript was available to “Shakespeare” only in Norman law French.

            Wait– sorry! I was forgetting that we have no evidence whatsoever with which to challenge tradition. And we know just how emotionally attached people are to their quaint traditions.

            • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

              “One plausible theory is that when his application was rejected earlier, it was with the words “non, sans droit”– “no, he has no right.”

              In which case he would have written ‘pas droit’ or ‘il n’a pas droit’.

          • Dominic Hughes

            >> … but the signatures do not sit comfortably against those of highly literate Elizabethans.

            http://i.imgur.com/NZp3p.jpg

            Do you recognize the names of these two highly literate Elizabethans?

            • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

              No, you’ll have to translate. I’m getting Bracegirdle and something Brown something. Did either of them earn a living by the pen? I’m always looking for counter-evidence and counter-argument. Indeed, if you’d like to send me this evidence and any other counter-arguments for inclusion in Shakespeare: The Evidence, please visit

              http://shakespeare-evidence.com/feedback

              In the meantime, here are four Elizabethans who wrote for a living and one who was reported to be “penning plays for the common players”. The more usual comparison, I grant you, but nevertheless interesting:

              http://bit.ly/SHha6t

              But do let me have further details of your counter-evidence, I would love to include it. Thanks Dominic.

              • Tom Reedy

                Ros, do you see any difference in quality between the page of Shakespeare signatures that Dominic posted and the ones used by your website? I see a vast difference, because the one you used is the same one the Baconians trotted out a century or so ago, and they’re copied from an early engraving that was made before the invention of photography, and as such they are inaccurate and inherently biased. Here’s a page of signatures, all but one of which are photographs, that you can use at no cost and free of any licensure requirements. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shakespeare_sigs_collected.png

                • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

                  There is certainly some difference in quality, Tom, and I thank you for bringing them to my attention. I will substitute the better quality ones as soon as I have a moment (probably in the next few days). I’m not sure I see a *vast* difference – in that they are still a world away from the signatures of those of Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe etc – but any small improvement is worthwhile, and my aim is ever-increasing accuracy. I am presuming from Dominic’s silence that those comparable signatures of his are *not* by people who earned a living by the pen. I would still like details of their provenance, Dominic, if you would like to get in touch.

                • Tom Reedy

                  So the goal posts have moved from “highly literate Elizabethans” to “people who earned a living by the pen”? I doubt that even Marlowe was able to earn his living solely by writing, and we know that Francis Bacon certainly didn’t.

                  The top signature is that of John Bracegirdle (more often seen as Bretchgirdle), M.A., of Christ Church College,
                  Oxford, who was the vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon from 1560 to 1569 and who tutored the children before they went to grammar school. He owned numerous books, some 25 which are identified in his will of 1565. One of
                  these, a dictionary, he left to Stratford’s grammar school.

                  The other signature is that of John Brownsword, headmaster of the Stratford grammar school when Shakespeare was four and a friend of Shakespeare’s father. He was a Latin poet and was listed by Meres in *Palladis Tamia* on the same page as Shakespeare.

                  So tell us again why Shakespeare’s signature is that of an illiterate.

                • Tom Reedy

                  I’m afraid a post of mine got lost in the ether.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I see that Tom Reedy has already answered you on this point, but let me add the following. Both men, John Bracegirdle and John Brownsword, were highly literate Elizabethans.

                  “Brownsword’s book of Latin poetry, *Maclesfeldensis
                  gymnasiarchae progymnasmata quaedam poetica*, was published in 1589, the year of his death, with a second imprint in 1590. The volume was edited by his friend Thomas Newton, who called Brownsword “Alpha poetarum”. Brownsword had become master of the Stratford grammar school in 1565 when he was hired by his former Oxford professor John Bretchgirdle, who was vicar of Stratford at the time. William Shakespeare was only one year old, but his father John was chamberlain at the time, and would have been responsible for bringing Brownsword from Warwick and providing him with housing. Brownsword left
                  Stratford in 1568, after three years, so he almost certainly did not teach William Shakespeare personally, though his influence would have remained. His mentor Bretchgirdle had taugh grammar school at Witton, Cheshire, and wrote out a curriculum which includes Erasmus, Ovid’s *Metamorphoses*, Terence, Mantuan, Tully, Horace, Sallust, Virgil, “and such others as shall be thought convenient”. Brownsword himself was praised long after his death by John Brinsley in *Ludus Literarius: or, The Grammar Schole* (1612), who called him “that ancient
                  schoolmaster… so much commended for his order and scholars.” The best biography of Brownsword can be found in T. W. Baldwin’s *William Shakspere’s Small Latin and Less Greek* (1944), but details from it (including those I gave above) are cited by such later authors as Schoenbaum (in *William Shakespeare: A (Compact) Documentary Life*) and Irvin Matus (in *Shakespeare, IN FACT*).” — Dave Kathman

                  Dave Kathman

              • Alexander Waugh

                He’s not called “Dominic” he’s called Mark and he tells terrible lies – be careful of him Ros. AW

        • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

          “Ros, my understanding is that business at that time required only numeracy, not literacy.”

          Utterly hilarious. Pick up a sheaf of invoices and see how much you can get out of them by just looking at the numbers.

          Neither John or Will Shakespeare were cash traders on a market stall or labourers for hire. Of course they could both read.

      • ADW

        Yes but we know he went to a school, where he would have learned at least basic literacy.

        If he wasn’t the author, why did everyone keep so silent about his authorship when the first folio was published? Why did de Vere make no mention whatsoever of it? Where is a single scrap of evidence either positively suggesting another author, or casting doubt on WS? There isn’t one.

        • Shelphi

          ADW, Just because you have not heard about the evidence casting doubt on WS does not mean it does not exist. Start with Diana Price, perhaps. And fyi, de Vere’s son-in-law financed and made the First Folio happen. The plays are full of references to authorship, identity switching and anonymity. Know the subject and it will tell!

          • Dominic Hughes

            Have you ever looked at the colophon to the First Folio? You should if you want to actually know the subject. It qualifies as evidence showing that the FF was published at the charge of a consortium of men, none of whom was de Vere’s son-in-law. Please produce any evidence you may have, direct or circumstantial, that suggests that deVere’s son-in-law financed the FF or had any other connection whatsoever to the publishing of the FF other than being one of the two people to whom the work was dedicated.

            • Tom Reedy

              Shakespeare dedicates two poems to Southampton, the first one in typical begging patronage style, the second in a much warmer personal tone. The dedications continue to be published in subsequent editions.

              PRICE, much quoted by Oxfordians: That’s not evidence that Southampton was his patron.

              The First Folio is dedicated to the Herbert brothers, because they showed the plays and ‘their Authour
              living, with so much favour’. One was the Lord Chamberlain, who was the censor of plays, and the other, the Earl of Montgomery, was a noted patron of the arts who was married to Oxford’s daughter.

              OXFORDIANS: That’s evidence that the First Folio was paid for by Montgomery as a memorial to his dead father-in-law.

              There’s a reason why most academics won’t even talk to Oxfordians.

        • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

          ‘we know he went to a school’ – actually we assume he went to the grammar school in Stratford, but we can’t “know” that because there isn’t any evidence either way. Unless you want to employ circular reasoning and say the evidence is the plays.

          The rest of your comment reveals you haven’t read beyond basic Stratfordian texts; if you read a little more widely you would discover that your statement about there being ‘not a scrap of evidence’ isn’t true. In fact there are a several pieces of evidence from 1598 onwards that cast doubt on the author’s identity, or support the idea of a hidden author, a few of which you will find summarised here: https://leanpub.com/shakespeare/read#Part3 .

          This extract from ‘Shakespeare: The Evidence’ is intended to include both Stratfordian and non-Stratfordian readings of the evidence but due to low participation from Stratfordians, the counter-arguments in this particular section are sparse or missing. If you or others would like to supply them, I will happily include them in this month’s release.

          • Dominic Hughes

            It is your idiosyncratic interpretation of certain documents [including literary works] that they cast doubt on the author’s identity. That is your particular spin on the evidence. Your spin, however, does not qualify as evidence. Therefore, to state as fact that “there are several pieces of evidence from 1598 onwards that cast doubt on the author’s identity, or support the idea of a hidden author” is simply incorrect and shows a basic misunderstanding as to the nature of evidence.

            • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

              I was trying to be (relatively) unwordy. If you have a look at the extract of the book you will see I am well aware of the difference between evidence and interpretation. And interpretation is what we are talking about here, not “spin”. You say the non-Stratfordian interpretations are “idiosyncratic” because you don’t agree with them, but that doesn’t make them invalid.

              I invite you to offer some Stratfordian interpretations of the “hidden author” items. Personally, I enjoy looking at and considering multiple interpretations of texts. Sometimes the Stratfordian one seems stronger to me than the non-Stratfordian one; more often vice versa. Nevertheless, I welcome them all.

              • Dominic Hughes

                I meant no slight, but, especially regarding the SAQ, I see little difference between interpretation and spin. Ms. Price’s book, so often cited, is an exercise in spin from start to finish.

                I do not say that JUST the non-Stratfordian interpretations are idiosyncratic; in fact, I would freely admit that my own interpretations are idiosyncratic as well. I may take you up on your offer to review the purported “hidden author” items and supply my own spin on them.

                • hewardwilkinson

                  Dominic Hughes – do you think Price’s fundamental distinction, between a reference which refers to the attributed author of a piece of writing, and one which refers to the actual person who wrote something, a bogus one? In which case, can we EVER ask, who was the real author, in any instance? (Notice a parallel logic applies to ‘conspiracy theory’ as a concept – consider the Dreyfus case….). If you think it a bogus distinction, please say so, and we can have an interesting discussion about that.
                  If you do NOT consider this distinction bogus, but cardinal to the issue, then please retract your statement that ‘Ms Price’s book is an exercise in spin from start to finish.’ since she has made a fundamental distinction which no one previously had nailed to the mast in the way she has. We can have, for instance, an interesting discussion about Beaumont’s verse letter to Ben Jonson, to which this key distinction is absolutely relevant. And much else.
                  Which is it to be?

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I think Price exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of how evidence works…the analysis of evidence must involve the examination of each particular piece of evidence but it must also be a cumulative analysis where all of the relevant, surrounding facts and circumstances are utilized to reach an informed conclusion. In order to render a particular piece of evidence “not personal,” Ms. Price examines the evidence in a vacuum, or twists it to fit her predetermined conclusions.

                  You offer a perfectly good example of this in Beaumont’s verse letter to Jonson. There is documentary evidence which shows that WS of Stratford was an actor and shareholder in the King’s men. There is documentary evidence that Beaumont wrote plays to be performed by the very same King’s Men. These facts should be considered in any decision as to whether or not Beaumont knew William Shakespeare when he wrote the verse letter to Jonson.

                  I won’t even get into her obvious misunderstanding of her own criteria in her construction of an exclusionary rule for so-called posthumous evidence.

      • psi2u2

        Hey Ros, congratulations on your success in the recent debate. Regarding the signatures, an argument you may wish to consider if you have not is that nearly all Sh. contemporaries who could use an italic script to sign their names did so. Italic had prestige value. The fact that none of the Sh. “signatures” (for they may in fact be written by legal scribes) use an italic hand shows that the author could probably only write secretary.

        This may seem a subtle point, but it is an important one, especially with lines like Hamlets “I once did hold it, as our statists do, a baseness to write fair.” Obviously the author is quite familiar with the *idea* of italic hand, but apparently never bothered to learn it, just as he apparently never bothered to teach his daughters to write.

    • psi2u2

      I invite readers to consider the irony that PhD’d professors can make ridiculous straw men arguments like these.

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        But you ARE an idiot!

        Just because you’ve wasted a lot of time reading the idiocies of lots of other idiots makes you no less of an idiot.

        When was the last time you actually read a Shakespeare play, or saw one performed, as a matter of interest?

    • Shelphi

      University professors resorting to cheap arguments “to the man” that beginning rhetoric students are taught to avoid, as distractions, is equally ironic. Get past trying to be intimidating about it and argue with the evidence you claim to be so expert about. Need to prepare? We can be patient, but this non-argument is a bit tedious.

  • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

    What do you mean, this topic deserves to be studied?? Have you lost your mind? How dare you suggest that students be allowed to learn about this controversy! Next thing you know, they’ll start presuming to think for themselves. Then what happens to the authority of their teachers, who have taught them that there’s no doubt whatsoever that “Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare.” I have seen tee-shirts at the Folger Shakespeare Library that have that printed on them. So it must be true.

    • Szabó Sándor

      How true :) Eagerly waiting for photos (black-and white of course, it was soooo long ago) showing Shakspere just writing his ever-living lines.

    • Kitty MLB

      Shakespeare is Shakespeare. There are those who walk amongst us who have for years, in their words trying to ‘ tear down the authorship wall that the Stratfordians have erected. Clearly with their bare hands, as others have tried to do for decades beforehand and yet have proven nothing.
      If there were a degree in ambiguity they would pass with flying colours. ( maybe there is such a degree if you can gain one in Comparative Literature)
      I hear, that in some universities , you can now gain a degree in English without ever reading a word of Shakespeare, if true I am absolutely flabbergasted.

      • Alexander Waugh

        You’ve done it again! ‘Shakespeare is Shakespeare’ – a non-point. We all agree, but it does not mean what you think it does (see above).

        • Tom Reedy

          No, it isn’t a ‘non-point’. William Shakespeare of Stratford is unequivocally associated with the playing company that exclusively owned the rights to the Shakespeare plays–both as an actor and as part-owner. He was the only Shakespeare in London who was a writer, and other writers didn’t put their places of nativity in their names. They weren’t known as Robert Greene of Norwich, John Lily of Canterbury, Thomas Nashe of Lowestoft, Francis Beaumont of Leicestershire, or George Chapman of Hitchin, so the insistence that William Shakespeare had to include his town is an argument based on a false assumption, like so many other anti-Stratfordian arguments are. Other writers who did have the same names included their towns–John Davies of Hereford and William Drummond of Hawthornden were two–but no ambiguity existed with the Shakespeare attribution.

          • Alexander Waugh

            The title page of 1605 quarto play ‘The London Prodigal’ says ‘by William Shakespeare’ the 1608 quarto of ‘The Yorkshire Tragedy’ says ‘by W. Shakespeare.’ Both plays, on their title pages, claim to have been in the repertory of the King’s Men, or as you put it, ‘the playing company that exclusively owned rights to the Shakespeare plays [sic].’ We have here two different publishers, three years apart, two plays both by ‘Shakespeare who was Shakespeare.’

            Now you, no doubt, insist that these two plays are not by Shakespeare. Is it your view that he acted in them with the King’s men? Did he support the attribution of these two plays on their quarto editions, or did he complain that it was wrong? Did his troupe, who performed the plays also own exclusive rights in them too? Were the King’s Men complicit in this deception? Or did they move to admonish the publishers?

            To say ‘Shakespeare is Shakespeare’ means nothing at all in relation to these problems, whatever you say about the spelling. You are a long way from showing that the Stratford man did not write ‘Yorkshire Tragedy’ and ‘London Prodigal’ let alone proving that he DID write ‘Hamlet,

            Alexander

            PS. Thank you for controlling your ‘Uhs’ and ‘ahahas’ You see you get a reasoned reply when you contribute properly.

            Alexander

            • Tom Reedy

              I know this is all relatively new to you, Alexander, but you really should do at least some cursory reading before bringing up questions that have been answered long ago.

              • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                Though you must admit it is refreshing to see people on opposite sides who can write interestingly going at it.

                The academic spotlight is, of course, now firmly trained on authorship matters like the apocrypha and what Will contributed to other plays and which other dramatists had a hand in Will’s.

                None of the answers point to the Earl of Oxford’s door. Or anywhere near it. The more we learn about the Elizabethan dramatic Genome, the more obvious the becomes the impossibility of Oxford’s creative involvement.

                • psi2u2

                  Well Mike, you’ve been reading my blog! Here’s how I put the matter on April 7 in my review of the recent Folger conference on “problems” in Shakespearean biography (http://shake-speares-bible.com/2013/12/22/puzzling-shakespeare-still-relevant-after-all-these-years/)

                  To the modern biographer, or avid reader of the genre, as further detail accumulates, the object of that detail comes to life; one approaches the same satisfaction that I imagine a sculptor does as she completes the finer points of detail on a fully-formed face, so that every line and every hair corresponds, to the life, to her vision of her subject. But with Shakespeare the opposite always seems to happen, one way or another. The more closely one reads, the more impossible his authorship seems.

                  See the copying? Nice one. Say hi to our mutual friend Dr. Wells! Thanks.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  if you could lift your eyes from the problem of biography, you would see where current scholarship was going and you could avoid embarrassing yourself like this every time the subject of discrimination comes up. I wrote about it on my site. Remember?

        • Fergus Pickering

          Are you related to all those other Waughs, by any chance? I think they are writing your stuff from beyond the grave.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear “Fergus Pickering” – you know who I am because we met in 2011, remember? Except you weren’t calling yourself ‘Fergus Pickering’ then. You are far too brilliant to be among the dim ranks of the Stratfordians. As a poet of many beautiful and memorable lines I assume you to be a man in search of truth – up voting Tom Reedy’s patronising three liners is beneath you. ‘You’re a child of light, you’re a ghost in the night and I love you.’ Alexander

            • Fergus Pickering

              Good Heavens, did I really? In that case I take it all back. My aka is not very difficult to penetrate. Fergus has written verse on his own account in the Faber Book of Filth.edited by my doppelganger. Where did we meet, pray?. At my age you forget what you did last Tuesday. Your grandfather wrote some fine books. I have just reread ‘Put Out More Flags’ and ‘Helena’ is quite brilliant..I have to say I still think you are on a bummer with this one. I would HATE t othink those plays had been written by some dim-witted aristo. And, let’s face it, aristos are mostly dim-witted. I can’t think what Evelyn saw in them.

              • Alexander Waugh

                Dear John, I salute you – not just because you are a very fine poet but because you are an honest man. Very few Stratfordians will admit that they support the orthodox narrative because they “would HATE to think those plays had been written by some dim-witted aristo. And let’s face it, aristos are mostly dim-witted.” If you reject poets on class grounds then you must reject Philip Sydney, Thomas Wyatt, Fulke Greville, William Alexander, George Herbert, Henry Howard, William Drummond, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, James Graham, Thomas and Charles Sackville, not mention later ones like John Wilmot, John Sheffield and Lord Byron. Are you really saying that Canterbury Tales are no good because Geoffrey Chaucer was part of John of Gaunt’s courtly circle, because his nephew was the Earl of Somerset and his grand-daughter married a Duke? Surely you can forgive people the accident of their birth and judge them on their merits? You are too big for this. Leave the petty class-wars to patronising Texan blog-meisters like Tom Reedy. Historic truth is far more important than anything you would like it or hate it to be. Alexander

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Never heard of John Sheffield but your point is a good one. However, many of your party can’t bear the idea that Shakespeare was an oik, like Ben Jonson and most of the playwrights. Well, they would be, because acting and writing stuff for actors was a long way below the salt. Is there any Elizabethan/Jacobean playwright who was aristocratic. I don’t think so. And university education is a bit of a red herring since they went there so very young. Of course somebody said that Shakespeare is so much better than anybody else that nobody seems good enough to have written the plays and that is true.

                  But do tell me where we met.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Dear John, In reply to your various points:
                  1. John Sheffield was Duke of Buckinghamshire (1648-1721) he wrote ‘Come let now resolve at last / To live and love in quiet etc’
                  2. I have never heard of any anti-Stratfordian who ‘could not bear the idea that Shakespeare was an oik.’ The anti-Stratfordian position has nothing to do with class and everything to do with education, travel and opportunity. The poems and plays suggest a writer who is irreconcilable with the biographical record we have of William Shakspere of Stratford.
                  3. Aristocratic Jacobethan playwrights included Edward de Vere, Lord Oxford ‘the best for comedy’ (Mere’s, 1598), the Earl of Derby who was ‘busy penning plays for the common players’ (1599) and Thomas Sackville, Lord Dorset who wrote the first English drama in blank verse (1561).
                  3. Ben Jonson’s father forfeited his estates and was imprisoned under queen Mary and then became a minister of the church. His widow, it is said, went on to marry a brick-layer, but I have never heard Jonson described as an ‘oik’. He was highly educated first at a school by St Martin-in-the-Fields and subsequently under the tutelage of the great Camden at Westminster School. He received an honorary degree from Oxford University in 1619. Nothing like this is recorded for Shakspere who probably had no education at all and yet ‘his’ plays display a far greater range of learning, foreign languages, science and travel than Jonson’s.
                  4. We met in FitzRoy Square at lunch when you won the Grand Poetry prize and I serenaded you on the piano.
                  5. I haven’t read ‘Elements of Eloquence’ but will do so on your kind recommendation. With many thanks,
                  Alexander

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Aaah! At Fitzroy Square. And you were the piano player. How could I have forgotten?

                  Oik is shorthand, as used at Oxford to describe those who had not been to public schools. I was Scots in those days, so they could not discern how oikish I was, having no knowledge of Edinburgh accents. Of course if I had come from Glasgow I never would have got away with it..

                  I have never read any of the plays you describe. I have read plays by Webster, Ford, Tourneur and the chap who wrote The Changeling whose name eludes me. All, I think, of the oikish tendency, all capable of great poetry, as are Marlowe and Jonson, I agree. Marlowe was certainly disreputable and good for him. The thing that made them all so unacceptable is that they wrote for money, and of course, since they did so, they gave,people what they liked rather than what they ought to have. Of course a poet nowadays cannot really write for money, but I make it a rule never to count a poem of mine as worthy of anything until I have sold it, sometimes two or three times..

                  All my good wishes to you. You play a splendid piano, something I tried to do when my daughter learned. I failed utterly.

              • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                Another example of the role of projection when people try to defend the Stratfordian theory– they bring up class prejudice as primary motive of the other side. When “Fergus” admits his own class prejudice– against the upper class.

                Here in the States, one of our most severe problems is the disgusting wealth gap. I rail against it in the opening pages of my forthcoming chapter on “Greed in the Life of William Shakspere, and Generosity in the Life of Edward de Vere.”

                Not being British, I suppose I don’t have such a deeply ingrained prejudice against the Elizabethan aristocracy.

                But some people clearly cannot abide the notion that a hated aristocrat wrote the literary works they love.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  The English aristocracy have contributed remarkably little to our cultural life considering their advantages.. It is the middle class who are responsible for nearly all of it. All artists ought to do it for money. That way they give the public what they want rather than what they ought to have.

                • Szabó Sándor

                  There’s worse counter argument. One of the most famous stratfordian in the world, having read a part of my discoveries, wrote that “it is intriguing, I’d like to see them in print. BUT according to Nelson’s book Oxford was such a ham-fisted writer, that he can’t be the author”. Ever since I’ve been trying (without success) to imagine how the world will digest our ham-fisted author.

              • Kitty MLB

                Alexander is a fine chap, but the others are chasing shadows
                in the cold hollow darkness of seemingly eternal night. Souls
                refusing to see beauty and light. ( O that was very bad,
                translating ancient Greek & Latin Writing and teaching languages might be what I do, but poetry is that little ray of sunshine) His grandfather will always be one of my favourite
                writers . I just wish Alexander and others would appreciate
                Shakespeare instead of dissecting him under a microscope.
                A cynical and analytical eye cannot appreciate such beauty and appreciate his brilliant works. They are missing out
                on so much, hope you agree. Shakespeare is most certainly
                helping me whilst rather poorly at present, and I appreciate
                him even if the doubters cannot.

        • Kitty MLB

          Alexander, when you read Shakespeare with
          that analytical eye of yours, looking for clues
          hidden within every document. Do you find
          any joy? You are missing out on so much.
          And Shakespere could never have been some
          aristocrat, they are without any wit.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear MLB, thank you for your post. On the matter of your believing aristocrats to be ‘without any wit’ can I refer you to the answers I gave to Fergus Pickering posted below? I think it is sad that you should judge people on class grounds like that, or even that you should suppose that your prejudice against present day aristocrats is relevant to the highly cultured courtier poets of Queen Elizabeth’s day. The Shakespeare authorship question has nothing to do with class as far as I am concerned. To your question about enjoyment: I read Shakespeare with unremitting joy. I do not look for hidden clues but am aware that Jacobethan authors loved double meanings, word puzzles etc and sometimes find that they just jump out at you from the page. I think the greater your familiarity with these texts the more often that happens, warm regards, Alexander

      • psi2u2

        A tautology is a tautology. By definition it contains no information. Please try to offer something more substantive than a cliche. Your implication, that authorship skeptics want to “tear down” Shakespeare is completely wrong. Authorship skeptics want to enhance and broaden the study of the bard from a truly interdisciplinary perspective, to teach and study him more fully and more deeply. No one should be allowed to obtain a degree in English without studying both the bard and the authorship question.

    • ADW

      Well the person who first put forward the Bacon theory actually DID lose her mind!

      • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

        Just what one expects from defenders of the traditional theory– if you can’t defend your theory with the apocryphal story of de Vere’s fart, then by all means impugn the reputation of Delia Bacon, who was the first person to expose the darker aspects of what had been idealized as the Elizabethan Golden Age.

        Just avoid inconvenient evidence, whatever else you do. If you bully the authorship skeptics enough, surely they’ll go away.

        • ADW

          Whose bullying who? I would defend the traditional theory by the following:

          – all written records point to Shakespeare. Nothing ever thought to be by him has someone else’s name on it. If there was another author or authors, they were very strangely determined to keep quiet about it;

          – if Shakespeare was a lawyer, he was a pretty hopeless one (Merchant of Venice for eg);

          – If Shakespeare was Italian, or had visited Italy, he didn’t know much about it;

          – there is nothing in his background to suggest he was incapable of writing the plays – educated at a decent school, lived in London (so would have mixed with merchants and travellers had he wished)

          – the onus isn’t on Stratfordians anyway, it is on those who want to offer an alternative theory. These abound, but have nothing in print to support them.

          – Read Bill Bryson’s short book for a bit more detail.

          • Tom Reedy

            In the never-never land of AntiStratfordia, bringing up the documentary record is considered bullying.

            • Kitty MLB

              Its more then ‘never never land’
              Its a alternative universe. Alien to reality,
              and quite beyond sense and reasoning.
              You feel as if you are constanly bashing the
              head against a wall.

              • Alexander Waugh

                I am sorry you feel as though your head is constantly bashing against a wall, if you lay aside your prejudice and concentrate on the evidence I am sure you will feel better. AW

                • Kitty MLB

                  Well dear Alexander,I am used to brick walls,
                  the world of Homer, Plato, and Ovid are full of brick walls, which you have to climb over to
                  reach the font of all knowledge.

          • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

            When I wrote to Bill Bryson about his book, I thanked him for drawing my attention Shakespeare’s penchant for coining words that started “un-“. I told him de Vere coined some in his letters (no, those words are not in the 1580 dictionary that’s getting a lot of attention). He encouraged me to perse-Vere with my research (no, he didn’t spell it that way). And many of the words coined in the anonymous 1589 Arte of English Poesie (including “to coin” meaning to create a new word) also began with “un-“. Yup, it’s be de Vere.

            You’ve been misled by the Stratfordians’ concerted effort to “dumb down” Shakespeare, which should be insulting to everyone who loves his magnificent works. Everything you’ve read about Shakespeare’s alleged “errors” with the law; Italy; etc. is flat wrong– and tendentious.

            Yes, the onus is on those of us who challenge tradition. As long as we accept the Stratfordians’ implicit claim that tradition does not require the same standard of evidence as do challenges to tradition. Intellectual squatters’ rights, in other words.

            • Fergus Pickering

              But de Vere’s poetry is no bloody good.

              • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                So we’re supposed to value your opinion over that of Gabriel Harvey, who praised de Vere’s poetry, written both in English and in Latin? Not to mention “Puttenham” and Meres, who called him one of the best Elizabethan courtier poets?

                Naturally, it’s unfair to compare your opinion to his contemporaries, since they had access to more of his poetry than you do.

                • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                  Check this link for a few poems in Latin, that may have been written by de Vere. I hope you have better luck understanding them than I did–

                  http://www.elizabethanauthors.org/hek00.htm

                • Fergus Pickering

                  What on earth have poems in Latin got to do with it?

                • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                  You clearly haven’t paused to think. If you’re asking me to think for you, I’ll do it this time, but don’t expect me to make a habit of it.

                  If someone had the reputation as an excellent poet for writing poems in Latin, when that was the shared language of the intellectuals in Europe, how can you expect to judge his quality as a poet without even taking a glance at them?

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  Oxford wrote some of the worst poetry in print. He was a bit of a pioneer but there were were many around him who were better at it.

                  “Sitting alone upon my thought in melancholy mood,

                  In sight of sea, and at my back an ancient hoary wood,”

                  for example. or a favourite of mine:

                  “For he that beats the bush the bird not gets,”

                  As far as poetry goes, both of these examples are as good as it not gets. Doc the Wag will now tell you this is because they are juvenilia (making Oxford the only poet in history who was still writing juvenilia at the age of 40).

                • Kitty MLB

                  Can this person interrupt and say she agrees
                  with your observations. And she must commit
                  What some would consider a sin and say she
                  finds compared to the poetry from the ancients
                  she finds medieval poetry quite dull.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Yes. I’d back my own judgment here. What do YOU think? Or have you no opinion?

                • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

                  My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that you have little interest in a serious discussion. I have little interest in trading barbs.

                  But go right ahead, and reply with something witty and irrelevant.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Fergus is a very well educated gentleman.
                  And you are a pompous fool, empty
                  Vessels make the loudest noise.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  Note the implication that there is poetry from Oxford that is better than what has survived. The entire Oxfordian case is manufactured out of stuff no one but Oxfordians can see.

          • Szabó Sándor

            I’ve read Bryson’s book. What a waste of time. Bumptious to the extreme, to say the least. And the chapter about the authorship question is especially horrible. I hope I’ll have the chance to show him the real story of sonnet 145. He without question argues with ‘why would have written Oxford a sonnet to Anne Hathaway”. Well, nobody wrote any sonnet to Anne Hathaway.

          • Elke Brackmann

            Bill Bryson, Shakespeare — The World as a Stage, Harper Press, 2007.

            Page 9:

            “For the rest, he is a kind of literary
            equivalent of an electron— forever there and not there.”

            In the end, however, only an electron
            could have written Shakespeare’s works. “Only one man had the circumstances and
            gifts to give us such incomparable works, and William Shakespeare of Stratford
            was unquestionably that man — whoever he was.” (final sentence, p. 195) Why
            didn’t Bryson choose as title of his Shakespeare biography “A Short History of
            Nearly Nothing”?

            Very interesting are Bryson’s
            announcements on the Web (possibly no longer visible) in the run-up to the
            publication. Bryson wrote that he wanted to learn what made him tick.
            Evidently, “him” is Shakespeare. We don’t learn from Bryson’s book what made
            Shakespeare tick. But we learn what, finally, made Bryson tick. “To answer the
            obvious question, this book was written not so much because the world needs
            another book on Shakespeare, as because this series does. The idea is a simple
            one: to see how much of Shakespeare we can know, really know, from the record.
            Which is one reason, of course, it’s so slender.” (pp. 20-1)

            Bryson’s other very promising statement
            was that nowhere more Renaissance can be found than in Shakespeare.
            Unfortunately, the other simple idea was to see how much we could really know
            of Shakespeare from the record. Not surprisingly, the word “Renaissance” occurs
            only once in Bryson’s book, on page 145. It doesn’t come from the record. It’s
            a general statement on the meaning of “friendship” from a brief appendix to
            Marchette Chute’s popular biography printed in 1949: “The Renaissance used the
            violent, sensuous terms for friendship between men that later generations
            reserved for sexual love.” That’s all the Renaissance Bryson was able to find
            about the man in whose works nowhere could be found “more Renaissance”.

            Finally, Bryson probably got bored by the
            record and might have lost interest and attentiveness. He writes that it is
            from the work of the Wallaces we know “of his purchase of a gatehouse at
            Blackfriars in 1613.” (p. 14). The Wallaces were researching about 1910, the
            existence of the two deeds relating to the purchase of the Blackfriars
            gatehouse was known much earlier, the conveyance deed by 1796, the mortgage
            deed even by 1768. Bryson identifies the three trustees as “his colleague John
            Heminges, his friend Thomas Pope, and William Johnson, landlord of the famous
            Mermaid Tavern”. (p. 149). The actor Thomas Pope had died nearly 10 years
            before; the third trustee was one John Jackson.

            Therefore, and for other reasons, Bryson
            should not be referred to as an authority.

      • psi2u2

        Delia Bacon was not the first person to put forward this theory. Also, she was with good reason regarded by many, including Emerson, Whitman and Hawthorne, as a brilliant and highly capable woman. Here’s what Whitman said about her vis a vis the academic establishment:

        ”The sweetest, eloquentist, grandest woman, I think, that America has so far produced -a woman rare among women, rare among the rare. Romanesque, -beautiful, not after the ideals of the fashion plates, but after Greek ideas… No, I never met her, but somehow I feel that I have known her, nevertheless…lt was not surprising Emerson helped Delia Bacon. She was eminently attractive to serious minded persons, always. See how even Hawthorne sends out one of her books with a note bearing his name. Hawthorne, so chary of lending name or countenance to anything that savored of pretense. And she was poor, of course, very unworldly, just in all ways such a woman as was calculated to bring the whole literary pack down on her, the orthodox, cruel, stately, dainty, over-fed literary pack worshiping tradition, unconscious of this day’s honest sunlight.

        More on Bacon:

        http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/10/26/walt-whitman-on-shakespeare/

        • Fergus Pickering

          This topic really does bring the fruitcakes out.

      • Roger Parisious

        So did the first critic who answered her ,One George Townsend,author of “William Shakespeare”.He put a bullet to his head before they could haul him off to the asylum.His arguments are just as bad(nearly identical with) the utter tripe we too often get from the people at HLAS and Oxfraud today.

        • Roger Parisious

          Typo:Title of Townsend’s bad book,”William Shakespeare Not An Imposter”.

  • John Hudson

    Actually this question is answered in a new way in Shakespeare’s Dark Lady from Amberley Publishing.

    • Szabó Sándor

      Just to be precise: there is something written, supposed to be the answer. No, that’s not the real answer.

  • Szabó Sándor

    No external or indirect evidence (I do mean EVIDENCE Ladies and Gentlemen), just what there’s hidden in the works themselves. Now two of the most respected Shakespeare-scholars in my country (genuine stratfordians) are on my side. They arrange a kind of conference: within a couple of weeks I’ll hold a speech to all of the Shakespeare-scholars in my country. Please understand that now I can’t say more. But according to one of the most respected oxfordian persons, no such event has ever taken place in the world.

    • psi2u2

      Szabo, are you an Oxfordian? And what is your country? I find your comments highly intriguing.

  • Kitty MLB

    Ah, my comment defending Shakespeare is awaiting moderation,
    shall make it shorter- apologise if it appears twice.
    As with all conspiracy theories the historical facts are at once the object of obsessive centuries old arguments. The spelling of a name, we do not know much about him personally, his education and that fact he was not of noble birth.
    All this is besides the point, the story is what matters: Tragic love, unrequited love,
    scheming grandees , concealed documents, kings driven mad and tragic noblemen etc. Yet to those who wish to besmirch Shakespeare, the man who for his brief moment in time represented the creative genius of the human mind and the frailty
    of the human soul, they could not understand that genius can bloom is such prosaic
    circumstances.
    I now must eschew this place…arrivederci..

    • Kitty MLB

      Before I leave may I say that none of these doubters can actually prove a
      thing, they think that their little tales make a better story then the works of the great man . Very misguided indeed. Yet it saddens me that Dickens, Freud ,
      and Twain and many other creative people also doubted

      • Dominic Hughes

        Dickens was not a doubter. As for Twain, he wrote in his personal notes that Milton was the actual author of Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’.

        • Kitty MLB

          Then I most humbly apologize sir, in that
          I was incorrect. And I am glad to be so.

          • Dominic Hughes

            No apology is necessary at all. The anti-Stratfordians often make an argument by appeal to celebrity,and some of the celebrities they cite were not really doubters at all [such as Orson Welles].

            • Kitty MLB

              I must thank you most graciously sir.
              Although the Dickensian, suffocating, miasmic
              foggy gloom of a certain gentleman’s great
              literature will never make my soul sing.
              That gentleman has gone up in my estimations
              because of what I have just been told.

      • Greg Koch

        I think many have proven many things. Whether you ignore their opinion is entirely voluntary.

        A long time ago actor David Garrick put on a festival in Stratford to drum up interest for an unknown low-IQ farmer who had lived and passed there (unacknowledged by Elizabeth I).

        His name was Shaksper. Close enough. It worked.

        Now a few blokes come along in the 21st century and really know how to spoil a good joke. They’re declaring they doubt a low-IQ farmer could compose the great plays and poems.

        The defense of Garrick’s farmer? Sure he could barely write so someone else wrote for him. A collaboration. – He copied his lines from others. He was a copycat. Others led the way and he followed in a buckbasket. Others created the thousands of Latin/Greek derived words and metaphors while he hung with Italian ladies and learned everything about the high life.

        Makes sense. Yep.

        • Tom Reedy

          It’s really illogical to blame Shakespeare for that food poisoning you got from eating that funnel cake at Stratford 20 years ago.

        • Kitty MLB

          So please do tell, who was the renowned poet and writer
          called Shakespeare who was around at the same period of time ( bare in mine the name Shakespeare, with its various
          Elizabethan spelling was quite a popular name ) as this
          Shaksper, I suppose people had obvious differences in character even back in those old days.
          Do you suppose we have two imposters, with Shaksper being
          the real poet and writer? Who the devil was the other well
          known fellow?

          • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

            “bare in mine.” That’s not quite as good as “bare in mind,” which appeared on a prior discussion of this topic.

            Bear in mind that scholarship on Elizabethan anonymous (including pseudonymous) authorship has made great strides in the past 15 years, with several good books. But please don’t feel you need to read any of them. If you’re content to uphold tradition, be our guest. Just don’t attack us for being curious to learn more about this issue.

            For anyone else reading this who does want to learn things they don’t already know, I’ve reviewed some of those books on my website.

            • Kitty MLB

              Apologies for the typos, and thank you for your good manners
              in chastisement. None of you are under attack, just a little
              skirmish. I can tell you the Greeks and Romans had a fair share of those. I am sure you have read the great Cicero.
              On second thoughts, please don’t.
              Might check out your webpage, and these books but shall
              always remain a traditionalist.

              • Greg Koch

                Do you mean Garrick’s tradition?

                Possibly Garrick started up the festival for the sake of his grandchildren, but I kind of doubt it. He seemed to enjoy the here and now too much. – He wouldn’t have paid much thought to his bad candidate for Great Poet.

                In fact, the old low-IQ farmer, Shaksper, was masterful in that he instantly made Garrick look glamorous.

                This portrait of David Garrick should help (Edward Matthew Ward, at the Tate)… http://bit.ly/1ifwaNb

      • psi2u2

        Before I leave may I say that none of these doubters can actually prove a thing

        Um, google is your friend. You are arguing against a straw woman of your own construction: http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/‎

      • hewardwilkinson

        Kitty MLB hi – have you read ‘Dickens Beyond Doubt’? now there’s a book! I also recommend ‘Byron Beyond Doubt’, and ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins Beyond Doubt’ and ‘Keats Beyond Doubt’!
        If you tell me these books do not exist…. I might weaken and agree with you. If so, why do they not? Because there REALLY IS no doubt!
        If there is no doubt, no one needs to argue it. No one, except philosophers like me, will argue that the sun will rise tomorrow. No one is lamenting the decline of faith in the sun rising, or deploring that people doubt that Dickens wrote Dickens, and Mark Twain wrote Mark Twain – SORRY slipped up there – but they DO lament the decline of faith in Christianity, just as you lament the doubts of Freud and Dickens and Henry James etc etc in Shakespeare – because it HAS become a faith…. And where there is faith there is doubt, there is an issue.
        Tom Reedy complains that the problem is unsolved after 90 years since Oxford was named. The Authorship Question, – for the scientific era, was first named in 1838, – by no less than John Payne Collier (why WAS Stratfordian theory riddled with fogeries in the nineteenth century?):
        https://archive.org/details/traditionaryane00dowdgoog
        So its AT LEAST 175 years and counting? What kind of problem stays unsolved that long? a religious one! We are dealing with a cult here – and there are elements of that in ALL our positions though most pronounced in the Stratfordian. Enough!

    • psi2u2

      It is not a matter of “defending” or “criticizing” Shakespeare or, for that matter, indulging in “conspiracy theories.” Read up. You need to do some homework, as the debate has moved beyond the assumptions you make. The links I posted above may help you to get started. Good luck.

      • Kitty MLB

        Thank you most kindly Sir. I see you have rather a lot to say about
        the great man and those who have an opinion on him, mainly in the US. But I really non interested in anti- Shakespearean theories.
        Or anyone who disparages a supporter of Shakespeare with the words: ‘ What your team cannot show is that Shakespeare was
        more literate then – possibly -being able to write his own name’.
        So there is a book named Shakespeare Beyond Doubt- intriguing,
        thank you most kindly.

        • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/waugamar/ Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

          What exactly does “anti-Shakespearean” mean? Against the works of Shakespeare? Really?

          Look, we’ve moved on. Please call us what we call ourselves: “post-Stratfordian.” We are so over the chap from Stratford. Who never spelled his name Shakespeare, much less Shake-speare, or Shake-Speare (as the author’s name was spelled at various times).

          All we want is for the true author to get the credit he deserves. You seem to be against that. So it’s you who are the real “anti-Shakespearean.”

          Once again, a Stratfordian argument turns out to be based on projection.

          • Kitty MLB

            Yes indeed sir. There was a difference between the printed
            and the written word in the Elizabethan period. The latter being somewhat confusing, with even the most simple
            of names spelt in a magnitude of different ways. Whereas
            the printed version as we all know is closer to our modern version. ” Shakespeare ” or ” Shakes- Peare” preferred in printed version with ” Shakespere” being preferred in the written word.
            So if William Shakespeare was not the renowned Bard of
            Stratford who wrote the works published beneath his name,
            then, pray tell me sir, who might it be ?
            Edward De Vere maybe? he has always been a favourite.
            Perhaps my dear learned gentleman there new names in the offering?
            ‘ Full of Sound and Fury” a clue maybe ?

      • Kitty MLB

        Also Sir, A learned gentleman like yourself holding a Masters Degree
        in Anthropology prior to your PhD in Comparative Literature applauding uncouth cretin for using the words ‘ Stratford- Upon – Disney’. Maybe a little beneath the American Gentleman in whom
        I happen to be addressing.
        Shakespeare was Shakespeare, but I suppose in 500 years time
        there will be still be doubters and yet Shakespeare will still be
        remembered even then. Those who previously doubted forgotten
        in the midst of time.

        • Alexander Waugh

          I don’t think anyone in the world disagrees with you when you write “Shakespeare was Shakespeare.” So? “George Orwell was George Orwell” but you get nowhere near the identity of “George Orwell” by stating the obvious.

          I certainly join the learned gentleman in applauding whosoever wrote of Stratford-upon-Disney – the museums and merchandising in around that town are a disgrace regardless of whether or not “Shakespeare was Shakespeare.”

          • Kitty MLB

            I assumed the learned gentleman was applauding whosoever for disparaging the name of Shakespeare.
            But if the vituperation was against those ghastly little
            shops with their ‘ Shakespeare Memorabilia’ in the shape
            key rings and whatever shape of tacky balderdash they can find to make money then I agree and owe him an apology.

          • hewardwilkinson

            Alexander I had the great pleasure today, discussing with Duncan Salkeld, of discovering that, according to Wikipedia, Cyril Connolly went to school with George Orwell. Now fancy that!
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_Connolly
            Tom will clean it up for us soon enough, can’t have pseudonyms going to school with real people, can we? Amazing it is how these pseudonyms catch on!!

        • psi2u2

          I am not sure who you are calling an “uncouth cretin,” but you should know that as a matter of principle I do not take seriously the opinions of persons whose arguments rely upon such abusive terminology. You need to read some books. You come across as a complacent, self-satisfied name calling academic.

          • Kitty MLB

            I was most certainly not calling you an ” uncouth cretin” but
            one managed to attach themselves to you once while you
            were responding to articles at the New Statesman.
            I was not calling names, just a small skirmish. Shakespeare
            had a sense of humour old chap. He wrote the words: ‘ Full
            of Sound and Fury’, just to torment his fellow man.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Thank yu for your input, Kitty. These guys… !

      • Kitty MLB

        Thanks Fergus, old fellow, although a humble scholar I would defend Shakespeare with my
        last breath, although I hopevthat will not be put to
        the test.
        Oh before I go apologies to you old stick and others
        for being more offfe beam then usual, just
        somewhat off colour to put itbmildly.
        And know someone is a kipper now, but hope he
        remembers to protect Hooky from the new comrades, do it for husky hugging Dave…

        • Fergus Pickering

          Oh I do hope you are soon better, Kitty. I think Hooky can look after himself. He likes a fight. I wouldn’t hug a husky myself. Like Socialists, they are inclined to bite the hand that feeds them. I’ll hug a cat. In fact I often do.

          • Kitty MLB

            Thank you. Unfortunately I don’t have a cat to
            hug helping the recuperation. But do have a
            Labrador( they are Conservative,unlike huskies)
            I suppose Hooky can take care of himself,
            a far worse situation is the case of casting
            pearl before swine, now that someone else
            is a kipper, that is almost sacrilege.

  • psi2u2

    Thanks for the excellent report.

    “Wit and fleet reasoning won the day as almost everyone at the packed tavern was willing, by the end, to concede that the Shakespeare Authorship Question deserves to be studied in schools and universities.”

    Its about time. Here are some further resources:

    http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/

    http://firstfoliopictures.com/

    • Fergus Pickering

      Studied in schools? It would be good if the plays were studied in schools. Long ago, after six years secondary schooling, I had read A Midsummer Night’s dream, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Hamlet and Julius Caesar. I had also acted in Coriolanus and Othello. I knew by heart hundreds of lines. How many plays does a schoolchild of today know? And you want them to study the authorship non-question?

      • Kitty MLB

        Good luck with bothering with psi2u2. I encounter him and his ilk,
        rather a lot ( with my full name, not this one) all over the world and I
        have never received a sensible answer yet. Just ‘ Oh you are just a narrow- minded
        Cambridge type, and a traditionalist who refuses to see the light’.
        Its tedious after a while, and if answered your question honestly, he
        would say not many Shakespearean plays, as they have been overlooked for decades.
        By the way Fergus, he always writes these books and the likes of
        David Kathman and Tom Reedy produce books to prove him wrong,
        and then he starts again- a never ending circle.
        The book he recommends’ Shakespeare beyond Doubt’,
        What can I say, in words that a fellow like you will understand. Poetry, Music and Art may be nectar for the soul, chicken soup when needed,
        all things that are of beauty and value, but that book and all of his
        are word poisoning and create no joy.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Thank you, Kitty. Blithering idiocy, I think. They are like Nationalist Scotsmen. Nothing will shut them up.

          • Kitty MLB

            I know what will, when they leave this earthy plane and stamp around heaven all sound and fury. The first chap they
            see wearing a ruff, they will ask: ‘Pray tell me , are you the
            real Bard of Stratford’ and the answer will be ‘ Don’t know
            you tell me’.
            After that, I shall go and have a rest, will listen to Elgar, read Wendy Cope
            ( I adore her style ) and eat scrambled Eggs.
            Food, Music and Poetry, must all, I believe have the right combination. Even Shakespeare. (I struggle with Larkin and Shelley) cannot get it right.

            • Fergus Pickering

              You’ve forgotten the drink, surely. A glass of chilled Moselle I suggest.

              • Kitty MLB

                Some instinctavely know which wine would
                go beautifully with the correct poetry
                (how foolish to forget the drink, knew there
                was something missing) an excellent
                recommendation, thank you.

    • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

      “Wit and fleet reasoning won the day as almost everyone at the packed tavern was willing, by the end, to concede that the Shakespeare Authorship Question deserves to be studied in schools and universities.”

      Pish.

      Fortunately, the number of these anti-educational obscurantists has now dwindled to the point that it’s getting difficult to study Oxfordianism in the upstairs bars of small East End pubs.

      And, as usual, Oxfordian man speaks with forked tongue and head in sand. Authorship matters are the new hot subject in the study of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre. The period collaborative workshop is front and centre, making it between 10.7 and 427.9 times more obvious that Earls and dead people have no DNA in the new British Theatrical Genome that the academy is building.

      Teaching schoolchildren that an Earl who died in 1604 may have written Shakespeare is exactly equivalent to teaching them that witches and wizards are real or that the moon is made of green cheese.

      • Kitty MLB

        O superbly said. The issue is this chap and his other
        Eternally obsessed likeminded drones, really do believe the moon is made out of blue cheese,
        and they probably think the man on the moon
        is indeed the ‘real’ Shakespeare.

        • Greg Koch

          Kitty, There are a mountain of facts that have been compiled by authorship societies to create a more realistic biography of the real Shakespeare. Unfortunately, the low-IQ Stratford farmer just didn’t have enough moxie to even vie as a candidate. He would never be able to entertain Elizabeth’s court audiences for approximately an entire decade of plays.

          Even the failed playwright Fletcher who was credited for Merry Wives of Windsor proved to us how lousy he was – and it certainly is painfully obvious to Shakespeare lovers.

          Rationalize it this way: Renaissance courtiers were too demanding – far more than today’s visually impaired audience. One had to have significant training before ever deciding to entertain them.

          Courtiers were the super-educated minority of the time. Their credo still backed the more Greek-Roman aristocratic prerogative, and Shakespeare often introduced the more Christian and democratic leader filled with self-doubt and being far too considerate of his fellow man. No matter, the perspective emanated from nobility and a greater understanding of their Renaissance transition.

          It would all be positively boring, like reality TV, if the plays focused instead on the common folk. That fact alone is why the prince of Wales remains desperate to find something in the Stratford man’s background that can convince his dad to believe.

      • Szabó Sándor

        (Killing) irony will not decide this debate. As I can see, actually it makes things worse. It’s much more difficult to disarm when the real and final truth comes out.

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh give it a rest will you.
          So what we don’t know that much about Shakespeare.
          To know everything removes the mysticism of life and leaves
          one bereft. Besides the fact that you are wrong and have been following the path that many have before and will in the future.
          What you are trying to do is wreck peoples faith in someone
          who has created so much joy. And that should be morally wrong.

          • Szabó Sándor

            As to the path I follow: of course you don’t know anything about it. Those knowing my absolutely new path are enthusiastic, among them -as I’ve written more times- confirmed stratfordians. I hope everybody will see it within a not long time. Firstly the hungarian Shakespeare-scholars, then the world.
            The moral side is much more difficult. I don’t know for example, what will happen to the people living mainly from Shakespeare in and around Stratford-on-Avon. There are arguments against making the real and irrefutable truth visible, I admit. But I guess once this war should be over.

            • Kitty MLB

              I am not speaking about morality in the sense of those making
              money( what’s moral about that ) I am speaking of the morality of faith and making the soul sing and what the likes of Shakespeare leave the world. You may be happy if you find
              what you wish, but others will be bereft. If you found ‘ proof’
              that God didn’t exist, I am sure you would reveal that too.
              joy for others.

              • Kitty MLB

                Oh, the last three words were a mistake..

                • Tom Reedy

                  You can edit your posts. Click on the “edit” just below the post you want to change.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Thank you, but I was using the mobile when sending that.
                  And it doesn’t allow me to edit, for some befuddling reason.

              • Szabó Sándor

                “The likes of Shakespeare” – so you include Oxford either. How good it is…
                You keep accusing me, but this is your street, not mine. You don’t know what I’d do with God, so on. When I sent my results to the chief Shakespeare translator of my country, his response was ” I’m totally uninterested in the topic, what matters is the works themselves, and they remain the same.” Let’s stick to this argument.
                Peace with us.

            • KateSawyer

              Sorry I am coming late to this, but are you saying Shakespeare is a Hungarian?

              • Szabó Sándor

                As to the numbers of oxen in Hungary – maybe :)

                Apart from this, no. Just the scholars are Hungarian, who have invited me (based on my discoveries) for a lecture, to be held by me, in the near future.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Szabo – my email is: alexanderwaugh@me.com

          Please keep me informed of developments. I am very interested to see the fruits of your investigations. With best wishes, Alexander

  • Szabó Sándor

    Edward de Vere wrote the plays and the poems, and the world will see the _real_ proof soon.

    • Tom Reedy

      Will it be before I die? We’ve been waiting more than 90 years now. It will take a lot more than an imaginative comic book conspiracy to overcome the documented historical record.

      • calendar

        I hope it isn’t before you die, Tom.

        See what I did there? Elizabethan literature is full of clever word tricks such as the one I just played on you. Your side depends on ignoring their existence. Your side might always win the debate among those who don’t understand allusion, or who fall victim to circular reasoning.

        • Tom Reedy

          Well you better hurry up and trot it out, Chris. I’m not getting any younger.

          “It is clear for all that a new era of Shakespearian studies is about to open. The scepticism about the man of Stratford is spreading in spite of the resistance of the defence-quarters of the tradition. Quantity of beliefs long time accepted as dogmas are on their way out: the block is cracking.”

          — Abel Lefranc (1918)

          • Szabó Sándor

            Tom, if everything goes well, then surely – though I don’t know your medical record :) The time horizont I can foresee is, that the world will not celebrate the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death date. You know it’s a real lonesome fight. I have proof no one else does.

            • Michelle Mauler

              Why should we not celebrate it? Just move the date and add a few lines about the great service William Shaksper of Stratford on Avon did, first for De Vere and his daughters, as a front, and then through the next 400 years, keeping Shakespeare anonymous, allowing him to become a free resource for all, rather than property of any one publisher or person. Visit both Stratford, and Hedingham–the mask, and behind the mask. No need to stop celebrating. A rose by any other name, still smells as sweet.

        • Kitty MLB

          Tom’s side will always win the debate because, his side have
          produced factual evidence that Shakespeare is not an imposter.
          But that will not stop those like you. People who are ,apologies
          for repeating myself ( looking for that I am Spartacus moment)
          You study every word, looking for that breakthrough.
          Unfortunately it has never happened and will never happen.

    • Dominic Hughes

      What is this “real proof” you speak of and how does it serve to supplant the real evidence which supports the attribution of the works to Mr. William Shakespeare of Stratford, the man who was an actor in the acting companies that put on Shakespeare’s plays and was a shareholder in the theaters where the plays were performed.

      • Szabó Sándor

        Please read my latest comment. Some minor addition: the author, the person who wrote the lines, hid his real name in the works. No fancy computer-puzzles, just and only 2-3 step-long way of hiding, which anybody could follow 400 years ago – even better than we do, for all that.. And he (surely with the help of those supporting him) created a real net, the eyes of which connect to each other in such a clever way, which is worthy of a “Shakespeare” – that is of a person who wrote the works. Stay tuned.

        • Tom Reedy

          Aha! A name hidden in the works! Why has nobody ever thought of that before?

          • Szabó Sándor

            I don’t really see your point. Lots of people have thought of that during the centuries.

            • Alexander Waugh

              Dear Szabo, Tom Reedy uses a lot of exclamations like ‘Aha!’ and ‘Uh’ also a great deal of sarcasm, so it is never easy to understand what he is trying to convey. I agree with you it is very off-putting and often hard to understand, especially when he uses exclamatory words without regard to their established meanings, but if you ask him to write clearly to you I think you will find him him obliging. He has been good to me on that front, Alexander

              • Szabó Sándor

                Dear Alexander (my name in hungarian is the same – Sándor, as in my country the name is written in reverse order),
                I understood clearly what he wanted to convey, but thank you for your response. He wanted to express what a fool I am that I think I’ve done something new. No, I don’t think so. Except for one thing: no one else has found what Oxenford concealed.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Thanks Szabo – I realized you were Hungarian. If you want to follow the argument about Tom Reedy’s use of ‘Uh’ you need to visit the Atlantic blog at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/has-shakespeares-own-dictionary-been-found/361019/

                  Alas no one can be expected to show any interest or excitement about your discovery until you reveal it. When will that be?

                  Alexander

                • Szabó Sándor

                  If I’m correct, you could have heard them last year in Toronto. It was not my fault that finally I was not allowed to give a talk out of agenda. It’s a sad story.
                  Anyhow, if you can transmit a way how to send you something, I’ll do my best. Otherwise: it depends on the speed of things which are out of my power. The first step will be the aforementioned talk to the Shakespeare-scholars of my country. Among them there’s say a professor from the Vassar University, so should I succeed, I think the news will spread ina short time.

                • Kitty MLB

                  These discoveries are like a handful of sand, they all come
                  to nothing as they always have and always will.
                  You are chasing the wind, dear chap, quite fruitless.

                • Szabó Sándor

                  Maybe not. Anyhow, thank you for your well wishing.

                • Kitty MLB

                  I do wish you well as you and others chase shadows in the dark, looking for what you see
                  as the “truth”. Although I do hope all the mere
                  defenders of Shakespeare, the one and only
                  will forgive those who open the curtains to bring
                  some daylight to the subject.

                • Szabó Sándor

                  Of course I’m not chasing anything. I’ve found the truth, and don’t need any forgiveness, thank you.

                • Kitty MLB

                  You have found the truth, please reveal this
                  mysterious being. And rock the cultural world.
                  Shall wait with baited breath.And apologies
                  for my English, I did not imply that you
                  needed forgiveness, but others who
                  forever prove you wrong, but maybe we
                  don’t also.

                • Szabó Sándor

                  I will reveal, some time we need. But the register of my discoveries can be seen at the link below. Set the date to ‘2013.09.25’ (exactly this way) and the 3rd register is mine.

                  http://epub.hpo.hu/e-kutatas/?lang=EN

                  It says in english: “The solution of the Shakespeare-authorship problem”. The next step will be to have my country’s Shakespeare-scholars by my side. It’s underway. And then as I plan, there comes the break-through.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Oh do remember to keep me informed,
                  I am waiting…….

      • Alexander Waugh

        ‘Dominic’ since you are sounding so confident today perhaps you can furnish the readers of this blog with your ‘real proof’ that William Shakspere of Stratford had any formal education and could even read a book. When you have done that let us then move to your ‘real proof’ that he wrote Othello – or was it Yorkshire Tragedy? – either will do. Alexander

        • Dominic Hughes

          Alexander, Are you admitting here that you are unaware of the real evidence [a careful reader would have noticed that I said nothing about proof] which serves to establish and support a prima facie for the proposition that WS of Stratford wrote the works of Shakespeare? Are you asking me to educate you about that case; if so, I’m afraid this isn’t the proper venue to go through all of that evidence and demonstrate to you how that evidence works.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Just the evidence for Shakspere of Stratford’s education will do. AW

            • Dominic Hughes

              Frankly, AW, I must admit to being a bit surprised that you are asking such an ill-informed question. I thought that everyone who had spent even a minimal amount of time reading on this subject was aware of the fact that the records for the Stratford grammar school for the period had not survived.

              Now I know that there are some anti-Stratfordians who like to use this fact in the same manner that creationists make a god of the gaps in our knowledge of evolution. I trust you are not in that group. I have yet to see any Oxenfordian of the “god of the gaps” variety offer an explanation as to how the gap in our knowledge as to Shakespeare’s possible education logically and reasonably serves to rebut direct, documentary evidence which establishes the prima facie case that WS of Stratford was the author.

              • Alexander Waugh

                So you concede that Shakspere ‘o Stratford has no record of education at the the Stratford Grammar School – good (some of your fellow Strats like to hide that fact). Let us then examine the probability that Stratford Shakspere did actually attend that school. Supporting your side of the argument we are told that as a burgher of the town his father, John Shakspere, would have been entitled to send his children there for free. But is it probable that he actually did that? As a man who could not sign his own name (and nor could his wife) John Shakspere does not appear from the record as particularly interested in education. Of his other children how many exhibited any sign of having been educated or literate? Was John Shakspere not a butcher or glover or whittawer or wool dealer or whatever, with a wife and many hungry mouths to feed? Would he really have preferred to send his son to the local grammar school than have him serve as apprentice in one of his businesses? From the record alone your case looks bleak. And why, if education was important to the Shaksperes and if Will Shakspere had prospered so well by writing plays, did he (Will) not teach his own daughter, Judith, to sign her name? Why was his other daughter, Susanna, not able to recognize her own husband’s handwriting? Now come on, give me just a snippet of what you call the ‘direct documentary evidence which established the prima facie case that WS of Stratford was the author.’ Any one little bit of it will do. So far, you have only revealed what we all already know – that there is no evidence of an education. Surely you can do better than that!

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I must have been mistaken…it appears that you do believe that a gap in the documentary record does serve to rebut actual physical evidence. I realize that you believe that your speculations qualify as evidence, but in the real world they do not.

                  I continue to be surprised by your lack of knowledge of the subject, Alexander. Are you truly unaware of the document which bears the signature of Shakespeare’s younger brother, Gilbert? Have you never heard of primogeniture, AW…do you think this concept was foreign to the gentry in Shakespeare’s day? From the record alone it appears that the younger brother of WS was literate…your notion that his older brother would not have received such an education is hard to fathom. If WS did attend the grammar school he would have received a much deeper education in the classics and in latin than your Lord ever did. We have documentary evidence showing that de Vere had two hours of Latin instruction per day, and spent just as much time on fencing, dancing, and French. A schoolboy in the Stratford grammar school would have been immersed in Latin all day every day.

                  The fact that you need me to provide you with the evidence explains quite a bit about your confusion? If you insist. Drive over to Stratford and take a gander at the monument in the church. Crack open a copy of the First Folio. Read Jonson’s ‘Timber’. Read Sir Richard Baker, who was a contemporary of Shakespeare and wrote a book on the theatre of his day…he identified WS and Ben Jonson as playwrights who were also actors. What makes you think that you know better than Sir Richard? Now all of this is mighty superficial [owing to the venue in which it appears], and more complex proofs could be provided, but you only asked for some of the evidence.

                  Now, it is your turn. Please supply just one piece of direct evidence which tends to show that your Lord was the author of the Shakespeare works. When you are unable to do that why don’t you furnish the readers of this blog with what you consider to be the most relevant and probative pieces of circumstantial evidence for your claim…two or three would suffice.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  A supposed signature of Gilbert Shakespeare is no evidence that he attended the Stratford Grammar School or that his father was interested in education. In any case your remark about primogeniture implies that you think he sent only his oldest son (Will) to the school.

                  Richard Baker whom you cite in defense of the Stratfordian position was a criminal who wrote his Chronicle (in which your allusion occurs) during a very long period in prison. As you well know that book was so full of rubbish that Thomas Blount had to write a long volume entirely dedicated to correcting all of Baker’s foolish and crooked inaccuracies. That you should bother to drag out this discredited volume published more than quarter of a century after the death of Will Shakspere of Stratford is a sure sign of how desperate your case really is. AW

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Spin, spin, spin….that is what desperate people like you do when confronted with actual evidence. Baker was not a criminal…he was a man who took on the debts of his wife’s family and so ended up in debtor’s prison. And thank you for further proving my case…Thomas Blount, who spent a great deal of time and effort addressing the errors in Baker’s work, never contradicted Baker’s assertion that Shakespeare the actor was also Shakespeare the author.

                  I would ask that you not tell me what my remarks “imply” as my remarks were straightforward. If John Shakespeare saw the value in sending his younger son to school, it seems probable [since we are engaging in speculation] that he also did so for his eldest son.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Dear “Hughes” You are very welcome to believe your geriatric jail-bird Baker of 1643 who says that Shakespeare was both actor and writer (many Oxfordians agree with that by the way). Most Stratfordians are not so credulous as to hold this book up as primary evidence for anything. What did your star witness know of actors and writers anyway? In the first five pages entitled ‘Catalogue of Writers Both Ancient and Moderne” Baker made 29 errors of fact all corrected by Blount in 1672. In the very paragraph that contains your Shakspere witness statement Baker calls the famous Roman actor Roscius ‘Boscius’. You say that Blount did not correct Baker’s point about Shakespeare but as Blount himself admitted in the preface to his book he (Blount) ‘does not take in a third of what is justifiably liable to exception.’ In other words there are over three times more errors in Baker’s book than even the huge number that Blount itemized. Blount by the way did not correct the Boscius-Roscius error. So I suppose you believe the actor was really called Boscius do you? Come on, find a better piece of evidence to back your man. A

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Dear A: Are you being intentionally misleading or are you just ill-informed? The actual title of the passage is “A Catalougue of Writers both ancient and modern, out of whom this Chronicle hath been collected.” The errors in this section compiled by Blount have absolutely nothing to do with mistakes as to any playwrights or writers who were Baker’s contemporaries, as were Shakespeare and Jonson.

                  You ask what Baker would have known of actors and writers…are you really unaware of the fact that he also wrote “Theatrum Redivium” [“The Theatre Vindicated”, a response to William Prynne’s ] antitheatrical text, “Histriomastix”?

                  As for “Boscius” you might want to do a bit of research on that. If I recall correctly, “Boscius” and “Roscius” were used interchangeably, and I think this goes all the way back to Cicero. Again, if memory serves, I think you may find that certain editions of Shakespeare’s play also use “Boscius” in a couple of references. It seems that Baker, even in his old age and in debtor’s prison, knew better than you.

                  I am still waiting for you to produce even a single piece of circumstantial evidence for your Lord. There is no direct evidence.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  When you ask an Oxfordian for direct evidence, Dominic, you know what is coming next.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Silence.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  IN RESPECTFUL IMITATION OF YOUR PREVIOUS POST:

                  Dear S: Are you being intentionally misleading or are you just ill-informed? The actual title of Baker’s book in defense of theatre was ‘Theatrum Redivivum’. This book has absolutely nothing to do with any playwrights who were Baker’s contemporaries, as were Shakespeare and Jonson. You bring up this book in answer to my question ‘what did Baker know of actors and writers?’ Can you tell me how many contemporary playwrights are mentioned in it? Can you
                  tell me which contemporary actors? Well I shall spare you the trouble of finding out by answering my questions for
                  you: Baker gives passing praise, in two short sentences, to Alleyn and Burbage displaying no indication that he knew
                  anything about them as actors or as people or had anything original to say about them. All he seems to know is that
                  they were famous for being good actors – well we all know that! In the whole book he does not name or allude to a single contemporary playwright – no Shakespeare, no Jonson, nothing. So I return to my question ‘what did Baker know of actors and writers?’

                  I pointed out to you that Baker made 29 recorded mistakes in 5 pages about writers. You say this does not count because those writers were not Shakespeare or Jonson.
                  What is an intellegent person to make of this non-logic? You mean if he had been writing about Shakespeare and Jonson he would not have made so many errors? Is that your point?

                  Your suggestion that ‘”Boscius” and “Roscius” were used interchangeably’ is pure nonsense and you know it. No work of reference has ever called the Roman actor ‘Boscius’. Shakespearean scholar, C. M. Ingilby, wrote that Baker’s error was a misprint – I contend it was ignorance – you say it was deliberate because Roscius and Boscius were same the same to Baker. You write: “It seems that Baker, even in his old age and in debtor’s prison, knew better than you.” Perhaps you can explain then why Baker referred to the actor as ‘Roscius’ seven times in that same book which you choose to call Theatrum Redivium [sic] of 1662 – and never as Boscius? Baker is a very dodgy witness for the Stratfordians. Most of them jettison him and I think you should too.

                  I will most happily provide you with some evidence for Edward de Vere when we have cleaned up the mess you are making of Baker. Alexander

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Who is S, and why are you speaking to him? As for Roscius, please read what I actually wrote above…your claim that Baker made a mistake as to the actor’s name in the paragraph that I have cited is flat-out wrong. Was Baker correct as to Ben Jonson having been both an actor and a playwright? That alone is evidence that Baker knew of actors and writers who were his contemporaries. That alone is more real evidence than you have.

                  Let’s see now. You say that Baker got the name of the actor right on seven occasions, and then you claim that there is one instance where Boscius appears [although this is not shown in the edition which I have cited]…and you then claim that this one alleged instance is due to “ignorance”. What is an intelligent person to make of this non-logic?

                  I notice that you simply skip past Blount’s praise of Baker’s Chronicle — next in your Oxenfordian desperation you’ll be telling us that he didn’t know what he was talking about any more than Baker. Of course, Baker’s statement was just one of the pieces of evidence I cited above. So far, you haven’t produced one iota of evidence. Are you willing to concede that there isn’t a single bit of direct evidence supporting your theory, before you supply what you think qualifies as circumstantial evidence?

                • Alexander Waugh

                  S and D are interchangeable in the ether, don’t you know? Just like R and B in your fuddled mind. If you wish to keep believing that Roscius was really called “Boscius” and that Baker is a reliable source of evidence for anything, then carry on doing so, but leave serious scholars out of it. I have laid out many sound reasons why Baker’s testimony should be treated with caution but you are determined to cling to the raft. As the last plank submerges I expect we shall hear you cry: ‘Oh why was I such a Rig Raby as to believe in that rullshitter Bichard Raker?’ Of why of why…

                • Dominic Hughes

                  I wish that you would reply to what I actually wrote [perhaps you could read it again above]. I don’t believe that Roscius was called Boscius and I don’t believe that Baker called him Boscius [as to your reading of “Boscius” for “Roscius” we must be looking at different editions of Baker’s work, as the one I am looking at right now clearly references “Roscius the Comedian”]. As you have pointed out, Baker knew what the Roman actor’s name was and wrote it correctly seven times.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Sly S: This is what you have just written: “I don’t believe that Roscius was called Boscius and I don’t believe that Baker called him Boscius” And now I shall quote the message that you originally posted on this site: “As for “Boscius” you might want to do a bit of research on that. If I recall correctly, “Boscius” and “Roscius” were used interchangeably, and I think this goes all the way back to Cicero. Again, if memory serves, I think you may find that certain editions of Shakespeare’s play also use “Boscius” in a couple of references. It seems that Baker, even in his old age and in debtor’s prison, knew better than you.”

                  You have since edited that message, deleted all your absurd assertions that Roscius was Boscius, and now deny you ever made them. Worse than that you have the gall to post to me: “I wish that you would reply to what I actually wrote [perhaps you could read it again above].” You are a dishonest fellow and rotten scholar. The only purpose in my posting to this blog is to establish a record of the authorship debate, but if you are going to tamper with the record and lie about it, then I must leave you to your little raft of Boscius and Baker and get on with other things, Alexander

                • Dominic Hughes

                  You are sadly mistaken as to the chronology. No tampering and no lies. I edited what I had originally written within minutes of first posting it. There was a full two hours between my post as edited and your response. I can’t help it if you are too lazy to follow up. Of course, you are now using this side issue to dodge answering the question as to what, if any, evidence supports your silly claims….probably because, deep down, even you realize that you have no evidence, even of the circumstantial variety.

                • Alexander Waugh

                  Sly S: This is what you have just written: “I don’t believe that Roscius was called Boscius and I don’t believe that Baker
                  called him Boscius” And now I shall quote the message that you originally posted on this site: “As for “Boscius” you might want to do a bit of research on that. If I recall correctly, “Boscius” and “Roscius” were used interchangeably, and I think this goes all the way back to Cicero. Again, if memory serves, I think you may find that certain editions of Shakespeare’s play also use “Boscius” in a couple of
                  references. It seems that Baker, even in his old age and in debtor’s prison, knew better than you.”

                  You have since edited that message, deleted all your
                  absurd assertions that Roscius was Boscius, and now deny you ever made them. Worse than that you have the gall to post to me: “I wish that you would reply to what I actually wrote [perhaps you could read it again above].” You are a dishonest fellow and rotten scholar hiding behind a false name. Shame on you! The purpose of my posting to
                  this blog is to establish a record of the authorship debate, but if you are going to tamper with the record and lie about it, then I must leave you to your raft of “Boscius” and Baker and get on with other things, Alexander

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Your silence as to the evidence is fast becoming an admission that you have none.

                • Dominic Hughes

                  Another question for you: what are the page numbers of the five pages from the Chronicle which you contend contain 29 errors as to writers?

          • Szabó Sándor

            Dominic, it’s no proof that the Shake-Speare name can be seen. But you are right: the opposite side hase no real proof, either. I do have, please be patient.

            • Dominic Hughes

              Szabo…is it a code? Equidistant letter sequencing, perhaps? Give us a hint if you please.

              • Szabó Sándor

                Nothing like that – I would never regard that a real proof, nor the stratfordians. Just and only information which those living 400 years ago could have found out. Oxenford’s aim was something like that.
                I sent one small part of my documents to one of the persons taking part in this argument. If he wants to make a remark about the correctness of my claim, all right. But not about the nature of the proof. You surely understand, it’s valuable, so I should find an official coming out with it. It’s underway.

                • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

                  This is a relatively recent but depressingly popular tactic adapted by sufferers of the Oxfordian delusion. “I have convincing evidence but only I have seen it so far and no one apse can until I’ve written it up”

                  Would it be correct, therefore, to say that “there IS evidence but it is all currently invisible?”

                • Szabó Sándor

                  I understand your depression and scepticism. As I’ve written previously, I’ve registered my discoveries – the expert was totally amused. A presentation is underway, to be held by me, organized by internationally acknowledged stratfordians, who now stand by my side, having seen my documents.
                  Stay tuned – if you want to. So my answer is: no, it would not be correct.

                • Szabó Sándor

                  This is the first time I’ve seen your http://www.oxfraud.com/.It's a nice page, with lot of work. Sorry, I’m not an impostor – be prepared for the foreseeble future.

    • Tom Reedy

      “How much longer is the literary world going to be hypnotized by the absurd Stratford myth, which has been exposed over and over again? Why trust the blind scholarship which cannot even yet see that the actor Shakspeare was a mask used by the true author, whose pen-name was ‘Shake-speare’ — often thus hyphenated on early title-pages.

      “Students in many countries are fast revolting against the orthodox creed, and it is time the public should realize this and take their share in bringing the truth to light.

      “There is a large and rapidly increasing number of persons at the present day who, without having made any special study of the Shakespeare authorship problem, are yet sufficiently in touch with recent developments to realise that there certainly is a problem, and that it ranks as the most important literary question which has ever been raised.

      “In spite of the fact that professional Shakespearean scholars have hitherto treated this question with disdain, the public now has an uneasy feeling that these scholars may, after all, be wrong, as specialists not infrequently are. What if our professors prove to be blind leaders of the blind? Is the orthodox position as strong as they would have us believe? Is there not reason on the side of those who refuse to bow the knee to the Stratford idol? These are some of the questions which become more and more insistent and demand a satisfactory answer. Already an extensive literature on this subject is available, and for this very reason the enquirer often feels hesitation and difficulty, not knowing how or where to begin.”

      — Bertram Theobald, “Exit Shakespeare” (1930)

    • ADW

      Pity he died before a number of the plays were written, then …

      • Szabó Sándor

        No. You’ll see the truth.

      • Bruce Lewis

        You mean before they were published. The only way we can tell when they were WRITTEN is by textual analysis, and that is highly uncertain.

      • hewardwilkinson

        Seventeen plays, nearly half the plays, were not registered until 1622 or 1623, six/seven years after the death of the Stratford man – somehow the rules change for Stratfordians when that fact is considered. The material in the First Folio, which most Stratfordians rely on as gospel, though this is incompatible with the modern ‘collaboration’ model, says that the author ‘by death departed that office’ to ‘set forth and oversee his own writings. The Stratford man lived five years, on the Stratfordian timescale developed by Malone and Chambers, after Winter’s Tale, so that does not work either. Name on the Quartos and Folios – as others have said, that one is refuted by the Apocryphal plays. And I haven’t even reached the ambiguous status of the First Folio dear heart…..

    • Fergus Pickering

      Quite loopy. The world awaits with breath ever so slightly bated. Notice, people, each one of these fruitcakes has his own horse in the race. I think it was Queen Elizabeth wrote the things. At least she could write poems.

      • Szabó Sándor

        Just your two pence. You must be surely studying the problem for long.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Indeed it is. To me it’s not a problem, you see. The only mystery is people like you, Sandor. When did this bee first enter your bonnet?. Incidentally, I wouldn’t trust anybody in the Waugh family. A dubious lot.. Evelyn pretended to an aristocratic status he had not got. They are all trade, making money by scribbling any olod thing tht will get them noticed..

          • Szabó Sándor

            Up to this point I thought this to be a serious conversation with you. It’s over.

      • Kitty MLB

        She could, Fergus old stick. O resting is tiresome. In your kind opinion a small example – I graciously ask. Can this one that I found write.
        As She Sleeps
        Swimming in the sea of tranquillity
        Watching jewels of the night
        Constellations, brilliant and bright,
        Galaxies, comets and meteorites.
        The glory of a lunar rainbow
        The Icy halo of midnight.
        Whirling circles of refulgent light
        cascades across heavens delight.
        Selene shines with pale radiance,
        Supreme goddess of the night
        Her veiled beauty astounds the heavens.
        Arrows of diamonds cascade beyond sight.
        Yellows, Reds and Orange will dance with delight.
        As she awakens from her saffron bed,
        Blinding the stars with her radiance.
        In waves of light, as she races across the sky.
        Announcing the days new dawn.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Yes but she needs to ration the adjectives a bit unless she wants to write like H.P.Lovecraft or Edgar Allen Poe. Mind you…

          • Kitty MLB

            Never! the thought of writing like that will make her choke on
            the boiled egg & soldiers. Poe’s words in one of his poems:
            ‘ Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary’- such loneliness, darkness, tormented soul driven
            to despair.
            She would always wish to write with sunshine at her fingertips, E A Poe would cause frostbite. clearly
            she must always be careful.
            Thank you Fergus, your opinion is greatly appreciated,
            very much so.

      • Kitty MLB

        Oh apologies, old fellow. This blasted gadget as removed all the spaces.
        In between every fourth line there was supposed to be a gap.
        Assuming you venture back to this thread, its basically just
        Shakespeare and I these days.
        Shall get back to reading, God speed and batten down the hatches
        before those May elections.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Spaces are good. And Shakespeare and you are good company.I cam across abook in a secnd-hand bookshop proving that Marlowe wrote the plays. It was long and self-published. I left it lying in the same position.

          • Kitty MLB

            ‘I left it lying in the same position’ Oh the plight of the abandoned book in a box ( assume it was in one) stuffed
            amongst so many other ancient tomes, it will say to them:
            Prepare to fight ! I will v*mit on thy inferior words insolent
            mushrooms.
            Maybe it was on a oak table, all alone ( you said spaces
            were good) it will sit there dreaming of bookshelves.
            Then you turn up and the book says to you:
            let me be viewed by thee with thoughts and eyes effected,
            if then the flames do murmur, take me in thy possession.
            And you knowing that silence was the sharpest of swords
            walked away, as you left it in the same position.
            Well done Sir, you are a scholar and a gentleman,
            and appreciate that mystery is part of Shakespeare’s charm.

          • Kitty MLB

            Oh a correction ( if the spectator allows it, they blocked my very own sonnet sent to Dominic, clearly they are thinking
            of charging me rent for the amount of time I have been just on this thread)
            It was meant to say, if the flames do murmur quench them
            then the rest. Shakespeare would be glad you didn’t old
            fellow and would treat you to some nice pottage and mead-
            even seconds.

          • Kitty MLB

            O, I must apologise for my constant nonsense, I forget some
            are much older then me. Its just Moribund has visited
            quite often, people I know. I could have turned into a embittered and cold person.instead I am over the top and badger people, so apologise.
            When I next return, I shall find my common sense and serious genes and learn how to be conventional.
            thank you for always being a gentleman and never being rude.

            • Fergus Pickering

              I am never rude to ladies. Don’t be conventional. It will do you no good.

              • Kitty MLB

                Such a warm and nice old fellow as you, can never be rude to ladies.
                Conventional? to believe animals have souls, always wear odd socks and to be called “Kitty” since forever, instead of
                Isabella. Because I have the unfortunate characteristics of
                a small cat, suggests that word would always be a struggle and does none no good as you said dear Fergus. Anyway, who would chose to be one of life’s sheep.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Let us be two of life’s cats and do as we like.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Wholeheartedly Agree.

  • Adam Carter

    It doesn’t matter.
    The plays and poems stand on their own merits regardless of who wrote them.

    • calendar

      All’s Well is a so-called ‘problem play’ according to orthodox theory. Understand the true author, and it becomes great drama.

    • Kitty MLB

      It does matter which is why some vainglorious souls have been trying quite fruitlessly for decades to prove otherwise. Most are forgotten but in no
      doubt, 500 years from now there will people doing the same and
      Shakespeare will still be Shakespeare.

  • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

    Nice write up. Though I really don’t “insist” – I just think Marlowe is an interesting candidate whose case is not as ludicrous as it might at first appear.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well, if a dead man can write, you’re on to a winner.

      • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

        Quite.

    • Kitty MLB

      An interesting Idea, but maybe the Bard of Stratford could be a candidate
      for the Bard of Stratford.

      • Guest

        I would think he would be the leading candidate?

    • Kitty MLB

      Or in other words, stop chasing shadows that don’t exist.
      There is but one Shakespeare.

      • http://rosbarber.com/ Ros Barber

        You are very welcome, Kitty, to believe what you believe. No one is stopping you.

  • Bluesman_1

    Another author with the same name.

  • The Red Bladder

    Ladbrokes taking bets are they? I’ll have a tenner on Christopher Marlowe if they are.

    • Des Demona

      Wonder what the odds are on Anne Hathaway?

    • Fergus Pickering

      How will they pay out? Taking bets you never have to pay out for is splendid business.

      • The Red Bladder

        You’ll be telling me next that I’ve wasted all that dosh I splashed out on the world ending on June 1st. I got 500 to 1 you know, reckon I’ll clean up!

        • Fergus Pickering

          Can I get any odds on the world NOT ending on June 1st? Reckon I’d put a bit on that.

          • The Red Bladder

            I’ve got a guaranteed and certain method of making a small fortune from gambling. Trouble is it means starting off with a large fortune! Still we all live in hope!

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