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The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy

WAB

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Okay, nevermind the challenge. For my own benefit, I would like to talk with at least one accomplished poet, that's POET, not just writer, about the Oxford theory. You mention writers who reject Stratford: big whoop? Did they espouse the Oxford theory is the important thing for me, and is relevant for this thread because you and Moogly are Oxfordians, not just anti-Stratfordians.

Why it bothers me that I can't talk about the Oxford case with an accomplished poet is because I believe that a person who cannot see the gaping difference between De Vere's poetry and Shakespeare's will be far more inclined to believe all of the unfounded hype over Oxford.

Look at the opening monologue of Richard III, which I have posted upthread. I submit that no one with an ear for poetry will think that DeVere could have written that beautifully, that superbly.

It may not have been Stratford, so what? Okay, then it was someone who just happened to be the greatest poet in English, and this genius was hiding for some reason? Nobility seems a safe bet.

Sidney was superb, and a far better poet than Oxford, but alas, he died at Zutphen at 29 or so, so he couldn't have done it. The poet Mary Meriam, who is known, and is active at Eratosphere, has the idea that Sidney's sister Mary might have penned Shakespeare. Go and register at Eratosphere, and talk with her? It's free.

More later, but in short, I cannot be convinced of your Oxford theory if all you have are these codes and secret clues. It sounds like a silly conspiracy theory. And the stuff I have seen is not remotely compelling...
 

WAB

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Okay, I have repented! I do not want to handwave and pooh-pooh the Oxfordian camp. It is not good behavior. I am sorry for being prematurely dismissive.

You do have some compelling things, first being that it is rational to doubt the Stratfordian orthodoxy. I do agree that that doubt is warranted.

I also concede that the urge to go to Oxford is understandable. He was a noble, he loved poetry and especially the stage, plays, all those good things; and, Spenser himself noted in a dedicatory sonnet to Oxford that the Earl loved the theatrical arts and that the "Heliconian ymps" (commoners in the theatre) loved him. Though we must remember that Spenser was a poet and was compelled to flatter the nobility. All the poets and people of letters were compelled to in those times.

But, I must protest to the use of the word "juvenilia" to describe the poems definitely attributed to De Vere. Swammi, you posted, way back, a link to poems written by Oxford when he was "in his thirties". Well, one does not write juvenilia into their thirties. Especially not when we are discussing a person who purportedly wrote the Shakespeare canon! Any poet that great, and whoever wrote Shakespeare was the greatest poet ever in the history of English letters, such a genius would most certainly NOT be a middling poet in their thirties! And probably not well into their twenties. In fact, Shakespeare's known first works were pretty much what one would expect from the greatest poet since Virgil. We would expect polished work, like the Venus and the Lucrece.

Also, you two have repeatedly appeared to assume that one must have experienced something in order to write about it expertly, and with authority. This is mistaken. Forget the mystery of the canopy! Any seasoned poet could have used that metaphorically, just as any seasoned poet could write about a foreign country without ever having left their own home town.

You grossly underestimate the power of the imagination. And you underestimate the power of intelligence and the creative spirit if you think a great poet or artist must have had a college education, or, more absurdly, that only a member of the nobility can BE noble, or behave nobly, or write about it.

Please get those remnants of classism out of your minds!

Also, being an egalitarian does not mean you cannot be a snob. There are egalitarian classists right here at TFT. I will name at least two of them for you in a private exchange. Just ask!

:joy:
 
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Swammerdami

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I like to make lists! I've thought of developing The 25 (or so) Most Convincing Reasons to Think Oxford Wrote Shakespeare. (One could prune down from Whittemore's 100 Reasons, but I think some of my Top 25 aren't even on Whittemore's list. And different people will find different arguments more persuasive.)

One reason I've not bothered to work on such a list is that I already offered a list of six items early in the thread ...
  1. Explain the weird dedication of the Sonnets.
  2. Explain the weird preface to Troilus, 2nd ed.
  3. Comment on Peacham's anagram for the mystery writer.
  4. Is it odd that zero of Shaksper's friends, family or neighbors ever exhibited any book, manuscript, theater record or anecdote associated with this alleged playwright?
  5. Which 'bearing of a canopy' is the poet referring to in Sonnet CXXV?
  6. Why does Hamlet match the events of Oxford's early life so closely?
... And have received almost ZERO response to these from anti-Oxfordians.

The weird preface to Troilus ("ever reader ... never writer")? I guess anti-Oxfordians are going with the traditional "Just an inside joke we'll never be able to decipher."

The Sonnets' dedication? Are we going with "W.H. was a typographical error for W.S."? Since "ever-living" is not an adjective normally used for living persons, I guess we're going with the traditionalist's "'Ever-living poet' is God. Yes, this means the actual poet is never mentioned in the dedication. So what?" The poet took great pride in publishing Venus and Lucrece, but let the Sonnets be published by a boot-legger. So what?

Peacham's anagram surely shrieks out for explanation. Since ZERO opinions have been offered in the thread, I'll put words in the anti-Oxfordian mouths! :) "OK, Peacham thought de Vere wrote the poems and plays. So what? You and Looney thought so too, and you're just ... loonies!"

I should never have promoted the "bearing of a canopy" to this List of Five; it was a stand-in for dozens of similar references. Still, we've established that the royal canopy was deployed only VERY rarely. If you think its significance as metaphor would be on the tip of a poet's tongues, we'll need to agree to disagree.

Also, you two have repeatedly appeared to assume that one must have experienced something in order to write about it expertly, and with authority. This is mistaken. Forget the mystery of the canopy! Any seasoned poet could have used that metaphorically, just as any seasoned poet could write about a foreign country without ever having left their own home town.

You grossly underestimate the power of the imagination. And you underestimate the power of intelligence and the creative spirit if you think a great poet or artist must have had a college education, or, more absurdly, that only a member of the nobility can BE noble, or behave nobly, or write about it.

Please get those remnants of classism out of your minds!

Please. I'm well aware that Googling "Explain why Oxfordians are wrong" will tell you we are classist. But where, excepting the trivial canopy, did I state that Oxford's writing proves his class or education? Serious question.

The playwright set plays in Verona but not Modena NOT because Verona was a "higher-class" city, but because he'd visited Verona but not Modena. He didn't mention the sycamores at Verona's western gate because, being an elite, he could afford to buy an Italian tourist book — the sycamores weren't mentioned in any book — but because he'd seen them with his own eyes.

Shaksper's neighbors and kinfolk made zero mention of his poems and plays not because they were too low-class to care, but because he wrote no poems or plays.

Much is made of Oxford's inferior poetry. I'm not qualified to judge but still, let me ask. Is the following Oxford poem (which echoes Hamlet's "frailty, thy name is woman") so bad?
If women could be fair and yet not fond*,
.....Or that their love were firm, not fickle still,
I would not marvel that they make men bond
.....By service long to purchase their good will ;
But when I see how frail those creatures are,
I laugh that men forget themselves so far.

To mark the choice they make, and how they change,
.....How oft from Phoebus do they flee to Pan ;
Unsettled still, like haggards wild they range,
.....These gentle birds that fly from man to man ;
Who would not scorn and shake them from the fist,
And let them fly, fair fools, which way they list ?

Yet for our sport we fawn and flatter both,
.....To pass the time when nothing else can please,
And train them to our lure with subtle oath,
.....Till, weary of their wiles, ourselves we ease ;
And then we say when we their fancy try,
To play with fools, O what a fool was I !
* - "fond" is used with the archaic meaning of "foolish."

Here are two stanzas with similar themes, the first by Oxford, the second by Shake-speare. Is the first so inferior?
Some have too much yet still do crave;
I little have and seek no more.
They are but poor though much they have
And I am rich with little store.
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Those that much covet are with gain so fond
That what they have not, that which they possess,
They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
And so, by hoping more, they have but less;
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain
That they prove bankrupt in this poor rich gain.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I like to make lists! I've thought of developing The 25 (or so) Most Convincing Reasons to Think Oxford Wrote Shakespeare. (One could prune down from Whittemore's 100 Reasons, but I think some of my Top 25 aren't even on Whittemore's list. And different people will find different arguments more persuasive.)

One reason I've not bothered to work on such a list is that I already offered a list of six items early in the thread ...
  1. Explain the weird dedication of the Sonnets.
  2. Explain the weird preface to Troilus, 2nd ed.
  3. Comment on Peacham's anagram for the mystery writer.
  4. Is it odd that zero of Shaksper's friends, family or neighbors ever exhibited any book, manuscript, theater record or anecdote associated with this alleged playwright?
  5. Which 'bearing of a canopy' is the poet referring to in Sonnet CXXV?
  6. Why does Hamlet match the events of Oxford's early life so closely?
... And have received almost ZERO response to these from anti-Oxfordians.

The weird preface to Troilus ("ever reader ... never writer")? I guess anti-Oxfordians are going with the traditional "Just an inside joke we'll never be able to decipher."

The Sonnets' dedication? Are we going with "W.H. was a typographical error for W.S."? Since "ever-living" is not an adjective normally used for living persons, I guess we're going with the traditionalist's "'Ever-living poet' is God. Yes, this means the actual poet is never mentioned in the dedication. So what?" The poet took great pride in publishing Venus and Lucrece, but let the Sonnets be published by a boot-legger. So what?

Peacham's anagram surely shrieks out for explanation. Since ZERO opinions have been offered in the thread, I'll put words in the anti-Oxfordian mouths! :) "OK, Peacham thought de Vere wrote the poems and plays. So what? You and Looney thought so too, and you're just ... loonies!"

I should never have promoted the "bearing of a canopy" to this List of Five; it was a stand-in for dozens of similar references. Still, we've established that the royal canopy was deployed only VERY rarely. If you think its significance as metaphor would be on the tip of a poet's tongues, we'll need to agree to disagree.
The case for Stratford is easy, one needn't have an interest or opinion on the subject, just go with tradition. The case against Stratford is more difficult because it compels a person to become informed, to sit in the jury box and hear the evidence. But once a person has done that the case against Stratford becomes quite easy to accept.

The case for De Vere is difficult because there is much more evidence to weigh. Without an active interest, a person will naturally retain the comfort of tradition, as we all do.

Most importantly, the propaganda for Stratford is formidable. We have paintings of him conversing with the queen. We have portraits of him on the covers of books. We have biographies of him full of details of his life. We have entire libraries devoted to him. All of these are testimonials to Stratford, so it certainly isn't a surprise that a person would accept this all as fact and never happen to rationally consider why Stratford's first ever portrait in 1623 has two left arms. Isn't that odd? Doesn't a rational, interested person want to understand this? Isn't it odd that Stratford doesn't have a literary trail? None!

WAB, I know you are not a Stratfordian but, honestly, yes you are! Maybe it's because you are a poet first and a juror second. And that isn't a knock on you, merely a conclusion based on my observations in this thread. And of course you are entitled to think myself a loon and a kook. I'm okay with that opinion. I'm okay with it because imho the evidence does not support it.

In any case, let us all carry on in our good conversation...
 

WAB

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Moogly, I most certainly do not think you are a loony. Nor do I think that of Swammi, although Swammi has insulted me by intimating that I used Google to determine that Oxfordians are classists. I have done no such thing! I am quite informed enough on these topics to see for myself that classism, and mere snobbery, in combination with ignorance of excellence versus mediocrity with respect to poetry, are probably among the main reasons people can become convinced that Oxford wrote Shakespeare.

I have not been able to rustle up much of Mary Sidney's work. There is one book available at Project Gutenberg, a translation in English done by Countess Sidney of another work. I have forgotten the title, and I can't do a link on my phone yet, but a simple search at Gutenberg will bring you to the book.

I was highly impressed by the Countess's prose. It is lyrical and of a lucid, lovely quality. I have not seen any of her poetry. Some serious loony is selling her complete works on Amazon for $242 USD!

I think I can befriend the poet Mary Meriam on Facebook, since I interacted with her at Eratosphere. She is a proponent of the Mary Sidney authorship theory, which has gained some tread.

I think of myself as a feminist, of a rational, unhysterical order. In fact I often think I was supposed to have been a woman, and have talked about it candidly on TFT.

Why not a woman, hmm? The greatest nineteenth century English novelist was a woman, the formidable Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot); and the best poet in the latter nineteenth century in America was a woman: the amazing Emily Dickinson.


Girls unite! :joy:
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Moogly, I most certainly do not think you are a loony. Nor do I think that of Swammi, although Swammi has insulted me by intimating that I used Google to determine that Oxfordians are classists. I have done no such thing! I am quite informed enough on these topics to see for myself that classism, and mere snobbery, in combination with ignorance of excellence versus mediocrity with respect to poetry, are probably among the main reasons people can become convinced that Oxford wrote Shakespeare.

I have not been able to rustle up much of Mary Sidney's work. There is one book available at Project Gutenberg, a translation in English done by Countess Sidney of another work. I have forgotten the title, and I can't do a link on my phone yet, but a simple search at Gutenberg will bring you to the book.

I was highly impressed by the Countess's prose. It is lyrical and of a lucid, lovely quality. I have not seen any of her poetry. Some serious loony is selling her complete works on Amazon for $242 USD!

I think I can befriend the poet Mary Meriam on Facebook, since I interacted with her at Eratosphere. She is a proponent of the Mary Sidney authorship theory, which has gained some tread.

I think of myself as a feminist, of a rational, unhysterical order. In fact I often think I was supposed to have been a woman, and have talked about it candidly on TFT.

Why not a woman, hmm? The greatest nineteenth century English novelist was a woman, the formidable Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot); and the best poet in the latter nineteenth century in America was a woman: the amazing Emily Dickinson.


Girls unite! :joy:

Right on! Mary Sidney? I'd have to educate myself there. Even if the lyrics and style is a good match what about all the good evidence pointing to Oxford that is not literary? Is there a corpus of similar non-literary evidence pointing to Mary Sidney?
 

WAB

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Alert! Alert!

Moogly, I most certainly do not think you are a loony. Nor do I think that of Swammi, although Swammi has insulted me by intimating that I used Google to determine that Oxfordians are classists. I have done no such thing! I am quite informed enough on these topics to see for myself that classism, and mere snobbery, in combination with ignorance of excellence versus mediocrity with respect to poetry, are probably among the main reasons people can become convinced that Oxford wrote Shakespeare.

I have not been able to rustle up much of Mary Sidney's work. There is one book available at Project Gutenberg, a translation in English done by Countess Sidney of another work. I have forgotten the title, and I can't do a link on my phone yet, but a simple search at Gutenberg will bring you to the book.

I was highly impressed by the Countess's prose. It is lyrical and of a lucid, lovely quality. I have not seen any of her poetry. Some serious loony is selling her complete works on Amazon for $242 USD!

I think I can befriend the poet Mary Meriam on Facebook, since I interacted with her at Eratosphere. She is a proponent of the Mary Sidney authorship theory, which has gained some tread.

I think of myself as a feminist, of a rational, unhysterical order. In fact I often think I was supposed to have been a woman, and have talked about it candidly on TFT.

Why not a woman, hmm? The greatest nineteenth century English novelist was a woman, the formidable Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot); and the best poet in the latter nineteenth century in America was a woman: the amazing Emily Dickinson.


Girls unite! :joy:

Right on! Mary Sidney? I'd have to educate myself there. Even if the lyrics and style is a good match what about all the good evidence pointing to Oxford that is not literary? Is there a corpus of similar non-literary evidence pointing to Mary Sidney?

I don't know yet, as I haven't read too much about it.

My guess is that there is actually scant evidence, and just a whole lot of good willed wishing.

ETA: It was not Mary Sidney. I read some of her poetry (dated 1595, when she was 34).

It seems her poetry drew the praise of John Donne. No surprise there, as her verses somewhat resemble Donne's. I don't mean that as a compliment.

Don't EVEN get me started on John Donne...
 
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Swammerdami

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I am very sorry you felt insulted, WAB. The meme that Oxfordians are "classist" is ubiquitous among anti-Oxfordians; it is infuriating; I over-reacted to you. I apologize.

I still don't know why you call my views "classist." Was someone who traveled to Italy more likely to write plays about Italy? I think so, but that's "travelist" not "classist", isn't it? The works of Shake-speare have various clues showing first-hand experience. This was before the age of photography, so when Shake-speare describes a painting visible only in a certain Italian museum [or rather, in the private home of an Italian nobleman], there is evidentiary value.

Is it "classist" to note that both Hamlet and the young Oxford were kidnapped by pirates and left naked on a beach? Perhaps so, in the sense that less well-off commoners would be unlikely to be kidnapped for ransom.

"Bearing the canopy" still strikes me as too specific and exotic of a metaphor for general use: The aspiration is beyond the reach even of Barons or other top courtiers, and many or most middle-class poem readers would miss the meaning altogether. But it's all a very minor issue; let's dismiss it.

I didn't feel insulted that you called me "classist" but I admit I was somewhat peeved. I'd still like to understand what I wrote, excepting about the "canopy," that seemed classist.

ETA. I have conceded that the differing style and inferior quality of Oxford's poetry compared with Shake-speare's is a major stumbling block for Oxfordians. To salvage the hypothesis I note that writers including Lyly and Munday were employed by Oxford to tutor him in writing; he also had literary relatives and in-laws.

Given my stipulation, can you reciprocate, WAB? That Peacham depicted a writer of unknown name, then spelled out Tibi Nom de Vere in so many letters IS intriguing, no? If this one doesn't tickle your evidentiary sniff, surely some coincidence does?

It's good to be generally skeptical of some of the letter-number codes that fringy people often try out. (I'm not happy with the decipherment of the Sonnets' dedication which Moogly linked to.) But the Peacham anagram is a totally different matter.

(Perhaps the Peacham anagram should be made a separate thread for the statisticians: What is the probability that Peacham's de Vere connection was deliberate? Even if 100%, all it proves is that Peacham thought de Vere was the playwright ... but 300 years before Looney.)

EEETA: I'm editing this for the 6th and final time just to Boldface a Key Point.

Skeptics are always asking — and understandably so — for a "smoking gun", for a contemporary who as much as says "Oxford wrote the plays". Peacham constitutes that smoking gun!!

(Or read "Oxford wrote the poems." Curious is it, that the First Folio included NO non-plays IIRC, even though only the bootleg-looking Sonnets had been printed.)
 

WAB

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Testing Testing!

The Life of King Henry the Fifth
Shakespeare homepage | Henry V | Act 1, Prologue
Next scene
PROLOGUE
Enter Chorus
Chorus
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide on man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
Exit

Shakespeare homepage | Henry V | Act 1, Prologue
Next scene
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Oxford was a noted and acclaimed dramatist but we have none of his plays. That's odd. Of course we do have his plays.
 

WAB

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Oxford was a noted and acclaimed dramatist but we have none of his plays. That's odd. Of course we do have his plays.

Perhaps, but I will continue to doubt it, until and unless there is real proof. I doubt it because Oxford would have undergone a tremendous change, both in ability and style of composition. In fact, the most incredible change in the history of English literature.

I mentioned Keats and his fast change from not so great poet to one of the greatest, but there is an obvious continuity of style. We have proof of the transition from so-so to Great. We don't have that with Oxford.

Swammi mentions Lyly and Munday as tutors to him. Well, there is no way in hell they could teach anyone to compose poetry and write dramas in a manner that they themselves could not do. In fact, their skill was not even close to the author of the Shakespearean canon.

As far as Swammi's other questions. I will try to get to them in time with more pizazz, but I am getting tired from working and living in a motel and typing on a phone.

But I will address one or two questions. Let's say Stratford WAS the author for a second. Is it possible that Oxford knew him, and talked with him? It is known that Oxford loved who Spenser called "The Heliconian ymps", the players and playwrights who were also "commoners". Why couldn't Oxford have given Stratford details of his life, and even worked on ideas for plays with him? That would explain this Hamlet coincidence. Also, as for Stratford being able to describe a painting in Italy he had not seen?

Well, couldn't someone have described this painting to him, in detail? Such things happened I am sure among intellectuals, and especially creative artists. Or, might there have been books available that described this painting in detail, that Stratford could have used? There are many books that describe such things in great detail. I've read one by John Ruskin. Good stuff, so good that I could describe great works of art I have not seen, using his book as a guide. Perhaps there were books like that in Stratford's time?

There is more to come, but alas and alack and welladay, my thumbs are tired...
 

Swammerdami

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As I've said, the quality and, perhaps more importantly, the style of Oxford's known writing is a stumbling-block to the Oxfordian hypothesis. I retain belief in that hypothesis because it requires least special pleading: alternative hypotheses have other, bigger, flaws.

I do want to address this point:
Swammi mentions Lyly and Munday as tutors to him. Well, there is no way in hell they could teach anyone to compose poetry and write dramas in a manner that they themselves could not do. In fact, their skill was not even close to the author of the Shakespearean canon.

I do not think that talent, in any field, is strictly a yes-no thing. Ronnie O'Sullivan has huge talent as a snooker player, but practice and determination were also key to his success. Many top athletes hire trainers far less talented than themselves, but with more knowledge and experience. I can imagine someone with great writing talent who wants to write fiction but was unable to succeed until he read John Gardner's The Art of Fiction. That book lays out a number of concepts and techniques the novelist, talented or not, needs. After studying that book the novelist may succeed; indeed with sufficient raw talent that writer will outperform any fiction John Gardner himself wrote.

Regardless of the net quality of Oxford's early work, I think poems like "If women could be fair and yet not fond" show raw talent. It makes sense to me that, tutored by professional playwrights like Lyly and Munday, a new writer with talent could outperform.

Does this fully solve the conundrum? No. But to argue that Shake-speare, whoever he was, couldn't learn from writers inferior to himself, is like arguing that no novelist with more talent than John Gardner could benefit from reading Gardner's book.
 

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You are right, Swammi. I misspoke. If I may clarify a wee tad what my silly thumbs were trying to say:

What I meant was, that no one else, no matter how good a teacher, can give someone great wit, a superior insight into human behavior, a superior genius with respect to the content of what is being written, let alone the style, the technique.

Is there anything in Oxford's letters that indicate the kind of genius that the author of Shakespeare displays, even in the prose parts of the plays? I am referring to the maturer plays, where Shakespeare's singular genius is in full swing. You know the plays. I have read two complete letters penned by Oxford, and I do not see the great wit, the special insight, the raw genius, that we see in Shakespeare.

You noted to me a single use of the word "sithence" in Shakespeare. Shall I assume there are more? It is not a word very commonly used by Shakespeare; also, I mentioned Oxford's use of "satisfice", which I don't think Shakespeare used very frequently.

It may be the case that the word is not present in modernized versions of the plays. But I have read Shakespeare in the original form for as long as those texts have been available on the internet, and I do not recall him/her using those two words very much, at the very least, not with the frequency we see in Oxford's letters.

More later...
 

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While clicking about on the 'Net, I came across newsletters on the Shakespeare authorship question from 80+ years ago.

Some of the articles give a different perspective. The 2nd issue mentions an article in Scientific American claiming that portraits of Shakespeare were of Oxford! (I didn't understand it, and haven't yet attempted to find the SciAm article.) Some of the articles propose a group hypothesis. With Oxfordians arguing vociferously 80 years ago, it's tempting to wonder how, if they were right, their opinion still does not prevail! :)

That series of clicks took me through Bénézet's test, where lines from Shake-speare and Oxford poems are interlaced with the challenge to identify which lines were written by whom. Whittemore has a version of this, his own construction rather than Bénézet's. (While reading that, I note that I'd conflated Peacham's Compleat Gentleman with Minerva Britanna by the same author. It's the latter book, from 1612, that has the hidden-author picture with its alleged anagram.


You noted to me a single use of the word "sithence" in Shakespeare. Shall I assume there are more? It is not a word very commonly used by Shakespeare; also, I mentioned Oxford's use of "satisfice", which I don't think Shakespeare used very frequently.

It may be the case that the word is not present in modernized versions of the plays. But I have read Shakespeare in the original form for as long as those texts have been available on the internet, and I do not recall him/her using those two words very much, at the very least, not with the frequency we see in Oxford's letters.
I have the modern text of the plays and Sonnets on my machine and can do such searches easily. Two "sithence"s in the plays. No "satisfice" in the Plays, Sonnets, or Venus. (I don't yet have Lucrece.) BUT those are the modern texts — any good links for original text? BTW, to add confusion, the "satisfice" of the 16th century was a now-obsolete synonym of "satisfy", but there is a new 20th century word, also spelled "satisfice," meaning "to accept a (minimally) satisfactory choice."

There is a list of several words — sorry, no link — for which OED cites Shakespeare as first usage, but which have since turned up in the letters of Edward de Vere!

Here is an article which claims Oxford and Shakespeare had to be different writers, not on the basis of quality, but on measurable stylistic criteria. Do such studies give me much pause? Yes!! I still go with the Oxfordian (WITH collaborators) hypothesis as least impossible!
 

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I am reminded of Einstein's inability to properly mathematicize his ruminations on light and so sought out help so as to make his case for relativity, which he famously did. Carl Sagan wanted to take his protagonist in Contact through a black hole but was not sure the physics involved so sought out Kip Thorne who explained that entering a black hole would shred his protagonist to bits. Thus Sagan used a theoretical wormhole, not a blackhole.

Moveable type was invented with the Phaistos Disc, but moveable type had no economic benefit at the time and so the technology was forgotten for millenia.

We all possess some share of "genius" it seems. The obvious lesson is that even a "genius" must learn.
 

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[*] As far as is known, WS never traveled abroad or on a ship, nor did he work as a soldier, teacher nor in a law office nor any of several professions consistent with the playwright's knowledge.
[*] As far as is known, WS was friends with no noblemen.
[*] Although widely considered a principal Player in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, no role is alleged to be WS's except ... the ghost of Hamlet's father!
[*] While there are many mentions of WS from that time, very very few of them mention Stratford, or attest clearly that the writer/speaker knew the poet personally. An exception are legal documents which show (a) WS was charged with poaching near Stratford, being a theater ruffian in London, then hoarding in Stratford; (b) WS was granted a coat-of-arms ca 1592; (c) WS served as witness in two minor proceedings; (d) WS filed suit in Straford (at the same time he was allegedly putting the final touches

According to legend WS wrote his plays together with his troupe. It was a collaborative effort. Scripts were workshopped on stage and collated by WS. Which is still how plays are mostly written today.

Kronborg castle, ie the Hamlet Castle is today a museum, I went, and there's a large section about Hamlet and how the play was written. The Globe Theatre troupe was invited to stage a play in the castle. The year after they went home Hamlet was written.

According to the museum this is well known and well established. I'd say the king of Denmark was well and truly a nobleman. While not knowing WS personally. The king certainly knew of WS by reputation. While staying in Denmark the troupe lived in the actual castle of the king the whole time and socialized and schmoozed with the Danish court.

WS had direct access to the works of Saxo-Gramaticus. So he did not need any help from the Danish court to create the story. But I'm sure the troupe could help inform WS of how Danish court life works.

I don't think there's much of a controversy. Not really. Worth noting is that copyrights didn't exist back then, and there was little incentive to want to have your name on things. It was much later it became a badge of honour. If it had been high status to author plays WS would have ghost written everything for a nobleman who'd be having his name on everything today. But since working at the theatre had about the same status as being a prostitute, no one cared about bragging rights of writing plays.

The fact that nobody back then gave much of a shit about whose name was on the play makes it unlikely that it wasn't him. Today we make the mistake to think there was any kind of conflict around it in his own day and afterwards.

Just my two cents.
 

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Kronborg castle, ie the Hamlet Castle is today a museum, I went, and there's a large section about Hamlet and how the play was written. The Globe Theatre troupe was invited to stage a play in the castle. The year after they went home Hamlet was written.
If this were true, I think we could find it mentioned on the 'Net. Can we?
WS had direct access to the works of Saxo-Gramaticus.
Again ... cite? (There was a copy of that book in William Cecil's library.)

The fact that nobody back then gave much of a shit about whose name was on the play makes it unlikely that it wasn't him.
This is completely confused. Have you read the thread?
 

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If this were true, I think we could find it mentioned on the 'Net. Can we?

No. It's a physical exhibition inside the castle. But why would they make it up? Regardless of who wrote it, it's set in that castle. The play is more famous than WS himself. They have no incentive to write anything other than what the leading academics have to say on it. They tend to be correct.

Again ... cite? (There was a copy of that book in William Cecil's library.)

There were plenty of copies all over England. It was one of the more spread historical accounts at the time.
 

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Do you have an alleged date for the alleged "Globe Theatre troupe was invited to stage a play in the castle"? The Globe Theater wasn't built until 1599. A play named Hamlet (possibly written by Thomas Kyd, or possibly written by Oxford) was performed in London during the 1580's.

If this were true, I think we could find it mentioned on the 'Net. Can we?

No. It's a physical exhibition inside the castle. But why would they make it up? Regardless of who wrote it, it's set in that castle. The play is more famous than WS himself. They have no incentive to write anything other than what the leading academics have to say on it. They tend to be correct.

Again ... cite? (There was a copy of that book in William Cecil's library.)

There were plenty of copies all over England. It was one of the more spread historical accounts at the time.

So: A trip to Denmark by an English theater company that is mentioned in NONE of the biographies of Shakespeare (or Oxford!!) that does NOT appear in any book or webpage; the only way to even know about it is to visit a particular Danish museum. Does this really seem plausible?

BTW, your leap from "plenty of copies all over England" to "WS had direct access" is the sort of misleading leap ("begging the question") that impedes discussion of alternative authorship.
 

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While clicking about on the 'Net, I came across newsletters on the Shakespeare authorship question from 80+ years ago.

Some of the articles give a different perspective. The 2nd issue mentions an article in Scientific American claiming that portraits of Shakespeare were of Oxford! (I didn't understand it, and haven't yet attempted to find the SciAm article.) Some of the articles propose a group hypothesis. With Oxfordians arguing vociferously 80 years ago, it's tempting to wonder how, if they were right, their opinion still does not prevail! :)

That series of clicks took me through Bénézet's test, where lines from Shake-speare and Oxford poems are interlaced with the challenge to identify which lines were written by whom. Whittemore has a version of this, his own construction rather than Bénézet's. (While reading that, I note that I'd conflated Peacham's Compleat Gentleman with Minerva Britanna by the same author. It's the latter book, from 1612, that has the hidden-author picture with its alleged anagram.


You noted to me a single use of the word "sithence" in Shakespeare. Shall I assume there are more? It is not a word very commonly used by Shakespeare; also, I mentioned Oxford's use of "satisfice", which I don't think Shakespeare used very frequently.

It may be the case that the word is not present in modernized versions of the plays. But I have read Shakespeare in the original form for as long as those texts have been available on the internet, and I do not recall him/her using those two words very much, at the very least, not with the frequency we see in Oxford's letters.
I have the modern text of the plays and Sonnets on my machine and can do such searches easily. Two "sithence"s in the plays. No "satisfice" in the Plays, Sonnets, or Venus. (I don't yet have Lucrece.) BUT those are the modern texts — any good links for original text? BTW, to add confusion, the "satisfice" of the 16th century was a now-obsolete synonym of "satisfy", but there is a new 20th century word, also spelled "satisfice," meaning "to accept a (minimally) satisfactory choice."

There is a list of several words — sorry, no link — for which OED cites Shakespeare as first usage, but which have since turned up in the letters of Edward de Vere!

Here is an article which claims Oxford and Shakespeare had to be different writers, not on the basis of quality, but on measurable stylistic criteria. Do such studies give me much pause? Yes!! I still go with the Oxfordian (WITH collaborators) hypothesis as least impossible!

Swammi,

I have trouble doing links with my phone. You can read most of the Shakespeare canon at a site called Internet Shakespeare Editions. Click on "Library", then click on list of texts. You have the option of reading a modernized version, a very early original version ( which I don't like because the 's's look like 'f's and it messes me up), and a later original text with all the original spellings and capitalizations.

I recommend reading ANY old text in the original. You will not have any trouble understanding it.

The hazard of modernized texts is that they sometimes screw something up.

There is one monster of a fellow who "modernized" some texts by the Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid. This idiot butchered Reid's perfectly lucid prose and even altered the actual meaning of it to suit his own purposes. It is a travesty! I don't recall the blundering fool's name, but I mentioned it in a thread somewhere on TFT.

Anyway, I have read Shakespeare thoroughly, especially the plays. I have read many of them several times over. I do not recall sithence or satisfice at all, though you have found two sithences. Why would Oxford not use those words more often in the plays, when he seems to have been fond of them in his letters?

Just wondering, and it proves nothing anyway.
 

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I don't know. WAB. But for many (or even most?) of us, we write in different voices for different contexts. A word like "hereby" for example, is used in my dialect only when imitating, usually whimsically, legalese. Or I might use such diction in prayers to a government official, but never in my own poetry or fiction unless in imitation of a legalese voice. Most of Oxford's letters were to one of the Cecils IIRC, and he kept a formal, perhaps legalistic, diction in his letters to them. Most playwrights would avoid such a voice in their plays, except in imitation of, e.g. a government official or a humble servant speaking carefully.

But I do agree your arguments do hold much weight. There is a strong case against Oxford based on word choices, etc. As I've said, I remain Oxfordian by default just because I don't know anyone with a stronger case. I do not think Stratford was the writer.

Should I attempt the case that "sithence" was a formal word, more likely in contexts other than in poems or plays? No idea; here are the two instances:
[The Tragedy of Coriolanus:]
BRUTUS. Call't not a plot.
The people cry you mock'd them; and of late,
When corn was given them gratis, you repin'd;
Scandal'd the suppliants for the people, call'd them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
CORIOLANUS. Why, this was known before.
BRUTUS. Not to them all.
CORIOLANUS. Have you inform'd them sithence?
BRUTUS. How? I inform them!
COMINIUS. You are like to do such business.
BRUTUS. Not unlike
Each way to better yours.

....


[All's Well that Ends Well, a servant speaking to his Mistress:]
STEWARD. Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she
wish'd me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own
words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they
touch'd not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your
son.... This she
deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard
virgin exclaim in; which I held my duty speedily to acquaint you
withal; sithence, in the loss that may happen, it concerns you
something to know it.

COUNTESS. YOU have discharg'd this honestly; keep it to yourself.
Many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung so
tott'ring in the balance that I could neither believe nor
misdoubt. Pray you leave me. Stall this in your bosom; and I
thank you for your honest care. I will speak with you further
anon. Exit STEWARD
 

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Swammi, WAB, you are having a scholarly exchange so forgive my intrusion. I only wish to mention that word meanings in Elizabethan times were not the same as we perceive today. Some meanings are the same but many are different or have multiple meanings which have been forgotten. The word moniment for example is used when referring to the Stratford monument of Mr. Shakspere. Many have simply rendered this word as monument, with a u. But that is incorrect. Moniment specifically at the time referred to an epitath or a testimonial and not a structure. This is just one of myriad examples.

So not only are we advised to see the original text but also to know the meaning and usage common at the time lest we anachronize in a sense.
 

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Good post, O ye of the Great Moogliness.

I want to say a few things about Oxford and his place in English letters, with a broader look at literary fame and reputation.

When I say De Vere was mediocre, I am saying he was average, relative to the known poets and writers of his time. We must bear in mind that MOST of the people who wrote poetry in that time are utterly forgotten now. That Oxford's poetry is remembered at all, after nearly five centuries, is remarkable in and of itself!

The overwhelmingly vast majority of people writing poetry in any age are forgotten quite quickly; even formally published poets. Truth be told, the world is choked with poets! The names that have come down to us from ages past were the excelsiors, or perhaps they were just lucky.

So, when I say De Vere was mediocre, I only mean that there were many poets who were better than he was, at that time. Spenser, Drayton, Marlowe, Sidney, and a host of others. To name them would exhaust my thumbs. Oooh, Beaumont and Fletcher, can't forget them!...

You get the picture? If not, this: there were probably hundreds and hundreds of people writing and even publishing poems in Oxford's time who were vastly inferior to him. Which is why they are largely forgotten.

Look at me. No one will sing my praises in five hundred years! I will be utterly forgotten when they turn my corpse to ashes, save for a few who loved me. I am fine with that, too. I write first for God, and anything else is gravy. This is the God of Spinoza I refer to. And that is a whole 'nuther discussion. Hi Lion!

I don't give a tinker's damn for fame. It is the art of poetry that I love. So, when I say I don't care if Stratford wrote Shakespeare, I mean it. I revere whoever wrote the Shakespearean canon. If it was Oxford, than God bless him!

More later...
 
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Do you have an alleged date for the alleged "Globe Theatre troupe was invited to stage a play in the castle"? The Globe Theater wasn't built until 1599. A play named Hamlet (possibly written by Thomas Kyd, or possibly written by Oxford) was performed in London during the 1580's.

No. It's a physical exhibition inside the castle. But why would they make it up? Regardless of who wrote it, it's set in that castle. The play is more famous than WS himself. They have no incentive to write anything other than what the leading academics have to say on it. They tend to be correct.



There were plenty of copies all over England. It was one of the more spread historical accounts at the time.

So: A trip to Denmark by an English theater company that is mentioned in NONE of the biographies of Shakespeare (or Oxford!!) that does NOT appear in any book or webpage; the only way to even know about it is to visit a particular Danish museum. Does this really seem plausible?

BTW, your leap from "plenty of copies all over England" to "WS had direct access" is the sort of misleading leap ("begging the question") that impedes discussion of alternative authorship.

It's quite correct. But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.

Here's what the museum has on the net about it.

THE THREE ENGLISH ACTORS AT KRONBORG IN 1585

When Kronborg Castle was inaugurated in the summer of 1585, the guests of the court were entertained by three English actors: William Kemp, Thomas Pope and George Bryan. After having served at the Danish court in Elsinore, the three young men returned to London. In theatre circles there, they met the enterprising and budding dramatist William Shakespeare. During the next two decades, they together established a successful travelling company of actors called The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and performed numerous plays. In the end, they had their own theatre built, the spectacular Shakespeare’s Globe in London in 1599.

https://hamletscenen.dk/en/about-hamletscenen/history/

But there's way more info in the museum itself. But I'm writing this from memory.
 

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My knowledge of literary matters is about zero, and I'm grateful to WAB for his contributions there.

But I am an avid student of the history of mathematics. One of the greatest geniuses of the 16th century was Gerolamo Cardano, so I was delighted to learn, via Whittemore's Reason #10, that the "To be or not to be" soliloquy is a paraphrasing of a passage from one of Cardano's book!

Click and see if the parallels are too strong to be coincidence. I find the parallels much stronger than those the anti-Oxfordians claim between the first scene of The Tempest and William Strachey's letter (which BTW wasn't published until after the First Folio!).

The Cardano book in question is the one whose English translation is titled Cardanus's Comfort. Edward de Vere financed its translation and publication, and wrote a preface.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's another good article from Whittemore, commenting on the need for anonymity. He quotes a Professor of Humanities. (It is curious that Stratfordians insist that academics are nearly all Stratfordian when in fact so many of them are Oxfordians.)

Professor James Norwood said:
For example, we know a greal deal about a presentation of Twelfth Night at Whitehall Palace on January 6, 1601. The play was part of the entertainment for a visiting dignitary from Italy. Queen Elizabeth was in attendance for the play, and the name of the Italian dignitary was Don Virginio Orsino. The relationship of the characters Orsino and Olivia in Twelfth Night (a lovesick Italian courtier pining for an inaccessible and standoffish single woman) would have been a source of gentle satire for the Whitehall audience: it would have been clear to the audience that Olivia and Orsino were allegorical representaitons of the Queen and the Italian dignitary. But it would not have been appropriate for an audience in the public theatre to know the author’s intent of satire and allegory of the members of the court, especially the Queen. The theatre presentations at court were a closed, ‘hothouse’ environment and one of the rare instances that Queen Elizabeth welcomed advice and criticism. While the Whitehall audience clearly knew the identity of the author (the names of Oxford’s wife and daughter appear at the head of the guest list for the invited audience at Whitehall), the London audience would know the play only through the author’s pseudonym, William Shakespeare.

I've reddened a fact that. if confirmed, I would consider to be strong circumstantial evidence.
 

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DrZoidberg said:
Kronborg castle, ie the Hamlet Castle is today a museum, I went, and there's a large section about Hamlet and how the play was written. The Globe Theatre troupe was invited to stage a play in the castle. The year after they went home Hamlet was written.
It's quite correct. But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.

Here's what the museum has on the net about it.

THE THREE ENGLISH ACTORS AT KRONBORG IN 1585

When Kronborg Castle was inaugurated in the summer of 1585, the guests of the court were entertained by three English actors: William Kemp, Thomas Pope and George Bryan....
I'm not sure what your "majority of all scholars on this agree on something" refers to, and it is odd that this visit is unmentioned elsewhere, but let's stipulate it for now.

Combining your old and new versions, we learn that the visit was in 1585, so the play written in 1586. I wonder if you see that this supports the Oxfordian chronology! Stratfordian scholars date Hamlet's writing no earlier than 1599 with a first public performance in 1609.
 

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It's quite correct. But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.

Here's what the museum has on the net about it.
I'm not sure what your "majority of all scholars on this agree on something" refers to, and it is odd that this visit is unmentioned elsewhere, but let's stipulate it for now.

Combining your old and new versions, we learn that the visit was in 1585, so the play written in 1586. I wonder if you see that this supports the Oxfordian chronology! Stratfordian scholars date Hamlet's writing no earlier than 1599 with a first public performance in 1609.

What? There's no mention of any other theory regarding it's creation in the museum. None. I've heard of plenty of theories questioning the established authorship of Shakespeare plays. But they're all crackpot. I have read all the Shakespeare plays. I had an interest in his work then. I did read a lot about him and his work and, as far as I know, there is no controversy. There's rumours. But that is all.

When Constantinople fell, monks escaped to Italy, taking their libraries with them. As the classic ancient Greek works were re-discovered and translated to English, a guy taking each play as it came to England and re-working them to create a (then) modern masterpiece does not demand a great genius. It's perfectly believable that a guy like Shakespeare did it.

I don't understand the great motivation you have to question it? As far as I know it's only crackpots who question the established narrative. Isn't that so?
 

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But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.
That's simply saying there is never any good reason to challenge orthodoxy. Do you honestly believe that? Do you think we should all still believe that disease is caused by evil spirits, that germ theory is bogus? Really?
 

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But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.
That's simply saying there is never any good reason to challenge orthodoxy. Do you honestly believe that? Do you think we should all still believe that disease is caused by evil spirits, that germ theory is bogus? Really?

It's the other way around. Non-academics questioning academia would have led to us still believing that disease is caused by evil spirits and that germ theory is bogus. QAnon isn't the smart guys who have figured it all out. I respect the opinion of experts.

It's one thing if you and me were Shakespearian scholars. But we're not. The only reason I entered into this discussion is because I saw an exhibition about Hamlet that went into great detail on how it came to be. They certainly convinced me. But then again, I'm not an academic. I rarely think I'm smarter than the experts. Never, in fact. So that's my stance in this discussion .
 

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... It's perfectly believable that a guy like Shakespeare did it.

I don't understand the great motivation you have to question it? As far as I know it's only crackpots who question the established narrative. Isn't that so?

Again, since you obviously haven't read the thread: The idea is NOT that "a guy like Shakespeare" — whatever that means — could not write the plays and poems. The idea is that THIS PARTICULAR GUY did NOT write them. Review the thread.

And the idea that only "crackpots" question the Authorship is a delusion fostered by dogmatic "traditionalists." One of my most recent posts mentions Professor James Norwood who teaches a class on the subject. How many Professors do I need to cite? Or will no number suffice, since all of them will be branded as "crackpots"? At least six U.S. Supreme Court Justices did not believe Stratford wrote the works — are they all crackpots? Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, the famous mathematician Georg Cantor. Are they all crackpots?

Read the thread. Specific challenges are posed. For example, if you think Stratford wrote the Sonnets, how do you explain the peculiar dedication of that book? (For that matter, why weren't the Sonnets reprinted in the First Folio? — This question will confuse you until you're more familiar with the cases.)

As for my "motivation", I don't really "have a dog in the debate" in the sense many detractors would like to imagine. I just like good mysteries, good detective stories.
 

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It's quite correct. But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.

Here's what the museum has on the net about it.

THE THREE ENGLISH ACTORS AT KRONBORG IN 1585

When Kronborg Castle was inaugurated in the summer of 1585, the guests of the court were entertained by three English actors: William Kemp, Thomas Pope and George Bryan. After having served at the Danish court in Elsinore, the three young men returned to London. In theatre circles there, they met the enterprising and budding dramatist William Shakespeare. During the next two decades, they together established a successful travelling company of actors called The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and performed numerous plays. In the end, they had their own theatre built, the spectacular Shakespeare’s Globe in London in 1599.

https://hamletscenen.dk/en/about-hamletscenen/history/

But there's way more info in the museum itself. But I'm writing this from memory.

It's quite correct. But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.

Here's what the museum has on the net about it.
I'm not sure what your "majority of all scholars on this agree on something" refers to, and it is odd that this visit is unmentioned elsewhere, but let's stipulate it for now.

Combining your old and new versions, we learn that the visit was in 1585, so the play written in 1586. I wonder if you see that this supports the Oxfordian chronology! Stratfordian scholars date Hamlet's writing no earlier than 1599 with a first public performance in 1609.

What? There's no mention of any other theory regarding it's creation in the museum. None. I've heard of plenty of theories questioning the established authorship of Shakespeare plays. But they're all crackpot. I have read all the Shakespeare plays. I had an interest in his work then. I did read a lot about him and his work and, as far as I know, there is no controversy. There's rumours. But that is all.

When Constantinople fell, monks escaped to Italy, taking their libraries with them. As the classic ancient Greek works were re-discovered and translated to English, a guy taking each play as it came to England and re-working them to create a (then) modern masterpiece does not demand a great genius. It's perfectly believable that a guy like Shakespeare did it.

I don't understand the great motivation you have to question it? As far as I know it's only crackpots who question the established narrative. Isn't that so?

One objection here: Shakespeare was most certainly a genius.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.
That's simply saying there is never any good reason to challenge orthodoxy. Do you honestly believe that? Do you think we should all still believe that disease is caused by evil spirits, that germ theory is bogus? Really?

It's the other way around. Non-academics questioning academia would have led to us still believing that disease is caused by evil spirits and that germ theory is bogus. QAnon isn't the smart guys who have figured it all out. I respect the opinion of experts.

It's one thing if you and me were Shakespearian scholars. But we're not. The only reason I entered into this discussion is because I saw an exhibition about Hamlet that went into great detail on how it came to be. They certainly convinced me. But then again, I'm not an academic. I rarely think I'm smarter than the experts. Never, in fact. So that's my stance in this discussion .

Then "scholars" should never disagree. But they do. And further there should never be anything new to learn because the "academics" already have all the answers. Interesting perspective I must say. Certainly not mine. Sounds like just another fallacious argument from authority.
 
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T.G.G. Moogly

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It's quite correct. But if the majority of all scholars on this agree on something and make claims that they agree on, I see no reason to challenge it.

Here's what the museum has on the net about it.
I'm not sure what your "majority of all scholars on this agree on something" refers to, and it is odd that this visit is unmentioned elsewhere, but let's stipulate it for now.

Combining your old and new versions, we learn that the visit was in 1585, so the play written in 1586. I wonder if you see that this supports the Oxfordian chronology! Stratfordian scholars date Hamlet's writing no earlier than 1599 with a first public performance in 1609.

What? There's no mention of any other theory regarding it's creation in the museum. None. I've heard of plenty of theories questioning the established authorship of Shakespeare plays. But they're all crackpot. I have read all the Shakespeare plays. I had an interest in his work then. I did read a lot about him and his work and, as far as I know, there is no controversy. There's rumours. But that is all.

When Constantinople fell, monks escaped to Italy, taking their libraries with them. As the classic ancient Greek works were re-discovered and translated to English, a guy taking each play as it came to England and re-working them to create a (then) modern masterpiece does not demand a great genius. It's perfectly believable that a guy like Shakespeare did it.

I don't understand the great motivation you have to question it? As far as I know it's only crackpots who question the established narrative. Isn't that so?

One objection here: Shakespeare was most certainly a genius.

What exactly is this argument from genius? Is that someone who doesn't have to live like the rest of us? Do they get away without having to brush their teeth or something? :)
 

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I'm not sure what your "majority of all scholars on this agree on something" refers to, and it is odd that this visit is unmentioned elsewhere, but let's stipulate it for now.

Combining your old and new versions, we learn that the visit was in 1585, so the play written in 1586. I wonder if you see that this supports the Oxfordian chronology! Stratfordian scholars date Hamlet's writing no earlier than 1599 with a first public performance in 1609.

What? There's no mention of any other theory regarding it's creation in the museum. None. I've heard of plenty of theories questioning the established authorship of Shakespeare plays. But they're all crackpot. I have read all the Shakespeare plays. I had an interest in his work then. I did read a lot about him and his work and, as far as I know, there is no controversy. There's rumours. But that is all.

When Constantinople fell, monks escaped to Italy, taking their libraries with them. As the classic ancient Greek works were re-discovered and translated to English, a guy taking each play as it came to England and re-working them to create a (then) modern masterpiece does not demand a great genius. It's perfectly believable that a guy like Shakespeare did it.

I don't understand the great motivation you have to question it? As far as I know it's only crackpots who question the established narrative. Isn't that so?

One objection here: Shakespeare was most certainly a genius.

What exactly is this argument from genius? Is that someone who doesn't have to live like the rest of us? Do they get away without having to brush their teeth or something? :)

A genius is someone with an uncommonly high intelligence, and/or someone who does something in the intellectual or artistic realm that is demonstrably beyond the capability of most of all of the others.

Homer
Virgil
Dante
Shakespeare

J.S. Bach
Mozart
Beethoven

Da Vinci
Michaelangelo
Raphael
Caravaggio

Cervantes
Balzac
Hugo
Joyce
Faulkner

Etc...

You yourself said many times that poetry is not your forte. Thus, without me accusing you of anything out of the blue, I conclude (and have concluded with regard to Swammi, and just about every Oxfordian I know of) that you were more easily convinced of the Oxfordian authorship theory BECAUSE you cannot recognize the enormous and plain (to some people) superiority of the Shakespeare canon to anything else in English.

You can say all you like that you recognize the vast difference between Shakespeare and De Vere, but you yourself have said that you are a poor judge of poetry. Thus, I see a wee contradiction there.
 

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Imitating or forging Shakespeare is just another way of conceding that there is only one Shakespeare.

An homage to Shakespeare doesn't dilute the unique greatness of Shakespeare. Quite the contrary.
 

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... and it is odd that this visit is unmentioned elsewhere, but let's stipulate it for now.
Sure it's mentioned elsewhere: it's in Wikipedia.

"After a brief return to England, Kempe accompanied two other future Lord Chamberlain's Men, George Bryan and Thomas Pope, to Elsinore where he entertained Frederick II of Denmark."
 

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Imitating or forging Shakespeare is just another way of conceding that there is only one Shakespeare.

An homage to Shakespeare doesn't dilute the unique greatness of Shakespeare. Quite the contrary.

isn't this the one true russel's teapot fallacy?
 

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Imitating or forging Shakespeare is just another way of conceding that there is only one Shakespeare.

An homage to Shakespeare doesn't dilute the unique greatness of Shakespeare. Quite the contrary.

My friend, I don't know exactly what you mean here.

?

ETA: I sure wish a certain level headed someone who has been visiting the thread regularly would venture a few words. I won't say their name, but it rhymes with:

Spangra Thainyu
 

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Imitating or forging Shakespeare is just another way of conceding that there is only one Shakespeare.

An homage to Shakespeare doesn't dilute the unique greatness of Shakespeare. Quite the contrary.

My friend, I don't know exactly what you mean here.

?

My take on the whole authorship controversy is that Shakespeare himself wouldn't find it very controversial.

ETA: I sure wish a certain level headed someone who has been visiting the thread regularly would venture a few words. I won't say their name, but it rhymes with:

Spangra Thainyu

LOL
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Imitating or forging Shakespeare is just another way of conceding that there is only one Shakespeare.

An homage to Shakespeare doesn't dilute the unique greatness of Shakespeare. Quite the contrary.

My friend, I don't know exactly what you mean here.

?

ETA: I sure wish a certain level headed someone who has been visiting the thread regularly would venture a few words. I won't say their name, but it rhymes with:

Spangra Thainyu

Too cryptic, WAB. Do you dedicate poetry by any chance? Ever? Never?
 

Swammerdami

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... I conclude (and have concluded with regard to Swammi, and just about every Oxfordian I know of) that you were more easily convinced of the Oxfordian authorship theory BECAUSE you cannot recognize the enormous and plain (to some people) superiority of the Shakespeare canon to anything else in English.

I am surprised at you, WAB. :-( It's almost as though you haven't read my comments like:
But I do agree your [WAB's] arguments do hold much weight. There is a strong case against Oxford based on word choices, [writing quality], etc. As I've said, I remain Oxfordian by default just because I don't know anyone with a stronger case. I do not think Stratford was the writer.
The mismatch in writing is one reason I treat the authorship mystery as unresolved. I've proposed that Oxford had collaborator(s), e.g. his son-in-law. But such hypotheses have flaws, and all fall to your complaint: NOBODY from that era approached Shake-speare in quality.

I'm left with the circumstantial evidence linking Oxford to the plays, e.g. the sharp change in mentions of Shake-speare as writer after Oxford's 1604 death, or the famous autobiographical play. As Sherlock Holmes said, after eliminating the impossible, only the improbable remains. Some improbable collaboration in which the Earl of Oxford was the central figure seems to me to be the only possibility that fits the evidence.

There's one poem that "both sides of the aisle" ( :) ) DO attribute to Shaksper of Stratford. As our poetry expert can you comment on whether the Sonnets were likely to have been written by the author of
William Shakspere of Stratford for his epitaph said:
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
 

WAB

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Imitating or forging Shakespeare is just another way of conceding that there is only one Shakespeare.

An homage to Shakespeare doesn't dilute the unique greatness of Shakespeare. Quite the contrary.

My friend, I don't know exactly what you mean here.

?

ETA: I sure wish a certain level headed someone who has been visiting the thread regularly would venture a few words. I won't say their name, but it rhymes with:

Spangra Thainyu

Too cryptic, WAB. Do you dedicate poetry by any chance? Ever? Never?

Very rarely. Por que?

Swammi,

I only made that conclusion based on your own admission ( as well as Moogly's), that you are not a good judge of poetry. If you're not a good judge of poetry, then how can you determine that Shakespeare's is so superior (which it is)? I can only assume you are basing your opinion on the generally accepted opinion, ie, that Shakespeare is the greatest poet in English.

Sorry if I can't get this across sensibly. I realize you and Moogly have acknowledged Shakespeare's (the Author's) superiority.

My thumbs are getting blistered. My kingdom for a real keyboard!
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Too cryptic, WAB. Do you dedicate poetry by any chance? Ever? Never?

Very rarely. Por que?

Swammi,

I only made that conclusion based on your own admission ( as well as Moogly's), that you are not a good judge of poetry. If you're not a good judge of poetry, then how can you determine that Shakespeare's is so superior (which it is)? I can only assume you are basing your opinion on the generally accepted opinion, ie, that Shakespeare is the greatest poet in English.

Sorry if I can't get this across sensibly. I realize you and Moogly have acknowledged Shakespeare's (the Author's) superiority.

My thumbs are getting blistered. My kingdom for a real keyboard!

WAB, For Your Edification

Do you think only poets, scholars, academics can judge poetry and recognize differences? Can only botanists differentiate between Oak and Sycamore, between a healthy tree and an unhealthy one, between acorn and cone, between krummholz and rainforest, between fecund and barren, that the master cannot learn from the student?
 

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WAB said:
P.s: hmm, I wonder what Angra Mainyu thinks about all this? It would be really cool to have the two* most level headed posters at TFT here in the thread. Nudge nudge, ey? Ey?


WAB, thanks. :)
I had missed this - thuogh I did post briefly earlier in the thread. :)


WAB said:
Spangra Thainyu
:D

But as I said then, I know very little about this controversy. I just got curious at first, but I haven't been following all of the details.

For what is worth, I still reckon that Bomb#20's point here is the strongest of those I've seen. There is this alternative, but I think that one is not so probable, either.
 

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The internal evidence of the plays themselves -- the statistical patterns in the word usage -- makes it pretty certain that whoever wrote the plays must have been one of the actors who performed them.

https://www.shakespeareauthorship.com/ox7.html

It's one thing to hypothesize that a nobleman such as Oxford secretly wrote the plays and slipped them to a shill; but it's quite another to hypothesize that Oxford was on stage in disguise, over and over, and was never recognized.

Of course we can't rule out the possibility that Shakespeare was fronting for a different actor; but the text statistics allow identification of which roles the author played, and it lines up with what little is known of Shakespeare's own roles -- the ghost in Hamlet for instance.

I finally got around to perusing that website. I admit that there is much there to give misgivings to Oxfordians!

The statistical patterns that Bomb#20 mentions are found in a SHAXICON database prepared by  Donald Wayne Foster mentioned at this webpage and elsewhere. Foster has succeeded at various authorship forensics, e.g. identifying the Anonymous author of Primary Colors. I searched and clicked around for the SHAXICON database finding http://www.blake-foster.com but that site yields only error messages. Can anyone point me to SHAXICON? Or is it no longer on-line?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I just did a quick search of Stylometrics and Shakespeare. Lots of links.

The discussion along these lines that I remember is that it isn't subjective and noun words that make the case for authorship, or against, but the seemingly less important word usage, the style. I should get off my ass and check this out. Also I think Oxfordians and persons interested in the Authorship Question generally would be onto this new line of investigation and have already done some legwork.

Here's a link to get underway, just started reading:

Shakespeare by the Numbers: What Stylometrics Can and Cannot Tell Us

Just returned with a lifted quote from the article, near its end:

In the face of such methodological shortcomings, conflicting opinions, and dueling analyses, what is one to think? An obvious explanation is that today’s orthodox scholars, including all the stylometricians here mentioned, are groping blindly in the wrong paradigm, and are thus handicapped by the confines of the conventional Shakespearean dating system. (Craig and Kinney are familiar with the Oxfordian argument, and mention it several times, once even citing an article in The Oxfordian.) In addition, very few scholars of any period have given any consideration to the idea of a substantial corpus of Shakespearean juvenilia. We can be sure that Shakespeare did not always write like Shakespeare.

Still reading...
 
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T.G.G. Moogly

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I know I post too many links but here's another. :)

The Radical Argument of the New Oxford Shakespeare

The gist of the New Yorker article is that we've canonized "Shakespeare" so that if it isn't the work of genius it isn't "Shakespeare," and so attribute it to someone else. We make the mistake of assuming that some piece of writing that doesn't meet our expectations of perfection cannot have been penned by the same person.

I like the argument because it follows Ramon Jimenez's point in my earlier link that writers don't start out writing perfect verse and prose. Ergo, Oxford is still a very good candidate, imho, the best candidate.
 

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Too cryptic, WAB. Do you dedicate poetry by any chance? Ever? Never?

Very rarely. Por que?

Swammi,

I only made that conclusion based on your own admission ( as well as Moogly's), that you are not a good judge of poetry. If you're not a good judge of poetry, then how can you determine that Shakespeare's is so superior (which it is)? I can only assume you are basing your opinion on the generally accepted opinion, ie, that Shakespeare is the greatest poet in English.

Sorry if I can't get this across sensibly. I realize you and Moogly have acknowledged Shakespeare's (the Author's) superiority.

My thumbs are getting blistered. My kingdom for a real keyboard!

WAB, For Your Edification

Do you think only poets, scholars, academics can judge poetry and recognize differences? Can only botanists differentiate between Oak and Sycamore, between a healthy tree and an unhealthy one, between acorn and cone, between krummholz and rainforest, between fecund and barren, that the master cannot learn from the student?

Egads, Moogly! I plainly noted that you and Swammi both admitted to being poor judges of poetry. Or am I mistaken? Perhaps I misremember?

I would never have doubted or challenged your ability to distinguish great poetry from the mediocre if you had not already stated that you did not feel that you were competent to do it!

And yes, I am aware that one does not have to be a good poet to recognize good poetry, or to recognize and identify varying levels of quality, from execrable to splendid. If you review my posts, all I said was that I doubted that any accomplished poet would side with the Oxfordian camp. I did not say that one HAD to be an accomplished poet in order to see that Oxford could not have written Shakespeare. Do you see the difference?

Obviously, the majority of Shakespeare scholars are not also poets, or at least are not known as such. I daresay most of them scribble somewhat, but I would also bet that many do not essay into verse at all, and remain satisfied as scholars.

Harold Bloom KNEW poetry, and KNEW poets, but to my recollection was not a poet himself. I know for a certainty he was not known for it, if he did.

***

Now, as for that link you provided for my edification. I must say I see nothing compelling with this 'ever' 'never' business.

I have stated already that the sonnets are not of great interest to me. I haven't read them since I was in my twenties.

Also, I am well aware that no great writer is great right from the get go. This is common sense. I have mentioned Keats and his meteoric development, a few times, so what makes you think I do not know of what you speak???

Swammi posted a link somewhere upthread to some poems by Oxford which Swammi said we're penned when Oxford was "in his thirties." I have mentioned the link already, and will say again what I have already said:

No poet of the first rank was writing juvenilia into their thirties. Some of our best poets were dead and buried before they made thirty. Chatterton (dead at 17), Keats, Wilfred Owen, Shelley, Marlowe, Rupert Brooke, Alan Seeger, Keith Douglass...

If Oxford was still mediocre (good but not exceptional) into his thirties, I submit that he could not have become the greatest poet of all time in English, in any number of years, by virtue of any number of tutors.

I submit that it is impossible, not just improbable, for Oxford to have written Shakespeare.
 

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The internal evidence of the plays themselves -- the statistical patterns in the word usage -- makes it pretty certain that whoever wrote the plays must have been one of the actors who performed them.

https://www.shakespeareauthorship.com/ox7.html

It's one thing to hypothesize that a nobleman such as Oxford secretly wrote the plays and slipped them to a shill; but it's quite another to hypothesize that Oxford was on stage in disguise, over and over, and was never recognized.

Of course we can't rule out the possibility that Shakespeare was fronting for a different actor; but the text statistics allow identification of which roles the author played, and it lines up with what little is known of Shakespeare's own roles -- the ghost in Hamlet for instance.

I finally got around to perusing that website. I admit that there is much there to give misgivings to Oxfordians!

The statistical patterns that Bomb#20 mentions are found in a SHAXICON database prepared by  Donald Wayne Foster mentioned at this webpage and elsewhere. Foster has succeeded at various authorship forensics, e.g. identifying the Anonymous author of Primary Colors. I searched and clicked around for the SHAXICON database finding http://www.blake-foster.com but that site yields only error messages. Can anyone point me to SHAXICON? Or is it no longer on-line?

After searching for a while (not that long, but still), it seems to me that unfortunately it's not on-line, at least not in a website one can find with a Google search.
 

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Can anyone point me to SHAXICON? Or is it no longer on-line?

After searching for a while (not that long, but still), it seems to me that unfortunately it's not on-line, at least not in a website one can find with a Google search.

I'm afraid you're correct. Lots of good websites disappear; sometimes they can be found at archive.org; often not. Foster (whose son set up the website) seems to still be alive. There seems to be a place at the son's website to send him a message, but I've not pursued this. (I am -- or was! -- a computer programmer and might be able to duplicate the described result with several days of hard work ... but am not in the mood!)

Yes, I freely admit I am no judge of poetry. In fact my request to compare Shakespeare's Sonnets with his "doggerel" epitaph was NOT rhetorical! Oxfordians use the low quality of that epitaph as an argument, but it's a better poem than I could write!
 
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