So you're in agreement that there is not any literally scientific, forensic proof?
Before agreeing with this, I'd want a definition of "literally scientific, forensic proof", or examples of what sort of evidence might constitute such proof.
(a) A contemporary claim that Oxford wrote one of the certainly-Shakespeare works?
(b) A single manuscript with one poem attributed to Oxford and another to Shakespeare?
And, besides names on title-pages, does evidence of that sort exist for other writers of that era?
For (a), is Peacham's book off limits because "TIBI NOM. DE VERE" is written in anagram form?
For (b), since Moogly is reading SBAN, I'll ask him to comment on The Passionate Pilgrime published 1599 via Anne Cornwallis, resident at Fisher's Folly
discussed in SBAN on page 232, but especially note the first paragraph on page 233. The relevant text is on page 235 of the SBAN edition at Google Books.
The first link above is to a webpage discussing The Passionate Pilgrime
with its early version of Sonnet CXXXVIII — scientific forensic proof that Miss Cornwallis' source was close to the true author!
But let me concede upfront that neither Peacham's nor Cornwallis' work comes remotely close to definitive proof of anything.
'a)' would be a giant leap forward, at least.
Sorry, I do not have my own definition of what would constitute "literally scientific, forensic proof". I am not a scientist. There are scientists at TFT. We could invite one of them to join us and offer an opinion? fromderinside was a scientist, now retired. That's one I know for sure, who is still active. He and I knocked heads many times on various topics, especially in the late oughts. Whew! We had some doozies.
May we take a look at Derby again? As I mentioned, and as I am sure you know, and indeed have spoken on it in this thread
, William Stanley was close to De Vere. He lived to old age, and his years covered those of the Stratford man. You said yourself that Stanley collaborated on plays with De Vere. We also know that Stanley was an author, and probably a poet, as there is proof in a letter. From Wikipedia:
Derby's candidacy was first raised as a possibility in 1891 by the archivist James H. Greenstreet, who identified a pair of letters written in 1599 by the Jesuit spy George Fenner in which he reported that Derby was:
busied only in penning comedies for the common players. [bold mine]
Fenner was disappointed that Derby was devoting himself to cultural pursuits rather than politics because his family were thought to be sympathetic to the Catholic cause and were possible claimants of the throne in the event of Queen Elizabeth's death.
Greenstreet argued that Fenner's dismissive comment revealed that unknown works were penned by Derby. He argued that these could be identified with the Shakespeare canon. He suggested that the comic scenes in Love's Labour's Lost were influenced by a pageant of the Nine Worthies only ever performed in Derby's home town of Chester. He also argued that the comic character of the pedant Holofernes in the play is based on Derby's tutor Richard Lloyd, who wrote a dramatic poem about the Nine Worthies that appears to be parodied in Holofernes' own production on the topic in the play. Greenstreet attempted to develop his ideas in a second paper, but died suddenly at the age of forty-five in 1892, leaving his arguments incomplete.
Also, and while it is actually irrelevant, Stanley was quite the man of the world, wasn't he? There is a story, though a credited one, that this adventurous aristocrat killed a tiger. A. TIGER! While it is a rotten thing to do, in general, to kill such a magnificent creature, according to accounts it appears the Earl may have had to do it defensively. At any rate, this was no pampered sissy loafing around at court, mooning at beautiful women and penning sonnets. NOT that De Vere was either!
It looks to me that he was the Indiana Jones of the aristocracy at that time. Such a man, who also had a gift for poetry, and was busy writing plays for the rabble, and who presumably did so with the intent of remaining anonymous, I can very comfortably imagine being a genius who could have written the Shakespeare plays, or at least a good deal of the super-amazing metrical bits (and a substantial amount of the prose parts).
In fact, I believe there is a better chance that Stanley was the real genius, and that perhaps Oxford penned much of the work, even some of the metrical parts that are not exemplary (there are plenty of places in the works where the presence of poetic and literary genius seems absent).
Whitman could write in metrical verse, and indeed did, early on, but he wrote nothing memorable in that vein. He dismantled the metrical jail (as the great but terribly neglected Lithuanian/American/Hebrew& English poet Menke Katz called it) to give himself space to work as he wanted, without the constraints (or restraints, depending on how one looks at it) of rhyme and meter. Why? Could it have been because he knew he could not master the traditional forms to such a degree that would establish him as a poet of notice? Wouldn't it be better to be known as a groundbreaker, in the avant garde, a rebel, as a poet ought to be? Maybe, maybe not. He was not singular in this. William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg both began writing stilted, imitative formal poetry, but turned to free verse as a better form of poetic expression. The world is better for the three of them and their chosen paths.
As for Mark Twain: again, a genius, no doubt. Brilliant author and wit. But was he a poet? I believe he may have penned a handful of poems, but he is certainly not known for them. I suspect he did not have the ear
to know the real reason 'Shakespeare' became so famous and beloved. Stephen King, a great writer, talks about his desire to be a poet, and his coming to the realization that he sucks at it. There are many great authors of prose who were middling poets. James Joyce was one, and he was certainly a literary genius.
As for the Supreme Court Justices: same thing. Are they readers of poetry? Are any of them skilled poets? I do not know. You could tell me.
Derek Jacoby, John Gielgud, both wonderful Shakespearean actors. They make/made Shakespeare's words come alive, ring beautifully in the ears of audiences around the world. I love them both. I would think they know /knew all about the technicals of poetic meter in English. They can/could hear beautiful poetry and grand oratory, metrical or prosaic, but are/were they qualified to see that Oxford's extant poems are no match for the Sweet Bard of Avon - whoever that might have been?
I like a remark made by Roger Slater (publishes under the surname Schecther), from the Eratosphere thread:
The problem is, the plays are too good for anyone to have written. Hence the skepticism that it could have been Shakespeare, and hence our own skepticism that it could have been someone else.
Until we meet again...