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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Authorship
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0970.  Sunday, 4 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Chris Fassler <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Nov 1994 09:53:14 -0500
        Subj:   Authorship and history
 
(2)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Sunday, 4 Dec 1994 16:27:48 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0962  Authorship
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Fassler <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Nov 1994 09:53:14 -0500
Subject:        Authorship and history
 
Colleagues,
 
At the risk of further irritating those of us who are weary of the authorship
thread and of placing a further burden on Pat Buckridge to carry the Oxfordian
banner, I am compelled by a recent comment to ask for a clarification from
Buckridge:
 
> If the Oxford authorship had the effect of enhancing the value
> and interest of Shakespeare's work as *literature*, I don't think
> that would necessarily be a bad thing.
>
> If it did have this effect, by the way, it would not be because
> Oxford was not 'a man of the theatre', as is so often claimed
> (dubiously - but that's a separate argument).  It would be
> *because the Oxford authorship makes the plays so pregnant with
> historical meaning* [emphasis added] that their interest as
> historical artefacts might, at least for a while, rival their
> interest as playscripts for contemporary actors and directors to
> exercise their interpretive talents.
 
In the heat of the moment, Buckridge seems to have implied that only those
works of *literature* written by aristocrats can be "pregnant with historical
meaning"--or at least pregnant enough to be worthy of our scholarly interest.
 Surely this is not what he means, and surely he can more satisfactorily
*summarize* his view of historical meaning in light of the authorship
question.  Wouldn't the historical significance of Oxfordian authorship go
beyond the revelation of snippy, petty, ad hominem allusions, such as the
portrayal of Burghley as a vacuous old fart (Pollonius)?
 
Happy to return to the shadows,
 
--Chris Fassler
  Winthrop University
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Sunday, 4 Dec 1994 16:27:48 -0800
Subject: 5.0962  Authorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0962  Authorship
 
Foster's study is flawed from the start because the assumption it is based on
is wrong.  He supposes that his results prove that the playwright, being an
actor, imprinted on his brain ceretain "rare words" that he himself had to
memorize and act out on the stage. These fresh new words, so the theory goes,
just naturally found a way into the next play that he wrote.
 
Now it's obvious that we don't know anything at all, nor have we any precedent
to believe that this is how the creative process works.
 
But that is a small jump.  The big jump Foster makes is to assume that the
actor from Stratford wrote the plays.  Foster is merely inventing that. There
is no proof that the man from Stratford wrote a single sentence in his whole
life.  When he was dead for seven years, he is first put up as the writer of
the plays, and not a moment before.
 
But yet Kathman says it is a good study, and can't imagine any other
"assumption" that fits.  Since we're taking a lot of liberty here, why not
imagine this:
 
       The parts in which those *rare words* occur were the parts
       played by an actor who always wanted some fresh words to
       say, and the playwright obliged.
 
I've had to invent this actor and imagine his temper, but it's more reasonable
than inventing a story that the man from Stratford could write plays, or write
anything more than his own name.  There's no proof of that at all, and even the
Stratfordians admit it.
 

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