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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Authorship
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0986. Wednesday, 7 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Richard Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Dec 1994 19:27:06 -0800
        Subj:   Authorship
 
(2)     From:   Dom Saliani <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 06 Dec 1994 21:16:38 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Authorship
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Dec 1994 19:27:06 -0800
Subject:        Authorship
 
David Kathman quotes a passage from The Return From Parnassus, a frolic that
was written by some St. John's College, Cambridge students for the fun of the
1601 Christmas season.  It was a sort of Hasty Pudding show, an irreverent
antic, or an "ironical review", as Sidney Lee has it. Kathman wants us to
believe that this clabbered-up amusement supports his view that the man from
Stratford was a playwright.  Sidney Lee is not so humorless.  He says that this
"perplexing passage...may well be incapable of a literal interpretation."
 
But I thought that my question to Kathman was as clear as water.  Here it is
again:  Why is it that the man from Stratford cannot be found out to be the
writer of the poems and plays of "Shakespeare"? It seems it would be an easy
thing to prove.  Whoever wrote the poems and plays was for some 15 years a
superstar, but the man from Stratford, an actor no less, never stands forth in
the limelight.  "Shakespeare" remains to be a name on paper only.  There is no
flesh and blood man behind the name. That's the whole problem; that's why
there's an "authorship question.
 
I believe that the question, insofar as it touches on the Stratfordian
conspiracy, is quite intelligible.  If my machine could do the job, I'd draw
Kathman a picture.
 
Kennedy ###
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <
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Date:           Tuesday, 06 Dec 1994 21:16:38 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Authorship
 
<Few of the University pen plaies well, they smell too much of that writer
<Ovid, and that writer Metamorphosis, and talke too much of Prosperina and
<Jupiter. Why here's our fellow Shakespeare puts them all down, aye and
<Ben Jonson too ....
 
David Kathman argues that the above excerpt from *The Return from Parnasus*
proves that Shakespeare is being identified as the author of the plays. The
sceptic in me insists that we look a little closer at the passage. First of all
no where in the play is the connection made between Shakespeare and Stratford
and that is the connection that is still lacking.
 
Secondly and probably most importantly what this passage illustrates is how
little Kempe and Burbage know about anything and in particular about
Shakespeare. Kempe mistakes "Metamorphosis" for a writer. He is also unaware
that Ovid is one of Shakespeare's favourite sources and he is also oblivious of
the fact that Shakespeare's plays abound in references to Jupiter, Prosperina
and other such classical allusions.
 
We cannot take anything in this passage at face value and surely not as
evidence that the man from Stratford wrote the plays. This passage is far from
a panegyric to Shakspeare. In context, it is more of an indictment on the
ignorance and lack of culture of the players compared to the refinement of the
Cambridge scholars.
 
If anything, I am surprised that this excerpt has not been used by the Anti-
Stratfordians to support their cause.
 
Dom Saliani
Sir Winston Churchill High School
Calgary, Alberta
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