Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Authorship and Editor's Proposal
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 1009. Saturday, 17 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Naomi Liebler <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 15 Dec 94 09:37:00 EST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.1007  Authorship
 
(2)     From:   Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 10:22:48 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Authorship List
 
(3)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 11:26:20 -0800
        Subj:   authorship
 
(4)     From:   Tony A. Emond <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 15:35:26 -0500
        Subj:   Authorship (still more)
 
(5)     From:   John Lavagnino <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 17:08 EDT
        Subj:   Good news on authorship
 
(6)     From:   Pat Buckridge <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 16 Dec 1994 12:56:27 +1000
        Subj:   Authorship
 
(7)     From:   Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 16 Dec 1994 23:03:09 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Hamlet - Stage History
 
(8)     From:   Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 16 Dec 1994 23:14:56 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   authorship
 
(9)     From:   Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 17 Dec 1994 09:11:43 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Authorship
 
(10)    From:   Tom Dale Keever <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 17 Dec 94 02:54:41 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0996  Authorship
 
(11)    From:   Tom Dale Keever <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 17 Dec 94 02:52:10 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0996  Authorship
 
(12)    From:   Hardy M. Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, December 17, 1994
        Subj:   Proposal
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Naomi Liebler <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 15 Dec 94 09:37:00 EST
Subject: 5.1007  Authorship
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.1007  Authorship
 
Jean Peterson asks what's wrong with contining the "discussion" of the
authorship question on the SHAKSPER list rather than asking those interested to
continue the debate in a separate venue. Here's what's wrong with it:
 
First of all, this debate/"discussion" is not a debate or a discussion. It's a
shouting match, sometimes occupying 4 or 5 screens' worth, and the content of
most of these postings is an interpersonal argument among 3 or 4 individuals
trying very hard to persuade each other. The method of persuasion has devolved
to sarcasm, diatribe, and attack. I know this passes for "scholarship" in some
quarters, but I retain the idealistic hope that Shakespeareans could debate an
issue more objectively. Silly me. One of the hallmarks of worthwhile argument,
I hope, is recognizing at some point that one's opponent will not be persuaded,
and the combatants agree to disagree. See Touchstone on "IF." Much virtue in
that.
 
Second of all, if this were a seminar, those of us who are bored or otherwise
engaged could walk out. If this were the postal form of junk mail, a very quick
glance would allow us to chuck it. But it has become an electronic form of junk
mail, and the suggestion that we just "delete" instead of reading and grinding
teeth doesn't work. Any electronic discussion that prompts great numbers of its
subscribers to delete before reading has lost its usefulness as a discussion.
Besides the analogies to junk-mail and boring seminars, the term "hi-jacking"
comes to mind.
 
Third, on the assumption that the participants are genuinely interested in the
ISSUES of the debate, rather than in one-upping each other in front of a huge
audience, they really SHOULD be willing to carry on the debate among
themselves. With all due respect, I cannot shake the impression that this
debate is a form of grandstanding. If I were engaged in a similar debate and
cared a lot about the issues involved, I'd want to talk only with those who
were similarly interested. I think that's called consideration for others.
 
That's why I suggested a separate list. By the way, I tracked down the
listserv owner of Interscripta, the discussion that offers a splendid model
for such an enterprise. Send an e-mail to William Schipper:
"
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 " and I'm sure he'll be willing to explain how to
set up your own discussion line. And anyone who wants to "listen" rather than
participate can do so just as you do now, with the satisfaction of knowing that
all subscribers really ARE interested. Why shove this stuff down unwilling
e-mail throats?
 
Praying for peace in our lifetime....
Naomi Liebler
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 10:22:48 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Authorship List
 
I too am tired of what has been occurring on the authorship discussion. In this
context "tired' is a euphemism for how I really feel. Shock and disappointment
come closer to expressing my true feelings.
 
I am shocked at the anti-intellectual nature and stance that is so prevalent in
too many of the postings. I am shocked at the lack of respect and consideration
and I am appalled at the suggestion that the discussion should be cut off or
ghettoized.
 
I joined SHAKSPER hoping to engage with others in a free and open discussion on
the various aspects of Shakespearean studies. What I have found instead is a
microcosm of society's larger ills.
 
I am appalled at the amount of name-calling that occurs from both sides of the
issue. It takes little intelligence or courage to hurl rude monikers and
epithets through Cyberspace.
 
I hope that my last posting (on the Folger introductory material) was read by
SHAKSPER subscribers. The point of it was not to slam the Folger but to slam
the tactics utilized in their front matter.
 
There is no excuse for name-calling. In teaching my students, I emphasize that
the effect of name-calling is to shut down the thinking process. Name-calling
is an appeal to emotion. People with something to say, say it. People who have
run out of things to say resort to dirty tactics such as name-calling and ad
hominem arguments.
 
These tactics have been utilized by both sides of the issue. Since joining
SHAKSPER, I have been directly and indirectly called more names than  I care to
recount. There is no excuse for this.
 
Why not call a truce? Why not stick to facts, issues, research, questions and
problems relating to Shakespeare. Why does everything have to be reduced to the
battle between Stratfordians and Looney-tics?
 
Is it too much to ask for courtesy and sensitivity? I detect a lot of passion
for Shakespeare from both sides of the issue. Cannot we harness this passion
towards healthier dialogue? Who knows, we all might learn more about
Shakespeare and his times in the process. I don't think that any of us are in
the position of knowing all there is to know about the Elizabethan period.
 
As for those who are tired of the authorship issue, what's the problem? The
postings are cleared labelled. It takes fewer than five keystrokes to delete
them if you are not interested.
 
As for ghettoizing the discussion to a separate list, this idea has merit as
long as there are some ground rules. A zero tolerance policy in regards to
posturing, name-calling and ad hominems.
 
Personally, I would see this as a loss to SHAKSPER. So many of the points
raised in the authorship discussion are of interest to most Shakespeare
enthusiasts. If only we could do something about the length of the postings and
the tone, fewer people would have reason to be so unhappy with their inclusion
on SHAKSPER.
 
I will end this rather long and tiring posting with a final observation. I see
the attempt of shutting down the discussion or ghettoizing it as sharing a
number of similarities to activities such as book burning and censorship. We
are all too well aware of what fuels such acts and I don't think the love of
Shakespeare should be the impetus for such behaviour.
 
Dom Saliani
<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  >
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 11:26:20 -0800
Subject:        authorship
 
I'm sorry that some of you out there who love Shakespeare's poems and plays do
not care to listen and hear about the history and biography of his lifetime.
You should hear of bustling London town, of "Gloriana" the Virgin Queen
Elizabeth, her lovers, her command executions, the initiation of a modern
secret service.  You could hear of the deadly intrigue of the court, imprisoned
playwrights, open warfare by pamphlet and sword, assassinations in high places,
and secrets worth your neck to look too closely at.  And in amongst all this
turmoil is Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, a scandalous, wayward
aristocrat who hung out with theater folk, musicians, and playwrights.
 
Those who post for a shutdown would deny that they're running scared. They're
just tired of it all, have been always and will be always, from the very
beginning.  They're just extremely weary of it all, ennui to the max.  Running
bored, I guess.
 
But it seems great fun to me. Where's another newsgroup going on with such a
battle between the Sacred and the Profane?  It's almost a moral duty to listen
in and lurk about.  That some might find the authorship question distressing
can be understood.  No doubt some even find it frightening.  But when you're
frightened you look under the bed, you don't throw the bed out the window.
 
(And thanks to those who have expressed their patience, even their amusement,
with this sideposting.)
 
Kennedy
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony A. Emond <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 15:35:26 -0500
Subject:        Authorship (still more)
 
Robert Teeter wrote:
 
>Tony A. Emond  <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > wrote regarding the tragedies:
>> I find the pattern somewhat odd, if one sees it in the context of the
>> Stratford man writing the plays. Assuming that the philosophy of "you
>> are what you are born to be" carried over into his private life, the
>> Stratford man would have felt himself incapable of writing such great
>> plays. Edward de Vere, OTOH, would have felt more at home.
>
>Why, then, did Marlowe, Jonson, and other playwrights of similar common birth
>have no such problems?  They wrote about royalty and nobility.  They inherited
>the same class outlook as Shakespeare.  Or, did deVere write their plays as
>well?
>
>It seems to me that someone of common birth is *more* likely to have inflated
>ideas about nobility.  They are more distant to the person of common birth, who
>sees them only in public, when they are on their best behavior.
>
 
Well, innuendo and accusations of snobbery apparently being the best that
Stratfordians can do, I can only enjoin you to re-read my post. My point was
that the characters in Shakespeare's tragedies (the major characters, that is)
are portrayed as incapable of escaping their born natures, though they might
get away with a disguise for a while. He did write enthusiastically of the
nobility, but only when that nobility was legitimate; compare Henry V to
MacBeth, or Claudius for instance.
 
Now I am saying that perhaps this points to considerations which would
otherwise be ignored. Edward de Vere was himself a man who was very high on the
echelons of society, and that's why his name came up.
 
My point was that the Stratford man, if he was the self-made man which well
nigh everyone believes he was, would be less likely to stomach that sort of
paternalism. Much less write it.
 
Now, let's review what I actually wrote, and put it in its proper context, to
the benefit of all to whom this was unclear. Paragraph 1 is based on actual
observation. Paragraphs 2 and 3 are purely conjectural, and belong to the realm
of theory.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Lavagnino <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 15 Dec 1994 17:08 EDT
Subject:        Good news on authorship
 
I've only just run across a mention of what is clearly the most compelling
theory of Shakespeare authorship: the suggestion that the man from Stratford
was also the man from Nazareth.  Ronald Schuchard, in the volume of *Text* that
has just come out (volume 6, page 302), speaks of an obscure journal on the
topic that Yeats mentions in one of his letters:
 
  *The Shrine*, a short-lived quarterly, edited in Stratford-upon-Avon
  by the Irish-born R. H. Fitzpatrick, was dedicated to the belief that
  Shakespeare had been the Second Coming of Christ, but that the world
  was only now ready to receive this momentous news.  On discovering
  himself to be Shakespeare's disciple, Fitzpatrick, a relative of the
  theosophist, D. N. Dunlop, had sold his Dublin business to devote
  himself to preaching the new gospel.
 
This explains a lot of things that all other theories are hard-pressed to
account for.  Why are there so many Biblical allusions in the works, for
example?  Well, now it's clear...
 
John Lavagnino, Brandeis University
 
(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Buckridge <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 16 Dec 1994 12:56:27 +1000
Subject:        Authorship
 
I'd like to respond, very belatedly I'm afraid, to Bradley Berens' invitation
to comment on the first chapter of Leah S. Marcus's book _Puzzling
Shakespeare_, which I finally got around to reading this morning.
 
 
First of all, I'm grateful for the reference.  I find her notion of
'localisation' very congenial: I agree completely that Shakespeare's works need
to be resituated in the political and cultural contexts to which they referred
and reacted.  I agree further that the First Folio can quite usefully be seen
as part of a broader campaign to secure a transcendent, universal function for
the artist.  Seeing the FF in that way doesn't conflict with seeing it also as
an elaborately ambivalent 'coverup-cum-revelation' of the author's true
identity.  To the contrary, Marcus's subtle analysis of the contradictions and
aporias in the textual preliminaries to the FF shows just how that case could
be made, perhaps even more cogently than some Oxfordians already have.
 
As far as her historical sociology of anti-Stratfordianism is concerned, I
think it's clearly true that various historical factors (including world wars)
determine what questions appear on the  intellectual agenda at particular
times.  It's just as possible to do a historical sociology of Stratfordianism
in the same terms, of course, and in neither case is the *truth* of the
contention at issue.  In other words, if Looney and Benezet did see the Oxford
theory as a way of 'saving' Shakespeare, that's clearly not to say (a) that
they didn't believe the theory to be true, or (b) that it isn't true.  I happen
to be more interested in the truth of the matter than I am in the history or
sociology of interest in it, but each to his own.
 
One final thing about Marcus.  I was disappointed to find that like many other
'new historicists' her professed enthusiasm for the historically local and
specific doesn't extend to topicality.  The rationale for declaring topical
allusions off limits is far from clear, especially since she herself
demonstrates the Elizabethans' obsessive interest in them! Apparently the fact
that this interest was one of 'the foibles of traditional [19th century]
historicism' is sufficient to exclude it from the 'new historicist' agenda.
 
The real difficulty, of course, is that the Oxfordians have always been able to
find many more convincing topical allusions in Shakespeare's works than the
Stratfordians.  Marcus seems quite unable to resolve the contradictions in her
own 'localisation' project because of her *a priori* rejection of Oxfordianism.
 On the one hand she's all for dismantling the Humanist monolith of
Shakespeare-the-Bard.  On the other hand, anti-Stratfordianism 'undermines the
credibility of all critical work on Shakespeare by challenging the *idea* of
Shakespeare'.  New historicists, it seems, 'want to keep a thing we can call
Shakespeare if only to magically guarantee the validity of our own revisionist
enterprise' (35-6). Poor dears!
 
Just a word, finally, about the current state of the authorship wrangle on the
list.  I think notice should be taken of the voices in recent days that have
been saying - quite without any leaning, in most cases, to anti-Stratfordianism
- that the discussion has been neither tedious nor irritating, but on the
contrary, of considerable historical and biographical interest, especially to
members whose interest in Shakespeare (legitimately enough) may not be
primarily performance-related.  Some of the attacks on the authorship thread
sound as if they want to exclude not just anti-Stratfordians, but any
historical discussion of Shakespeare at all!
 
As for Tom Dale Keever's 'history' of the Authorship Debate down the centuries,
I think Tom should be very careful.  He makes it all sound pretty interesting.
Before he knows it people will be reading the books he's mentioned, finding
that there's rather more to them than he says, and becoming Oxfordians.
Horrors!  If all he and Bill Godshalk can find to say about these people is
that they're snobs, and they have no direct evidence of Oxford's authorship, I
don't think they need despair just yet.  The 'snob' accusation really can't be
dignified with a reply, and the argument on evidence is about as cogent as
Samuel Johnson's 'refutation' of Bishop Berkeley.  You can kick the rock all
you like; it doesn't alter the fact that there's no *direct evidence* of the
Stratford man's authorship either.
 
Pat Buckridge.
 
(7)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 16 Dec 1994 23:03:09 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Hamlet - Stage History
 
< I believe Harold Jenkins in the Arden *Hamlet* attributes the Harvey
< quote to sometime between 1598 (or more likely mid-1599) and early
< 1601, not simply to 1598 as both John Mucci and Dom Saliani have
<  stated.  And I don't think it's really "obvious" that Harvey is referring
< to a written text rather than a written performance
 
David Kathman has problems with the Harvey quote as being made in 1598 and I
would assume that he would agree that it was made sometime between 1599 and
1601. The fact remains that it was most likely made before 1603 and the
publication of Q1.
 
Jenkins, by the way, appears to be in agreement with me concerning the
contention that Gabriel Harvey is referring to a printed work. He says on page
6 of his Arden Edition of *Hamlet* :
 
     A more serious objection, although the point is usually disregarded, is
     that nothing Harvey says suggests that he is concerned with *Hamlet*
     in performance. On the contrary he appears to refer to a work that
     could be read along with *Venus and Adonis* and *Lucrece*.
 
I don't agree with many of Jenkins observations, but perhaps he has hit upon
something here.
 
The more I think about it (please recognize that I could not possibly review
all the information that has led me to this conclusion in a SHAKSPER posting),
the more I am inclined to believe that *Hamlet* by 1603 was a fairly old play.
 
Perhaps the Ur-Hamlet is a phlogiston-like invention and the 1589 reference to
*Hamlet* was in fact a reference to an early Shakespeare version of the play.
In 1594, when the play was performed at Newington Butts and pulled in a meagre
take, this could be taken as evidence that the play had passed its vogue in the
city and the company was looking for new audiences. Granted, Q2 and F contain
many topical allusions to a later time but these could have been added later as
interpolations or even revisions. Yes there could even have been a manuscript
version circulating or even a hitherto undiscovered pre-1603 quarto edition of
the play. This would explain a lot.
 
What really got me thinking about this issue was an article written by David
Ward in the Fall 1992 issue of *Shakespeare Quarterly*. In this article Ward
argues that the order of writing of the three versions of *Hamlet* is F first,
then Q1 and then Q2. He bases his argument partly on the fact that Q2 would be
the version least offensive to James. Ward quotes at length, writings of James
that present views that are diametrically opposite to some of the ideas
presented in the F version of the play. And yet there is substantial evidence
that Q1, because it "preserves passages otherwise unique to F ... was compiled
by memory from a staged version."
 
This did not impress me as much as the references to the writings of James. On
the basis of what I have read of James, I don't see any way that *Hamlet* could
have been performed for James, firstly because of the parallels to James' life
and his disposition and secondly because many of the views expressed in the
play would certainly have found disfavor with James.
 
Please (re)read Ward's article if you are interested in this issue. I would
like to hear what people have to say about the order of the publications and
the extent to which James would "frown" upon the views expressed in the play.
 
Dom Saliani
< 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  >
 
(8)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 16 Dec 1994 23:14:56 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        authorship
 
re: Tom Dale Keever's "Authorship, a look back - SHK 5.1002
 
Tom Keever's trip down memory lane was an interesting and revealing one to say
the least. I think what it reveals more than anything else is how distorted a
picture one can create by focussing only on that which is laughable in the
opponent's position and disregarding all that is laudable.
 
Yes, there are nut cases in the anti-Stratfordian camp and I am sure that you
will agree that the Stratfordian camp also has advocates who are also
certifiable but we don't need to get into that, do we.
 
Let me stress that it is illogical to argue that just because there are nut
cases who support a particular view that the view itself is looney. (There are
a lot of people in padded cells who believe that the world is round.)
 
I think what I object to most in Tom's history lesson is the complete absence
of reference to the many scholars, artists and literary giants who were (and
are) anti-Stratfordians.
 
I don't think that it is so easy to maintain as David Kathman does so
frequently that "there is nothing mysterious about William Shakespeare when one
looks at what Charles Dickens and Matthew Arnold had to say on the subject.
 
Matthew Arnold in a December 1847 letter to A.H. Clough wrote:
 
     "I keep saying, Shakespeare, Shakespeare, you are as obscure as life is."
 
Charles Dickens wrote that "The life of Shakespeare is a fine mystery and I
tremble every day lest something should turn up."
 
W.H. Auden, in *Forwards and Afterwards* expressed the view that "Shakespeare
is in the singularly fortunate position of being, to all intents and purposes,
anonymous."
 
Novelist Henry James was a firm anti-Stratfordian. He even wrote a short story
parodying the tours that are given through Shakspere supposed birthplace in
Stratford. James is clear in his opinion about the Stratford man. He writes: "I
am sort of haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest
most successful fraud ever practised on a patient world."
 
Should we pay attention to such literary giants. After all what do they know
about Shakespeare? Perhaps we should take Tom Keever's approach and only pay
attention to Looney-tics. They are easier to dismiss.
 
We are all aware that Walt Whitman was a snob and so when he expresses the
view that he too is an anti-Stratfordian, we can attribute this to his anti-
Democratic predisposition. Yes I jest. Whitman actually had plenty to say about
Shakespeare. "I am firm against Shaksper - I mean the Avon man, the actor."
Whitman writes in *November Boughs*:
 
     "Conceiv'd out of the fullest heat and pulse of European
     feudalism - personifying in unparalled'd ways the medieval
     aristocracy, its towering spirit of ruthless and gigantic caste,
     with its own peculiar air and arrogance (no mere imitation) -
     only one of the 'wolfish earls' so plenteous in the plays
     themselves, or some born descendant and knower, might
     seem to be the true author of those amazing works - works
     in some respect greater than anything else in recorded
     history."
 
Even Whitman's contemporary, Ralph Waldo Emerson, had his doubts. No matter how
hard he tried, he just couldn't reconcile the details in the biography of the
Stratford man to the spirit and soul expressed in the works. Emerson states
that "We cannot marry the man to his writings."
 
But what does he know? A transcendentalist and poet!
 
I could go on and perhaps I will in future postings. There are far too many of
these literary giants and scholars who have seen problems and yes a mystery in
the authorship issue.
 
Here is a list of just a few.
 
Harry M. Blackman   - U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Charles Champlin    - Arts Editor of the Los Angeles Times
Charlie Chaplin     - Hollywood actor and producer
Benjamin Disraeli   - British diplomat an Prime Minister
Clifton Fadiman     - author and literary critic
Sigmund Freud
W.H. Furness   - father of the Variorum Shakespeare editions
Sir John Gielgud
James Joyce
Helen Keller
Stephen Leacock     - author
Malcolm X
Vladmir Nabokov
Frederik Nietzsche  - German philospoher
Lewis F. Powell     - U.S. Supreme Court Justice
L. Enoch Powell     - British politician
Lincoln Schuster    - editor of Simon and Schuster
John Paul Stevens   - U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Mark Twain
Orson Welles
John Greenleaf Whittier
 
There are many others but I have only included names that most people would
recognize. Please notice the number of supreme court judges. Some of you may
recall that in 1988, three supreme court justices judged a debate on the
authorship issue and ruled in favor of the Stratford man. If the debate were
held today, with the same judges, Oxford would win. Everyone interested in the
authorship issue should read John Paul Stevens' 1991 address at Wilkes
University (printed in the University of Pennsylvania) in which argues
convincingly against the Stratford William as author.
 
In a private posting to a Stratfordian, I offered to mail a copy of the judge's
speech. The offer was declined. I would suspect that Stevens is a Looney-tic
too and should not be heeded.
 
Please also note the inclusion of Sir John Gielgud. Just recently, he came out
of the closet and announced that he is an Oxfordian. He joins other thespian
giants Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Leslie Howard, in disbelieving in the
Stratford man - but what do they know. Let's ignore them too.
 
To repeat, this is a short list of those who have doubted and rejected the
Stratfordian attribution. Perhaps we could begin a listing on the SHAKSPER file
server, similar to the SPINOFFS BIBLIO that would contain names and quotations
of more anti-Stratfordians. This would address the perception that the
anti-Stratfordian camp is inhabited only by Looney-tics.
 
Dom Saliani
< dsaliani.ab.ca >
 
(9)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 17 Dec 1994 09:11:43 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Authorship
 
Tom Keever delights in emphasizing that the Stratford camp is full of
Looney-tics. It is reassuring to me to know that the Stratford camp has its
share also.
 
What is even more gratifying, is the knowledge that the basis for many of the
myths and legends surrounding the Stratford man is an individual whom all
idolaters of the Stratford William should hold in high regard.
 
John Aubrey (1626 - 1697) was Shakspere's first biographer. It is upon his
entry regarding Shakspere that most subsequent biographies are based. What do
we know of Aubrey?
 
According to Oscar J. Campbell's *Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare*:
 
     "Aubrey lived a gay, irresponsible life, spending much of his
     time visiting friends in the country and pumping them for
     information about celebrities...
 
     "Aubrey's method of obtaining information was to visit one
     of his cronies at his country seat, there to spend an evening
     in gossip and conviviality. Early the next morning he would
     get up before his host had stirred and, his head not
     completely clear, would write down what he hazily
     remembered of the last night's talk. He made no attempt to
     produce a fair copy. He left blanks for dates and many other
     facts and inserted fresh material at random. Thus while
     Aubrey's biographical notes are always interesting and
     frequently hilarious, their authority is something less than
     unimpeachable."
 
I have nothing personal against Aubrey - he was probably a very sociable person
- but it appears that others did not hold him in such high esteem. Stratfordian
researcher Halliwell-Phillipps refers to Aubrey as being one of those "foolish
and detestable gossips who record everything they hear or misinterpret."
 
Jonson's biographer, Anthony Wood who also just happened to be Aubrey's
employer, had even fewer kind words to say about this primogenitor of the
Stratfordian house of cards. He called Aubrey "a roving, magotty-pated man,
[who] thought little, believed much and confused everything."
 
Need more be said? I referred to the Stratfordian house of cards. When one
takes away the one card against which all others lean, you know the result.
Check for yourselves and you will find that Aubrey did write the first bio of
the Stratford William and that Nicholas Rowe (1674 -1718) Shakspere's "first
authoritative biographer" repeats much of what was reported by Aubrey - and the
rest is history. And it is upon this that our traditions concerning the Bard
are based.
 
Excuse me if I don't come up with a "Looney-tic" type term to apply to
followers of the primal author of the Stratford myth. I am not feeling very
creative this morning.
 
I will end with a question. Why is it that no one in the Stratford William's
family ever made reference to or even mentioned that they were related to the
greatest playwright of all time. I would think that by 1670, the year
Shakespere's granddaughter Elizabeth died, someone in the family should have
mentioned something. But maybe I am asking too much. We should stick to sources
more reliable than family members. I think I will go back and read more Aubrey.
I do so like reading fiction.
 
Dom Saliani
< 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  >
 
(10)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 17 Dec 94 02:54:41 EST
Subject: 5.0996  Authorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0996  Authorship
 
Subject:   Authorship, The Viennese Connection.
 
None of our Oxfordians have mentioned it, but they had at least one first rate
mind in their ranks earlier in the century.  The pioneer British psyco-analyst
Earnest Jones, who later made his own controversial contribution to Shakespeare
studies in _Hamlet and Oedipus_,  was understandably alarmed when he learned
that the movement's leader, Sigmund Freud, was so fervently committed to the
Oxfordian theory that he planned to publish a monograph on the subject.
Battling as he was against the widely-held belief in England that Freud and his
followers were a bunch of dangerous cranks, Jones feared what would happen if
Freud's views on this subject became public.  I have read that he convinced
Freud to hold his tongue only by explaining the implications in English of the
founding Oxfordian's name, "Looney." He feared that some unscrupulous critics
might exploit its suggestiveness to ridicule Freud and other Oxfordians.
(Imagine!)
 
What could have converted Freud to the cause?  Was the monograph ever written?
Has anyone ever translated it?  If it exists I have never seen it, but would
love to.
 
When I visited Freud's study in Hampstead, reconstructed after he fled Vienna
and preserved since he died, I was struck by the bric-a-brac shelves stuffed
with primitive little figurines, many of them sexually suggestive.  What almost
all of them had in common was that they had been dug up in archeological
explorations.  So much of Freud's pioneering thought was caught up in his
fascination with the buried and hidden, the secrets we must laboriously
excavate to reveal profound and sometimes shocking truths.  Like Pasteur, who
had an irresistable need to wash his hands even before he discovered practical
reasons to do so, Freud achieved profound insights into his subject in large
part because of his own neuroses.
 
How exciting it is to imagine that we have discovered some dangerous secret
that powerful forces, historical, political, subconscious (or parental) have
tried to conceal!  The energy that such a fascination, "scopofilia" is what
psycho-analysts call it, draws on is rooted in the child's anxiety over what
goes on in his parents' bedroom.  Or so the Freudians tell us.
 
Consider that the Oxfordian movement leads eventually to the Ogburns imagining,
nay, insisting, that de Vere coupled with Elizabeth herself to produce
Southampton, the Sonnet author's object of desire, and a Freudian
interpretation of the mass delusion becomes very appealing indeed.
 
(11)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 17 Dec 94 02:52:10 EST
Subject: 5.0996  Authorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0996  Authorship
 
Subject:  Authorship - why we gotta put up with it.
 
I vote for inclusion.  As one of those dues-paying ACLU types I react
viscerally against anything that smells like censorship, but there are other
reasons for allowing this debate to continue on the list.
 
Like the hopeless quest for a navigable Northwest Passage, the search for an
alternative author sometimes leads its dedicated devotees, and the rest of us,
into exotic territoritory and turns up serendipitous finds.  I don't know how
much discussion we'd have of Shakespeare's life and times on the list if we
weren't goaded by the Looney-tics.  You can't match cranks for zeal, God bless
'em.  We owe them all a debt, for instance, for sending Dave Kathman to his
keyboard.  I'm sure he has better things to do with his impressive erudition
than parry the thrusts of the benighted crusaders for Oxford. I, for one, am
pleased he's been goaded to share it with us even as I am awed by his patience.
 Facts about Shakespeare and the composition of the plays that would be merely
interesting in a more sedate climate come to life when they become "evidence"
in a lively debate on a question that appears unsettled.  If Hardy decides he's
had enough (and who could blame him?) I hope Dave will resolve to find some
curious bit of Shakespeare lore and share it with us every month or two
unprompted by Looney-tic posts.
 
For my own part I plan to knock out a couple more musings on the topic now that
I've put my show, LA BELLE ET LA BETE, away 'til spring.  (Were we a hit? -
check out TIME!)  If we continue this thread I'd like to see a few others get
involved and share their feelings about the issues the debate raises, many of
which are more interesting than the Looney-tics' specious arguments.  Why, for
instance, does such an obvious canard continue to find adherents?   I have
suggested an answer in anti-populist bigotry, but there must be other forces at
work. What does the debate say about our attitude toward Shakespeare? Why does
he attract such impassioned argument?  Let's hear from more lurkers.
 
I also know what it feels like to hold "heretical" or "incorrect" views that
others would rather not have to listen to and I wouldn't feel right stifling
debate.  In both my academic life of years ago and my current theater career
I've known people who lived through the blacklist and I've heard about what it
did to both worlds.  The issue at hand may seem small by comparison, but let's
do the right thing.
 
(13)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 17 Dec 94 15:12:46 EST
Subject: 5.0996  Authorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0996  Authorship
 
Subject:  Authorship - Why an Aristocrat?
 
As I demonstrated in my precis of the anti-Stratfordian movement, the
assumption that has grounded it from the first is that the son of John
Shakespeare, Stratford glover, did not have the proper background to produce
the plays subsequently placed at the center of English cultural achievement.
For all their later distracting quibbles about dates and ciphers meant to
flummox the unwary, this first assumption was the sole reason to question the
ample evidence pointing to a hard working actor/manager and remains the core of
anti-Stratford ideology.
 
Let's pause in our efforts to brush aside the nettles of the Looney-tic weed
and attack it at its root.   One would think from the insistence of Delia Bacon
and her intellectual progeny that the higher the artistic achievement the
higher on the social scale we should  look for its author.  The least
acquaintance with the record explodes that fallacy.
 
Since its first emergence in England the mercantile/artisan class has provided
almost all the nation's great writers.  The court of Edward III was crammed
with well-born idle aristocrats, but it was a harried civil servant, son of a
London vintner, who found the time amidst his many duties to invent modern
English literature.  The towering literary lion of Shakepeare's time was the
son of a brick-layer who had a seat at The Mermaid, not in the House of Lords.
In every age the literary lights have been the sons and daughters of merchants,
craftsmen, yoemen, laborers and the occaisonal vicar.
 
At the top by comparison we find no British king since Alfred wrote anything
worth preserving ("Greenfleeves?"  Doubtful.) and titled talents are amazingly
thin on the ground.  The denizens of upper English society, long blessed with
the overwhelming share of education and leisure to devote to the arts, have
amazingly little to show for it.  The only hereditary peer we find in every
anthology is Byron and his title fell upon him almost by accident after an
impoverished childhood.  Not even Bulwer Lytton was to the manor born.
 
Don't get me wrong - I am not suggesting that the British nobility is incapable
of producing anything of social or cultural value.  The achievement of Bertrand
Russell is one of the marvels of our century and I yield to no one in my
admiration for Tony Benn!  One must marvel, though, at how exceptional an
aristocratic genius has always been.  The rule remains, in culture as in
economics, "Labor Creates All Wealth."  To develop a talent into a career of
accomplishment requires habits of toil  a privileged birth seldom demands or
develops. We should not be surprised to find that the English cultural
aristocracy of achievement has little relationship to its social aristocracy of
birth.
 
If I were to start, as Looney claimed to, with the assumption that I knew
nothing of "Shakespeare" any list I drew up of the qualities I would expect in
him would have near the top a middle class upbringing, just like the Stratford
man's.  That the Looney-tics insist on looking to the top of the social order
shows how little they understand not only of the plays, but of our entire
cultural heritage.
 
Keeping The Red Flag flying, I remain,
 
Tom Dale Keever

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
(12)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, December 17, 1994
Subject:        Proposal
 
If you have read this far, you certainly are a hard-core fan of this non-
discussion.
 
I admit that I shall NEVER be convinced by any anti-Stratfordian argument --
I am too resonable a person to fall for another conspiracy theory.  Similarly,
I assume that the arguments of Dave Kathman and others will never convince
an Oxfordain to become a Stratfordian.  Thus, I see no point in continuing
this discussion.  To cut it off would not be censorship; it would instead be
blow for reason and would return a semblance of respectability to this
academic conference.  However, I do not propose, at this point, to cut off
discussion -- not yet.  I have another idea.
 
SHAKSPER (pronounced Shakespeare) comes to more than 850 members in 23
countries because of me.  Because it is moderated (and I would have it no
other way), someone (read ME) has to edit and format the digests.  This work
takes time -- lots of time.  I simply do not see why I should be spending
an extra hour a day granting an air of respectability to a position I feel is
academically untenable.
 
So my proposal.  Why not have this discussion migrate to the Oxford list to
give me a break?  Anyone wishing to continue the discussion can do so there.
Further, there would be added benefits of potential new members for the Oxford
list
 
Now, I know that everytime I step into a discussion I create a meta-discussion:
Go, Hardy!  Boo, Hardy!!!  Remember the Maine.  I do NOT want another such
meta-discussion to occur.
 
So if those few members involved in this topic agree to move it to the Oxford
list, then I'll announce such a move and we can go about the business of this
conference.
 
Again, please restrain yourselves about the meta-comments.  I have enough to
do editing and formating a dozen authorship posting at a time.  If you must
comment on my proposal, please do it privately.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.