1994

Authorship

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0921.  Tuesday, 15 November 1994.
 
From:           David Joseph Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 14 Nov 94 20:01:00 CST
Subject:        Authorship
 
The authorship traffic seems to have tapered off, but for the sake of
completeness I thought I'd post my replies to some of Pat Buckridge's comments
that crossed my last posting in cyberspace.
 
1) I was not, despite Pat's implication, saying that the Oxfordian explanations
for Meres' listing of both Oxford and Shakespeare are "self-evidently absurd";
I was just tired and didn't feel like editorializing right then. I should say,
though, that the "ignorance" scenario (Meres didn't know that "Oxford" and
"Shakespeare" were the same) makes it harder to explain why Meres mentioned
Shakespeare's "sugard sonnets among his privat friends", a phrase which
certainly implies that Meres had some kind of knowledge of a real person named
"Shakespeare" who had friends.  This pretty much forces you into the "paid by
conspirators" scenario (Meres knew the "truth" but was paid and/or coerced by
the conspirators to insert both Oxford and Shakespeare into his list in order
to avoid suspicion), which as far as I can see is the most common one accepted
by prominent Oxfordians.  Your tolerance for accepting this scenario depends on
your tolerance for conspiracy theories, which in my case is not particularly
high.
 
2) On the *Sir Thomas More* manuscript, I won't go into this at length, but
will refer anyone who's interested to the excellent collection *Shakespeare and
Sir Thomas More: Essays on the Play and its Shakespearian Interest*, edited by
T. H. Howard Hill, and the relevant chapter in Samuel Schoenbaum's *William
Shakespeare: Images and Records*, which gives a more concise summary of the
reasons for attributing Hand D to Shakespeare.  My main point on *More* was not
directly its relevance to the authorship question, but rather the way orthodox
Shakespeareans are much more critical of their own conclusions than Oxfordians
are.  Pat Buckridge asserts that the *More* manuscript is a transcription,
which is not quite right; it contains the handwriting of either five or six
people, one of which is a playhouse scribe whose handwriting is found, I
believe, in another surviving playhouse manuscript. The others include Anthony
Munday, Henry Chettle, Thomas Heywood (probably), and Hand D, the last almost
certainly Shakespeare.  Hand D is not that of a playhouse scribe, or if it is,
it's like no other scribe we know of; the handwriting is kind of messy (scribes
were always very neat) and flowing, and seems to have been written quickly,
though despite this there are very few corrections ("his mind and hand went
together"; "we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers"; hmmmm...).
I won't try to go into all the evidence, but this handwriting does not match
that of any other playwright for whom we have writing samples, and it is
consistent in every way (including some unusual features such as a "spurred a")
with the six signatures (and the words "by me") of William Shakespeare of
Stratford. There are quite compelling reasons for believing that the person who
wrote Hand D also wrote the Shakespeare quartos which were set from the
author's foul papers, and the same reasons effectively rule out other potential
candidates (such as John Webster) for whom we don't have writing samples. It's
not conclusive, but in my view it's pretty significant evidence in favor of
Shakespeare.  (Oxford's handwriting, by the way, was nothing like Hand D.)
 
3) Finally, hyphenation.  All right, Pat, "utterly baseless" may have been a
bit harsh, and there may well be other factors involved in hyphenation that I
haven't mentioned.  But the evidence we have will simply not support a claim
that hyphenation commonly indicated a pseudonym in Elizabethan times, and I'm
unaware of any non-Oxfordian who claims that it did.  Let's consider some
facts.  First of all, all the instances of hyphenated names I've encountered
occur in printed sources, as opposed to handwritten ones. This includes the
Stationer's Register entries for Shakespearean plays published with the name
hyphenated on the title page; thus, the handwritten SR entry for Q1 *Lear*
spells the name "William Shakespeare", while the printed title page spells it
"Shak-speare" (without the first e but with a hyphen).  This, to me, indicates
that the printer had at least something to do with hypehnation, though I won't
rule out other factors if someone comes up with some evidence.  Now, almost all
the records of William Shakespeare of Stratford (apart from the mentions of
William Shakespeare as a playwright/poet, which is what's under dispute) are
handwritten, consisting as they do of mostly legal documents (and one letter to
Shakespeare, which abbreviates his name as "Sh" or "Shak").  As it happens,
though, there are two unequivocal printed mentions of Shakespeare the actor
(who even Pat admits is the same as the Stratford man); these are in the cast
lists in the 1616 edition of Ben Jonson's *Works*.  In the list for *Every Man
In His Humour*, the name is given as "Will. Shakespeare"; in the list for
*Sejanus*, it is given as "Will. Shake-Speare".  What do you know about that!
Those bungling conspirators used the hyphenated form to refer to the illiterate
Stratford yokel instead of the noble genius Oxford!  Or could it be that the
name Shakespeare was just hyphenated sometimes because it could be divided into
two words that formed a little phrase with heroic connotations, and was thought
to derive from such a source?  Let's ask William Camden, the famed antiquary.
In his *Remaines* of 1605, he talks about the etymology of names and says that
men took their names "from that which they commonly carried, as Palmer, that
is, Pilgrim, for they that carried palm when they returned from Hierusalem;
Long-sword, Broad-spere, Shake-speare, Shotbolt, Wagstaffe..."  Sounds like
he's talking about real people's names there, and note that he hyphenated
"Shake-speare" in addition to a couple of others.  If the conspirators were
trying to use hyphens to indicate a pseudonym, they were sure erratic about it;
in Leonard Digges' poem in the First Folio, the name is spelled "Shakespeare"
in the title, but "Shake-speare" in the text of the poem.  Wouldn't the title
be a more prominent place to put an authorship "clue" --- I thought that's why
the conspirators hyphenated the name on title pages?  Oh, but I guess we can't
question the ways of the conspirators --- after all, they did such a good job
covering their tracks that nobody uncovered their secret until 1920, when J.
Thomas Looney exposed the whole sordid affair.
 
Sorry for the excessive sarcasm.  I'm all tuckered out, and have to rest. If I
can find the time sometime, I may whip up a posting about the overwhelming
evidence that *The Tempest* was written no earlier than 1610, and that
Shakespeare of Stratford had multiple and intimate ties with a couple of men
who could have given him access to the unpublished letter which was the basis
of much of the plot details and language of the play. Oxfordian writings on
*The Tempest* are, I almost hate to say it, particularly bad, and have never
addressed any of this evidence.
 
Good night,
Dave Kathman
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Re: *Shrew8 Productions; Volsci

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0920.  Tuesday, 15 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 14 Nov 1994 16:37:52 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0894 Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
(2)     From:   John Mucci <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Nov 1994 07:41:12 -0500
        Subj:   Coriolanus & the Volsci
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 14 Nov 1994 16:37:52 GMT
Subject: 5.0894 Re: *Shrew* Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0894 Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
There's obviously something wrong with my e-mail. It recorded Jim Helsinger as
claiming that Kate's final words represent " a speech of growth for her as a
person". Ho ho. Could somebody tell me what he actually wrote?
 
T. Hawkes
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Mucci <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 15 Nov 1994 07:41:12 -0500
Subject:        Coriolanus & the Volsci
 
The Volsci were a mountainous people, who by 493 BC were threatening to attack
the Latini, and by 340-388, along with the AEqui and the Etruscans were at war
against the Romans.  The Latin League which had been formed to celebrate
religious cults and provide defense was broken up by these wars, and was then
re-organized.   The Volsci people were found southeast of Rome, south of the
Hernci and Marsi, and north of the Latini & the Aurunci.
 
John Mucci
GTE VisNet

Authorship

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0918.  Monday, 14 November 1994.
 
From:           Pat Buckridge <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Nov 1994 22:31:39 +1000
Subject:        Authorship
 
Let me respond first to Dave Kathman's slack-jawed amazement at my remarks
on Marlowe's authorship.  As far as I can tell, Dave seems to have missed
my point, which was *not* to assert the unquestioned status of Marlowe's
authorship claims as against those of William Shakspere.  Why would I want
to do that?  As it happens, I'm well aware that some traditional Marlowe
attributions have in fact been challenged from time to time, by Oxfordians
and others; but this is entirely beside the point.  It was Dave, after all,
who introduced Marlowe's authorship into this discussion in the first
place, as a parallel case to Shakespeare's of attribution-by-inference.
His implication, I took it, was that he considered both to be safe
attributions, to which my response was that I am more than happy to
entertain the hypothesis that both of them are unsafe and open to
challenge.  And the same goes for all the other playwrights of the period -
the large majority - whose authorship also rests mainly on inference.  The
charge that I'm applying 'double standards' only holds up if it's assumed
that I'm committed to accepting certain inferential attributions (e.g.
Marlowe), and not others (e.g. Shakspere).  But I'm not.  As I said last
week (with the unexpected and I'm sure unintended support of Bill Godshalk)
I'd be more than happy to see a general amnesty on all such attributions.
I'm also happy to dissociate myself from any arguments, Oxfordian or
otherwise, that invoke the kind of contrast Dave objects to.
 
That was my main point.  A minor parenthesis, which Dave seems to have
mistaken for the main point, was that *on the face of it* there seemed to
be less reason to doubt Marlowe's authorship than Shakspere's if only
because he, unlike Shakspere, had the higher education usually deemed
requisite for writing highly educated dramas (autodidacts like Jonson
always excepted).
 
The SHAXICON study has now been somewhat more fully explained.
Dave Kathman is right to suppose that his initial summary led me to infer,
wrongly it appears, that an order of composition was an *explicit*
assumption of the study.  I continue to think it is probably an *implicit*
assumption.  He and Don Foster both make the surprising claim that a
chronological sequence for the plays and poems is 'wholly determined by
[the] statistical data'.  Now, I can allow for a bit of rhetorical
exaggeration, but this sort of statement verges on being seriously
misleading to those of us who aren't all that statistically numerate, but
want to know what's going on behind all the numbers - and, just
conceivably, it may even be symptomatic of a methodological blind spot in
the study.
 
As far as I can see, the chronology is clearly neither 'determined' nor
'generated' by the data; it is *induced* from it by applying a quite
particular interpretive assumption to what the statistical procedures do
generate, namely a set of lexical distribution patterns for Shakespeare's
plays, poems and characters.  To translate these patterns into a
chronological sequence of plays requires the assumption that the
distribution-differentials for characters were caused by the author
memorising the speeches of certain characters in order to perform them as
an actor.  Surely you can see that (a) this is not the only possible
explanation for the existence of these distribution patterns, and (b) it
*is* dependent on your assuming that the author was an actor.  Indeed, Dave
Kathman made this rather important concession in his most recent posting,
when he wrote: 'Now, it's true that when he started his study Foster
assumed . . .that the person who wrote the plays . . . also acted in them.'
He then goes on to deny that the distribution patterns were generated by
this assumption, which of course I never suggested they were.  My point
was, and it remains, that the *interpretation* of the patterns (in
'mnemonic' terms) is dependent on the 'actor' assumption.  And it is.
 
Don Foster seems, if anything, more reckless than Dave Kathman in his
claims about what his study proves.  I'd have expected him, like Ward
Elliott, to try to reel in the excesses of his more enthusiastic advocates,
but to  the contrary: he seems to believe that he's 'demonstrated' the
truth of at least two assumptions that hadn't even entered the discussion
till now, viz. 'that the canon is substantively [sic] by the same
individual' (an assumption with which I don't necessarily disagree, but an
assumption nonetheless), and the dating of the canon (a quite different
matter, obviously, from the order of composition) - that, at least, is how
I interpret his comical thrust about Lord Oxford's posthumous roles.  How
on earth the study, as described, can possibly demonstrate either of those
things is a complete mystery to me.
 
Can I protest, finally, that I did not say I regarded the study as
'worthless'.  The patterns it reveals may well be of great significance; I
just don't believe we can say we *know* what their significance is.  If we
look at them with different assumptions, quite different explanations may
suggest themselves.  The fact that I don't have an alternative explanation
ready to hand is hardly surprising, and doesn't vitiate my criticism in any
way.  Dave's impulse to get the whole thing sewn up and finalised, even if
it involves riding roughshod over logical and methodological difficulties,
strikes me as a touch precipitate.  No offence intended, but that's the
kind of thinking that sent witches to the stake.
 
Just one final point, one that I put on hold several months ago and never
got back to, and which has now clearly become relevant again.  It's this.
Why do people assume that Shakespeare must have been an actor in order to
have been a great playwright?  It seems an extraordinary assumption when
you think about it, but it's one that's very commonly made, especially on
this list.  How many great playwrights can anyone think of who were also
full-time professional actors?  I can think of Moliere, period.
(Acknowledgments to Charlton Ogburn who posed the same question years ago.
As far as I know, nobody ever answered).
 
My apologies for going on at such length.  I don't demand to have the last
word on the SHAXICON matter, and will happily shut up about it as of now
whether or not any responses appear.
 
Pat Buckridge,
Griffith University.

Re: Jacobi's Hamlet

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0919.  Monday, 14 November 1994.
 
From:           Juliet A. Youngren <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Nov 1994 15:51:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Jacobi's Hamlet
 
I have enjoyed reading people's reminiscences of Jacobi's Hamlet.  It was the
first version I ever saw--I couldn't have been more than about 12 when it was
first shown on television here, but I sat through the whole thing with the
collected works on my lap to check the hard parts. Recently I saw it again and
was pleased at how well it held up.  I'd say it's still my favorite version.
 
I especially enjoyed how he did the "rogue and peasant slave" speech with a
wooden sword the players had left behind and used it to great effect on the
lines "Bloody, bawdy villain!  Remorseless, kindless, lecherous, treacherous
villain!  O, vengeance!":  he raised the sword over his head as if attacking an
imaginary Claudius and declaimed the lines as if they came from a slightly
sensational play.
 
By the way, he did not overhear the King and Polonius plotting to set Ophelia
on him, and the "to be or not to be" speech was delivered directly to the
audience (or camera).  He suspected Ophelia was up to something when he saw she
was holding her book upside down--a small liberty with the script, I suppose,
but a neat way of communicating to the audience why he reacted to her as he
did.
 
J.A.Y.

Qs: Sh Grammar; Volscians; Hypermedia; Sh World Bib;

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0917.  Monday, 14 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Marty Jukovsky <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Nov 94 14:50:05
        Subj:   Shakespearean Grammar Wanted
 
(2)     From:   Blair Kelly III <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 Nov 1994 20:54:28 -0500
        Subj:   Who were the Volsces?
 
(3)     From:   Jeff Nyhoff <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Nov 1994 07:41:00 -0800
        Subj:   Shakespearean hypermedia
 
(4)     From:   Jean R. Brink <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Nov 1994 12:19:05 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0915  *Shakespeare World Bibliography*
 
(5)     From:   Gavin H Witt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Nov 94 16:39:20 CST
        Subj:   Shakespearean fads
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marty Jukovsky <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Nov 94 14:50:05
Subject:        Shakespearean Grammar Wanted
 
I'm looking for a copy of _A Shakespearean Grammar_ by E. A. Abbott (who also
wrote _Flatland_).  The book was reprinted by Dover in 1966, but has gone out
of print.  Has it been reprinted?  Does anyone have a second-hand copy to
sell?
 
Martin Jukovsky
Editor
the Yankee Group
Boston, Mass.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Blair Kelly III <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Nov 1994 20:54:28 -0500
Subject:        Who were the Volsces?
 
The Washington Shakespeare Reading Group recently read Coriolanus.  During the
reading, one of our members asked: "Did the Volscians actually exist, and if
so, who were they?" Looking at the notes in our editions of the play only
informed us that the Volsces were members of a neighboring state of Rome. (We
assume a neighboring city state.)  If so, where was it located?  What was the
history of this "state"?
 
Can anyone enlighten us?
 
Blair Kelly III
Secretary, Washington Shakespeare Reading Group
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeff Nyhoff <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Nov 1994 07:41:00 -0800
Subject:        Shakespearean hypermedia
 
Stuart Rice's recent posts regarding his fascinating Hamlet project prods me to
post again a message similar to one I've posted a time or two before on a
couple of different lists (Many thanks to those of you who have been kind
enough to respond, and my apologies to those who are getting sick of my
plea...):
 
My dissertation (UC Berkeley) is a comparative study of Shakespearean QUIT
scholarship in hypermedia -- in particular, of that which includes video and
audio performances.  I'm trying to proceed inductively, examining the
fascinating particular forays into electronic scholarship, searching for the
quantitatively and/or qualitatively new pedagogical, critical, and
philosophical aspects of scholarship in this new thinking/writing/reading
space, and, hopefully, I'll be able to make some reasonably accurate
extrapolations toward the future.  However, the major task continues to be that
of flushing out a substantial number of the many people who I know are out
there, who are testing the potential of this new medium in regard to their
work.  Please come forward!
 
Again, many thanks to those of you who have already responded, but I know there
are many more who have taken (or are contemplating) even a smallstep into
Shakespearean (or other performance-related) scholarship in hypermedia: I'm
*keenly* interested in hearing from you!  Furthermore, I'm also all ears to any
musing (pro or con) on the subject, even if it's off-the-cuff, and even if y ou
have no real intention of attempting scholarship of this sort in the near
future .
 
Even a short note would be much appreciated, and although I sense that the
topic is of broad interest, I can keep any conversation as confidential as you
need it to be.
 
Thanks in advance,
 
Jeff Nyhoff
Calvin College (Computer Science)
Hope College (Theatre)
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jean R. Brink <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Nov 1994 12:19:05 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 5.0915  *Shakespeare World Bibliography*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0915  *Shakespeare World Bibliography*
 
For exactly what years are we to send bibliographical references to Professor
Harner.  Jean Brink
 
Jean R. Brink  (602) 965-7777
English Department
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-0302
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gavin H Witt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Nov 94 16:39:20 CST
Subject:        Shakespearean fads
 
List-folks:
 
For an upcoming project, I'm interested in anyone's thoughts regarding the
phenomenon of certain Shakespeare plays going through cycles of popularity.
That is, does anybody have any strong ideas (not that I don't have some, but
I'd like to get responses from the list) as to why some of the more obscure
plays in particular suddenly get done all at once--six different theaters all
doing _Winter's Tale_.
 
Aside from obvious considerations of general cultural context (some appeal
more at some times) or commercial reality (one regional theater has success
with _Coriolanus_ so everybody decides to give it a try), I'd like your
thoughts on what, if any, mass psychology might be operating on Artistic
Directors and the like.
 
Similarly, does anybody have any really good examples of this phenomenon,
recently or historically?  Or, perhaps, has anybody read recently any good
descriptions of this, or accounts by directors or critics of it.
 
Many thanks--and feel free to e-mail me directly or respond list-wide.  I'd
be thrilled to see any extended discussion of this in an open-ended
framework.
 
Gavin Witt
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