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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1188.  Friday, 21 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Gregory C. Koch <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 12:12:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1181  Drama Scholar Helps Police

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Nov 1997 00:04:08 +0
        Subj:   Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gregory C. Koch <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 12:12:31 -0500
Subject: 8.1181  Drama Scholar Helps Police
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1181  Drama Scholar Helps Police

>Since then, law-enforcement officials have sought his help, and he has
>applied his talents at text analysis to the Unabomber case, the murder

I am glad a talent has been found for a process of textual analysis that
began with Sir Walter W. Greg in the 1920s.   I think one can find
similar cross-application in his bio.  And undoubtedly he also rode a
bicycle in the middle of winter.

>about Shakespeare's authorship of the elegy for a young Oxford scholar
>who was murdered in 1612, against a wave of what he describes as
>"increasingly hysterical" skepticism among British academics. He is

It is rather obvious it does not match up to Shakespeare's skill of flow
- yet, there are many who still think Henry VI and VIII are by
Shakespeare...

>law at Duke University, "it seems to me to deserve a place in the legal
>world, just as it does in the literary world. There's a legitimacy, as
>long as you don't think it's the magic key."

He forgot the Shakespeare.  It goes, "Sleep that knits up the ravelled
sleave of care."  (Mac. II, ii.)

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Nov 1997 00:04:08 +0
Subject:        Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

Am I alone in finding Terry Pristin's piece in the New York Times
(cross-posted here by Hardy Cook) appalling?

An article in the current issue of PMLA about Foster's work cogently
argues that `red-light' (`can't be the author') tests are much safer
than `green-light' (`must be the author') tests because they are so much
more immune to false-positives.

Likewise fingerprinting is useful for excluding suspects because it can
be demonstrated that no part of the suspect's hands matches the found
print. But fingerprinting is decidedly unreliable for including suspects
since, if the found print is small enough, any of us might have a
similar pattern somewhere on our hands.

Recently I have noticed that the reliability claimed for DNA profiling
is, in media reports, falling. I'm sure I recall
`one-in-thousand-billion' figures in the mid-1980s and now
`one-in-billion' is more often cited. Presumably the found samples are
incomplete (decayed, perhaps?) and so the situation is analogous to
fingerprinting.

I don't mind too much-well I do, but I'll let it pass-if a poem is
wrongly attributed by Foster's method, but I mind awfully if people go
to jail on the strength of it.

Gabriel Egan
 

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