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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1194.  Monday, 24 November 1997.

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Nov 1997 10:49:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

[2]     From:   Sean Kevin Lawrence <
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        Date:   Saturday, 22 Nov 1997 11:57:31 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

[3]     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Nov 1997 10:02:43 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

[4]     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Nov 1997 06:48:34 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Nov 1997 10:49:44 -0500
Subject: 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

Leave us not suppose (as he himself would not) that Donald Foster has
invented a wheel.  My colleague (now emeritus) Louis Milic has been
heavily engaged in what he calls stylometrics from the early 60's on,
and was, like Foster, more than once engaged as an expert witness,
working on texts as heavily conventional as legal briefs and proposing
to find grammatical and rhetorical signatures in them.

David Evett
Cleveland State University

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Kevin Lawrence <
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Date:           Saturday, 22 Nov 1997 11:57:31 -0800
Subject: 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

> 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.

It hardly matters.  Both are little more than euphemisms for "we're
certain."

> 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.

As I understand it, this method doesn't have *that* much credit in the
court system, so Foster's work just tells the police who to focus
investigations upon.  People are actually arrested on the strength of
other evidence, just as Joe Klein's authorship was ultimately proven by
his handwriting, not his writing style.

Cheers,
Sean

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Nov 1997 10:02:43 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

Further to Gabriel Egan's posting, there is discussion, some of it quite
heated, of red light/green light authorship tests in articles by Eliott
and Valenza, and Donald Foster, in a recent *Computers in the
Humanities*.  There is a further article by Eliott and Valenza in
*Shakespeare Quarterly*.

Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Nov 1997 06:48:34 -0800
Subject: 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1188  Re: Drama Scholar Helps Police

It seems fairly certain that the Funeral Elegy was written by John Ford,
and this is backed by the foremost Ford scholar in the world, Prof. Leo
Stock who says he would "unhesitatingly" say that Ford wrote the poem,
for he was in the Devonshire Elegy trade, and he is stylistic a twin to
the phrases in the Elegy touted by Foster and Shaxicon to be by
Shakespeare.

Yes, he'll put the wrong man in jail if Shaxicon is all he's got to go
on. Next thing psychics will say the FE is by Shakespeare, and all we'll
have to do to catch criminals is to call a hotline for our sleuthing and
give the detectives the day off.  This is outrageous.

For example, some phrases out of John Ford's "Christ's Bloody Sweat" and
the Funeral Elegy:

Elegy:  by seeming reason underpropped.
Sweat:  which life, death underpropped.

Elegy:  Now runs the method of this doleful song
Sweat:  Set then the tenor of thy doleful song

Elegy  A rock of friendship figured in his name
Sweat:  A rock of torment, which affliction bears

Elegy:  That lives encompassed in a mortal frame.
Sweat:  For whiles encompassed in a fleshy frame

Elegy:  Unhappy matter of a mourning style
Sweat:  The happy matter of a moving style

Elegy:  So in his mischiefs is the world accurs'd
        It picks out matter to inform the worst

Sweat:  For so is prone mortality accursed
        As still it strives to plot and work the worst

Elegy:  But tasted of the sour-bitter scourge
        Of torture and affliction

Sweat:  Drew comfort from the sour-bitter gall
         of his afflictions.

There is much more than this, but no one pays it any mind.  Shaxicon
would let the man who wrote Sweat go free and send someone else to jail,
Shakespeare for example, who is innocent of the poem (if it were a
crime). Just outrageous. Foster's hubris in this is past all conscience,
almost criminal in itself.
 

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