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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Who wrote, etc.?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.059  Monday, 29 March 1999.

[1]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Mar 1999 12:42:38 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Mar 1999 15:00:09 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?

[3]     From:   Jeff Michael <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Mar 1999 18:49:15 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 1999 12:42:38 -0600
Subject: 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?

Daniel Traister wrote:

>>From The Chronicle of Higher Education for Friday, March 26.
>
>MAGAZINES & JOURNALS
>
>A glance at the April issue of "Harper's": Who was the real Shakespeare?
>
>Was the author of Shakespeare's poems and plays William Shakspere, the
>sometime actor and grain merchant from Stratford, or the Earl of Oxford,
>Edward de Vere, an erudite and well-traveled aristocrat familiar with
>life in Elizabeth's court? This issue of the magazine explores the
>centuries-old debate with essays by 10 scholars, half of whom argue that
>Oxford wrote the plays (these advocates are writers and independent
>scholars), and half who think the traditional attribution to the man
>from Stratford is correct (this team is dominated by academics). For Tom
>Bethell, the Washington correspondent of the "American Spectator," "the
>contrast between the life of the Stratford trader and the exalted verse
>reaches the level of absurdity," and he concludes that no one but Oxford
>could have written the plays. Joseph Sobran, the author of the book
>"Alias Shakespeare," points to the biographical correspondences between
>Shakespeare's sonnets and Oxford's life as irrefutable proof of their
>authorship by de Vere. But Gail Kern Paster, an English professor at
>George Washington University, scolds those who claim that the Shakspere
>of Stratford couldn't have written the plays because of his humble
>origins. The "anti-Stratfordian position," she says, "is pernicious
>doctrine." The Yale professor Harold Bloom offers a joking theory about
>the plays' author being Lucy Negro, "Elizabethan England's most
>celebrated East Indian whore," but in the end, he seems to support the
>traditional attribution of the plays to Shakspere of Stratford.
>Interspersed with the scholars' essays are excerpts from actors and
>writers-including Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman-all of
>whom doubt the plays' author was the grain merchant from Stratford. The
>magazine's World-Wide Web address is http://www.harpers.org

As most readers of this list will probably be aware, even this summary
contains a number of inaccuracies, such as the assertion that William
Shakespeare was a "grain merchant", and the implicit assertion that his
name was "Shakspere" rather than "Shakespeare".  The Oxfordian articles
in Harper's contain many more inaccuracies, including some blatantly
false statements which make me wonder whether Harper's still employs
fact-checkers.  I'm preparing a letter to the editor in an attempt to
rectify the worst of the distortions.  Those who are interested in a
detailed scholarly response to Oxfordian claims should visit the
Shakespeare Authorship web site, at
http://www.clark.net/pub/tross/ws/will.html.

Dave Kathman

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 1999 15:00:09 -0800
Subject: 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0552 Who wrote, etc.?

This is so weird that I have to write back: is there any evidence at all
that our man traded grain, or was resident in Stratford at the time that
the plays were written?

Cheers,
Se

 

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