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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2265  Tuesday, 12 November 2002

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 2002 13:54:30 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 2002 16:21:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary

[3]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 2002 16:12:27 -0800
        Subj:   Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 2002 13:54:30 -0500
Subject:        Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary (Titus Andronicus)

Though I wouldn't take listserv criticisms of my posts personally and
think people should be free to flame as they wish, I also think that
Alexander is quite right to ask that people give people on the listserv
the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their posting new info, even
it turns out that the info is wrong.  Surely, Alexander, like everyone
else on the listserv, I would think, is motivated to post by a desire to
share info with others who may have an interest in or use for it.
Best,
Richard

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 2002 16:21:44 -0500
Subject: 13.2249 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2249 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary
(Titus Andronicus)

Alexander Huang writes,

>As
>scholars, shouldn't our first reaction to any thing like this be
>carefully seeking more information from different perspectives than
>carelessly dismissing it?

(1) immediate dismissal of an obvious hoax is not necessarily
"careless";

(2) scholars have better things to do than seek more information when
the available information is more than enough to establish beyond
reasonable doubt that something is a hoax.

--Bob G.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 2002 16:12:27 -0800
Subject: 13.2249 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2249 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary
(Titus Andronicus)

One should be as skeptical of new Shakespeare discoveries as of all
startling, news-worthy discoveries of documents, artifacts, and ruins,
especially when there are a lot in a short time.  As a layman
hereabouts, monitor of Internet phenomena, and consumer of current
events, I think Mr. Huang might have been more skeptical at the outset,
and probably not have posted.

Startling discoveries seem to be the order of the day on the Internet.
Over on the MapHist list a new topic is Graham Menzies' book claiming
the Chinese discovered America in 1421 and built the Newport Tower, in
Rhode Island--something that surprises colonial archaeologists who have
dated it to the 18th century, patterned on an English windmill.  Earlier
that list had discussed a new series of tests on the Vinland Map, which
again seems to be forgery.  On one of the medieval lists a recent topic
was the stone ossuary with claimed connections to Jesus' family--though
the given names inscribed on it were common in that era.  On this list
there have been recent threads about new portraits of Sh. and
Southampton and the on-again, off-again attribution of the Funeral
Elegy.  And many historical lists have recently dwelled on allegations
of fakery and/or incompetent research by Michael Bellesiles in _Arming
America_.  (Science lists have been talking about cases of scientific
fraud at Bell Labs and Lawrence Berkeley Lab.)  Lastly, a famous mystery
writer, Patricia Cornwell, has spent $6m to research what she says is
proof, in her new bestseller, of who Jack the Ripper was--painter Walter
Sickert--partially based on coincidental use of the same widely used
writing paper.

All these items just spring out of recent memory.  No extensive research
is needed to reveal that scholars and publicity seekers, academics and
cranks, researchers and monomaniacs, scientists and fakers, bump into
each other on the same trails.

Speaking as a layman here, I believe it is still useful for scholars to
repeat the Missouri motto:  Show me.

A question:  If an undergraduate attempted a documentary hoax in a
regular class, wouldn't Harvard want to have a word with him?  It is not
clear if the student is no longer registered in the class or at the
college.

>...the listserv fails to meet my expectations as a place for
>rational discussions.

For a moderated list, whose moderator has recently issued some useful
advisories and cease-and-desist orders, I find SHAKSPER to be the most
rational of the dozen historical and literary lists I subscribe to.

>Some times, the atmosphere on the listserv resembles that in a tavern
>brawl (in many other email threads) and not that of rational debates in
>the academia. May I humbly suggest that this be changed. Let no more of
>the precious time of any of us be wasted on this.

Mr. Huang is too huffy, rejects responsibility, and throws the blame
onto the listmembers.  Some of the responses were ill-tempered, as I
would expect, but nowhere near as inflammatory as on other lists.

Al Magary

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