Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: King John, Titus, Peele
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1092  Thursday, 5 June 2003

[1]     From:   Graham Hall <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 04 Jun 2003 15:32:07 +0000
        Subj:   I was so much older then...

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 04 Jun 2003 13:35:48 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1072 Re: King John, Titus, Peele


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 04 Jun 2003 15:32:07 +0000
Subject:        I was so much older then...

Bob Grumman writes,

"And I'm not supposed to compare responses like this to those of
anti-Stratfordians?"

I take this to be another of Bob's rather peculiarly phrased questions.
I'll afford him the courtesy of attempting to provide a short response
if he would be kind enough to unravel his thoughts a bit more. (I have
no idea what the "anti-Stratfordians" have got to do with it by the
way.) I take it we are dealing with the prefatory letter by H&C in the
Folio which is probably reliable about some things (if one extrapolates
within reason) but probably not about others. On the one hand, that's my
point. On the other hand, setting up rhetorical questions with limited
parameters and then answering them to one's own satisfaction is my other
point. On the third hand, it's such Gnostic approaches that provide the
diverticulum in which such as the anti-Stratfordians flourish. Seventhly
and finally, on the one foot, there being no hands left, the
"scientific" paradigm has a number of failings - although I raised that
as a general issue to those who consider that  "scientific" somehow
provides absolute credibility to investigative techniques and closure to
debate.

Yours, looking into holes,
Graham Hall

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 04 Jun 2003 13:35:48 -0300
Subject: 14.1072 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1072 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

Ward Elliott writes,

>Again, we don't think that using non-silly premises seriously
>compromises our objectivity.  Mr. Lawrence's key admission is that "of
>course" statistics would improve the odds over hunch-only guessing.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never posted anything to the
contrary, so it isn't much of an admission.

The above does, however, seem to contain a key admission that "non-silly
premises" are vital to the entire method.  I would like to know if these
premises, the rules on which you determine what is by Shakespeare, are
derived by first running statistical surveys on the 32 baseline plays
and then declaring that they represent Shakespeare's style.  If so, then
the tests can only be expected to validate the authorship of these 32
plays, and we should not be surprised that it validates few others.
While it isn't a total solution to the problem of circularity, testing
for internal consistency---that every play is stylistically comparable
to every other, a total of 1024 tests---would at least show that the
tests are valid for individual plays, not just for the core group as a
whole.

What we really need, however, is a new Shakespeare play to turn up.
Better, it should turn up, be authenticated by other means, and then
submitted to you as a non-Shakespearean play, to see your tests are
capable of correctly ascribing authorship.

As I've said before, any data set can, theoretically, be described by an
algorithm.  People do this with stocks all the time, developing formulas
that describe the movement of the stockmarket over (say) fifty years,
then prescribing these movements as its destiny for next year.  Such
persons have never been right.  A partial solution would be to divide
the fifty year period into smaller samples and test them against one
another for consistency.  This is, as I understand it, how statisticians
put paid to the rule that stocks will always outperform bonds.  They
reached this conclusion, however, only retrospectively, after bonds
outperformed stocks for several years in a row, and they were sent back
to re-examine their data and assumptions in more detail.  Statistics are
certainly useful in many fields, but they must always be checked against
new data.  The problem is that we'll never have any for Shakespeare
authorship.

>We think that, with Shakespeare, they raise the odds quite a lot, and that,
>with guesses and bets, just as with stocks, you are better off with
>statistics than without them, and it's OK to base them on non-silly
>premises.

Indeed.  You seem to be posting odds so high, however, that any
reasonable gambler would immediately put his stake on the long-shot.  In
fields where guesses (even informed ones) need still be verified, such
as the Stanley Cup playoffs or the bourse, nobody makes such bold
claims.  If they did, the playoffs would not have to be played.

>Hunches and intuition are still OK, still necessary for many
>purposes, but, whenever we can get them, we prefer informed hunches to
>uninformed ones.

As do we all.  The certainty involved in posting "astronomical ratios"
certainly betrays a much greater sense of self-confidence than an
"informed hunch", however, as does the following:  "the composite odds
that Shakespeare wrote Henry VI, Part I by himself are millions of times
lower than the odds that he wrote Hamlet by himself."

If you were that certain about a sports event, I would immediately
suspect that it was rigged; such certainly about the stock market would
invite a legal investigation.

Yours,
Sean.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.