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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: December ::
Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1999  Monday, 5 December 2005

[1] 	From: 	William Davis <
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	Date: 	Friday, 02 Dec 2005 12:36:54 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1964 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

[2] 	From: 	Ward Elliott <
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	Date: 	Friday, 02 Dec 2005 17:01:21 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1990 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

[3] 	From: 	Michael Egan <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 4 Dec 2005 14:40:35 -1000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1983 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		William Davis <
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Date: 		Friday, 02 Dec 2005 12:36:54 -0500
Subject: 16.1964 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1964 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

(I've been trying to post the following message for a couple of days 
now, but the spam filter seems to keep screening out my AOL account; if 
it makes it to the list a bit tardy, please understand)

Again, thank you Dr. Elliott for your response, though I was a little 
startled to see how my thinking was being associated with Oxfordians.

I think discussing the possibility that Shakespeare experienced a 
significant change in his style during the early London years is 
pertinent---and it has nothing to do, in my view, with the Oxford camp. 
  Even though Oxfordians abuse the concept of punctuated equilibrium (I 
was not previously aware of this), I do not believe the misapplication 
of the principle suddenly invalidates it altogether.  Indeed, I used 
punctuated equilibrium to describe how early Shakespeare relates to 
mature Shakespeare---i.e., how a green apple turns into a red apple, not 
how an orange turns into a banana.  I think the conditions I described 
earlier, Shakespeare's first encounter with London, do justify the 
distinct possibility that his stylistic development experienced 
acceleration unlike any other time in his career---and I believe it is 
possible that those changes might affect the outcome of a stylometric test.

You also mentioned that "other authors by the same tests look much the 
same stylometrically at 60 as they did at 18."  Is this a reference to 
your work with Milton?  If so, I'm a little hesitant to make a 
comparison.  This analogy assumes that all writers develop in style at a 
constant and equal rate, regardless of environment.  I believe most of 
Milton's earliest known works began after he had already been studying 
at Cambridge, as well as receiving instruction from Thomas Young, a 
writer.  In my view, the forces solidifying the stamp of his style had 
already been in motion for years.  Milton also did not compete as a 
playwright, fending for his very survival in the London drama scene, but 
came from a comparatively privileged background, writing for a different 
venue.  Can we comfortably say that despite such significant 
differences, their styles would still develop at the same constant rate, 
with identical deviations (if any) as they evolved?

Thank you for your continued patience,
William Davis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ward Elliott <
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Date: 		Friday, 02 Dec 2005 17:01:21 -0800
Subject: 16.1990 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1990 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

John Briggs, SHK 16.1990  Friday, 2 December 2005, finds it surprising 
that "the computer thinks that 2H6 is by Shakespeare, but that 3H6 
isn't," since he knows of no conventional analysis that comes to the 
same conclusion.  He concludes with these words of caution:  "As I see 
it, these computer techniques are all very well until they come up with 
something totally implausible - wasn't there one group a few years back 
that came up with the suggestion that "Henry VIII" was all by Shakespeare?"

On the question of conventional consensus on the H3 trilogy, we don't 
think there is much. We would guess that most people think 1H6 is the 
least Shakespearean of the three, and that the authorship of the other 
two is unclear.  For a useful summary of evidence on dating, sequencing, 
and Shakespeare authorship of 1H6, 2H6, and 3H6, we turned to Wells & 
Taylor, Textual Companion to Oxford Shakespeare (1987), pp.  111-113. 
Wells and Taylor argue that Nashe and others wrote most of 1H6 and that 
the question of authorship of 2H6 "should be regarded as open," and that 
"Shakespeare's responsibility for every scene of [3H6] should be 
regarded as uncertain."  Their best guess of the sequence and dates is 
2H6 (1591), 3H6 (1591), and 1H6 (1592).  That seems to us a serviceable 
summary of current wisdom, and it seems to us too vague and tentative to 
contradict what our computer tells us.  Note that they use different 
names, "The First Part of the Contention" for 2H6 and "Richard, Duke of 
York" for 3H6.

Our whole-play computer analysis shows 11 rejections in 48 tests for 1H6 
and 8 for 3H6, suggesting to us that it's highly unlikely that 
Shakespeare could have been the sole author of either play, though it 
certainly does not rule out his possible authorship of parts of either 
play.  Our first cut at block-by-1,500-word-block analysis of 1H6 
suggests that five of the play's 14 blocks could be Shakespeare's. 
These include 1.03.39 through 2.04 and 4.02 through 4.07 of 1H6.  Gary 
Taylor thinks, as we do, that 2.04 and 4.02 -4.07 could be 
Shakespeare's, but not 1.03.69 -2.03.  We haven't done our Valenza tests 
yet, but, for the moment, I would guess that Taylor's "couldn't-be's," 
if they are that, should outweigh our "could-be's." We think our current 
indications are very consistent with his.

Block-by-block analysis of 3H6 shows one unlikely block, 1.02-1.03, with 
three rejections, and 14 blocks with zero or one rejection which we 
can't rule out individually as Shakespeare's, though I'm skeptical that 
that the collective odds of getting six rejections in 14 Shakespeare 
blocks are very high.  We'll know more when more of our Valenza analysis 
is in.  Unfortunately, we know of no Taylor-style block-by-block 
conventional analysis of 3H6, against which to compare these indicators.

2H6 has only three rejections in whole-play analysis and could well be 
wholly Shakespeare's.  We haven't tried to do it block by block, and, 
again, we know of no one else who has tried to do so.

Note that all of our "could-be's" are nothing more than that.  We 
consider our methods strong in disproving common authorship, but we 
don't by any means claim that they are equally strong in proving it.

As for the notion that "computer techniques are all very well until they 
come up with something totally implausible," we take responsibility for 
our own computer methods, but not for those of others.  What's important 
is not whether you use a computer, but how you use it.  Different 
computer analysts use different assumptions and methods.  Don Foster's 
computer told him that the Funeral Elegy "couldn't not be Shakespeare;" 
ours told us that the odds of common authorship are lower than those of 
getting hit by lightning.  Ours turned out to be right.  Same for 
Michael Egan and Woodstock.  Shaky inputs can easily lead to implausible 
outputs.  If someone else's computer comes up with something totally 
implausible, under someone else's methods and assumptions, it's a 
reproach to their inputs, not to their computer, and certainly not to 
our inputs, far less to our poor, old,  unoffending, long-suffering 
computers, though these probably would give us garbage out if we gave 
them garbage in.  We've tried not to, and our reward, so far, has been 
zero totally implausible outcomes.  When someone else uses bad inputs 
and gets a bad outcome, it's their inputs that are discredited, not ours.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Michael Egan <
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Date: 		Sunday, 4 Dec 2005 14:40:35 -1000
Subject: 16.1983 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1983 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

Ward Elliott's provocations take the form of misrepresenting my data and 
my arguments, then sneering at his own caricatures. For example, in his 
November 27 letter he asserts that I claim 1 Richard II/Woodstock 
"dovetails so perfectly with Richard II that it has to be the first part 
of a sequence." This is just not true. On the contrary, I state 
repeatedly what is plain to even the most superficial reader, that the 
two plays do NOT dovetail perfectly. Among other things, in 1 Richard II 
Green is slain though he shows up hale and hearty in the later play, 
Woodstock's jailor is Lapoole, not Mowbray, etc. Indeed, these 
differences are among the reasons proffered in support of my case for 1 
Richard II as the earlier play--if it's a 'prequel' to Shakespeare's 
acknowledged history, why not just call Lapoole Mowbray and let Green 
live? What I actually believe and say is this (quoting from my posted 
text, http://richardsecondpartone.com which Elliott says he consulted):

"It seems clear Shakespeare was not thinking of a sequel when he wrote 
[1 Richard II/Woodstock] in the early 1590s, though undoubtedly he knew 
the full tale had not been told...The paradox of 1 and 2 Richard II is 
that the second part is sequel to a play not originally conceived of as 
its Part One...This does not necessarily mean, and I do not intend to 
argue, that they were originally conceived as a pair. 1 Richard II 
is...a partly discrepant history...obviously composed in ignorance of 
what still lay artistically ahead." [Etc.]

Elsewhere in his letter Elliott parodies my general argument thus: 
"Shakespeare spoke of 'heads cut off,' of 'forfeiture of land,' and of 
'nearness in blood;' so did whoever wrote Woodstock; therefore 
Shakespeare must have written Woodstock."

It's hard to believe this was mailed in with a straight face. While the 
parallels Elliott cites do exist, and are worth noting in the larger 
context, they are not my case. Much more significant are the analogies 
of theme, preoccupation and character (the Spruce Courtier and Osric, 
Simon Ignorance and Dogberry, etc.; parallel scenes; s.d. overlaps; 
comparable narrative strategies; convergences of philosophy and 
historical analysis; use of the same obscure sources, and in the same 
way; identical imagery; similar errors; at least one revealing Freudian 
slip; and a lot more). Elliott is culpably silent about all this, that 
is, the guts of my position--why? I certainly do offer numerous phrase 
and verbal parallels, but devote several pages explaining my reasons for 
rejecting trivial expressions such as 'heads cut off,' 'forfeiture of 
land,' 'nearness in blood', etc. I even go out of my way to cite 
'touchstone examples,' drawn from the attributionist work of Vickers and 
Mac Jackson. What I actually do provide in support of my claim ( at the 
verbal/phrasal level) are examples like these:

LAPOOLE: What, is he dead?
MURDERER As a door-nail, my lord.-1 Richard II, V.i.242-3
FALSTAFF: What, is the old king dead?
PISTOL: As nail in door.-2 Henry IV, V.iii.120-1

How now, what guard is that? What traitor's there? -1 Richard II, V.vi.15
What noise is this? What traitors have we here?-1 Henry VI, I.iii.15

There, let him take it, shiver'd, crack'd and broke, -1 Richard II, 
II.ii.164
For there it is, crack'd in an hundred shivers-2 Richard II, IV.i.199

[Note: both lines spoken at the climax of deposition scenes.]

Thou royal issue of King Edward's loins.-1 Richard II, V.i. 63
Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!-Richard III, I.iii.231

They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
Yet died and left no issue of their loins. -Edward III, I.i.9


KING: Give up your Council staff, we'll hear no more.
WOODSTOCK: My staff, King Richard? See, coz, here it is.-1 Richard II, 
II.ii.156-7
KING:Give up thy staff. Henry will to himself / Protector be...
GLOUCESTER:My staff? Here, noble Henry, is my staff. -2 Henry VI, 
II.iii.23-4, 32-

Where slept our scouts, that he escap'd the field?-1 Richard II, V.vi.11
Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced,
That we could hear no news of this repair?-3 Henry VI, V.i.19

I have a trick in law
Shall make King Richard seize into his hands
The forfeiture of all their goods and lands.-1 Richard II, II.iii.134-6
Think what you will, we seize into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money and his lands....-2 Richard II, II.209-10

the rich chuffs...rich whoresons...ye bacon-fed pudding-eaters...ye 
cat

 

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