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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Editing SHAKSPER
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1650  Thursday, 29 September 2005

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Thursday, September 29, 2005
Subject: 	Editing SHAKSPER

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

I received more than 40 replies to my postings of Tuesday - "Editing 
SHAKSPER" and "Rhetorical Question" - amazing in that I wasn't expecting 
replies to my rhetorical question.

I thank everyone who wrote, and I have saved all of the messages to read 
and re-read for ideas and encouragement.

I have been exceedingly busy and did not have the time or energy to edit 
Wednesday's digests and today I spent, as I did yesterday, considerable 
time working on and consulting about my ailments, so these digests will 
not go out until late this evening.

Let me begin with some comments.

It is clear to me now that my two posts are closely related.

One member wrote me, "The number is not the problem.  It is that there 
is a disturbingly large core of members who insist on having the last 
word, even after their ideas have been clearly stated and often 
well-known, and others who insist on being so offensive that the injured 
party is drawn to say something in reply to maintain his/her dignity. 
And another group who perversely misstate the remarks they disagree 
with, as if they felt their own opinions could not be supported through 
an honest exchange of views.  The disruptive feature in all cases is the 
egoistic lack of self-control exhibited." He went on, "I don't think 
anyone in your position can be expected to find the time and energy to 
edit and reject messages that employ these childish or dishonest 
debating ploys, but it's what needs doing.  If patient, well-informed, 
and scholarly types stop participating, Gresham's law will prevail; bad 
intellectual currency will have driven out the good."

Well, spending three hours in a day to edit the submissions into digests 
is indeed too much time for me with my other teaching, scholarly, and 
family commitments, and I am deeply concerned about the quality of 
discourse on this list.

There are many reasons for the profusion of submissions on Monday and 
Tuesday: the foremost of these is probably that members are not 
exercising self-moderation (or "egoistic lack of self-control" if you 
wish). Another member wrote me privately that even though he appreciates 
the selection of digests that " . . .  if I were king of the world and 
setting policy for SHAKSPER, I'd probably consider the free labor of the 
owner-moderator and try to limit the quantity of email.  I'd start by 
suggest that subscribers examine their own draft posts and ask, 'Is this 
really necessary to advance Shakespeare in the world?'"

I have been inclusive and democratic, but some scholars who have 
long-time members, whose work and opinions I value highly, have 
unsubscribed recently. Because I would still like to believe that this 
list's orientation is scholarly, I have decided to make some changes. 
Before I announce them, here are a few things I believe after more than 
thirty years studying and teaching Shakespeare.

 From the evidence, I believe that William Shakespeare of 
Stratford-upon-Avon was a playwright and actor who wrote, on his own or 
in collaboration with John Fletcher and others, the play and poems 
attributed to him. I believe that Shakespeare probably wrote "A Lover's 
Complaint," but I am open to arguments that he did not. I believe that 
he probably had a hand in Edward III, but I don't believe that he wrote 
the entire play. I am not convinced that Shakespeare wrote Woodstock, 
but I am not closed-minded in my belief. I AM highly suspicious of 
conspiracy theories of any stripe. So . . .

I will strive no longer to post messages regarding hidden codes or 
similar conspiracy-type theories.

I will also strive to end threads that have gone beyond their useful 
life, encouraging those who are interested to carry them on privately.

I also pledge to screen Orson Welles's Citizen Kane for the 67th time, 
paying particular attention to Kane's Statement of Principles: "Mr. 
Kane, you ought not go and make promise you're not going to be able to 
keep."

In the interests of saving both your time and mine, I am not going to 
post the messages I received in response to my two postings. However, 
there is one that I cannot ignore.

From: 		Bill Lloyd <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 27 Sep 2005 11:18:38 EDT
Subject: 16.1630 Editing SHAKSPER
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1630 Editing SHAKSPER

I assumed the Ben Alexander's post on the Fitton-Pembroke Sonnets and 
the Pembroke Group Folio was offered for our amusement. The combination 
of extra-planetary theories and the supreme confidence with which they 
were proposed were quite amusing to me, at any rate.

It reminded me of one of my favorite crackpot books *Our Pleasant Willy* 
by Ida Sedgwick Proper. In this the author demonstrates that Edmund 
Spenser was really Edward Seymour Earl of Hertford. He in turn had three 
sons who produced the writings of Robert Greene, Thomas Nashe and 
"bastardized William Shakespeare". We also learn of Shakespeare's 
"innumerable literary and musical pen-names", and "the deep love of 
Arbell Stuart for him". And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As 
Proper confesses [boasts?] in her preface, "It is difficult to make a 
concise statement", but the Stratford man had nothing to do with the 
myriad works identities of her own private Shakespeare.

Perhaps we could have a Bizarro Day each year on SHAKSPER-- April 1? -- 
where the Lord of Misrule [Mr. W.H. alias Whoo Hoo!] will preside over a 
competition to see who can outdo Auntie Strat in byzantine contrivances.

I'm currently inventing a theory describing how after the Stratford man 
was no longer any use to the King's Men he was cashiered, but then found 
a job with the rival Palsgrave's company where he was known as-- what 
else? -- William Stratford. (Look him up in Bentley.) But perhaps I 
shouldn't have tipped my hand-- I'm afraid I'll find this proposal 
circulating soon on the inanities.lit.authors.shakespeare newsgroup...

Thanks Hardy!

Bill Lloyd


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