The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1063 Wednesday, 8 June 2005
[Editor's Note: David Basch felt it important that he have the
opportunity to make some concluding remarks. All response should be
Date: Monday, 06 Jun 2005 21:59:54 -0400
Subject: Re finishing off last discussion
1. Equal letter skip devices were known at the time of Shakespeare. An
example of it is to be found in the dedication of the Sonnets in which
is presented the full name of Henry Wriothesley. HENRY appears at a skip
of 16 letters and the surname appears in three parts, WR IOTH ESLEY, all
at a skip of 18 letters, though in one part the skip runs backwards.
This was discovered by the late John Rollett, a professor of physics.
[See P.S. below]
2. Steganographic elements in texts-messages that are invisible because
they are unsuspected or disguised-are not ciphers. As the Friedmans
noted in their book on the Shakespearean ciphers, ciphers are a
specialized kind of encryptions in which there is a "one to one"
relation between the letters of a message to be encrypted and that which
encrypts it. (The encryption of each letter can be through a single
letter or a group of letters, as in the case of binary systems in which
a certain combination of 0's and 1's represent each letter to be
encrypted.) The standards of ciphers are very precise lest accidental
letter strings become confused with valid ciphers.
But this is not usually the problem with steganographic systems since
the very complexity of the latter often argues that they are not random
occurrences and they are usually designed to be accompanied by other
corroborating signs that they are deliberately crafted devices. While
some instances may be debatable, the standard for validating them is not
such things as precise spelling of names and grammar-it is assumed that
these may at times only be approximated in such systems-but depends on a
complex of corroborating factors that are unlikely to appear under
accidental conditions and can be demonstrated to be such.
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