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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Authentication Article
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0120  Monday, 6 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bob Grumman <
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	Date: 	Friday, 3 Mar 2006 18:46:32 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0107 Authentication Article

[2] 	From: 	Gerald E. Downs <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 4 Mar 2006 01:24:32 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0097 Authentication Article


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Grumman <
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Date: 		Friday, 3 Mar 2006 18:46:32 -0500
Subject: 17.0107 Authentication Article
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0107 Authentication Article

 >I am, however, puzzled by one of his conclusions found in Chapter 11
 >page 364 in which he deals with the Elegy by W.S. Dedication "---Just
 >so 'W.S.' affirms that, in performing 'this last duty of a friend to 
William
 >Peter.
 >
 >(*1) I am herein but a second to the priviledge of Truth who can warrant
 >more in his behalf, than I undertooke to deliver.
 >
 >The language of the Elegye's dedication, with its denial of ulterior 
motives,
 >mercenary or sycophantic, echoes Ford's dedications in other respects."
 >
 >It would appear to my ear that in fact what' W.S.' is saying is- "That 
I have
 >no intention of telling the Truth"!

No, he's saying that his effort is merely a seconding of what reality, 
or the actual facts of the matter, would show.  Like a painter saying 
his painting was nothing compared to the real thing.

That the poem is a satire seems far-fetched to me.

How many of his dedications did Ford sign, "W.S.," by the way?

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gerald E. Downs <
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Date: 		Saturday, 4 Mar 2006 01:24:32 EST
Subject: 17.0097 Authentication Article
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0097 Authentication Article

Bob Grumman noted:

 >Kennedy early on opposed the attribution, then was later the first to
 >advance Ford as the author--but with very little foundation other than
 >his view that Shakespeare could not have written a poem as bad as
 >Kennedy thought the Elegy.  I believe others were first to argue that
 >Ford wrote the elegy with what I'd call scholarly arguments.

This comment raises an issue that should be important to members of the 
group. The question of priority is old, vexed, subjective and subject to 
bias. If anyone were to "propose" a new opinion on SHK, would he have a 
scholarly claim, or must that honor always go to first mention in a 
peer-reviewed publication? To my mind the matter depends on two primary 
questions. First, the public nature of the Internet ensures that posts 
on the group are for all to search and are not private correspondence. 
Why should a novel opinion not be recognized? Second, an opinion without 
argument loses its force.  After all, a correct solution may be offered 
for bad reasons. If one hopes his suggestion will be accepted, he should 
argue the case.

In respect of "Elegye", Richard Kennedy argued Ford's authorship 
(despite Grumman's memory) as any may see by searching the 1996 thread. 
Brian Vickers properly credited the direction of his own thinking to 
Kennedy, but that is not to say Monsarrat was in any way indebted to 
Kennedy. The question remains: Does a peer-reviewed journal trump the 
Internet, despite priority in date?  The issue must also remain trivial 
until someone is credited for an opinion you expressed a while back. If 
discussions on this group are worthwhile, that could happen.

It is my guess that in his recent rehabilitation feeler Foster could not 
resist the slight to Kennedy and the informal group with which he 
participated until his downfall. Another feeling from Priorityville is 
that the person first suggesting Ford as Elegye's author was no other 
than Foster himself, who made the case in 1989. It is clear in hindsight 
that had Foster publicized the stylometric evidence for Ford's 
authorship the attribution would have been made then.  But was Foster 
curious enough to pursue that candidacy?

At any rate, I believe there is some potential for Internet groups as 
sources to be cited in scholarly work; but that potential has not been 
met for Shakespeare studies. One obvious reason is that an ambitious 
character with something to say will reserve his opinion for 
publication. And why not?

Gerald E. Downs

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