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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: May ::
Are you now or have you ever been . . .
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0329  Tuesday, 8 May 2007

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Subject: 	Are you now or have you ever been . . .

Andy Jones <
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 > alerted me that he "was amused to 
see Hardy M. Cook described as "McCarthyite", in this discussion at 
Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:William_Shakespeare#Consensus_on_authorship_section

I post that identification and the Survey that prompted it below FYI - 
this is NOT a thread and I intend to delete without reading any messages 
sent to me regarding it.

************
Perhaps the editors of this page would be interested in considering the 
results of a poll conducted by The New York Times, as referenced in the 
"Education Life" section of the paper on April 22, 2007. (Here is the 
article, and here are the survey results.) Of the 265 Shakespeare 
professors surveyed, 17 percent are either on the fence (11%) or agreed 
with the statement that "there is good reason to question that William 
Shakespeare of Stratford was the principal author of the plays and poems 
in the canon." It also bears noting that, as The Times's article points 
out, "Next fall Brunel University, one of England's plate-glass 
universities of the 1960s, will offer what is thought to be the first 
graduate program in Shakespeare authorship studies."

In other words, there is of course no denying that the "anti-Stratfordian" 
position on the Shakespeare authorship issue is a minority viewpoint in 
the academy today. But 17 percent of Shakespeare professors plus a bona 
fide graduate program dedicated to this subfield of Shakespeare studies 
certainly moves the authorship question out of the fringes, wouldn't you 
say? --Verkinto 03:01, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Well put. Of course.--71.206.25.146 03:18, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Anyone inclined to take the NYT story seriously needs to check out the 
thread "Are you now or have you ever been..." at Shaksper. AndyJones 
20:11, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
It is well known that Hardy Cook, the coordinator of the Shaksper 
listserve, has banned all discussion of authorship except by those with 
whom he happens to agree. His own McCarthyite tactics are a regretable 
example of the tendency of academcians to adopt a herd mentality whenever 
they encounter facts they find uncomfortable.--71.206.25.146 03:18, 4 May 
2007 (UTC)

***********
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0617FE345B0C718EDDAD0894DF404482
April 22, 2007
English Lit
Shakespeare Reaffirmed
By WILLIAM S. NIEDERKORN

HERE'S good news for Stratfordians as they celebrate the Bard's birth, on 
April 23: Professors believe in him.

In an Education Life survey of American professors of Shakespeare, 82 
percent said there is no good reason to question whether William 
Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon was the principal author of the poems and 
plays in the canon; 6 percent said there is good reason, while 11 percent 
saw possibly good reason.

What has come to be known as the "authorship question" dates back more 
than 150 years. Doubters allege that Shakespeare lacked the education, 
library and foreign travel to have produced the English language's 
greatest works, and have pushed for acceptance in academe. In one small 
victory, next fall Brunel University, one of England's plate-glass 
universities of the 1960s, will offer what is thought to be the first 
graduate program in Shakespeare authorship studies.

But where do American colleges and universities stand on the question? 
Last month, 265 professors filled out an online survey for Education Life. 
The professors teach Shakespeare in the English departments of public and 
private four-year colleges and universities, which were selected randomly. 
The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage 
points.  Sixty-one percent of respondents said they considered the 
authorship question a theory without convincing evidence, and 32 percent 
found it a waste of time and distraction in the classroom; 3 percent 
considered it an exciting opportunity for scholarship, and 2 percent said 
it has profound implications for the field.  Students, though, can expect 
to learn something about the issue: 72 percent of professors said they 
address the authorship question in their classes. Others (26 percent) wait 
for students to ask about it; 2 percent don't mention it at all.

The professors were better versed in writings by advocates for the Earl of 
Oxford, the most prominent alternative candidate, than by Shakespeare 
defenders.  The Oxfordians J. Thomas Looney, Charlton Ogburn and Mark 
Anderson had been read by 29 percent, 26 percent and 17 percent 
respectively; the Stratfordians Scott McCrea and Irvin Matus had been read 
by 11 and 10 percent.  Expressing a view that resounded in the responses, 
one professor wrote, "I would be thrilled if people would get half as 
excited about the plays as they did about wondering who wrote them."

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