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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: November ::
Q: Academic Response to Anonymous
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0435  Thursday, 11 November 2010

[1]  From:      John Briggs <
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     Date:      November 10, 2010 3:48:16 PM EST
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 

[2]  From:      Larry Weiss <
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     Date:      November 10, 2010 4:24:43 PM EST
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous

[3]  From:      William Godshalk <
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     Date:      November 10, 2010 9:10:06 PM EST
     Subj:      RE: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous

[4]  From:      John W Kennedy <
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     Date:      November 11, 2010 11:25:00 AM EST
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous

[5]  From:      Hardy M. Cook <
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     Date:      Thursday, November 11, 2010
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous
 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         John Briggs <
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Date:         November 10, 2010 3:48:16 PM EST
Subject: 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 

Donald Bloom wrote:

>There was a man named William Shakespeare who was the published author 
>of some 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and two long poems.

Which 37 plays, out of interest? I usually ask this question, because the BBC 
Shakespeare also claims to include "all thirty-seven of Shakespeare's plays."

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Larry Weiss <
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Date:         November 10, 2010 4:24:43 PM EST
Subject: 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 

>I fear the day when my yet-unborn grandchild comes to me and says, 
>"Grandma, you did English Lit stuff, right? Can you help me with 
>my report on de Vere? We're reading Romeo and Juliet."
>
>And when I sigh heavily and say, "What idiot told you he wrote that?" 
>my grandchild will look up at me with wide innocent eyes and say, 
>"Don't be silly, Grandma -- the New York Times says so."

Actually, Mr. Niederkorn a regular columnist for the current NY Times -- 
Sulzberger's Times -- is a devoted Oxfordian and is allowed, or maybe encouraged, by 
the editors to spew his nonsense all over the Grey Lady's pages. Whatever else he 
might do, I doubt that Murdoch would take an anti-Stratfordian stance.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         William Godshalk <
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Date:         November 10, 2010 9:10:06 PM EST
Subject: 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 
Comment:      RE: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 

I have not noticed in these responses a reference to Alfred Harbage's "Shakespeare 
as Culture Hero" written about 50 years ago and first presented at the Huntington 
Library. Harbage makes a (not totally serious, I think) case that Shakespeare is a 
culture hero. Although the son of a low-class artisan, the culture hero must really 
be the son of an upper-class earl.

Bill

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         John W Kennedy <
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Date:         November 11, 2010 11:25:00 AM EST
Subject: 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 

From: John A Mitchell <
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>Okay, Oxford definitely wrote Hamlet's bits since he shares so 
>much in common with him.

Except, of course, he doesn't, really. A good deal of that is phantasy (the date of 
Oxenforde's mother's remarriage could be as much as ten years after Oxford's 
father's death) or heads-I-win-tails-you-lose (they argue that "Hamlet" is indicated 
by the facts that Anne Cecil /didn't/ die unmarried and /wasn't/ loved by Oxford).

From: Donald Bloom <
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>Valid interpretation does not depend whether the author being 
>interpreted was a professional actor who was the son of a 
>small-town businessman or a nobleman or something else.

I am not sure about that one. Is the biography of F. R. Rolfe of no use in the 
interpretation of "Hadrian VII"? Granted, for every "Hadrian VII" there are a 
thousand counter examples, but if "Hamlet" truly were the transparent compensation 
fantasy the Oxfordians imagine it to be, that fact would be, at least, interesting.

>Yet there are people willing to accept that conclusion who seem fully 
>as committed to equally foolish conclusions about William Shakespeare 
>of Stratford as the anti-Stratfordians themselves. I see little difference 
>between the kinds of arguments used to construct the anti-Stratfordian 
>positions and the kinds of arguments used to construct Shakespeare as a 
>recusant Catholic spy or a Jew or someone like the character in that 
>previous movie Shakespeare in Love.

I agree with that in a general way, but, although I do not think that Shakespeare 
was a recusant spy (what was he supposed to be spying on?), there is some evidence 
in the plays themselves that he may have had RC sympathies, and some extrinsic 
evidence that he may have been a recusant.

As to "Shakespeare in Love", it does not pretend to be anything more than light 
entertainment, but I think its portrayal of Shakespeare is no less likely than any 
other, more likely than most, and a needful corrective to much we see. (The popular 
image of Shakespeare, like those of George Washington and Jesus, is scarcely to be 
apprehended as a human at all.)

From: Arlynda Boyer <
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>I fear the day when my yet-unborn grandchild comes to me and says, 
>"Grandma, you did English Lit stuff, right? Can you help me with 
>my report on de Vere? We're reading Romeo and Juliet."
>
>And when I sigh heavily and say, "What idiot told you he wrote that?" 
>my grandchild will look up at me with wide innocent eyes and say, 
>"Don't be silly, Grandma -- the New York Times says so."

You seem to be unaware that, for several recent years, the "Times" /was/ more or 
less committed to Oxfordianism. It seems to have been the work of a single 
individual, who was eventually let go (and now fulminates in lesser venues about the 
"conspiracy" against him), but it took quite a few letters from many people (and 
occasional buttonholing of "Times" staffers in the flesh) on the subject.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:         Thursday, November 11, 2010
Subject: 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0431  Q: Academic Response to Anonymous 

Dear All,

Rightly or wrongly, justly or unjustly, I continued to be amazed at the number of 
things I am called or accused of, on the list and in private exchanges, whenever the 
topic of authorship comes up on SHAKSPER. I inhibit free speech, stifle the exchange 
of ideas, post trash that is a waste of time, ignore the facts, suppress the facts, 
am closed-minded, an idiot, and on and on and on. Sometimes, it seems that my 
accusers are mind readers, ascribing to me just what I feel they are doing. At 
times, I even find myself wanting to shout what I used to say when I was eight or 
nine years old and under attack by bullies, "It takes one, to know one." 
Nonetheless, with time, I have gotten much thicker-skinned and no longer wish to 
please everyone.

When I started this thread, I was not opening a discussion of authorship; instead I 
genuinely was seeking ways that scholars and academics might respond to questions 
raised by the less informed regarding the upcoming film Anonymous. I wanted to be 
prepared for the next time I am asked, "I've heard that Shakespeare really didn't 
write the plays, what do you think?" 

The emphasis I have been seeking has been on strategies and not on debate. In that 
spirit, I will continue this thread as long as I feel that those strategies are 
forthcoming. And I ask that contributors strive to submit in that spirit and to take 
squabbles offline.  

Hardy


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