The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0254 Monday, 3 October 2011
Date: September 30, 2011 6:39:23 PM EDT
Subject: Original E&V Wager
Re: SHK 22.0253 Friday, 30 September 2011
Joseph Egert also asked me offline whether he could win our original bet if his new play got three or four rejections. I told him that three could be negotiable, four less so. None of our baseline single-authored Shakespeare plays have more than two. Here’s what we told him in private:
Two is our stated standard, and the one we use for our own baseline. I could be persuaded to give you credit for three, as a kind of safety factor, and still concede either that you’ve won the bet or that it’s close enough to the line that there is no clear winner. It’s negotiable. Don’t forget, you can pretest without risking your money, if you go to the trouble of editing the plays for testing. We’ve got detailed instructions for that. My guess is that, whoever does the pretesting would only test till he found enough rejections, let’s suppose something like four or five, to make Shakespeare authorship really improbable. If it’s the final testing to resolve the bet itself, both sides should do all the tests they reasonably can. I would expect the outcomes to match pretty closely. We would be happy to give you the software, if you wish.
That’s our public position too.
For further particulars on the bet, see our “Oxford by the Numbers,” 363-365.