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Shakespeare the Grain-Dealing Tax Evader

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0196  Tuesday, 23 April 2013

 

[1] From:        Michael Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 22, 2013 1:58:58 PM EDT

     Subject:     Shakespeare Businessman 

 

[2] From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 22, 2013 4:26:55 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Businessman

 

[3] From:        Marianne Kimura < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 22, 2013 11:35:50 PM EDT

     Subject:     Shakespeare as grain hoarder 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Michael Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 22, 2013 1:58:58 PM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare Businessman

 

It’s a cartoon, Larry. It’s meant to be a joke. Like, if a thousand monkeys typed randomly forever, would they eventually produce Shakespeare? So the cartoon says yes and humorously dismisses the major claimants. I agree it’s not as funny as watching you have apoplexy.

 

The Oxfordians are not my “patrons.” I just edit their annual journal, because I like editing and think the authorship debate is the central question in modern Shakespeare Studies. Note that this very day, The Birthday, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust publishes Shakespeare Beyond Doubt and the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition retorts with Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? The debate is unavoidable.

 

My editorial policy for The Oxfordian is “open door,” which means that we welcome anything that meets our editorial criteria and interests. We are proudly a peer-reviewed journal pursuing the highest academic standards. The Oxfordian has been described as the leading academic journal of its type in the world. Our view is that the 17th earl of Oxford is the likeliest author of Shakespeare’s plays, but we have published many articulate and informed Stratfordians, including Dave Kathman, Ward Elliott (repeatedly), and MacDonald Jackson (also more than once). We often publish research supporting other candidates, like Florio, Sackville, Marlowe, etc. 

 

We don’t fear debate and no opinions are forbidden. Anyone who wants to follow the actual debate, or participate in it, should be in touch.

 

Weiss calls Oxfordianism a “heresy.” In other words, he is a true believer in a religion. Perhaps for this reason he does not understand cognitive dissonance. So I’ll put it this way. There are two questions in the authorship debate: Did the traditional Shakespeare write the Complete Works? If yes, the subject is closed. But if not, who did? It is possible to hold conflicting and constantly changing opinions about the answers to all these questions. There is a huge literature about it going back to 1592 (the famous passage from Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit).

 

Finally, I am stunned, and I hope others are too, by Weiss’s comment that it’s difficult to find anything in Shakespeare that is particularly “humanitarian.” What are these, please?  

 

Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,

That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,

How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,

Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you

From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta’en

Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp.

Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,

That thou mayst shake the superflux to them

And show the heavens more just.

 

And

 

Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,

That slaves your ordinance, that will not see

Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;

So distribution should undo excess,

And each man have enough.

 

Weiss will retort, how do we know that these are Shakespeare’s opinions, and not just Lear’s and Gloucester’s?  Because they sum up the bearing of the play as a whole—they echo each other and hold together its “structure of feeling,” as Raymond Williams used to say. 

 

If we can’t agree about this, we’ll never agree about anything.   

 

Michael Egan

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 22, 2013 4:26:55 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Businessman

 

Marianne Kimura wants to resurrect the blessedly deceased discussion about the supposed coal analogy in R&J, and now she invokes Stephen Booth: 

 

Booth wants to get critics to pay attention to) “the experience of virtually muffled wordplay and of patterning that does not obtrude upon one’s consciousness . . . incidental organizations undemanding of notice vouch for a sort of organic truth in the work as a whole

 

I am certain that Kimura’s delusion is not the sort of “wordplay” Booth frequently discusses.  

 

This is a horrible way to celebrate Booth’s 80th birthday, and Shakespeare’s 449th.

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Marianne Kimura < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 22, 2013 11:35:50 PM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare as grain hoarder

 

In reference to the claim that Shakespeare may have hoarded grain, I 

remembered this brilliant quotation from page xii of Michael Bristol’s 

book “Big-Time Shakespeare”:

 

“In the second half of Big-Time Shakespeare, I intend to reopen the possibility that Shakespeare is the common possession of Western modernity and a definitive expression of its experience. The argument I hope to advance is not, however, that Shakespeare is a hypostatized body of reliable social wisdom and moral certainty or that his works ought to have the function of secular scripture. Shakespeare is a common possession, though not unambiguously a common good. In my view, Shakespeare’s authority is linked to the capacity of his works to represent the complexity of social time and value in the successor cultures of early modern England. One of the crucial features common to these successor cultures is the way individuals and institutions must constantly adapt to the exigencies of a market economy. Our extended historical dialogue with Shakespeare’s works has been one of the important ways to articulate values more durable than those which circulate in current markets.”

 

The key phrase is “values more durable than those which circulate in current markets”. What could be more “durable” (I mean for our planet’s economy) than the sun? And the implication that what drives “ current markets” is not durable, perhaps because it is depleting, also rings true.

 

Shakespeare recognized the durable power and value of the sun in his art. In his own economic life, he also may have been exquisitely sensitive to energy flows. And he may have consequently hoarded grain.

 

Marianne Kimura

 
 

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