2013

Who Edited Shakespeare?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0383  Monday, 5 August 2013

 

[1] From:        Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 3, 2013 3:56:00 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Editing 

 

[2] From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 3, 2013 8:25:53 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Editing 

 

[3] From:        Stanley Wells <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 4, 2013 5:33:41 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Editing 

 

[4] From:        William Rubinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 4, 2013 8:32:14 PM EDT

     Subject:     Shakespeare’s Editor 

 

[5] From:        Michael Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 4, 2013 6:48:52 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Editing; Controversies 

 

 

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

From:        Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 3, 2013 3:56:00 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Editing 

 

Sorry, but I have to pop off at Larry Weiss’s description of an “online Shakespeare discussion site which was completely consumed by (the authorship issue) and consequently lost its utility as an academic resource.” Not so. What happened was that it lost almost all of its utility as an academic resource for the life, works and times of Will Shakespeare, but it continued for some time to be an first-rate academic resource for the authorship issue (one, I might add that it’s too bad those publishing Shakespeare Without Doubt seem to have almost completely ignored). True, one had to be very tolerant of, uh, outspokenness and lunacy to be able get anything out of it, but for a while it supplied worthwhile data about Shakespeare and his times nowhere else available (it seems to me) and forced louts like me into learning things our laziness would have kept us from if not driven by the need to refute the wildly preposterous and infuriating arguments of our opponents. For those with my interest in psychology, it was also a wonderful clinic in which to observe certain forms of delusional thinking at their most interesting. It’s now less than it was due to most of its best participants’ departure but still has its moments. Shaksper is a wonderful resource, and I’m very glad Hardy outlawed discussions of the authorship question. But places consumed by that question can be of high value, too. 

 


Aside from that, I look forward to what Larry has to say about his recent tenure as a judge.  Indeed, I hope eventually there will be a book about that whole matter.
 

 

--Bob Grumman

 

[Editor’s Note: I banned discussion of “Authorship Question” [sic], thus resulting in the creation of the above-mentioned “resources.” Discussion of what happened can be found in my essay “Behind the Scenes with SHAKSPER” which can be downloaded from the link or from the “About” page: http://shaksper.net/about. -Hardy]

 

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

From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 3, 2013 8:25:53 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Editing

 

Peter Holland responded to my note:

 

> Gerald Downs might like to consider whether there is a difference

> between ‘And as my next book will show, I will have written another

> book’ and ‘And as my next book will show, I have written another

> book’. It depends, surely, on whether the book has already been

> written and will be published or will be written in the interim between

> now and publication.

 

Thanks for the opinion. I gave the wording some thought. The question is—to one born on the other side of Chomsky’s tracks, and not to broach forbidden subjects—how do ‘will’ and its verb in the first clause affect the second clause? They seem to take care of the future no matter when the book is written (or published) because a book can ‘show’ only after it comes to be; and that is too late for ‘future perfect.’

 

Englishpage.com (which I found just now) gets behind my notion under “Future Perfect Continuous” and “Time Clauses.”

 

> Notice in the examples above that the reference points . . . are in

> Simple Present rather than Simple Future. This is because these

> future events are in time clauses, and you cannot use future tenses

> in time clauses.

 

> Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses

> beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after,

> by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future,

> Simple Present is used. Examples:

>

> When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct

> When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct

 

So the time clause my book will show can’t be a ‘reference point’ for the future perfect, if I have it straight. By the way, I wasn’t commenting on “my next book will be my next book” per se, which seems to mark a proliferation of books—if “I taut I taw a tautology” isn’t enough to tweet.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

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

From:        Stanley Wells <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 4, 2013 5:33:41 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Editing

 

The snide sneers about Salkend’s post do no credit either to their authors or to SHAKSPER.  

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        William Rubinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 4, 2013 8:32:14 PM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare’s Editor

 

Surely the most plausible editor of Shakespeare’s FF was Ben Jonson? We already know that he was directly involved. 

 

(Professor) William D Rubinstein, 

Melbourne, Australia

 

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         August 4, 2013 6:48:52 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Editing; Controversies

 

Cook, Weiss and Elliott have had their say at length. I will comment briefly.

 

1. Cook claims that people have never been banned from his listserv. I was removed from the mailing list for a couple of years and my comments were not published. Others have told me the same thing. I was recently allowed back on because of my response to Larry Weiss’s review of 1 Richard II.

 

2. I decline to bicker further on this listserv with Weiss and Elliott. Their long and prolix statements are filled with factual and other errors. Elliott says I tried to use the review process to sell my books—in fact I sent the panelists free copies at my own expense. Weiss says ludicrously that Edward the Black Prince and Edward III do not appear in 1 Richard II. In fact they are major characters referred to throughout and physically present in V.i. with major speeches. There is no point in arguing with people I can’t agree with on the most basic facts.

 

3. In my comment on Weiss’s review, attached here again for anyone interested, I explain my reasons for withdrawing from the panel’s process, admitting that “at a critical point, while we were still negotiating the ground rules, I withdrew, con­trary to my origi­nal intent and commitment.”  There doesn’t seem anything worth saying about it after this, though Weiss and Elliott keep saying it. Surely what is important is whether we have a new Shakespeare play or not.

 

4. We do.

 

Michael Egan 

 

Egan’s Reply to Weiss: pdf  Egans Reply to Weiss (PDF)  (PDF)

 

Egan’s Reply to Weiss: document  Egans Reply to Weiss (Word doc)  (Word doc)

 

Two Sets of Controversies

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0383  Monday, 5 August 2013

 

[1] From:        Jed Serrano <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 3, 2013 2:24:57 PM EDT

     Subject:     RE: Two Sets of Controversies 

 

[2] From:        Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 3, 2013 3:45:49 PM EDT

     Subject:     Stylometrics/Controversies 

 

[3] From:        Ward Elliott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 4, 2013 6:56:27 PM EDT

     Subject:     RE: Stylometrics/Controversies 

 

 

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

From:        Jed Serrano <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 3, 2013 2:24:57 PM EDT

Subject:     RE: Two Sets of Controversies

 

New members seeking context: for curious parallels to the Elliot et al. attribution wager and background to a past but major attribution debate, in addition to the essay in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, see Brian Vickers’s Counterfeiting Shakespeare, particularly its epilogue, The politics of attribution, soberly written, simply said, painstakingly overstated, detailing the hot debate and even the hot humours around Donald Foster’s attribution and his use of media, including SHAKSPER, to coax credibility by way of rhetoric instead of disinterested scholarship.

 

Jed  

 

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

From:        Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 3, 2013 3:45:49 PM EDT

Subject:     Stylometrics/Controversies

 

Ward Elliott writes:

 

>The other week he [Joe Egert] deplored “the circularity that lies 

>at the heart of early modern stylometric methodology,” and which

>certainly lay at the heart of our original bet. He thought our 

>still-open thousand-pound bet offer was too niggardly, shouldn’t 

>really count as a “victory” for us. He urged us to raise it to eighteen

>thousand and make it more enforceable, so, if he takes the bet, he 

>won’t get stiffed. That may be worth some thought. In the old days 

>it took us just a few seconds of reflection to raise it from $25 to 

>$1,000, and two years to raise it again from $1,000 to £1,000. 

>Does it need more?

 

I don’t deplore stylometric circularity; I merely acknowledge it. One may argue philosophically that all evidence is circular and that all ‘facts’ or at least recognitions of them are opinion-based and cannot be otherwise. In practical terms, I find stylometry, when firmly grounded, a most powerful instrument for assessing authorship. I wonder, though, whether any non-stylometric disconfirmatory evidence could by now trump in his own mind clearly confirmatory stylometric evidence. Also, I asked Dr Elliott to up the ante to 36,000 pounds, not 18,000. Portia elsewhere upped it as far as 60,000 (ducats), though even here the hazard may not be all he hath, as demanded by her ‘holy father’. Again I ask: To deserve the victory he so desires to gain, should he not hazard far more? Rest assured, Ward, I’ll not demand an extra pound as forfeit penalty!

 

Dr Elliott later claims, “the gatekeepers’ actions, if not their words, said clearly they didn’t believe in it enough themselves to risk money or time on it.” Ward Elliott cannot have it both ways: he assesses faith by what others are willing to risk, yet exempts himself from that same test. Why not, at a minimum, match any estimated transaction costs with his own bet?

 

Nor does Dr Elliott address who will judge the outcome of his merry bet. Would he agree to yet another mutually acceptable ‘blue ribbon panel’ of three judges with authority to release locked escrow funds to whomever they crown as victor? Any split decision would render the bet null, so both parties would immediately receive back their principal from escrow.

 

Then again, Ward Elliott may not be willing to (1) raise his bet to 36,000 pounds for all comers and (2) agree generally to the decision rules I’ve briefly outlined. Would he then accede to such conditions publicly in my case alone and rest contented?

 

(By the way, Ward, do you believe “A Lover’s Complaint” was authored by Shakespeare? Where do you stand now?)

 

Best,

Joe Egert

 

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

From:        Ward Elliott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 4, 2013 6:56:27 PM EDT

Subject:     RE: Stylometrics/Controversies

 

Dear Joe,

 

I don’t believe our evidence is circular. I do believe it’s testable. I have bet £1,000 on it, and, in ten years, no one, including you, has ever taken me up. Its purpose is to cut transaction costs, not to make money, but I am good for the £1,000. And you don’t even have to be good for £1,000 to win. All you have to do, without risking a dime, is simply pretest scores of untested plays till you find one that fits our Shakespeare profile. Seems pretty generous to me. The same could be said of a hypothetical flat-earth bet, that you can’t find us anybody who has actually fallen off the edge. All you would have to do to qualify is find one convincing example, and then make the bet risk-free. True, most people would consider that too much of a wild goose chase to make the effort. If I’m right in supposing the earth is not flat, and our evidence non-circular, risk-free is not cost-free. If you’re right that all our evidence is circular, the cost should be very low, just enough more flips of the coin to come up heads just once. As always, you are welcome to prove me wrong, and your circular theory right, by capturing the wild goose and bringing it to the table.

 

That seems to me a clear, testable, horse-race kind of bet with very generous terms. Would raising the stakes to £60,000, or a billion pounds make it any clearer? No. Egan wanted a beauty contest, got it, and lost; you seem to want more of a poker game—or is it an auction, or perhaps yet another beauty contest?—where outbidding, or outbluffing the other guy can more easily change the outcome. What it would not tell us, any better than our already-generous bet, is whether our evidence is circular in fact, or the earth flat. All it would say is that one party is looking for a bidding war, with stakes high enough to produce some extra hassle, but the other party is not. If you’re not willing to take us on for £1,000, why should we take you on for £60,000? I don’t see how the higher stakes would make the earth an inch flatter, nor our evidence a particle less circular, than they are now. Let’s stick with the horse-race and the £1,000, which is affordable, non-trivial, and, I still hope, understandable. 

 

As for A Lover’s Complaint, unlike Woodstock, it’s not in a different statistical galaxy from Shakespeare’s unquestioned poems, but it still has too much Shakespeare discrepancy, maybe a thousand times too much, to make it seem to us a likely Shakespeare ascription.

 

Yours,

Ward

 

Controversies; Editing

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0381  Saturday, 3 August 2013

 

From:        Peter Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 2, 2013 6:21:23 AM EDT

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Controversies; Editing 

 

 

1. Controversies

 

I have no wish to become involved in the Egan/Elliott/Weiss debate, but I do want to point out that it was not stylometry that outed J.K. Rowling as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling but a leak by a lawyer that resulted in a tweet. Rowling sued and was awarded damages on 31st July: see, e.g., http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/10213429/JK-Rowling-accepts-damages-from-law-firm-that-revealed-her-secret-identity.html .

 

 

2. Editing

 

Gerald Downs might like to consider whether there is a difference between ‘And as my next book will show, I will have written another book’ and ‘And as my next book will show, I have written another book’. It depends, surely, on whether the book has already been written and will be published or will be written in the interim between now and publication.

 

 

Peter Holland 

 

Merchant of Venice—Recent Essay & Question

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0382  Monday, 5 August 2013

 

From:        Susan Rojas <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 4, 2013 9:14:03 AM EDT

Subject:     Merchant of Venice—Recent Essay & Question

 

In the most recent Shakespeare Quarterly, there is an essay by Emma Smith titled “Was Shylock Jewish?” Part of it presents that at the time the play was written, there was a large wave of immigration into England from Protestant Europe, so discourse regarding “the Other” was a contemporary theme. Smith presents various arguments that Jews were seen no more or no less as strangers than any of these other immigrants, and that immigration and the Catholic “threat” were more on the minds of the citizenry than hatred of the Jews specifically. In Merchant various other ethnicities are stereotyped and mocked, though Shylock’s plight is the focus. I am a neophyte in the world of Shakespearean studies, and after reading Smith’s essay and then seeing a production of Merchant at the Stratford Festival, I am wondering if perhaps Shakespeare used Shylock’s Jewishness as a way to comment on not just the immigrant as “Other” but also as a safe way to address religious intolerance and persecution? Obviously using the Protestant/Catholic theme would have been deadly, and Judaism would at least have been familiar to his audience. I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.

 

Susan Rojas

Beginning my journey to an MA in English

Florida Gulf Coast University

 

Who Edited Shakespeare?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0380  Saturday, 3 August 2013

 

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

Date:         August 2, 2013 1:32:29 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: **JUNK** Who edited Shakespeare?

 

I am grateful to Ward Elliott for the kind words he said about me and the other panel members, Dale Johnson and Will Sharpe. It is a tad disconcerting to have put in the time, effort and even expense required to decide the dispute and then be rewarded by having one of the parties insult my intelligence and integrity. But I suppose that is part of a judge’s job description. 

 

Michael Egan has informed me that he intends to publish his “rebuttal” to the panel’s opinion in the next number of The Oxfordian, the journal he edits for the Oxford Society, and he invited me to submit a response for publication without censorship in the same issue, if I could do so in around 10,000 words, about half the space occupied by the full opinion (which is also the length of Egan’s “rebuttal”). I accepted his invitation and managed to recast the original opinion so as to present both the decision and a response to Egan’s critique within the space limitation given. I might post the article on SHAKSPER after the Oxfordian issue comes out, but, as an unreconstructed copyright lawyer, I don’t feel right stepping on that publication by publishing the article in advance elsewhere, even with the editor’s consent. But there is one brief passage that is particularly pertinent to SHAKSPER, so I will provide a very tiny taste; note 53 contains this passage:

 

Egan also takes a gratuitous swipe at Dr. Hardy Cook, the proprietor of SHAKSPER, for banning the authorship dispute as a subject of discussion. No doubt he did so in light of the history of another online Shakespeare discussion site which was completely consumed by that issue and consequently lost its utility as an academic resource. In any case, the question is not one of “academic freedom” but, rather of commercial freedom; the owner of SHAKSPER has the unfettered right to decide what may and may not be discussed on his bandwidth, just as The Oxfordian may decide not to publish anything that contradicts its point of view. For that reason, I am grateful to Michael Egan for inviting me to submit this essay for publication without censorship. 

 

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