The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0499  Wednesday, 20 February 2002

From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Feb 2002 21:31:58 -0600
Subject: 13.0470 Re: New York Times Articles
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0470 Re: New York Times Articles

Brandon Toropov wrote,

>I found the article mystifyingly one-sided....

The author had been seduced by Oxfordians, and for some reason,
otherwise intelligent people tend to toss their normal standards
completely out the window once they're under the thrall of that cult.
I've never quite understood it.

>As you point out, the piece badly abused the standard journalistic "on
>the one hand, on the other hand" device -- using it to imply, for
>instance, that the dating of the plays could responsibly be revised to
>accommodate deVere's too-early death.

The section on the dating of the plays was taken almost verbatim from
the main Oxfordian web site, and even reproduced that site's schoolboy
errors.  (For example, the article asserts that no observers besides Sir
Henry Wotton said that *Henry VIII (All is True)* was a new play in
1613, when anyone opening the Wells-Taylor *Textual Companion* to page
29 will discover that Henry Bluett also called it "a new play called All
is True, which had been acted not passing 2 or 3 times before.") It's
really embarrassing, or should be if the Times has a whit of integrity.

>There was the usual doubletalk
>about the source materials of the Tempest, and something about some
>portrait that the Folger Library had misidentified. (As though this were
>a major new piece of "evidence.")

I was surprised to find so much space devoted to the Ashbourne Portrait,
and I'm still mystified why Oxfordians keep riding this hobby-horse so
obsessively.  The Folger only "misidentified" the painting in the sense
that it used to say that it might be a portrait of Shakespeare, when it
eventually turned out to be a portrait of Sir Hugh Hamersley that had
been altered to make it look more like the popular conception of
Shakespeare (as was discovered when the portrait was cleaned and
partially restored in the 1980s).  Some Oxfordians are now trying to
still claim that the original portrait was of the Earl of Oxford, but
I'm amazed that anybody could take their astonishingly weak arguments

>Sound and fury.
>I'm really surprised the Times bought into this.

So am I.  But we're in verboten territory here, and I don't want to get
a knuckle-rapping from Hardy.

Dave Kathman
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