The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2249  Monday, 11 November 2002

From:           Alexander Huang <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Nov 2002 19:30:25 -0800
Subject:        Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary (Titus

1. It turned out that the student is no longer officially registered in
that undergraduate class. So I proceed to respond to your postings
without waiting for his response. If it was a hoax, it was NOT my
intention to spread it.

2. Regarding Professor Cox's and others' skepticism of various aspects
surrounding the original question, including my 'identity,' though
largely unrelated to the issue in question, I would like to offer my
explanations. I have moved to Harvard from Stanford, but I have signed
up as a listserv member while I was at Stanford and continued to use
that email address to read emails from SHAKSPER. It is simply a change
of institutional affiliation.

3. Since the student is no longer registered and I am assuming that it
is indeed a hoax, I apologize to those who are offended by my original
posting. It was not my intention to spread a possible hoax. The case is
closed. However, I want to communicate my reflections about how some
issues are handled by listserv members.

I did not endorse the initial "discovery." That was why I posted it to
the list AND asked the student for his source simultaneously. As
scholars, shouldn't our first reaction to any thing like this be
carefully seeking more information from different perspectives than
carelessly dismissing it?

I take the hostility from some listserv members personally, and I do not
think it appropriate to accuse someone sincerely asking for information.
I never intended to "start a bogus thread." I have been on the listserv
for a long time and have been a silent reader; I have benefited greatly
from some discussions. This was my first time posting a question to it,
and the listserv fails to meet my expectations as a place for rational

There have been enough hoax, myths, and "silly questions" about some
literary figures, especially Shakespeare's life and Marlowe's death.
Some have been dismissed, but some did lead to important breakthroughs.
One of the purposes of SHAKSPER is to create a space for such
discussions and exchange of information. It was precisely that I, and
many other listserv members who posted questions, do not know enough
that we ask questions in hope to verify problematic info. No one can
read everything and be sure of every single piece of info.

Some times, the atmosphere on the listserv resembles that in a tavern
brawl (in many other email threads) and not that of rational debates in
the academia. May I humbly suggest that this be changed. Let no more of
the precious time of any of us be wasted on this.

Alexander Huang
Harvard University

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