The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1345  Wednesday, 2 July 2003

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 08:40:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 12:03:29 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint

[3]     From:   Jim Carroll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 21:19:34 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint

From:           Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 08:40:46 -0400
Subject: 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint

>From:           Ward Elliott

>In response to my request that he introduce himself and say something
>about his authorship preferences, Jim Carroll wrote:
>>That seems like an odd requirement for answering a post. I don't believe
>>that SHAKSPER is intended to be an autobiographical forum; in any event,
>>we are all required to post a brief bio in the archives. [snip]I'm a lot
>>interested in why the enclitic microphases were counted incorrectly in
>>your study.
>Let's see now.  Mr. Carroll says we have been cooking the books and
>counting everything wrong. Says he can count enclitics better than
>Marina Tarlinskaja, much better.  He ridicules Brian Vickers' arguments
>as "hilarious," "egregious," "nonsensical," and "bunk."  Some now say
>[SHK 14.1302] that he is the same contentious person as the "Agent Jim"
>on HLAS, who claims that Vickers as an "imbecile," that he has
>"demolished" Gilles Monsarrat, that our work is "incredible,
>mind-boggling bullshit," and that we are "out to lunch."  Mr. Carroll
>would like to pursue this "dialogue" on SHAKSPER with us, but, like
>Agent Jim, he doesn't want to identify himself or do anything but
>obstruct.  Unlike Agent Jim, who openly worships Donald Foster and is
>still openly convinced that Shakespeare wrote the Funeral Elegy, Mr.
>Carroll doesn't even want to say whose methods and which conclusions we
>should embrace instead. I am writing to decline Mr. Carroll's invitation
>to revive an old, acrimonious debate begun by Donald Foster in 1996, and
>ended, I had thought, with Foster's concession last year that the
>Funeral Elegy was by Ford.  I am also sending SHAKSPER members a few
>words of explanation.  I hope they will indulge me in a longish posting
>now, intended to reduce the need for more, longer ones later.
>To me, both Jims come across as warmed-over versions of Foster.  On the
>good side, like Foster, they have done lots of homework -- and they
>certainly want you to know it and defer to it.  Mr. Carroll, for
>example, knows who was whose graduate student; he thinks he has a better
>eye for antanaclasis and paronomasia than Vickers, a better eye for
>enclitic microphrases than Tarlinskaja, and a better eye for penultimate
>"with's" than our Textcruncher program.  I doubt it, and I certainly
>don't buy the Jims' Fosterian conclusion that their own counting
>conventions are always right, and everyone else's always wrong. On the
>other hand, these exercises are anything but light lifting. If nothing
>else, they show exceptionally strong motivation.  Both Jims, like
>Foster, lay down long strings of period quotes, drawn either from
>personal knowledge or from access to a sizeable archive of period texts,
>most of them, unfortunately, only dimly related to the point they are
>trying to make.  They know Foster's works cold.  Like him, us, and
>hardly anyone else, they have studied his dry, technical, heavy-going,
>rancorous CHum "debate" with us in minute detail.
>The bad side of the Jims is that they have done these things in the same
>skewed, tendentious, obstructive way as Foster did, making many of the
>same points and the same mistakes as he did, lambasting us for doing our
>tests our way, rather than their way, unswervingly supportive of
>Foster's points, unswervingly dismissive of ours.  Like Foster, they are
>both overly fond of abusive language.  And, like Foster, their postings
>have had too little light to justify their excessive and obstructive
>heat.  I could tolerate sifting through a lot of mucky ore if it
>contained enough new gold, in the form of identified real errors in our
>work, to justify the effort.  But Foster's own critiques offered no more
>than a gram of gold in a ton of muck, and I haven't found even a trace
>of gold in the tons of the Jims' postings I have seen.  The vein they
>have been working, never rich in the first place, seems to me to have
>been played out long ago.

Uh, Ward, so far you haven't said a damned thing.  Would you please get
with it?

>Debating with Foster was not fun.  He told us, in effect, to shut up or
>get whacked. Then he spent four years whacking us in CHum, telling
>CHum's readers that we were "gerrymandering" our evidence and dealing
>from a "stacked deck," and that our work was "idiocy," "madness," and
>"foul vapor." It was hardball, and almost none of it was over the
>plate.  But it was also a tarbaby too serious to ignore, a thorough
>bashing of our character as well as our competence, and printed in a
>leading journal which normally has a thorough scholarly review of the
>articles it publishes.  In our case they dispensed with this formality
>to accommodate "the Sherlock Holmes of literary detection."  If we
>hadn't answered it in CHum, we would have had to give it dozens of pages
>in whatever else we wrote.  So we responded in as much detail as CHum
>would let us, and we also took a closer look at the Elegy, always the
>central bone of contention for Foster. We found it to be a clear
>Shakespeare mismatch and an easy could-be for Ford, and we published the
>results in leading journals.
>Much of our self-defense effort was a waste of our time, since few
>people have the time or patience to puzzle their way through the
>technicalities, but not all of the time was wasted.  You learn more
>about your roof when it rains than when the sun shines, and Foster
>rained on us Biblically for four years.  We found that 99.9% of the roof
>did not leak at all, and that fixing the .1% that did leak made no
>change in the outcome. We also had a chance to try out our methods in
>greater detail on Ford and the Elegy and found that our conclusions held
>up solidly not only to our own second-looks, but also to those of
>Vickers, Monsarrat, Kennedy, and, ultimately, of Foster himself.

Good that they help up to those of Richard Kennedy!  Frankly, if it
weren't for the two W.S.'s and the backing of Richard Kennedy, I would
have accepted Ford as best probable author of the Elegy.  (Kennedy
believes, among other things, that the name "Will Shakespeare" was, like
"Monty Catsin" in contemporary mail art, a made-up name lots of people
of the time used--at least ten or fifteen.)

>Last year, when Foster conceded the Ford ascription and rejoiced at
>being shown his own mistakes, I thought the whacking and hardballing
>were over and said so with relief in a SHAKSPER posting welcoming him
>and Abrams back to the fold.  But I was wrong.  I soon discovered that,
>just as Foster was stepping off the mound on SHAKSPER,  a new hardball
>reliever, "Agent Jim," had taken the mound on HLAS and was pitching up a
>storm of messages, a dozen a week, half of them about Foster and his
>critics, fiercely defending the Elegy's Shakespeare ascription,
>uniformly praising Foster, and damning Foster's critics as imbeciles.
>The outspoken, industrious, and learned "Jim" was a dark star on HLAS.
>He seemed to know the Foster playbook by heart, and badly wanted a
>rematch.  He was a prolific poster and a zestful warrior, often crowing
>"This is fun!" and wishing that we and Vickers would send in some HLAS
>postings for him to demolish. SHAKSPER readers wanting a closer look at
>"Jim" might wish to go to the HLAS newsgroup,
>and do an advanced search on postings by KQKnave, another "Jim" alias.
>I did sift through pages and pages of "Jim's" hardball postings, such as
>"More Elliott & Valenza bullshit," looking for gold, but found only
>muck.  I was more impressed by their contentiousness than by their
>accuracy.  I found them even more abusive, obstructive, repetitive, and
>obscurantist than Foster's original CHum hardballs, and less
>informative.  For my own future reference, to minimize repetition in
>going through his long, technical diatribes, and, yes, to blow off a
>little steam in private, I compiled a list of "Agent Jim's" ten favorite
>rules of scholarly debate.   Here they are:
>"Agent Jim's" Ten Commandments of Scholarly Debate
>1. When you throw the book at them, make it the phonebook.  A big attack
>requires a big defense. Quality and veracity don't matter.  A truckload
>of turgid, mostly trivial objections, each one requiring as much time
>and effort as possible to decipher and rebut, is better than a short,
>clear critique of the other side's main points.  If brevity and clarity
>are desired, do it with a putdown, per Rule 8.
>2.  Nothing is trivial.  If the other side has made a small mistake,
>make it look like a large one.  No, make it look like hundreds of large
>ones, using Rule 3.
>3.  Erratum in uno, erratum in omnibus.  If the other side has made one
>mistake, however trivial, flaunt it as evidence that the other side's
>whole enterprise is slovenly and worthless.  If you know of any mistake
>they made in the past, dig it out and flaunt it.  It makes no difference
>whether they have corrected it since; all that counts is that they made
>it, proving that they are "out to lunch."  Go ahead and beat the horse.
>No one will know it's dead.
>4.  "My way." Use the straw man, Luke!  If the other side has not made a
>mistake, at least ignore it, per Rule 5. Better, make one up for them
>and tear it to pieces.  Do it with gusto.  "This is fun!" Think up a
>different way of doing the same thing, which they should have done, but
>didn't. Nail them for not doing it your way.  Or make up one that they
>shouldn't have done and didn't, but which would have been stupid and
>perverse if they had.  Nail them for failing to understand that, if they
>knew the least bit about authorship studies, they would have had to
>accept the absurd outcome.
>Here's how it goes:  "I've tried their recipe myself. But it was so bad
>I had to correct its obvious errors by using skunk droppings instead of
>raisins and Drano instead of Crisco. It still tastes like unbelievably
>mind-boggling bullshit."  Try it!  Straw men are a cinch to demolish,
>and it always gets the other guy's goat because it makes him look like
>an idiot!
>5. De se ipso nil nisi bonum; de altero nil nisi malum.  Never admit
>your own mistakes. Never acknowledge that the other side has gotten
>anything right, especially if it takes issue with your own position.
>Keep the focus on what they have gotten wrong, even if it's trivial or
>made up.  Don't forget rules 1-4.  One bad apple spoils the barrel, even
>if it's the one you put it there yourself! When you are finished,
>declare victory and proclaim that the other side has been demolished.
>Repeat frequently, per Rule 8.  This stuff is too technical for most
>people to understand.  No one will know you are faking.
>6.  Reductio ad Oxfordum.  Wherever possible, paint your other side as
>closet anti-Stratfordians. It doesn't have to be so. It will still taint
>their whole case per Rule 3 and require extra explanation per Rule 1.
>7.  If in doubt, sling mud, pull rank, put them down.  Don't miss an
>opportunity to put down the other side as bungling, doltish amateurs who
>belong in an institution.  Call their work "complete crap,"
>"crackpottery," or "unbelievably mind-boggling bullshit." It gives you
>an air of gravitas, doubles the force of any evidence you present, and
>makes a good substitute for any evidence you don't present.
>And don't just say they are out to lunch. Drop some hints that they are
>crooks, too. Express your concern that they are faking evidence,
>stacking the deck, and spreading lies. It helps set a high professional
>tone and levels the playing field.  The best part is, all you really
>have to do is say it and skip the tedious backup.  An ounce of putdown
>is worth a ton of proof!
>8.  Repetition makes the proof grow stronger.  If you are not sure you
>carried the day the first time, say it again.  And again and again.
>9.  Yogi Berra "I didn't really say everything I said."  Make sure
>everyone understands that anything attributed to your side by the other
>side is distorted, misquoted, misunderstood, or all of the above.  It
>10.  Reciprocity.  Of course, none of these rules apply to their
>criticism of your own work.  That's why it's so much fun!
>I found that I could then go through "Agent Jim's" long attacks looking
>for gold and write comments like "2,3,4,7, 8," sparing myself the tedium
>of constant repetition.  When I was through, there was no gold in my
>pan, but huge piles of tailings with plenty of numbers in the margins.

While I would agree that there is a small amount of truth in Elliott's
ten rules, though I suspect I could make a similar list of rules
concerning his posts here, I certainly found enough "gold" in Agent
Jim's posts to make me want to find out more about what styometrists are
doing.  I note, in passing, that Eilliott has said nothing about my
perhaps ignorant suggestion that he put Shakespeare's "Holinshed plays"
to one side as of unknown authorship, and treat the rest of the plays
he's sure are entirely or almost entirely by Shakespeare as
Shakespeare's, the way he did his original 32 or whatever, and then see
if the Holinshed plays match up better to the core than the "Peele" acts
of Titus did.

>This done, I folded up my list and comments, filed them away, and went
>on about my business.  Unlike Foster's in CHum, this tarbaby wasn't
>blocking us and didn't have to be touched.  It was hidden away in HLAS,
>in Gollum's cave under the Misty Mountains, where Gollum, as "Jim," was
>fiercely smiting anti-Stratfordians and still guarding the Precious, the
>Elegy ascription, against all who dared challenge it.  "Just don't f***
>with me on the elegy," he warned. It sounded like good advice to me, and
>not just for the Elegy.  I don't enjoy fights, threats, and vendettas as
>much as Gollum does.  After Foster's concession I saw no reason to take
>the debate into extra innings on "Jim's" account, and I was happy to let
>him carry it on as a hardball game of solitaire.

>But this spring, when I mentioned on SHAKSPER that our data supported
>Brian Vickers's views on co-authorship, the tarbaby popped up above
>ground, in the guise of Jim Carroll's SHAKSPER postings.  I responded to
>a few of them but soon found them all tailings and no gold, yet growing
>ever more Gollumesque in their frequency, contentiousness, and fidelity
>to "Agent Jim's" Ten Commandments.  Was Mr. Carroll yet another hardball
>reliever wanting yet more innings in last year's game? Or was he someone
>I had seen before who felt he hadn't prevailed last year and was
>spoiling for a hardball rematch, or two or three or ten?  Before going
>further I asked Mr. Carroll who he was, and what methods and results he
>wished to defend.  Like his namesake "Jim," he declined to answer.
>That's his Miranda right, no doubt, but if he has the right to pass on
>my questions, I have a corresponding right to pass on his - unless I
>subscribed to his Tenth Commandment, of course.  But I don't.
>For me, five years of retrieving Foster hardballs was too much.  Five
>more years, even five more minutes of retrieving warmed-over Foster
>hardballs from his acolyte clones is way too much, unless they have
>something better than tailings to offer.  They don't.  Hence, my
>response to Mr. Carroll's demands to go a few more innings of hardball
>with him is thanks, but no thanks, just it was with his look-alike
>namesake, Agent Jim. If I were ever to annotate his postings for my
>files, it would be with these Jim's Commandment numbers in the margin:
>1,2,3,4,5,7,8,10.  Unless I've missed something, only two of Agent Jim's
>Ten Commandments, 6 and 9, have not been observed in Mr. Carroll's
>postings this year.  But the other eight are enough to make the point:
>there is too much heat in them, and not enough light, to merit further
>responses from me.
>For a closer look at Foster's arguments, I would recommend skipping his
>clones and reading his originals in CHum, 30:247 (1996) and 32:491
>(1998).  For our side, see CHum 30:425 (1996), 32:425 (1998), and 36:455
>(2002), or our final response,
>http://govt.claremontmckenna.edu/welliott/hardball.htm.  See the
>epilogue of Brian Vickers' Counterfeiting Shakespeare, "The Politics of
>Attributions," for a partial description of Foster's "debates" with us
>and others.
>Ward Elliott

You could have made your refusal to debate shorter, Ward.

--Bob G.

From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 12:03:29 -0400
Subject: 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint

Perhaps Don Foster could indulge us, and perhaps set the skeptics' minds
to rest,if he applied his tried and true methods -- the same methods
that uncovered Joe Klein -- to the Jim Carroll, Agent Jim and KQKnave

From:           Jim Carroll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 21:19:34 EDT
Subject: 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1333 Re: A Lover's Complaint

This is why I like SHAKSPER so much better than that horribly uncouth
usenet thingy. There is never any inane, longwinded, irrelevant bs
posted here.

Before I tackle Ward Elliott's post, I should note here that anyone who
wants to check what I really said can do so easily at www.shaksper.net
where you can select "browse" , then volume 14, and scroll down to this

Anyway, Ward Elliott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote on
Monday, 30 Jun 2003:

>Let's see now.  Mr. Carroll says we have been cooking the books and
>counting everything wrong.

I don't know if you're cooking the books. I don't think you are counting
_everything_ wrong, but at least three things (enclitics/proclitics in
"A Lover's Complaint", and "penultimate "with"" ) appear to be counted

>Says he can count enclitics better than Marina Tarlinskaja, much better.

No, I never said that. First, I don't even know if Tarlinskaja did the
counting for "A Lover's Complaint". Your paper says one student did some
of the counting and Tarlinskaja did some of it, but it doesn't specify
who counted which poem or play.

See: http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2003/1273.html

This idea that I somehow disparage Tarlinskaja was also brought up in
one of Vicker's posts. Let me make this clear: I think Tarlinskaja's
ideas are fascinating, and her book is well-worth reading
("Shakespeare's Verse: Iambic Pentameter and the Poet's Idiosyncracies",
1987, Peter Lang). One thing I object to is the use of
enclitic/proclitic microphases in your kind of statistical study. It is
possible to count the number of times the word "no" appears in a text
exactly, but stresses are a matter of opinion, so unless you average the
results from more than few readers, I don't think it's a good idea to
use them.

However, my principle objection is simply that the enclitics/proclitics
were miscounted for A Lover's Complaint. My suspicion is that
Tarlinskaja didn't do the counting for this poem, and she doesn't even
mention it in her book. But I can see how you may have miscounted them.
In your paper "Glass Slippers..." etc, (SQ, 1997, 177-207), you claim
that Tarlinskaja doesn't count phrases that contain  "articles,
prepositions, personal pronouns, possessives, conjunctions, and
indefinite pronouns." You then give a list of 8 types of phrases that
_are_ counted.  Apart from the fact that this doesn't make sense (why
wouldn't personal pronouns be counted, but titles such as "Lord
Cardinal" would be?), Tarlinskaja nowhere says that they are not
counted, she simply says (page 213, emphasis mine), "I distinguished the
following MOST COMMONLY occurring part-of-speech and syntactic two-word
structures, occupying S and either of the adjacent W:" and then she
gives the list of 8 types of phrases which you gave in your paper. In
fact, she gives examples using possessives ("your Lords", p222) and
pronouns ("bear this", p225).


>Mr. Carroll, forexample, knows who was whose graduate student;

That wasn't hard to find out, it's noted plainly in Keller's paper. I
pointed it out to demonstrate that the paper was, for one thing, not an
entirely unbiased viewpoint, because he was Vickers graduate student.

>he thinks he has a better eye for antanaclasis and paronomasia than Vickers,

Sorry no. It was Keller, Vicker's graduate student who counted
rhetorical figures and I don't disagree with his counts. What I did
point out was that they didn't look at all at 2H6 to compare
Shakespeare's use of hyperbaton there, for use as a control.

See: http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2003/1314.html

>a better eye for enclitic microphrases than Tarlinskaja,

No, see above.

> and a better eye for penultimate
>"with's" than our Textcruncher program

My principle point was not that the numbers were miscounted, but that
they were presented in such a way that the difference between Venus and
Adonis and A Lover's Complaint was misleadingly enlarged. Rather than
reporting absolute numbers of "penultimate with", you reported the
frequency per thousand sentences. Since the ~3000 word blocks of text
have different numbers of sentences, you are actually conflating two
distinct traits, and the end result is that you have 6, 6, 34 in Venus
and Adonis versus 0 in A Lover's Complaint, when it should be 1, 0, 3
versus 0, which takes advantage of the fact that 0 times anything is 0.
And Textcruncher will give you the wrong results if the text is not
punctuated the way standard editions of Venus and Adonis are, since you
are counting sentences, not lines.  Rather than merely claim that my
counts are somehow wrong, why not post the line numbers which contain
"penultimate with"? There aren't that many, and that should certainly
end the issue there if I'm wrong, wouldn't it? You've spent 2500 words
on this essay (and in the process creating what is surely a unique
document in the history of mankind: one which contains each of the words
"drano", "crisco" and "paronomasia"). Surely you have the time to post
the line numbers of the 5-7 occurrences of "penultimate with" in Venus
and Adonis?

See: http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2003/1257.html

The rest of Ward Elliott's post contains nothing related to the facts
concerning A Lover's Complaint, so there is not much point in commenting
upon it.

Jim Carroll

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