The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1551  Monday, 19 September 2005

[Editor's Note: John Velz has the last word in this thread. It is now 

From: 		John W. Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Sunday, 18 Sep 2005 00:28:04 -0500
Subject: 	Shakespeare Codes

Anyone who is tempted to argue that the Shakespeare plays and poems 
contain coded messages should take a look at William and Elisabeth 
Friedman, <The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined> which "examined" the 
corpus of books arguing for codes that are housed in the Folger 
Shakespeare Library.  There are very many of these.  The Friedmans were 
not Shakespeareans and had no axe to grind.  Working together in the 
early 1940s, they had cracked the Japanese naval code and thereby 
enabled the defeats the American navy inflicted on the Japanese fleets 
in various naval battles of World War II.  They were regarded in their 
time as among the best code breakers in the world.  Later they spent 
years on the various codes in the Folger collection, using the methods 
that had broken the Japanese code, and then wrote the book published by 
Cambridge (in the 1960s, I believe).  Their conclusion is definitive. 
"No code ever proposed proves anyone's authorship of the Shakespeare 
plays." (apologies if my memory gets the wording imperfectly).

John W. Velz

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