The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1579  Thursday, 22 September 2005

From: 		Michael Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 20 Sep 2005 07:30:19 -1000
Subject: 16.1563 Two New Authorship Studies
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1563 Two New Authorship Studies

I'm sorry to try the patience of SHAKSPEReans, but Ward Elliott's 
stylometrical claims cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged.  To do so 
allows him (and indeed his whole flawed methodology) to hold the field 
by default, something of which he is fully aware--see the triumphalist 
conclusion of his Edward III essay, for example.

Elliott declines to come to trial on equal terms, so I'll put the matter 
clearly thus: He and his intellectual allies have decisively proved by 
numerical analysis that certain anonymous Elizabethan and Jacobean 
dramas are not by Shakespeare. But every other measure (line and word 
parallels, analogies of character and scene structure, thematic 
convergence, philosophical and historical viewpoint, and many other 
dimensions familiar to literary criticism) show quite otherwise. These 
may not be reducible to statistical formulae but are no less valid for 
all that.

In a word, there are lies, damn lies and stylometrics. Until Elliott is 
prepared to answer the literary and philosophical evidence ranged 
against him (as opposed to merely mocking it) he should stick to 
political science.

--Michael Egan

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