The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0564 Monday, 9 November 2009
Date: Tuesday, 3 Nov 2009 23:18:44 -0500
Subject: 20.0553 Anagrams
Comment: Re: SHK 20.0553 Anagrams
I appreciate Steve Roth's position. I'm of two minds myself. On the one
hand, it's unreasonable to assume that a hobby of wordplay common in
early modern England would have held zero interest to Shakespeare and
that he would never once have indulged it. I generally find such
all-or-nothing propositions doubtful. On the other hand, I've seen too
much of the specious Bible Code and other such pattern-making (rather
than pattern-finding) to want to see scholars rush off to "decrypt"
Shakespeare. Alas, I've also seen too much of politics, where each side
will accept evidence that confirms their own bias on grounds that they
would mock the other side for believing. I just wanted to express
gladness that we did not commit the last of these errors. It takes a lot
of intellectual integrity to admit that a conclusion you like rests on
flimsy evidence and must be better proved to be accepted.
PS: A long time ago, I wrote down (in my commonplace book) the guiding
principles of John Tierney's "Science Lab" blog at the New York Times.
1) Just because a lot of people believe something doesn't mean it's false.
2) But that's a good working theory.
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