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  #1  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:26 PM
bup bup is offline
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A Discussion About Whether Shakespeare is Shakespeare without Dismissiveness

OK, septimus, and anybody else. Here is a thread where we can discuss the merits of the proposition that somebody other than Shakespeare wrote the 37 plays and the sonnets attributed to him.

For my part, I believe the default hypothesis (Shakespeare wrote the things that were published with his name), and think it's incumbent upon people who reject that hypothesis to present evidence for their case.

PLEASE - no rolleyes, content-less dismissals, or making jokes at anyone's expense. PLEASE grant basic respect to all participants.


Mods, if this isn't the best forum, I don't care. Put it where you will.
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:31 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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I like a good literary trainwreck so if this thread is a response to another thread, I would dearly love a link to that one.

I'm with you bup. There's no reason to believe Shakespeare didn't write his stuff and no reason to justify any one of the antistratfordian candidates over another.
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:33 PM
bup bup is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
I like a good literary trainwreck so if this thread is a response to another thread, I would dearly love a link to that one.
Right. It's from this thread.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:36 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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So far, none of the antistratfordians have ever produced any evidence* to back their claims; merely speculation and supposition. Since Occam's Razor strongly indicates Shakespeare wrote the plays, it's incumbent on those who think otherwise to produce evidence. I've yet to see any.

*Definition of evidence: accounts by people who were in a position to know Shakespeare (or any of the other names) that stated outright that someone else was the author.
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:39 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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For review, a Shakespeare thread from a couple of years ago. I think it covers the basics and probably some not-so-basics.
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:55 PM
bup bup is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
For review, a Shakespeare thread from a couple of years ago. I think it covers the basics and probably some not-so-basics.
septimus (I think) referred to that thread when saying pro-Stratfordians were dismissive. So in this thread, we won't use words like 'bilge,' 'horse shit,' and so forth, I (and anybody else) will stay specific and use non-derisive terms.

It might actually be an interesting discussion.
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  #7  
Old 08-27-2013, 01:46 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
septimus (I think) referred to that thread when saying pro-Stratfordians were dismissive. So in this thread, we won't use words like 'bilge,' 'horse shit,' and so forth, I (and anybody else) will stay specific and use non-derisive terms.

It might actually be an interesting discussion.
We had a recent and thorough discussion in the thread Marley cited. What point could be made from rehashing that?

Let me summarize, if that's needed:

1) There is no controversy, any more than there is controversy over the moon landing or Obama's birth certificate. The entire professional scholarly community - mostly English professors, but also history, linguistics, and other specialized professors - agrees that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. This unity is rare; most subjects work by younger scholars overturning beliefs of the elder. Here the discussion is about understanding of Shakespeare, not who wrote it. If you check, you'll find that virtually every non-Stratfordian book is written by an outsider. You would not accept that in physics. It is also one of the major complaints about climate deniers.

2) The evidence for Shakespeare is positive evidence, ranging from contemporary references to Shakespeare as a known writer to modern computer analyses of word choices. There is a technical literature about Shakespeare that the conspiracists do not touch, and it has existed in many forms for decades. Alternative candidates must be supported by hints, clues, suppositions, logic chains, and wishful thinking, all negative evidence.

3) Our knowledge of England and English drama grows yearly. Older texts have been superseded by modern evidence. One interesting outcome is that Shakespeare is now thought to have collaborated much more widely with other writers than previously thought. This works against any possible narrative of a hidden writer parceling out complete works of genius and swearing the entire city of London to secrecy.

A knowledge of the popular debunking literature should be mandatory. One excellent place to start is with James Shapiro's Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? , which demolishes the alternate claimants. Reading only conspiracist literature is like reading only truther sites; you might find yourself believing a single side of an argument but that belief must vanish when both sides are known.

The only interesting reason to redo this discussion is to see how similar conspiracist methods, reasoning, and "evidence" is among all forms of conspiracies. I personally find the parallels to be astonishing. You may find that dismissive, but there is it. There is no merit to the proposition. It is bunk, and has been completely debunked.
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  #8  
Old 08-27-2013, 01:54 PM
septimus septimus is offline
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Originally Posted by bup View Post
septimus (I think) referred to that thread when saying pro-Stratfordians were dismissive.
No, I referred to this thread. It started with a long group of Sonnets which are difficult to understand if written by Stratford; I wanted help understanding them. But instead I got zero (0) responses related to the Sonnets' contents.

Here are some excerpts from that thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Is it just me or does anyone else find the tossing around of words like "Oxfordian" and "Stratfordian" to be extremely precious?
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
So, from the beginning, you admit you haven't actually researched the question. Not a good place to start.

How do you know they're personal? How much study have you put into Shakespeare's life? Oh, wait, you admitted you haven't.
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Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
This almost smells like homework help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
Along the same lines, I have my doubts that Johnny Cash wrote Folsom Prison Blues.
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
[This is what I get for posting late at night.] I deny the bizarrity. [of the Sonnets]
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Originally Posted by APB View Post
Sonnets were supposed to be cryptic, obscure, playful, ambiguous, surprising and, yes, bizarre.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
How about this: you explain what you find bizarre about the sonnets and what you think it means. I think you'll find I agree with APB.


What did he do on the day Edward de Vere died, and why does it matter?
Marley isn't sure whether the Sonnets, if written by Stratford, are bizarre in content or not; but he is sure that whatever septimus believes must be wrong.

I posted (#38 in that thread) an account of King James' actions the day Oxford died, mentioned that it had to be considered an interesting mystery despite the lack of any proven connection to the authorship; the only response that post got was to repeat the obvious -- that I hadn't proven any connection to the authorship.

At about that time I gave up on the thread.

If I see evidence that this thread will be better spirited and objective, I may participate.

Yes, this thread needs a summary of an Oxfordian theory. There are plenty such on the Internet. I'd hope that those debating here would know the basics of a hoax theory. I think I eventually, despite being discouraged, made some effort to synopsize an Oxfordian case in the other thread, but was only ridiculed, rebuked and ignored. In the unlikely event this thread appears like it will be more respectful, I'll make another effort.

One hope I had in the earlier thread was to fight my own ignorance, so I could judge Oxfordian claims. For example I posed these questions:
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
  • Are John Hall's collected letters (or a summary) available on-line?
  • Is there a paper detailing astronomical references in Shakespeare's works?
  • What are the ten earliest mentions of one or more of Shakespeare's plays? (It's easy to find the first one or two mentions, but what about 3rd or 4th?)
None of my questions were ever answered.
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  #9  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:00 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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If you wanted to ask about the interpretation of the sonnets, you should have asked that. But phrasing the question as "The sonnets don't make sense; maybe they were written by some other guy" is roughly equivalent (in form if not in degree) to saying "the platypus doesn't make sense; maybe it was introduced by aliens experimenting on Earth life". If you post an absurdity that's universally rejected by everyone in the field, that's naturally going to be what everyone focuses on in their replies.
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:02 PM
septimus septimus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The entire professional scholarly community - mostly English professors, but also history, linguistics, and other specialized professors - agrees that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.
False.

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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The evidence for Shakespeare is positive evidence, ranging from contemporary references to Shakespeare as a known writer to modern computer analyses of word choices.
The same references to Shakespeare would exist, were it an established pen-name.

The comment about computer analysis of word choices is singularly bizarre. What do you use as Stratford's corpus for a comparison with Shakespeare? The poem generally attributed to him from his gravestone?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakspeare, on his gravestone
Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To digg the dust encloased heare.
Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones,
And curst be he yt moves my bones.
It is true that computer analyses do not point to any particular candidate. To me, this makes it highly likely that a collaboration was involved.

Quote:
Our knowledge of England and English drama grows yearly.
If Oxford were the principal author, he probably had collaborator(s). John Lyly is a logical candidate. The lack of any clear reference to collaboration until ca 1610 argues against Stratford, actually.
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  #11  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If you wanted to ask about ...
If your only contribution is to make meta-comments about my failures in a thread from years ago, please take it to the Pit. Let's see if this thread can be un-hijacked.
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  #12  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:09 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by bup View Post
septimus (I think) referred to that thread when saying pro-Stratfordians were dismissive.
Regardless, the discussion summarizes the issues and a lot of the arguments. I think that should cut down on some redundancy if nothing else.
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:14 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
If your only contribution is to make meta-comments about my failures in a thread from years ago, please take it to the Pit. Let's see if this thread can be un-hijacked.
Don't link to things if you don't want them talked about, then.

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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
False.
Elucidate, please.


Quote:
The comment about computer analysis of word choices is singularly bizarre. What do you use as Stratford's corpus for a comparison with Shakespeare? The poem generally attributed to him from his gravestone?
Well, for one thing, you can run analyses of Shakespeare's plays and analyses of the writings of de Vere, Bacon and Queen Elizabeth. If you get a match, there's your smoking gun.

Quote:
The lack of any clear reference to collaboration until ca 1610 argues against Stratford, actually.
Because?
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  #14  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:16 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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The best evidence is that some guy named William Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. There is a lot of evidence to ignore to come to another conclusion supported by no evidence at all.

But in the spirit of fun, I think that the real author was Elizabeth I, who as the Virgin Queen would not have been allowed to write such bawdy fun nonsense. Check out some of her writing some time. She was an excellent writer.

Hey, it's less preposterous than De Vere who died about the same time. I'm going to go with she had them written, finished and delivered to her beard, but the company was already putting on other plays.

But seriously, Shakespeare wrote the plays.

You've got to go with the weight of the evidence. And the weight of the evidence is that they were composed by someone a lot of people knew who was named William Shakespeare. The best argument we have against, in my opinion, is that Will had shitty handwriting. But even if he could not write himself, that doesn't mean he couldn't dictate. Milton dictated Paradise Lost. Homer was not known to write.
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  #15  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:16 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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I think itís much more likely than not that Shakespeare wrote most of the stuff accredited to him. However, that doesnít mean he wrote all of it or every word of the stuff he did write. I am sure much of it was collaborative, perhaps with Nashe. Indeed, it is known that his last ten plays did have a co-author, such as John Fletcher.
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  #16  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:26 PM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
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If it turns out that Shakespeare wasn't the real Shakespeare, is it possible that real Shakespeare was actually the co-author of some of the fake Shakespeare's work?

There is clearly evidence for it, as it can draw on all of the evidence for either side of the debate.
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  #17  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:35 PM
septimus septimus is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
[1] Elucidate, please.

[2] Well, for one thing, you can run analyses of Shakespeare's plays and analyses of the writings of de Vere, Bacon and Queen Elizabeth. If you get a match, there's your smoking gun.

[3] Because?
[1] Daniel Wright and Michael Delahoyde are two Professors of Literature who do not believe Stratford wrote the plays and sonnets. This refutes Expno's "The entire professional scholarly community ..."

[2] Answered in the post you quote. (Skimming is a tell! )

[3] If Shakespeare had an early collaborator why was he never acknowledged?
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  #18  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:39 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post

Well, for one thing, you can run analyses of Shakespeare's plays and analyses of the writings of de Vere, Bacon and Queen Elizabeth. If you get a match, there's your smoking gun.
You can also compare the plays against each other, and see if any stand out from the rest as unusual. If there were multiple autors for the plays, that should be discernible in the results of the testing, with each anonymous author's plays resembling each other more than the plays by the other authors. At the very least, we should be able to detect where de Vere died and his successor took over the pen name.

I also feel compelled to note that, in the older thread linked to by Marley, septimus raised exactly the same question, in almost identical terms, and got exactly the same explanation.
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  #19  
Old 08-27-2013, 02:46 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
[1] Daniel Wright and Michael Delahoyde are two Professors of Literature who do not believe Stratford wrote the plays and sonnets. This refutes Expno's "The entire professional scholarly community ..."
Facile answer. Outliers exist in any data set. What you have not done is explain why these two should be considered more reliable than the opinion of the community as a whole nor have you offered what their opinions are.
Quote:
[2] Answered in the post you quote. (Skimming is a tell! )
Your previous post did not address prose comparisons across authors which is what I was talking about. What question in my post did you feel was already answered?
Quote:
[3] If Shakespeare had an early collaborator why was he never acknowledged?
If Bacon collaborated with Lyly, why was it never mentioned contemporarily?
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  #20  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:05 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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septimus, in the three years since that last exhaustive thread, have you bothered to read Shapiro?
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  #21  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:10 PM
bup bup is offline
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hey septimus. This could take a while, huh?

Looking at your other thread:

Sonnet 26 seems to be to be an unctuous suck-up to his patron, Wriothsley.

Sonnet 32 reads to me like an insecure young writer saying to his lover, "hey look, if you outlive me and re-read my stuff and it sucks, at least remember the love behind it." Anne? Dark Lady? Wriothsley? Some bugger buddy? I don't know.

Sonnet 36 is basically saying "our love is one, but my faults are mine alone. I feel guilty about something, so let me keep it from besmirching you." I get why Oxfordians would like that sonnet, but it seems to me it could apply to anybody with a guilty secret. Maybe Shakespeare had a lover who was minor royalty? Maybe Shakespeare and Wriothsley did some experimenting?

Sonnet 39 seems to speak more specifically of (to back-use a modern label) gay love, the love that dare not speak its name. More unctuous stuff for Henry Wriothsley.

Sonnet 55 - your memory will live forever, so long as lovers read these words. OK. Shakespeare certainly had passion.

Sonnet 62 does seem strange if written in the early 1590's, when many or most of the sonnets are assumed to have been written. However, not all of them were, and the dating of all the sonnets (except the couple that were printed in 1599) is unknown.

Sonnet 71 - a lot like 32. Mortality was a constant threat in Elizabethan England.

Sonnet 72 - more emo. When I die, I'll be forgotten like yesterday's garbage.

I have to take a break now. I haven't read the essay you link that argues for Oxford, but right now I'm not seeing it.
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  #22  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:10 PM
eschereal eschereal is offline
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Often, I hear the argument that Shakespeare lacked the breeding and/or education to be even able to write what he wrote. Ultimately, that is a rather offensive assertion to make, given that history shows that talent is broadly distributed amongst divers persons, and some dedicated individuals are capable of or driven to expanding the base of their formal schooling.

Such points against Shakespeare's authorship are blatantly elitist, not founded in reality, and come from the same place wherein is rooted racism.
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  #23  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:29 PM
septimus septimus is offline
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There were secrets in Elizabethan England.

It is very widely accepted that Henry Carey was the natural son of King Henry VIII but there has never been a "smoking gun" until recently when a quotation showed up:
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/article.jsp?articleid=70719 quoting a pre-execution confession
Morever, Mr. Skydmore dyd show to me yongge Master Care, saying that he was our suffren Lord the Kynge's son by our suffren Lady the Qwyen's sister, whom the Qwyen's grace might not suffer to be yn the Cowrte.
But even now I see Wikipedia still calls his royal paternity a "speculation."

Some Dopers may be unaware that in Oxfordian hoax theory, the Oxford authorship was kept secret by royal command. Seem farfetched? Perhaps; we can discuss it should the thread remain civil. But in any event, if you argue against the hoax theory please take the trouble to understand what you argue against!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
*Definition of evidence: accounts by people who were in a position to know Shakespeare (or any of the other names) that stated outright that someone else was the author.
Early on, Stratford's putative authorship was ridiculed but his detractors changed their tunes.

The very very first reference to Shakespeare as a literary figure occurs in this famous excerpt from Greene's 1592 Groats-worth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Greene
... for there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey.
Greene accuses the upstart Crow ("Shake-scene"), almost in so many words, of putting his name on others' plays. This is exactly what is claimed by hoax theorists. Shortly after the (posthumous) publication of Groats-worth, the publisher issued a retraction. Ben Jonson also started by ridiculing Shakespeare, but soon turned into one of his biggest fans.

Especially interesting is that there is essentially zero evidence from Stratford town that their favorite son was a writer. No eulogies, no books or manuscripts by him, no mentions in letters (despite that William Shakespeare's son-in-law was an avid letter writer who commented on other poets of Stratford). No memories by his children or grandchildren -- indeed both of Shakespeare's adult children seemed to be illiterate.
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  #24  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:36 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Some Dopers may be unaware that in Oxfordian hoax theory, the Oxford authorship was kept secret by royal command.
What evidence is there that there was a royal secret about this authorship?

Quote:
Especially interesting is that there is essentially zero evidence from Stratford town that their favorite son was a writer. No eulogies, no books or manuscripts by him, no mentions in letters (despite that William Shakespeare's son-in-law was an avid letter writer who commented on other poets of Stratford). No memories by his children or grandchildren -- indeed both of Shakespeare's adult children seemed to be illiterate.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
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  #25  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:51 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
The very very first reference to Shakespeare as a literary figure occurs in this famous excerpt from Greene's 1592 Groats-worth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Green
... for there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey.
Greene accuses the upstart Crow ("Shake-scene"), almost in so many words, of putting his name on others' plays.
Really? Where? I don't see anything in that quote that could reasonably interpreted as an accusation of false authorship.
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  #26  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:00 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Greene accuses the upstart Crow ("Shake-scene"), almost in so many words, of putting his name on others' plays.
He's saying Shakespeare is arrogant, ambitious, and a mere actor who has the gall to believe he could write as well as Greene and other university-educated playwrights. He doesn't say Shakespeare took credit for others' work "in so many words." He doesn't say it at all.
Quote:
indeed both of Shakespeare's adult children seemed to be illiterate.
Women were less likely to learn to read back then, and we know Susanna could write her name. So she may not have been illiterate, but this is very circumstantial anyway.
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  #27  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:04 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Upstart crow beautified with our feathers = new kid stealing the best pieces of our stuff to make himself look good

an absolute Johannes factotum = Less obvious. Johannes factotum basically means jack of all trades and a standard interpretation would probably be that Greene's accusing Shakespeare of breadth but not depth. However, a factotum is also a term for a personal assistant so it's possible that he's saying Shakespeare was an assistant to another playwright and has stolen his master's works for his own ends. I have not found anything however, that supports this second interpretation of johannes factotum as meaning plagiarist.
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  #28  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:05 PM
septimus septimus is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
[1] Facile answer. Outliers exist in any data set.

[2] Your previous post did not address prose comparisons across authors which is what I was talking about. What question in my post did you feel was already answered?

[3] If Bacon collaborated with Lyly, why was it never mentioned contemporarily?
[1] Exapno wrote "entire"; I produced counterexamples. Unless you have some specific requirement, e.g. a specific count of PhD's, this train of "debate" is pointless. Am I nitpicking to assume "entire" didn't mean "many"? I don't think so -- let's do please write precisely.

[2] I wrote "It is true that computer analyses do not point to any particular candidate. To me, this makes it highly likely that a collaboration was involved."

[3] Oxford? The premise is that they kept their writing secret.

None of these rejoinders seem abstruse. Would it be rude to ask you how long you studied this sub-debate before clicking Reply?
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  #29  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:07 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Would it be rude to ask you how long you studied this sub-debate before clicking Reply?
What does "without dismissiveness" mean to you?
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  #30  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:08 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
He's saying Shakespeare is arrogant, ambitious, and a mere actor who has the gall to believe he could write as well as Greene and other university-educated playwrights. He doesn't say Shakespeare took credit for others' work "in so many words." He doesn't say it at all.
On review, it appears that septimus is claiming that Green's reversal on Shakespeare's talent is evidence that he later learned who really wrote Shakespeare, while simultaneously claiming that Green revealed the entire hoax in his initial critique.
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  #31  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:09 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
[1] Exapno wrote "entire"; I produced counterexamples. Unless you have some specific requirement, e.g. a specific count of PhD's, this train of "debate" is pointless. Am I nitpicking to assume "entire" didn't mean "many"? I don't think so -- let's do please write precisely.
It is extremely clear what Exapno meant by entire and this line of argumentation is doing you no favors.
Quote:
[2] I wrote "It is true that computer analyses do not point to any particular candidate. To me, this makes it highly likely that a collaboration was involved."
Speculation.

Quote:
[3] Oxford? The premise is that they kept their writing secret.
Speculation.

Quote:
Would it be rude to ask you how long you studied this sub-debate before clicking Reply?
Yes.
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  #32  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:13 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Shakespeare would just not be the same without dismissiveness. The proof:

http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/Shaker/

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  #33  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:14 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
[1] Exapno wrote "entire"; I produced counterexamples. Unless you have some specific requirement, e.g. a specific count of PhD's, this train of "debate" is pointless. Am I nitpicking to assume "entire" didn't mean "many"?
Yes. Yes, you are.

Quote:

[2] I wrote "It is true that computer analyses do not point to any particular candidate. To me, this makes it highly likely that a collaboration was involved."
There is no logical connection here between your premise and your conclusion. Ow does the fact that Shakespeare didn't write like any of the supposed real authors amount to proof that he was written by all of them?

(FTR, I used "all" there for rhetorical purposes, and not as a literal description of your position.)
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  #34  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:21 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
Upstart crow beautified with our feathers = new kid stealing the best pieces of our stuff to make himself look good

an absolute Johannes factotum = Less obvious. Johannes factotum basically means jack of all trades and a standard interpretation would probably be that Greene's accusing Shakespeare of breadth but not depth. However, a factotum is also a term for a personal assistant so it's possible that he's saying Shakespeare was an assistant to another playwright and has stolen his master's works for his own ends. I have not found anything however, that supports this second interpretation of johannes factotum as meaning plagiarist.
Stealing the best parts of our stuff (even if this is a genuine charge and not just sour grapes) is different from putting one's name on work that was completely done by someone else. There was lots of borrowing of bits among the popular playwrights of the time, and that makes the most sense here. "Upstart crow beautified with our feathers" = his work is pedestrian at best, except where he stole the better bits from other people.

The end of your second paragraph is a stretch at best. "He might have meant" something different from what seems perfectly obvious - this isn't much of an argument or much in the way of evidence. Jack of all trades makes perfect sense - charging him with being adequate as an actor and mediocre as a playwright, but not particularly good as either.


Roddy
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  #35  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:29 PM
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The dedication in Shakespeare's Sonnets seems odd if the author is still living. Why no mention? (I wonder if W.H. is William Herbert, also dedicatee of First Folio.)

Another Shakespeare publication about the same time has an odd inscription:
Quote:
"A Never writer, to an Ever reader. News" was the headline for a preface/epistle that appeared in one of the two quartos of Troilus and Cressida that appeared in 1609.
(IIRC, scholars treat this as a now-indecipherable joke.)
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:36 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
Stealing the best parts of our stuff (even if this is a genuine charge and not just sour grapes) is different from putting one's name on work that was completely done by someone else. There was lots of borrowing of bits among the popular playwrights of the time, and that makes the most sense here. "Upstart crow beautified with our feathers" = his work is pedestrian at best, except where he stole the better bits from other people.
It also doesn't make any sense as evidence that Green knew about the conspiracy. Green talks about "our" feathers - if Green were talking about a conspiracy to hide the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, he wouldn't talk about "our" feathers, unless he was one of the people writing plays under Shakespeare's name - in which case, why would he not only be revealing it in public, but complaining about it?
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Ow does the fact that Shakespeare didn't write like any of the supposed real authors amount to proof that he was written by all of them?
I never suggested it was such "proof", nor can I guess how you thought I did.

"the fact that Shakespeare didn't write like any of the supposed real authors leaves open the possibility that it was written by one or more of them in collaboration with other(s)."

Now, maybe this claim, derived by editing your strawman claim, is also stupid. But, as I indicated in yesterday's thread, at this point I'm less fascinated by the authorship mystery than the mystery of how debaters like you can misconstrue statements on this topic as dramatically as you did in the quote above.

ETA: OK, I see "To me, this makes it highly likely that a collaboration was involved." confused. There was an implicit If Stratford weren't the author there. You thought it was part of a "proof." Sorry.

Last edited by septimus; 08-27-2013 at 04:42 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:46 PM
bup bup is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Early on, Stratford's putative authorship was ridiculed but his detractors changed their tunes.

The very very first reference to Shakespeare as a literary figure occurs in this famous excerpt from Greene's 1592 Groats-worth.

Greene accuses the upstart Crow ("Shake-scene"), almost in so many words, of putting his name on others' plays. This is exactly what is claimed by hoax theorists. Shortly after the (posthumous) publication of Groats-worth, the publisher issued a retraction.
I disagree. That's not how that reads to me.

Quote:
Ben Jonson also started by ridiculing Shakespeare, but soon turned into one of his biggest fans.
What's your citation here?

Quote:
Especially interesting is that there is essentially zero evidence from Stratford town that their favorite son was a writer. No eulogies, no books or manuscripts by him, no mentions in letters (despite that William Shakespeare's son-in-law was an avid letter writer who commented on other poets of Stratford).
Here's a better discussion of the eulogies than I could make.

What's your cite that John Hall was an avid letter writer who mentioned other poets?

What books did Christopher Marlowe or Ben Jonson or John Webster leave?

Quote:
No memories by his children or grandchildren -- indeed both of Shakespeare's adult children seemed to be illiterate.
They were both women, and Susannah could sign her name, at least. There's no evidence they were illiterate, it's just likely because of the time and place. But that reasoning is circular for determining their illiteracy as a mark against Shakespeare. Besides, Shakespeare wasn't a scholar. It's like having expectations of Steven Spielberg's kids.

Last edited by bup; 08-27-2013 at 04:46 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:49 PM
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My last ETA reminds me of something frustrating in these discussions. The case, if any, is complicated, and based on coincidences, circumstances, and there are a variety of objections available.

When one pursues a line of argument related to an objection, one is trying to rebut that objection. Upon success of that rebuttal it is disconcerting to hear "But how does that prove Stratford wasn't the author?" Addressing a subsidiary objection is not the same as a proof of a main proposition.
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:53 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
ETA: OK, I see "To me, this makes it highly likely that a collaboration was involved." confused. There was an implicit If Stratford weren't the author there. You thought it was part of a "proof." Sorry.
Ah, I see what you were saying. Fair enough. Although your conclusion still doesn't follow - if there were conclusive evidence that Shakespeare was not the author of his plays, the fact that his plays don't match up to any of the conventional alternatives doesn't suggest that they were written by several of them, it suggests that the real author is some other party, wholly unknown to us.

Which is another problem I have with this theory as a whole. It treats history like some sort of drawing room murder mystery, where the culprit has to be one of the people who are already on stage. There were around three million people in England at the time. If someone else wrote Hamlet besides Shakespeare, what are the odds that it would happen to be someone else we already know about?
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  #41  
Old 08-27-2013, 05:07 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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septimus, please list all of the literature you have read showing that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.
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  #42  
Old 08-27-2013, 07:04 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Alias Shakespeare by Joe Sobran. It's been a while since I read it, so I'm going by memory.

He argued that William Shakespeare of Stratford didn't have the education to write the plays. Shakespeare wouldn't have read Plutarch, wouldn't have travelled to Italy, wouldn't have known courtly manners and speech, etc. The playwright showed too much knowledge of these matters.

Sobran erred, in my opinion, by pointing to the very bland prose of Shakespeare's will. Sobran asked how the author of "To be or not to be" could have written that will. To me, this is not a telling argument. Who of us has employed our literary skills and poetic talents...in our wills?

More convincing is Sobran's argument regarding the mysterious lover addressed in the Sonnets. He suggested how the sonnets point very directly at De Vere, while having no obvious references to Shakespeare.

Thank you, bup, for opening this thread. Your plea for consideration probably came from my observation, in the other thread, that all of the rebuttals I had read of Sobran's book utilized ridicule rather than point-by-point refutation. The attitude seemed to be, "This idea is so stupid, I won't even bother addressing it seriously." The problem with that is that, to a reader like me, it implies bad faith. It's like the scientific establishment's original (tragic) response to Velikovsky.

If the theory is wrong, then it can't hurt to take a few minutes to say why.

Personally, I don't know. Sobran's book stopped me cold, and made me re-think everything I thought I knew. I opened his book with a very strong prejudice against him. (I still think Sobran was a god damned son of a bitch in many ways. His homophobic politics were vile and hateful.) His book convinced me, entirely against my will, that there might be something to the De Vere theory.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:28 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is offline
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Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
More convincing is Sobran's argument regarding the mysterious lover addressed in the Sonnets. He suggested how the sonnets point very directly at De Vere, while having no obvious references to Shakespeare.

Thank you, bup, for opening this thread. Your plea for consideration probably came from my observation, in the other thread, that all of the rebuttals I had read of Sobran's book utilized ridicule rather than point-by-point refutation. The attitude seemed to be, "This idea is so stupid, I won't even bother addressing it seriously." The problem with that is that, to a reader like me, it implies bad faith. It's like the scientific establishment's original (tragic) response to Velikovsky.

If the theory is wrong, then it can't hurt to take a few minutes to say why.

Personally, I don't know. Sobran's book stopped me cold, and made me re-think everything I thought I knew. I opened his book with a very strong prejudice against him. (I still think Sobran was a god damned son of a bitch in many ways. His homophobic politics were vile and hateful.) His book convinced me, entirely against my will, that there might be something to the De Vere theory.
Uh, I actually posted this at the other thread, a recent discovery of who that lady likely was, Shakespeare has a connection, De Vere not.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...e-8082166.html
Quote:
A Shakespeare scholar claims to have found evidence supporting a suggestion made in the 1930s that she was a madam called "Lucy Negro" or "Black Luce", who ran a notorious bawdy house in Clerkenwell.

Dr Duncan Salkeld, reader in Shakespeare studies at the University of Chichester, told The Independent that he has unearthed documentary records that lead him to conclude that she is "the foremost candidate for the dubious role of the Dark Lady".

Many of the sonnets 127 to 152 are addressed to an unidentified woman – the "Dark Lady" – with whom the Bard imagines an adulterous sexual relationship. She is a temptress, in sonnet 144 – "my female evil" and "my bad angel".

Dr Salkeld has found references to both Black Luce and her associate Gilbert East – who ran another Clerkenwell brothel – in the diary of Philip Henslowe, the theatre-owner who built the Rose Theatre and whose acting company was a rival to Shakespeare's. Henslowe, who also put on the Bard's plays, recorded dining frequently with Gilbert East.

Finding Luce and East together among Henslowe's tenants connects this couple definitively with the world of theatre, Dr Salkeld claims, making it highly likely she would have been known to Shakespeare. Given her sexual charms, it is not unreasonable to assume she would have been the object of his desires.

Furthermore, Shakespeare had strong connections with Clerkenwell. Not only did associates live there, but also, perhaps, relatives. Dr Salkeld has found other Shakespeares, including a Matthew Shakespeare, listed in Clerkenwell's parish records. He said: "The name was not uncommon and they may have been unrelated.

" But one aspect of Matthew's story is intriguing – his marriage to Isabel Peele." Dr Salkeld concludes this suggests a link with the Bard because her dramatist brother George is believed to have collaborated on Titus Andronicus.

The significance of this material has been overlooked until now, Dr Salkeld said: "To my knowledge, no one has spotted this connection before." He added: "Whoever that person was, Shakespeare painted her with the reputation of Luce… This is new evidence." Black Luce was described by contemporaries as "an arrant whore and a bawde', catering for everyone from "ingraunts" (immigrants) to "welthyemen" and the aristocracy.
What I did notice is that that bit was not dealt with at all, only ignored.

So it is that I once again go for the main point, I have to agree not only with most experts, but also with the people that for a living verify if there is any value on pseudoscience and fringe ideas:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/did_sh...about_nothing/
Quote:
Anti-Stratfordians start with the answer they want and work backward to the evidence—the opposite of good science and scholarship. They reverse the standards of objective inquiry, replacing them with pseudoscience and pseudohistory.
Quote:
Their evidence for Oxford as author is as questionable as their belief is impassioned. They discovered, for example, in a 1578 address to Oxford by fellow poet Gabriel Harvey, a tell-tale clue: Harvey says, “Thine eyes flash fire, thy will shakes spears…” [emphasis added]—an unmistakable reference to the Bard! Unfortunately, this is a rogue translation of the Latin, which really just says, “Thine eyes flash fire. Thy countenance shakes a spear” (Keller 2009, 162–64).

One Oxfordian of the 1940s even enlisted the aid of a spiritualist. The medium used “automatic writing” to link Shakespeare, Bacon, and Oxford, who supposedly had collaborated to produce the plays (Wilson 1993, 19–20).

Oxfordians believe the Earl of Oxford adopted “William Shakespeare” as a pen name. That the hyphenated version is used for about half of the quarto editions of the plays led one recent Oxfordian, Charles Ogborn Jr., to write in 2009, “When we come upon a regularly hyphenated English name compounding two words not in themselves names and also descriptive of an action, we may be sure that the name is fictitious and intended to be understood as of allegorical significance.” This is absurd and begs the question, why then was not the hyphenated spelling used for all printed versions of the plays? In fact, creative phonetic spelling was common in Shakespeare’s time, as evidenced, for example, by such different versions as Will, Willm, William, Willelmum, etc., and Shakspere, Shackspere, Shaxpere, Shagspere, Shakespear, Shake-speare, and Shakespeare; likewise, there were eleven different versions of Christopher Marlowe’s surname (Keller 2009, 156–57).
Quote:
How did the Bard acquire the vast learning shown in his writings? Shakespeare’s inherent genius would have been supplemented by a serious education in grammar school (where he would have learned some Latin and Greek) and later residence in London, Britain’s intellectual center, where he obviously read omnivorously. Himself an actor, as well as a shareholder in an acting company and a theater, he befriended many playwrights, poets, scholars, travelers, gentlemen, and others (Keller 2009, 12, 271)—sources of knowledge indeed. (Nevertheless, Shakespeare did not always get things right: for example, he gave Bohemia a seacoast and put clocks in ancient Rome [Evans 1949].)

Oxfordians wonder at the absence of any manuscripts, letters, or diaries in Shakespeare’s handwriting, but there is a general lack of such materials from Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists (Keller 2009, 4). They apparently placed little value on keeping such items, since collecting literary autographs did not become a serious endeavor until the latter part of the eighteenth century (Matus 1991, 70).

To sum up, there really was a Shakespeare, and to believe that someone else wrote the plays and poems bearing his name—that there was in fact a conspiracy to perpetrate an elaborate hoax—is to gratuitously violate the principle of Occam’s razor, the dictum that the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is to be preferred.

But those who have stepped through the looking glass will not be dissuaded. As Schoenbaum (1991, 451) notes, nothing “will erase suspicions fostered over a century by amateurs who have yielded to the dark power of the anti-Stratfordian obsession. One thought perhaps offers a crumb of redeeming comfort: the energy absorbed by the mania might otherwise have gone into politics.”
So, yeah, I think that theory mentioned by you is wrong.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 08-27-2013 at 07:32 PM..
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  #44  
Old 08-27-2013, 07:40 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
Uh, I actually posted this at the other thread . . .

So, yeah, I think that theory mentioned by you is wrong.
Oops, sorry, I overlooked that post.

And...thanks! You responded with facts in detail. That's cool. (One of the things I like most about you!) Thank you for not utilizing snark, sarcasm, and ridicule. That's all I ever asked.
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  #45  
Old 08-27-2013, 07:52 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Trinopus and septimus, you both posted in the Bible Code thread. The Bible Code uses thinking - starting with an answer and working backward to include as evidence anything that possibility can be twisted to point to the answer decided in advance - that is the same as in all conspiracy theories and also is found in every anti-Shakespeare argument.

This is a serious question: why is it sufficient to note the mountains of evidence against the Bible Code and then dismiss further argument in its favor with ridicule but not the exactly parallel case for, say, Oxford?
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:52 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Exapno Mapcase: That's exactly the kind of dismissive response that I wanted to avoid. You don't address the issue in any way whatsoever. You just say, "There is a mountain of evidence against this theory." Okay: show me the mountain.

Or, rather, don't bother, because GIGObuster did.

He answered the question the way it was requested it be answered. Your post, while phrased relatively politely, is just threadshitting.
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  #47  
Old 08-27-2013, 09:32 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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I disagree. Based on your posts, it appears the reason no one addresses Sobran's arguments is because he does not offer any for rebuttal.

Last edited by Inner Stickler; 08-27-2013 at 09:32 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:34 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is offline
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Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Exapno Mapcase: That's exactly the kind of dismissive response that I wanted to avoid. You don't address the issue in any way whatsoever. You just say, "There is a mountain of evidence against this theory." Okay: show me the mountain.

Or, rather, don't bother, because GIGObuster did.

He answered the question the way it was requested it be answered. Your post, while phrased relatively politely, is just threadshitting.
Uh, I think that in this case you did miss post #7, Exapno Mapcase did summarize the reasons why the Oxfordians are not respected and recommended an excellent book on the issue.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 08-27-2013 at 09:34 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Alias Shakespeare by Joe Sobran. It's been a while since I read it, so I'm going by memory.

He argued that William Shakespeare of Stratford didn't have the education to write the plays. Shakespeare wouldn't have read Plutarch, wouldn't have travelled to Italy, wouldn't have known courtly manners and speech, etc. The playwright showed too much knowledge of these matters.
Sobran is wrong. Anybody could have read Plutarch's history.

Here's a nice essay that covers Shakespeare's knowledge of history and Italy.

Shakespeare didn't ever go to Italy, but he didn't know jack about it, either. He set two entire plays in Venice, without ever using the word canal. He also created a city near Venice called "Belmont." WTF?

You know who else set plays in Italy? Everybody. It was the place to set comedies.

Shakespeare didn't know a whole lot about courtly manners, and it shows. Here's an essay about that.

Quote:
More convincing is Sobran's argument regarding the mysterious lover addressed in the Sonnets. He suggested how the sonnets point very directly at De Vere, while having no obvious references to Shakespeare.
It's easy to take a piece of writing, pick a person, and pick out the pieces that are "perfect matches."

Here, we get into qualitative analysis that leaves lots of room for saying whatever you want, and it's hard to disprove anything. I don't know how to convince somebody about writing styles and so forth, myself, so I defer to the experts. Here's a specific essay about Sobran's take on the sonnets, if that helps.

Last edited by bup; 08-27-2013 at 10:02 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:03 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
Uh, I think that in this case you did miss post #7, Exapno Mapcase did summarize the reasons why the Oxfordians are not respected and recommended an excellent book on the issue.
I seem to have missed several posts... I really did set out to read the whole thread, but may have accidentally jumped a page.

Anyway, to be explicit, in the thread about the Bible Code, I offered concrete reasons why it doesn't work. I mentioned my own independent research using equidistant letter code analysis of other texts than the Bible, where I got the same sort of results. I gave reasons.

In the Shakespeare thing, I don't have the experience, the knowledge, or the ability to approach it on my own. I am dependent on other sources. (Just as I am in the global warming issue. You are more persuasive than your adversaries. You give actual cites!) Since I am stuck having to take the word of others, I tend to lean in the direction of those who give the more persuasive reasons.

It was my bad luck to read Joe Sobran's book, because the man was a very persuasive writing. It was, further, my bad luck to read some bad and unpersuasive rebuttals. That's the kind of introduction to a topic that can set one on a very wrong path!

Don't you feel at least a little sympathy for some poor high school kid who stumbles upon Velikovsky in a library somewhere, and reads it, without having the astronomy background to see why it's garbage? Then, if his chemistry teacher says, "Oh, that's all garbage," how effective is that? The kid gets the wrong impression about how science is conducted. "Oh, I guess science is done by name-calling." It can take years for him to come around to the proper comprehension of the nature of scientific debate.

Well, in the Shakespeare affair, I am that poor dumb kid!
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