Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mid Dumber Blight's Spleen - Hate Mail

Oh, it's not even worth a limerick.

I freely admit it was Mark Twain who first converted me to skepticism, who convinced me that that illiterate broker, hard dealer and crook from Stratford didn't write the plays and poems.  It was when I was going trough the exercise of reading all of his works that I found in the local library, that early set of Mark Twain's complete works.   I was into that kind of thing back then, reading all of the Greek plays in that set that Eugene O'Neill was associated with, all of a number of authors.

Anyway, I'm certainly not ashamed to be on the same side of that issue as Mark Twain instead of a guy who worked as a third tier rock critic.   If I hadn't used Frank Zappa's dismissal of that.... "profession" so recently I'd use it right now.   Mark and I share that POV with a long list of people I'd rather agree on something with than Simps and the rest of the guys at B.B. who probably haven't read one of the plays since they went through the Scottish Play in 12th grade (Simps would have read the Cliffs Notes, if that).  Since then it's probably been limited to whatever movie they sat through. Kevin Branagh... the ones who thought Shakespeare in Love was a bio flick.

Not that I've got much to brag about, having not read one since last winter when I went through Timon of Athens again, before that it was Richard II.  .   

Maybe I should go through Coriolanus again.  As some scholars have pointed out these lines from that play,

I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to th’seat o’ th’ brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live

Refer to the circulation of blood, a theory not published by William Harvey until after the Stratford man's death.   There is absolutely no evidence that the broker knew Harvey, he was a friend and scientific colleague of Francis Bacon who lived a number of years after the theory was published.  

That play, like Timon,  wasn't known till the First Folio, published seven years after the death of the broker of Stratford, it is not known to have been performed until the Restoration era.  The events of Timon of Athens are more than slightly suggestive of Bacon's downfall from being Lord Chancellor in 1621.   But I think I've taxed the Duncanian dullard's  attention enough for one night.

Update:  Two Comments


Here's a clue, Sparkles -- the only reason people don't believe Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare is fucking English class bigotry.

Good lord, you're a Tory idiot.
  1. I decided to post this out of the, what is it, a half dozen or more deranged screeds you have in moderation because I can't help but observe that the entire world knows that Mark Twain was a class snob and a "Tory". Not to mention Charlie Chaplin (“I can hardly think it was the Stratford boy. Whoever wrote them had an aristocratic attitude.”), Helen Keller, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance (he's farther to the left than you even know exists)....

    Simps you are a total idiot.

94 comments:

  1. Third tier rock critic? As opposed to a "an arts administrator and a strategic business planner" who KNOWS Shakespeare was an aristocrat because she and her husband grabbed each other at the same moment during a production of 'Hamlet?'

    One can only wonder what Zappa would have thought of that line of reasoning!

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  2. I need more information before I know what you're referring to.

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  3. OK, I found the interview you're referring to. You seem to ignore the research she did for her book demonstrating that of 25 authors living at the same time as the Stratford man, he is the only one with not a single piece of contemporary evidence naming, him specifically as an author or having had an education or, in fact, leaving direct evidence that he was a professional writer. You also don't take into account her rather brilliant paper debunking the claim that the "Hand D" section of the Thomas More play was in his hand and his manuscript.

    As to her having worked in arts administration and business planning, it's rather funny for Stratfordians to hold that against her as the only things we know for sure about your guy is that he invested in a couple of theaters and he was a rather stingy and sharp businessman. She's backed up her scholarship with ample and accurate citation and original research, every step of the way. Your guy's "biography" other than the c. 70 documents about him during his lifetime - none of which demonstrate he was a writer of any kind - is entirely made of conjecture, supposition, baseless theories and fiction.

    You might notice the part of that interview at PBS where she declines to name a candidate for authorship on the basis of her not having done enough research into any of the various candidates to speak responsibly on that topic. Which is far more responsible than much of the scholarly biographizing of the conventional Stratfordians.

    Diana Price has certainly done her work to have drawn so much enmity from the Shakespeare industry.

    Thanks for enough information for me to find that interview, it reaffirms my respect for her.

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    1. Rereading this, this morning, I should point out that though I believe he probably was illiterate, Diana Price makes the best case for assuming the Stratford man's literacy that I've read. Though the total absence of any evidence that he ever owned so much as one book, mentioning no such valuable property in his will where he mentions trifles worth far less, manuscripts, rights to plays, poems, etc. would lead me to believe if he ever did read anything it was business papers. I think his signatures are evidence that even if he were a reader, he certainly wasn't able to use a pen like an experienced writer.

      You should look at what it says about the Thomas More manuscript and the variant handling of the evidence of penmanship practiced to argue that Thomas Dekker wrote "hand E" and the case that the Stratford man wrote "hand D" in that paper I gave a link to. I'd say Diana Price is a far better researcher and scholar than most of those in the conventional Stratfordian industry.

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  4. I ignore it because I don't know any historian who takes it as seriously as she does. Most (read: all) historians I've read don't dismiss posthumous evidence in toto, and as I've caught her being selective in her presentation, my skepticism of her research of the evidence as a whole is vast. I don't mention her Hand D argument because that doesn't interest me. I feel the case for Shakespeare as the writer comes from the hundreds of plays published during his lifetime under his name, Ben Jonson's 'Timber' and an understanding of how Elizabethan playing groups operated. Whoever wrote these plays had intense, personal experience working with the companies. No writer, no matter how intelligent, would write a part like Cleopatra without knowing a boy actor was available and talented enough to perform it.

    You are the one that brought up a Shakespeare defender's profession as a lower grade rock critic. That's just the gander sauce theory in action. Not only that, but your defense of her lack of credentials proves you clearly believe it's possible for someone without the right background to excel in a field. More sauce.

    We have plenty of documents about Shakespeare but I'm afraid using her strident, narrowed standards they aren't worth the paper they're written on. While there is unwarranted extrapolation about Shakespeare's life from any number of scholars, you are transposing their details what-ifs with my simple and declarative statement that Shakespeare is far and away the best candidate for answering the question of "Who Wrote Shakespeare?"

    And I've made no money off of him, so I have nothing to say about an industry.

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    1. You should try reading Ms. Price's article on the standards of academic biography and, especially the strength of contemporaneous documentation as opposed to posthumous documentation. She makes a number of citations in support of her experimental design from academic historians and biographers and other scholars.

      http://shakespeare-authorship.com/Docs/TennesseeLawReview.pdf

      I think her study, demonstrating that the one outlier among 25 named authors during the lifetime of the Stratford man is the most famous, the most accomplished, the most reknowned of them all, the subject of the greatest paper chase in the history of letters looking for something that proves he wrote the plays and poems attributed to him, indeed, for a sample of his handwriting other than the six, variantly spelled, scrawled, I would say drawn signatures which speak more of complete unease with holding a pen for writing, a man who is supposed to have written more than 900,000 of the greatest words ever written by a human being.

      We've had all this out before. The reason the Shakespeare industry hates Diana Price is because her research is so convincing that all of those "biographies" of William Shakespeare are shown for the fiction they are. That is an observation that Mark Twain made more than a century ago. It has been a fact even as the number of such "biographies" proliferate, in academia and out. I think it's fascinating as one of the greatest frauds in the history of modern intellectual culture.

      Um, Simps isn't a "Shakespeare defender" he's a thoroughly conventional and banal and automatic affirmer of convention as practiced in his peer group. As I said, he's so ignorant of the topic and so stupid that he thinks the entirely fictitious Shakespeare in Love is biography when Thomas Stoppard, himself, said it was entirely made up. And he's as predictable and banal in his rock and roll "criticism" as he is in everything else he says. He knows nothing, he's certainly never read anything on the topic. I am sure he saw a few of the plays as available in movie form, I doubt he, like most people who believe in the Bard of Stratford has ever voluntarily read one of his plays or his poems (apart from the top five or so of the Sonnets). I don't recall who it was who noted that the large majority of the Shakespeare tourists who go to Stratford, those who go to the house, the school that he probably never attended as a student, etc. and who buy the kitsch on sale never go to see one of the plays.

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    2. Read it. Not impressed, because, as I mentioned, we are dealing with literally hundreds of copies of plays bearing his name, Ben Jonson mentioning him in his 'Timber' as being a writer, and whoever wrote these plays was in constant, direct contact with the playing company. Those points are what convince me, and only by demonstrating their falsity will I be unconvinced.

      I frankly find her flights of fancy as believable as your modern Stratfordian's let us suppose scribbling. He was a play broker? Does she have direct evidence of this? Of course not, but hey, what if, amiright?

      Per his signature, I've gone over this, and you refuse to acknowledge - Imagine a hand that wrote over 900,000 words with a quill pen. Do you really think it would have the elegance of a modern calligraphy pen used by a 22-year-old? As per spelling, there were no rules of spelling in that time period. Might as well wonder why he doesn't write with a ballpoint.

      I do love that she brings up Shakespeare's family's lack of education as some proof of...something. I hope she never finds out how "educated" Milton's daughters were.

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    3. I would expect someone who wrote 900,000 of the greatest words ever written in the English language to have had a better signature than the Stratford man did. I would expect him to have a consistent spelling of his name, in fact, I'm surprised a businessman who would have had to sign his name to many documents that haven't survived - since he didn't sign with his mark as everyone else in his family who left such a signature did - would have done so consistently if the letters meant anything to him. I would like to know if there are any other prominent or even great authors of his time or earlier who had such an inconsistent signature. The ones I've seen pictures of certainly didn't.

      "Hundreds of copies of plays" is a rather deceptive phrase. There were not "hundreds" of attributions to a "William Shakespeare" or any of the variant spellings or initials who Stratfordians attribute to their guy. Looking now at an online sight, there are fewer than 20 listed on a Stratfordian site. Interestingly, they claim the attributions to a William Shakespeare to the plays and other works which were as certainly printed as being by Shakespeare but which are certainly not by the same man who wrote the plays and poems under discussion. I think, given the few facts about the Stratford man and such suggestive evidence as Ben Jonson's poem about the "poet-ape" about brokers stealing the attribution of works from their authors, that the Stratford man might have dabbled in that kind of thing is persuasive that the businessman might have done that. That Ben Jonson was living with and working with Francis Bacon who was in the process of publishing his life's work for posterity when he write the preface poem, some say most of the other material in the front of the first folio, and was in on deflecting attention from Bacon's authorship - while publishing the plays - is also persuasive. If Bacon had intended to publish those under a different identity - he had been in serious legal jeopardy of having a 40,000 pound fine and an indeterminate sentence in the infamous Tower of London dismissed by King James but his enemies were still powerful and it would have definitely been in his interest to not give them that much ammunition for a new attack - Ben Jonson was one of the better people to mount camouflage of that sort.

      A person who was in the business of stealing attributions, like an author trying to remain anonymous are hardly likely to produce direct evidence that would give them away. Considering the total lack of evidenced claims that comprise almost everything the Stratfordians have claimed as fact - not to mention fat heads who repeatedly claim that stuff like Shakespeare in Love is biography - Diana Price has been a model of responsibility in any suppositions she has raised. I think her work has proven her to be a better and more responsible scholar than even some of the most renowned "biographers" of the Stratford man.

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    4. cont.

      I am trying to remember, did Milton ever create women such as Lady MacBeth, Helen, Portia, Juliette, for crying out loud, who were literate and even learned in the law and medicine? I can't think of any. I did find that the Stratford man letting his daughters and granddaughter grow up illiterate to be an important point against him BASED IN THE DEPICTION OF LITERATE AND BRILLIANT GIRLS AND WOMEN IN THE PLAYS.

      Francis Bacon's mother was a famous scholar who impressed some of the most learned men of her time - she was also fluent in languages, including Italian. He would have grown up being used to thinking women should be able to read and were capable of a level of erudite knowledge that was certainly not common at the time. I wouldn't be surprised if that was one of the things which advanced his career under Elizabeth who, for other reasons, didn't seem to trust him with the highest offices he tried for. I wouldn't be surprised if she knew he wrote plays, some of them with subversive ideas in them. His role around the Essex rebellion and the timing and publication history of some of the relevant texts is certainly suggestive.

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    5. Please note I wrote, "hundreds of copies of plays bearing his name." There were numerous editions of his plays printed during his lifetime with his name on it, and as per the ones he didn't write, is it impossible to imagine an unscrupulous publisher attaching the name of a popular playwright in hopes of increasing sales?

      An ounce of proof weighs more than a ton of speculation, and Jonson's testimony in 'Timber' is direct, names names and praises William Shakespeare as a writer. The "Poet Ape" is nameless and could be ANY number of people. That he worked with Bacon is as bass ackwards as reasoning gets because you have provided no proof that Bacon actually wrote 'Macbeth,' 'The Merchant of Venice' or any of the other plays. At a time when the Queen was the leader of the country, I don't find it odd that Shakespeare would try to write strong female characters if purely for pragmatic reasons despite his feelings. Randy Newman, I think it was on '60 Minutes,' once commented that while he doesn't believe in anything, if they pay him enough, he'll write a song about it. The history of art is full of craftsmen who work contrary to their opinions if the check has enough zeros on it.

      Again, and please, stay on the tracks here, I am not advocating 'Shakespeare In Love' as a documentary. I don't adhere to Greenblatt's esoteric and special reading of the Shakespeare. I am more than convinced by the aforementioned points that he wrote the plays and we know little about the man himself and what made him tick. I'm fine with that. If you want to make a convincing case, present evidence either, not speculation. Ask yourself why, at a time when virtually all plays published during the era were done without an author's name, a writer would go out of his way to bring attention by not only including one and, here's the kicker, using the name of an active member of the theater community! Mark Twain was a pen name, not the name of an editor at Chatto & Windus. Makes no sense. There are any number of "hidden" secrets about prominent men of the era that they clearly wished to stay out of public whispers, but none about Bacon being a writer of Shakespeare's plays. I guess that would have been out of line, not like calling him a pederast.

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    6. There aren't "numerous editions" during his lifetime and there is no evidence that the variantly spelled attributions were referring to the Stratford man. I haven't checked to see if any of the various ways he wrote his name are matched with the spellings on those printed editions - as I recall even some of those sited are even more ambiguous, initials, etc -

      I wish I could recall where I read that someone noted that Greenblatt misrepresented the spurious attribution in Green's Groats-worth of Wit turning "Shake-scene," into "Shakespeare" by removing the hyphen. It's an attribution that is made uniformly by Statfordians but it's certainly not a very convincing one except by that tradition.

      You're not the one who I'm teasing about "Shakespeare in Love" that is Steve Simels who made that ridiculous claim and who has continued to make it even after I pointed out that the author said it was totally fictitious.

      Mark Twain was the pen name of a man who was known to be Samuel Clemens, he wrote about how he came up with the name, he was known and frequently cited during his lifetime in print, in writing and his person as being the author of the works he wrote. It was no secret during his lifetime, there are hundreds, probably thousands of pieces of direct evidence -- more if you count manuscripts in his confirmed hand that constitute the paper trail that confirms Mark Twain was Samuel Clemens' pseudonym, including contracts, payments, etc. As I've noted, even for an author of his time, Shaksper of Stratford is the one outlier of the 25 so tested by Diana Price who had not a single piece of such evidence.

      You would have to look no farther than the frequent complaints of authors, Ben Jonson, others about people who stole other author's work and put their name to it. I don't necessarily make more of a claim for Diana Prices' proposed explanation that for some time William Shaksper operated as a play broker, especially for people who didn't want their names associated with plays and poems which were published but it makes a lot more sense than most of what the Stratfordian claims are based in.

      There is no evidence that any of the Shakspers of Stratford valued literacy - certainly not letters - or that any of them had any inclination to think that girls - or boys for that matter - should be educated. In that, despite him being a rich man, there is every evidence that the Stratford man didn't value education, at all. He lived within view of the grammar school he's alleged to have gotten his entire education from, he would have seen the school boys going there every day, you would think someone who clearly valued education as much as the author of the plays did, for both genders, that he would have left his old school at least something in his will, but he didn't even leave enough gold to make a ring to remember him by, as he did to people who were rather remotely connected to him.

      Bacon was smart, he was deeply involved in politics and had powerful enemies who, in his last four years, almost succeeded in totally destroying him, they succeeded in losing him the Lord Chancellorship, many of the plays are explicitly political, there was every reason for one of the smartest men alive in England at the time to hide his authorship. It is possible that John Marston and Joseph Hall were referring to Bacon in a cryptic attribution of Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece in a satyrical poem. The argument is that their attribution of the works to "Labeo" was a reference to Bacon's eminence in the law, as Labeo was in Rome. That has been denied by Stratfordians and they might be right about that. But one thing is plain as hell, it fits a lot less well with William Shaksper who had no legal career.

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    7. You're missing the point about Mark Twain. It was a pen name because it was a made up moniker. "William Shakespeare" or however you want to spell it (again, no rules of spelling - you could spell it Shakspere or Shaxpere or Shakspre and no one would think twice) was a real person. It's one thing to use a pen name, it's another to use a pen name at a time when anonymous publications were the norm, it's quite another to attach said name to real person who worked within the theatrical community. That's where this front business loses me absent any direct evidence. Again, was he a play broker? I have yet to see direct evidence. Only decoder ring suggestions that might as well be insisting he loved his Ovaltine.

      No evidence he "valued literacy?" Um, no, we don't have his inventory, so we don't know if he owned books or who he willed them to. Again, I really think you're imagining Shakespeare as a modern man and playwright, and not a 16th century Stratford boy made good and rich on his prodigious talent. This idea of artists as noble souls suffering for their work and socially ahead of their time is a myth that needs to be made boneyard dead. I don't know who Shakespeare was as a person. I don't know what he valued or hoped for. What he wanted for his daughters or his wife. I don't know. We don't know. But you seem insistent that only a noble, gentle, sweet-natured visionary of justice for all could have written those works. Granted, there have been plenty of stupid speculative books written by special scholars with their own interpretive powers, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm asking: Are there any documents linking his as a play broker, even for the non-political or non-canonical plays? If not, then you've less than the Stratfordians do.

      "That he would have left his old school at least something in his will." Really, so who's going in on the unwarranted supposing now? You have no idea what he felt about the grammar school if he went there. This is the point, there is SO much about his life we don't know. Even if he gave them money, what would that prove, exactly? Nothing. Because lots of children went there but none wrote his corpus.

      Bacon might have been intelligent, but he wasn't psychic, and there's no way in God's green earth that he was able to write for playing companies without spending a large amount of time at rehearsals, performances, writing sessions, etc. That's like insisting Einstein could have drilled a cavity by only glancing at a dental book because he was so intelligent.

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    8. Inventory? You have his frickin' will, for Pete's sake, it is one of the few things we know he endorsed with his signature. No books which the guy who wrote the plays must have had in the score, if not hundreds which were extremely expensive and valuable, no mention of plays - many of which must have existed only in manuscript, many of which were not even yet produced, another valuable asset, no poems. No rights to any literary product of any kind. No one else but the author would have had the ownership of them. I can't for the life of me believe that the author of the unpublished plays didn't value them as probably his most valuable assets. It wasn't the real dogs, it was some of the greatest of the works. Unplubished at the time of his death were more than half the plays we have, today.

      All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, 1 Henry VI, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, King John, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Winter’s Tale.

      Coriolanus, Julius Ceasar, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, for crying out loud, the Tempest, among the greatest of his works. And those slipped his mind as he itemized such things as:

      his sword and other trinkets a few shillings and pence so a few people could hae "memorial rings" made. Well, that didn't work out so well as no one in his town or in the literary world so much as mentioned William Shaksper, supposedly the greatest author in European literature, even Richard Burbage, the actor, got written memorials, people went into mourning for him. Other writers, even some of them very, very minor ones got memorial poems and texts written on their deaths, only the Stratford man had to leave money to even the people who knew him to get them to remember him by wearing a reminder on their finter.

      No, it doesn't add up.

      You obviously don't know much about Francis Bacon, among the many literary records left about him during his life are those that show he took an active part in theatrical productions, did research, among other things, for a play about Henry VIII - there is a record of him borrowing official records from the Court of King James for research on it - he wrote an essay on theatrical production, down to the details of which colors were most effective under the ambient light.

      My point about him leaving nothing to his school, as well as no books, no manuscripts, no plays, no literate children or grandchild, was all part and parcel of him leaving no evidence that he valued education any more than the rest of his family did. Other than those six drawn signatures of his, one somewhat better but still far from fluent signature believed to be that of his favored daughter Judith (whose husband is the only known literate person among his relations but who never mentioned his father-in-law as an illustrious author) no one else in the Shaksper family seems to have been able to more than make their mark as a signature with the help of a scribe.

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    9. cont. The theory of him having been a play broker is presented as a theory without any direct evidence that he was one. It is certainly as founded as any other supposition made by the Shakespeare industry about the Stratford man and it has the virtue of not being pretended to be certain knowledge or, for crying out loud "biography". If you're going to reject that on the basis of there being no direct evidence, it only demonstrates that you pick and choose which of the stories to believe, including the biggest of them all, that a man who left no literary paper trail during his lifetime, the Stratford man, who left no evidence that he was aware he had written the works, even the ones which were published as by "William Shakespeare" along with anyone else who can be definitely shown to have known him who seemed to have never mentioned that fact about the broker and trader and money-lender. Other than the few documents that he did generate in his lifetime, everything else that is said about him, from his schooling, to how he got a knowledge of the law, medicine, languages, court gossip in places he'd never been, Italian and continental geography,.... the whole list of things he'd have had to know to write the plays. Everything said about that, in his case, is as evidenced as the theory that the Stratford man had dabbled as a play broker before he went to become rich by trading in Stratford.

      Those things included in the plays include that clear passage presenting Harvey's theory of the circulation of the blood which was not published until after the Stratford man's death. He's the one who would have had to be psychic to have written those lines as well as many other of the lines in just about every one of the plays.

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    10. In English probate law during the time period, all wills had to be included with an inventory. Had to. Most wills of the time do not mention books. So to say having the will should indicate the books he had is misleading.

      "No one else but the author would have had the ownership of them." Not true. Not true at all. When a playwright of the era sold his work to a playing company to perform, he sold the play in the way Antonio Stradivari would sell an instrument. He didn't have rights to it later, even if he built the damn thing. Copyright laws and residual payments weren't even a fantasy for artists of the time. This is what I mean when I say you're thinking of Shakespeare in modern terms. He lived before the gas lamp, when fairies still lived in England.

      Solomon Linda, ever heard of him? He was an African singer who was paid a British pound to record a song for an ethnomusicologist. During the third chorus of a song called "Mbube," he improvised a melody which I promise you you've heard, as it has been used in hit songs ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight") and Disney films ('The Lion King'). For that, he received...the one pound he was paid to record it. He had no idea about things like publishing rights. And this was IN YOUR LIFETIME! Just imagine what the laws were four hundred years ago for artists and their creations!

      "Supposedly the greatest author in European literature." At the time he died he was a writer of popular plays, and to put that in context, when Jonson published a collection of his plays under the title 'Works,' he was openly mocked for being pretentious and offering, at the time, such a heavy moniker to something so trivial. Thinking it would be fashionable to compare a popular playwright to writers like Edmund Spenser and Isaac Casaubon is something only a modern man would attempt.

      "The many literary records left about him during his life are those that show he took an active part in theatrical productions." Really, he was a constant presence with the Lord Chamberlain's Men? He was at rehearsals and worked with the actors? Again, his intelligence of theatrical productions has nothing to do with the stuff of production of THOSE PARTICULAR PLAYS. The idea of him dropping in to see the available players then wandering off to his study to write for them is, once again, thinking of playwrighting in modern terms. Whoever wrote the plays had to be actively involved with the company to determine who could play the parts, rewriting during rehearsals, and, for the boys in the company, how much they could handle.

      "husband is the only known literate person among his relations but who never mentioned his father-in-law as an illustrious author." Did he mention him as a play broker?

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    11. Starting with the last first. I didn't theorize that his son-in-law, John Hall would have necessarily known his father-in-law to have been a broker who, among other things, may have stolen the attribution of works for himself. If he'd done that do you think someone would mention his wife's father had done that? Who knows. What we can know is what he did write in his notebook which has been published. If his father in law had been a play broker is he likely to have mentioned it in his journal? He mentions other authors among his patients and neighbors, none of whom were as eminent as the author of the plays and poems. You would think that he would have mentioned him if he'd known him to be an eminent author as he was married to his daughter and he lived in his house.

      Next up, there is evidence of Francis Bacon actually being involved in more than merely investing in a theatrical company, the sum total of what is known of the Stratford man's involvement, if I remember correctly. I went back and reread his short essay which is oddly out of place in the collection of his essays which deal with, mostly, weighty moral, ethical and intellectual matters and then smack in the midst of that, a piece about how to most effectively put on theatrical entertainments. Bacon, himself, started it by noting that its presence in the collection would seem out of place. In the midst of essays on morals and intellectual problems to suddenly talk about which colors were most effective in theatrical presentations given under candle light, " white, carnation a sea green color" that elaborate embroidery on costumes wouldn't show up so they were superfluous, that lower voices were more appropriate to serious drama, that interludes with clowns should be short because they were a distraction - interestingly for someone who very likely was involved in the procession of tableau that is Henry VIII he went into considerable detail about how to present such stuff. I think he took drama very seriously and so couldn't resist including it in his essays but also didn't want to be seen as taking it TOO seriously.

      I wouldn't be surprised if a guy who wrote that essay hadn't been more than just a mere spectator of dramas but had some experience with the theater. They didn't have any TV, radio or internet to take up their time. It's not as if he'd have had to have been continually involved with it to have had some ideas about how it was done. I had limited experience of it in college - enough to know it wasn't for me - and I've got some idea of how you put on a play. Clearly, Bacon knew quite a bit about it.

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    12. cont.

      "If you're going to reject that on the basis of there being no direct evidence, it only demonstrates that you pick and choose which of the stories to believe"

      There are copies of Shakespeare's plays, published during his lifetime, that list him as the author. Writers like Francis Meres and John Davies mention him as an author during his lifetime. There is the First Folio, and of course, Ben Jonson's thoughts on the man: "Remember the players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, 'Would he had blotted a thousand,' which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity this but for their ignorance who chose that circumstance to commend their friend by wherein he most faulted; and to justify mine own candour, for I loved the man, and do honour his memory on this side idolatry as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped." Yes, he wrote about a "Poet Ape," but that could be ANY number of people. You're arguing that when he mentions someone directly, as in his selection from 'Timber,' he doesn't really mean it's about Shakespeare. But in 'Poet Ape,' well, he's clearly talking about Will from Stratford. Just like his "To My Beloved..." was also clearly not meant to be about Shakespeare.

      "The whole list of things he'd have had to know to write the plays." But why assume these things would survive? Again, you're looking at this from a 21st century perspective, when an author's snotcrusted tissues are relics to be savored. As a librarian, I had to take a class in archiving, and when you consider how much documentation has been lost to time and the elements, I mean, if it all magically appeared tomorrow, I don't think we'd have enough space on earth to store it! (That's hyperbole by the way).

      "He's the one who would have had to be psychic to have written those lines as well as many other of the lines in just about every one of the plays."

      Just because it was written down doesn't mean it was unspoken. Again again again, it really comes across like you believe we have every thing written and said (and when it was written/said) during the era. It's an incomplete picture, and that's being generous. But based on direct evidence, I see no other proof positive that anyone but this chap named Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him.

      As per the how, well, how did a musician like Louis Armstrong achieve what he did without musical training at Julliard? Or Srinivasa Ramanujan make his contributions with so little training in mathematics? How did Quentin Tarantino become such a critically praised and respected filmmaker without ever attending film school?

      The arts and sciences have plenty autodidacts who lacked the formal education you seem insistent Shakespeare needed and we need proof of. He could have talked to people and made notes for himself that he never thought to keep for posterity. He could have read and remembered books from neighbors, associates or anyone impressed with his gift for language. This isn't an impossible task. Does that sound unreasonable compared to your theory that Bacon managed to write everything he put his name to and then be a constant presence at the Lord Chamberlain's Men's rehearsals without anyone ever noticing or mentioning it?

      To quote Garry Wills, a trained classicist, "Those who doubt that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare are working, usually, from a false and modern premise. They are thinking of the modern playwright" ('Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of the Theater'). The book is very good.

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    13. If you're going to, as a Stratfordian, make hay out of the posthumous tributes payed to the Stratford man, those which began oddly enough, seven years after no one mentioned anything about him in the First Folio, you can't claim that people didn't recognize the greatness of the work. You can't have that both ways. I am sure the author of those works knew their worth, he couldn't have not known it and have written them. Even authors of dreck hold their work in some regard, often way more than other people will ever see in it. If nothing else, he would have known that plays like Twelfth Night, Anthony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and Julius Cesar would have had potential monetary value. That he didn't assign ownership rights to works like those, especially those which were not performed or published before his death, is most likely an indication that he either knew them (unlikely unless he was the author) and knew he didn't have a right to them or he was never the writer of them and didn't know they existed. There is simply no explanation as to why those would have gone unmentioned.

      The fact is not a single book which was owned by the Stratford man has ever been found (though there is one which has an almost certain forgery of his name put in it). That was, as I recall, one of the first facts about the Stratfordian claims that gave rise to skepticism when someone went looking for information about him. It is unlikely in the extreme that something wouldn't be known about books owned by a man who began to be regarded as the finest writer in the English language within a decade of his death if any such books ever belonged to him. Those two facts together with his leaving absolutely no record of an education or a literary paper trail - after the most intense search for it in the history of letters - makes it almost certain that the man was not the author he's supposed to be.

      I do have to admit that, at this point, my primary interest in this is as an example of how, even in our allegedly quasi-scientific, evidence-only, academic world that you can sustain claims which have at best the weakest of indirect evidence based mostly on authoritative claims, rank speculation and far ranker fabulizing with a number of financial motives attached.

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    14. If what I said about there being no books in his will is considered no evidence based on an inventory being absent is invalid, how much less valid is the belief he had books based, as well, on there being no record of him having had one. My case also rests on the fact that no one has ever found a book he owned, so no inventory or will mentioning bequests of books, no evidence of any books he had and no evidence that anyone ever accused the Stratford man of being a great reader and scholar (as the author would have had to have been). I'll just mention the quality of the signatures, again, in passing. After a while the circumstantial evidence piles up and makes a convincing argument that the reason there is no evidence of books is because the man didn't have them.

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    15. "As per the how, well, how did a musician like Louis Armstrong achieve what he did without musical training at Julliard? Or Srinivasa Ramanujan make his contributions with so little training in mathematics? How did Quentin Tarantino become such a critically praised and respected filmmaker without ever attending film school?"

      The one I know the most about, Louis Armstrong had a known education, his earliest introduction to playing cornet is known, his early years learning music are known, as his musical career as a player and improviser is lavishly documented, there is no question he did what he did, there is no question that he had a musical apprenticeship of exactly the kind the Stratford man didn't have in the law or any of the other things attributed to him in fable.

      You might have better chosen Bix Beiderbecke who, though he was a phenomenal improviser and composer, never learned to read music, something which prevented him from doing many things, some think the frustrations of that as part of the Paul Whiteman band led to his drinking getting more out of hand. While he was able to work in his own, small groups and groups such as the one led by his devoted friend and colleague, Frankie Traumbauer, without major difficulties, when he was in a larger group which used formal, written arrangements, he ran into a roadblock he couldn't get over. When the great pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams wanted to become an arranger, she taught herself how to read music and became one of the great arrangers of her day. She did, though, say that she thought jazz was best learned without recourse to books and scores, relying on learning to listen and the kind of ear-training you get that way.

      Looking up Tariantino, I note that he is known to have had schooling and, after he dropped out, that he attended an acting school. He wrote plays and screen plays - so already far more documentation as to how he learned how to do what he did than for the Stratford man. It goes into how he began small and quickly worked his way up. I've only seen part of one of his movies which I thoroughly disliked and had no interest in seeing more of it. I'm not big on the movies at their best.

      Srinivasa Ramanujan, as well, is known to have gone to school, at his father's insistence. Mathematics was definitely known to have been part of the curriculum of the schools he went to, though he quickly outpaced the knowledge of his teachers. He was also, apparently, tutored or at least exposed to mathematics and books about math by college students who roomed with his family. He is known to have studied mathematical textbooks and was noted as a master mathematician all through his education.

      I will note that in all of those cases, the people you mentioned are known and documented to have had educations that would have given them the knowledge to begin to do what they are known to have done, they are known to have had lives and documented careers in their fields that explain that they were the ones who produced what they did. They produced and left documentation of their careers IN EXACTLY THE WAY THE STRATFORD MAN DID NOT LEAVE ANY LITERARY PAPER TRAIL THAT PROVED HE WAS A WRITER.

      None of your proposed parallels of unexplained genius works, though no one can explain genius, you do have to account for how they obtained the knowledge exhibited in the results of genius being available to the one who produced the work if that work is the only available evidence of their genius.

      If you wanted to attribute a great play with accurate information about a country, languages, ways of life, philosophical content or other things which couldn't be reliably attributed to any of them, without any evidence tha they produced it, you would have to account for how they learned that or could have learned that. If you wanted to claim that Ramanujan composed "In a Mist" instead of Beiderbecke you would have to show he could have done so on the basis of what he knew.

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  5. Here's a clue, Sparkles -- the only reason people don't believe Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare is fucking English class bigotry.

    Good lord, you're a Tory idiot.

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    1. I decided to post this out of the, what is it, a half dozen or more deranged screeds you have in moderation because I can't help but observe that the entire world knows that Mark Twain was a class snob and a "Tory". Not to mention Charlie Chaplin (“I can hardly think it was the Stratford boy. Whoever wrote them had an aristocratic attitude.”), Helen Keller, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance (he's farther to the left than you even know exists)....

      Simps you are a total idiot.

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    2. While not all anti-Stratfordians are elitist snobs, there is a vital, prominent component to the movement that is made up of just those types. Looney's Oxfordian theory is hinged on that. And as that's the candidate a la mode, it's not an entirely irrelevant point, though it is a genetic fallacy.

      Either way, I'm waiting for the proof positive that Oxford or Bacon or Marlowe or Spenser or Chaucer or whomever wrote the plays. I imagine I'll be waiting a long time.

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    3. The fact that whoever wrote the plays had to have had an extremely impressive education of the type which was almost exclusively available at the time to the rich, had to have had an intimate knowledge of topics such as the law which was also largely the provenance of the rich, an intimate knowledge of not only the British royal court but also, for example, those of France and Navarre, an intimate knowledge of locations in Italy or, at least have access to written descriptions of them - things which would have at least hinted of someone who is known to have traveled, .... that all of those indicate that in Elizabethan and Jacobean England the person who wrote the plays had to have been wealthy and almost certainly part of the ruling class is not a matter of snobbery, it's a matter of historical and literary reality. It's in no way a matter of snobbery or approval of class distinction, privileges or assumptions of superiority to point out the necessity of the author having had the opportunities to learn what he would have had to to write the plays than it would be to indicate that someone who wrote convincingly of anyone who wrote on science to have had a science education.

      Like it or not, Tudor England was the birth place of one of the most rigid class systems in Western Europe or, in fact, anywhere. Elizabeth instituted the first of the horrific poor laws, the effects of which are still rampant in Britain today and which have infected the United States.

      I do find some of the details of the author having have had knowledge of subjects and times unavailable to the Stratford man, due to either a near certain impossibility of him having access or having been inconveniently dead convincing, such as that passage from Coriolanus which distinctly refers to Harvey's theory of blood circulation which had not been published by the time of the Stratford man's death. I would not be surprised if - in addition to all his other notable accomplishments - if Harvey had not shared information of that with his friend and one of the foremost intellectuals of his day, Francis Bacon. The Encyclopedia Britannica says:

      "Harvey built a considerable [medical] practice in this period, tending to many important men, including author and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon.:

      It would have been natural for him to have discussed or asked prominent people with an interest in natural philosophy, Francis Bacon's knowledge of what we would call medical science is noteworthy enough that people have written academic papers about it, recently.

      It is doubtful that the Stratford man knew Harvey or was someone he would have shared such information with. There is no evidence as to that which I've ever seen. No one who is surely known to have known him mentioned him having an interest in or knowledge of medicine, not even his own son-in-law, the only relation of the Stratford man who is known to have been literate, a doctor who left writing in which he talked about writers of his acquaintance, but not his father-in-law who, according to the Stratfordians, was the greatest of them all.

      I've yet to encounter anything about a Chaucerian theory of authorship. I think they would find explaining the anachronisms, including the plays about kings who hadn't been born yet kind of a hurdle.

      Other than saying I found Bacon a convincing candidate to be the author based on his known depth of knowledge or exposure to information and having had one of the most prominent of literary careers of his time, publishing under his name in those forms in which he could do so without social coasts, I haven't ever said, definitely, that he was the author. I haven't read much about the Oxfordians or Marolowvians theories. This isn't a question that consumes a lot of my time, I just have read most of the works and a few books and I have a fairly good memory for detail. I wouldn't comment on anything I haven't had exposure to, though. That would be ridiculous.

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    4. Thinking about this a bit more, where in the text of the plays do you find someone like your proposed author, a boy from an illiterate family who gained an education and became a great figure in letters and an intimate of people of that class? It would seem to me that the author of the plays certainly recognized that to populate his plays with geniuses of the lower economic class would not be credible, if doing such a thing even occurred to him. If the kind of life the Stratford man would have had to have for him to have written the plays - the conjecture of his conventional "biographies" - then such a character would be expected to show up somewhere in the plays, I'd think.

      Perhaps the Stratford man, if he wrote the plays, was a social-climbing snob of the kind you guys accuse the skeptics of being. Such wisdom as he puts in the mouths of the lower classes is either absurd or it is clownish. His fools are wiser than the commoners.

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    5. Also having read these comments over, I really shouldn't write about things like this so early in the morning. "Having have had"...

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  6. OK, you're dodging the point about Bacon like Neo in 'The Matrix.' It doesn't matter how intelligent, or how many plays he saw, or how well-versed and opinioned he was in theatrical productions - whoever wrote the plays had to be an active member of the playing company. Sitting in on rehearsals to hear how the words sounded when spoken. Making corrections and edits during the process. If there were young, inexperienced boy actors, to be trained and determine if they could handle bigger workloads. Not only do we have zero evidence Bacon was an active hanger-on of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, but the idea that he could spend that much time with them and NO ONE notice is just absurd. The kind of absurdity Lewis Carroll wouldn't include in his books because
    the White Queen wouldn't believe that. Even after dinner.

    You are also dodging the lack of documentation for your thesis and insisting it's negative proof of something more significant. If there is no evidence Shakespeare had books, clearly it means he didn't have any. If there is no proof Francis Bacon wrote 'Hamlet,' 'The Tempest' or 'Romeo and Juliet,' well, that's because he destroyed it all and everyone, even his enemies, didn't mention it because accusing him of writing plays like that is just beyond the pale.

    Now who wants to have it both ways?

    And, ironically, I don't! That plenty of writers appreciated and honored Shakespeare doesn't mean it was a fashionable or popular opinion amongst the intelligentsia. I heard a great summation of this logic from a very pro Shakespeare scholar, who offered, "In order to understand Shakespeare in his time, we have to shrink him from the giant he's become to the man he was." He was a man, very much of his place and time. Things moved slower then. The British Empire was stretching itself the world over. To expect them to have the same vision, priorities and adherence to relics (in a country that exiled Catholicism, this shouldn't be surprising) as us moderns bends the twig. And thus grows the tree.

    Again, I'd be easily moved from my position if I saw direct evidence that proved someone else wrote it that doesn't begin every claim with "Let us imagine..." Right now, I have Ben Jonson's words telling me he wrote them. I believe Ben Jonson, as he knew the man. I don't believe Diana Price, who thinks she has special powers to determine when the author of the play is speaking through his characters and when he isn't.

    It's the same reason I don't like Greenblatt's flights of fancy. It'd be wholly inconsistent and unfair to not hold her to the same standard.

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    1. "whoever wrote the plays had to be an active member of the playing company"

      I don't think that follows from having written plays. August Wilson, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Anton Chekhov, August Strindberg, George Bernard Shaw,... I would say that NOT being an actor or, in many cases, even a director on a regular basis is more characteristic of playwrights who attain a higher status as an author of plays.

      The absurdities of the Shakespeare that the Stratfordians have mounted is that there is absolutely nothing associating the Stratford man with the plays - not even the name Shake-Spear (in its variant spellings, which was not only clearly used as a pseudonym during his lifetime but before even the Stratfordians would dare claim he'd written anything) and there is absolutely nothing in either the written record or in physical artifacts that connect him to having a career as a writer. Including no mention of anything ever written by anyone who definitely knew the man that identifies him as such, not even in the one member of his family who is known to have been literate, his son-in-law, who noted writers among his acquaintances. There is no evidence that anyone in Stratford knew he was a writer except the ridiculously and obviously altered monument in the church at Stratford which has him wearing the styles of clothes and hair which didn't come into fashion until decades after the Stratford man's death, obviously replacing the monument's appearance as a wool merchant documented by the two earliest sources on it. Stratfordians will insist that those documentations of the bust which Ben Jonson seems to be talking about has to have looked pretty much like it does today, holding a quill and paper, when the far less ambiguous earliest depictions of it show a wool merchant. The poem in the front of the First Folio is deeply ambiguous, even some Stratfordians have admitted it is cryptic in places. A poet is cryptic when they are playing a game, indicating a meaning at variance with a superficial reading of the text. Jonson's work is full of that kind of thing as well as deep sarcasm.

      I haven't paid that much attention to the research on the actual grave in the church or the monument or the extremely weird text partly in Latin, partly in English at the church, which, Stratfordians claim compared their guy to Pylus, Socrates and Maro until I listened to a talk given on it by Alexander Waugh who pointed out that they uniformly mistranslate the text in which the names don't appear in the ablative, but in the accusative case, making it mean not that the guy allegedly buried there was like any of them but something else.

      I know enough Latin to know that's true, it doesn't say he was "A Pylian in judgement, a Socrates in genius, a Maro in art" at all.

      Waugh convincingly says that it's a cryptic message saying the real author was buried in Poets Corner at Westminster, showing that without the grammatical error the Stratfordians depend on, those refer to Chaucer, Spenser and Beaumont and that a literary person who read it (who would have certainly known Latin) would likely have made that connection. On top of that, if his description of the tomb of the Stratford man is accurate, it's doubtful that anyone is buried there.

      It's not just Greenblatt who has flights of fancy, Stanley Wells.... really the entire literature of orthodox Stratfordian biography is guilty of complete invention of everything to do with his his education, his entire childhood, and everything else that doesn't stick to the documentary record to create, not one "William Shakespeare" but about as many as there are "biographies" of him. It is absurd, it is entirely in violation of every single norm and value of honest, modern biography and of modern, especially academic, literary criticism.

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    2. Your picking on Diana Price's description during an interview of her and her husband's experience while watching two plays informed by her extensive research to dismiss the exhaustively researched and documented study she made that found that of 25 authors of the Stratford man's time, everyone from the most famous to, as she put it, the third-string of authors (I've read The Shoemaker's Holiday, I'd put Thomas Dekker a bit lower than that) and of all of those your guy, William Shaksper, is the only one to have not left a single one of the many categories of literary papers or, in fact, any direct evidence that he was ever a professional writer, which is dishonest. I would bet that every single one of the most conventional Stratfordians have made similar comments about similar experiences they had while watching or reading the works. To think that an author doesn't speak through their characters is ridiculous. Of course authors speak through what they write, even when they put the words in the mouths of characters they've created. That's why it's so stupid to, as so many do, mistake even historical characters in theater, movies, TV shows, novels, for the actual people depicted. Not a single word that comes out of the character Julius Cesar in the play was said by the Roman general and politician, not a single word that comes out the mouths of any of the characters representing real life kings and queens, bishops, cardinals, courtiers, in the plays came out of anything but the mind of the author, in the context he chose to put it in.

      Of course any close scholar of the works will recognize a personal POV in the texts, that happens with entirely unknown authors - as in this case - as with authors who have an accurate, literary, sometimes philosophical biography. I would say that the texts themselves talk about that as in Hamlet's advice to the players. To hold that up as an honest reason to ignore the scholarship of Diana Price is dishonest. I strongly suspect that if people are still around to have ideas about the authorship of the works, her research will still be being studied and cited well after the clap trap coming out of the Shakespeare Trust and conventional academic scribblers is read, if at all, as examples of what not to do.

      In her scholarly study her standards are far higher and far more consistent with the agreed to rules of how to avoid bias and distortion than that practiced by the conventional academic bardolators. To judge her scholarship by what she said in an interview is dishonest and looks a little desperate.

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    3. Thinking more about your claim that the author of the plays would have had to be an active member of an acting company, I'm not aware that the two unquestioned playwrights of the period next in eminence to the author in question, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson had careers as actors. After them the playwrights pretty much fall off rather drastically in lasting reputation or in what's known about them. I wonder what percentage of those who show up as playwrights in Henslowe's records are known to have been active as actors. I have looked a bit at Thomas Middleton the probable author of The Yorkshire Tragedy (attributed to William Shake-speare in its first publication) who is believed to have written some of Timon of Athens (it's an uneven play) and don't remember reading anywhere that he was an actor. Looking quickly at some online sources - for what they're worth - it doesn't appear that Thomas Dekker, Thomas Nashe, among those who were popular at the time but are now obscure, worked as members of an acting company, either. Do you know if the research that would back up the claim that the author of the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare HAD TO HAVE BEEN a working actor has been done? I think that's probably a baseless and self-serving Stratfordian claim.

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  7. “I don't think that follows from having written plays. August Wilson, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Anton Chekhov, August Strindberg, George Bernard Shaw,... I would say that NOT being an actor or, in many cases, even a director on a regular basis is more characteristic of playwrights who attain a higher status as an author of plays.”

    I didn’t say he had to be an actor, I said he had to play an active role in the company’s productions. He couldn’t just be hanging out at the pub, scribbling lines and hoping the actors made them work. He had to be involved, and in that era, that meant being there.

    You’re once again comparing Shakespeare to modern writers, which is what I’m talking about regarding history. You are thinking of that time and place as being like ours, with the same practices and methods for putting on a play. My professor in college, after his introductory lecture, spent the remainder of the week educating us on how Elizabethan playing companies operated. The playwright found a company, pitched an idea, and if it was accepted, wrote the play and was paid not only for writing but ownership of it. The company did not then hold auditions for the various parts from a pool of actors who worked as waiters in their spare time. On the contrary, the writer was expected to utilize the talent within the company, and the company’s actors were expected to perform multiple roles. Proposing an idea like Bacon writing a role like Rosalind without being there to make sure the boy playing her could handle that many lines would get you laughed out of a lecture hall. Why do you think women only take up 13% of the Shakespeare’s text? Because the young boys playing their parts were not as experienced or mature as their older colleagues.

    “The poem in the front of the First Folio is deeply ambiguous, even some Stratfordians have admitted it is cryptic in places. A poet is cryptic when they are playing a game, indicating a meaning at variance with a superficial reading of the text. Jonson's work is full of that kind of thing as well as deep sarcasm.”

    “Even some?” OK, who are they? Are they the majority, a small minority, or just a scattered handful amongst hundreds? And ‘Timber’ is not the least bit cryptic, and paired together, it seems quite clear Jonson admired Shakespeare, and believed him, “not of an age, but for all time!”

    Don’t forget, if “even some” is your standard, then “even some” scholars with actual credentials take “Hand D” to likely be Shakespeare’s writing. But does that prove anything? It’s important to give a sharply nebulous term like “some” a hard value to work with. I have yet to read a Stratfordian who argued Jonson didn’t mean what he wrote.

    “William Shaksper, is the only one to have not left a single one of the many categories of literary papers or, in fact, any direct evidence that he was ever a professional writer, which is dishonest.”

    …using Price’s standards of investigation, which is not representative of the way literary historians operate anymore than literal creationists use the techniques of the hard sciences. Look, I get that you dig her and think her a remarkable iconoclast, but there is a reason her book is published by Shakespeare-Authorship.Com and not Oxford or University of Chicago or even Arizona State University Press. It’s not taken seriously by people who study the time period and the literature thereof. She’s been around for decades, her ideas longer, but it still can’t take root. There is a reason.

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    1. Last first, those aren't Price's standards, they're a standard method of judging the strength of evidence in history and in biography. She documents that that is the case. In her paper about the "hand D" she shows how the standard that was used to name Thomas Dekker as the person who wrote the "hand E" section of Thomas More followed similar methods of evaluating the identity of a penman were, nevertheless, violated when making the spurious attribution of "hand D" to Shaksper. As she has pointed out, even Stanley Wells has admitted that there isn't a contemporaneous piece of evidence linking the Stratford man to the poemss and plays.

      To go back to the top, first, you ignore more second comment on that issue in which I mention Marlowe and Jonson - I would say the closest in quality to the author of the plays in question whose reputation has fared the best - and such others as Thomas Dekker (very popular at the time) and Thomas Nash and Middleton, as well - none of whom I've ever seen accused of being an actor. Most of them seem to have been busy with other things, especially writing pamphlets, when they weren't writing plays and spending time in jail for things like writing plays that pissed someone off.

      What I was establishing is that you don't have to be an active member of an acting company to write successful drama, that claim that the author of the plays had to have done that is unfounded. What he had to have is a sense of what MIGHT work on stage, which some of the plays do and some of them don't do as well. I would point out Measure for Measure as a play that works far less well than All's Well That Ends Well. Loves Labours Lost doesn't work as a play very well unless you know enough about the goings on in the courts of Navarre and Paris which the Stratford man almost certainly would not have been likely to pick up from mere intuition.

      As I mentioned to you the other day, Bacon is documented as having been involved with theatrical productions, as a lawyer he was in the middle of one of the hotbeds of playwriting and play production, the Inns of Court.

      I'll have to go to the library to give you a list of people who have commented on the obscurity of Jonson's front poem. Anyone who claims that they could understand that poem on first reading, or without considerable going through the twists, turns, puzzles, contradictions, etc. in it can't have read it very carefully. The first 16 or so lines before Jonson says "I therefore will begin" are a warning against thinking he's going to give you a clear meaning

      But these ways
      Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
      For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
      Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
      Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
      The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
      Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
      And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
      These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
      Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more?
      But thou art proof against them, and indeed,
      Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.

      I doubt that one out of a thousand readers of it would know more than a few of the allusions to other authors and works and I am sure that Jonson didn't expect a lot of his readers to get all of them, though he was certainly writing for an insider audience.

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    2. cont. The fact that the guy he's allegedly going on about, the Stratford man, had been dead for seen years and his "good friend" Jonson hadn't seen fit to do the typical thing of the time, write a poem on his death within the year of his death. Neither did any of the other poets or men of letter or would be colleagues or would be patrons, etc. There is nothing except one poem written sometime between which seems to say that the poet was buried along with Chaucer, Spencer and Beaumont in Westminster - something which Jonson seems to want to deflect attention from.

      "I will not lodge thee by
      Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
      A little further, to make thee a room:
      Thou art a monument without a tomb,"

      I would like you to square the assertions of the Stratford about the supposed grave, the famous bust, etc. with the surface meaning of that, that the writer was "without a tomb".

      I would like to see your line by line analysis of Jonson's front piece poem. I'll leave you with a simple fact, that while he was writing it, Jonson was working for Francis Bacon, translating some of Bacon's English into Latin. Though Bacon certainly could read Latin, as anyone with a university education would have, he apparently didn't feel he was that good in Latin composition. That would certainly make the "And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek," line into a mild joke on his current patron.

      I'm kind of tired of answering these things. Obviously you're never going to admit that Price and others have produced better points than the orthodox Stratfordians have. I might get back to it tomorrow but I've been running a fever all day and I haven't really felt much like writing.


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  8. cont.

    “Your picking on Diana Price's description during an interview of her and her husband's experience while watching two plays…To think that an author doesn't speak through their characters is ridiculous.”

    She’s not arguing that she knows the author is speaking through the play because of this or that fact, but because she and her husband grabbed each other at the same time! That is not how research is done, but it’s obvious she believes herself to possess the ability to know when the author of the plays is speaking directly to the audience.

    “I would bet that every single one of the most conventional Stratfordians have made similar comments about similar experiences they had while watching or reading the works.”

    Then you need to take it up with them. Argue my points, not the whole of Stratfordians and the kooky fringes that exist. I’m not tying your opinions to that stupid ‘Anonymous’ movie, which is even LESS historical than ‘Shakespeare In Love,’ though that isn’t fair as the latter was in on the joke.

    “I would say that the texts themselves talk about that as in Hamlet's advice to the players.”

    No, that is Hamlet talking to the players. Not Shakespeare. Those could be his thoughts on performance, but we don’t know.

    “To judge her scholarship by what she said in an interview is dishonest and looks a little desperate.”

    No, I read the article she wrote, and again, not impressed. I’ve heard her lectures, again, not impressed. I’ve noted her selective use of examples and lack of firm direct evidence another writer wrote the texts. Again, not impressed. Her scholarship is the equivalent of teaching a camel to walk backwards. Yes it took a lot of time and effort, but, no, I don’t see the point. She certainly can’t admit to being wrong, not even to herself, after spending so much time and energy making this case. She lost me when she tried to argue calling Shakespeare “Terence” was a hint that he, like the Roman, was a front. The trouble is that’s one of many writers he was compared to, so to pick the one who was a front, and wrote his own plays too, as being some secret code only she (and maybe her husband) could crack is truly desperate.

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    1. For crying out loud. A playwright who writes for a stage production is speaking to their hoped for audience. It's entirely understandable that someone who has spent a lot of time with the plays, the texts, studying them, will certainly find places in the text which resonate with your informed understanding of the person behind the text. I have no doubt that when Tennessee Williams talks about Tom's sister in The Glass Menagerie, he's talking about his sense of guilt over him not doing anything to stop what was done to his own sister. When Eugene O'Neill in Long Day's Journey Into Night has Jamie Tyrone talking about his ecstasy while at sea, he's talking about his own experience as a sailor.

      I have no doubt that the author of the plays, whoever it is, when he has Hamlet going on in his soliloquies or Lear raging, but, more so, when he regrets that he's ignored the poverty of the destitute that he's making a very personal observation.

      Either you accept that indirect and posthumous evidence is not first class evidence as compared to direct and contemporaneous evidence or you don't. Stratfordians have such a way of denying that for their guy as they demand it of any proposed candidate for the authorship.

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  9. "What I was establishing is that you don't have to be an active member of an acting company to write successful drama, that claim that the author of the plays had to have done that is unfounded."

    You did not have to be an actor, and I never said "be an actor," to write. But you needed to play a major role in the daily workings of the company. These plays are art, and like art, required some work to learn and perform. It's simply beyond belief to think that someone wrote for the Lord Chamberlain's Men without an intimate knowledge of the cast and how the plays worked in rehearsal. Remember, parts were played by more than one actor, thus two characters played by the same actor could not meet on stage or appear to suddenly without proper time to change. It was up to the writer to fashion the parts for the actors available. This required being there to witness the transition and determine how much the boys (playing the women) could handle. These were plays, meant to be performed for money, which is how they paid their bills. The idea of someone writing a play and then dropping in (secretly, of course) to deliver the lines and then vanishing without being there to make appropriate adjustments? It's nonsense. We have zero evidence that Bacon, a man of reputation and respect, hung around said rehearsals. The idea that he could do so and no one would mention it is even more silly.

    "I have no doubt that when Tennessee Williams talks about Tom's sister in The Glass Menagerie, he's talking about his sense of guilt over him not doing anything to stop what was done to his own sister. When Eugene O'Neill in Long Day's Journey Into Night has Jamie Tyrone talking about his ecstasy while at sea, he's talking about his own experience as a sailor."

    But we know this because we have detailed biographies of those players. We don't know nearly enough about Shakespeare's life offstage to make declarations about where and when he's speaking for himself the way we do Williams and O'Neill. Or Miller or Albee or whomever. You're comparing a 16th century Englishmen with 20th century Americans as if their practices of creation were identical.

    But since you raised it, why do you assume the childless Bacon could write so eloquently and powerfully about the relationships between parents and children that pop up in the Bard so often? That can't be biographical. And that's another reason why I don't buy into so many ideas about the writer's life being reflected in the plays - they always focus on what matches and dismiss what doesn't as irrelevant. No one from the era lived a life perfectly reflective of the content of the plays, and if you pick and choose what to focus on, you could argue any number of candidates, which is what they've done.

    In the end, it's funny, a Baconian like yourself would be laughed at by a Oxfordian, and you'd both be dismissed by a Marlowevian, and the supporters of...it just goes on and on.

    "I have no doubt that the author of the plays, whoever it is, when he has Hamlet going on in his soliloquies or Lear raging, but, more so, when he regrets that he's ignored the poverty of the destitute that he's making a very personal observation."

    And you can think that, but you can't know it. That's why Shakespeare's work resonates, along with its beauty. We don't know where the author starts and stops.

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    1. When he wrote Zoo Story Edward Albee was working a a Western Union delivery boy, he wasn't working in a theater. He said that he showed it mostly to composers - who I would imagine he knew through his lover, William Flannagan, Aaron Copland, ... He said that it was David Diamond's encouragement that first led him to think it was as good as he hoped it was. Its first production wasn't even in a language he knew, it was produced in German before anything he'd written was produced in English, he was entirely uninvolved with the production.

      As I have pointed out to you, over and over again, Francis Bacon was involved with theatrical production, with their planning and staging. His short essay about theatrical production appears in the middle of a collection of his essays in which it is totally out of place unless the author believed theater was very important for conveying the kinds of ideas that the essays contain - so do the plays, by the way.

      I have never said that I knew that Bacon wrote the plays, for all I know it could have been Oxford (though the appearance of the theory of the circulation of blood and some other particulars in the plays would have to be accounted for, in that case) and I do find the arguments about the plays set in Italy being correct in many details that would not have been available to someone stuck in England to be quite fascinating. If they could produce in Italy, compelling evidence that their theory of Marlowe faking his death to avoid the Star Chamber and, no doubt, the kind of fatal torture that led his friend and roommate Thomas Kyd to implicate him, their theory would gain enormously in credibility.

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    2. cont. I find it interesting as a study of double standards that the Stratfordians demand a far higher level of evidence for any and all alternative candidates than they will tolerate being applied to their own guy. All of the various candidates I've seen seriously put forward have absolutely essential qualifications that the Stratford man lacks, proof of literacy, proof of education, proof of a literary life and or career, proof of knowledge of the law, proof of intimate knowledge of politics and royal courts, proof of foreign travel, proof of things that the Stratford man could not have known about, proof of their ability to gain the knowledge that the plays and poems contain. Bacon was called "a concealed poet" by people who new him, during his life and after. No one called the Stratford man a poet of any kind during his lifetime and the earliest associations of him to poetry and plays its in the form of riddles told by people like Ben Jonson whose literary work is full of such jokes. As I've pointed out to you, during the time when Jonson made that association of the plays and poems to Stratford he was working with the fallen and still endangered Francis Bacon, living in his house, working with him on translating his work into Latin. I'm sure that if his other friends knew Bacon as a concealed poet, Jonson, as an intimate friend and companion would have been in on the secret. As a poet and playwright who had been arrested for his writing - as I recall three or four times - Jonson would have known the kind of danger an explicit association with the writings could have been, what Bacon's political enemies could have made of it. There would have been every reason for him to have thrown up a smoke screen even as he was involved in preserving the works in publication. If Bacon had written them and he knew the value of the works and the ideas contained in them - produced plays were a far more effective means of introducing ideas to a mass audience comprised of semi-literate and illiterate people than print - he would certainly have wanted them in circulation. I would bet he was hoping to die before they went into print. Remember, half of the extant works were published in the Folio for the first time, some of them the most important in the corpus.

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    3. For heavens sake, I mentioned Tennessee Williams, I would like to know a playwright who wrote more effectively about the stresses and strains of parent and their children than he did. The number of authors who never had children who wrote brilliantly about parent-child relationships and children is enormous. Off the top of my head just about any gay writer. Thornton Wilder in Our Town, The Eighth Day, Harper Lee in her only novel, Eudora Welty in The Optimist's Daughter...

      It's especially hilarious for you to associate the Stratford man's having had children with the parent-child relationships in the plays. He was hardly father of the century, abandoning his family for long stretches of time, neglecting to educate his own daughters even as he invented brilliant girls and women in the plays, his reported affection in his retirement for his only granddaughter certainly didn't extend to making sure she could read his own works - if, indeed, he could have read them. I don't see any evidence that the Stratford man was much of a family man.

      For crying out loud, whoever wrote the plays and poems didn't write technical manuals or abstract, mathematical philosophical treatises, they were writing plays that have moved audiences enough for them to pay to sit through them for over four centuries. You don't do that without intending to do that through your own ideas. Your claims on that are about the most ridiculous assertions by a Stratfordian I've ever read. Even more absurd than when they claim that it doesn't matter who wrote the plays as everything about their Stratfordianism belies that claim.

      Any playwright who doesn't care about and try to communicate their ideas and, more so, their feelings in their writing doesn't last long in the repertoire. Try reading some of the philosophical closet dramas and see if they hold your interest on an emotional level. Or you can look at some of the philosophical texts set to music and ask yourself if it weren't for the music would you voluntarily listen to it. The form of stage drama is for the purpose of doing exactly what Diana Price described, moving someone, giving them moments of emotional and intellectual insight in a form that will move them, first to pay attention, to listen, then to keep paying attention and learning something through the characters. Though some lesser writers do without the instruction, you can't say that for the person who wrote the works in question.

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  10. "I would like you to square the assertions of the Stratford about the supposed grave, the famous bust, etc. with the surface meaning of that, that the writer was "without a tomb"."

    For what's it worth, I think Jonson, in saying, "Thou art a monument without a tomb," is playing on Shakespeare not being given what he considers proper respect for his work. He has a grave in a small town and not a monumental tomb worthy of someone of his genius, as many great men of his day were afforded. 'Timber,' isn't cryptic, and it was posthumous, so why he'd continue to keep up a façade rather than just letting it lie with his poem raises the question of why? I think the answer is obvious: Because Will of Stratford wrote the plays and wanted to add further to his championing of Shakespeare the writer.

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    1. Well, it took him seven years to so much as mention his "beloved William Shakespeare" at a time when the fashion was for a poets friends and admirers to write lavish memorial poetry soon after their deaths. Of course, you can't hold Jonson to task too much as all of the rest of the alleged literary friends of the Stratford Man, as well as every one of the people in his town, people who definitely knew him, etc. failed to do much in that way, either. And by "much" I mean anything.

      I think the evidence of the monument having been radically altered to turn a wool merchant into a writer (wearing the hair style of several decades after the guy's death) is pretty conclusive. The ambiguities of the text in the memorial - as well as the typical Stratfordian mistranslation of the Latin - as well as signs that the entire thing has been changed, as Alexander Waugh put it there was "a lot of assing around" with it over the centuries as the Shakespeare industry grew in Stratford is obvious. I had not known until recently that when Washington Irving went there, he reported that the Curate at the church told him he'd lifted the stone over the grave and reported it was empty. And the earlier documentation of the sight, even measured drawings of it show that it was much different in appearance than it is, now. Even the famous stone with the poem carved into it has been changed, the original inscription having a radically different appearance than the one there now.

      The Stratfordian legends are the creation of a tourist industry, the guy who is put forward is about as credible as Punxsutawney Phil or the main character in Tom Stoppards' dreadful play that constitutes what so many, even college credentialed people believe they know about the author of the plays and poems.

      Unless the Stratfordians come up with some actual and direct evidence that during his lifetime someone identified the broker of Stratford with the plays and poems, people who look into it will realize that their entire claim is baseless. As I said in my earlier comments this morning, all of the major proposed alternatives have far more evidence that they were writers than the Stratford man does and that absence of evidence is after the most extensive paper chase for that evidence ever mounted in history.

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  11. Hope you feel better. I had a summer cold last week. And it was 118 here in Phoenix. No fun.

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  12. Edward Albee lived in 20th century New York, not 16th century England. The process for theatrical production was vastly different, so much so that comparing the two is as absurd as comparing Serena Williams with Andy Murray. You are caught in a misconception that the playwright’s method for writing and earning a living is the same during the reign of Elizabeth I as it was during the Eisenhower administration.

    Albee lived and wrote during a time when theatrical productions could audition from a vast talent pool, and didn’t have to worry about limited resources relating to casting, sets, props, etc. He was not working directly with a theatrical company, with a set group of performers, who were expected to play multiple parts and take advantage of whatever resources the company had. Shakespeare’s plays were written to be immediately performed, and, unlike say, ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night,’ were not written to be placed in a vault and saved for after the playwright’s death. This was how these men made money, and putting something away for posterity wasn’t going to pay for anyone’s tab at the pub, and they certainly didn’t write plays to sit on them for a while until the time was right to perform them. The companies were expected to perform multiple plays during the week, not a single run of one play (like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’) for months on end so long as it was a hit.

    Not comparable. Not comparable at all.

    Whoever wrote plays during that era did so actively with a company. Not because all great playwrights have to be but because that’s how production worked during that time and place. The plays were written to be transferred from the page to the stage immediately. They did not finish and submit plays to publishers or directors/producers. Why do you think we have so few actual copies of the plays in the author’s hand? The writers had to be at rehearsals, with the company. They had to make corrections and ensure the actors were given enough time to change or rest between scenes, with the company. They had to be sure the boy actors could handle the workload, however large or small, by being there to oversee their delivery, and this had to be done with the company. The idea of anyone, even Shakespeare, absent from the troupe, writing a large role for a boy actor that he wasn’t working with daily to ensure he could handle the part? It’s nonsense. It’s a modern practice anachronistically applied to the past. Bacon could have seen all the productions he wanted. He could have pontificated endlessly about the proper means of production and set design. But he could not have written Cleopatra without working directly with John Rice, the troupe’s prodigious young actor, to ensure he could take on such a large role. Might as well argue Verdi wrote the music for ‘Falstaff’ without ever speaking with Arrigo Boito or looking at his libretto, because, you know, he was such an intelligent, gifted composer.

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    1. Again, you start making an argument that the author of the plays would have had to have been an active, working member of a theater company to have had to write plays, an argument that is often made by Stratfordians (who assume he was more than the investor and possibly bit player that the records indicate) when there is a lot of evidence from both today, in the 19th century, in the 18-17th and 16th century that that is not necessarily true. I have had time to look at a few of the successful dramatists in England from different years, William Congreve, Joseph Addison, and a number of others and being a working member of an acting company seems to be uncharacteristic of successful playwrights in the English language. I would extend that to France and Spain but I'd have to fact check myself and I haven't had the time.

      Shakespeare’s plays were written to be immediately performed, and, unlike say, ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night,’ were not written to be placed in a vault and saved for after the playwright’s death.

      First, half of the plays attributed to Shakespeare were unpublished and almost certainly unproduced before the death of the Stratford man, appearing for the first time in the First Folio, several of them had to wait to the Restoration period for their first production. You have no idea if they were meant for posthumous disclosure or not. I believe Long Days Journey Into Night was the only of his plays held back by O'Neill BECAUSE HE HAD REVEALED SO MUCH OF HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY IN THE PLAY. He witheld it for the very reason I used it in arguing against your claim that it was absurd to assume the author of the plays had revealed himself to his audience in the plays. The Iceman Cometh in which O'Neill exposes his disillusionment with the American left in the statements of the central character, Larry Slade and Moon for the Misbegotten in the character named, surprise, surprise, James Tyrone jr. were both produced during his lifetime.

      It's also rather hilarious for you to be arguing that the author of the plays was writing plays which he considered ephemeral and unimportant while citing the First Folio poem of Ben Jonson who, after comparing him to authors whose work lasted for centuries declared, "He was not of an age but for all time!"

      Not to mention the description of the theater which Hamlet declared to Polonius:

      'Tis well: I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.
      Good my lord, will you see the players well
      bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for
      they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
      time: after your death you were better have a bad
      epitaph than their ill report while you live.

      Bacon was involved with producing theatrical productions, I don't know how many times I have to say that to you. That is a fact.

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    2. cont. You don't have to take my word for that:

      The Masque of the Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn had come to Whitehall by land; it was planned that the Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn should move up the Thames from Winchester House in a gallant flotilla, with lights, music, and peals of ordnance on the following evening. And this was partly carried out, though by reason of the crowd (albeit farthingales were forbidden the feminine spectators), and the fagged condition of the court, this masque was postponed until Saturday, February 20.2 An unusual interest attaches to this production, as it was the composition of Francis Beaumont, and was aided and abetted in chief by Sir Francis Bacon, then King James' solicitor-general. Bacon's interest in such entertainments was of long standing, and we have seen him as far back as 1587, a student of Gray's Inn, devising "dumbe shewes" for a Senecan tragedy, while his familiar essay, Of Masques and Triumphs, from its allusions doubtless written soon after the events on which we are now engaged, is a complete epitome in little of the lore as to "these toys," as wisdom must ever term them.

      http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/schellingmasque.htm

      There is more documentation of Francis Bacon's and, I'll add Robert De Vere's involvement with the actual production of plays than the Stratford man. As for Christopher Marlowe, his plays are probably the second most often produced of any from the period after those in those attributed to Shakespeare. And there is no controversy over him being the author of works attributed to him, presumably it was his involvement with his fellow playwright Thomas Kyd that led to him getting in the hottest water shortly before his reported death.

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    3. Oh, and I should have added, from the same source at the address above:

      in 1592 Bacon wrote speeches for a Device presented to the queen when entertained by Essex at Twickenham Park; he contributed six prose speeches to the Gesta Grayorum in 1595 and in the same year wrote further speeches for the same earl's entertainment of the queen on the anniversary of her accession. Bacon was "the chief contriver" of Beaumont's masque, 1613; and the chief "encourager" of The Masque of Flowers in the next year.

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  13. "Again, you start making an argument that the author of the plays would have had to have been an active, working member of a theater company to have had to write plays, an argument that is often made by Stratfordians*"

    *By Stratfordians, do you mean the vast majority of scholars of the era? You may continue to reference Twain, James, Rylance, Keller, et al. All exceptionally talented in their fields but none whose main area of work and study was that. It's dishonest to argue via poisoning the well and snide remarks about "the Shakespeare Industry" as if anti-Stratfordians had no investment in arguing their position.

    “there is a lot of evidence from both today, in the 19th century, in the 18-17th and 16th century that that is not necessarily true. I have had time to look at a few of the successful dramatists in England from different years, William Congreve, Joseph Addison, and a number of others and being a working member of an acting company seems to be uncharacteristic of successful playwrights in the English language.”

    I’m not talking about 19th century, or even the 18th and 17th (mostly). In England, not France or Spain. This wasn’t a matter of preference, it’s how plays were written during the Elizabethan era. And that required a relatively consistent collection of players whose skills the writer utilized. Just as Shakespeare wrote for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Marlowe’s primary company was the Admiral’s Men, whose Edward Alleyn was their Richard Burbage. Comparing their compositional techniques to Edward Albee or Tennessee Williams is akin to saying Mozart composed and presented his music the same way Brian Wilson did.

    “First, half of the plays attributed to Shakespeare were unpublished and almost certainly unproduced before the death of the Stratford man, appearing for the first time in the First Folio, several of them had to wait to the Restoration period for their first production.”

    Most quartos of the plays published during his lifetime were likely NOT done with the approval of the LCM, who owned the plays. Not merely held a monopoly on performing them, but owned them outright, so not having them published prior means nothing.

    “I used it in arguing against your claim that it was absurd to assume the author of the plays had revealed himself to his audience in the plays.”

    I did no such thing. I said it’s absurd to insist, in the case of Shakespeare, in which we have so little biographical data about the man’s inner life, that someone can determine where and when this is taking place. Price is under the impression that the person who wrote the plays was an aristocrat, ergo, she looks for phrases praising the aristocracy and, if she grabs Mr. Price at the same time, knows she’s on to something. Is it supported by documented evidence or “let us imagine” supposing? We know O’Neill’s feelings on his time at sea based on sources other than the play itself, and not just because someone grabbed their partner during a performance. Keats praised the plays for that reason, saying we cannot find the author in them, but I would argue that’s likely the result of our sketchy biography. I wouldn’t be surprised in his contemporaries like Jonson saw bits of Will in the characters, but if they did? I don’t know.

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    1. I haven't claimed that Twain, Rylance or Keller (I assume you mean my one reference to Helen Keller) wrote plays. I'm not aware of any of them writing plays. I have noted a line of eminent playwrights from the Elizabethan period up to the 21st century who wrote many produced plays but who didn't work as actors of in theatrical productions. The claim that the, as I recall, one line that talks about the Stratford man being an actor explains why he is a better candidate for the playwright than men who have many documented qualifications to have known what is contained in the plays but which there is absolutely no documentation that the Stratford man had.

      As to the compositional method of the person who wrote the plays, who knows? It was someone who obviously was extremely skilled in writing verse, as to how much revision he required, given the revised opinion of Ben Jonson well after he was in on the construction of the smoke screen - and after, I am more and more convinced, the real author who was who

      You make a reasoned argument out of what is known, what is documented, you write fiction out of "he may have" "he might have" "he must have had to" in place of any documentation.

      What we know of the compositional method of Mozart as what we know of Schubert's is entirely explained by their extensive training that would have allowed them to compose a piece in their mind and write it out from the piece in their mind. It is entirely understandable how they would have been able to do that because of their documented training. I have no idea how Brian Wilson writes his music so I can't comment on that. I will note that the music he wrote that I'm familiar with, even if he had a similar method of composing a piece in his mind and writing it down from memory - as it were - it would still be a far lesser accomplishment because his music isn't as complex.

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    2. cont. Here is what Diana Price said which you have taken such offense at:

      "And this is anecdotal, but when my husband and I were trying on the "aristocrat wrote this play" theory, and we went to see Daniel Day Lewis in Hamlet at the National, in England, literally at the same line we both grabbed each other, because we heard something autobiographical coming across. And that happened to us again during the production of All's Well. Again, at the exact same line, we both just grabbed each other. Now, that kind of frisson, of "Ooh, I think I got something new out of this," comes with a reverberation or a resonance with who the author might be. And I just think we'd find all kinds of new dimensions in the plays if we had an author who fit. Right now I think they're great plays, but it's all abstraction. You don't have a life with any resonances in the plays. At least, I do not consider the reference to sheepskin in the fifth act of Hamlet to be a resonance."

      "AND THIS IS ANECDOTAL" When she said that she was not speaking as a scholar, making a scholarly claim, SHE WAS SPEAKING AS AN INFORMED MEMBER OF THE AUTHOR'S AUDIENCE HEARING WHAT THE AUTHOR SAID. She was doing what any member of any audience, especially one who is familiar with the work and who has done as much research into the genre and milieu as she has, has a perfect right to believe they are hearing.

      If she had made a SCHOLARLY claim out of that, you might have a point but she wasn't. I have come to have an enormous respect for Diana Price as a scholar because she is one of the most responsible, one of the most careful and one of the most honestly modest in supporting whatever she presents as her informed conclusion. When put next to the Stratfordians, Nelson, Schonbaum, Greenblatt, Rowse, etc. she is the very model of a responsible scholar. Of all of those who I have read in this I think she is the one I would hold up as the most careful and reasonable. She, no doubt, knew when she decided to write on the topic that she would be attacked, first on the basis of her lack of formal credentials (which, in the study of Shakespeare seems to mean mostly being steeped in the fictions and legends and suppositions and other nonsense and coming up with a few of your own) and also because she is an anti-Stratfordian who will be dismissed no matter how much they play by the rules of scholarship.

      I have the greatest respect for Diana Price.

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    3. "The claim that the, as I recall, one line that talks about the Stratford man being an actor explains why he is a better candidate for the playwright than men who have many documented qualifications to have known what is contained in the plays but which there is absolutely no documentation that the Stratford man had."

      No no no no no. Shakespeare, as a shareholder in the company, and an actor with them, and the listed author on numerous quartos printed during his lifetime, played an active role with them.

      You keep talking about how this writer or that writer wasn't an actor. It's not about acting, it's about being with and around the company during the preparations for putting on the plays! The actors were fairly permanent; they did not hold open auditions whenever a new play was going to be performed and often performed multiple plays within the week's performances. So long as you think the dramas of the other playwrights were produced in a similar manner, you will never understand how foolish your position is. Albee could write whatever was in his head and find a producer with the funds and time to find the actors for the parts. Elizabethan playwrights had to work with the resources given them by the companies. This was how it was done.

      Per Mozart v Wilson, it wasn't just a matter of composing in the latter's case: He was able to work within a studio that captured the actual sounds he wanted. He could make alterations not just arrangements but the actual way they sounded and were recorded. Mozart knew of no such technology. Heaven knows what he would have done with it. Similarly, had Shakespeare lived in a time when he was able to write with a computer and not a quill pen. When he could write whatever came into his head and not limit it to the resources and actors available. Again, heaven only knows. But the point remains that you would never dream of comparing the two because of those differences. Similarly, you can't say, "Well, Albee didn't work with the playing company to put on his works..." No, and Albee lived in New York City in the 1950s and not London in the 1590s! There are centuries of cultural, aesthetic, economic and political change between those two points. He could find a producer who would pay him for performance, not ownership, of his work. He could haggle about his own involvement. He could approve the cast. Shakespeare had none of those luxuries. He could write with the company he had or go back to Stratford and become a glover like his father.

      Price doesn't offend me. She's a mosquito bite. Not a case of malaria. She's not even the Richard Carrier of anti-Stratfordianism. Carrier has a degree.

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    4. "You keep talking about how this writer or that writer wasn't an actor. It's not about acting, it's about being with and around the company during the preparations for putting on the plays! The actors were fairly permanent; they did not hold open auditions whenever a new play was going to be performed and often performed multiple plays within the week's performances. So long as you think the dramas of the other playwrights were produced in a similar manner, you will never understand how foolish your position is."

      The best argument against that are the 18 plays, including some of the most important in the corpus which were not produced during the lifetime of the Stratford man or, in fact, during the lifetime of whoever wrote the plays. I don't think Antony and Cleopatra or Coriolanus or Twelfth Night or The Tempest can be left out of your theory.

      Nor can the fact that, for example, Bacon was involved in theatrical productions after the so-called retirement of the Stratford man and, in fact, after his death.

      I mentioned those other successful playwrights because their careers also disprove your claim.

      You have no idea what role Shaksper could have played in the production of any play because there isn't any documentation of that. Every word said about that is rank speculation of the kind which the Shakespeare industry is based on. You don't even seem to realize you're doing it as you do it. That is the difference between basing your assumptions on the documentary record and basing it on sheer conjecture.

      I think your feelings about Diana Price are fairly obvious. It is hilarious for you to bring up Richard Carrier having a degree when, of all the major candidates, your guy is the only one who can't even be shown to have gone to grammar school. I've heard Richard Carrier debate, if I were a trustee of the University of New York at Buffalo I'd propose rescinding his PhD in Philosophy. The guy is a boob.

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  14. cont.

    “The Iceman Cometh in which O'Neill exposes his disillusionment with the American left in the statements of the central character, Larry Slade and Moon for the Misbegotten in the character named, surprise, surprise, James Tyrone jr. were both produced during his lifetime.”
    Comparing O’Neill, a cynical, 19th century alcoholic Irishman whose father felt his career a bitter aesthetic disappointment despite its financial success is not necessarily going to be writing with the same mindset or methodology as a 16th British man, and I think it reasonable to argue this, wanted to improve his social standing in an especially class-conscious environment. Also, we know this about O’Neill because of the extensive biographical information we have about him. Were that consumed by fire and forgetting maybe people would think he was Harry Hope, or Hickey, or Rocky.

    “It's also rather hilarious for you to be arguing that the author of the plays was writing plays which he considered ephemeral and unimportant while citing the First Folio poem of Ben Jonson who, after comparing him to authors whose work lasted for centuries declared, ‘He was not of an age but for all time!’”

    I never said that! He sold the plays the way artists sold paintings. That he didn’t put them in his will should be about as surprising as Picasso not including his works sold to galleries and private collectors in his. What he thought of his own works? No idea. But we know that Jonson did appreciate their beauty. He said so.

    [By the way, why is it not OK for Shakespeare to not care about his legacy but perfectly fine for Bacon or de Vere or whomever to embrace the anonymity that would come with their never taking credit for the work, even in a posthumous publication or personal reflection? It’s wholly inconsistent to argue the Stratford man would definitely care about how his work was viewed for posterity but that every other writer who wrote it wouldn’t care, nor would any of their associates. Yes, Ben wrote about a poet primate, but what about the rest of those involved in the Folio, did they leave clues? You are arguing they all, collectively, worked together to hide this and NONE of the them were cheeky enough to leave a note to be read later?]

    “Bacon was involved with producing theatrical productions, I don't know how many times I have to say that to you. That is a fact.”

    Yes, and Leonard Bernstein composed music. It doesn’t mean he wrote “Black, Brown and Beige.” I never said Bacon knew nothing about drama, simply that he didn't have (via any direct evidence, anecdote or aside) the exposure to the LCM to write for the company. That is a huge difference.

    “As for Christopher Marlowe, his plays are probably the second most often produced of any from the period after those in those attributed to Shakespeare.”

    And yet he left absolutely nothing in his own hand? No one saved his letters, rough drafts, signature on documents. Nothing. Doesn’t this tell you how disinterested 16th century Englishmen were in saving correspondence, notes and general miscellany from playwrights? He died suddenly, spectacularly and at the height of his popularity. Why don’t we have anything of Shakespeare’s? Because we have even less of Marlowe’s. You're imposing your own standards of value on a 16th century Englishman. That's not history.

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    1. If you're going to try to turn my arguments, trying to make the address things and make claims they don't, there's not much reason to continue to make them. I was merely pointing out that anyone who had a knowledge of O'Neill or Williams or other authors they could well consider that there are places in their work where they have their characters speak for them. In that interview you too such exception to, Diana Price points out that knowing something about what Arthur Miller was up to in the 1950s allows you to understand things about the plays he was writing that someone without that knowledge wouldn't know. I think it's one of the greatest absurdities that the Stratfordians often, these days, pretend that the Sonnets have no attachment to the life of whoever wrote them when they are saturated with personal revelation of what the poet was living through.

      Again, In pointing out that Bacon, unlike the Stratford man, could be documented as having had a role in producing theatrical productions - EVEN WRITING PARTS OF THE, not to mention the mime like the most famous one in literature in Hamlet - by documentation produced during his lifetime. That was the reason I made that argument, to answer your claim about the author having to have been active in the production of theater. Well, Bacon did, Edward De Vere did, Christopher Marlowe did, they are all documented, specifically as having had extensive connections with theatrical productions, specific ones, whereas the Stratford man, except for one possibly spurious line about him having acted, was known only as an investor.

      Where is the evidence that the Stratford man ever sold the rights to any play and, specifically, those which were published for the first time in the First Folio, the ones which had not been produced during his lifetime.

      There is ample documentation that Christopher Marlowe wrote plays from during his lifetime in exactly the way that there is nothing that says that for the Stratford man. It was one of the things that got him into trouble, Thomas Kyd claimed that pages of Marlowe's manuscript was mixed in with his own papers as he was being questioned by the Star Chamber. There is no question that Marlowe could write as he had a documented university education, in fact the government had to order the university to grant him his degree because he had been abroad (in a way that the Stratford man can't be documented to ever have been) in the service of Elizabeth. You should check Diana Price's book, even if it's only the chart where she lists the number and kinds of contemporary evidence that there is documenting a literary career for 24 authors, from most famous to least, during the time of the Stratford man, all of them except the most famous of all, the Stratford man.

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    2. I'm not imposing "my standards" on a 16th century Englishman, I'm insisting that it is absurd to a. create a Shakspeare as the greatest author in English out of fables, myths, lies, fabrications and Ben Jonson's clearly misleading poem, b. that it is not reasonable that such an author would not have left a single record, during his lifetime or in the words of anyone who can be positively known him during his lifetime that he was a writer, whose family obviously didn't know he was a writer, etc. when literally two dozen of his contemporaries, some of them the slightest of achievement managed to. It is especially absurd to think that a man who wrote plays which were produced, during his lifetime, COMMERCIAL LITERATURE FROM WHICH MONEY HAD TO HAVE BEEN MADE, would not have left a single business record of the transactions associated with those productions when he left about 70 business records OF EVERYTHING BUT THAT! It is especially absurd because what evidence that is cited in his favor is either of dubious authenticity or which cannot be tied to the actual man from Stratford. If there is one thing I am confident can be known of the man from Stratford, he valued money no matter how he could come to have it. If there were such transactions, over the various publications and productions, etc. there would have been at least one or mention of one from during the time he could have been paid. There is such evidence for Christopher Marlowe, that he had a patron. The patronage of the Stratford man is one of the "must have been-might have been-it is to be believed that..." items in the "biographies" that have been turned out like comic books about him.

      I think that's one of the reasons that the Stratford myth has been so easy to sell. The Stratford man isn't a person, the he's whoever you choose to make him out of the many, many men in the biographies. It's no wonder that even allegedly educated people mistook Tom Stoppard's tripe as biography because most everything in the allegedly scholarly literature about him is equally fictitious.

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    3. "I think it's one of the greatest absurdities that the Stratfordians often, these days, pretend that the Sonnets have no attachment to the life of whoever wrote them when they are saturated with personal revelation of what the poet was living through."

      You have no way of knowing what was "personal" and what was invented or embellished for dramatic effect. You're often complaining that Hollywood makes drastic changes to history in their films? Well, Shakespeare's histories aren't much better. Why assume his sonnets would be purely autobiographical?

      "That was the reason I made that argument, to answer your claim about the author having to have been active in the production of theater."

      Not theatre. The Lord Chamberlain's Men. You have demonstrated no connection with Bacon and THEM. You repeat that Bacon was involved in theater, but not his connection with them. Reminds me of an exchange from 'The Simpsons:'

      Robert Goulet: "Are you from the casino?"
      Bart: "I'm from A casino."
      Robert Goulet: "Good enough! Let's go."

      "Where is the evidence that the Stratford man ever sold the rights to any play and, specifically, those which were published for the first time in the First Folio, the ones which had not been produced during his lifetime."

      Where's the evidence Bacon sold any of Shakespeare's works? Oh, right. It's a conspiracy. Well, I think Shakespeare's records of sale were destroyed by Bacon using his connections because he wanted to take credit for writing those plays because of his jealousy that a lowly man from Stratford was a better playwright than he was. Yup. That's what happened. I have as much proof of that as you do Bacon wrote 'Lear,' 'Hamlet,' 'The Tempest' and 'Romeo and Juliet.'

      "You should check Diana Price's book, even if it's only the chart where she lists the number and kinds of contemporary evidence that there is documenting a literary career for 24 authors, from most famous to least, during the time of the Stratford man, all of them except the most famous of all, the Stratford man."

      I am satisfied with Jonson's testimony, the numerous quartos, the knowledge of how Elizabethan theatre companies operated and my knowledge of how much material has been lost to time and the elements. That no one bothered to keep a bill of sale for 'Lear' concerns me about as much as not possessing the first draft scribbled on parchment. It'd be nice to have, but no more necessary than needing St. Paul's originals letters.

      Re: Marlowe. He was a writer, but why don't we have any documents of his? I'm not questioning his profession, but you keep asking, "Where's Shakespeare's this?" "Where's his that?" Shakespeare appears to be the only writer that makes you wonder why we don't have his bill of sales, or his correspondence, or his rough drafts, but ignore that this was the norm for that era and not the exception.

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    4. "a. create a Shakspeare as the greatest author in English out of fables, myths, lies, fabrications and Ben Jonson's clearly misleading poem"

      What "fables, myths..." have I offered? And I think Jonson's poem and 'Timber' more than sufficient. You think the former "misleading?" Good luck with that.

      "that it is not reasonable that such an author would not have left a single record, during his lifetime or in the words of anyone who can be positively known him during his lifetime that he was a writer, whose family obviously didn't know he was a writer, etc. when literally two dozen of his contemporaries, some of them the slightest of achievement managed to."

      If you knew how much we don't have from the past, as I do, as I've some educational background in archiving, I would find it very reasonable. As do virtually all historians of the era.

      "It is especially absurd to think that a man who wrote plays which were produced, during his lifetime, COMMERCIAL LITERATURE FROM WHICH MONEY HAD TO HAVE BEEN MADE, would not have left a single business record of the transactions associated with those productions when he left about 70 business records OF EVERYTHING BUT THAT!"

      He sold the plays. He got the pounds. They weren't his any longer. No residuals. No stipend. No annuity. No reason to keep them.

      "It is especially absurd because what evidence that is cited in his favor is either of dubious authenticity or which cannot be tied to the actual man from Stratford."

      Dubious to you. Most scholars don't find it so suspicious. But they do study the whole of the documentary evidence and not pick and choose what to believe based on grabbing their husbands.

      "It's no wonder that even allegedly educated people mistook Tom Stoppard's tripe as biography because most everything in the allegedly scholarly literature about him is equally fictitious."

      Who are these people? I watched 'Shakespeare In Love' for my Shakespeare class but the prof used it to illustrate how inaccurate it was but still charming and entertaining. He reminded us to think of Shakespeare's histories the same way.

      There's a saying about the old critics dying and the new ones taking over. Trouble is, even the new ones don't take Price & Co. seriously, as this theory has been bumping around the edges of academia for over a century and half. They might be intrigued by the idea, but look at the evidence as a whole and go back to their conventional, boring positions.

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  15. I might get around to answering the rest of this later. As to the fables of the Stratford industry, you can start with the "Birthplace" which is almost certainly nowhere Shaksper lived, not to mention having been born there. The "Ann Hathaway cottage" his school career, his "desk" if you will, such fables as his slaughtering calves as he made speeches as a child prodigy, his poaching deer, his "study of the law" his being a country school master, his being a tutor in an aristocratic household, ..... And that doesn't even get us to his alleged literary career. There is his circle of literary friends, his patron who never seems to have left evidence of his patronage, his meeting Queen Elizabeth, her ever mentioning his name or leaving any evidence that she'd ever heard of him, his ribald jest with Richard Berbage over the sexual favors of a lady, etc. Everything that is unconnected to any document that can be securely attached to the Stratford man - who never spelled his name Shakespeare, or even spelled it the same way twice or ever wrote any better than the six signatures or, in fact ever wrote anything else in his life.

    I think plenty of people take Diana Price seriously, Frontline thought she was serious enough to interview her. I saw their earlier program about the authorship question way back in the 1980s. A. L. Rowse and Sam Schoenbaum were blithering idiots by comparison - I'm sure she wouldn't say that, she's a far nicer person than I am but, especially Rowse was an ass. Greenblatt's "biography" is full to the top of baseless speculation presented as history - as I recall he promotes the baseless poaching fable, for crying out loud - and it is considered one of the best of the recent ones. He gives away the Stratfordian industry game when he defends himself by saying, "not the degree of evidence but rather the imaginative life that the incident has". Well, if you're going to make fiction up you should call it fiction as Ros Barber did when she wrote a novel based on the Marlowvian theory.

    I'd rather consider Diana Price's speculations, she presents them as being such and they're far more founded on documentation. You might find evidenced history boring but there's nothing about the truth that requires it be more exciting than the truth. You can look at current American politics to see why that's the case.

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    1. You can't just ignore that the Sonnets aren't one off things collected randomly, they form a sequence that has some kind of story behind it, a story that includes a young man who the author repeatedly, in the early sonnets implores to get married and have an heir, continual allusions to some kind of shame that the author carries which disgraces him, and there is some mysterious lady involved. It is clear that there is a story behind it which isn't revealed. The Sonnets are obviously addressed to people who do understand what the author is talking about but which reads like a cryptic piece of modernist fiction if you don't know the story. The most obviously personal parts of the cycle are those in which the author bemoans his shame and ignominy. That the Stratfordians can't relate the substance of the cycle to anything known about their guy forces them to pretend that they're just abstract and impersonal when they are some of the most crushingly painful and personal statements baring the soul of someone who is in deep pain. For people who, from the most eminent of PhD'd English Lit scholars down to the most banal and dishonest of his "biographers" are seldom hesitant to provide Shaksper with a colorful life based on what "may have been-might have been-probably had-not impossible that was" the Sonnets have got them, again stumped and discounting the meaning that can be had. It is because the Sonnets are so obviously personal that they can't practice their usual fabulation and so are left denying that they have the meaning they so obviously do. It's obvious there's a story there, we just don't know who it's about and don't know what it means though it's clear that anyone who knew who they were would have known.

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    2. "If you knew how much we don't have from the past, as I do, as I've some educational background in archiving, I would find it very reasonable. As do virtually all historians of the era."

      You base an account of reality on what is known, not on what isn't known. What is known is that the name Shake-speare, Shakespeare, etc. was used as a pseudonym by writers, one of a number of writers who didn't want their real name associated to the things they published. Despite what the Stratfordians like to claim, we know that it was not infrequently that the eminent people who wrote non-religious poetry, books on scholarly subjects, serious essays, and certain other classes of works things like poems and commercially produced plays often published them anonymously, under a pseudonym or behind a real person a "Batillus" who agrees to act as a front for them. I think, considering how many of the plays are overtly political - it is very possible that the play Richard II was the one that played such a prominent role in the failed Essex putsch is a prime example - could have gotten ESPECIALLY a nobleman or aristocrat in the same kind of trouble that Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe and even Ben Jonson found themselves in for writing plays and having controversial opinions. It was in the interest of any living aristocratic author who wrote commercial plays or their heirs and families to conceal their identity. Sometimes the absence of information in the archival record is as a result of the intent of those who could have been harmed or shamed by generating the documentation. You can't make that claim for the Stratford man, he wasn't in that class. If, as I would guess, he was known to be illiterate he would have been a perfect person to act as a front because if he were hauled up in front of a court proceeding he could claim he didn't even know what his name was being put on or that he was guilty of cheating an author who he could be sure would never come forward to lodge a complaint. Or he could point out that his name wasn't "Shake-speare" but "Shaksper". If he were paid off to act as a front, it's entirely unlikely that the record of that would be kept to be found. I'm left wishing, IF THAT WERE THE CASE, that such a record did exist just as Stanley Wells is forced to wish, in print that ANY contemporaneous record definitely associating the Stratford man with his alleged literary product existed. But I don't write books taken as scholarship based on what isn't known and I make a clear distinction between supposition and history or biography though I think it is slightly less objectionable when a very, limited amount of it is presented as literary commentary -WHEN IT IS NOTED TO BE SPECULATION OR OTHERWISE NOTED TO NOT BE BASED ON DOCUMENTS WITH A CLEAR OR REASONABLY SECURE PROVENANCE.

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    3. It is reasonable to note when it is unusual that not a single contemporaneous evidence that Shaksper had a literary career survives when they do for 24 of his contemporaries. Even for people whose work is trivia in footnotes of books about theatrical history but not for the most renowned of them all. It is especially true when the literature in question is something which actively had a known commercial value as plays did have, especially plays which hadn't been published or produced and certainly existed only in the author's manuscript. That is why it is unlikely that the 18 plays which were first published in the First Folio which were unproduced would have been held as property by an active theater company. The commercial value of a play lay primarily in the money people paid to hear a performance and then in its publication. I doubt, considering the known value and popularity of a number of the plays which had been produced and published, that works like The Tempest or Twelfth Night (one of the funniest plays ever written) would have gone unproduced or unpublished during the author's lifetime if they were the property of an active, for-profit theater company.

      I think the complete absence of any commercial paper of any kind attaching the Stratford man to the profits gained from the works - paper that exists when the product he made money from was malt - is an excellent indication that such records were never made because he had no connection to them. Even if the various attributions on folios were in some way connected to the Stratford man it is likely that was the extent to which he dared be associated with them, probably because anyone who actually knew him - as many of those who wrote glowingly of the author either certainly or almost certainly didn't - knew he couldn't be the actual author because he was incapable of writing them. That's supposition but its supposition explaining a known fact, that such records as exist for his other commercial transactions DON'T EXIST FOR WHAT WOULD CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE MORE SIGNIFICANT TRANSACTIONS HE COULD HAVE HAD. It certainly accounts for the absence of any mention of unpublished or produced plays or rights to works in his will in which he details what was to happen to his sword and gilt bowl and in which someone included money so that rings could be mad so his supposed friends like Richard Burbage wouldn't forget him. Seven years later Jonson said the author of the works had a monument more significant than one on his grave but the Stratford man who allegedly wrote those works had to rely on a reminder worn like a string on someones' finger. If there is one thing I'm sure of, the author of the plays would have figured they were going to endure like the many works of classical literature the body of works allude to.

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    4. I forget who it was who pointed out that the absence of ANY record of that sort, after the greatest, centuries long search for anything associated with or which could be made to appear to be associated to the Stratford man does constitute evidence of the absence of any such evidence. If you do a thorough search for something and you don't find it, it's more reasonable to believe it's not there than it is to believe it is there. That's the whole problem with the Shaksper man as the author, in what is there to be seen there is no evidence that he was or reasonably could be believed to have been the author. There isn't even good hear-say evidence to support it positively. Jonson's poem and his later criticism are hardly affirmative. My own conclusion at the discrepancy for the difference between the glowing encomium (seven years late for the Stratford man) and the much later critique is that someone who would have been offended by the second one died in the period separating them. Either someone closely connected to the author who might have read it (as neither of his daughters could have) or the author himself who I suspect Jonson was working for in 1623. Though, as I understand it, he also had a patronage relationship with some of those related to De Vere.

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    5. Oh, yes, your question as to evidence that Bacon sold any of the works. If he were trying to cover up his authorship he is hardly likely to have sold any of them or to have generated paper associating himself to them. It's one of the reasons that I would never claim that I knew Bacon (or Oxford or anyone else) was the author "beyond doubt" as the Shakespeare industry does the Stratford man. Even though there is ample evidence that Bacon could have written the works because he was renowned for having the most informed and erudite mind in England and perhaps Europe during his lifetime. And his known literary career was a known and fact during his lifetime and after his death, whereas that of the Stratford man is entirely unevidenced.

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  16. As I mentioned yesterday, I've concluded that the reason the Stratfordians have been able to continue with their fraud is that their Shakespeare of Stratford isn't one real person, he's a large range of invented people with different literary carriers and different biographies, each one invented as its inventor tries to account for this or that or to make stuff up to tell what they think is a good story like Greenblatt says is the best criterion for judging that - even over the documentary record. Like the creators of the various Shakespeares of legend, the readers of that and even the scholars of that tripe pick and choose from all of those quasi-official "Shakespeares" to create their own, personal Shakespeare. As I've mentioned, they don't even care if it is someone whose own author admits, freely is an entirely fictitious creation - in that admission I think Tom Stoppard actually has produced the most responsible of the hundreds, thousands of manakin Shakespeares if only the dopes who saw it knew he'd said that. The least responsible of those is the one sold by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust who still tell the same old lies that Joseph Skipsey couldn't stomach in the 1890s. I've seen footage from the celebrations of the Stratford man's birth mounted by them, it is a revolting thing having about as much to do with the work as the American commercial celebration of Christmas has to the Gospel and Jesus.

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    1. I'm having a lot of trouble seeing this screen, I'm not going to be continuing in this discussion for now. If I want to take it up again I'm going to post a new piece on the issue.

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  17. "As to the fables of the Stratford industry, you can start with the "Birthplace" which is almost certainly nowhere Shaksper..."

    First, using variations on the spelling of his name, a common practice in 16th century England, is just one more way of revealing how little you know about the era.

    Second, I asked, "What 'fables, myths...' have I offered?"

    "I," as in "me." You object to being called an elitist despite their presence and motivation being readily apparent to anyone studying the issue (with Looney and his followers especially) yet often talk about the "Shakespeare Industry" in your replies to my claims you'd think I was a part of it. So, I ask again, what have [b]I[/b] said about the topic that involves fables or myths?

    "I think plenty of people take Diana Price seriously"

    I've no doubt. There are 9/11 Truth books at my library along with those dealing with the authorship question.

    "Frontline thought she was serious enough to interview her."

    They've also interviewed Jenny McCarthy about vaccinations. That doesn't mean she is taken seriously by virologists anymore than Price by literary historians.

    "You might find evidenced history boring"

    I'm not the one proselytizing for a far-reaching conspiracy theory that, despite much of the libel and gossip recorded during the era, was left completely unmentioned by, oh, everyone. For the love of Pete, I've dismissed Greenblatt in this discussion!

    "You can't just ignore that the Sonnets aren't one off things collected randomly, they form a sequence that has some kind of story behind it"

    To what extent it is autobiographical, or made up, or based on people he knew? That is unknown. I can and will continue to argue that point.

    "You base an account of reality on what is known, not on what isn't known."

    Exactly! And we know quartos and the epic poetry was published under his name. We know he is mentioned as an author by sources during and after his lifespan. We know there is ZERO evidence linking Bacon, de Vere, et al. to them in the forms of notes, diaries, asides or correspondence. That's why I don't subscribe to any of those theories.

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    1. "I think plenty of people take Diana Price seriously"

      I've no doubt. There are 9/11 Truth books at my library along with those dealing with the authorship question.

      "Frontline thought she was serious enough to interview her."

      They've also interviewed Jenny McCarthy about vaccinations. That doesn't mean she is taken seriously by virologists anymore than Price by literary historians.

      -----------------

      I had thought you were above that. Diana Price documented every part of her case, she used one set of criteria in all of her assessments of the evidence of a literary career and various other things like the "hand D" claims, she has used one set of standards - standards set by historians, biographers and literary biographers, not invented by her - and she has been moderate and sober in her conclusions, not naming any proposed alternative BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T HAVE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ANY OF THEM. She applies the same standards to that assertion that she does that of the Stratfordians.

      Your association of her with 9-11 and anti-vaxx crackpots is dishonest, a low down practice which, though I'm used to seeing it done by Stratfordians, especially those with bread buttered on that side, I had thought you might be above that.

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    2. I should have added that I don't usually post comments that attack other people but I wanted to say that.

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  18. cont.

    "is very possible that the play Richard II was the one that played such a prominent role in the failed Essex putsch"

    Two problems: 1) The play had been published and performed in 1598, three years before the rebellion, so whoever wrote it must have known via divination not only what was going to happen but how the play would be used in the plot and 2) the play had been published with the author's name attached after an initial 1597 edition without it. Anonymity was the norm, so why attach a name at all?

    "If, as I would guess, he was known to be illiterate"

    I'm going to quote you here: "You base an account of reality on what is known, not on what isn't known"

    Any direct evidence of this? Any mentions of him being so? Did his son-in-law ever say he was illiterate? You mention Dr. Hall never mentions his father was a writer as proof he was not. Gander sauce time again!

    "Or he could point out that his name wasn't "Shake-speare" but "Shaksper."

    That is an anachronism. Spelling was not uniform at the time. Marlowe is referred to as "Marley" by a contemporary. I've repeated this point at least four times that I can remember but you keep insisting that no, spelling was important back then.

    And if that’s all it took to get the authorities off your back, my goodness, Ben Jonson could have just said ‘The Isle of Dogs’ was written by “Ben Johnstone” and spared himself a lot of trouble.

    “It is reasonable to note when it is unusual that not a single contemporaneous evidence that Shaksper had a literary career survives when they do for 24 of his contemporaries.”

    They have evidence of Shakespeare as a writer. Virtually all literary historians think so. You wish to dismiss the quartos and the references from writers like John Davies, that’s all well but you’re like a creationist denying the fossil record.

    Oh, and on March 15th, 1595, the Treasurer of the Queen's Chamber paid "William Kempe William Shakespeare & Richarde Burbage servants to the Lord Chamberleyne" for performances at court. Then, on May 19th, 1603, the LCM were licensed as the King's Men. The document lists among members of the troupe, "Lawrence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage…” So, we have a written record of his involved in the company that put on these plays during his lifetime. We have numerous quartos published during his lifetime that lists him as the author.

    He was clearly a vital part of the company and had the time and job that allowed him to work with the actors as they rehearsed and edited the play for performance.

    We have ZERO evidence placing Francis Bacon in a scenario like that. Just as we have zero evidence Shakespeare or Shaksper or Shaxper or Shaxberd or however you wish to spell it was working as a front or as a play broker. Call me crazy, but I’m basing my account of reality on what is known, not on what isn't known.

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    1. Here is a list of the first quarto printings of Richard II, notice that the first are anonymous and those published during the lifetime of the Stratford man, and for that matter all of the proposed alternative candidates for author, for that matter, use the obvious pseudonimic form "Shake-speare." It was only in 1634 that the form that would indicate an actual name was attached to it. And, note, as well, none of those associate the attribution to the Stratford man Shaksper. As I pointed out somewhere above, there were numerous attributions of things that are almost certainly not by the author of the rest of the works during the same period. I can't believe that the author of Pericles is the same as that of Alls Well that Ends Well or The Merchant of Venice. If the attribution in the quartos to Shake-speare is what you're going to base your claim on - as it so often is - you don't get to ignore that the name was an indication that it wasn't a real name. And there is nothing in the evidence that anyone who knew him associated him with the works during his lifetime. If those attributions were known to be the real person from Stratford there would be no reason for people to not make that association. I think in the case of the ousting of Richard II, obviously a sensitive topic in the Tutor regime, over the various claims to the throne and the legitimacy of Elizabeth, that any attribution would likely have been made with a view to plausible deniability and there isn't any way that could be done more effectively than by indicating an illiterate non-author wrote them.

      Richard II[edit]
      Q1 1597

      THE | Tragedie of King Ri- | chard the se- | cond. | As it hath beene publikely acted | by the right Honourable the | Lorde Chamberlaine his Ser- | uants. | LONDON | Printed by Valentine Simmes for Androw Wise, and | are to be sold at his shop in Paules church yard at | the signe of the Angel. | 1597.

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    2. cont: Q2 1598

      THE | Tragedie of King Ri- | chard the second. | As it hath beene publikely acted by the right Ho- | nourable the Lorde Chamberlaine his | seruants. | By William Shake-speare. | LONDON | Printed by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise, and | are to be sold at his shop in Paules churchyard at | the signe of the Angel. 1598.

      Q3 1598

      THE | Tragedie of King Ri- | chard the second. | As it hath beene publikely acted by the right Ho- | nourable the Lorde Chamberlaine his | seruants. | By William Shake-speare. | LONDON | Printed by Valentine Simmes, for Andrew Wise, and | are to be sold at his shop in Paules churchyard, at | the signe of the Angel. 1598

      Q4 a 1608

      THE | Tragedie of King | Richard the second. | As it hath been publikely acted by the Right | Honourable the Lorde Chamberlaine | his seruantes. | By William Shake-speare. LONDON, | Printed by W. W. for Mathew Law, and are to be | sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at | the signe of the Foxe. | 1608.

      Q4 b 1608

      THE | Tragedie of King | Richard the second: | With new additions of the Parlia- | ment Sceane, | and the deposing | of King Richard. | As it hath been lately acted by the Kinges | Maiesties seruantes, at the Globe. | By William Shake-speare. | AT LONDON, | Printed by W. W. for Mathew Law, and are to | be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, | at the signe of the Foxe. | 1608.

      Q5 1615

      THE | Tragedie of King | Richard the Se- | cond: | With new additions of the Parliament Sceane, | and the deposing of King | Richard. | As it hath been lately acted by the Kinges | Maiesties seruants, at the Globe. | By WILLIAM SHAKE-SPEARE. | At LONDON, | Printed for Mathew Law, and are to be sold | at his shop in Paules Church-yard, | at the | signe of the Foxe. | 1615.

      Q6 1634

      THE | LIFE AND | DEATH OF KING | RICHARD THE | SECOND. | With new Additions of the | Parliament Scene, and the | Deposing of King Richard. | As it hath beene acted by the Kings Majesties | Servants, at the Globe. | By William Shakespeare. | LONDON, | Printed by IOHN NORTON. | 1634.

      The records paid actors or investors, not authors. There is no indication that Kempe or Burbage ever wrote a line, just as there isn't one that the Stratford man did.

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    3. I'm going to quote you here: "You base an account of reality on what is known, not on what isn't known"

      Any direct evidence of this? Any mentions of him being so? Did his son-in-law ever say he was illiterate? You mention Dr. Hall never mentions his father was a writer as proof he was not. Gander sauce time again!

      No it isn't. Dr. Hall wrote about authors he met and knew, all of them nobodies as opposed to the author of the plays and poems. If he had never mentioned any other author in his journals you could make that claim, that he never mentioned his own father-in-law as a writer, a man whose house he lived in, speaks volumes. If you put that together with many other people who either certainly knew or almost certainly knew the Stratford man or who could hardly have avoided knowing another illustrious author lived near them - if such he was - never mentioned him. I think the list of 10 such people that Ramon L. Jiménez listed contains those of stronger and lesser evidentiary strength but put together with everything else that absence of evidence that he had a literary career is overwhelming.

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    4. "Or he could point out that his name wasn't "Shake-speare" but "Shaksper."

      That is an anachronism. Spelling was not uniform at the time. Marlowe is referred to as "Marley" by a contemporary. I've repeated this point at least four times that I can remember but you keep insisting that no, spelling was important back then."

      ----------------------

      On one hand we're talking about a man not knowing how to spell his own name, a man who would have had to have written close to a million words, by hand, with a quill pen on rough paper not being able to write his own name consistently. On the other hand we have what is clearly used as a pseudonym, attacked to many publications that have nothing to do with the body of works in question.

      I think the trouble for any of the various attributions of the works is that there isn't a conclusive case to be made for any of them. The Stratfordian case rests on tradition and invested, self-interested authority and the taboo in academia on holding that it isn't true. I have the same experience that Diana Price did, I really did believe there was more to base the conventional attribution on than there is, than there has been for the entire time that it was made. Actually, it is the weakest of all of the major alternatives in terms of evidence. Bacon, Oxford, Marlowe, just about all of the lesser proposed alternatives have more evidence in their favor, beginning with those who are known to have been literate, had educations and had writing careers. Your guy lacks any evidence of that which isn't either fiction, seriously ambiguous, a stretch, based on nothing but supposition or, in the worst cases, open appeal to the evidentiary value of a good fable.

      If I were going to make assertions about Julius Cesar, Cleopatra, Richard II or III or the Henrys or others who appear in the plays I wouldn't use the plays to make that up out of, I'd look at the evidence appropriate to support my conclusions, I'd change my conclusions if that evidence didn't support them. In the Stratfordian faith the opposite is done, you have something evidenced only in the works, you come up with some fable about the alleged author and turn it into biography. You ignore what really must be true of the author in the works, that he was highly educated, was familiar with the royal courts and law courts, he knew about the classics, and dozens of other things which many of the alternative candidates definitely had in their backgrounds. You don't have to make any of that up for Bacon or Oxford and it's clear that Marlowe probably could have filled in on the basis of his known patrons, friends and associates. There is no evidence at all for that in the Stratford man.

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    5. I listened to a debate among Stratfordians and several anti-Stratfordians. At one point one of the Stratfordians claimed that they stuck close to the evidence whereas the anti-Stratfordians made things up. Which is a hoot considering what at least 9-10ths of the Stratfordian claims are lacking any evidence. Though you can make that claim about many anti-Stratfordians who advocate a specific candidate even there they have more evidence to support what they say in as fact - things like literacy and education and a writing career - than the Stratfordians. One of them made the same idiotic arguments that the Thomas More "hand D" was Shaskper's based on the printed spelling of "Silens" when even the quartos he based that on have variant spellings for the word, that there is no evidence linking the spelling in the printed quartos with the authors manuscript and a hundred other problems with that claim - a claim that virtually the entire Shakespeare industry was making all over the news media last year as a definite fact. The Stratford industry is about as authentic as Trump's The Apprentice. It is, as Henry James suspected, the biggest literary and academic fraud in the history of English letters.

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  19. "On one hand we're talking about a man not knowing how to spell his own name"

    Nothing to do with "knowing how." You're not grasping this: Spelling was not uniform, so any variation could have just been that - a variation perfectly in line with the standards of the time.

    Saying, "Well, he should spell his name consist-" No. You are imposing your own 21st century views on him. Not history.

    "It is, as Henry James suspected, the biggest literary and academic fraud in the history of English letters."

    I would argue "Seed Faith" a deep perversion of Christianity. Doesn't mean Jesus was a fraud.

    Per 'Richard II,' you're ignoring the 1598 and 1604 quartos, which list it as being by "William Shakespeare," on the cover. Of course, they also title it the "Tragedie [sic] of King Richard the Second.'

    Not "tragedy," but "tragedie." You know what. Clearly that's Bacon, whose name is the same as fried pork bellies, and thus the pig has to "DIE" for people to enjoy it, telling us he is the author. I take it all back. That's what happened. No question about it.

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    Replies
    1. I would like an example of an author in that period who spelled his name differently in every one of the signatures written by him is spelled differently. I doubt there is one who wrote it differently six times - three of them on the same document signed the same day ! - and never left examples of two consistent spellings. I think the signatures on the will indicate that either he didn't write them or that the association of sounds and letters meant nothing to him.

      They don't name William Shaksper as the author, they list William Shake-speare as the author. One of the things that we can learn from the six signatures is that there is no evidence he ever, once in his life, hyphenated his last name.

      I find it funny when Stratfordians allude to the excesses of some of the Baconians, not because what they say isn't sometimes accurate, it's because any absurdity of that kind can be more than matched with items from the entirely orthodox Stratfordian assertions. The entire range of fictions - some of them not self-consistent - which have constituted the "scholarship" of Shakespeare. It's a rare Stratfordian who doesn't, sooner or later, cite or defend some bit of tripe in that long history of such nonsense.

      I think Price's book is one of the rare biographies which you can read without gritting your teeth or rolling your eyes, that is if you aren't wedded to the Stratfordian myth. I believe it was in that interview you excerpted to try to discredit her that she notes there are Oxfordians who aren't happy with her because she won't commit to their theory on the basis of not believing they've clinched the deal. I do lean towards Bacon as a credible author because of when Oxford died but I would never claim that there is a reason to assert that attribution can be made in the way that the Stratfordians would. I would certainly reject the idea that Bacon (or Oxford or Marlowe) is the author "beyond doubt" as the Stratford industry put it. I would do so on the same basis that I reject the claim that the Stratford man is the author "beyond doubt" in no small part because the number of those doubts in that case are even more than for Bacon or Oxford or Marlowe (if they can find solid evidence that he faked his death and lived on in Italy). I think the suspicion that he might have faked his death to escape the Star Chamber inquisition is very credible given the particulars of the event and, especially how the court up to and including Elizabeth, seem to have wanted to quash any possibility of the guy who supposedly killed him or others refuting the official verdict that Marlowe had died in an act of self defense by his killer. But unless they can establish he lived on and lived in a place where he would have first hand knowledge of the Italian aspect of the works, their case has to be considered highly speculative. Nevertheless, Marlowe had more documentable qualifications to suspect he was the author than the Stratford broker.

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    2. " You ignore what really must be true of the author in the works, that he was highly educated, was familiar with the royal courts and law courts, he knew about the classics, and dozens of other things which many of the alternative candidates definitely had in their backgrounds."

      Considering how little we know of Shakespeare's background, I'm fine leaving that a mystery. Funny, de Vere, Bacon, Marlowe. Funny, all had severe and powerful enemies who wrote any number of libelous things about them. But nothing about them writing plays other than their official corpus.

      No evidence for any of that, but...what if, right?

      "I would like an example of an author in that period who spelled his name differently in every one of the signatures written by him is spelled differently."

      William Shakespeare.

      "They don't name William Shaksper as the author, they list William Shake-speare as the author. One of the things that we can learn from the six signatures is that there is no evidence he ever, once in his life, hyphenated his last name."

      Yes, and he likely had nothing to do with the printing of those quartos. What is your point? Those unscrupulous publishers should have gotten it right?

      "than the Stratford broker."

      There is far more evidence he was a writer than there is he was a broker.

      Just saying.

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    3. Well, in the case of Christopher Marlowe they wouldn't have had to accuse him of being a playwright or poet, he never concealed that he was one. And De Vere was accused of being the best writer of comedies, if I recall during his lifetime. Even Stratfordians will admit that De Vere was a playwright of comedies, they just claim that none of them survived - as so many in Henslowe's diary that doesn't' mention Shaksper listed haven't. And, as I noted the other day, during his lifetime by people who knew him Bacon was known to be involved in theatrical productions even of writing dramatic texts. I think the request he made to the court of King James for materials related to Henry VIII clearly indicate that he was known as a playwright, I think the material he wrote from that ended up in that sort of strange play that is included in the canon of "the bard". The one who no one accused directly of being a playwright during his lifetime is anyone who can be positively known to have known the Stratford man.

      I think the claim that the Stratford man, Shaksper, would have allowed the publication of plays to which he had a right, either as the author or as an investor in the theatrical company that had rights to them is absurd. He was the man who would sue people for a shilling when he was rich, he is hardly likely to have been a helpless bystander as other people profited from stealing what would be his property. There is absolutely no evidence he was a writer, there is documentary evidence from his lifetime that he was a broker. He was prosecuted for hoarding grain during a grain shortage - a famine, some believe - waiting for a price rise so he could sell for a larger profit, he dealt in malt and other commodities. He was certainly a money lender and a real estate investor. Records of his brokerage in commodities survive. If there were something dodgy about his brokerage in plays it's less likely that there would be records of it. That's one explanation of why records of play-brokerage might be missing. Another is that, indeed, he didn't have anything to do with the publication of the quartos and that the people who did used the pseudonym of the person who did write them and they published it in a form which would be known to indicate that it was a pseudonym associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war and the arts. That no one seems to have spelled the Stratford man's name that way in documents that definitely refer to him might indicate that. I forget who it was who claimed that the use of hyphenated names in that period was exclusive to pseudonyms. I don't know if that's true or not, having never looked far into it, have you?

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    4. "Even Stratfordians will admit that De Vere was a playwright of comedies, they just claim that none of them survived - as so many in Henslowe's diary that doesn't' mention Shaksper listed haven't."

      De Vere is listed as being a writer in some instances in the same documents that list Shakespeare as being one. Ergo, his proponents insist he did so because he had something to hide. We have many claims made about him by contemporaries, some quite unsavory. That he was secretly writing Shakespeare? Nope.

      "during his lifetime by people who knew him Bacon was known to be involved in theatrical productions even of writing dramatic texts."

      But he didn't want to take credit for 'Romeo and Juliet,' 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' 'Twelfth Night' or any of the other innocuous comedies? Or the severe tragedies? The "controversial" histories you could argue he wanted anonymity, but why the apolitical texts? If you wish to make that case you have to explain the "why."

      "The one who no one accused directly of being a playwright during his lifetime is anyone who can be positively known to have known the Stratford man."

      Accuse him of the obvious? How many people accused the Archbishop of Canterbury of being a religious man?

      "I think the claim that the Stratford man, Shaksper, would have allowed the publication of plays to which he had a right, either as the author or as an investor in the theatrical company that had rights to them is absurd."

      He had no rights to them. None. You are imagining 20th century copyright laws being in existence in 16th century Great Britain. Might as well wonder why he didn't have a blog.

      He didn't own the plays. Why are you so insistent on denying this or pretending you knew what he would do with his work?

      Here's Bob Dylan on file sharing, "Why not? They [the songs] ain't worth nothing anyway."

      "He was the man who would sue people for a shilling when he was rich, he is hardly likely to have been a helpless bystander as other people profited from stealing what would be his property."

      Not his property.

      "There is absolutely no evidence he was a writer, there is documentary evidence from his lifetime that he was a broker."

      That he was a broker? What documents are you referring to that prove he was a broker of plays?

      "That no one seems to have spelled the Stratford man's name that way in documents that definitely refer to him might indicate that."

      Spelling was not uniform at the time. Why are you so insistent on this point, yet again?

      "I forget who it was who claimed that the use of hyphenated names in that period was exclusive to pseudonyms. I don't know if that's true or not, having never looked far into it, have you?"

      I know 1) there are numerous examples of his name spelled without a hyphen and 2) I've heard just as reasonable arguments that hyphens were used if the typeface was brittle and multiple syllabled words that featured letters with long tales were hyphenated to prevent breakage.

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    5. "But he didn't want to take credit for 'Romeo and Juliet,' 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' 'Twelfth Night' or any of the other innocuous comedies?"

      The difference between a not-for-profit court drama or masque and a for-profit theatrical production made the first considered suitable for an aristocrat and the second unsuitable. It was also a difference between the productions in the Inns of Court and commercial theaters.

      "Accuse him of the obvious? How many people accused the Archbishop of Canterbury of being a religious man?"

      He had no rights to them. None. You are imagining 20th century copyright laws being in existence in 16th century Great Britain. Might as well wonder why he didn't have a blog.

      "He didn't own the plays. Why are you so insistent on denying this or pretending you knew what he would do with his work?


      They didn't praise him as one, either. Not even those who had a demonstrated personal relationship with him who were capable of writing about it."

      You keep noting that he was an investor in a theater company, making even more it it than that. As an investor in a company he had an interest in any plays they had available to them for production. If he had the manuscripts of the plays which had never been produced they had whatever value they represented in ungiven productions or publications. The Stratford man sued people over a shilling, for crying out loud. If he had the unproduced, unpublished plays they were certainly of more value than that.

      I think I've answered the other points already.

      Let's agree that we are going to disagree on this, it would save us both a lot of time. Until you can come up with something that hasn't yet been found tying the Stratford man with either a personal history that would prepare him to have written the plays and poems or something that could tie him, directly, to having had a career as a writer I'm not going to be convinced.

      I doubt that if proof positive was produced to tie one of the alternative candidates to the plays and poems it would move the Stratford faith or, even more so, the Shakespeare industry to admit that it is there. As I have pointed out the first part of that is literally true for all the major candidates, having the background, including as a writer, people attributing works to them during their lifetimes, etc. than the Stratford man does.

      Delete
  20. "Your association of her with 9-11 and anti-vaxx crackpots is dishonest, a low down practice which, though I'm used to seeing it done by Stratfordians, especially those with bread buttered on that side, I had thought you might be above that."

    You are arguing she is "taken seriously." Not by literary historians or other figures in the field. On the contrary, the people you cite as supporting your side are uniformly NOT involved in historical research. Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Derek Jacobi, Henry James, et al. Not one historian amongst them. Believe it or not, there are members of academia who are 9/11 Truthers. Jesse Ventura, who regardless of his other credentials, was the Governor of the State of Minnesota, is a 9/11 Truther. Just because some famous people take her seriously does not mean her views are by anyone in that field of study.

    Popularity and fame do not makes their theories any more valid or weighted. Similarly, that the authors of 'Huck Finn' and 'The Interpretation of Dreams' finds anti-Stratfordianism convincing does nothing to support the cause ipso facto anymore than appearing on 'Frontline' gives her research a gravitas it simply doesn't have amongst historians of that era.

    Because here's the thing, regardless of the tastefulness of the position, I've found virtually all conspiracy theories hinge on a matrix of selective investigation and backwards reasoning. Price does this in her research. It's just a fact.

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    1. I think anyone who makes up fables, repeats fables and promotes fables as fact, who doesn't stick to a rigorous reading of and understanding of the primary documentary record has ceased to practice history and are writing biografiction. It's rich for a Stratfordian to complain about the credentials of those who have studied the issue enough to realize that the conventional "Shakespeare" is based on an entirely inadequate line of evidence and what is clearly contradicted by such facts as no one who knew Shaskper ever said he was the author of the plays and poems until Ben Jonson (with all of the incidental facts surrounding his involvement) started that tradition seven years after the Stratford man was safely dead and unable to prove a contradiction of the claims made on his behalf.

      Not to mention that you'd think a Stratfordian would realize how he was laying himself open to someone bringing up the serious lack of credentials to have written the plays in their guy. If there was someone who was a rank amateur, it is the various "Shakespeares" created by even those with university granted credentials to be the author. For crying out loud, Greenblatt works at friggin' Harvard and he got away with some totally ahistorical crap in that book and at least one of his others.

      Hugh Trevor-Roper, the historian, expressed skepticism not that much different from my own, though I'd guess he might have tempered it, not wanting to be labeled a crackpot. If you look at the signatories of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, many of the signatories are professional historians and many others have written academically on historical aspects of history of literature and biography.


      I don't think I mentioned Sigmund Freud, did I, I don't usually because his psychologizing doesn't strike me as a fact-based line of argument.

      Diana Price is very careful to note when she is making speculations and that those should not be taken as fact. As I mentioned, that is the exact opposite of the typical practice of the conventional Shakespeare industry, both its academic and its popular sides. I won't post any more comments that I believe falsely malign her. That she did what no one else seems to have thought of doing - DOCUMENTING HER ASSERTIONS EVERY STEP OF THE WAY AND IN GREAT DETAIL - is all the more remarkable considering she is not a professional historian. But, then, the professionals didn't seem to think of doing the research she did. If I were on a doctoral committee and she presented her book as her Dissertation I'd argue that she more than deserved one for the quality and originality of her research.

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    2. "It's rich for a Stratfordian to complain about the credentials of those who have studied the issue enough to realize that the conventional "Shakespeare" is based on an entirely inadequate line of evidence and what is clearly contradicted by such facts as no one who knew Shaskper ever said he was the author of the plays and poems"

      Because we look at the information as a whole, and not merely select and given weight to what best fits our theory. Numerous quartos printed with his name on them, multiple entries by officials of the era listing him as being part of the company that performed those plays, references to him as a writer during his lifetime. Your response to the last is especially strange because you argue only people who it can proved knew him directly should count in that regard. Do you have any idea how much history would be discarded if we only gave credence to people who "knew" the participants involved?

      This is why what Price does isn't taken seriously by actual academics - she refuses to accept that they look at the whole of the data and not merely those she's deemed worthy of consideration.

      You wish to argue Shakespeare was a play broker? OK, let's see the evidence. Documentation, testimony, asides, anything!

      We have references to Shakespeare as a writer from NUMEROUS sources of the period. John Davies, Leonard Digges, Edmund Howes, William Basse, John Heminges and Henry Condell.

      'Venus and Adonis' was published by Stratford native Richard Field, with a dedication to the Earl of Southampton signed "William Shakespeare."

      Considering this was before the plays were published, why did Bacon grab him as a front back then? And what was wrong with epic poetry that made him want to not be seen as the author?

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    3. I think I've been careful to note which ideas I've talked about are speculative and which are not.

      If you mean the Hemings and Condell material in the front of the First Folio, the evidence that they wrote it is extremely weak. I think it's been believed to have, actually, been written by Ben Jonson for a long time.

      I think your claim that Diana Price isn't taken seriously by actual academics is unfounded. I don't think it would even be accurate to say that she's taken as not being seriously by Stratfordians as they are the ones who have made the most irresponsible of attacks against her.

      I didn't say that anything but personal evidence is worthless, I said it wasn't as strong as personal, first-hand witness made during the lifetime of the author, preferably close to events. Again, those aren't my standards, they aren't the standards of Diana Price, they are the standards of serious history and biography. As I mentioned somewhere in this, her article on "hand D" showed that similar standards were followed in making the attribution of "hand E" to Thomas Dekker but were violated in making the claim that the Stratford man wrote "hand D". The arguments making the claim for the "hand D" section as being the Stratford man's writing are some of the most appallingly bad ones I've ever seen based on claims of similar letter formation from six skimpy samples which date from decades after the manuscript is believed to have been made, based on claims about handwriting such as even real experts in handwriting have refuted as entirely off-base, ridiculous claims about a preferred spelling of the word "Silence" based, not on an actual manuscript claimed for the Stratford man but a printed quarto, typeset by who knows who, accurately or inaccurately reproducing the spelling from a manuscript by who knows who or what relation any of the copies involved in that line of transmission had with the original by the original author. Yet, as we can remember from spring of last year, it is an absolute assertion of fact by the highest levels of the Shakespeare industry that that section of the play is by the Stratford man.

      Virtually every single claim about his authorship, including the claims that "Shake-speare" is actually Shaksper is based on similar lines of nonsense. Putting that together with what is objectively known about the man, the actual records he left and the fact that there is no record of education or experience which would give him the material out of which the plays are written leaves him, as I said, the least credible of the major candidates of authorship.

      Based on that your claims about the scholastic integrity and excellence of the Stratfordians as opposed to anti-Stratfordians - especially those of us who don't claim positive evidence of authorship by an alternative candidate - is hogwash.

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    4. "If you look at the signatories of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, many of the signatories are professional historians and many others have written academically on historical aspects of history of literature and biography."

      Yes, and if you look at some of the 9/11 Truth documents, they are signed not just by individuals Alex Jones thinks are too crazy to associate with but many mainstream academics and professionals.

      Just as with Shakespeare, this doesn't prove anything, and if their positions are not uniform, which they are not, you're conflating people who doubt the esoteric reading of the plays some scholars insist they possess with those who claim Shakespeare wrote none of the works credited to him.

      Doubting the former is a reasonable position, the latter is another kettle of fish.

      "I said it wasn't as strong as personal, first-hand witness made during the lifetime of the author, preferably close to events."

      But we have SO MUCH of it, the only reasonable explanation is that everyone and their mother must have been in on the conspiracy, but no one ever bothered to mention it during the lifetime of the author.

      I'm talking direct, unambiguous declarations. Not the same esoteric super special reading you rail against the other side for indulging this.

      And it's all made doubly frustrating. You are associating me and my position (simple - Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare) with some of the thinner claims of Stratfordians.

      To further the 9/11 Truth comparison, it's one thing to question the Bush administration's preparations and response to the attacks. But that's not the same thing as saying they planned and carried them out. Imagine arguing the former and then having someone bring up the latter.

      "The arguments making the claim for the "hand D" section as being the Stratford man's writing are some of the most appallingly bad ones I've ever seen"

      Like this! I've never mentioned Hand D, but you continually try to argue it is not Shakespeare. A claim I've NEVER made!!! It's one of many examples.

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    5. "Yes, and if you look at some of the 9/11 Truth documents, they are signed not just by individuals Alex Jones thinks are too crazy to associate with but many mainstream academics and professionals."

      Oh, and considering some of the people who believe that there is no questioning the authorship of the Stratford man, those who live in glass houses should be careful of making that kind of an argument. Especially when those include people who believe that making up a biography out of wishful thinking for someone is an act of scholarship. Actually, that pretty much describes the Stratfordian orthodoxy.

      "We have SO MUCH of it" no you don't, not from people who can be documented as having known the Stratford man, not from people who didn't make highly ambiguous statements hinting at a connection between the author and the Stratford man.

      It's rather strange for someone who wants to associate anti-Stratfordians with the anti-vaxxers and Alex Jones fans and 9-11 skeptics to complain that I'm trying to associate him with the "thinner" claims of Stratfordians in so far as almost all of the Shakespeare industry is based on the thinnest of claims, made up generations after if not centuries after the Stratford man died. That's especially true for those of us who are not making a claim of certainty for any other candidate.

      I pointed out that the kind of practice that is made to pass off "hand D" as a definite example giving the Stratford man a manuscript connection to the writing profession that he completely lacks, otherwise, are not the practice of judging the authorship or even penmanship of other people, it is an example of the kind of double standard in judgement which the entire enterprise of the Shakespeare industry is based in. It is an example and considering the sales job the Stratford industry did on that matter last year, it's one that deserves to stand as the quintessential example of the kind of scholarship the orthodox Stratfordian POV is based in. It is as phony as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust theme park, complete with "birthplace" "Ann Hathaway's Cottage" and the rest of it. It is all a fraud and I don't see much in the way of orthodox Stratfordian reform or its own practices which are an open scandal.

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    6. "Oh, and considering some of the people who believe that there is no questioning the authorship of the Stratford man, those who live in glass houses should be careful of making that kind of an argument."

      But you are arguing with ME, not the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Or Stephen Greenblatt. Or Stanley Wells. Yet you continually bring up a point I myself have voiced disapproval of!

      Imagine saying, "I think the Bush administration handled the September 11th Attacks abominably" and having someone bring up Jesse Ventura and thermite?

      "made up generations after if not centuries after the Stratford man died."

      Again, you're insisting that by accepting Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare I am somehow also arguing for the authenticity of his desk at the Edward VI School For Boys.

      I don't care about the "Shakespeare Industry," and don't think it invalidates the base facts of the issue just because of the crass commercialization of his work.

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    7. You're the one who has compared people to anti-vaxxers, 9-11 conspiracy mongers, etc. it's a favorite tactic of the Stratfordians, they're still snarking about Delia Bacon who was widely respected by people such as Emerson, Poe, Whitman and Hawthorne as well as many other intellectuals of the time. I strongly suspect she never went mad but that was the excuse her brother, who was always trying to interfere in her personal life, made for making her come back from England. I looked at some of her writing, she wasn't the terrible writer that people who have never looked at her writing have been led to believe. It's out of style now but it was typical then. Her speculations about cyphers in the texts isn't any worse than the fable spinning of the Stratfordians.

      Like it or not, the nonsense of the Birthplace Trust and people like Greenblatt and Stanley Wells, Alan Nelson, Sam Schoenbaum and a host of others ARE the established Stratfordian viewpoint. So is are the people who peddled the certainty of the "hand D" section of Thomas More last year. The academic taboo on questioning the authorship of the Stratford man is part and parcel of the Shakespeare industry, it's such people who pen the most nonsense about this issue.

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    8. "You're the one who has compared people to anti-vaxxers, 9-11 conspiracy mongers, etc."

      You argued Price was taken seriously because she appeared on 'Nightline.' I pointed out that anti-vaccination spokesmen have also appeared on that program. You cannot use a superficial fact as proof of something more significant and then become upset when this is pointed out to you.

      You argue she has written a book, and famous people support the theory she does, and I pointed out the same thing can be said of 9/11 Truthers.

      You have been comparing me to the "Shakespeare Industry" from the very first, so it's dishonest to say you're doing so only because I mentioned the other fringe positions (and, like it or not, yes, anti-Stratfordianism is a such a stance) and noted their similar style of presenting their case.

      "Delia Bacon who was widely respected by people such as Emerson, Poe, Whitman and Hawthorne as well as many other intellectuals of the time."

      And there you go again. Were any of those people literary historians? No. They weren't. And that's the key. Popularity and respect within one's chosen field of study doesn't make one an expert in another.

      "I strongly suspect she never went mad but that was..."

      I think her wanting to dig up corpses probably had a lot to do with that. And thinking "honorificabilitudinitatibus" was a code, and not the pretentious ravings a pompous character.

      Remember, Costard said that, not Shakespeare.

      "The academic taboo on questioning the authorship of the Stratford man is part and parcel of the Shakespeare industry, it's such people who pen the most nonsense about this issue."

      But you are arguing my points by bringing up others' nonsense while offering no plausible theory of your own. As Fr. Copleston noted, "If one refused to sit at the chess board and make a move, one cannot, of course, be checkmated."

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    9. "'We have SO MUCH of it' no you don't, not from people who can be documented as having known the Stratford man,"

      A-ha, but that is an asterisk you are adding. I never claimed that the documentation we possess came from people who it can be documented knew him personally and the vast majority of historians don't take that as discrediting the existing evidence we do possess. You are applying your own standards to this situation that historians do not.

      And this is why the subject is taboo amongst academics. Summed up, your case is, "There is no evidence Shakespeare was a writer provided you ignore all the evidence that he was a writer because we don't know the people who called him a writer knew him personally."

      The irony, of course, is even if they were best buds with Will, he was a front for another writer, and apparently so successful at it that even if they did mention it, you'd probably dismiss it by insisting they didn't sit and watch him write his plays!

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    10. I'll let you have the last words though I can certainly answer everything you've said. Though I will bet you that unless what's looking ever more unlikely with every passing year and desperation moves like the selling of "hand D" last year, finding positive contemporaneous evidence of someone who knew the Stratford man associating him with a writing career, Diana Price's research will stand as some of the best ever done on the issue, your continual refusal to admit the quality of her work and its importance has veered into the typical methods of pseudo-skeptical debunkery instead of refutation. I won't post any more comments doing that.

      If someone can't be shown to have known who "Shakespeare" was what they say about him and his association to the plays is merely talking about a name and what the work is, it isn't about the Stratford man. It also isn't about any of the other candidates (all with more PROVEN qualifications to suspect they may have been the author instead of the Stratford man) unless they knew who that was. I suspect Ben Jonson did, I suspect he was under the patronage of the author or the author's family and that he had a very strong motive for covering up what they didn't want concealed. I do think that the death of someone who he had not wanted to offend in the First Folio material, including the stuff allegedly by the two actors, explains why he was able to be more candid late in his life taking a slightly more Shavian view of the works. As a playwright who knew his way around a theater, Jonson would have certainly known that, for example, Hamlet as a play would have had to be cut down for production. His preface poem about the "portrait" is so obviously saying that the face was not the author and that the author wasn't found in that image that it should have set off a round of guessing like trying to figure out who wrote Primary Colors did in the 1990s. And it did, eventually, after whoever wanted to be concealed was long, long dead and so was Jonson.

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  21. "Dr. Hall wrote about authors he met and knew, all of them nobodies as opposed to the author of the plays and poems."

    Did Dr. Hall ever mention the plays?

    If he did and didn't mention "my father-in-law wrote them," that raises a good question. But if he did not mention the plays, no reason to name drop.

    "I listened to a debate among Stratfordians and several anti-Stratfordians. At one point one of the Stratfordians claimed that they stuck close to the evidence whereas the anti-Stratfordians made things up. Which is a hoot"

    Why do you keep bringing this shit up to me? I offer a perfectly reasonable argument without any extrapolation and you shift to telling me about Wells or Greenblatt or whomever and what they did once. I don't have anything to do with them!

    I have provided you with, contrary to your claim, two quartos published during Shakespeare's lifetime of 'Richard II' which list him as the author. Not merely part of the company. You bringing up those without his name don't discredit those that do.

    I have shown that he was a member of the LCM.

    I have explained how dramas were created back then. By that I mean in a manner utterly foreign and alien to Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams or any other 20th century dramatist, thus making all comparisons of their writing away from a company a worthless analogy regarding the creation process.

    I have shown there were references made during his lifetime to him as a writer and numerous published works which list him thusly.

    I have Ben Jonson praising him in prose and poem.

    If you wish to convincingly argue your position to me, you must make the case that Bacon wrote the plays by 1) offering some type of evidence he employed a front to publish them, 2) demonstrate he was an active member of the LCM, enough to know and work with the actors, especially the young boys playing female parts, 3) stop talking about the baseless claims I haven't made or support.

    As I've said, I know little about Shakespeare's life save the facts I've mentioned above. If you wish to argue he wasn't a member of the company, that he wasn't referred to as a writer by NUMEROUS sources during and after his life, that he was illiterate, you must prove it with data, not questions about his education or his marriage or his signature or his will and what it didn't include.

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    1. "Did Dr. Hall ever mention the plays?

      If he did and didn't mention "my father-in-law wrote them," that raises a good question. But if he did not mention the plays, no reason to name drop."

      He talked about the poet and playwright Michael Drayton, one of his patients, he talked about other people he knew and treated and their literary and intellectual achievements, one he noted was merely the compiler of a Latin - English dictionary. Hall lived in New Place, Shaksper's home during the last decade and more of his life, with Shaksper's daughter Susanna and his widow, Anne. His extant notebooks begin a number of years before the death of his father-in-law and he lived for several decades after that, well after Shakespeare was a famous poet and playwright, allegedly the focus of a monument announcing him as an unparalleled poet of the English language, someone who present day Stratfordians claim was called the equivalent of Socrates and Virgil something he'd have seen whenever he went into the church. That is if he didn't know better, he would be intimately associated with one of the greatest figures in England, living in his house, with his widow, having a child with his daughter, in a town which allegedly knew the "sweet" the "gentle" Shaksper as a great writer - that is unless they knew he couldn't have been because he was, actually, a rather money grubbing semi-illiterate who could barely draw out the letters of his own name and who would sue them for a shilling while refusing to pay debts his wife had incurred while he was off in London.

      By far the best explanation of why Hall and everyone else who actually knew the man didn't seem to notice they had the greatest genius of English literature in their midst is that they knew him not to be. That is the question.

      As Ramon L. Jiménez noted in his article, "10 Eyewitnesses Who Saw Nothing: Shakespeare’s Life" you could explain one or a few people who knew him or who lived close enough to him who would have known who he was if he were the greatest writer of the English language - which, by the death of Hall, the author of those works was said to be over and over again, mostly by people who certainly had no first hand knowledge of the real author, that someone who knew him would certainly have noted they knew him. In the absence of that evidence for so many people who could have given it the best explanation is that it's evidence that they all knew the Stratford broker was no poet or playwright. There would certainly have been no reason for his family to avoid an association with the works and every reason for them to want to profit from them if they could.

      I have made so many arguments on these points there is little reason to keep repeating them.

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    2. Here is how Jiménez concludes his article:

      To sum up: we have the literary remains of ten different eyewitnesses, eight of whom must have come into contact with William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon—or should have if he were the actor and playwright we are told he was—and two who met his daughter Susanna. If two or three of these ten eyewitnesses had failed to associate the well-known playwright with the man bearing the same name in Stratford-upon-Avon, it would not be worth mentioning. But none of these ten, all of whom left extensive written records, apparently connected the man they knew, or the daughter of that man, with the well-known playwright.
      We can be sure that if any one of these ten people had, just once, referred to William Shakespeare of Stratford as a playwright, or if his name had appeared in Henslowe’s Diary, just once, as being paid for a play, then those who reject the Stratford theory would have a lot of explaining to do. In fact, there is no record of anyone associating Shakespeare of Stratford- upon-Avon with playwrighting or any other kind of writing until the questionable front matter of the First Folio seven years after his death. Instead, the facts support the argument that the name Shakespeare was the pseudonym of a concealed author who did not write for money, did not sell his plays to playing companies or publishers, and was indifferent to their appearance in print.

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      That is a far better argument than anything I've heard from any Stratfordian on these subjects.

      No quarto of Richard II published during his lifetime or after positively identifies the Stratford man, Wm. Shaksper as the author of the play. They carry a name which was used as a pseudonym which was used to publish other works. The first two publications of the play were anonymous. Just a the first publication of Venus and Adonis was registered as an anonymous work.

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    3. I don't think you can come up with something that hasn't already been answered, generally with evidence drawn from the documentary record of the man's life which can positively be associated with him. It is funny, just as those 10 people who either knew the Stratford man or his daughter never noted they'd been in contact with the greatest author of the age - as the author certainly was known as being by the date of the Second Folio - or his daughter, it's remarkable that all of the contemporaneous documentation used to claim is authorship can't be positively associated with the Stratford man.

      I think there was some kind of decision made by the real author, Bacon or Oxford or someone, that they and their family shouldn't be associated with plays and poems on topics not within the proper range of activities for members of his class. I think it's entirely possible that knowing the pseudonym with all of its classical associations to Athena and that there was a shifty play broker with a similar name, when it came time to publish them in folio - as Jonson had done his own works several years earlier - he told either Bacon or whoever wrote it or their heirs (who are far more likely to have had the unpublished and especially the unpublished-unproduced plays than two actors who certainly would have produced them for profit) that he could put up a false front that would deflect attention from the real author so he created the front material, certainly his own poem and the preface by the two actors, perhaps more of it, and he'd certainly have been in a position to organize other writers to contribute to the dodge -knowingly or unwittingly. I think he was the one who planned the whole operation surrounding the First Folio and I think it is related to his exact, contemporaneous work with Francis Bacon in translating his English work into Latin for publication. I really do think the line about little Latin and less Greek was a teasing joke to his current patron who obviously didn't feel his Latin composition was up to the task. I think Bacon's death or the death of whoever it would have offended, explains the difference in town between his First Folio poem and his later, harsher statement about wishing the author had crossed out many lines. Which, by the way, is exactly the kind of thing someone who is translating a text sometimes wishes as they have to try to figure out how to make the transfer of the contents and form of it. Bacon didn't write Hemingway style English.

      But I admit that's all conjecture because even if it's true, the people involved were brilliant and they at the very least gave none of it away explicitly nor would they have. Even Jonson in his last years would have looked bad if he'd admitted having been in on a literary fraud that by that time had gained a life of its own.

      I'm not going to respond anymore to this, just now.

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