Talk:Chronology of Shakespeare's plays

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Theatre (Rated List-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Theatre, a WikiProject dedicated to coverage of theatre on Wikipedia.
To participate: Feel free to edit the article attached to this page, join up at the project page, or contribute to the project discussion.
 List  This article has been rated as List-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Shakespeare (Rated List-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Shakespeare, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of William Shakespeare on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 List  This article has been rated as List-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

Early histories (Henry VI plays)[edit]

Isn't the currently dominant view that 2H6 (The First Part of the Contention) is the earliest play entirely or partly written by Shakespeare? I think it is widely accepted that the histories were arranged in the First Folio in historical sequence to form consistent tetralogies rather than according to the chronology of their creation. Since the article aims to present "the plays in the generally accepted order" (a highly questionable aim in itself, since much in this case is still generally controversial rather than "generally accepted") I suggest editing to the following order: 2H6, 3H6, 1H6. Are there any objections?S.Camus 09:10, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that is absolutely correct, and more generally this list needs citations, since, as you say, much of it is open to debate. The Singing Badger 11:22, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I think I'd agree that the currently dominant view is that 1H6 postdated 2H6 and 3H6. I don't think it necessarily follows that it was the first play. I'm sure I can source people who think TGV is in pole position, for example. AndyJones 13:17, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, really we need to dig out the evidence for this stuff. There's a reason why 1H6 is believed to postdate the other two; let's state more reasons in this article. It's too vague at the moment. The Singing Badger 17:51, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with AndyJones. The Taming of the Shrew, among others, has also been proposed as earliest. On the whole, it is significantly less tricky to order Shakespeare plays within a single genre than across genres, so even though 2H6 may not be number one, it may still be considered as the first of the three Henry VI plays and probably of the histories too. Does that mean this entry should feature two chronologies: one genre by genre and a more tentative general one? S.Camus 18:41, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that splitting by genre would help. Still, listing the chronology remains a fundamentally flawed aim, since many of the plays are so vaguely and uncertainly dated that a simple list gives a misleading sense of clarity. It's a tricky problem needing an imaginative solution! The Singing Badger 18:55, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I would chuck the precise dates. Something like The Two Gentlemen of Verona, for example, is dated anywhere from 1589 to 1594, depending on what book you read, with I think recent opinion gravitating toward the earlier end. Right now the article just says "1594," without even a circa to imply a smidgen of hedging & doubt. Hedge, people! We've got to go wobbly. I think having two chronologies like S. Camus suggested is a great idea. Eupolis 19:51, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Edward III?[edit]

Why isn't this listed in the misattribution section? john k (talk) 21:06, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree the play should be listed in this article, but with the most recent analysis by Vickers, combined with earlier scholars, as well as Sams, it should probably be listed under the Possible Collaborations section. Also, according to the play's article here on WP, "In the Textual Companion to the Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare, Gary Taylor states that "of all the non-canonical plays, [Edward III] has the strongest claim to inclusion in the Complete Works" (the play was subsequently edited by William Montgomery and included in the second edition of the Oxford Complete Works, 2005). Smatprt (talk) 06:15, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Fringe chronology[edit]

This material does not belong in this article. Please see WP:DUE, WP:OR, and WP:ONEWAY.

To answer your question, I would have the references support each sentence of this in a prominent manner while discussing the chronology of Shakespeare's plays, i.e. not en passant while mainly discussing some other related topic. You really need to learn what reliable sources are. You can't use a passing mention as a reference. See here: [1], "Article statements generally should not rely on unclear or inconsistent passages nor on passing comments."

"While most scholars have adopted a generally accepted order (see below), many dates continue to be debated and all dates should be taken as highly speculative. A number of orthodox scholars, as well as many anti-Stratfordian researchers (so called because they argue that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was the author of the Shakespearean canon, disagree with the conventional dating (dissenting view: Chronology of Shakespeare's plays – Oxfordian).[1][2][3][4]"

So take each sentence and quote the supporting text from each source. Otherwise, stop reverting. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

It seems misleading to suppress this information. The reader needs to know that this chronology is not universally supported by scholars. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:22, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Your complaint is with Wikipedia policy. The information is not being suppressed; it has its place in the Oxfordian article. The chronology is actually argued among Shakespearean scholars, but a general consensus has developed, and in any case the fact that Shakespeareans do not agree on every detail is no argument that someone else wrote the plays. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:31, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
That argument is not being made. If that is not clear then I have no problem tweaking the sentence to make that clarification. And providing more sources should also not be a problem. But this is an example of what is becoming an issue - you are requiring sources for statements that do not require them. You know perfectly well that the chronology of the plays is a key ingredient in the great majority of authorship debates. You also know that the issue has been responded to by every major stratfordian critic - Matus even has an entire chapter on it. You are well studied in authorship matters, so you are aware of all this. Demanding sources is required for "controversial" and potentially untrue statements. This is not the case here and you know this. So to "take each sentence and quote the supporting text from each source", as you demand, is simply overkill. As I said though, providing some additional sources will not be difficult, but at some point in our dispute resolution, there needs to be a discussion about what material really needs sourcing and what does not. Smatprt (talk) 15:52, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Every contentious statement requires sources. And as I said, sources that mention the topic only in passing (suach as the Newsweek article) are not acceptable. And yes, you need to support every statement with a quote from the sources, because your statements are not in them. You seem to think you can google up any web site using a few terms and that should be good enough. I concede that it's good enough for most anti-Stratfordians, but Wikipedia standards are somewhat higher. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:31, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I have begun referencing now. I ref'd to Sams for the first statement and supplied the requested quote, and Matus for the last (quote coming). I ref to Newsweek for the word "revisionist" but Matus covers the rest.Smatprt (talk) 20:18, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Where's the attempt to justify[edit]

On talk the injection of this mostly amateuyrish speculation. Anyone vaguely familiar with the full range of Shakespearean scholarship will understand that the mainstream has no real fixed conviction on the dating of most pieces, controversy is continuous. I see no need to throw in junk from the quarterbaked speculative trivia of non-university self-published, or website based, or newspaper article sourced, theories. This 'dissent' is from identifiably fringe sources, and unless one can bolster the argument with arguments from maverick scholars of some standing like Sams, it shouldn't be here.SSilvers habitually reverts without giving solid argued grounds, as though an edit summary of his viewpoint were sufficient justification. There are serious wikipedian principles at stake, or under challenge, and as an administrator you should take them more seriously. Nishidani (talk) 20:06, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Look, you are continually playing as if the fringe theory were not such, and therefore, on the strength of one or two newspaper articles in the NYTs, you edit in this dubious, poorly sourced, hodgepodge of amateurish conjecture as though it were part of the debate. The intense inframural scholarly debates on chronology over the years allow for considerable elasticity in dating: I fail to see where this fiction that there is some mainstream consensus on details as troublesome as playdating is grounded in good sourcing. You are trying to set up a contrast that does not exist, between an 'orthodox' and an 'dissident' school, both on an equal intellectual footing, which simply does not exist historically. So, do the right thing procedurally, and put your research and edit position onto the talk page where it can be discussed, and analysed, instead of just trying to grab ground on the article with edits that are by their very nature controversial, and prpobably flawed in their procedural contempt for the distinction between WP:RS and WP:fringe.Nishidani (talk) 20:22, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
No, I referenced to Matus. More to come, as well. Frankly, this has been the stable version for months, if not years. If you want to build a consensus to have it removed, then go ahead and give it a try. But until you do so, you have no unilateral right to simply delete long-standing material that has gone unchallenged for so long.Smatprt (talk) 20:27, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
There's loads of longstanding material that reflects ignorance by editors of what POV warriors are doing on wiki, rather than consensus. The fact that bad ideas abound for years on numerous articles is no justification for allowing them the status of consensus. Where on the talk page archives was this agreed to, in an open debate between the fringers and representatives of mainstream scholarship?Nishidani (talk) 20:35, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Having watched this debate develop for a few days, I gotta say, I fail to see what all the excitement is about. I agree completely with Smatprt. The stuff is referenced, is relevant, and is scholarship. Just because something is deemed scholarship doesn't mean it's any good (you should read some of the crap my PhD supervisor wrote). I also think the article reads better with the material under discussion in rather than out. In actual fact, if you're goingto question anything about this article, I'd question the entire existence of the article as a whole. It's not very good, contains no real information that can't be found elsewhere in more detail, and it's chronological organisation of the plays seems arbitrary at best, with no evidence whatsoever for the vast majority of them. But as it stands, as an article, I just don't understand all this foolishness about whether or not the fringe theory should be in or out. Of course it should. Whether you agree with what it says or not, whether you think it's good scholarship or not. Bertaut (talk) 21:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
It is also rather fringe, and we have tried and tested methods for handling fringe material. This addition isn't in line with those. For myself, I'd have no problem with a mention in the footnotery. Mileage may vary. Angus McLellan (Talk) 21:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the article is not very good and that PhDs are often doltish, but either Wikipedia has standards or it does not. If it does, either they should be adhered to or it might as well not have any. This particular fringe theory operates mostly on promotion, because there is no evidence whatsoever (in the sense used by professional scholars) supporting it. IOW, it's claptrap. There are places on Wikipedia for it, but not in the main articles.
The idea that every topic should have equal time on every venue imaginable is a perversion of a good idea—tolerance for diverse ideas and people—begun back in the 1960s that rapidly degenerated into political correctness. Anti-Stratfordians (and not just them; others are equally as guilty) are masters at manipulating those ideas to try to make it appear that their theory should have parity with the scholarly consensus, and that's just not true.
I tolerate diversity, in both ideas and people. In fact, I love cranks such as anti-Stratfordians and I think they can teach us a lot about all kinds of things, not the least of which is the thin line between crankery and genius (although I've never met an anti-Stratfordian genius, unless I just couldn't recognize it in Roger Nyle Parisious). But that is far from the stated purpose of Wikipedia, and the stated purpose of Wikipedia should be the purpose of Wikipedians. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:24, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I need to point out to Angusmclellan that according to your edit summary, you referred to "adding" the material. This material has been in the article for quite some time and was never challenged or controversial. What is going on here is the deletion of consensus material. You also are under the impression that the references are "anti-Stratfordian". This is incorrect. The sources are all independent and all mainstream, which brings them into compliance with the requirements. I believe I am following the policy correctly.

I also want to say that I have no problem if this section is tweaked or recast, but to simply delete the material all together goes against what, in my opinion, Wikipedia is all about. Wiki policies and guidelines generally prefer the retention of material. WP:IMPROVE is a good policy to review in this matter. Smatprt (talk) 02:13, 14 April 2010 (UTC).

Also, as I mentioned, this material has been in the article for quite a while. If you want to challenge its place, the discussion should have started here on this page. Just deleting it without notice did nothing but start an edit war. The material should remain in the article until this discussion is over and a decision is reached on whether to leave it, improve it, or delete it. Smatprt (talk) 02:36, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't make any difference how long the material has been in the article, Smatprt. When I deleted it no source was provided, and none of the sources you've provided since are acceptable to Wikipedia policies. the reason why you keep trying to insert them is because you really don't understand the policies. I'll put together a short refresher tomorrow and hopefully you can come up to snuff on exactly how it works. And no amount of pointing at other wrong entries justifies anything. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:35, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Tom - please see [[2]]. This is what I was referring to. When an edit is made and is not challenged for a deal of time, it represents the new consensus. (See the chart if you have a hard time with this concept!). Of course it can be challenged later with an attempt to build a new consensus. But right now there are 3 editors arguing for deletion and 3 editors arguing for keeping the status quo. Obviously, there is nothing even approaching a consensus to make this change (in this case, the deletion you are proposing). As far as Tom's "There is no such thing as a "consensus version" of a non-FA article", left elsewhere on these pages, sometimes I really have to wonder if you just make this stuff up! Or what policy are you pretending to quote? Smatprt (talk) 22:23, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, this running to clean up messes gets me hot under the collar at times. My real objection is that (a) there is a vast, abundant, scholarly literature on Shakespeare, brim full with conjectures on chronology, and contentiousness is the rule, but that (b) little of this is harvested, or perhaps even known by the one omnipresent editor for the de Verean crankery who spends too much time jumping from article to article jiggering in poor material from the sacred revelation and (c)instead, when countered, keeps wikilawyering, article to article, to get round several fundamental objections to what others, like Tom and myself, see as a self-promotional operation on wikipedia to broadcast and obtain recognition for what is a fringe theory, which after 90 years, still has yet to provide the academic and the real broader world of ideas with one skerrick of verifiable information, as opposed to 'the de Verean' dissidence.
(d) So, on a page like this, which needs substantial work on it, the basic raw data, easily culled from scholarly books, is never troubled with a glance by Smatprt, even though (e)procedurally, editing this page up to wiki snuff is quite simple since (f)all one need do is take one's personal copies of the (i)Oxford (ii)Cambridge and/or (iii)Arden editions of the complete plays (37 odd volumes for each series, I'm sure we all have these basic texts) and (g) consult for each entry or play the up-to-date commentaries on the chronological debate and footnote the relevant information.
(h)for example, you take the Cambridge edition of Hamlet edited by John Dover Wilson (2nd ed.1936)1960 reprint pp.xvi-xxxii): the Oxford edition of Hamlet, ed.G.R.Hibbard, 1967 pp.3.14: and the Arden edition of Hamlet eds. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, 2006 pp.43-59 and footnote the play with the range of chronological speculation contained in those three representative editions.
That is how this is done academically, or by undergraduates in English courses to comply with the basic methods of secondary source review. Rather than waste people's time with arbitrary cites from ìsecondary or tertiary sources taken casually from who knows where, one hews to this simple method, and enriches the wiki page. Once that is done, if, of course, something has been missed of importance from the secondary literature on chronology, which has however been picked up by a fringe source, you can suggest certainly that this be included. But not before the basic homework has been done.
We edit here as a service to the global public, not to push our own fringe ideological beefs about a conspiracy or cover-up which ostensibly hides from that public what is in fact either irrelevant as information, or already adequately surveyed, vetted and evaluated by thousands of standard university press works on Shakespeare, who is the most comprehensively and qualitatively documented (WP:RS) writer in history. There is no place on these pages for the junk speculations of self-published, or cult-published amateurs. Nishidani (talk) 08:27, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Seems to me Nishidani that you don't agree/like the authorship fringe theory (or crankery as you objectively put it), therefore it's not worthy of being mentioned. Personally, I also think it's complete bull. But, like I said before, the fact is it exists, it IS scholarship (like it or not) therefore it is worthy of mention. I really do not understand what the debate is all about. And for your accusations regarding Smatprt's editing being some sort of "a self-promotional operation on wikipedia to broadcast and obtain recognition for what is a fringe theory." Let's not get silly now. Bertaut (talk) 16:45, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Of course I think it's a load of cobblers, but so does every scholar with a decent grounding in the Elizabethan area, many of whom are on record of speaking of 'madness', 'lunacy' 'crankiness' and 'speculative folly' (Schoenbaum, Quennell, Quiller-Couch, etc.etc.). That's what RS say, and I follow RS, whatever my personal beliefs may be.
That you can write 'it exists, it IS scholarship' is not grounded in any RS (except in the vulgar ciphered sense of being rodent's excrement) I am familiar with and constitutes a non-sequitur, which, to boot, reflects your own personal opinion. Something is 'scholarship' when it produces original research that the scholarly world recognizes as such, which is not the case here. To challenge me for voicing my personal opinions, and then, volte-face, counter by voicing your own opinion, which contradicts what you declared earlier, is a remarkable piece of illogical wizardry. For, in the world of propositional logic, you cannot get away with saying a 'fringe theory' is 'complete bull' and then justify it the next second by saying it is 'scholarship', unless of course your Venn diagram of 'scholarship' includes large lumps of unadulterated crap imbricated over pure theory. ya know wod I mean, guv? It just ain't logical to reprove me in this humpty-dumpty manner, though of course I know a lot of people are watching a film called 'Alice in Blunderland'. Oh, and of course, it is pure promotion. They have nothing to show, except a list of famous names, none of whom have done anything for Shakespearean or Elizabethan scholarship. The whole game is one of dropping names to get street credibility, which they use as leverage to scream for recognition from the ivory tower. It's a stunt, and those who push it are well, ya must admire their chutzpah and John Waynish grit, stuntmen. James Joyce would think of stunnedmen. Paul Newman or Robert Redford of stungmen. Nishidani (talk) 17:19, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Stunnedmen? I love that; I'm gonna use that in a lecture and claim it for my own. What would Dubya say? As for dropping names of Shakesperians to get street cred, you clearly don't live on my street, where literacy is pretty much equated with rampant homosexuality (ie if you read you're a fag! - I'm from Dublin by the way.) Anyhow, I like the version as it exists now, with the separate notes and references sections. Seems someone else does too, ssilvers returned the contenious sentence after it was removed the last time. The plot thickens. The screw tightens. Etc etc etc. Bertaut (talk) 01:22, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, hail fellow Irishman. Sslivers is an administrator. He violated a simple principle (do they count in this area of wiki?) that you don't ref by interwiki links, which gives me no confidence in his judgement, as does the fact that his rare appearances are to simply back Smatprt by his reverter's presence. You are well entitled to 'like' the version, but the technical problem remains: (a) this is a fringe idea (b) alternative (not note as Smatprt's writes, 'alternate' versions: I've corrected this error before but he persists) hypotheses exist within the mainstream (Honigmann, though I consider them, as do his reviewers, unfounded). My editing those in was a gesture of 'compromise' (c) it is doubtful whether there is an Oxfordian chronology, given Diana Price's witness to the contrary, as opposed to two people separated by 50 years, opining a counter-chronology for which there is no evidence (the mainstream critique of Honigmann notes that there is 'there is not a shred of positive evidence to point to any activity as a playwright by Shkespeare before 1590-91' (Sidney Thomas, 'Dating of Shakespeare's Early Plays,' in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Summer, 1988), pp. 187-194, p.188), and mutatis mutandis, this applies to the Ogburnian fantasy, which has been constructed out of thin air. (d) the notes section is merely a device Smatprt employs to get round the insuperable objection to using interwiki references. For these reasons, I believe that tampering with the text to intrude poor, unfounded and speculative perspectives from a coterie that has virtually no academic grounding or basis for its 'theories' abuses Wiki procedures, and I will continue to challenge its presence on this page. This is a matter of maintaining the highest standards for wikipedia articles, and has nothing to do with intemperate ideological opposition.
Finally, even were a compromise to be made, there is no need, on this page for the 'gloss' that accompanies Smatprt's note, which, again, constitutes periphrastic exposition of a fringe position, one that would not be needed given that anti-Stratfordians is linked, and the link tells you what the periphrastic gloss says. It is promo, for which these guys are famous.Nishidani (talk) 08:35, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I find this interesting, given that it’s from one of the most prominent and vocal modern-day Oxfordians and it’s on the Chronology of Shakespeare's plays – Oxfordian talk page: “There is really no such thing as an ‘Oxfordian chronology.’” Tom Reedy (talk) 14:14, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I've put a note on that page. Just one more reason, and I hope other, otherwise neutral editors, will think our arguments through in the light of this 'new' evidence that, for a prominent Oxfordian and wikipedian coeditor supportive of Smatprt, there is no such thing as an 'Oxfordian chronology' just as the Diana Price RS said. That means two prominent Shakespeare doubters deny the raison d'etre for any attempt to concoct such a 'theory' out of the disiecta membra of a few old studies, as has been done here. It confirms my belief that mention of this as a minority view on this page is an abuse, or scam based on a fudged mirror page written up by just one person, without independent secondary source support, overwhelmingly from Ogburn.Nishidani (talk) 14:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Removing highly dubious material[edit]

I've removed for the nth time, Smatprt's material.

Dissenting viewpoints[edit]

While all dating should be taken as highly speculative, numerous scholars have adopted a generally accepted chronological ordering (see below). A number of independent researchers, however, disagree with the conventional dating and many specific dates continue to be debated.[1]

A dissenting view also comes from many anti-Stratfordian researchers, who assert that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was the author of the Shakespearean canon. In particular, the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship relies on an alternate chronology that is earlier than traditionally accepted.[2][3]

Smatprt does not understand what one is asking for when demanding articles be sourced to WP:RS. Irvin Leigh Matus may defend a 'mainstream perspective' and while doing so, analyse the bizarre material on chronology in the de Verean fringe, but he is not a scholar. He is, like 99% of the de Verean fellowship, an independent, unqualified outside researcher, who has written journalism and a book attacking the fringe perspective of Oxfordian 'theory'. This makes him a source for any article on the de Verean theory, but does not make him a source for a page which deals with the technical history of fixing the chronology of Shakespeare's plays, which has a huge technical, eminently RS, literature dating back a century and more. The only thing I have noticed is that Smatprt reverted three or four times in a day the edits by others which challenged his exploitation of this material, failed to argue his case, as he was asked to do, on the talk page, and simply, once the 24 hour limit had expired, reintroduced it in the article, as if nothing had happened in the meantime, inviting an edit-war. I ask him therefore to iron this disagreement out on the talk page, and justify it to obtain some consensus before unilaterally plunking his controversial intrusion of what is, whether sourced to Matus or not, material that lacks an optimal RS qualification, as that is commonly understood, i.e., a book published under a respectable university imprint by a ranking mainstream scholar of Elizabethan and Shakespearian problems. Nishidani (talk) 08:41, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Disagree that Matus is not RS for the statement in question. I've answered your objections. You don't agree with those answers and continue to challenge sources, but that is not going to change, and you appear unwilling to compromise, or even consider the suggestions of other editors. Given the situation, I don't see how to proceed other than to continue editing and wait for input from the appropriate notice boards. Smatprt (talk) 16:15, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Opinion noted, but you haven't answered any objections. I don't compromise with fringe invasions of articles that can be perfectly edited according to the wide, copious resources of mainstream scholarship. By 'continue to edit' I gather you intend an edit-war, in lieu of a clarification, not yet forthcoming, of whether or not the de Verean claptrap is a minority, as opposed to a fringe view? Minority views, such as Honigmann's, have a place here. The views of self-published amateurs with no academic credentials, espousing a fringe viewpoint, have no place in wikipedia's ambition to provide the best up-to-date scholarly sources for its articles. Nishidani (talk) 16:45, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ http://www.ericsams.org/sams_oxfordorstratford.htm "The dating, genesis and text of the Oxford Complete Works are therefore in urgent need of radical reappraisal. So are their stylometric computer programmes, their a priori assumptions, and their general methodology."
  2. ^ http://willyshakes.com/valiant.htm paragraphs 10-13
  3. ^ Matus, Irvin; Shakespeare, In Fact; 1994, pp 145-167; 219-263

Rewrite[edit]

I got so sick of this foolishness that I started messing about rewriting the enitre introduction, and you can see what I've come up with. Only one brief sentence about anti-Strafordians, with a link to the main article for people who want to know more, and a more comprehensive overview of the plays as a whole. I'm sure everyone won't like it, but it's certainly better than what was there before, either with or without the contentious paragraph. The chronology itself could actually do with a complete rewrite as well (why is Edward III not in the main section for example - Cambridge, Oxford, Norton, Arden and Riverside all include it; and why does The Two Gentlemen of Verona come so late? Why no mention that 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI could have been written prior to 1 Henry VI?), but I don't have the time for that now, maybe at some stage in the future. Bertaut (talk) 15:13, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I'm now convinced that you simply don't want any mention of anti-Stratford theories anywhere on Wikipedia. I'vee reduced it to one small sentence and you're still not happy. Are you planning on going to go through every single page on Wikipedia and deleting all references to the fringe theory. And in any case, the footnote isn't a citation nor is it being offered as evidence, it's a reference for more information, which I've used on numerous other pages before, and I've seen used on many other pages, and I've never ever encounrered any objection. Guy, you seriously need to relax (and I mean that good naturedly). How about everyone else, is the current rewrite (with the brief anti-Sratfordian reference) okay? If most people think it should be gone, then that's ok. But at the moment, there's two people think it should stay and only one who thinks it should be gone. Bertaut (talk) 16:41, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually I concurred with much of your editorial additions, and welcome your further contributions. Since the Oxfordian push are trying to create a precedent here and on a few other pages, i.e., that unscholarly amateurish, opinionable theorizing from their coterie's rumour mills constitutes 'alternative' 'independent' scholarship, valid as a minority, rather than a 'fringe' viewpoint, I oppose this because there is no evidence yet adduced that this nonsense is anything more than that. I'm helping to get the 'anti-Stratfordian view properly explained on wikipedia, contrary to your impressions, and am in fact systematically working the Delia Bacon, Thyomas Looney and other related pages according to what modern scholarship says of such people, their lives and theories. This goes for the Alternative Authorship page as well. +
I don't whine, except when I dine, and someone serves me an inferior red. I like clear-cut up-to-date objective information from peer-reviewed scholars, as my whole record shows. Secondly, you used in a ref. a wiki page. One of my first lessons here is that you cannot cross reference an article by linking in notes to another wiki page. You violated that rule. Consensus is fine, if it is organized according to a thorough lucid discussion of what wikipedia requires for articles, i.e., quality scholarship. On past experience, anytime there is a conflict between two editors, as we have over this minute piece of your edit, and in which Oxfordian theories are at stake, out of the woodwork, where they silently dwell, come all sorts of wikipedians who simply vote for de Vere and then disappear. No analysis, no explication of the wikipedia protocols that justify this attempt to include fringe research, just anonymous strong-arming to secure it over many articles. mThe only conensus I am interested in is that of contemporary scholarship on Shakespeare, which is vast, intricate, and open to dissent on almost all questions. There is no need to complicate this by dredging up gossip from the de Verean coterie's salons. You know the scholarship, evidently, so use it. We need that, not idle chitchat from the promo world of Oxfordians. More Oxbridge, less Oxfordians.Nishidani (talk) 19:05, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree to the version offered by Bertaut, with one minor change. Nishidani is half right - the reference section should simply contain references. The material is more appropriate to the note section, which is where I moved it, along with a reference to Matus which is appropriate to the note as recast.Smatprt (talk) 17:22, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

The Oxfordian chronology page is almost wholly unreferenced. There is strong evidence that there is no such thing as an alternative (nb not 'alternate') Oxfordian chronology, as I cited on that page, which, just to make it absolutely clear, I'll reprint here.

‘Ultimately, the Oxfordian attempt to undermine the traditional chronology falls apart because they really offer nothing in its place . .In fact, the Oxfordians offer no chronology at all and the dating of the plays turns out to be an issue in which they prove to be especially, one might say, woefully, weak’ [1]

My objection remains. We have an extremely detailed history of mainstream analyses for the chronology of every play, which will be filled in here. According to Price no such 'Oxfordian chronology' exists, and therefore to pretend, both with that page, and linking to it here under the suggestion that such an alternative chronology has been established is a ruse, to fudge the impression that something exists which Price denies. Explanations please. Where is the standard Oxford exposition of a comprehensive alternative chronology in their literature. If one is not forthcoming, then what is there presented as an 'Oxfordian chronology' is nothing more than a few editors' violation of WP:OR, to create the impression, contrary to Price, that such a thing exists. As it is, it is almost completely undocumented.Nishidani (talk) 18:14, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You will now find it fully referenced. Clark created the first Oxfordian Chronology back in the 1930's. Ogburn updated it in 1984. Anderson and Sobran have also commented on specific plays, but the full chronologies were prepared by Clark and Ogburn. Clark and Ogburn also supplied analyses of each play to support their dating. As to Price, apparently she is mistaken on this point. As to why - well, you would have to inquire of her. Smatprt (talk) 21:25, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, provisorily, at least I have constrained you once more to actually edit wikipedia using page numbers. You should have done this much earlier, for this is what is absolutely required, esp with fringe sources. Don't elide the gist of what Price is saying., It is wholly irrelevant whether she is right or wrong. She is, by your criteria and mine, one of the best RS sources for the authorship scepticism field. Editors are not permitted to elide information in sources they otherwise consider RS because they think it is wrong. And I am not convinced she is wrong. That Clark and Ogburn drew up a scheme is one thing. I have seen so far no references produced to ground your opinion that these two schemes, by individual 'researchers' have been adopted, officially or generically, by the Oxfordian movement. If you have such a source, well and good. Chambers drew up a scheme, so did Honigmann. By those tokens, one cannot say the mainstream view is that of Chambers and Honigman's view is that of the minority school, after Peter Alexander. You need references to support your claim that this is the 'Oxfordian chronology', otherwise you are once more pushing an individual schemas as a shared sectarian schema. Price for one thought it was rubbish, and no doubt there are many Oxfordian sceptics who can see it as what it is, pure fanciful guesswork ungrounded in any secure documentary sourcing.Nishidani (talk) 22:11, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

That section has many problems. One big one is that the reference to "many anti-Stratfordian researchers [who]. . . disagree with the conventional dating system entirely" is not only not referenced, it's flat not true. It is only Oxfordian "researchers" who disagree with it; Baconians and Marlovians have no problem with it at all, nor do those scholars who disagree with the consensus dating disagree with it "entirely". And the term "orthodox scholars" is redundant. "Shakespeare scholars" is the correct term. As far as I know no classical scholars or Chinese historians have weighed in on the chronology of Shakespeare's plays.

As far as I'm aware the "Oxfordian chronology" is a hodge-podge of divergent guesses based on incidents in the plays having some type of imagined parallel with Oxford's biography. It completely ignores stylistic scholarship (out of necessity), and I don't know why anybody wanting to learn about the chronology of Shakespeare's plays would expect that type of information in this article. It would be like me wanting to learn about, say, Christianity, and finding a mention of the Unification Church (Moonies) along with a link to the article.

If every Shakespeare page is required to have an anti-Strat link in the name of "balance," then there's no reason other fringe beliefs should be barred from inserting mentions in the main articles, which now is prohibited by WP:UNDUE, which states, "In general, articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more widely held views, and the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all. For example, the article on the Earth should not mention modern support for the Flat Earth concept, the view of a distinct minority." The best guesses I've seen estimate that anti-Stratfordians number less than the people who believe that aliens have visited the earth or those who believe the world was created in six days. All of these have their own Wikipedia pages, and they should, but they are prohibited from inserting their particular fringe belief in the main pages.

Tell me one good reason why anti-Stratfordism should be an exception to Wikipedia policies. The only reason I've seen is that they are so annoyingly and unpleasantly persistent that Wikipedia editors give in because they are so tiresome to deal with otherwise. As long as this condition persists, Wikipedia will continue to enjoy a reputation as an encyclopedia not even reliable enough to settle a bar bet. But of course anti-Stratfordians don't really give a shit as long as they can use it to promote their theory. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:18, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Diana Price, Shakespeare's unorthodox biography: new evidence of an authorship problem, Greenwood Press, 2001 p.166

Rewrite part 2[edit]

On a completely uprelated point to the above mentioned festivites, I've been messing around with the chronology section of the article, and I've come up with a very rough draft of a possible template for each play:


  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1589-1591)
    First official record: mentioned in Francis Meres' Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury (1598)
    First published: First Folio (1623)
    First recorded performance: an adaptation of the play by Benjamin Victor was performed at the David Garrick's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1762. (reference here) The earliest known performance of the straight Shakespearean text was at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in 1784. (reference here)
    Evidence: The play contains passages which seem to borrow from John Lyly's Midas (1589), hence it could not have been written prior to 1589. (refernece here) Additionally, Stanley Wells argues that the scenes involving more than four characters, "betray an uncertainty of technique suggestive of inexperience." (reference here) As such, the play is considered to be one of the first Shakespeare composed upon arriving in London (Roger Warren suggests he may have written it prior to his arrival) and, as such, he lacked theatrical experience. The play was definitely written by 1593, by which time Shakespeare was a successful and recognised playwright. This places the date of composition as most likely somewhere between 1589 and 1593. Almost all modern editors tend to agree that the date is probably narrower, c1589-1591.(a very brief further reading section here; literally two or three books)


Possibly too much information, but what y'all think in theory; at a glance information on the three major dates (performance, publication, first record), and then some notes on why a particular date is selected. Bertaut (talk) 16:51, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Something like that would be most welcome. Nishidani (talk) 17:01, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that is excellent. But isn't a line with the Oxfordian date along with the relevant event that happened in his life going to be included? Tom Reedy (talk) 21:22, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
So, after many many (many) months, I'm finally going to get around to doing this. A couple of points worth mentioning: Firstly, I'll only be able to give detailed information on the earliest few plays, but hopefully the format will encourage others to add info on plays with which they are familiar. Secondly, I'm going to adopt the Oxford Complete Shakespeare simply by virtue of the fact that it's the one I'm most familiar with; as I'll explain, I'm not making any claims that it is the definitive chronology, simply the one I've used. Thirdly, eh, there was a thirdly, but I can't remember what it was. Bugger! Bertaut (talk) 17:37, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Okay then. Well, for better or worse, I've done the overhaul. It's far from perfect and far far (far) from complete, but by and large I think it's an improvement on anything we've had on this page before, and, most importantly, the format may encourage others to enter info. If someone is just passing through for example, and they know, say Timon of Athens very well, they may just take 10 minutes to drop in a couple of facts. Hopefully then, over a period of time, the article will build and at some stage will reach a stage of completion. I've included as much info as I can. For me to start filling in the blanks would require additional reading on my part, and I just don't have the time at the moment, but as I work through the main play pages, I'll be happy to come back here and enter info on each play (much as I'm doing in relation to the BBC Television Shakespeare. Anyhow, so there you go. Like I say, I know it's not perfect, but I think it's a start. Bertaut (talk) 00:41, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Belated congrats on a fine job. I've cleaned up the intro a bit. All that remains is cleaning up the refs; I'll try to find time to do that but the article is in much better shape for readers even if that takes a while. Again, I want to express my appreciation for all the work you put into it. WP editors don't get near enough recognition when they do good work. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I've reverted the large deletion of today under WP:BRD and am calling for a discussion of these edits, edits that deleted a lot of good work, a statement everyone, including you, agrees to. Describing the removal of over 4000kb and describing it as "cleaned up the intro a bit" is not really sufficient. Please explain these edits so that we can begin a real discussion. Thanks. Smatprt (talk) 06:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Most of the material I excised read like an unsourced essay and was irrelevant to the main topic. For example, the discussion of bad quartos in itself has nothing to do with determining the chronology of Shakespeare's plays; that is an issue of authenticity. I know of no sources treating chronology that proposes that bad quartos have anything to do with it, and apparently whoever wrote that part couldn't find any either, because the statements were totally unsourced—-and I don't mean there weren't any sources, just no sources that related the two issues. Most of the rest of the material was similarly irrelevant to the topic or was repetitious, seemingly with the only purpose of stating and restating that "no one knows anything" about the true chronology, which is a false impression. The degree of uncertainty about the chronology and the dating of the plays is very minute—-according to reliable sources. Any professional writer or English instructor can tell the difference between the two versions. Read Strunk & White.
Your turn. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:01, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
And let's look at the "many excellent refernces" you say I deleted. Here they are:
See E.A.J. Honigmann, Shakespeare's Impact on his Contemporaries (London: Macmillan, 1982)
Only I didn't delete that one.
See, for example, Eric Sims, The Real Shakespeare: Retrieving the Early Years (Yale: Yale University Press, 1997), Park Honan, Shakespeare: A Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), or Brenda James and William D. Rubinstein, Unmasking the Real Shakespeare: The Truth Will Out (Harlow: Pearson Education, 2006)
Yes, I deleted those, mainly because they weren't references, just sources thrown in there for the reader to peruse in search of passages to support the writer's points, which is what, exactly? that "the majority of critics reject [Honigmann's "early start" theory]"? It is unclear, because the passage is ill-written and vague.
Simonton, Dean Keith (2004), "Thematic Content and Political Context in Shakespeare's Dramatic Output, with Implications for Authorship and Chronology Controversies", Empirical Studies of the Arts, 22:2 (201–213), 203.
I didn't delete this one, either. So your "many excellent references" boils down to three sources irrelevant to a vague supposition that doesn't shed any light on the subject, and which is amply covered in my rewrite. It is not enough to be able to write complete sentences; the sentences must make sense and pertain in some way to the topic covered in the article. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:54, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • It's all fun and games isn't it?? I've a couple of points. Regarding the info that only the first performances of 1 Henry VI and Henry VIII can be determined, this isn't accurate. The first performance of 1 Henry VI is not universally agreed to have been 1 Henry VI (if that makes sense). The record mentions Harry vj. Now most do take that to refer to 1 Henry VI, but it's not a universally accepted truth. So I added a few words to that. I also rejigged one paragraph, and added a little bit. The bad quarto stuff is of no real importance - most of that paragraph was written before I did my rewrite anyway. Similarly, I didn't write the Simonton stuff, I just edited it. Bertaut (talk) 17:40, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Bertaut, the statement that "This is especially pronounced in relation to the earlier plays; most chronologies tend to agree on the order of plays written after c.1600, but there are many different versions of the pre-1600 chronology" is not a fact, nor is it sourced. The plays for which we have the least amount of external information fall into the period after James was crowned and the King's Men were formed. Their plays were given special protection from publishers, and only three (IIRC) were published from then until the FF in 1623. Look at the list itself: the datings given for the early plays (with the exception of Shrew) are within a year or two, but dates for the composition of the later plays differ as much as three.
The graf you re-added about the relative uselessness of publication dates is likewise untrue and unsourced, as they are useful in the plays that were published pre-FF, and the rest of the information concerning the individual plays is redundant. The entire tone of that graf (and the rest of the old article) was written to convey the utter impossibility and uncertainty of the consensus chronology to mislead the reader into thinking that it's all a bunch of guesses with the same authority of alternative chronologies that ignore scholarly standards. If you check the editing history of this article you can discover why. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:11, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I am glad to see that Bertaut responded, as he did the lion's share of the work in bringing the article lead up to snuff, as we all know. My objection was that it was all deleted without even consulting him, and this removal of over 4000kb was described as "cleaned up the intro a bit". "A bit?" I'm sorry, but that was just dishonest. Regarding any unsourced information anyone has questions about, the proper thing to do is to tag it, not delete it. And if its not a confirmed fact by academic consensus, then it needs in-line attribution.
I am also bothered by the very short date ranges of some of the plays. As I recall, there have been plenty of RS date estimates that fall outside of the present ranges being presented. Its seems on this topic there are General views, minority views, and fringe views. What this article's play list presents is only the general view, not the academic minority viewpoint (again - I'm not talking about the fringe)Smatprt (talk) 19:47, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The only minority view I can think of is Honigmann's, and his is an extreme minority view, shared only by Eric Sams, IIRC. There's no reason to include antique guessing from the 19th century except in an article such as History of the Chronology of Shakespeare's plays, which I doubt anyone is going to tackle soon, or even the view of an extreme minority such as Honigmann's, though his is given due weight in the discussion.
And 4000kbs sounds like a lot, but is actually around 450 words--certainly "a bit" to me, who writes around 400,000 words a year. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

References or rewrite needed.[edit]

I believe the following statements require some pretty stringent sourcing, as per the policy I list below:

1) most Shakespearean scholars agree within a few years for the composition of most plays
2) most chronologies tend to agree on the order of plays written after c.1600
3) the first performances of only two plays — Henry VIII and Henry VI, Part 1 — can be identified
4) Most scholars,however, reject Honigmann's theory, saying it causes more problems than it solves

Honestly, I do not believe such references can be found, which is why I am tagging them.

In addition, please review WP:Reliable Sources/Academic consensus WP:RS/AC which states:

"The statement that all or most scientists or scholars hold a certain view requires reliable sourcing that directly says that all or most scientists or scholars hold that view. Otherwise, individual opinions should be identified as those of particular, named sources. Editors should avoid original research especially with regard to making blanket statements based on novel syntheses of disparate material. Stated simply, any statement in Wikipedia that academic consensus exists on a topic must be sourced rather than being based on the opinion or assessment of editors."

Will the editors please review the above four statements with this policy in mind and either provide references that meet the above criteria, or rewrite the passages to conform to guidelines. Thank you. Smatprt (talk) 03:07, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

To the contrary, these refs are easily found. I'm on the road for the next week or so, so I won't be able to get to them right away but rest assured they are forthcoming. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:28, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
As it turns out, I was able to get to most of them right away, and even improved the article a bit with some much-needed images. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:52, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

A booke intitled[edit]

Quick question for other editors. I noticed that Tom, you changed the Stationers' Registry entry for Shrew from all italics to all italics except "a booke intitled". I'm just wondering, should any of it be in italics, as I want to adopt the same style for all records of Stationers' entries. Looking at facismiles, none of the wording was in italics, and no quotation points were used in the original entries, so I'm thinking they should all be in the form "a booke entitled Blah Blah Blah", as opposed to "a booke intitled Blah blah blah", "a booke entitiled "blah blah blah"" or (the way I originally had them) a booke intitled blah blah blah (which is obviously wrong, not sure what I was thinking italicising a booke intitled!) Bertaut (talk) 03:11, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

I dunno, B, I just instinctively changed it without much thought. I just now checked at the SAQ page where we quoted some SR entries and we didn't italicize the titles. I have no strong feelings wither way, and I suppose it's the editor's choice, but either way we should be consistent. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:06, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and another, unrelated thing. I think the idea of introducing images is a good one, so I'll probably add a few myself over the next couple of days. I think it's probably best to limit ourselves to title pages of quartos and the like; the quarto of Edward III, for example, would be a good candidate, as would the 1598 quarto of Love's Labour's Lost, as both feature info which is important for dating purposes. Bertaut (talk) 03:21, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Also the title page of some sources would go good. I've already added one. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:06, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Antony & Cleopatra Section[edit]

It now states that the Lord Chamberlains Men performed the play at Blackfriars in 1669. This needs to be explained, and the evidence cited for the following reasons: the company became the King's Men in 1603. The theaters closed in 1642, in which time Blackfriars was dismantled. When the theaters reopened in 1660, The Lord Chamberlains Men was not one of the companies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Screensavant (talkcontribs) 21:53, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Somewhat belated reply but yes, you are right. The passage is completely garbled. The record refers to the office of the Lord Chamberlain, not to the theatrical troupe the Lord Chamberlain's Men. Also, the quotation is "formerly acted at the Blackfriars", not "formally acted at the Blackfriars", which completely changes the meaning. So the Chamberlain is licensing a new performance, with the note that it had earlier been performed at Blackfriars. Paul B (talk) 09:12, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Adding missing info[edit]

As you may have noticed, I've added the in-use template to the article, as I'm going to do a major overhaul of pretty much the whole thing. Basically, I'm going to add all the missing info for all of the plays, as well as tidy up the references and add more images. Not sure how long it will take me, may not get it done in one editing session, but I will certainly get it finished by around this time tomorrow. So at the longest, 26 or 27 hours from now, it should be done. If I don't get it done in one session, I'll replace the in-use template with the under construction one till I'm done. When I'm finished, I'll come back here to give a quick overview of the changes. Bertaut (talk) 00:15, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Right. That didn't take as long as I'd thought. Obviously, I already had it all ready and was just copying and pasting, but I thought it would take longer. Anyhow, firstly, let me apologise to those amongst you who auto-expand your watchlist, but I thought it better to do the edits play by play rather than simply doing one massive edit of the entire article. I figured it'd be easier for everyone to follow what I was doing that way (myself included). Okay, so the main changes I've made are to introduce an "Additional information" section in a few of the plays and to remove the Apocrypha section. I've added an additional information section whenever there are issues between two printed versions of a given play (such as Hamlet or Lear) or whenever there are questions regarding attribution (such as Edward III or Pericles). I just found it easier to keep this info separate from information purely relating to dating, and easier to read too. As regards the removal of the Apocrypha section. It's not a big deal. I moved Thomas More and all the info concerning Doubel Falsehood into the main section, which would have left very little in the Apocrypha section. I also don't think we really need an Apocrypha section; the article isn't about dating Shakespeare's Apocrypha. Everything else is pretty self explanatory. The article's pretty long and has over 400 references, but that can be chipped away at if people see fit. One thing I do want to mention as it's been a bone of contention in the past. I added a reference to the Oxfordian school of thought into the introduction (not the lede). I did this simply so we'd have two examples of scholars who dissent from the "traditional chronology" rather than one (Honigmann). It's no biggie one way or the other, just a brief mention and one reference. Right so. That's that then. I hope people are reasonably happy with the article. As always, there's plenty of room for improvement, but by and large, I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out. Bertaut (talk) 03:21, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. I think that this has significantly improved the article. Just one point, which your latest edit putting the comma inside the quotation marks drew to my attention – Wikipedia (MOS:LQ) prefers logical punctuation to be used, rather than the American style which you have employed throughout. Peter Farey (talk) 09:39, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Cheers. Thanks for pointing that out. I much prefer the logical style myself, but I was under the impression Wikipedia used the American style. I did some work on a GA many moons ago, and changed all the American to logical, and it was changed back by someone citing the MOS. I never bothered to check the validity myself, and I just got into the habit of using the American style ever since. Cheers for pointing it out, easily fixed. I'll take care of it as soon as I get a chance. Bertaut (talk) 23:14, 4 September 2014 (UTC)