Talk:List of Shakespeare authorship candidates

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They're referred to as "claimants", but is that really so? Did most - or even any - of these people personally claim to be the real author of the works attributed to "Shakespeare"? If I claim that Joe Bloggs was the real Shakespeare, does that make Joe a "claimant"? I don't think so. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:20, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

I've often wondered at that terminology myself, but that's the term used by Ward Elliot and several others. Feel free to change the word. I only used it to avoid repeating "candidate", which is misleading in itself, since there's no real contest. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:39, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm surprised you say that, Tom. If 'candidate' is misleading, why is it in the title of the article to begin with? Despite the absence of a contest per se, I much prefer 'candidates' in both places to 'claimants' in either place. There may be a better word than either of these, though. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 18:36, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
On reflection, I’ve cut down the lede to its bare essentials. Talking about "in the 150 years since the authorship has been questioned" seemed redundant, since questions could not have been raised before questions were first raised. It’s not clear what a “full” or “partial” claimant/candidate is, but whatever the distinction is, it’s better explained in the body of the article. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 01:09, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
"Partial" means they were part of a secret coterie or group working under the direction of someone or some agency. Delia Bacon's idea was that Bacon was the director of a group of writers, the primary one being Walter Ralegh. He furnished the ideas, they wrote it, and then he added ciphers for later civilisations to discover. Or something like that. You can never be sure what you're reading when you read her. I prefer "candidate" also. It's kind of irksome to see "claimant" used to describe a person who was dead for 300 years before anyone thought he might have written Shakespeare. Same with "pretender", but I've seen that used also. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:42, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
FYI, I raised this question at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language#Alternative "Shakespeare" theories - claimants, candidates, what?. The suggestions are focussing on the article title, but we still need a name to refer to these people in the text. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 11:52, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
If you look at the bib below you can see Gibson even used it for his book title. I'm with you on this, but I suppose use makes grammar. Another phrase that bothers me is the use of "begs the question" to mean "raises a question". Even academics use it that way now, and my teeth grind every time I see it. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:15, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Gibson likes that phrase, but it does not seem to be in this article. Was this just a passing venting of spleen, or is the phrased used somewhere? Paul B (talk) 13:35, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
"Claimant"? It's used a lot. Jack cut it when he truncated the lede. "Begs the question"? Just venting. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:14, 22 October 2010 (UTC)


Below is a complete bib for the article, including both the refs that are present now and the refs that were inadvertently left behind when Paul imported the text (one problem with the Harvard method). If someone would look at them and determine that they are non-controversial and replace the current bib with them, I'd appreciate it.

Tom Reedy (talk) 02:39, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm hopeless with the Harvard system. Also, I just darn well don't like it. What do you mean by 'controversial'? They all appear to be legit. Paul B (talk) 13:30, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Well I was directed to propose any changes on the talk page and see if anyone objected, so that is what I mean by "controversial". Tom Reedy (talk) 14:10, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm wonering why some claimants/candiates are given mini-characterisations and others are not. Was this arbitrary? Paul B (talk) 13:37, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Dunno, it seemed a good idea at the time. Perhaps a one-line summary, or even one word (Christopher Marlowe, playwright) would help. Feel free to edit by all means. As far as the bib, all that is necessary is to copy and replace, cos I included the existing refs in the copy. I've asked Andrew to do it since he made the SAQ edit. Cheers Paul. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:10, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah! I see I'm behind. Thanks muchly! Tom Reedy (talk) 14:12, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Random opinion[edit]

Hi all,

I'm generally skeptical of any Authorship-related material on here, so I must say I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by this article; and my immediate reaction is that it's a good and valuable addition to the project, particularly since it looks to be well sourced (as in, most list entries has a source; I've not looked at the quality of the sources). I think it can be improved by providing a little more information on each entry, and possibly adopting a table format with stuff like “First proposed by”, date when first proposed, etc.; but that'd obviously be quite a lot of work, risks running into OR, and practically invites getting into territory where discussions devolve into quarrels over phrasing. Anyways, good job.

PS. I've spent a lot of time mucking about with citations and bibliographies for articles. If there's a job to be done there (cf. Tom above) I can help out, but I'll need clear instructions as to what needs doing. If there's a “controversy” minefield anywhere around it I'd also appreciate a headsup as to what to watch out for so I can try to step around it without stepping on any toes. --Xover (talk) 13:40, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi, in some cases it's very difficult to find information about the exact claims made for authorship. It's also the case that this list includes "legitimate" candidates such as George Peele and John Fletcher, almost universally agreed to have written some portions of works attributed to Shakespeare. I don't know if they are listed because they have also been proposed as True Authors of the whole canon, or whether they are supposed to be part of group-authorship models. Often the scenarios envisaged by the proponents of the various candidates are ambiguous. I've just spent a happy morning reading William Ross and Fraser Hutchinson's delightful books on Anne Whateley, so I'm now something of an expert on the arguments made on her behalf. The problem is that both authors are rather unclear. Ross attributes all the sonnets to her, but does not seem to care about the plays, only mentioning them once or twice, implying that Whateley and Shakespeare collaborated on them in some way, but that Shakespeare's role was more 'passive'. Hutcheson seems to think Shakespeare himself wrote the plays, inspired or helped by Whateley, but he's rather unclear about it. I imagine many of the other scenarios to be equally complex (or confused): too complex to be given here. Obviously, where we know the details we can add them to the linked articles on the candidates, but we also don't want to stuff the articles on innocent Tudor worthies with Shakespeare authorship minutiae. For the more prominent candidates like Oxford, Derby etc, it's appropriate, but it's difficult to believe we should clutter pages on Richard Barnfield and Barnabe Barnes with this stuff. Anyway, it would be misleading, since Ross and Hutchinson make it perfectly clear that Anne Whateley wrote all their poems too. Paul B (talk) 19:15, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Cite RS[edit]

Nishidani, you have reverted my addition of the Williams reference twice, the second time with the explanation that Sidney's candidacy is already cited by RS. It's not clear to me what you mean. The current Sidney citation from Elliot and Valenza merely mentions Sidney as one of the people who could not be Shakespeare. How can that be a better reference than an entire book devoted to explaining why Sidney might be Shakespeare?Jdkag (talk) 20:22, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

If you read Elliott and Valenza you will see that they do not, as you mistakenly assert, mention Sidney as 'one of the people who could not be Shakespeare.' They mention Sidney as one of the people nominated as a candidate for writing the works of Shakespeare. Nor have you understood my technical objection here, that when an RS of first rate quality, an academic secondary source, cites a candidate, we should avoid adding fringe books like that by Williams which contain the same fact that this figure is a candidate. Williams' book passed under the radar of reviewers because its content is negligible, a pure fantasy. As I said, we only give fringe sources a mention if the candidates they propose are not already mentioned in the scholarly literature. Williams' candidate is so mentioned, and therefore making one exception here gives the impression that his book is being promoted, or that wikipedia is making an exception for it. So, please revert yourself.Nishidani (talk) 22:38, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Nishidani, I did read Elliot and Valenza, and I do not think my assertion was mistaken. The purpose of the E&V article is to describe "stylometric tests" that show that Shakespeare's credited work does not match the writing of De Vere or of any other known "candidate." E&V explain that the list of candidates they provide on page 330 was taken from two other sources and they provide no explanation of why any of the people on the list have been put on the list. In addition to explaining how stylometric tests show that none of the candidates are credible, they also state that the "controversy still rages on the Internet, in the media, and among the general public—-everywhere, in fact, but in modern English departments."
In general, if we accept that SAQ is a fringe issue, then there is a logical inconsistency in excluding "fringe" references. The contention that SAQ is a fringe issue implies that candidates have only made the list at the suggestion of fringe sources. Consequently, it is reasonable to cite those sources, at least as a supplement to references, such as E&V, that invalidate the suggested candidates. Of course, if any candidate had been suggested by a "first rate" source as a reasonable alternative, then we would have to change the notion that SAQ is a fringe issue. Finally, the Williams book that I think should be added as a reference is on the reading list for a Masters program at Brunel University: Jdkag (talk) 06:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Now that you have read Elliott and Valenza you will appreciate that they listed Sidney as a candidate before Williams ever wrote her book, and that therefore an additional reference to Williams' book is supererogatory, apart from the fact that it violates the RS standards adopted by the page, which is a fork of the SAQ page. Robin Williams's episodic studies at Santa Rosa Junior College, and enrolment in a Phd programme at Brunel after publishing her book, do not constitute serious grounds for claiming she is RS for this. Peachpit Press publishes predominantly computer manuals. They publishj Williams' books on computers, but have no peer review process for her fantasies about the Elizabethan period. Please read the Arcomb decision and both WP:Fringe and WP:RS pages. Your remarks suggests you do not understand the implications of these decisions and pages. E&V have been used to note Sidney has been considered, historically, a candidate. The attempt to confuse this with the idea E&V are used to invalidate the candidate, in order to push Williams' book doesn't work. If you believed your suggetions were wellfounded, you would make bold to assert them on the Shakespeare Authorship page, where, however, this kind of special pleading has been shown to be both dysfunctional and disruptive. Nishidani (talk) 13:01, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Nishidani, When I wrote of the "purpose" of the E&V work, I was not referring to the purpose for its being cited in the Wiki article, but of the purpose that E&V had in producing the work. I mention this because your comment on my "attempt to confuse" indicates that you thought that I was making an accusation as to your purpose, an accusation that would be counter to WP:AGF, and this was not my intention. Whether E&V believed that the authorship question was valid or not is not relevant to my point, which is that the Williams work is not a redundant citation. I would like to raise in my support the policy of WP:DUE, which is that "Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views." The article that we are discussing here, the list of authorship candidates, is an article that logically should be devoted to describing the minority view, of course with the caveat that we make clear that this is only a minority view. It is therefore the appropriate place to describe the reasons for which Mary Sidney has been considered a candidate, or at least to include a reference to a work that does so. By way of comparison, I would suggest that we consider how references are presented in articles on fringe views, such as the New World Order (conspiracy theory). In that article, the Literature section lists twenty books that support the New World Order theory. This is not counter to WP:RS policies, because the RS status of these books is clear from the article's context. I would suggest that their inclusion enhances the quality of the article, given that readers investigating the subject are likely to be interested in learning more about the views of New World Order proponents.Jdkag (talk) 09:52, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
By the way, when you referred me to the Arbcom decision, perhaps you wanted me to consider the following points, which might not lead to a resolution of our difference, but which do make the process more pleasant:

"The purpose of Wikipedia is to create a high-quality, free-content encyclopedia in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect among the contributors.... Wikipedia users are expected to behave reasonably, calmly, and courteously in their interactions with other users, and to approach even difficult situations in a dignified fashion and with a constructive and collaborative outlook. Editors are expected to be reasonably courteous to one another, even during disputes. Unseemly conduct, such as personal attacks, incivility, and unwarranted assumptions of bad faith, is prohibited."Jdkag (talk) 09:52, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

You'll probably stick it in whatever I may say, so I'll just wait until you, following the logic set by your precedent, finish citing all of the several hundred books from the fringe which have proposed one of the candidates listed in RS before taking this further.Nishidani (talk) 14:39, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I have no objection to providing extra information to the reader about the history of advocacy for various individuals, but adding a book title does not do that. It does not help us to distinguish between academic literature - authenticating the inclusion of the name in the list - and fringe advocacy. If Jdkag genuinely wishes to provide information to the reader he/she will add the relevant literature on all of the candidates, where is it accessible. Adding one example of advocacy for one candidate does not help. Paul B (talk) 14:59, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
To reiterate, being that authorship candidacy is considered a fringe topic, candidates only appear on the list if they were at some point advocated by an author who is considered a fringe advocate. What we consider "RS literature," E&V being a prime example, generally does not help a reader to have an understanding of why a candidate has been advocated. So the rule should be to include, if possible, a reference to at least one fringe advocate for each candidate. If there are several hundred books from the fringe, we can assume that most relate to the major candidates whose names appear on the main SAQ page. Therefore, we can organize the fringe references so that candidates appearing on the List article have at most two or three fringe references, with more references being provided for major candidates not here but on the SAQ page. Paul, I am male (but you could avoid this issue by referring to me in the second person). Also, I do not have knowledge of relevant literature on all the candidates. That does not reflect a lack of genuine desire to provide information to the reader. Jdkag (talk) 06:08, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Thje point of this article is not to help the reader 'have an understanding of why a candidate has been advocated.' To suggest this is to propose that editors read diligently through several thousand fringe sources to provide from them information on the historical context for each of these proposals, a suggestion which, were it programmatic, would condemn this page to a state of perennial incompletion. The object of the page is simply to list the known candidates. By clicking on any one name, the reader is referred to the person, and if his or her candidacy has prominence, it will be alluded to in the article, or the reader will be directed to a fork where the candidacy is discussed at length. The rule re RS is suspended only for those recent candidates not yet covered by RS. As soon as they are, the direct citation should be removed, in conformity with the SAQ principle that fringe material should be decanted through reliable sources that discuss it.Nishidani (talk) 12:54, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
I have reverted on the basis of WP:Rs#Self-published_and_questionable_sources. The entry is adequately cited without bringing in a questionable self-published (Wilton Press) non-RS source, and doing so smacks (actually more than smacks) of WP:BOOKSPAM. I suggest moving this dispute to WP:RS/N in lieu of further edit-warring in accordance with the final decision of the recent arbitration case. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:10, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Reverting in lieu of discussion?Tom, We are in the midst of a discussion that has been proceeding with civility for more than a week. Several new issues were raised in the last posts by yourself and by Nishidani that warrant response, but not hasty reversion. Nishidani stated that there is a "SAQ principle that fringe material should be decanted through reliable sources that discuss it." Williams' book, "The Sweet Swan of Avon," has material not "decanted" by E&V, so one compromise could be to cite more recent RS: for example, the book was reviewed by the RS journal, The Sidney Journal, so we could cite that review, or reviews that appeared in more popular sources, such as the New York Times. However, as I noted before, I have a fundamental objection to the "SAQ principle," which is that fringe material is only relevant in this article, not to articles specifically about the candidates. (Furthermore, setting such a "principle" points to a problem of WP:OWN.) On the issue of self-publishing, you are mistaken, the book is published and distributed by Peachpit press, not by Williams, and is also available through a wide range of booksellers, including Amazon. So the WP:Bookspam accusation you base on self-publishing is also unwarranted, and I therefore don't see a reason to move this to WP:RS/N. What I suggest, given that so many issues have been raised regarding the citation of "Sweet Swan of Avon," is that we try not to repeat our points as we continue our discussion. Perhaps you can summarize the arguments raised by yourself, Nishidani, and Paul, together with my responses, and then either address my responses by way of rebuttal or raise new arguments that have not yet been addressed.Jdkag (talk) 09:58, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You need to stop mischaracterising other editor's statements; it is not appreciated. I wrote "in lieu of further edit-warring," which is what you are doing by continuing to place your edit in the article contrary to the discussion page consensus. The book's publisher is Wilton Circle Press, whose entire catalog consists of one book, the one you keep trying to insert in this article as a reference when no further reference is needed, as this article is a list, not a comprehensive review of each case. The fact that it is an imprint of another press does not make it RS, nor does the fact that it is sold through Amazon or any other book store. RS standards are straight-forward, and can be consulted at WP:RS. If you feel the need for arbitration as you state below, then follow my suggestion and open up a case at WP:RS/N and make your case for modifying Wikipedia sourcing policy there. Or you can begin an article about the Mary Sidney authorship case and see if it makes it through WP:DL. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:35, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

A comment on the process to this point. I added the Williams reference on Feb 23, thinking that the addition of the reference to this page was a trivial issue. Nishidani reverted it twice, and as his reasons were unclear I restored it back each time, the second time on Feb 24 while posting the comments that initiated this discussion. Nishidani again reverted the same day, and from that point I have not made any edits to the page, seeing that discussion was clearly needed. Nishidani reversed his revert on Feb 27, allowing the reference. On March 4, Tom Reedy entered the discussion and removed the Williams reference. I commented that his revert seemed hasty, but I did not touch his change. Consequently, Tom, when you accuse me of "continuing to place your edit in the article contrary to the discussion page consensus," you are presenting an inaccurate picture of my behavior. I should also point out that a consensus has not been reached, only a 2 to 1 majority opinion.Jdkag (talk) 08:39, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
The discussion has been conducted. Your position is anomalous with regard to the wiki protocols adopted for this area of the encyclopedia. You have tried to create a precedent, but it only looks like a spamming boost for Williams' nugatory divagations. We don't cite fringe books (books on the Elizabethan period distributed by the minor in-house pubisher for one of their writers of the computer manuals they specialize in) except through RS of the highest order. Williams' book is already cited in a reliable source we use, and that, via Occam's razor, is sufficient. The page needs work, but not on niggling trivia of this kind. Nishidani (talk) 11:17, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Need for Arbitration? Having addressed every concern you've raised about including the Williams reference, I can only conclude that we cannot through discussion among ourselves decide this issue. Our fundamental difference is on the logic of citing fringe sources. My stance is that RS sources you cite do not do justice to the "fringe" claim of alternative authorship, therefore a fringe source (where available) is needed to clarify the underlying premise. Your stance is that reference to a fringe source that is not decanted/recanted by RS would mislead a reader. I also do not agree that "wiki protocols" for this area should differ from those of other areas.Jdkag (talk) 14:20, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
You haven't addressed any 'concern'. You've simply talked your way around the obvious point, that when undubitable RS cite someone as an alternative candidate, further annotation of the fact from dubious sources, often homespun theorizing, is pointless for a page that does not talk about the theories but merely lists candidates. Williams was not the first to come up with that candidate, so showcasing her book in this way looks like pure advocacy or publicitarian spam. The page could be improved by systematic edits in the future that detail when and by whom each candidate was originally nominated. Nishidani (talk) 14:46, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Nishidani, I have been striving to address your concerns; here are some examples. One issue you had with the Williams book was that it "passed under the radar of reviewers because its content is negligible, a pure fantasy." I explained that it had been reviewed by many reputable lay and Shakespearean book critics. Furthermore, having read the book myself, I can warrant that it is well-researched and is very precise in differentiating between known facts and what you would call fantasy, i.e., the theory that Mary Sidney may have authored the work. None of the reviews of the book that I have seen in reputable sources have accused her of writing a work of fantasy or of "nugatory divigations." Although her theory (like all SAQ theories) is not accepted by most professors of Shakespearean studies, it has been well-received within the community of SAQ supporters and places prominently on the webpage of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition here. Tom raised the issue that the book was self-published, to which I responded that it was printed by Peachpit, a successful commercial subsidiary of the multi-billion dollar Pearson Education publishing group. The book was printed under the "imprint" of Wilton Circle, which is a marketing device, not the name of the publisher. A further criticism is that Peachpit has no review process for the Elizabethan period. I argued that such criteria is illogically strict for this fringe topic. Merely the fact that it is verifiably well-received by the SAQ community should be sufficient. I should also point out that the "RS of the highest order" that you cite, the Elliott and Valenza reference, does not meet the Shakespearean peer review standard; it's publisher was the Tennessee Law Review. And I would hardly call the authors themselves, Elliott and Valenza, Shakespearean scholars; Valenza's PhD is in mathematics; Elliott is a professor of Political Science. In short, after all this discussion I still feel the reference to Williams' book is valid and furthermore that ignoring such a known, valid reference we would be a violation of the Wiki spirit. Jdkag (talk) 08:39, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

  • the fact that it is verifiably well-received by the SAQ community should be sufficient.

i.e. you argue that wikipedia should accept fringe sources when the fringe community endorses them as positive contributions. The 'SAQ community' is a euphemism for people without any qualifications who comment on technical issues studied by the scholarly community of academic Shakespearean, and disagree with the academic approach, method and consensus on most issues. This doesn't work.Nishidani (talk) 09:23, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

It seems we've come full circle to my early citation of the policy of WP:DUE, which is that "Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views." I see myself as defending against the attitude you've criticized in the past of: 'We're not obliged to give 'both sides of the story' when the 'other side' is irrelevant.'Jdkag (talk) 11:04, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
jdkag, you are not remotely interested in giving both sides of the story, since you do not add books on any other candidate. If you showed good faith by collating material on all the candidates (where possible, of course), finding when they were first proposed and identifying prominent literature promoting their claims, you might improve the article by giving the reader more comprehensive information than a mere list of names. It is arguable whether or not that would be appropriate for an article that is intended to be a list, but a case could certainly be made that it could be improved by being expanded in just this way. The people who genuinely contributed to this article did so with the intention that it should be even-handed and comprehensive. All candidates are treated equally. It is you, not they, who fail to see both sides of the story. You only ever see one thing - the Countess of Pembroke. Paul B (talk) 11:27, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Paul, if we decide to add this footnote on the Countess of Pembroke, we will have a precedent, as Nishidani understands, of allowing references to sources that nominate candidates, rather than only allowing references to "RS" sources. Currently, although an authorship candidate only appears on the list if he or she has been suggested by a nominating source, the nominating source cannot be referenced because, by definition, a nominating source is not "RS" (supporting the fringe theory disqualifies the source from being "RS"). Once the precedent is set that nominating sources may be referenced, I would be happy to work to research additional "nominating" references for other candidates. On the Anne Whateley page, for example, I see several nominating references are allowed. This may obviate the need to have those nominating references in this article, though perhaps a nominating reference could even be given preference to an RS source, at least when the RS source gives no indication as to why the candidate was supported by the nominators. (I do not have access to the McMichael reference currently cited for Whateley, so I cannot judge it, whereas the E&V reference for Sidney was on-line, so I could explain why it was deficient.) For candidates such as Queen Elizabeth and Mary Sidney, the Shakespearean candidacy is so negligible compared to the accomplishments for which those woman are known, that it is more proper to put the nominating references in this article, rather than in the main biographical articles.Jdkag (talk) 16:15, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
No, it's fine to have sources that nominate candidates not nominated in the RS literature, as I have said often. Pembroke has long been nominated by RS. Therefore there is absolutely no point in adding a specific recent book that fails to qualify as RS, and which repeats the known fact he or she is an historical candidate.Nishidani (talk) 18:27, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Anne Whateley is rather an unusual case as she is essentially a fictional character - she really only exists in the imagination of people who have spun stories about her. The last section is essentially just a summary of the plots of a works of fiction, so there only primary sources are used. It so happens that the two "nominating references" in the authorship section are easily accessible to me, so I read them and used them directly, but secondary RS sources are also used. This is true on all the specific pages dedicated to candidates: Derbyite theory, Oxfordian theory, Marlovian theory, Prince Tudor theory etc. Speaking personally, I see no harm in adding the "nominating sources" as long as they are identified as such and as long as all candidates can be treated as equally as possible. Paul B (talk) 16:43, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
"In short, after all this discussion I still feel the reference to Williams' book is valid and furthermore that ignoring such a known, valid reference we would be a violation of the Wiki spirit."
Then why haven't you filed an opinion request at WP:RS/N and quit wasting our time? Tom Reedy (talk) 18:57, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
If we could resolve this on our own, we could avoid wasting the time of editors at WP:RS/N.Jdkag (talk) 20:36, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As far as three of us are concerned, it's resolved. If you don't think it is, I'd suggest reading the final decision of the recent arbitration case and follow its recommendations. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:20, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Tom, I copied above the passages of the arbitration decision that I thought were relevant, and I don't see how they support the view that a 3 to 1 standing among editors resolves this issue. Please specify the passages of the decision that you find relevant, so that I may better understand your position. My own position is that by chance we currently have four editors interested in this subject, three who are quite opposed philosophically and intellectually to the fringe theory, and one, being myself, who respects the fringe theory. And I believe that this is the place for the fringe theory to be represented, at least in a few footnotes.Jdkag (talk) 06:35, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
3) Wikipedia works by building consensus through the use of polite discussion—involving the wider community, if necessary—and ⇒dispute resolution⇐, rather than through disruptive editing. ⇒Sustained editorial conflict⇐ or edit-warring is not an appropriate method of resolving disputes. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:36, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Tom, thanks for clarifying what you meant. I would suggest that SAQ has already wasted enough time of uninterested editors. I would also suggest that our co-editors, Nishidani and Paul, have suggested possible compromises. Paul has suggested that he would not oppose "nominating sources" as long as the use of such sources was not exclusive to Sidney. Nishidani has suggested that he would consider "original nominations." I have sought relevant information along these lines, and I have found info at The Shakespeare Authorship Trust describing the history of nominations of several major candidates, including Mary Sidney. Their view is that Williams was the first to suggest Sidney as the primary author, but that Sidney was first considered, in a co-conspirator role, in a 1931 work. I would not oppose citing that 1931 work instead of Williams' book, or any of the other SAT sources if that better suits Nishidani's criteria. I would also point out that our article does already cite fringe sources, such as the citation of Lanier's candidacy in the New Jersey Jewish News. As I mentioned above, other Wiki articles on fringe subjects do not hesitate to give coverage, within context, of fringe books. According to the Wiki article on Stanley Meyers' water powered car, the car was found fraudulent by a court of law. The article nevertheless references, within context, a site promoting the car: [[1]]. In short, the RS standards of Wiki would oppose a citation of Williams' book in the main Shakespeare article, but do support citing her for what she is, the nominating source for the Sidney candidacy.Jdkag (talk) 16:55, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
All you need to is find, or wait for (I'm sure this will be noted in a year or two) a reliable academic mainstream source that notes that Mary Sidney Herbert's candidacy was first advanced by Gilbert Slater in his Seven Shakespeares, (Cecil Palmer, London, 1931). One cannot cite the Shakespeare Authorship Trust because it is full of errors, and unreliable. Information about who first nominated whom is invaluable for this page, and we have several examples of it in the text, all referred to acceptable RS, As to Lanier's candidacy being referrd to in fringe sources, you miss the distinction. Where a new candidacy is advanced we accept, and only there, the fringe sourcing because RS haven't had time to register the information. For old candidacies, since they are covered by RS, we do not annotate them with details from fringe sources, because that is unnecessary. Occam's razor also counts.Nishidani (talk) 17:37, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Slater’s speculations are noted on p.35 of the following RS The Collected Works of Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke: Poems, translations, and correspondence, vol.1 Author Mary Sidney Herbert Pembroke (Countess of) Editors (1) Margaret P. Hannay, (2) Noel J. Kinnamon, (3) Michael G. Brennan Publisher= Oxford University Press Year= 1998 url = ISBN = 9780198112808.

So we can place this as nominated by Gilbert Slater in 1931 with the above source.Nishidani (talk) 17:47, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Why isn't Slater's own book RS for the claim that he nominated Sidney?Jdkag (talk) 15:38, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Firstly because it's very old. Even a book from the '30s by a recognised Shakespeare scholar would be problematic, though there are no hard and fast rules about age. Mainly, though, it's because Gilbert Slater is not a Shakespeare scholar. Paul B (talk) 15:53, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Jdkag, read What counts as a reliable source, especially "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." Also see Reliable sources and Unwarranted promotion of fringe theories, especially the statements "if the only statements about a fringe theory come from the inventors or promoters of that theory, then various 'What Wikipedia is not' rules come into play" and "The notability of a fringe theory must be judged by statements from verifiable and reliable sources, not the proclamations of its adherents."
I am not completely opposed to using fringe sources in articles, but the history of their use has been mostly one of abuse and uncritical acceptance of their claims, not just as a source for the claim in a discussion. Read the SAQ page from 2009 or the current Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship page for examples. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:47, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm glad to see that this discussion has not been archived, as it covers many of the issues that have resulted in the problematic coverage of the SAQ issue on Wikipedia. In my initial comments here, I criticized the over-reliance on Elliott and Valenza, which is a reference that has no value to a reader who would like to understand the candidacy of a particular candidate in greater depth. There is now a similar over-reliance on Shapiro. My initial comment still holds: "What we consider "RS literature," E&V being a prime example, generally does not help a reader to have an understanding of why a candidate has been advocated. So the rule should be to include, if possible, a reference to at least one fringe advocate for each candidate."Jdkag (talk) 08:14, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

I would not be opposed to that, with the proviso that no deletions or cite tagging be done on those lacking such refs. E&V are RS, after all, as is The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare, and an editor should not insist on further time-consuming sourcing while being unwilling to provide them himself. I am also not opposed to using fringe sources in articles about the topic, as long as they are identified in text as such and not stated as fact with the implied equivalence of the scholastic consensus, which is how they have been abused in the past. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:19, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps worth checking out[edit]

'Practically anybody in the sixteenth century who could read and write is a potential candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare's works,' Louis Booker Wright Shakespeare for everyman, Washington Square Press, 1964

Can't be googled for the page where he writes this. Worth consideration as a possible remark on the page, to explain the number of candidates.Nishidani (talk) 22:01, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Thomas North[edit]

I see from a piece of spam, since reverted, over at Thomas North, that even the historian and translator is being pushed as a possible candidate, apparently, Dennis McCarthy's North of Shakespeare,, 2011. That would make the count 78, but perhaps we are obliged to wait for some RS, like some newspaper review to note the blip on its reviewing radar.Nishidani (talk) 16:34, 30 June 2011 (UTC)


I think the biggest problem with this list article was summed up by user:hamiltonstone when he wrote (see point 8) "no one should be on this list without a citation that demonstrates that the person is in fact proposed by a reliable source to be a candidate for the authorship. Not even one in five now meet that very basic requirement. Only if their candidacy has some significant coverage in the literature should it then be discussed in the article's body text."

Most of these candidates come from a list found in one source, and that source failed to even discuss these candidates. Many others seem to be OR. It seems that the minimum requirement should be precisely what was already noted above - "Only if their candidacy has some significant coverage" - The great majority of so-called candidates on this list fail miserably on that basic requirement. Smatprt (talk) 20:06, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Looking at the source further, this issue only gets worse - it appears this source only goes into any real detail on one candidate, not the 58 represented in this list article. Good grief. Smatprt (talk) 20:14, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

53 in the list come from one source (Elliott/Valenza) who say their list comes mainly from THE READER’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SHAKESPEARE (Oscar J. Campbell & Edward G. Quinn eds., 1966), which is not referenced anywhere in this article(?). Primacy of sources would suggest it would be referenced directly here. Any list of this sort--of candidates for Shakespeare authorship--needs to be sectioned by seriousness of support. Listing them all together irresponsibly suggests they all have equal weight in any reasonable person's mind; in the mind of anyone who has researched the topic. The list of those who receive substantial attention is much shorter. See the list presented at The Shakespeare Authorship Trust:

  • Francis Bacon
  • Edward de Vere
  • Roger Manners
  • Christopher Marlowe
  • Henry Neville
  • William Shakspere
  • Mary Sidney
  • William Stanley

They also include a 'Group Theory' (what weight is that given in this article?). Their 'Other Candidates' page adds three more names (including Sir Walter Raleigh). An even shorter list would be those who have organized research and support groups dedicated to their candidacy. To round out the list with the grab bag, responsibly, would include a statement that they all come from one source and are not really considered serious candidates by anyone who's actually studied the issue. Artaxerxes (talk) 17:54, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

The whole point of the list is to be inclusive - as complete as possible. That is its function. I don't think any candidate at all has been "proposed by a reliable source". At a pinch, Derby could be said to have been, since at the time of proposing Lefranc might reasonably have been called a "reliable source" on 16th century literature. None of the others have been supported in reliable sources according to Wikipedia's definition. Their candidacy has been discussed in relable sources, and that's our general criteria for inclusion. BTW, it is not OR to require that a list itself has to be discussed in totality in a reliable source. That has been consensus for some time. It's just that each specific entry in the list has to be sourced. For example, however much personal research I might do to verify the locations identified in list of red-light districts, my hard work will get me nowhere unless I have a published source. However, we do not need a book containing the entire list, nor do we need to rank them in any order of significance, quality of service, value for money or whaterever other criteria we may think fit. The overwhelming majority of scholars would consider none of the names on this list to be "serious" candidates, except for those like Fletcher who are thought to have been collaborators, and therefore the authors of parts of plays attributed to Shakespeare. Paul B (talk) 19:33, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
The more notable candidates have their own articles, in conformance to the guideline for inclusions in lists of people, so further treatment in this particular article—which is, after all, a list—is not necessary or even desirable. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Work and thinking required.[edit]

Technically, Shakespeare authorship can refer to alternative authors for Shakespeare's works, or to authors who have been adduced as having written some parts of the works ascribed to Shakespeare. The second category forms the basis of the old group theory. Now, it does somewhat overlap with attribution studies, where it is accepted that certain plays in the Shakespearean canon have multiple authorship. This is a fuzzy borderline point of possible confusion. While reading today Robert Giroux's The Book Known as Q: A Consideration of Shakespeare's Sonnets, Vintage Books,1983 p.viii., I learnt that John Berryman was convinced William Haughton had a hand in the writing of The Taming of the Shrew, but Berryman believed Shakespeare was who tradition said he was. That is an attribution issue that does not propose Haughton as Shakespeare, of course. But if you take 'Shakespeare' to be the works, then the attribution material on his collaborators fits. If you take 'Shakespeare' to be a person wrongly assigned the authorship, then the collaborators, hypothetical or not, shouldn't be listed. Perhaps we should look for RS that deal with this ambiguity.Nishidani (talk) 17:22, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes, this is one of the problems with the list, as I noted in a section above. I don't know whether Peele, Fletcher, Greene etc are listed here becuase they have be suggested as collaborators, or whether they are supposed to be contributors to the "Shakespeare" canon as part of the so-called "group theory". Some of the candiates are so odd, I really can't imagine how they could be supposed to have written the plays (how did Sir John Bernard, born in 1605, manage it?). Of course sheer absurdity does not preclude candidacy, but I suspect there may be more to learn about specific claims if we could access the source material. Paul B (talk) 17:43, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
This article is concerned with the SAQ fringe theory, so Haughton nor any other collaborators would qualify to be on the list. They should be in the Shakespeare's collaborations article and/or in the individual play article. Just my 2p. Tom Reedy (talk) 11:57, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I certainly was not suggesting that collaborators should be included. I was uncertain whether Peele, Fletcher et al were already on the list because they have been reckoned to be authors of part of the Shakespeare canon in the "mainstream" sense - as collaborators or revisers. They are there because they are listed by Elliott & Valenza, but the source does not go into detail about the criteria for inclusion. Paul B (talk) 15:57, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I should think it reasonable to remove from this list any writer generally accepted as having collaborated on any of Shakespeare's plays, none of whom are to my knowledge proposed as having written any of his works in their intirety. — Robert Greer (talk) 16:45, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
It might well be reasonable, but it goes against sources. The numbers and persons are as the sources affirm.Nishidani (talk) 16:51, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Has anybody read Ward and Valenza's excellent article, which states outright

We have come to the same conclusion about Oxford. Neither he, nor any other claimant we tested, is the True Shakespeare."

Any Shakespeare authorship candidate whose only justification for being on this illustrious list is Ward and Valenza needs to be struck.

That is not to say that a reference could not be found for them, but until it is they don't belong there. — Robert Greer (talk) 22:59, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

You mean, we shouldn't source the article? Nishidani (talk) 06:45, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
I can't understand what you are saying. Assuming that "Ward and Valenza" = Elliot and Valenza (Ward Elliot & Robert Valenza), you seem to be saying that their work is "excellent", but that it should not be used as a source! I can only guess that you are noting that Elliot and Valenza dismiss these candidates as plausible True Authors, and so you argue we should strike them out from the list. But E&V are used only to support the inclusion of names on the basis that someone, sometime has proposed them, not to validate those claims. Paul B (talk) 07:48, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, I've looked at the source from which E&V say they get their list - Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (1966). I just checked the entries in Greene and Fletcher. Neither say that the authors have been proposed as candidates in a "conspiracy theory", only that they may have written bits of plays in the Shakespeare canon. However, there is a separate entry entitled "claimants" in which the names listed by E&V appear. This is described as a list of "persons other than Shakespeare to whom his works have been attributed... The BACONIAN THEORY held the field among "anti-Stratfordians" for more than a century...Among the hypotheses most dilligently put forward have been the MARLOVIAN THEORY, the OXFORDIAN THEORY, the RUTLAND THEORY and the DERBYITE THEORY. Claims have also been put forward for the following as full or part authors...[the list follows]". The capitals indicate that there are separate entries on the 5 main theories. Paul B (talk) 13:58, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
There's a huge motherlode of indigestible tomes dating back a century at least where this obsession was put through the wringers by everyone from provincial journalists to fashionable ladies, each pitching for an eye-catching angle by throwing up candidates from all over the Elizabethan landscape, and these Churchill and others diligently listed. Apart from Wadsworth and one or two others, few mainstream scholars have cared to rake over this mound of mouldy fantasy. There's certainly great stuff there for several doctorates, using it to write the sociology of obsession, knowledge, weird/fringe ideas, etc., as much for Shakespearean specialists. It was, as the honours list of the Oxfordians reveals, only of some intellectual respectability up to a century ago. The only interesting mind in the field since Freud died has been Bronson Feldman, who certainly deserves a wiki article. Nishidani (talk) 14:35, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
It's fairly clear that claimants list in the 1966 "Encyclopedia" is intended to include all those who are supposed to be part of the conspiracy in some way. The Encyclopedia list is identical to the E&V list, except for the fact that E&V unaccountably leave out Thomas Watson (who we include in our list, cited to Churchill). Paul B (talk) 19:47, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I apologize for not having written at greater length before. Ward and Valenza assuredly belong somewhere in the discussion, but academics distinguish between primary and secondary sources.

The list of names in their article is secondary, and unless a given name on that list can be traced back to a primary source, which for the purposes of this article would be at a minimum the person who originally proposed a given "Shakespeare authorship candidate", it doesn't belong on the list.

There are a number of his contemporaries with whom he is known — or believed — to have collaborated, which was common practice in that era. As far as I know, none of his accepted collaborators has been proposed as the sole author of the rest of his works — or any of them — and these in particular should be removed. — Robert Greer (talk) 15:50, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Please reread WP:RS, closely. What you are asking for is WP:OR verification among primary sources for what excellent secondary sources state, and this would violate wiki protocols.Nishidani (talk) 16:01, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think what I'm asking for constitutes original research, at least not in this context, but even if Wiki. is (more) comfortable with secondary sources, the list in Ward and Valenza would be tertiary — if such a distinction existed — the sources from which they draw the names would be a minimum.
The presence of known Shakespearian collaborators on the list is another matter, and I hope clearer: John Fletcher has no business being cited as a "Shakespeare authorship candidate".
After his partnership with Beaumont he entered into a similar relationships with Shakespeare (whom he succeeded as the King's Men house writer), Field, and Massinger, who followed him as he had followed Shakespeare:::I don't think what I'm asking for constitutes original research, at least not in this context, but even if Wiki. is (more) comfortable with secondary sources, the list in Ward and Valenza would be tertiary — if such a distinction existed — the sources from which they draw a names would be a minimum reference to warrant inclusion.
The presence of known Shakespearian collaborators on the list is another matter, and I hope clearer. John Fletcher has no business being cited as a Shakespeare authorship candidate.
After his partnership with Beaumont he entered in a similar relationships with Shakespeare (whom he succeeded as the King's Men house writer), Field and Massinger, who followed him as he had followed Shakespeare, with none of whom his work was any secret. — Robert Greer (talk) 17:25, 28 October 2011 (UTC) with whom his work was no secret. — Robert Greer (talk) 17:25, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Robert, believe me, Nishidani, Tom and myself are all well aware of the current thinking about the history of Shakespeare's collaborations with other playwrights. You don't need to inform us of this stuff. Really. Perhaps you could add material to the relevant article on this issue: Shakespeare's collaborations. Re Elliott and Valenza, we know the source from which they draw their names. As I have already stated, it is the 1966 Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare. I have access to this, and the UK edition (titled Encyclopedia of Shakespeare). Both have the list of names in the entry entitled "claimants". This is written by Oscar James Campbell, a well established Shakespeare scholar [2]. Campbell does not say where his list comes from. It would be nice to know, for sure. But we cannot legitimately remove names because we don't have the primary sources. Unless we have reason to dispute a reliable secondary source, we have no grounds for doing so. You may not be aware that one of variants of the alternative author conspiracy theory is the so-called "group model", whch was promoted by the earliest advocates of the "authorship question", such as Joseph C. Hart and Delia Bacon, and still has advocates today. Many "authorship theories" piggy-back on conventional scholarship, so it is hardly surprising if group theorists have suggested that various playwrights commonly believed to have contributed to the canon were part of a group of writers working under the "Shakespeare" name. In other words Shakespeare's real collaborators are the most obvious candidates to be part of the imaginary clique of secret authors. If you wish to get the opinion of non-involved editors about the proper use of sources, I suggest you leave a message on Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Paul B (talk) 19:37, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

But for the record Wallace McCook Cunningham's The tragedy of Francis Bacon, prince of England, Philosopher's press, 1940 is where the various encyclopedia lists, and writers like Churchill probably harvest their numbers, since his cypher system identified over 70 candidates as part of the group composition theory. I've added a note to that effect (group theory).Nishidani (talk) 16:32, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
What happened with Fletcher was that he was proposed back in 1852 as a co-writer of one of Shakespeare's plays, and this was picked up by the group theory proponents some decades later, I think in the 1880s, from memory, and they stuck him in because prior scholarship saw his stylistic fingerprint there. These theories absord osmotically anything scholars write. Nishidani (talk) 20:06, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

reverted changes[edit]

I reverted Smatprt's changes because there were too few good ones to cull out of all the bad ones. In the first place, all aristocrats are identified only by their titles. Only commoners are identified by their vocations or avocations, so Oxford is not being slighted. As for the other reverts: only one theory was developed in the 19th century, although many claims were put forth; the idea of Shakespeare as a front is a typical argument of all of the theories; the perceived "literary allusions" are all coded--nobody but anti-Strats think they're there; you cannot attribute a statement inline unless the statement is reffed to those to which it is attributed; authorship promotrs do more than believe, they assert, otherwise we wouldn't know what they think; saying "scholars believe no such evidence exists" is for the purposes of this article and Wikipedia the same as "no such evidence exists", especially if no such evidence has ever been put forth; and so on, etc. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:56, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Too few good ones? So its easier to revert everything? So I suppose I need to reinstate them one at a time so you can let us all know which ones you will allow? Is that how all these pages are going to work? Okay,I suppose I can try and help you out this way. Regarding my changes:
  1. You say that only commoners are identified by their vocations or avocations. You decided this how? And as you have assumed control of this page you won't allow courtiers to have their vocations listed? In any case, you seem to be splitting hairs, allowing the vocations of Knighted individuals, Sirs, Earls, etc. For example:
    Sir Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, lawyer, scholar, essayist
    Sir Thomas Bodley, diplomat, scholar
    Cecil, Robert (1563–1612), 1st Earl of Salisbury, statesman
    Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596), naval commander, adventurer.
  2. I replaced the word "claim" as it is specifically identified as a word to avoid. See WP:CLAIM. See the rest at WP:WORDS, because you have lots of articles that use "assert", "claim", "argue", etc. As the guideline says: "Said, stated, wrote, and according to are almost always neutral and accurate."
  3. Incorrect - many doubters simply doubt the Stratford attribution and are agnostic as to a candidate. And (I think you would agree) that very little is "typical" of "ALL" theories.
  4. "literary allusions" is neutral. "Coded assertions" sounds like a mystery novel. (And "assertions" is specifically on the list of words to avoid. "Coded" would also make the list, for obvious reasons.) In any case, what on earth is wrong with "literary allusions"? It's completely neutral.
  5. Fine, then attribute these opinions to the correct source. All these pages are severely lacking in attributions. Why not start cleaning them up? You can do it or I can, makes no diff to me.
  6. - again, "assert" is specifically listed as a word to avoid. As the guideline says: "Said, stated, wrote, and according to are almost always neutral and accurate."
  7. You wrote "saying 'scholars believe no such evidence exists' is for the purposes of this article and Wikipedia the same as "no such evidence exists". Okay, assuming you are correct, then "Scholars believe..." is an unsupported attribution. (So I think we are both wrong on this) See both WP:AVOID especially WP:WEASEL. To the point - you can't simply say "No such supporting evidence exists for any other candidate,[12] and Shakespeare’s authorship was not questioned during his lifetime or for centuries after his death", when what is correct would be something along the lines of "According to Bates, no such evidence has been found".
  8. Related to the note 7, and at issue in many of these articles is 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." Someone needs to go thru these articles and make the appropriate corrections. You can do it, or I can, make no diff to me.
  9. Finally, please peruse WP:RSOPINION, which states "Some sources may be considered reliable for statements as to their author's opinion, but not for statements asserted as fact without an inline qualifier like "(Author) says...". " This applies directly to "No such supporting evidence exists for any other candidate,[12] and Shakespeare’s authorship was not questioned during his lifetime or for centuries after his death". You are asserting this as fact, but without an inline qualifier.

I hope you take my policy based arguments to heart. These issues can no longer be avoided. I will reinstate these minor edits one at a time so that you can be relived of looking at one edit to find the "good ones". Smatprt (talk) 23:16, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

You might want to re-read WP:RS yourself. There is no call for in-text attribution unless it is an opinion. Just as you objected to the use of "purported" on the Oxfordian thoery article with the edit summary of "no need to keep saying 'purported' when the entire article is so", so an article based on the well-recognized, academic point-of-view does not need to name the source in-text as long as the statement is cited. See WP:FIVEPILLARS and the appropriate policy and guideline pages for attribution and citation. Especially read the explanation of the neutral point of view and the section, Giving equal validity, which states, "Wikipedia policy does not state or imply that every minority view or extraordinary claim needs to be presented along with commonly accepted mainstream scholarship. ... Conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, speculative history, or even plausible but currently unaccepted theories should not be legitimized through comparison to accepted academic scholarship." Like it or not, WP policy is biased toward the academic consensus, and there are no burdens of extraordinary sourcing or attribution for ordinary, accepted statements.
I did check the first edit you made (or at least the first one I saw when I opened the page) and it appears to me that the refs don't support the statement, so I cned it. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:14, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the complete dif page of the changes you made, it appears to me that you are repeating the experience of editing the SAQ page by tagging everything you don't agree with and ruing the prose with awkward and unnecessary constructions to make it appear that the academic consensus is somehow suspect and that the SAQ is on a par with the traditional Shakespeare attribution. I urge you to reconsider your edits and your strategy unless you want to again repeat the entire sorry episode of edit wars and dispute resolutions. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
"Claims" is used as a noun, not a verb as in the guideline you gave. I also changed your personal attributions of opinion back to statements; in just about every case more than one or two cites were given, and the statements are widely agreed upon in academe and therefore do not require in-text attribution. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:33, 7 November 2011 (UTC)


Title the first section Notable Authorship Candidates: list/include candidates that a) have been proposed/listed as candidates by groups such as the Shakespeare Authorship Trust (see my comments above for an example list, and those of another discussant); b) have organizations (and related websites) that support/promote their candidacy; and, c) have citable books/documents/articles which lay out the argument in support of the candidates (all this might best be presented in a table). Title the next section Multiple Authors: outline 'Group Theory' (again, see above) and evidence of collaboration. Title the last section Others: Address the list that (we're told) comes from The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (but we now get only through a secondary source). Include the primary source reference and original words used to introduce/propose this list of candidates in the primary source. Artaxerxes (talk) 17:37, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

This is a list, not a detailed article. The more notable candidates, Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon, et al, and even some of the more interesting minor candidates, have their own authorship articles in conformance to the guideline for inclusions in lists of people, so further treatment in this particular article—which is, after all, a list—is not necessary or even desirable. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:11, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Rename the article Shakespeare Authorship Candidates. Only use the term 'claimant' where someone claimed himself to be an author of works attributed to Shakespeare. Add section for self-claimers, hoaxers, etc. if significant. Artaxerxes (talk) 19:32, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

As far as I know no-one was a "self claimant", unless you are referring to Thomas Heywood's objections to the Passionate Pilgrim, though that's clearly in a different category from SAQ theories. What you are proposing would really muddy the waters. There are many List articles on Wikipedia. It's an established format. Paul B (talk) 21:04, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

edit explanation[edit]

Inline citations are sufficient; nonetheless I will rewrite that sentence without the loaded term "believe". "Cryptic" is not a weasel word; it means what it says and was substituted for "coded". Bacon's theory was her claim that someone else wrote Shakespeare. The term skeptic is not a synonym for SAQ supporters. See also my comments here. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:40, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Is there a reason for so much introduction in this article? I would have thought that the lead should be no more than a brief paragraph, referring to the main article. Johnuniq (talk) 09:23, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
We had to put a longish lede section in because it was demanded by the reviewers at DYK when this was submitted for consideration there. More recent edits, mainly by Smatprt, have turned what was still a relatively short and clear lede [3] into what we see now: IMO, a long, rambling, turgid and incoherent one. Paul B (talk) 09:40, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
John is right; there's a lot that doesn't need to be there. Ima cuttin'. Feel free to revert. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:12, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Jacques Pierre[edit]

On the example of Pierce, William (1561–1674), claimed writer; proposed by Peter Zenner, i.e. non existent but hypothesized historical person, perhaps no.81 should be the Jacques Pierre whose name, according to a Professor Gentilli of Nervi, revealed the continental person behind the authorship of Shakespeare, esp. since Sigmund Freud fell for it (Sam Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives 1993 p.441. See also Freud's letter to Jones, 31 October 1909, in R. Andrew Paskauskas (ed.) The Complete Correspondance of Sigmund Freud and Ernest Jones, 1908-1939 Harvard University Press, 1993 vol.1, p.32.Nishidani (talk) 09:38, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

There are more that could be added. First is Lewes Lewknor, recently proposed in William 'Bill' Corbett's book The Master of the Ceremonies. Unfortunately, despite its author's frantic efforts, it does not seem to have been noticed yet beyond the blogosphere. We also have Daniel Defoe, frequently mentioned by Stanley Wells (presumably because he's the most absurd candidate Wells knows of). He's certainly citable. His sole champion's name, "George M. Battey", generally produces sniggering comparisons to Looney. I've not been able to discover when Battey wrote his groundbreaking work. Some sources refer to an "essay" in which he says that the Real Author could have been either Bacon or Defoe. Paul B (talk) 10:19, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The "Jacques Pierre" theory seems to have originated as speculation about a Norman or other French origin of the name "Shakespeare", the implication being that the name is an anglicised pronunciation of the French original (though surely Shakespeare would have pronounced it "Jayquèspeter"). This seems to have been taken up by some Baconians, followed by Oxfordians, as evidence for their claim that the name "Shaksper" is somehow different from "Shakespeare". Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn say, "Since the confusion was first deliberately instigated, the Stratford man has often been called Shakespeare, but his name was Shaksper--probably derived from Jacques Pierre." It's not clear from Schoenbaum whether Gentilli is proposing a candidate or is just an advocate of the theory that the Shakespeare surname was originally French. Paul B (talk) 11:06, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
No.81, Seems in any case secure for registration.
Defoe, Daniel (1660 – 1731) proposed by George Magruder Battey, Jr. (1888-1965) grandson of Robert Battey? From the Folger papers, looks like he was active circa 1920. a thesis proposed by George M. Battey (Battey, George Magruder?) Michel Dobson, ‘Defoe’ in Michael Dobson, Stanley Wells (eds.), The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, OUP 2001 p.108 (2) Marjorie Garber, Shakespeare's Ghost Writers: Literature As Uncanny Causality, Routledge, 1987 p.3
No.82 Shouldn't take long for some review to note Corbett's thesis. No hurry.
No.83 Jacques Pierre. Well, the Freud correspondance on this goes on desultorily for several years. He wrote a second letter on it in 1914, and the point of it was that Shakespeare must have been a cultured European, a Frenchman. I tried to track Gentilli (Nervi is a suburb now of Genova), but so far without success. The secondary sources read this to mean that Freud thought Shakespeare was French (Robert W.Rieber, Path In Psychology: Freud on Interpretation: The Ancient Magical Egyptian, Springer, 2012 p.49 ), for example, accompanying it with the argument that Shakespeare's portraits are not of an anglo-Saxon but of a Latin type, a point Schoenbaum p.441 confirms. (cf. Ernest Jones, The life and work of Sigmund Freud, Basic Books, vol.1 ‎1961 p.18 :'He insisted that his countenance could not be that of an Anglo-Saxon but must be French, and he suggested that the name was a corruption of Jacques Pierre. That Gentilli's suggestion the name was a corruption of French Jacques Pierre seems to have confirmed Freud's sense (not a good eye for reading faces, to judge from the Leonardo fiasco!) that Shakespeare was not English, and if that is the case, not the attested Stratford fellow. Nishidani (talk) 11:51, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I gathered from the sources you list that the Battey essay was written at some point in the early twentieth century. Wells is so taken with the Defoe theory that he even has a separate entry on it in the Oxford Companion. I like the Jones passage. I've added it to the page on the Chandos portrait. Paul B (talk) 12:20, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Frank Wadsworth (p.111) called Battey a 'Baconian' so the Defoe turn is curious. All I can find is an otherise unlisted, apparently self-published book
George Magruder Battey, The Impending New World Renaissance: Being a Compilation and Interpretation of Certain Views and Writings of that Master Literary Craftsman, the Late Dr. George J. Pfeiffer, [Ph. D., of New York, Graduate of Harvard University,] Whose Scientific Studies Convinced Him and Many Others that Francis Bacon wrote the plays popularly attributed to William Shakespeare, 1948, just in time perhaps (?) to make it into Joseph S. Galland's unpublished Digesta Anti-Shakespeareana, (1949).Nishidani (talk) 15:06, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The Friedmans seem to be implying that the article was published in American Baconiana, but no date is given: "The Americans, though not the first in the field, soon made up for lost time, and numerological articles are to be found in plenty in American Baconiana. Among them, Dr W. H. Prescott (who financed one of Owen's manuscript-hunting expeditions) shows how Bacon signed The Story of the Learned Pig with the name 'Transmigratus', which is 171 in simple cipher ('Francis' in kay cipher has, of course, the same value); George M. Battey Jr. exhibits the numerical relationships between ' Francis Bacon' (100), 'Daniel Defoe' (77), ' William Shakespeare' (177) and 'Robinson Crusoe' (177); and H. A. W. Speckman turns his attention to 'The Odd Cryptogram on Spenser's Tomb', adding a flourish to the ordinary numerological treatment, and producing Bacon's name again and again by what he calls the 'orchematical' method." (p. 181). Paul B (talk) 19:09, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

But there is no scholarly consensus, nor is there a reference given saying there is. I don't understand the objection, nor the removal of my added material.[edit]

Hi. I am responding to the request on the subject line. This 59 year old book was already being used as a reference, so is presumably acceptable for this article already, well before I began to edit it. I have checked the other references and nowhere do they say that there is a scholarly consensus about when these various doubts first started. Each reference is merely noting the opinion of the author making it. I also see on the reference list a number of 50-year-old reference books, and one that is at least 100 years old. I have never heard that the age of a reference discredits it's veracity.

But no matter, Wikipedia seems to require that these various opinions, printed on university presses, should be noted, without giving greater importance to one over another. Churchill, and his collaborator, Hussey, were well-respected in their fields. I also find that another reference book already represented in this article, by Frank Wadsworth, says on page 8 that "one must, in fact, move on to the end of the 17th century, to a time when, ironically, many spurious plays were finding their way into the Shakespeare canon, to encounter the first clearly expressed doubts about the authorship." Wadsworth then goes on to write that 1687 was the year of this first clearly expressed doubt. He then lists 1728 and 1759 and 1769 as additional years where doubts were clearly expressed. So that is two acceptable reference books that are in opposition to the current listed date of the 19th century. Just because some later writers did not research this question completely, does not negate the work of previous scholars who were more thorough. Does that answer your question? Will you now put back the information that was deleted? FatGuySeven (talk) 22:38, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

The 'first expressed doubt' about a particular play (in thes case Titus, IIRC) is not the same as expressing doubt that Shakespeare was a writer. You are misrepresenting Wadsworth.
One other point: this is a list, not an exhaustive history of the SAQ. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:27, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
One more: "Suggestions that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the works traditionally attributed to him were first made in the 18th century" is inaccurate. A joke at the expense of a dumb character in a play does not count. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:31, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Again you're accusing me of misrepresenting the author? I have provided the quotes and the page numbers. Wadsworth lists at least three dates in the 18th century, as you know since you obviously are looking at the same book I am. And Churchill explains why the joke is considered representative of early doubts AND he lists several other 18th-century dates as well, so your objection to the joke doesn't even hold water.

You appear to have these books, so you need to stop picking and choosing one example and acting as if the others don't exist. Both these authors list multiple dates in the 18th century and even venture into the 17th century, which you also must know. You really need to stop misrepresenting these authors. I have to ask – are you connected to this issue in someway? You seem to have very strong opinions, instead of just reporting what scholars believe.

Clearly we are going nowhere. What is the avenue to ask for another opinion on this? Is there a mediation process or something?FatGuySeven (talk) 04:11, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Enjoy. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:45, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

The preamble leading into the list needs a lot of work.[edit]

It seems to me that the preamble leading into the list is a real mess. This should start with the mainstream consensus that Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the works but that questions and doubts about his authorship have led to a growing list of alternative candidates. It should then summarize the list with a sampling of the candidates, perhaps by date or by category.

Right now it is all over the place, adding in bits of history and speculation, and doesn't really summarize the list in any representative way. Based on the interactions I have had here, I am hesitant to attempt a rewrite, for fear of being called a liar again, and accused of misrepresenting the references. I am going to give it a shot, but would appreciate any constructive help since I am still learning this process.FatGuySeven (talk) 04:33, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

I suggest you first study the difference between a list and a main space article. I have a phone stuck in my ear at the moment but when I get off I will demonstrate how you are misrepresenting Wadsworth. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:54, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, please explain, but you are deciding where the history starts and ignoring the sourcebooks this article uses. I don't think you can do that. We can't decide what is reportable and what is not in this fashion, we can only report what are sources say. Both these sources cover the origins of the controversy, and we need to report that.

Yes, I know the difference between a list and an article, and the preamble to the list must explain reason for the list, the history of the list, and provide context for it. Otherwise, your readers won't know what the list is about. That's all I'm suggesting we do. This is real basic stuff so I don't know why all the anger and brusc comments and bad assumptions.

The list includes candidates that were proposed for single play, a small group of plays, and sometimes just the sonnets. We can't lump all these candidates together under a description that is an accurate. Why don't we just clarify in the opening what the earlier dates were and classify them the way the source authors do. Let me show you an example.FatGuySeven (talk) 06:22, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

And could you at least answer the few questions I have posted about the process? Or will you not help me in that way?FatGuySeven (talk) 06:22, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

i'm still waiting for some answers? I will make some changes, always with references and quotes and citations, and see what you all think. I don't have a dog this in authorship fight, but I'm very interested in expanding this list and making this article better since it seems to have stagnated and was left in an incomplete and unsatisfying status.FatGuySeven (talk) 08:12, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
it was also riddled with errors on the list which I have corrected, and a lot of opinions being stated as facts which simply shouldn't be. Why don't we all just trying to make this article better?FatGuySeven (talk) 08:12, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I also read up on what the lead is supposed to be and have adjusted down to five paragraphs that now tell a complete story and matches up to both the references and the list of candidates and their various claims.FatGuySeven (talk) 08:44, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I also read up on reliable sources and how to cite opinions so they don't read as facts. I think the article is much better now. Comments?FatGuySeven (talk) 08:51, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
It's pointless, absolutely futile, you working on a redraft in mainspace, if only because, each edit so far demands reversion or significant reworking as, for example, these two recent edits show.

(a)The first literary claim that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote some or all of the Shakespearean canon, came in the 17th century, when the minor dramatist Edward Ravonscroft claimed that Titus Andronicus was written by a "private Author", and that Shakespeare only supplied one or two "Master-touches". Whether this was an early comment on collaborations, or a serious alternate authorship reference, is a matter of debate.[1]

This was reverted because it states as a fact, the opinion of one scholar writing a half century ago (1958), and Wadsworth fingers the origins to 1687.
What do you do? You rerevert and tweak with attribution.

(b)According to 20th century Shakespeare scholar Frank Wadsworth, the first literary claim that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote some or all of the Shakespearean canon, came in the 17th century, when the minor dramatist Edward Ravonscroft claimed that Titus Andronicus was written by a "private Author", and that Shakespeare only supplied one or two "Master-touches". Whether this was an early comment on collaborations, or a serious alternate authorship reference, is a matter of debate.[1]

So, the question is, apart from the attempt to redeploy the distinct issue of Shakespeare attributions as part of the theory of Shakespeare's challenged identity (a gross confusion) why Wadsworth's view must be privileged? since others, later scholars, don't share it
Schoenbaum , writing 30 odd years after Wadsworth, having thoroughly absorbed both Wadsworth and the intervening years of scholarship, discounts his view, and starts his narrative of 'the first unbelievers' in 1759 (not however denying Shakespeare as author of his works), a full 70 years later than Wadsworth (Schoenbaum Shakespeare's Lives 1991 p.395)
With the cherrypicking technique you adopt, one could equally write:

(c)According to 20th century Shakespeare scholar Samuel Schoenbaum, the anti-Stratfordians claim that first literary claim that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote some or all of the Shakespearean canon, came in the 18th century

Or, look at William Leahy, a sceptic who writes that:-

'The received knowledge holds rather that the authorship question began with Delia Bacon in the 1850s, (Leahy (ed) Shakespeare and His Authors: Critical Perspectives on the Authorship Question 2010 p.3.

I.e. Leahy identifies the academic consensus as pinning the start later than either Wadsworth or Schoenbaum. By selective use of Wadsworth, and deliberately ignoring the complexities of the whole history of scholarship on the SAQ, you have underwritten the anti-Stratfordian claim.
See? Working arbitrarily, proposing, being reverted, tweaking back on the mainspace article only promises to repeat once more the tedious wiki career of User:Smatprt, who did this for several years, ìn dozens of daily edits. If you want something to stick, then work it out here. We have been throuh this technique before, of making a workaday life out of rehashing dead approaches, interrred in the archives, in order to exhaust the patience of editors. This is not a place for people to learn how to edit, or grub up an elementary knowledge of standard procedures of scholarship, at the expense of spirit of people who already know the ropes and the scholarship. Nishidani (talk) 09:13, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

'still waiting for some answers'? Perhaps you did not see my comment here on your misuse of Wadsworth: I also directed you on your talk page to the ArbCom page of sanctions for SAQ-related pages. Please read them. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:49, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

This should come in handy also. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:17, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Gentlemen, I came across this page and found it greatly incomplete. I knew I had a couple sourcebooks being used for references so I attempted to help. I made numerous edits over the last several weeks and greatly improved the article, without any help from either of you. Although a couple other editors did help and make some corrections to my work.

While working on the list I found numerous inconsistencies, mistakes, and either mistaken or improper references being used. I had only begun to make these corrections when out of nowhere you two started reverting all my work on the leading section and the preamble. At the same time you have bullied me, described my edits as crappy, and have tried all sorts of intimidation tactics.

Now all of a sudden, you want to "talk"? You are obviously playing games and now just trying to stall or talk me to death. I tried talking, I tried asking questions. I asked if there was a mediation process and received no answer. I asked if there was a rule about claiming scholarly consensus, and I received no answer. I asked if you were involved with this subject somehow, and received no answer.

Even though you are unwilling to tell me, I am slowly finding my own answers. I will try to ask others for help since you clearly don't want to.FatGuySeven (talk) 03:42, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Also, I started reading some of that arbitration material. This is not my battle and I don't care about that kind of thing. I'm only interested in getting the details of history correct, making sure opinions are separated from facts. That's where this article fell so short and where I've been making my contributions for weeks now.FatGuySeven (talk) 03:49, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Nobody had any objections to your additions to the candidates, and in fact I was glad to see you add references and expand the information about the candidates. Where you ran into problems is the lede section, where you are (1) trying to including too much minor detail, and (2) misrepresenting Wadsworth to say that the SAQ began earlier than it did. Note the word "explicit" in the lede sentence, as in "were first explicitly made in the 19th century". It is there for a reason; people can argue all day long about whether people had real doubts about Shakespeare before any were seriously advanced. Also note just after that, "though supporters of the theory often argue that coded assertions of alternative authorship exist in texts dating back to Shakespeare's lifetime." This is a reference to all the so-called "allusions" to the SAQ before it was explicitly brought up (all of them derived from idiosyncratic interpretations of literary works that are then treated as if they are facts). This article is a list, not a history or an explication of when doubts first arose. All that needs to be in the introduction is enough information to put the list into context.
If you look on your talk page, you will see that you were welcomed to Wikipedia and given a list of articles on how to participate, what the policies and guidelines are, how to build consensus, mediation processes, where to ask questions, and other technical aspects of editing. Also if you choose to edit articles on the topic of the Shakespeare authorship question, you implicitly agree to adhere to the guidelines set out by the arbitration committee, so yes, it is relevant to you, so I suggest that you pay attention to it.
And you never used the talk page until you were reverted several times by several different editors. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:21, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

What does most of this have to do with "content"and where in the rules does it say to use the talk page get every edit approved in advance, which is what it seems like you want me to do? I used the talk page soon as someone asked me to. What more could anyone ask? I read the arbitration information and I am not in violation, so what are you talking about? See you next section below.FatGuySeven (talk) 08:19, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Authorship doubts in the 17th and 18th centuries[edit]

As to the matter at hand, it is you who decided to add the word "explicit" is that correct? Why do you get to choose when to start the history, when according to Wadsworth, Churchill, and other Shakespeare authorities, it started much earlier? Your line about proponents is also incorrect, since it was Wadsworth and Churchill who wrote about these early doubts and they can hardly be called proponents.

The lead is supposed to reflect the article and this lead does not. That's what I'm saying. As both Churchill and Wadsworth say, it's impossible to determine when someone claimed the first doubt, and it's a matter of opinion as to whether it started in the 17th 18th or 19th century. That's what references say, that's what the article should say, and that's what the lead should say. I have offered at least three different lead openings to try to fix this. You have deleted all of them and offered nothing instead. Is that called working in good faith?FatGuySeven (talk) 08:19, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Wadsworth, page 8:

"The beginnings of the controversy are shrouded in time, and one speaks with small insurance in signing to a single Man the responsibility for first suggesting that William Shakespeare was an imposter. Although it has become fashionable for those opposed to the Orthodox tradition to argue that the secret of the plays have been hinted at continuously from the late 16th century on, there is no overt evidence that Shakespeare's contemporary saw anything unusual in the attribution of the place to Stratford actor and manager. One must, in fact, move on to the end of the 17th century, to a time when, ironically, many spurious plays were finding their way into the Shakespeare canon, to encounter the first clearly expressed doubts about the authorship."
Page 9 and 10: "a rather different kind of comment upon the composition of the plays appeared in 1728… describing Shakespeare as a man who "was no scholar, no grammarian, no historian, in all probability could not write English,"
Page 10: "in 1759 other minor dramatist, one James Townley, brought up the question of Shakespearean authorship again... Although the conscious have pointed out that this repartee may simply represent the birth of an old and honorable joke, other authorities have maintained that Townley's farce marks the genesis of the movement to separate the man of Stratford from the plays.
Page 11: "if James Townley was the first to ask – seriously or just – who wrote Shakespeare, Dr. Herbert Lawrence was the first component doubts about the authorship of the plays with a personal attack upon the traditional author. In 1769..."
Page 13: "Lawrence, whose booklet was long ignored, is now held by those amount the learned who cannot take Townley seriously to have been the first to see through the Shakespearean imposture."
Churchill, page 28:
"whether the origins go back to the 17th century or merely to the 18th is, admittedly, a matter of opinion. It depends whether we give any credit at all to evidence that lies outside the reach of literary criticism."
Page 30: "the first literary, as distinct from pictorial, evidence belongs to the 18th century".... The passage cannot however be taken as accidental;... There must have been, and the mid-18th century, a certain amount of discussion as to the authenticity of the traditional authorship of Shakespeare…"

Churchhill goes on to list several more instances, and 1738, 1768, & 1777, where additional doubts about Shakespeare's authorship, or accusations of him being a thief or front man, were mentioned.

In other words, it's a matter of opinion as to when these first doubts occurred and whether they were serious, explicit, or just jokes. We cant decide which are which. No one can. We can only report what the references tell us. That's what I am trying to do and it's this material that keeps being deleted from the opening sentences and being replaced with an opinion that is being stated like it's a fact.FatGuySeven (talk) 08:19, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Please do not post the same material to more than one place. This discussion started (I think) at Talk:History of the Shakespeare authorship question#Stating opinion as fact. Misstating scholarly consensus., and there is now the same text here and there. One of them should be replaced with a link to the other. Johnuniq (talk) 10:20, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
And please don't start a new section every time you decide to post. You need to be specific as to what you're talking about. You write, "Your line about proponents is also incorrect, since it was Wadsworth and Churchill who wrote about these early doubts and they can hardly be called proponents." I have no clue what you're talking about. The line in this article states "Proponents argue that the documented life of William Shakespeare lacks the education, aristocratic sensibility, or familiarity with the royal court which they say is apparent in the works." Neither Wadsworth nor Churchill argue that.
Again, this is not a history article, and the phrase "though supporters of the theory often argue that coded assertions of alternative authorship exist in texts dating back to Shakespeare's lifetime" is sufficient for the context of a list of Shakespeare authorship candidates. And again, Wadsworth's "the first clearly expressed doubts about the authorship" relates to the first attempted disintegration of the canon, not to questioning William Shakespeare of Stratford as an author, as is clear from the context I supplied and which you have ignored.
One must, in fact, move on to the end of the seventeenth century, to a time when, ironically, many spurious plays were finding their way into the Shakespeare canon, to encounter the first clearly expressed doubts about the authorship. In 1687 a minor dramatist, Edward Ravenscroft, adapted Titus Andronicus for performance. In the address "To the Reader" of the printed edition, Ravenscroft, thinking it "a greater theft to Rob the dead of their praise then the Living of their Money" confessed [9] that there is "a Play in Mr. Shakespears Volume under the name of Titus Andronicus, from whence I drew part of this." Ravenscroft went on to reveal that "I have been told by some anciently conversant with the Stage, that it was not Originally his, but brought by a private Author to be Acted, and he only gave some Master-touches to one or two of the Principal Parts or Characters; this I am apt to believe, because 'tis the most incorrect and indigested piece in all his Works; It seems rather a heap of Rubbish then a Structure."
Ravenscroft, it should be noted, banished Titus from the canon as the result of Bardolatry which refused to admit that Shakespeare could ever have written badly. His motives make him the first of the so-called Disintegrators, those unorthodox Shakespeareans who, exploiting the uncertainties of Elizabethan theatrical history, would like to reduce the number of canonical plays to the few measuring up to the high standards of the greates tragedies, histories, and comedies....None of the Disintegrators has ever doubted that Shakespeare was the author of the superior works, of course. (pp. 8-9)
The current scholarly opinion is that the SAQ began in the mid-19th century, for which I have supplied an up-to-date reference from Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells. I would be interested in your explanation as to why a 55-year-old reference controverts modern scholarship.
I am finished repeating myself. I hope that you are also. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:20, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

I'll post this here as well, since it answers your questions and points out the problem with the opening statements of this article, as well. I will add that you have only labeled Ravenscroft as a disinigrater. What about the other half a dozen or more doubters listed by Churchill and Wadsworth. Also - your new reference is just more opinion. It's not a fact and that is what you are implying. It's misleading and easily fixable. Why do you refuse to suggest a rewrite, as I have?FatGuySeven (talk) 20:06, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

"To answer your main question above, sentence 1 is an opinion not a fact. You are still basically saying that there is a scholarly consensus. Defining "explicit" is also a matter of opinion. I've cited two references saying a)it's a matter of opinion when the AQ started; and b) the dates range from 17th-18th century on when claims started. Both reference books are explicitly histories of the authorship question, and include some disinigraters and as early doubters due to the types of claims they made. One foes not exclude the other. Sentence two doesn't reflect the section on early doubts recognized by Shakespearean and literary scholars. Churchill and Wadsworth are very clear as to when they are citing their own opinions and research, or when they are repeating the claim of a doubter. sentence 3 is misleading as both orthodox scholars AND doubters have cited additional examples of supposed contemporary references. You are lumping them together. FatGuySeven (talk) 19:35, 29 June 2014 (UTC) Sentence 2, is just ridiculous of course. The first section on possible early doubts completely negates it. Some scholars like Wadsworth and Churchill accepted the evidrnce I gave cited. I suppose Shapiro does not. Why not just delete it for now and try and get the first sentences right. This opening is my only major complaint here.FatGuySeven (talk) 19:46, 29 June 2014 (UTC) I'm also requesting - do you have citations from current scholars saying that Wadsworth and Churchill were wrong? Have modern scholars specifically discounted their work, their research or their opinions? Isn't that what you need to discount them? Have a sampling of modern scholars actually discounted Ravenscroft, as well as each of the 18th century doubters? We know about the forgery, but what of the others?FatGuySeven (talk) 19:54, 29 June 2014 (UTC)" FatGuySeven (talk) 20:06, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Now that you've opened your case at WP:DRN let's just follow instructions and put this aside until it is resolved. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:16, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Actually, we are still supposed to try and use the talk pages. So I renew my questions.FatGuySeven (talk) 16:15, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Oxford in Bacon's group[edit]

FG7, I've reverted your edit because the source (not an academic reference, BTW, as you characterise it in your complaint) is incorrect. If I have an outdated source that says Francis Bacon is the most popular SAQ candidate, can I put that in since I have a source for it? No. Can I say that Wilmot was the first Baconian since Wadsworth says so? No.

Here's exactly what Delia Bacon says about De Vere (speaking of Sir Walter Ralegh):

He became at once the centre of that little circle of highborn wits and poets, the elder wits and poets of the Elizabethan age, that were then in their meridian there. Sir Philip Sidney, Thomas Lord Buckhurst, Henry Lord Paget, Edward Earl of Oxford, and some others, are included in the contemporary list of this courtly company, whose doings are somewhat mysteriously adverted to by a critic, who refers to the condition of 'the Art of Poesy' at that time. (p. lv)

And that's all she says about Edward DeVere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

I can find all kinds of sources that say that Obama was born in Kenya. Can I put it in the Barack Obama article? Tom Reedy (talk) 03:35, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

You are just playing games. Churchill and Wadsworth are reliable sources. I doubt you Kenyan reference is. Churchill and Wadsworth are standard texts with university imprints. I doubt your Kenyan reference is. FatGuySeven (talk) 16:15, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I am not the one playing games, though I like to use apt analogies. Again I note that you fail to address the main point, which is what D. Bacon actually wrote. Reliable sources or no, by your reasoning we should be able to include Wilmot as the first Baconian, instead of mentioning him and then informing the reader that it is a forgery. The alleged early doubts are given space in the history article to the extent they are reflected in the reliable sources (and probably even more so), and they are mentioned in the lede. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:20, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Wadsworth, pages 8-9