Talk:Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship:

There are no active tasks for this page
    • Conform all references to the Harvard citation style used in the article.
    • Add information about the Oxfordian arguments being rebutted to "Oxford's knowledge of court life"
    • Add mainstream context about Shakespeare's use of legal terms and concepts to "Oxford's education"
    • Add mainstream context to "Science"
    • Rewrite "Chronology of the plays and Oxford's 1604 death" in a more organised way
    • Add citations to "Family connections" and "Theatre connections" for Oxfordians claiming this information as evidence
    • Write section on Oxfordian publications, including Brief Chronicles
    • Use sources such as Fowler 1986 and Sobran 1997 to write a paragraph on allegations of verbal parallels in Oxford's letters and poetry
    • Cite all facts about Oxford's life to reliable sources rather than fringe ones

    A comment on sourcing[edit]

    I've just deleted some material in the "1604" section citing academics to qualify mainstream opinion about the dates of the plays, with no attribution of Oxfordians who have drawn on their work to support Oxfordism. There are many, many minority views about Shakespeare, and citing one as an "Oxfordian response" without an Oxfordian source takes it out of context. Distorting sources like this should be considered WP:OR at best, and dishonest POV-pushing at worst.

    For example, in my recent rewrite, I removed the false statement that Alfred Harbage had dated many of Shakespeare's later works before 1604, citing Harbage's edition of Shakespeare as the source. The actual source seems to have been Mark Anderson, who argues that since Harbage gives his dates with margins of error, we can take his earliest possible date for every single play, then turn to Karl Elze for favourable dates for the two remaining post-1604 plays. Another example would be the long-standing information about Ernesto Grillo's book, an ancient source adduced to support an opinion of no weight whatsoever with no cited connection to Oxfordism.

    I'll soon be deleting the similar stuff about non-Oxfordians who drew a connection between Burghley and Polonius if no Oxfordian source is added to justify it. In the future, Oxfordian arguments or rebuttals added to the page without citation of the fringe publication they were found in should be reverted immediately. - Cal Engime (talk) 01:06, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

    I have deleted this section:

    "Oxfordians interpret certain 16th- and 17th-century literary allusions as indicating that Oxford was one of the more prominent suppressed anonymous and/or pseudonymous writers of the day. Under this scenario, Shakespeare was either a "front man" or "play-broker" who published the plays under his own name or was merely an actor with a similar name, misidentified as the playwright since the first Shakespeare biographies of the early 1700s."

    The first sentence is correct but should be sourced. The second is a personal interpretation of the theory which does not reflect the Oxfordian position. Some Oxfordians, Charlton Ogburn for example, maintain that he was not an actor at all. None positively identify him as a frontman or playbroker or as having published plays "under his own name" as most Oxfordians say that "Shaksper" or "Shaxper" was his "own" name. Nor do any Oxfordians I am aware of or have read identify him as physically "publishing" any plays at all. Also, the expression "Under this scenario" and the closing phrase "misidentified..." violates NPOV guidelines.Burdenedwithtruth (talk) 17:18, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

    The playbroker theory is just one of several. I think the sentence makes it clear that there are a number of different points of view within Oxfordianism (and anti-Stratfordism in general). The "front man" view is utterly commonplace, so I don't really understand why you have a problem with that. The "misidentified" argument arises from the claim that 'Shakespeare' was already adopted by de Vere as a pseudonym when the 'man from Statford' appeared with a similar name (Oxfordians spend a lot of effort trying to prove that "Shakspere" is a similar but different name). I'm at a loss to understand what violates NPOV, since neither "Under this scenario" or "misidentified" are biased or derogatory expressions. As for "published the plays under his own name", no one is suggesting that he actually printed them himself if that's what you mean by "phyically publishing". It simply means he organised their publication. Obviously the view that he was using his own name contradicts the claim that "Shakspere" is a different name, but these are different theories.
    If you read WP:LEDE you will see that content in the lead section does not have to be sourced if it is sourced in the main article content, which it is. You may have a point about the fact the article as a whole does not contain any discussion of the various Oxfordian accounts of the claimed relationship between the poet (Oxford) and the Stratford man, which vary from close friendship to outright antagonism. Paul B (talk) 21:27, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

    Overly critical intro?[edit]

    The first two paragraphs of this article basically attack the notion of alternative Shakespeare authorship theories, even going so far as to imply that it is a "conspiracy theory." Is that how the article should begin? Does that adhere to NPOV? I don't have a strong opinion on the matter of Shakepearean authorship one way or the other, but I feel like the article as currently written - at least the introduction - is intended to guide the reader to the conclusion that this theory is false. (talk) 23:17, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

    Thanks for your interest. We've tried to build this page according to established interpretations of Wikipedia's core content policies (neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research) detailed at the page Wikipedia:Fringe theories. Wikipedia is supposed to be neutral on matters of opinion, but that doesn't mean treating all points of view as equally valid. For example, Wikipedia would be useless as a reference if pages like Holocaust or general relativity gave equal space to people who don't believe in their subjects; coverage of notable fringe theories is to be mostly confined to pages specifically about the fringe theories, and even there WP:FRINGE says that much more weight should be given to the mainstream view, with the fringe view "clearly described as such."
    Oxfordian editors of this page who would like to use Wikipedia to promote their views have often argued that Oxfordism should be considered a significant minority view, not a fringe view, and thus deserves more weight. However, this has been discussed extensively (especially when the Arbitration Committee dealt with the subject), and an overwhelming number of reliable sources have been found explicitly calling Oxfordism a far-fringe view, many of which could be quoted in much harsher terms than are in the article; I believe Tom Reedy once posted a list of quotes from 14 different reliable sources calling anti-Stratfordians a "lunatic fringe" in those exact words. So while we shouldn't go so far as to make the page an anti-Oxfordian polemic, we aim to keep the mainstream view (that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare) prominently present throughout the article. - Cal Engime (talk) 02:04, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
    I remember that list, here it is: [1] Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:31, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
    On second thought, that may not be the list you were thinking about, it´s old. It´s a "lunatic fringe" list, though. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:34, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
    The intro remains absurdly overly critical against the Oxfordian theory for an entry specifically about it. One could understand such warnings about its deviation from mainstream opinion on the main Shakespeare entry, but here? This entry should be written by Oxfordian scholars who actually advocate the theory in question in order to give readers the best possible understanding of its central arguments, while admitting to readers that this theory remains a minority view. Having Stratfordian alarm bells sound at the opening, using pejorative terms like "conspiracy theory," is anything but NPOV. Kosmocentric (talk) 16:46, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

    WRONG! WRONG! The Authorship controversy is one of those controversies that arise in humanity science (e.g. linguistics, literature) where the conventional view is to deprecate the fringe view much MUCH more than it deserves. By a "majority rule" process, the so-called fringeists are relegated to a "debunked already" status. This is fine when the fringe idea really has been debunked but, as I say, some of the debunkings in some social sciences are far too aggressive. INDEED anyone who doesn't recognize that there are strong cases FOR Oxford and AGAINST Shakspere simply hasn't read objectively.

    When skeptics of alternative authorship are questioned on the detailed issues, most of them refer -- just as the mumbo-jumbo words in article's intro do -- to "majority scholarly opinion", unwilling to weigh in on any (except the most trivial) of the damning circumstantial evidence.

    Anyway, far be it from me to try to Edit Wikipedia. I just came hoping for a helpful soul who will answer

             "Which of the past versions of the Main Page (Oxfordian_theory_of_Shakespeare_authorship) is more objective and avoids the snotty dismissal of Oxfordianism?"

    Because Frankly, after that poorly written and dismissive intro I didn't bother to even skim the page.Jamesdowallen (talk) 15:01, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

    And where did you learn exactly how much the fringe view needs to be deprecated? How did you come to know the correct amount of aggression a debunking should have? Why do you happen to know how to read things objectively? If the experts are doing all those things wrong, obviously you know better than them. Then you must be a super-expert! That means your opinion insight has been published in a reliable source, and we can quote that source, right?
    Otherwise your concerns cannot be included, since we only use reliable sources, and not the private opinions of users. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:52, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

    Exactly the sort of response I'd expect from a typical "debunker" ... whose only stock in trade is to repeat conventional wisdom.

    There are certainly scholarly books which take a skeptical view of the Stratfordian authorship and provide much evidence; since you're so erudite why don't *you* cite them? Why would *I* waste my time in an edit battle with an entrenched anal-retentive camp already in place?00:16, 8 November 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamesdowallen (talkcontribs)

    The burden of proof rests on whoever makes the claim. If I'm wrong about that, then you find the policy that says so. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:49, 8 November 2016 (UTC)
    Flattery will get you nowhere. If you want changes in the article, you are the one who has to supply the reasons.
    BTW, if that was a representative example of your powers of reasoning, it is no wonder you end up with such weird worldviews. You used the following fallacies, rhetorical techniques, and propaganda methods:
    • "Exactly the sort of response", "entrenched anal-retentive camp" - Poisoning the well
    • "repeat conventional wisdom" - Buzzword and Strawman. What I repeated were the basic rules of this encyclopedia: "we only use reliable sources, and not the private opinions of users". The rest of what I said was just taking you down a peg: your opinion of yourself is way too high.
    • "There are certainly scholarly books" - Potemkin village. If they exist, name them.
    People who argue for good ideas don't need to use such methods because they can give good reasons. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:33, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

    'no evidence'..... circumstantial evidence[edit]

    'no evidence'

    If there is really 'no evidence,' then why is there a whole section of the article dedicated to 'circumstantial evidence' of which there is plenty. I wish I could edit this but for some reason the page is protected. Could someone tell me why? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Evidence123 (talkcontribs) 21:18, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

    There is a difference between empirical evidence and suggestions that flee from Occam's razor. The article is protected to keep conspiracy theorists from editing it. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:35, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

    Ok, so then surely the article should say 'there is no 'empirical' evidence,' or 'the evidence is only circumstantial' Circumstantial evidence is still evidence! So saying that there is no evidence at all is misleading.

    The page is about the 'conspiracy theory' as you call it. What is the point in having an article about someone's theory if the people with that theory are not allowed to edit the article? Obviously both sides of the debate should be represented not just one side.

    Has there been any specific vandalism of the page? Because I thought pages could only be protected if there has been a specific influx of 'vandalism.' Could you please tell me what this was? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Evidence123 (talkcontribs) 10:52, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

    We don't create artificial balance between reality and WP:FRINGE conspiracy theories that reject and are rejected by mainstream academia. There's a difference between letting an article be a platform for conspiracy theorists and neutrally describing as wrong an idea that mainstream academia describes as wrong.
    The vandalism in question was conspiracy theorists trying to "give both sides." The Arbitration Committee (basically the supreme court of Wikipedia) gave that protection the thumbs up. Ian.thomson (talk) 11:32, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

    There has been new research and more circumstantial evidence, which now cannot be added to the page, which is a huge shame. Please could you kindly change the 'no evidence' statement for me, as I suggested. Circumstantial evidence is evidence. May I also suggest a lot of things which are missing from the page: 'Dating Shakespeare's plays' by Kevin Gilvary, a new interpretation of the Stratford Monument by Alexander Waugh (the first complete interpretation offered,) the interpretation of the reference to Shakespeare in Covell's Polimanteia, etc. etc. Why are Diana Price, Kevin Gilvary, Richard Paul Roe, Alexander Waugh, Alex McNeil and Daniel Wright, the leading scholars of the theory at the moment not even mentioned? (only Waugh is even listed as a supporter, but none of his research is in the article). Between them they have published many thoroughly-researched books and articles which offer plenty of evidence for Oxford. But they don't even appear in this article! Why are justice John Paul Stevens and justices Scalia and Blackmun not mentioned as Oxfordians? There is so much missing from this article! Since I can't add it, would you kindly do it for me, in the least biased way possible. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Evidence123 (talkcontribs) 13:47, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

    Semi-protected edit request on 24 April 2016[edit]

    There are several points missing from this article.

    1/ "The Shakespeare Guide to Italy" by Richard Paul Roe, and all the evidence in this book that Shakespeare went to the same places in Italy where de Vere went.

    2/ Alexander Waugh's discovery of 'our-de-vere' next to the marginal note 'Sweet Shake-speare' -

    3/ Justice John Paul Stevens, justice Scalia and justice Blackmun can be mentioned as supporters of the theory.

    4/ The front cover to Peacham's Minerva Britanna

    5/ Evidence that Shakespeare was dead after 1604 (i.e 'ever-living'...'late great Ovid') and the fact that plays stopped being published as regularly and plays which were not by Shakespeare suddenly came out under his name.

    6/ Could you please put both FULL QUOTES from 'the arte of English Poesie' so that people can read the quote for themselves. Also worth mentioning that Robert Greene in 'Farewell to Folly' also writes about authors using allonyms of people who could not even write.

    7/ Richard Brome: 'that English Earl that loved a play and a player' seems to refer to Shakespeare

    8/ This quote from John Bodenham showing that Oxford and others had written works published under others' names: "Edward, Earle of Oxenford. Ferdinando, Earle of Derby. Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Edward Dyer. Fulke Greuile, Esquier. Sir John Harrington.From diuers essayes of their Poetrie; some extant among other Honourable personages writings; some from priuate labours and translations." (talk) 00:14, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

    Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Terra 10:21, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

    Semi-protected edit request on 25 April 2016[edit]

    Please could you change the sentence saying that there is 'no evidence' to saying that there is 'only circumstantial evidence' You have listed 'circumstantial evidence in the article, so it is plainly inaccurate to insist that none exists. (talk) 00:19, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

    Not done: The "No evidence" bit in the lede is sourced, and so changing that part would misrepresent the source. GABHello! 00:52, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

    Claims and citations in the introduction[edit]

    We read in the article's introductory that,

    "The convergence of documentary evidence of the type used by academics for authorial attribution – title pages, testimony by other contemporary poets and historians, and official records – sufficiently establishes Shakespeare's authorship for the overwhelming majority of Shakespeare scholars and literary historians,[5] and no evidence links Oxford to Shakespeare's works.[6]"

    Reference 5 cites pages 164-165, the final two pages of the Frank W. Wadsworth (1958, University of California Press) book, The Poacher From Stratford: A Partial Account of the Controversy Over the Authorship of Shakespeare' Plays. On a reading of those pages, I dispute that they amount to more than a bald unsupported claim that, as Wadsworth writes, until contradictory factual evidence is unearthed, there appears no valid reason to doubt that the official records, the evidence of title pages, the testimony of self-described friends and fellow writers, mean what they appear to say--that William Shakespeare of Stratford was the author of the wonderful works that bear his name. (p. 164)

    That was written before the work of Noemi Magri and Richard Paul Roe was published--providing ample documented evidence that people, places and events mentioned in certain of the plays and poems reveal a knowledge of Italy's history, geography social customs and laws which cannot be credibly thought--let alone shown--to have been possible for the Stratford Shaksper to have come to know. These details reveal a direct and personal acquaintance which cannot be explained other than through a presence in Italy. Thus, we have today the "contrary factual evidence" which, by Wadsworth's own admission, places his bare assertion on untenable grounds.

    Q 1) How, then, does the citation of his work still validly apply here, in 2017?

    Q 2) Have any of the editors of this page actually read either Magri [1] (Magri, Noemi. Such Fruits Out of Italy: The Italian Renaissance in Shakespeare's Plays and Poems. Buchholz, Germany, Laugwitz Verlag (2014)) or Roe [2] (Roe, Richard Paul. The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels. New York, HarperCollins Publishers, 2011. ISBN 978-0-06-207426-3) ?

    Proximity1 (talk) 15:34, 12 April 2017 (UTC)


    1. ^ Such Fruits Out of Italy: The Italian Renaissance in Shakespeare's Plays and Poems
    2. ^ The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels