Talk:Shakespeare authorship question/Archive 2

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Archive 1 | Archive 2 | Archive 3

Serious OR Edit

I'm interested in doing a serious OR edit. I think that this page can be informative (even exhaustive) NPOV well-sourced resource considering the length of the article - it's 20 kilobytes larger than the article for William Shakespeare!! I know I have a couple other good editors on this page - are there any objections? Rmj12345 03:08, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

When you say OR edit - are you referring to Original Research? What kind of edits are you contemplating? Smatprt 14:47, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

What specifically caught my interests was the section on "Shakespeare's class", which only has one citation. I think sections/paragraphs that are rife with "citation needed"s could be easily re-written to encapsulate the issue in a way that makes use of the significant amount of sources without using weasel words or Original Research. What do you think? Rmj12345 19:02, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I would love to see what you have in mind. However, a lot of the "citation needed" notations are a subtle bit of warring going on between Strats and Anti-Strats each trying to one-up each other by the over-requesting of citations. Yes, everything should be source-able, but do we need to source every single sentence? Smatprt 21:54, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I'll definitely keep that in mind and try a bit tonight. Rmj12345 23:37, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
While we're on the topic of length, I propose we cut the "Overview" section and merge the unique information in there to later section. This is such a length article, and while I think some kind of introduction is needed, I think we should maybe expand the introductory paragraph so that it's more in-depth. What do you think? Rmj12345 23:37, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I think you should run your proposed edits in this location before attempting mass edits such as your last attempt. However, to simply delete anything that has a fact citation is probably excessive. Just about every case you deleted, for example, is easily cited. Several weeks ago, a clearly stratfordian editor (vandal?) added dozens of fact tags (the ones marked February). It was clearly a POV attack with the hope that someone would then start deleting. I don't agree with that kind of tactic. So, as you did with the edit of the introduction paragraphs, I suggest you propose your edits here. Also, I suggest you deal with one section at a time. I liked your first 2 edits for example, but there was so much I din't agree with that it was easier to revert the whole thing. (And I'm not trying to be difficult - I just thought the process was better the first time)Smatprt 02:13, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Apologies. I'll post here first to get your opinion for now on, though with a heavy workweek coming up, I won't get much done until my spring break in a week. Rmj12345 21:54, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I added a number of anti-strat sources to the article - they were pretty easy to find. A bunch of the Stratfordian fact tags should be easy to source as well. But I'm all for good editing, so if you want to start at the top and work down, section by section, I'll try and keep up. But let's post them here first for a few days to get other comments. Smatprt 08:27, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


who wrote this page? Well done! Its been a fantastic resource! 58.104.147.9 09:01, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Article Balance

Having left this article for some time and only recently read it again I think it now has a fair representation of all views. I read objections to arguments for which further evidence exists to develop the original thesis (e.g. Rayleigh's execution in Macbeth, the play also appears to refer to Rayleigh's trial) but in respect of the length of the article, I am loath to include it. So, well done to those who have worked on this page. (Puzzle Master 14:08, 18 December 2006 (UTC))

I've never heard that argument before. Can you explain its basis? Thanks.--BenJonson 01:54, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

PS -- I agree that the article is improved. It still needs work, but it is definitely better. At least we are no longer arguing about the relevance of the title page of the sonnets. :)

The article is complete garbage. There is NO scholarly "debate", and here, the word "debate" is used in the UGLY fashion seen in "Holocaust 'debate'" and "global warming debate". The issue is closed: as far as is known from the documentary record Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays in the first folio. The issue is a hobby horse of the mentally disturbed lower middle class, and the article has NPOV219.77.105.210 00:56, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

You're completely wrong. A few of the reasons why you are wrong have been stated previously in this discussion. It is true that real discussion of the authorship q. is limited to a minority of scholars in and out of academic circles, but it is not true that the issue is closed. If you don't think the issue exists, you have no business being involved in editing this page. Please visit the page that gives the orthodox biography of William of Stratford and make your contributions there.--BenJonson 01:00, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Literacy

I have a contention with the literacy section. It clearly argues that Shakespeare's wife is illiterate and then remarks as to why there is not a surviving letter directed towards her or others. This is not a valid argument and should possibly be restated or removed. Matt3737 03:17, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Its interesting that you would say this. I think the absence of documentary evidence of this nature, while not decisive, is indeed relevant. The case against the orthodox view of authorship is a circumstantial one. Orthodox scholars are fond of arguing how good the Stratford grammar school must have been by citing an extant Latin letter by Shakespeare's neighbor Richard Quiney. At the same time, David Kathman and others have claimed that the absence of documentary evidence for the literacy of Shakespeare and his family is the result of his middle class status.
Hello! Why Richard Quiney but no Shakespeare? Ben Jonson was as middle class as they come, and we have literally dozens of samples of his handwriting, from extant masques to correspondence to his signature, and sometimes his dedications to, books that he owned or wrote. But none from Shakespeare. While the anti-Stratfordian case does not, as is sometimes claimed, rest entirely on this absence of documentary evidence, its absence is indeed relevant to the question. No discussion of the subject that made any presumption to objectivity could fail to mention it.--BenJonson 01:47, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
  • You are right, of course. I'm just a bit worried that if we start deleting arguments from this page just because they are fatuous or self-contradictory, we will have nothing left. AndyJones 20:55, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
One of the problems that remains in this discussion, despite real progress (for which, thank you, Andy, for your role), there still seems to be a knee-jerk tendency to announce that so and so is "right" simply because he is articulating an orthodox perspective. I repeat that the purpose of this entry is not to shore up the orthodox view of authorship. There is a wiki page entirely dedicated to the orthodox account of authorship, and those who want to contribute to his biography should do so on that forum. I venture to suggest that if such persons actually took a serious look at the biography of the alleged author, and compared it with "what he hath left us" -- to use the slightly sardonic language of "Hemings and Condell" in the 1623 folio -- they would come away somewhat less smug than they now sound.
Leaving aside for the moment the precise wording or emphasis of the point, the fact that there is not a surviving scrap of evidence for the literacy of Shakespeare's parents (his father signed with a mark), wife, and one of his daughters (who also signed with a mark), and that he himself left not a single example of a holograph (look it up if you don't know what it means) specimen of handwriting is indeed relevantto the authorship question -- and it is, sir, neither fatuous nor self-contradictory to say so.--BenJonson 01:52, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Sorry, was being tongue-in-cheek. I've fixed it. AndyJones 17:23, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Introduction

I think that the opening to Background sounds kind of biased - like the beginning of a detective novel. What about deleting that section? I don't think there's anything that couldn't be merged into other sections. I think it states clearly in the introduction set up the background to the debate well enough, and the article is pretty extensive otherwise. Rmj12345 00:23, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I'd be okay with doing that.--Alabamaboy 14:48, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

What's wrong with a detective novel? Everyone loves a good mystery. Except, of course, for those who are concerned that the mystery might in some way implicate them. --71.206.25.146 01:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. Can you explain why you think it seems kind of biased. To you, it may sound a bit like a detective novel, but this is a mystery we are talking aobut. Instead of deleting, whyy not try an attempt at a rewrite? Smatprt 15:18, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

My opinion was here, and hasn't changed. AndyJones 17:16, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
It may be a mystery to you and to some, but it shouldn't sound like a mystery in an encyclopedia. The introduction/background section should reflect the debate, not set up a mystery novel. It is 'generally' accepted that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed - the introduction should set up and introduce the fact that people question Shakespeare's authorship.

It is "generally accepted" only within the confines of a profession which has predicated its own identity on assumptions about Shakespeare's. In many other places, including authoritative reference works such as Encyclopedia Britannica (look it up), it is acknowledged as a mystery.--71.206.25.146 01:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)


The background section as it is currently written bases the background off the circumstantiality of the evidence surrounding Shakespeare's identity, and not off generally accepted knowledge.

As long ago as 1992, long before Stritmatter's dissertation, Mark Anderson's book, and many other recent events that are influencing the discourse of authorship in profound and lasting ways, the Riverside Guide to Writing, one of the most authoritative textbooks in U.S. academic publishing, cited the authorship question as a case study of a controversy in which the facts and their interpretation are at issue. Your citation of "accepted knowledge" is, imo and with all due respect, a weasel phrase.--71.206.25.146 01:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

It is based on controversial evidence prior to the introduction of that evidence. The introduction should set up the evidence, not work off it... Because it's based off controversial evidence, it sounds argumentative.

With all due respect, I think you are on the wrong page. There is a wiki page entirely dedicated to the orthodox view of Shakespearean authorship. The purpose of this page is to fairly and accurately represent the views of many independent scholars, Shakespearean actors, and others who don't accept your view that "accepted knowledge" --whatever that means -- is the appropriate standard.

Additionally, I agree with AndyJones, it's pretty weaselly.

I don't think it's worth re-writing because a) the article already has a good introduction, which sets up the argument in a neutral way based off what the reader is already likely to know, and b) the content of the paragraph is found elsewhere, in more appropriate sections. The controversial nature of this debate necessitates careful sequencing of the information. If the beginning of the article sounds like it's a mystery, it'll sound like it's "out to get" Shakespeare, instead of introducing the reader to valuable and balanced alternative views of Shakespeare. It shouldn't set it up like a mystery, it should set it up as a debate. Rmj12345 04:42, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Rmj12345 and AndyJones--leave that deleted section out. --Alabamaboy 16:40, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I am still confused by your whole premise - can you be specific about what exactly sounds like a detective novel? I stated that the entire subject is indeed a mystery, but I disagree that the background section sounds like one, or sounds biased. I see a few background facts that everyone agrees on, and the section does establish that the writer has "long" been identified with Shakespeare of Stratford. I don't hear the detective novel. I also agree with others that a weasely subject has weasely words. We all agree the article needs more sources. I will try to add some, if you think it will help. Smatprt 06:31, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Also - Can you please identify the "weasel words" in the background paragraph? Thanks, Smatprt 16:25, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

First off, thanks for remaining civil. I see that you've done a lot to contribute to articles about Shakespeare on Wikipedia, and I don't want to step on your toes. Also, looking over the text again, it
I'll repost the text here for easier reference:
From 1593 to 1637, a number of plays and poems were published under the name 'William Shakespeare' or, in many cases, hyphenated as 'Shake-Speare'. The company that performed most of these plays, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later called the King's Men), also included an actor of that name. This actor and playwright has long been identified with a William Shakespeare who was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564.[1] I simply don't see the point of having most of this information in here. The reader should be familiar with Shakespeare's works, if they're here, and the distinction between Shakespeare of Stratford and the possible other identities of Shakespeare would be meaningless to a reader at this point, as would the distinction and importance of Shakespeare versus Shake-speare. The unfamiliar terms and the recasting of established facts give it kind of a suspicious cast to me. Additionally, all of these established facts are better explained later on in the article. The reader doesn't need to be retold who Shakespeare is, is my problem with this. It's not independently valuable as a
Around one hundred and fifty years after Shakespeare of Stratford's death in 1616, doubts began to be expressed by some scholars about the authorship of the plays and poetry attributed to him. I think this is valuable and contributes to an initial understanding of the topic, reflecting that this is a debate that has gone back a long time. While many candidates have been proposed, it is generally accepted that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed. Same with this.
I propose that the Background section as a separate section be taken out, and the introductory paragraph be altered to read:
The term Shakespearean authorship question refers to scholarly debates dating back to the 18th century over whether the works attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon were actually written by another writer or a group of writers, using name "William Shakespeare". While many candidates for alternative authorship have been proposed, it is generally accepted that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed. The terms can also refer to less contentious debates about what exactly Shakespeare wrote in the collaborative world of the Elizabethan theatre.
How does this sound? I just want to cut down on this page a little bit, it's pretty lengthy and I don't think that the background section has any independent merit, unless you think it's worthwhile to re-explain Shakespeare's publications. It's kind of like a condensation of a very complex topic rather than an introduction, and it's not really a background to the topic anyway. Not that a background is needed, because this is a specific and rather wonky topic, and those in search of general information on Shakespeare would do well to look at other Wikipedia pages on him.
Thanks! Rmj12345 00:34, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I like

Hey - thanks for actually talking to me about this, instead of at me. I now understand where you are coming from and you make alot of sense. I think the publication references are certainly covered later, and you are right - its too much like a summary. I do think the hyphenated name should be referenced because that was the name used on like... half the published versions of his name (and I disagree with most who feel it was simply 'occasional' or just a 'spelling variance' - it seems to me very intentional and follows a pattern - but I digress...).

While we are on this, I would like to raise a couple of other issues - I have long thought that the first-time reader would also want to know who the main candidates are - it seems the most obvious question and I think a good encyclopedia article would have it. Also, the following line is troublesome to me and referenced elsewhere: "The term can also refer to less contentious debates about what exactly Shakespeare wrote in the [[Shakespeare_Apocrypha|collaborative world of the Elizabethan theatre". I have to say that I have been involved with this subject for over 20 years and when I have heard the term Shakespeare Authorship Question, it has never been used in my presense except when dicussing the issues raised on this page. Whenever someone has spoke or written about collaborations, the term used is..well...Shakespeare collaborations, or sometimes "Shakespeare Apocrapha", which really isn't right, but people use it anyway. I suggest we delete that line as well, or move it it to bottom with the other links (I think it's already there, but I'll check).

So, keeping all that in mind, I would like to offer something along these lines:

The term Shakespearean authorship question refers to scholarly debates dating back to the 18th century over whether the works attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon were actually written by another writer, or a group of writers, using "William Shakespeare" (or the hyphenated version 'Shake-Speare') as a pen name. While many candidates for alternative authorship have been proposed, including Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, it is generally accepted that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed.]].

This is an excellent proposed rewording. The only part I don't like is the phrase "generally accepted." I think we should be more specific, and that the context should be specified in a concessive and *historical* manner. The authorship question is a moving target, and wikipedia should acknowledge that fact. Even Professor Alan Nelson, an anti-Oxfordian, has often conceded that the orthodox scholars are in effect losing ground to a public movement that has considerable momentum. How about this: "Although the view that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed is widely held in contemporary academic circles, interest in the subject, particularly in the Oxfordian theory, continues to grow in the 21st century." ??--71.206.25.146 01:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

This is the information I think should be in an opening paragraph on this subject. If you think I'm on the right track - feel free to massage the word usage abit. I enjoy co-editing more than most.Smatprt 06:49, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

That looks great, much improved! Thank you as well for talking to me and not at me - it's good when editors can have a conversation rather than an argument, and I too enjoy co-editing. How about we give people a couple of days to voice objections and then install? Rmj12345 21:48, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Sounds fine with me. Thank you, as well! Smatprt 22:54, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Did Plato write Plato

Did Orwell really write 1984 ? Prove it. 72.184.143.196 21:59, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

And your point is--what? Go read the Encylopedia Britannica entry on authorship and stop insulting people with your own ignorant parallels.--BenJonson 01:39, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Aren't there still some of Orwell's notes around? And Orwell definitely existed as an author at least.

Minitrue speak goodwise on Orwell. Your crimethink doubleplusungood. 216.61.238.76 01:05, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Greene Reference

This may sound dull, but if Greene is referring to a man named Shake-scene as an "upstart Crow..." etc, doesn't that imply that a man with a name roughly equivalent to Shakespeare was indeed working as a playwright/poet in London? If the Greene comment is evidence that he thought Shakespeare's authorship dubious, then it's also evidence that a Shakespeare or Shake-scene (an epithet?) was in London, working as an actor and writing under that name. Also, Greene writes like he knew this Shake-scene personally...what motive would he have to cover Shake-scene's true identity if he detested his presence, especially if he were Bacon, Marlowe, the Queen of England, etc...? Hesperides 03:27, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Good question. For the second time today, I'm posting a link that may clear up some of your questions: http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/virtualclassroom/dixonupstartcrow.pdf. I don't know where it went the first time. --71.206.25.146 02:32, 29 April 2007 (UTC) [Ben]

GREENE ARGUMENT. The first reference to Shakespeare the actor appears in an autobiographical pamphlet from 1592. When the Cambridge-educated dramatist Robert Greene died on 3 September 1592 at the age of 32, his friend and fellow playwright Henry Chettle edited together some of his papers. Seventeen days later, they were published under the title A Groats-worth of Witte. One article, addressed to three unidentified playwrights, was entitled “To those Gentlemen his Quondam acquaintance, that spend their wits in making plaies, R.G. wishest a better exercise, and wisdome to prevent his extremities.” The first, “thou famous gracer of Tragedians” and follower of a “Machivilian … Diabolicall Atheisme” was almost certainly Christopher Marlowe; the second, “yong Juvenal, that byting Satyrist” was most likely the leading satirist of the time, Thomas Nashe; and the third, “sweete St. George” could easily have been George Peele. After admonitions to the three, they are served with a warning to beware of a particular player:

"Base-minded men all three of you, if by my miserie you be not warn’d: for unto none of you (like mee) sought those burres to cleave: those Puppets (I meane) that spake from our mouths, those Anticks garnisht in our colours. … Yes, trust them not: for there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers(a), that with his Tyger’s hart wrapped in a Player’s(b) hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Iohannes factotum(c), is in his owne conceit the only Shake-scene in a countrey. O that I might entreat your rare wits to be employed in more profitable courses: & let these Apes imitate your past excellence, and never more acquaint them with your admired inventions." Key : (a) see below, (b) actor’s, (c) Jack-of-all-trades

Apart from the “Shake-scene” wordplay, the fact that identifies Shake-speare the author is the “Tyger’s hart wrapped in a Player’s hyde” which is derived from a speech by the Duke of Yorke in Henry VI, Part 3, which Shakespeare in his “Player’s hyde” appears to have claimed to have written. Queen Margaret has murdered the Duke of York’s young son Rutland, and soaking a handkerchief in his blood, offers it to the Duke for consolation. Some time later, the Duke of York is captured by the Queen and as he faces his execution he confronts her inhumanity:

Yorke. … Oh Tygres Heart, wrapt in a Woman’s Hide,/How could’st though drayne the Life-blood of the Child,/To bid the Father wipe his eyes withall,/And yet be seene to beare a Woman’s face?/(1590-2 Henry VI, Part 3, Act 1, Scene 4)

The “Tyger’s hart” casts Shakespeare as ruthless and predatory and the charge that he “supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you [three dramatists]” is evidently referring to his claim to authorship. Greene had previously used the crow and feathers metaphor in the dedication to his Myrrour of Modestie (1584) “But your honour may thinke I play like Ezops Crowe, which dekt hir selfe with others feathers, or like the proud Poet Batyllus, which subscribed his name to Virgils verses, and yet presented them to Augustus.” This fable of Aesop’s, The Crow, the Eagle, and the Feathers is directed “… against people who boast that they have something they do not.” The recommendation that dramatists should “never more acquaint them [the players] with your inventions,” makes it clear that the accusation is one of plagiarism. An Elizabethan actor usually worked from a prompt script consisting of pages cut and pasted together into a scroll. This gave his own lines and the cues that preceded them. So it was unusual for an actor to possess a complete script (“invention”) and the complaint appears to be that Shakespeare not only had access to them but was asserting his authorship of them. There was some doubt at the time as to whether Greene actually composed this piece. The dramatist Henry Chettle was accused of hiding behind the deceased Greene’s name to propagate his own views, especially since the publisher William Wright had entered it in the Stationers Register “upon the peril of Henrye Chettle,” thereby awarding Chettle full responsibility. Chettle subsequently published Kind Hart’s Dream [registered 8 December 1592] in which he reveals that: "About these three months since died M. Robert Greene ... his Groatsworth of Wit, in which a letter written to diverse play-makers, is offensively by one or two of them taken …" We note that Chettle says that the letter was written to the ones who took offence not about. This means that he is referring to any two of Marlowe, Nashe, and probably Peele. He continues: "With neither of them that took offence was I acquainted, and with one of them I care not if I never be ..." This sounds like the diabolical atheist Marlowe. Our problem is, who was the other one? Chettle informs us that: "... myself have seen his demeanor no less civil than he excellent in the quality he professes: besides, divers of worship have reported his uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious grace in writing, that approves his art …" In the hope of neutralizing the Groatsworth attack, some have claimed that this apology was intended for Shakespeare but there is nothing here that suggests that it is him. In fact, it is much more likely to have been Thomas Nashe because there is good evidence that he had already taken offence to the Groatsworth before Chettle’s apology was published. In the second edition of Pierce Penilesse His Supplication to the Devil [registered 8 August 1592; 1st edition published 8 September 1592; 2nd edition almost immediately after] Nashe had identified the Groatsworth to be a “scald lying trivial pamphlet ... given out to be my doing”. That Nashe was suspected is confirmed by Chettle’s claim that the misdeed was “not mine nor Maister Nashes”. Aside from being accused of authoring an offensive pamphlet, Nashe’s anger seems also to have arisen from his friend Greene's name being tainted “with pamphleting on him after his death”. To me, this suggests that Shakspere was stealing work and calling it his own more than that he was creating work of his own. (Puzzle Master 18:14, 7 March 2007 (UTC))

–––A couple of things, though: First, your application of the concept of plagiarism is anachronistic. Next, Greene's claim is that "Shake-scene" "supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of [them]". This implies that the person he is talking about is actually writing the verse, just not very well. Someone who steals poetry doesn't suppose himself to be a good writer. Also, in what way is Shakespeare meant, in 1592, to have illicitly taken credit for someone else's work? Is the implication that someone handed Shakespeare a complete draft of a play and then wandered over to The Theatre and waved it around claiming to have written it? Who would let that happen? And who would then continue to let it happen for 2 more decades? The Greene evidence seems like a non-starter to me. Brandon Christopher 21:58, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with your conclusion from the evidence. If someone 'supposes' he is able to do something this does not mean that he IS doing something. However, it is the reference to Aesop's Crow that elucidates Greene's intended meaning. (Puzzle Master 13:32, 10 March 2007 (UTC))


Painstaking Research

?23??? April (by the Julian Calendar) (That Little Scribbler's Birthday--more or less)

For years, I too believed that it was Bacon. I ruled out de Vere because, before Agincourt, Henry calls the English aristocracy a pack of w**nkers. However, after years of painstaking research into the Knights Templar, the Druids, the Cathars, the Priory of Sion, the Cotton Nero Manuscript, the Book of Kells, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Brush-Plant Papers, the Complete Works of James Joyce, the Église Saint Sulpice in Paris and the Secret Archives of the Vatican, I can now convincingly affirm that it was really the transexual Willie Hughes, illegitimate "son" of Queen Elizabeth I. As Always, Your servant, Malachi Mulligan —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 82.120.165.221 (talk) 08:49, 22 April 2007 (UTC).

The Case for Cervantes

Carlos Fuentes raised an intriguing possibility in his book Myself With Others: Selected Essays (1988) noting that, "Cervantes leaves open the pages of a book where the reader knows himself to be written and it is said that he dies on the same date, though not on the same day, as William Shakespeare. It is further stated that perhaps both were the same man. Cervantes's debts and battles and prisons were fictions that permitted him to disguise himself as Shakespeare and write his plays in England, while the comedian Will Shaksper, the man with a thousand faces, the Elizabethan Lon Chaney, wrote Don Quixote in Spain. This disparity between the real days and the fictitious date of a common death spared world enough and time for Cervantes's ghost to fly to London in time to die once more in Shakespeare's body. But perhaps they are not really the same person, since in the calendars in England and Spain have never been the same, in 1616 or in 1987." Out of all of the potential candidates, Cervantes' life spans that of Shakespeare's. Indeed, he is the only candidate to have died in the same year as Shakespeare. Miguel de Cervantes would have had the experience and the knowledge of Italy and other geographic areas that appear in Shakespeare's plays. Furthermore, the story of The Taming of the Shrew predates Shakespeare's play and originated in Spain. Likewise, the story of Romeo and Juliet originated in Italy, also predating Shakespeare's play. Cervantes' candidacy rests in large part on his knowledge and, equally so, on his extensive travels. One other intriguing piece of evidence, that may shed some light on the authorial connection between Cervantes and Shakespeare lies in the pages of Don Quixote itself. The name Cid Hamete Benengeli (that of the author or translator of the story according to Cervantes) can be translated as Lord Hamlet, of England. It is also worth noting, that one of Shakespeare's lost plays, Cardenio, was based upon the stories of Cervantes' great novel, Don Quixote.

The Spanish word berenjena means eggplant. I realize this. The suggestion that has been made by certain scholars is that one can translate Benengeli as Ben (which would mean son) and engeli(which could mean England). Cid or Cide does in fact mean Lord. And Hamete is one letter away from the name Hamlet. I am simply putting forward what other scholars, in particular Francis Carr. Francis Carr is a proponent that Francis Bacon was the author of Shakespeare's plays, and that he also authored Cervantes' Don Quixote. My opinion is that Miguel de Cervantes took the pen-name William Shakespeare. I do not subscribe to Carr's belief that Bacon was both men. However, I direct you to the following char Carr compiled with textual similarities: http://www.sirbacon.org/links/carrtable1.html. The English translation of Don Quixote has many more textual similarities with Shakespeare's plays than either do with works written by Bacon. This does much to explain the substantial amount of gaps that appear in Carr's chart between Cervantes and Bacon and between Shakespeare and Bacon.

Carr's own assertion is that: "It is brought to our attention that the name of the" real author" of Don Quixote de La Mancha is Cid Hamet Benengeli, an Arab historian. This is completely fictitious, no author by that name ever existed. Not only does the author put forth this name as the real author but it's mentioned thirty-three times. Why should someone keep on repeating and repeating a name if he does not want you to take that name seriously? It's a very odd name, Cid Hamet Benengeli. Cid translates as Lord, Hamet - Hamlet, Benengeli--ben means son, engeli can mean of England. So we get Lord Hamlet, son of England--Francis Bacon." (http://www.sirbacon.org/carrinterview.htm) User: Lad2000


NPOV

I am concerned that my edit to the lead, which simply tried to make readers aware of the proper context of these arguments -- that Shakespeare academics overwhelmingly dismiss them -- and to avoid using the illustration caption at the top of the page to already start begging the question. Got reverted out of hand bu an editor who clearly has a POV supporting these theories.

the WP:NPOV policy is the foundation of this encyclopedia. See especially WP:NPOV#Undue weight. I am not asking that the whole article be rewritten to constantly have the Shakespeare academics' viewpoints that dispute all these claims added all the way through -- but I think that the WP:NPOV policy would certainly support such a thing -- all I am asking is that a clear, unambiguous statement at the top (not buried in weasel words in the middle of a paragraph) state straight out that these opinions are by far the minority view. Leaving that out gives undue weight to these various arguments and biases anyone reading to think that there's more to it than what the Shakespeare experts themselves think there is to it. DreamGuy 23:59, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

This, however, makes some sense to me. Wrad 00:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

This statement was recently added (after discussion among editors) to the first paragraph,: "While many candidates for alternative authorship have been proposed, including Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edward de Vere (Earl of Oxford), it is generally accepted in academic circles that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed." I believe that covers it.Smatprt 00:56, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds perfect to me. Wrad 00:57, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good to me, also. Definitely preserves NPOV. But the entire article also needs a stronger historical dimension, imo. How long the second half of the statement ("it is generally accepted...") will remain a viable generalization is anyone's guess, but the glaciers are creaking. --131.118.144.253 17:15, 26 April 2007 (UTC) [BenJonson, who forgot to sign in...again!]

I hate to weigh in on the Anti-Stratford side, here, but surely "it is generally accepted in academic circles that [anything]" is textbook WP:WEASEL, and is inherently WP:POV. AndyJones 17:20, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

No... recognizing standard academic opinion is not POV at all, ignoring it highly POV-pushing, as it tries to get fringe claims to be treated just as seriously as the standard accepted ideas. Please see the WP:NPOV policy/FAQ on Undue Weight and Equal Time concepts. Do you dispute that it is generally accepted in academic circles, among experts, etc.? I don't think anyone can who is being honest with themselves. It may be able to be better written or better sourced, but it is 100% necessary in this article to avoid slanting readers' perceptions that this all is taken seriously overall.DreamGuy 00:49, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
No, of course I don't dispute that the Stratford attribution is generally accepted. Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/FAQ doesn't seem to have sections with the titles you've mentioned, though. Can you give me a more precise reference? AndyJones 13:06, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Undue Weight is discussed in the main WP:NPOV article. I suspect that the Equal Time principle was a reference to the Equal Validity section of the FAQ. Paul B 14:16, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
How many tenured professors of Renaissance English literature in the English-speaking world are anti-Stratfordians? I would imagine only a tiny minority, if any - pretty much all anti-Stratfordian literature appears to be written by autodidactic amateurs. john k 04:42, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Five thousand percent more than twenty years ago. Yes, it is a small minority. But that is no argument at all. Every intellectual revolution begins small. Some have no legs and fizzle. This one has legs. Within the last six months, two Universities -- Brunel in London, and Concordia in Portland, Ore., have announced Master's degree programs in Shakespearean authorship studies. Still think the subject doesn't exist in academia? Let's try another test, shall we? How many leading Shakespearean actors of the past hundred years have not only been anti-Stratfordians but actually endorsed de Vere as the actual author of the canon? Well, let's count them: Leslie Howard. John Gielgud. Michael York. Derek Jacobi. Hmmm? Are they "autodidact amateurs"? Do they know anything about Shakespeare? Is it just possible that they know something about Shakespeare that legions of Shakespearean scholars haven't figured out yet?--131.118.144.253 16:25, 27 April 2007 (UTC) [Ben]

Part of the problem with articles on subjects like this ("fringe" theories) is that it is difficult to be fair while also keeping to Wiki policy. In fact most of the anti-Strat arguments come from amateurs, so strict application of WP:RS could easily be used to exclude almost all Baconian, Oxfordian etc arguments. Ogburn, for example, is not a reliable source according to WP guidelines. But that would be silly, since then there'd be no article. It has to give the arguments. But then we have the reverse problem. Most Shakespeare scholars never actually address Oxfordian arguments, so if we just let these arguments be trotted out, replies to them - even obvious ones - can be immediately tagged as "original research" and deleted, unless some established scholar can be found who has made them. This seriously distorts the article, by allowing the "alternative" arguments to pile up and violating the Undue Weight principle. Paul B 12:32, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Paul, I would venture to suggest that one of the major reasons why "established scholars" don't try to address Oxfordian arguments is that when they do so, they end up very frequently making fools of themselves (see the 1987 Frontline documentary for some examples). Even if this does not happen, they are forced to confront in a public forum the limitations of their own certainty, and that is something they naturally find painful and uncomfortable. Their best defense is to keep the discussion closed and ignore it as long as possible, and this strategy has been used to impressive effect for several decades now. Having said that, I agree with much of what you say say about the difficulty of finding the right balance in an article like this one, and I appreciate your efforts to work the problem through.--Ben--131.118.144.253 16:25, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Sigh. What Paul says. Fringe theory articles are always a mess. As to reliable sources, Ogburn, of course, is a reliable source for the beliefs of Ogburn. And this article is basically one about, well, the beliefs of people like Ogburn. Or, at least, that is what it should be. But it does become difficult in the general rarity of counterarguments to fringe theories by reputable sources. It does seem rather unfair that we have to print the arguments of amateurs on the fringe side, but the arguments of amateurs on the mainstream side must be ignored. john k 17:14, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

    • The terms "tenured professors of Renaissance English literature", "Shakespeare academics", and "Shakespeare scholars" are all being bandied about as if you were talking about the same thing. I find no where in Wiki policies that limits the input or sourcing of ONLY "tenured professors" of ANYTHING. Amusing that it's the anti-Strats that are labled as snobs. I think if it's only "tenured professors of Renaissance English literature" who are united as dismissing the Authorship Question, then that should be stated in the articles instead of a phrase as weasally as "academics", which is factually untrue.Smatprt 17:18, 27 April 2007 (UTC) "academics" is weasally - just like "scholars"
I found that somewhat humorous, Smatprt. If we let John Kennedy set the standards, pretty soon unless you held an endowed chair at Harvard, your opinion wouldn't count. --71.206.25.146 02:26, 29 April 2007 (UTC)[Ben]
I don't believe this is what I said. I said "tenured professors of renaissance English literature." There are are at least a couple of such at pretty much any university in the English-speaking world. If you want to expand to include "people with PhDs in renaissance English literature," the vast majority of them also hold to the Stratfordian view, but it's much harder to get a full survey. So far, I believe three English professors have been mentioned who are anti-Stratfordians. john k 19:24, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, the vast majority of tenure-track professors of Renaissance English literature and holders of PhDs in Renaissance English literature undoubtedly are also Stratfordians. I limited it to tenured simply because it's a smaller group. If you can find an assistant professor or adjunct somewhere who is an anti-Stratfordian, that'd be fine, I suppose. "Academics" isn't particularly weaselly when none of you have yet cited any academics who are anti-Stratfordians. john k 17:28, 27 April 2007 (UTC)


Dude, there are many English literary professionals, both tenured and untenured, who are Oxfordians. Dr. Jack Shuttleworth is the (retired) chair of the Department of English at the U.S. Air Force Academy, for one. Its not up to us to "find" these people. It's up to you to realize that they exist. I've often cited an extensive list of names, but you weren't listening. Take your weasels and stick them...--71.206.25.146 02:26, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
The point is that they are very few, and that the overwhelming majority of Shakespeare scholars accept the "Stratfordian" view. This is a fact which is admitted by Anti-Stratfordians, who like to pose as brash rebels against the academic establishment. john k 19:24, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

This is the problem with having this discussion on more than one page. Academics by the handful (yes, small handfuls) have been listed on the William Shakespeare talk page. But to refresh, here is a recap contained in a recent press release:

"Claremont, California, April 23, 2007 – Today, on the 391st anniversary of the death of Stratford’s Mr. William “Shakspere,” generally regarded as the author of the works of William “Shakespeare,” a new organization – the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) – posted on its website the names of 132 signers of its “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare.” The signatures were gathered just in the last two weeks on its website at www.DoubtAboutWill.org The SAC says it plans to continue operating the website, gathering and posting names of signatories, through April 23, 2016, the 400th anniversary of the death of Mr. William “Shakspere” of Stratford.

"The list includes, most notably, prominent Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, former artistic director at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, plus Dean Keith Simonton, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis, a Shakespeare lover who is widely regarded by his peers as perhaps the world’s leading expert on creativity and genius. Simonton reveres Shakespeare, but can’t accept the traditional attribution to the man from Stratford. Also named on the list is Charles Champlin, former Arts Critic Emeritus at the Los Angeles Times.

"The 132 declaration signers include 34 current or former college and university faculty members, 34 people with various types of doctoral degrees, and another 31 people with various master’s degrees. “This is a man bites dog story,” said SAC chairman John Shahan, principal author of the declaration. “Orthodox Shakespeare scholars would have the public believe that only deranged people in isolated fringe groups question the identity of William Shakespeare. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

"The declaration itself names twenty prominent doubters of the past, including Mark Twain, Henry and William James, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Tyrone Guthrie, Charlie Chaplin, John Galsworthy, Sir John Gielgud, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Mortimer J. Adler, editor of the Great Books at the University of Chicago, and Paul Nitze, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “If orthodox scholars were correct, it would be impossible to come up with such a list,” Shahan said.

“One wonders, when orthodox scholars characterize all authorship doubters as ‘conspiracy theorists,’ or ‘snobs’ who cannot accept the idea of a commoner having the ability to produce great literature, exactly which of these outstanding individuals are they referring to? Was Walt Whitman, the poet of Democracy and the common man, just a snob? Charlie Chaplin? Twain? Reporters should ask them. When they say authorship doubters are all irrational, does that include the Supreme Court Justices? Now, they might also ask, if the “ignorant fools” could write such a declaration, why haven’t you?”

"According to its website Home page, the SAC “has nothing against the man from Stratford-on-Avon, but we doubt that he was the author of the works. Our goal is to legitimize the issue in academia so students, teachers and professors can feel free to pursue it. This is necessary because the issue is widely viewed as settled in academia and is treated as a taboo subject. We believe that an open-minded examination of the evidence shows that the issue should be taken seriously. Your signature on the declaration will help us make the case that there is reasonable doubt about the author.” Smatprt 17:42, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't see any scholars of renaissance literature on your list. The Berkeley emeritus professor Arthur Nelson on his website discusses the extent of the anti-stratfordian movement, and says that he knows of exactly one English department in which anti-Stratfordian "is both seriously and systematically entertained," that of the already mentioned Concordia University in Portland, and of a grand total of four academics in his personal acquaintance who are anti-Stratfordian. I note that even your own sources are claiming that the issue is currently not one that is legitimate in academia, and that it is "widely viewed as settled in academia." The fact that Shakespearean authorship is widely settled in academia is one of the premises of anti-Stratfordians. I don't see how it can possibly be disputed that there is a very strong consensus in academia for the "Stratfordian" position, and that the anti-Stratfordian view is so marginalized there as to be practically non-existent. john k 18:54, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't see any letters behind your name. The argument is at least as relevant as yours. The SAC has been collecting signatures for a grand total of a week and half, and you seem to think that certain "absences" mean anything. What you should be paying attention to is the total number of signers in so short a period of time. Also, John, you seem to have missed the fact, which I've noted at least twice already on this page, that within the last six months, two graduate programs (offering MAs only) in Shakespearean authorship studies have been founded. Only one of them is Concordia--the other was started by Dr. Leahy at Brunel University in London, who only a couple of years ago was a loyal quarterback for your team but is now an announced anti-Stratfordian, deeply skeptical of the orothox view of authorship. So, although the subject may be "widely viewed as settled in Academia" (not how I would describe the situation, exactly, but certainly a defensible description), that circumstance is changing as we speak. Your final sentence is quite a claim, sort of like "Of course Shakespeare=Shakespeare."--71.206.25.146 02:26, 29 April 2007 (UTC) [Ben]

I will happily admit that I do not have an advanced degree in English literature. That being said, sure, there's a tiny number of academics who are Oxfordians or whatever. But they're a tiny, marginalized group. The whole premise of anti-Stratfordian arguments is that academia only accepts that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare because the calcified academic establishment won't accept debate on the issue. So you clearly want to have it both ways - to be both a brash rebel against the academic establishment and also to claim that the issue is one which is a subject of great debate in academia. It can't be both. Beyond that, I asked about people with PhDs in renaissance English literature, which is surely the proper qualification to be an "expert" on Shakespeare, and certainly the proper qualification to be part of "academia" with respect to Shakespeare. Smartprt gave me a link to some petition which has been signed by a grand total of 34 PhDs, of whom none of the actual named persons are professors of English literature, much less Shakespeare experts. john k 19:24, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Is it correct to state that so far we have Leahy, a section leader at not particularly prestigious Brunel Universityl Daniel Wright, and perhaps some others at not particularly prestigious Concordia University in Portland, which does not even have a proper English department; and an emeritus at the Air Force Academy. I've also managed to find, on my own, a professor of English at Cleveland State University, and one at Blackburn College. Against these, we have virtually the entire academic establishment. The fact that the entire academic establishment accepts that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the works attributed to him does not mean that they are right to believe this. But it is perfectly appropriate to state this. Only a tiny minority of scholars, almost all of them at pretty marginal programs (the Air Force Academy is the only one that's a major university, and it's not known for its English department) question "Stratfordian orthodoxy". If this weren't so, well, it wouldn't be orthodoxy. john k 19:40, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Copyedit to Lead reverted

I changed the Lead from

The term Shakespearean authorship question refers to scholarly debates dating back to the 18th century over whether the works attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon were actually written by another writer, or a group of writers, using "William Shakespeare" (or the hyphenated version "Shake-Speare") as a pen name. While many candidates for alternative authorship have been proposed, including Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edward de Vere (Earl of Oxford), it is generally accepted in academic circles that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed. In spite of this, interest in the subject, particularly in the Oxfordian theory, continues to grow in the 21st century.

to

The Shakespearean authorship question is the debate, dating back to the 18th century, over whether the works attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon were actually written by another writer or group of writers. While many candidates for alternative authorship have been proposed, including Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere (Earl of Oxford), it is generally accepted in academic circles that Shakespeare's plays are correctly attributed. In spite of this, interest in the subject, particularly in the Oxfordian theory, continues to grow in the 21st century.

With my detailed edit summary, which was "Copyedit Lead. That's not a "term", rephrasing. Some of the debate is "scholarly," some isn't. And privileging one of many alternative spellings of "Shakespeare" has no place in the Lead," I thought my changes were obviously desirable. But since User:Smatprt promptly reverted my edit, calling it "controversial," with a request for discussion at Talk, I hereby place my edit summary on Talk. I can't figger what kind of "discussion" to offer beyond that. Any comments? I was planning to copyedit the article for style and logic — it sorely needs it — but if it's going to be this heavy going I hardly think I'll bother. Smatprt, feel free to share how you see your revert as improving the encyclopedia. Bishonen | talk 15:15, 27 April 2007 (UTC).

I see no problem with the changes. The debates are clearly not all "scholarly" in any sensible use of that term. I think that adding the hyphenated version of the name here tells us nothing, since nonHyphenated versions of the name were used in printed references to the playwright and on the titles of his publications. Paul B 15:25, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Bishonen--

I approve this as a superior lead. Well done. And your points above are all valid ones. Some of the debate is scholarly and some is not. Indeed, the very definition of scholarly is brought into question by the controversy, for there is nothing scholarly at all about the reflexive manner in which some orthodoxists respond to it.--131.118.144.253 16:04, 27 April 2007 (UTC) [Ben]

[After edit conflict] I prefer Bishonen's version of this: have trouble seeing anything controversial in the difference between the two. AndyJones 17:10, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
    • have deleted the word "scholarly" from lead, based on above discussion. Certainly the word "scholarly" has become such a buzz word on this page and in recent talk that it itself has become controversial.Smatprt 17:06, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
    • The opening grammer and flow is better than the clunky alternative which was proposed. Using "The term..." should not be controversial and hints at an attempt to dismiss the subject. If you want to have a discussion about the hyphen, an issue raised by most every published source within the debate, we can.Smatprt 17:28, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Disagree. Bishonen version better written than the current edit. More direct prose. Nothing clunky about it. AndyJones 17:36, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Smatprt, an entire section remains devoted to the hyphen. I just want it out of the Lead, where it's quite disproportionate. The only reason I removed the word "term" is that it isn't a term. Your suspicion about my removal being a "hint" of something or other is incomprehensible to me. Anyway, so far everybody else who has commented thinks my version is better (that includes Ben, who argues against the "orthodoxists"), so I'm reinstating it. Bishonen | talk 20:03, 27 April 2007 (UTC).

Though I question your argument, I do not believe the hyphen issue is earth shattering. I simply consider it a (minor) issue that is universal among doubters, so appropriate in context about the main debate - did the author write under a pen name? The hypenated name is directly involved with that main question. I do find it odd that many editors who do not believe the debate should even exist, are, nonetheless, interested in defining it on their own terms.

I changed term to phrase since the use of term so offends, as I believe it reads better. And I attempted to make "academics" less weaselly and more specific, based on the discussion regarding the definition of "scholars". Smatprt 20:20, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

    • Smatprt, could you stop inserting extra wordiness, please? You think that reads better, everybody else thinks it reads worse. Also, neither "term" nor "phrase" make any *sense* here, you know. And now we also have "tenured professors" accepting the attribution..? I'm sure you don't *want* Wikipedia to sound ridiculous, but that's what you're achieving. I'm not one to edit war, so I won't revert to my version again. Perhaps somebody else who prefers it will. Bishonen | talk 20:45, 27 April 2007 (UTC).

I think we may have resolved this, but I will just add that "pen-name" is a particularly inaccurate way to describe a living person acting as the front-man for another writer or writers. AndyJones 07:44, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Baffled?

I'm stumped. Trying to improve this article but can't. It states Ben Jonson complains about Shakespeare and his writing, but which one? (I've no doubt who is who, but does the writer know what he/she is writing?) If the Stratford man is illiterate, how can he write anything for Jonson to comment on? Mandel 22:17, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Generic claims of that kind without specification or substantiation should not be allowed on the page, whether they seem to support orthodox or unorthodox conclusions. The claim should require not only a citation (what document of Jonson's is being referred to), but a direct quotation. "Complains" is simply nonsense. Ben Jonson did say, "I loved the man--this side idolatry," and that deserves to be quoted (no, I don't know the source without checking), for it goes to the point at issue of Jonson's state of mind.
  • Your problem arises from the fact that there have been a great many anti-Stratfordians with a great many different anti-Stratfordian theories. There's therefore not one anti-Stratfordian orthodoxy, as it were, to compare with the accepted position. The anti-Stratfordians who use Ben Jonson's criticisms of Shakespeare's writing as telling evidence are different anti-Stratfordians, and making a fundamentally different case, from those who think Shakespeare wasn't literate at all (who presumably believe Jonson was commenting on the true writer). I think you'll find the page easier to edit if you don't seek for coherence, but handle each argument separately. AndyJones 07:10, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Nor is there one *orthodox* position on most of these things (see, for example, Leah Marcus' very orthodox but honest analysis of the folio frontespiece on this discussion board). One of the problems with this discussion is that while it is necessary to sometimes to employ terms like orthodox (or "Stratfordian") and "anti-Stratfordian," the same terms can be used in highly misleading ways. Increasingly, as the controversy proceeds, the terms will be come more and more hazardous. For example, Professor William Leahy, who started the new MA program in authorship studies at Brunel University http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/acad/sa/artsub/english/postgraduate/support) is an academician who only a couple of years ago would have labelled himself orthodox. He is now "anti-Stratfordian" in the sense that he believes the question is a legitimate and important one for academic inquiry. That said, I think I can shed some light on the Ben Jonson question, because I think Andy Jone's distinction is neither necessary nor particularly helpful. Would it possible for an anti-Stratfordian to speak for the position? It is an axiom of the anti-Stratfordian position that Ben Jonson's statements about Shakespeare cannot be taken at face value, but instead invite careful analysis in light of what is known about Jonson's methods and commitments. This has been the position ever since Canon Gerald Rendall and Sir George Greenwood set it forth in the 1920s.Wrote Greenwood:

"Here the indignant critic will doubtless interpose. "What! Jonson wrote thus, though knowing the facts. Then, according to you, Ben Jonson was a liar!" Wherat we of the 'heretical persuasion can afford to smile. For we see no reason to suppose that Jonson might not have taken the course we attribute to him, and considered himself quite justified in doing so...."

I agree with both of you that the quoted section of the page is awkwardly worded and should be amended. But something like what I just wrote, or a judicious quote from Greenwood, can be put in its place without doing an injustice to anyone on any side of the issue.--BenJonson 02:17, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Moving 1604 Section

The 1604 "question" rightly belongs to the Oxfordian theory, not here. I'm doing this because Oxfordians postulate the 1604 "problem", but it need not necessarily be accepted by Marlowians or Baconians, and hence that is not an anti-Stratfordian orthodox position. Hence, I'm axing it, in a bid to make this less like contradictory patchwork. The Raleigh case goes to Baconian theory. Mandel 22:40, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Pls note. This article is for the case against the Stratford man, not case for any one specific candidates. In-fighting amongst non-Stratfordians would make their supposedly unified case even more fragmentary than it now is. Mandel 13:41, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not taking sides yet on the question of moving "The 1604 Problem" to Oxfordian Theory. However, I do strongly disagree with your general conclusion here. This page isn't just about the case against Shakespeare. It is meant to be an overview of the authorship issue as a whole. And if the case is, in your view, fragmentary, then this page should reflect that. AndyJones 13:52, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
Generally the cases against W.S. and not skewed in favor of one opponent, I mean. There are perplexing arguments throughout here which leaps from candidate to candidate. Argument A is A and if Argument B doesn't support Argument A, they should not be lumped together and it certainly doesn't mean C is incorrect. Note if every Anti-Stratford argument is included, including clearly fallacious ones, we would need at least a few megabytes. The 1604 problem is very detailedly expoused in Oxfordian Theory. Mandel 14:05, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
It is meant to be an overview of the authorship issue as a whole. Isn't this the case against Shakespeare at large? While it summarizes proposed candidates, it doesn't take sides, not in favor of, say, Bacon over Oxford, does it? Mandel 14:10, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I too disagree with your general conclusion, as well as your whole premise. You have defined the page on your own terms, nothing more. Andy is right in saying that this is an overview of the whole issue. Also, the page is hardly taking sides. If laying out an overview reflects that Oxford has a strong case, that only make sense as he has, indeed, achieved front runner status among the anti-Strats. However, removing the 1604 section goes further than that. First, it is entirely Anti-Strat. In fact, I think it is one of the most compellling of the Anti-strat arguments - if "Shakespeare" was dead by 1604 then the Stratford Man could not be the writer. What on earth is more anti-Strat than that? Regarding duplication between pages, that is to be expected. Simply look at the sections on Shakespeare himself with links to various "main articles" and you will see plenty of duplication. In the case of Oxford it makes complete sense too - First, we have an overview paragraph on the Shakespeare page, authorship section. If readers want more it takes them to Shakespeare Authorship, which gives them a few more paragraphs on Oxford. Then if you want more you can go to the Oxford page for a complete bio, or the Oxfordian theory page to get the complete theory. It's a natural progression from a mention, to a summary, to fuller articles. And it's what makes Wikipedia so cool.Smatprt 14:55, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


I also agree with Andy Jones and Smatprt on both points. The 1604 date is significant for generic as well as specific reasons. In fact, rather than removing the section, it should be improved. One of the strongest arguments in Looney's 1920 book on Oxford is his demonstration that the pattern of production of play quartos strongly suggests the occurence of some anomolous event in 1604. Before 1604, approximately 17 new plays were published in quarto form (I have to consult my notes for an exact number, but that is correct to within a small margin of error). From 1604 until 1621, only three new plays -- Lear, Pericles, Troilus and Cressida-- were published (all in 1608-9). In 1622, Othello was published in quarto, right before the folio. Thus, at what should have been the height of the author's productive career, the flow of new publications almost ceases. This is a significant fact pattern that should be acknowledged in this article. I think its appropriate that an enlarged discussion of the 1604 question should be subordinated to the Oxford page, but the idea of eliminating it here is no more appropriate than was the earlier (and now, thank God, forgotten) attempt to eliminate the graphic of the Sonnet's title page.--BenJonson 02:36, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

We have a size limit for articles, and we cannot afford to make circular arguments. The 1604 problem is an Oxfordian position, not Baconian or Marlowian. This page is heavily skewed in favor of Oxford over Bacon and Marlowe, and as such is not NPOV.Mandel 15:03, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
As the Oxfordian position is more widely held than the Baconian or Marlovian, it is not a violation of NPOV to discuss it at more length than the others. (At the same time, the basic premises of the Stratfordian position, as being more widely held yet, ought to be discussed at some length, as well - this article should not be simply about anti-Stratfordian arguments). john k 01:10, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry - your statements are not making sense. As I mentioned, the possibility of "Shakespeare" dying in 1604 is completely anti-strat. I see no sense in arguing that point further. Circular arguments? Editing for size? You are making POV edits, not size cuts. Please.Smatprt 15:24, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

As can be seen above, your arguments are very POV. When Charton Ogburn adds it, it is vital, when AL Rowse adds it, it becomes "unnecessary". Mandel 15:32, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Mandel, you're outvoted here. If you want to discuss reducing the size of the article, let's discuss that. But your attempts to predetermine what will be cut are inappropriate. Let's start with some discussion of what length the article should be. Then, if we can agree on that, then we can discuss what should or could be cut. Much can be done with judicious editing without excising content.--BenJonson 02:36, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Well...Yah! POV is all over the talk pages. Yours, mine, everyones. It's what makes it onto the articles that is supposed to be NPOV. But you know this.Smatprt 15:34, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

This page is 74 kilobytes long. It may be appropriate to split this article into smaller, more specific articles. See Wikipedia:Article size. This article has no scope to expand. If you want this article to grow fruitfully, the two section - hardly summmaries - must go. They are already in Wikipedia; why'd would you want to read something just to repeat itself over and over elsewhere? Mandel 15:42, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry - but insisting on adding the Kathman/Rowse stuff about "wll gee, maybe some of Sh's source books were on sale by a local printer he knew" - sounds like grasping for straws. But leave it in - it adds more "maybes", "possiblys" and "suggests" into the Stratfordian arguments, which is fine with me. And expands the article furtherSmatprt 15:46, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

It is not maybe. Most of Sh's source books were on sale by a local printer he knew. Whether he read it is open to speculation. Mandel 15:58, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes - more "maybes" for Stratford. Maybe he read them, maybe he didn't. Good work. Strong positve proof of nothing.Smatprt 16:03, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

"the treasurer’s accounts show that “Wil. Kempe,” “Wil. Shakespeare” and “Rich. Burbage” received payment for two comedies played at court on 26 and 28 December, 1594." Mandel 15:58, 28 April 2007 (UTC)[1]

I think this illustrates your agenda pretty well, Mandel: you want to remove things you don't like and replace them with things you do like. Contrary to what you may think, most anti-Stratfordians are quite familiar with such facts. We just don't find them, in the context of the entire fact pattern, to be very significant. Most of us will gladly concede that Mr. Shakespeare, howevever you spell his name, was a theatrical personality. That doesn't, ipso facto, make him the author. In fact, it makes him a pretty good candidate for a viable front.--BenJonson 02:36, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

As it does NOT say "Shakespeare of Stratford", I'm afraid your quote adds nothing to this debate.Smatprt 16:03, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Are you saying Oxford became an actor with the Chamberlain's Men? Make up your mind. Mandel 16:18, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

My mistake - now I am mixing up topics, as well. My response on this is in the edit summary - payment for two comedies is distinctly different than acquiring patronage as per Jonson reference.Smatprt 17:17, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Shakespeare's Library

In the section about Shakespeare's education it points out that Shakespeare seems to have had to have access to a library to account for the enormous amount of reading he must have done had he not been educated as a nobleman (indeed Manly P Hall uses this lack of a library as one of his main arguments in favour of the idea that Bacon wrote the plays!). The Rowse suggestion of what the library might have been is interesting but I am surprised that no-one has thought that Shakespeare may have had access to Dr John Dee's library at Mortlake. According to modern scholarship, such as that by Frances Yates (now not that modern!) Dee's library was second only to that of Oxford at the time and was full of the most up to date learning and literature in Europe at the time. Moreover, Dee was the focus of some of the major literary circles of the Elizabethan Age, such as that of Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser et al. As Elizabeth's favourite playwright Shakespeare would have almost certainly met Dee through her Court. Is it impossible that it was through Dee that Shakespeare had access to the books which would have enabled him to educate himself? ThePeg 00:15, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure how we know that Shakespeare was Eliz fav playwright. Of course he should have been! Regarding your suggestion, anything is possible, but that would just add one more "maybe", "possibly" or "might have" to the Shakespeare page.Smatprt 23:21, 30 April 2007 (UTC)