Talk:Shakespeare authorship question/Archive 25

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Praises of "Shakespeare" the writer are explained as references to the real author's pen-name, not the man from Stratford

I instinctively bridle at 'Praises' as an unqualified subject. I know one 'sings the praises of', etc., but I usually think that in this context, in standard English (anglocentric) prose, 'Praise' is used as an abstract generic noun, with plural meaning. I expect: 'Praise of Shakespeare . .is explained' etc. It's true I'm plum-tuckered out, flat out like a lizard slaking its thirst in the Stony Desert , burnt to a GrahamGreenish crisp etc., and may well be suffering from lexicological paranoia, but before the eyelids drop, and fingers wither, I thought I'd just pop this query. Nishidani (talk) 17:02, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Assuming that you survive to read this, I will suggest that we cannot simply change "praises" to "praise". We'd have to write the sentence as:
Praise of "Shakespeare" the writer is explained as referring to the real author's pen-name, not the man from Stratford.
But I'm sure you knew this (unless you were truly hallucinating). The problem with this change is that it might be taken as a single instance of praise, or, if comprehended as praise in general, it still might not be quite what the passage is getting at. Aren't we referring to a number of more or less well-known praises that have come down to us in writings of the period, rather than just praise in general? Yes, the "praise in general" in a way encompasses the "plural meaning", but don't we mean to emphasize the fact that there were several individual instances? (Hang in there, Nish! Keep the faith! You will make it.) --Alan W (talk) 20:58, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
We all 'made it'. Naturally, as almost always, this is ambiguous and I mean that, in both primary senses! Thanks Alan.Nishidani (talk) 08:43, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Loose ends

I'm going through and cleaning up any loose ends I can find with the language. I have a question about this sentence: "They attempt to disqualify William Shakespeare as the author and usually offer supporting arguments for a substitute candidate."

Why is the "usually" there? I propose it be changed to "They attempt to disqualify William Shakespeare as the author and present a case for their substitute candidate." Tom Reedy (talk) 16:47, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

The Greenwood tradition (1908), picked up by Twain and now ostensibly programmatic for those who underwrite the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, whereby one dismisses Shakespeare and leaves the who dunnit hanging in the air.Nishidani (talk) 16:59, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
OK how about "They attempt to disqualify William Shakespeare as the author and usually present a case for a substitute candidate"? Tom Reedy (talk) 17:09, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
What about: "They attempt to cast doubt upon William Shakespeare of Stratford as being the author and have, historically, often presented a case for a substitute candidate"?Rogala (talk) 18:02, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
They don't attempt to merely cast doubt; they try to disqualify him. "being" is unnecessary and grating to the ear. The "historically" is assumed from the first sentence in the graf, and the statement is not confined to the past. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:33, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
You actually raise a very good point and, although I think it will be perceived as a minor point to some, in the spirit of trying to eliminate factual error, I want to mention it. Please note the preceding sentence in the Overview: "The arguments presented by Anti-Stratfordians—a collective term for adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories—share several characteristics". Per Nishdani's very correct statement about the Dec. of Reasonable Doubt crowd (arguably the most currently notable star in the AS firmament) that sentence is incorrect. Its assertion that it is only those with an alternate candidate in mind who may be called "anti-Stratfordians" is simply in error. Anti-Stratfordians must be defined rather, along the lines of ..."all those having doubt about the authorship of William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon" to be factually accurate, complete and reliable.
I agree that there have been very few generic anti-Stratfordian proponents over the 150+ year history of this phenomenon who did not eventually choose an alternate candidate. This is, BTW, one of the weaknesses of trying to come up with a list of generic AS statements as is attempted by the current SAQ. The Dec. of Reas. Doubt from "Doubt About Will" does represent a notable stage of anti-Strat. efforts as it (arguably) goes back to some past anti-Strat. ideas (Henry James, early Twain, etc.) related to "doubt about the traditional authorship attribution without naming a specific candidate" or describing any theory of alternate authorship.
To be factually accurate, the whole first paragraph of the overview should (in my opinion) be re-written as follows:
The arguments presented by anti-Stratfordians—a collective term for both those who are generally skeptical of William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author plus those who become adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories—share one characteristic: They assert that the Shakespeare canon could have been written by someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford. A majority of anti-Stratfordians postulate some type of conspiracy that protected the author's true identity.Rogala (talk) 19:24, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. I see what you're driving at here, but wouldn't it be fair to say that the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, rather than being “generally skeptical”, are trying to foster “bi-partisan” collaboration by omitting the various individually favored alternate candidates? That is, rather than being agnostic about the “real” author, they are merely refraining from mentioning who they favor in order to keep the Oxfordians and Baconians from beating each other to death with the nearest Marlovian. --Xover (talk) 19:36, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
The statements as written are correct, since they contain the qualifiers "usually" or "often", which allows that there are some few exceptions to the first sentence's umbrella "share certain characteristics". Not very many anti-Stratfordians say "I don't know who wrote them but I know Willy didn't." Those that do so are the exceptions. Since this is a general overview, either version is correct, but my purpose was to try to simplify the construction, not ensure that we nod to every variant theory. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:48, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Xover: Brilliant that is exactly the thought I have been turning over in my mind since 2007. I have not seen any reports to that effect in the media or in any RS, however, and the website itself disavows that entirely in the text of the document. In the absence of those statements, I think your conjecture, though it MAY WELL be accurate, is either "original research" or perhaps synthesis and not permissible on WP. Note: Even if it is accurate as to the founders of the DAW movement, it does not apply to all adherents, or even necessarily, the majority of adherents.
@ Tom Reedy: I think my statement above demonstrates (prima facie) that the current opening of the Overview is in error, pure and simple, in both the technical definition of anti-Strats and where it goes in the next sentence. It is easily corrected though and should not lead to a huge debate. I agree your construction is simpler, but that is not a substitute for factual.Rogala (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Apparently we impute different meanings to English words. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:42, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I just thought of something: I suppose one could take the position that the "Doubt About Will" people are NOT actually anti-Stratfordian per se. Question for the editors: Are the DAW signers anti-Strats or not ?Rogala (talk) 20:16, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Tom Reedy: LOL...I hope not. Please forgive me if my meaning was unclear, I will try again: The first sentence in the Overview does NOT contain the words "usually" or "often" in its definition of the term anti-Stratfordian. That is a fact. It does contain what may or may NOT be a mistaken definition of the term "anti-Stratfordian". That is open for dialogue. The second and third sentneces DO contain the words "usually" and "often" but they do so in referring to the definition of the term "anti-Stratfordian" (which, as noted above is possibly mistaken). opposing word imputations exist....just a possibly mistaken or incomplete definition and some modifiers which are therefore logically misplaced unless one somehow EXCLUDES generic doubters from the cohort of "anti-Stratfordians".
This is not mere address a potential error of fact.
Whew...anyway, does anyone care to comment on the substantive portion of what I wrote regarding the prima facie error in that first paragraph ?? Or perhaps comment on the validity of possibly excluding the "Doubt About Will" crowd from the blanket cohort currently termed "anti-Stratfordian" ? Rogala (talk) 21:07, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Does this work ?
The arguments presented by anti-Stratfordians—a collective term for those who doubt that the Shakespeare canon was written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon—often share several characteristics.[20] They attempt to disqualify Shakespeare of Stratford as the author and usually offer supporting arguments for a substitute candidate. They often postulate some type of conspiracy that protected the author's true identity,[21] which they say explains why no documentary evidence exists for their candidate and why the historical record supports Shakespeare of Stratford's authorship.[22]
It eliminates the incorrect/incomplete definition of anti-Stratfordians by placing "all doubters" of Shakespeare of Stratford together, and it therefore preserves the ability to more easily make generalized statements about them as a group (which I perceive as being very important to some editors). It also disambiguates between William Shakespeare of Stratford and the concept of the proposed pen-name with considerable economy of expresssion.
Lastly, it keeps all the statements about the anti-Stratfordians as a group which were already there.Rogala (talk) 01:32, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Procedurally, it is always best to examine the sources behind statements. In this case Baldick 2008, pp. 17–18; Bate 1998, pp. 68–70; Wadsworth 1958, pp. 2, 6–7; Matus 1994, p. 15 note; Wells 2003, p. 388; Love 2002, p. 198: Wadsworth 1958, p. 6; Shapiro 2010, p. 255 (225). One must always ask oneself: is the point or distinction I wish to make reflected in the sources?Nishidani (talk) 08:17, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
@Rogala: I think the current text in the "Overview" is simpler and good. It could be argued that "adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories" excludes someone who merely doubts that Shakespeare wrote the works, but I think the comparative rarity of that expressed sentiment means the distinction is not worth making. Further, a reader would understand that such a "doubter" is still an adherent of an alternative-authorship theory (the alternative being "don't know"). There is no need to disambiguate "Shakespeare" in the context of the overview because the meaning is clear. Johnuniq (talk) 08:36, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I think I'll take a vacation like I said I would do earlier. I only wanted to clean up a little and it resulted in this wall of text and I certainly don't want to debate the issue. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:01, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Just so I am sure I understand the reasoning of the other editors, please give me your opinions on which of the below is the clearest, most factual and most directly verifiable in an RS as cited in the current article:
1) anti-Stratfordians-a collective term for adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories,
2) anti-Stratfordians-a collective term for those who question whether William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the works long attributed to him,
3) anti-Stratfordians-a collective term for those who doubt that the Shakespeare canon was written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon,
4) anti-Stratfordian-a collective term for those reluctant to accept William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author of the canon published in his name.
Before you answer, please consider the definition in the lead (and most recent) source actually cited. As Nishidani wisely suggested, I looked it up yesterday before I got into this thread too deeply. From Baldick's "Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms", the definition is "anti-Stratfordian: Reluctant to accept William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon as the true author of plays and poems published in his name..." If Baldick sees fit to make this distinction as to "Stratford-upon-Avon", then I say, so should Wikipedia.
BTW, the second source (Bate from 1998) does not define "anti-Stratfordian" on the pages cited. He does use the phrase "the theory that William Shakespeare of Stratford did not write the works of Shakespeare" in that section though, and he relates it to Anti-Stratfordians a few lines down.
The bottom line is that the phrase as written in the SAQ is inconsistent with the sources cited, as has been demonstrated. It therefore does need to be edited. Any editor can do this, but, as this rather long exercise in getting consensus proves, I would prefer that we get our minds around one of the choices which is accurate, factual and consistent with the sources cited. That being said, the WP:BOLD guideline probably does apply when a) errors of fact and b) phrases clearly inconsistent with the sources cited are used.Rogala (talk) 18:40, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
This is pointless. The first phrase is concise and clear. The longer ones are turgid and confusing. I see no inconsistency with the sources and no-one - Strat, anti-Strat, agnostic - has objected before. I'm all for accuracy, but the FAC review was very harsh on long, confusing constructions that try to cover all bases. We need to be clear. Also, Anti-Strats are not simply sceptical, by defintion they assert that WS was not the author. The works were not "long attributed to him". They always were and still are. I see nothing wrong with "alternative-author theories", since that includes anyone who thinks there was a different author but who does not know who it was. That is a theory that there must be an alternative author. Paul B (talk) 19:48, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I should like to respectfully disagree in no uncertain terms with Paul's assertion that "this is pointless" as well as the implication of his further claim that "the first phrase is concise and clear." Clarity is no virtue when content deceives. And, indeed, the case against the present wording is far worse than even Rogala seems to be aware. Per Nishidani "it is always best to examine the sources behind statements." This is indeed true and one generic failing of the present document is that it so often depends on the kind of secondary or tertiary sources such as those cited in order to make a point when consultation with original documents will put the matter beyond dispute. It is beyond reasonable dispute that the single most important anti-Stratfordian of the twentieth century (possibly excepting Looney) did not support any definitive alternative candidate. That person was Sir George Greenwood. Greenwood's reticence to follow the Baconian path was anticipated by BOTH Twain and Whitman, with Whitman for his part explicitly disavowing Bacon and telling Horace Trauble, "we shall see, we shall see" -- intimating a belief that the real author had not yet been named as well as making crystal clear that he opposed the Stratfordian interpretation but was unwilling to offer a definitive alternative (See Greenwood's agnosticism frustrated Andrew Lang, who in one of the most important anti-anti-Stratfordian books ever written, Shakespeare, Bacon and the Great Unknown, mocked him as an advocate of the "great unknown." Note the title of Lang's book. In 1912 "the great unknown" was still a major player, and many of the best minds like Greenwood's not only did not make claims for an alternative author but refused to endorse any of those then in existence. It therefore seems to me that not only is the point a substantive one, but that Rogala's insistence on defending accuracy in wording in this case rest on an absolutely correct view of the history of the dispute, however one reconstructs the view of the contemporary DRD document. It is simply not historically accurate to claim otherwise, end of subject.--BenJonson (talk) 20:31, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Gee Ben, I thought you were topic banned. However, I agree with what you say. As is so often the case, you seem to have trouble construing what others say before you argue against it. I said "I see nothing wrong with [the phrase] "alternative-author theories", since that includes anyone who thinks there was a different author but who does not know who it was. That is a theory that there must be an alternative author." In other words, all anti-Stratfordianism implies an alternative author or authors, which is covered by the phrase "alternative-author theories". Now, if you'll excuse me I'll go back to reading Alfred Dodd. He's great fun. You'll be happy to know that Bacon was helping us from heaven to fight the Nazis back in '43. I know how strongly you feel about Nazis. Paul B (talk) 20:49, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I know you can't reply now, but I'll just add that the current phrasing is "alternative-authorship theories" (not "alternative-author theories" as I mistakenly wrote). This is very precise, since it allows for the group theories as well as for the Great Unknown, and even for the Great Invisibles, whose "vibrations" helped Bacon to be so amazingly creative according to Dodd. Paul B (talk) 21:32, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
BJ. 'Per Nishidani "it is always best to examine the sources behind statements".' I.e. the sources behind statements made in wiki articles. Editors must justify their proposed text by showing that they conform faithfully to the secondary sources employed for that section of text. This has nothing to do, as you think it does, with examining the original archival or historical matter on which the secondary or tertiary sources we use as references are based. To do this would be to engage in WP:OR and WP:SYNTH practices, as Steinburg did above in trying to make Gibson say something he clearly did not state. The practice is disallowed here. p.s. I believe you are not supposed to be commenting on these articles.Nishidani (talk) 20:52, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Rogala, you didn't take up my suggestion. This is an article providing an overview of an historic argument. The scholar who, having Joseph S. Galland's massive 6 volume Digesta Anti-Shakespeareana, with its list of 4509 items from 1856 to 1946 at hand, went more deeply than anyone else into the 'historical' intricacies of the subject, namely Wadsworth (1958), would certainly not accept your 'historically' as in '"They attempt to cast doubt upon William Shakespeare of Stratford as being the author and have, historically, often presented a case for a substitute candidate".' Greenwood, who invented the word 'Stratfordian', and perhaps Twain, were anomalies. Wadsworth, having surveyed far more of this than Gibson, Shapiro, Matus, McCrea or anyone else, wrote this:

'Paradoxically, the sceptics invarably offer as a substitute for the easily explained lack of evidence concerning William Shakespeare, the more troublesome picture of a vast conspiracy of silence about the real author . . .In addition, they are all strong believers in the wonders of class distinctions . .Almost invariably this violent dislike of the man of Stratford is balanced by a frenzied worship of the sceptic's own candidate . . .'Wadsworth (1958:6)

Greenwood was a noted exception. 'Historically', in the heyday of these febrile speculations before they almost died off (1950s-1980), anti-Stratfordism consisted of a two-pronged assault on the yokel and arguments for an alternative candidate.
The same is true of the conspiracy theme.
What has happened over the past decades is that Oxfordians absorbed the whole literature of those who argued against the Stratford yokel and for another candidate to push their candidate into front-runner, so that effectively anti-Stratfordian is now functionally synonymous with 'Oxfordian' (Matus 1994 p.15 note). Then in the Declaration, which is primarily organized by Oxfordians, they present themselves as doubters of the academic consensus about WS of Stratford, and stop there. In the wings, hovers however the Earl of Oxford.
The article is obliged to cover the whole terrain, and uses generalizations by qualified historians for the period 1848-2010. It cannot allow its general overview to be influenced by the tactical switches in promotional policy by those Oxfordians who are repackaging the story for this generation. The tactical switch on conspiracy relates to the 1987/1988 moot court verdicts. The tactical change to challenging publicly WS's rights, rather than pushing Oxford's case, may be due to the fact that Alan Nelson's 2003 biography made claims that Oxford was the outstanding cultural figure and intellectual genius of Elizabethan times seem ridiculous. The man who was paraded as the finest poet of our language couldn't even spell simple English words correctly, and flubs elementary tests for a minimal knowledge of legal clichés in Latin.Nishidani (talk) 20:23, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Which means that I thought Tom's questioning of 'usually' right in that it underplays the record, and wrong in so far as he proposed eliding it without adopting a more precise adverb. 'Usually' strikes me as a concession to delicate sensibilities belied by the literature, and therefore we should rather say, with Wadsworth, 'almost invariably'.Nishidani (talk) 20:30, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Paul B, you wrote:
1) "no-one - Strat, anti-Strat, agnostic - has objected before". Maybe they did not notice the definition didn't match the actual sources without the use of WP:SYNTHESIS ? I cannot help what is "past" but I can try to make the future language a bit crisper, where possible. I am trying to do so in with tremendous good faith.
2) "long attributed to him". That is a DIRECT quotation from Mr. James Shapiro on page #3 of his book (US Edition). It is actually in the first sentence of his book. As he is the only Stratfordian scholar to ever write a book on this subject, he probably deserves a little respect from this community.
Also, Can we PLEASE stick to the CONTENT here not past editing history ?? I've read it all and, while it does not reflect well on a number of people who WERE there, I was not one of them, so please: WP:CIVILITY and, with regards to this topic WP:BITE.
Thanks to all those who commented....especially Nishidani who took the time to give some good background detail. Your thoughts on this are high caliber in my opinion, but probably not permissible due to the rules which we all know about involving WP:OR and WP:SYNTHESIS.
So, back to my question, which "definition" is most DIRECTLY verifiable in an RS without resorting to WP:OR or WP:SYNTHESIS ?? It cannot be #1 as has been demonstrated. #2 is a close paraphrase of James Shapiro (with the addition of the words "of Stratford" from the current lead source) who would be troubled to be described as "turgid and confusing" by Paul B, I think. #3 is a paraphrase by me (I don't take offense at the "turgid and confusing" part). #4 is a the definition in the Oxford Dictionary if Literary Terms as I pointed out earlier with the word "canon" substituted for "plays and poems".
Is there any direct comment on this point ?
I personally like #4 as it is from the most recent source, but #2 isn't bad either. What POSSIBLE objection could there be to either of those considering the known quality of those sources and the complete unambiguity of the definition ? Rogala (talk) 21:59, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I will be away from the computer for awhile as I am actually going to SEE a Shakespeare play tonight rather than just write about the authorship. Please do not interpret my temporary non-responsiveness for a few hours to be a sign of brusque-ness.Rogala (talk) 21:59, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
This is not going to end well because you are repeatedly pursuing a pointless distinction while using far too many words (in particular, the links to WP:XXX are entirely off topic). You have not identified any problem with the current wording, and you are not engaging with the detailed responses which explain that the current text is short, accurate, and easily understandable. Common sense is important at Wikipedia, and your "If Baldick sees fit to make this distinction as to "Stratford-upon-Avon", then I say, so should Wikipedia." comment fails to acknowledge that someone writing a definition of a term has to spell out what they are talking about, while such turgid detail is totally out of place in this article. Johnuniq (talk) 01:34, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Here are my last words on the subject for now. In one sentence (32 words total), here is what I am suggesting:
"The first sentence of the SAQ Overview should use the definition of "anti-Stratfordian" as provided in the first sentence of the lead source which was cited - 'The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms'."
That's it.
To me it is axiomatic that if one cites a dictionary as the source for a definition, one should use the definition printed in the source, not a new definition synthesized from several sources and possible WP:OR.
Johnuniq wrote: "You have not identified any problem with the current wording, and you are not engaging with the detailed responses which explain that the current text is short, accurate, and easily understandable."
Although "short", the current text is not accurate and likely falls afoul of exactly the WP guidelines I indicated for the reasons I indicated. It also does not match the text in the source cited. I am engaging with EXACTLY those responses.
Tom Reedy opened this section by soliciting feedback on this exact portion of the overview (the first paragraph). That is my feedback. Full disclosure: I have discussed this in detail with an admin and I am going to let it be at that.Rogala (talk) 14:34, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
You repeatedly say it is not accurate, but I have yet to see any evidence that this is the case. As for OR, that does not mean we should use the exact words of a source. That is called quotation. We can and should use our own words as long as they are appropriate. The current phrase does not in any way correspond to WP:SYN, as far as I can see. It's just one of many possible formulations. You are, of course at liberty to raise the matter at the NOR noticeboard. It still remains entirely unclear to me what the problem is and why you are so-preoccupied with this. Paul B (talk) 14:53, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Paul B: Respectfully - Please feel free to see ruhrfisch's talk page for background on my interest in this. As to why the current text is inaccurrate, please feel free to re-ask that question on my talk page and I will re-state.
I might well ask back, however: Why is using the dictionary definition from the exact source already cited an issue for ANY concern at all ? (especially with the paraphrase I suggested using "canon" vs. "plays and poems" to prevent it being a quotation) What is up with that ? Can someone explain what I am missing ?
As for me, I desire to disengage on this topic for now as far as the SAQ talk page goes, but I think my points are crystal clear.Rogala (talk) 15:20, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Butting back in here for a moment, the "dictionary definition" is not used to support the anti-Stratfordian definition (which was inserted into that sentence as an afterthought); it is used to support the rest of the sentence. I recall a contentious discussion about the phrasing of that sentence (minus the anti-Stratfordian definition) because (IIRC) the original wording was "all share certain characteristics". If you have indeed followed the editing and discussion on this page as you say, then you certainly should be aware of the amount of thought and discussion that has gone into parsing almost every phrase in this article, and the surprise you expressed on Ruhrfisch's page ("I admit to being EXTREMELY surprised by the length of the discussion on the relatively simple issue which I pointed out") seems a bit out of place. In fact, it appears to me that you are the one lengthening this discussion by continually changing your focus, as a chronological reading of this page indicates. It appears that you are a bit confused being a bit less than ingenuous in claiming that clarifying the definition in line with a source was your only goal, since you admit above that you did not even read the sources until Nishidani referred you to them a day after you had already posted several times, and that you were only responding to my original query: My only question was about the use of the adverb "usually". I'll now go back to my refuge in hopes that this discussion is finished. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:43, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I believe that the current formulation is in fact the most accurate, but that's only one consideration. It is part of a sentence. Just dropping a sentence from a source into the middle of another sentence can make the whole confusing or more difficult to read, as I firmly believe all your suggestions do. Paul B (talk) 15:59, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Tom Reedy: You wrote: "It appears that you are being a bit less than ingenuous in claiming that clarifying the definition in line with a source was your only goal, since you admit above that you did not even read the sources until Nishidani referred you to them a day after you had already posted several times, and that you were only responding to my original query: My only question was about the use of the adverb "usually". I'll now go back to my refuge in hopes that this discussion is finished."
Please re-read the time stamps on both those posts and retract the accusation of being "less than ingenuous". I do take offense at that and it is in error. The entire paragraph is based on the definition in the first sentence. This includes the sentences which contains the word "usual" and "often", as you can see by re-reading the thread top to bottom. The conversation after this all flowed from your point, as the above dialogue reflects.Rogala (talk) 17:01, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
From Nishidani’s revision as of 08:17, 5 April 2011: Procedurally, it is always best to examine the sources behind statements. In this case Baldick 2008, pp. 17–18; Bate 1998, pp. 68–70; Wadsworth 1958, pp. 2, 6–7; Matus 1994, p. 15 note; Wells 2003, p. 388; Love 2002, p. 198: Wadsworth 1958, p. 6; Shapiro 2010, p. 255 (225). One must always ask oneself: is the point or distinction I wish to make reflected in the sources?
From your revision as of 18:42, 5 April 2011: As Nishidani wisely suggested, I looked it up yesterday before I wrote this post. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:59, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
@Tom Reedy: I revised it minutes later when I re-read what I had written as I realized it was unclear as to WHICH post I was referring...which was one my original posts. The point stands: I read the sources before I got too deeply into the thread to make sure that they supported to definition of the cohort which the words "usually" and "often" seek to further explain. Please check the "revision history" on all my posts and you will see I often revise them several times in the minutes after I originally post them. I am a poor speller when typing quickly and can also rightly be accused of thinking faster than I can type. I politely repeat my request for a retraction of your accusation.Rogala (talk) 19:34, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

NOTICE: I am following Paul B's suggestion and have posted it the NOR notice board for third party comment.[3]Rogala (talk) 16:51, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

That’s great. Since you modestly make the claim to have read and internalized every major section of the guidelines over the past several years, you should have no problem figuring out what you should do next and to provide a link to the conversation. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:06, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I have struck out and amended my comment that I made yesterday out of my irritation, and I agree that I should have been warned about my comment, especially since he was. If anything, I should be held to a higher standard, being an experienced editor of this page, and I apologise to Rogala for inappropriately venting my spleen. I fear that we are misunderstanding each other, as I cannot make much sense out of his subsequent clarification; there's a good possibility we're not even commenting on the same part of the section.
Apology most sincerely accepted.Rogala (talk) 19:38, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
While thinking about this last night I seem to recall that originally those were all one sentence that were broken up during an early RfC, and that the reference was misplaced, because the cite supports the second sentence much better than the first. IIRC (and I'm not going to wade through literally thousands of edits to find it) there was then a big discussion about the wording, which included the word "all", and only after that was the anti-Stratfordian definition tacked on. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:29, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
I was the one that inserted what is essentially a parenthetical, and it was in response to comments at FAC that we used a specialist term without explaining to the reader its meaning. And I suspect a part of the confusion here stems from the idea that it is a definition of anti-Stratfordianism. It's not. It's an explanation of the specialist term (“jargon” if you like) “anti-Stratfordian”. And as such it is amply covered by the sources cited (not that they would be insufficient as a definition either, but a definition of less than one full sentence would be a bit ambitious in that case). I think there is also some further confusion in that it is inherent in any theory which asserts that Shakespeare was not the author that, since the works do demonstrably exists, someone else must have written them (whether a single individual, a coterie, or space aliens; and regardless of whether that someone or someones are known or unknown, or even unknowable). There is thus absolutely no need to specify that some anti-Stratfordians do not subscribe to any specific alternate author; the mere fact that they believe Shakespeare didn't write it means they adhere to a theory of alternate authorship. --Xover (talk) 15:53, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
I've been called too verbose by some. I plead "too often guilty". I am going to re-state my idea pithily and then leave it alone.
Please compare these three statements below. I maintain #2 or #3 are preferable to #1 as they are 100% factually accurate and directly supported by the sources cited in plain English without the need for ANY possible interpretation (or "spin") by anyone either pro-Stratfordian or anti-Stratfordian.
1) anti-Stratfordians-a collective term for adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories, (current)
2) anti-Stratfordians-a collective term for those reluctant to accept William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author of the canon published in his name (close paraphrase of Baldick)
3) anti-Stratfordians-a collective term for those who believe that someone other than Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays and poems commonly attributed to him (close paraphrase of Prescott - which was cited by Nishidani late last week)
If the consensus of the current cohort of editors is that I am "wrong headed", then I must drop it until such time as consensus somehow changes. I accept that, and appreciate the time taken by all to discuss this.Rogala (talk) 19:38, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
No one is calling anyone else "wrong headed"; or if they are, they shouldn't be, as criticism on Wikipedia is supposed to be of content, not persons.
I have done a fair amount of editing of this article, but never of the passage in question, so I think I can be reasonably objective about this. My opinion is that version #2 or version #3 might conceivably be preferable if at this point in the article the reader had not yet been given any clue as to what the SAQ is and might not learn much more afterward. But the lead, which the reader would normally just have read, already provides the right clues. A more succinct version fills the bill here--we want the Overview to be short. Even so, the following sentence does expand on the idea a bit, just in case anyone might be in doubt about some implications. On top of that, arriving at this wording involved a long evolution, with much debate, and I'd be inclined to give some benefit of the doubt to the editors who debated and worked on that passage. Not that it shouldn't still be changed if it is wrong. But, to me, it is certainly not wrong, and given what comes before and after, that phrase (the current choice, #1) seems just about perfect. --Alan W (talk) 04:50, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Good call, Alan. This has been raked over fairly thoroughly, indeed exhaustively. Nishidani (talk) 06:58, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Great job!

Thanks to all who pitched in and achieved an almost-impossible task on such a controversial topic and formerly-troubled article. All of the changes that were made after FA nomination convinced me I dont' really have all that good an eye for first-rate quality when it comes to encyclopedia articles. I've nominated it at the featured article request page for April 23, and some of you who know more about this than I do might want to take a look at it.

I also hope that the improvements don't cease just because the page was promoted. I know plenty of work remains for the article to be as comprehensive and neutral as possible, and I hope some of you feel the same way. I do know that i plan to take a break for month or so from editing so I can catch up with a couple of projects I've neglected over the past year. (And maybe I can also stop using Brit spelling for a while and stop getting funny looks from people at work!) Once again, I really appreciate all the time and effort that went into this project. I think we can all be proud of our accomplishment. Cheers mates! Tom Reedy (talk) 23:54, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Wow. Wrad (talk) 02:43, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Congratulations! While my reservations remain, the unstinting labours of a dedicated crew are certainly evident in the present form of the article. Fotoguzzi (talk) 08:02, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Well done to all involved. The correct decision was reached and the article was improved significantly in the process. Poujeaux (talk) 13:19, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes. Well done to those who took the brownfield site left after the carpet-bombing and constructed such an architectural wonder. I haven't yet looked at the body of the article but the lede is very much improved from last time I looked in.--Peter cohen (talk) 19:14, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Terrific and informative article. I teach Shakespeare and have read extensively on this question, but I still learned quite a bit from this. Nice work everybody! --Khazar (talk) 01:29, 23 April 2011 (UTC)


Hi. I'm doing some research on the history of the Oxfordian Theory and the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy and came here for help. I noticed some discrepancies between the main history article and this one, so I am trying to make them match up better. I also noticed that the history section of the Oxfordian Theory article is woefully inadequate. I'll try and fill that out a bit as well. - Anton321 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anton321 (talkcontribs) 09:25, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Welcome. This article has been examined minutely by dozens of editors and critics, and is therefore on a reasonably firm footing. It states what our best sources say. The Oxfordian theory article is badly sourced, poorly edited, and unreliable, so it would be wise not to edit towards this article from the other, until the latter has been thoroughly reedited to conform to wiki standards. One thing we do not do here is write judgements that are not firmly anchored in the best academic sources. That is why I was compelled to revert your attempt to rewrite a section of the lead. There is no evidence so far from the Elizabethan period that Shakespeare was not universally regarded as the author of most of the works attributed to him. Thus when you wrote:-

While authorship skeptics believe that doubts concerning the traditional attribution first arose in the late 1500's, it is theorized by several mainstream scholars that Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century,

It is what is called WP:OR, unless you have an WP:RS academic work that says '(all authorship skeptics' believe doubts arose in the 1590s'. Secondly, it is doubly wrong to write 'it is theorized by several mainstream scholars that'. It is neither a theory, nor is the fact maintained by 'several mainstream scholars'. All modern mainstream scholars on the SAQ issue who have examined the evidence concur that doubts first arose in the mid 19th century.'Nishidani (talk) 11:45, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
I have had to revert your recent changes to the article. This article is very well sourced and has been very carefully checked, particularly in recent months during the FA process. If there is a discrepancy between this article and something else, the problem is probably in the other work. Your text included items like "Authorship researchers believe...", yet there was no reliable source to verify that statement. Also, the term "authorship researcher" is not part of the literature used in scholarly sources, and is not appropriate. On a minor matter, there should be no apostrophe in "1500's". Re the Minerva Britanna image and text: why move them? While there is some advantage in having an image near related text, the image is not required as an aid to understanding, and it serves the purpose of breaking up large slabs of text to make the page more interesting. I think the original position of the image was fine, and the moved text seems out of place. Text like "It is theorized by several mainstream scholars..." is not appropriate in any article: Wikipedia regards mainstream scholars as reliable sources, and "theorized" appears as an editorial comment to suggest that the mainstream scholars might be totally wrong (using the misguided but popular usage that theorizing is something one does in half an hour, as in "evolution is just a theory"; by the way, it should "theorised" in this article per WP:ENGVAR). Please see WP:FRINGE and gain consensus on the talk page before making large changes to a featured article. Johnuniq (talk) 11:57, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Just a suggestion. Perhaps the page should be locked for a day or two. If it is to be featured tomorrow, it is not improbable that, given the past, attempts will be made to destabilize it on the day. It should certainly not, over this short period, be subject to erratic editing by newcomers wholly unfamiliar with wikipedia practices and policies, and indifferent to the patient advice given to them on the talk page. Nishidani (talk) 15:06, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Protection of the TFA absent heavy vandalism or BLP concerns is controversial - see WP:NOPRO. I've move-protected it, but am hesitant to do more at this point. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:14, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
I am watching the page - if the unhelpful edits go up I will semi-protect. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 15:15, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Why is Oxford not mentioned as leading candidate?

I know fairly little about this whole issue, but I gather that Oxford is considered the leading candidate. IMO this is fairly important info, which should be in the intro. In fact, it appears nowhere at all other than buried at the very end of the Marlowe section:

His candidacy was revived by Calvin Hoffman in 1955 and is now the nearest rival to Oxford's.[223]

Why not make the end of paragraph 2 in the intro read:

... and more than 70 authorship candidates have been proposed,[8] including Francis Bacon, the 6th Earl of Derby, Christopher Marlowe, and the 17th Earl of Oxford.[9] Oxford is currently the leading candidate, followed by Marlowe.

Apologies if this has been discussed previously somewhere in the (voluminous) archives. Benwing (talk) 03:54, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Please read the Oxford section. The last sentence in the second graf reads: "After Looney's Shakespeare Identified was published in 1920, Oxford rapidly overtook Bacon to become the most popular alternative candidate, and remains so to this day." Tom Reedy (talk) 03:58, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know the history around that issue, but an important factor is that the lead is already long, and great efforts have been made to squeeze out every excess word. Your suggestion would be correct if the article were focused on the most popular alternative authorship candidates, but I'm not convinced that knowing which candidate currently is the leader is very significant in terms of understanding the authorship question, and the arguments advanced. I think that what would be seen as a "promotion" of a candidate should have a strong justification to avoid the temptation for someone favoring another candidate to use the lead to point out a distinguishing feature of their nomination. Johnuniq (talk) 04:20, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I did miss that statement. But I still don't see why it shouldn't be stated more obviously. The section on Bacon, for example, says at the beginning that Bacon was the leading candidate from the 19th century.
BTW, Johnuniq, you may be assuming that I'm trying to promote Oxford, which I'm not at all. Honestly the whole issue reads to me much like 9/11 conspiracy theories and such, and I'm sorry that it was necessary to use up so much collective Wikipedia time on it. But if I wanted to find out e.g. about 9/11 conspiracy theories, the first thing I'd want to know is which theories are most prominent, and indeed in the 9/11 conspiracy theories article you'll see this is stated right in the first paragraph. Similarly, given that the Shakespeare authorship question is asking "Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?", then inevitably one of the very first things that nearly everybody will want to know is, "If not Shakespeare, then who?". Just like for 9/11 conspiracy theories, identifying the most prominent Shakespeare conspiracy theories is hardly "promoting" one theory over another. In fact, since the consensus, as found in the article itself, is that the most prominent theories are (1) Oxford, (2) Marlowe, (3) Bacon and/or Derby, (4) everyone else, in that order, then IMO not stating this in the lede makes the article quality worse and needlessly confuses the issue. Benwing (talk) 06:34, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I tried but possibly did not succeed in phrasing my comment to say that there will be people who regard mentioning Oxford's current popularity as unduly disadvantaging their candidate (and I'm definitely not assuming any attempt at a promotion in this discussion). I was thinking that if the lead does not do more than list the four prime candidates, we might avoid future inevitable attempts to add a few more words about the other candidates (someone might argue that X being more popular now is not as important as the fact that Y was the first and most logical candidate, or some variation of that). I see what you mean about 9/11, although in that case the different "explanations" for 9/11 are so wonderfully varied that they need to be mentioned to make any sense. By contrast, this article explores the easily understood suggestion that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the works. I am not particularly worried about this point (and await other comments)—however, per my comment in the section immediately below this, I rather liked it when both the lead and the image caption listed the candidates in alphabetical order. Johnuniq (talk) 08:00, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, there is no concrete evidence whatsoever that any of the proposed candidates (other than Shakespeare himself) wrote the plays, and the fact that Oxford is currently the leading contender merely means that, somehow or other, a lot of vocal and often disruptive people have coalesced around the, as they see it, best of the conspiracy theories. That doesn't mean that it should be given any special status in the article's lede, IMO. --GuillaumeTell 17:17, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

"several Supreme Court justices"

Which Supreme Court? I don't have access to the source so I can't check myself. Thanks! (talk) 06:49, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

It's hard to know when to stop tweaking things, and how to provide useful links while not overlinking. Searching for "Supreme Court" in the article shows first the instance you mention (in the Overview), and a second instance where it is spelled out as Supreme Court of the United States.
By the way, your edit changed the caption of the image in the lead to go clockwise from top left. I'll leave that for now and see what others think, but we discussed how to handle the names several weeks ago. I'm an orderly kind of person and proposed the way it was because that gave alphabetical order (Bacon, Derby, Marlowe, and Oxford), which matches the presentation of the names in the lead and avoids arguments about the order in which the candidates should be presented. For consistency, whatever order is chosen should be the same in the lead and the caption (although I think a couple of others could not see the force of my logic there). Johnuniq (talk) 07:40, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I removed mention of the "several Supreme Court justices" as it is not supported by the cited source (Times article of 21 April 2010), and without giving their actual names it is too vague a statement. BabelStone (talk) 08:22, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
IIRC, the reason the candidates were listed from top right is that usually when items are listed clockwise, the list begins at the 12 o'clock position. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:05, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not really concerned about the order that they're show in the picture; alphabetical is a good way to go to avoid giving preference. I just thought it was strange to start in quadrant I—I would definitely have expected to start in quadrant II and listed clockwise from there, since things generally go from left to right when listing things shown in pictures. As for the Supreme Court, it's just that as an American I of course hear "Supreme Court" and think of the SCOTUS. But there's several SCs in the world, and since this article has adopted UK style (because Shakespeare was British) it's hard to know which SC was meant. (talk) 17:22, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Use of traditionally ascribed in the first line

I feel the thrust of the whole article to be prejudiced by this "traditionally ascribed" in the first line. It would be true to say, for instance, that Shakespeare is traditionally said to have been born on April 23 because he was baptised close to this, England's national day. However it is not correct to say that his works are ascribed by tradition. I will not change it myself but think those who are open-minded and more involved in this article should consider it.DMC (talk) 09:35, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. I think I see what you mean. The phrase is used as a way to refer to his works without enumerating them or confusing the reader by using “Shakespeare” to mean three different things within the span of a single sentence. Can you perhaps suggest an alternative way to phrase that sentence? --Xover (talk) 09:48, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I understand his distinction, but IMO it's a distinction without a difference. "Historically" in place of "traditionally" would work, but then you'd have to change all such uses of a useful (and IMO not confusing) term. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:07, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure "historically" is much better than "traditionally", because history and tradition don't address the question of "ascribing" anything to WS. So far as they have anything to say, they simply treat him as the undoubted author. Would "generally ascribed" be any better? Moonraker2 (talk) 02:03, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
This issue is probably now resolved because Tom removed "traditionally", which leaves "wrote the works attributed to him". I understood the sense in which "traditionally" was used, and there was no prejudice involved at all. However, if it can be read as introducing a prejudice, it should be fixed, and simply omitting the word seems a good result. Johnuniq (talk) 02:33, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Why is this article in such a biased tone?

This article affirms at every turn the Stratford argument and barely gives the anti-Stratfordians a second look. It uses vague, subjective statements to describe the Stratfordians such as "a lack of attendance records for Stratford's grammar school is taken as suggesting..." and "Commoners are said [by the anti-Stratfordians] to be depicted..." whereas active, affirmative statements describe the Stratfordians, such as "All these converge to confirm William Shakespeare's authorship" and "The historical record is unequivocal in assigning the authorship of the Shakespeare canon to William Shakespeare." Both of the last two statements are debatable. The author of the article stresses that Stratfordians have relied on hard documentary evidence, neglecting to mention that there is a staggering lack of the same. The Stratford argument relies on broad inferences from the extremely thin amount of documentation available. This article in now way suggests that there is a possibility that this could be the case, and I think it should be altered to be a more balanced article with better resources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

It's 'biased' as you term it because, just like the "birther" argument, belief in Bigfoot/Yeti/Faouke Monster, the Hitler-is-still-alive fantasy, 'we didn't go to the moon-it's all a fake' conspiracy theory, aliens crashed at Roswell .... it's a bunch of crapola. For whatever reason, those whose lives cannot find satisfaction wander into the belief in things like this and almost adopt it as a religion. (talk) 17:02, 23 April 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan
There is a huge amount of evidence in fact. All is consistent with WS's authorship. However, the reason that the mainstream view is presented as the dominant one is simple. It's because it is...the dominant one. Otherwise it wouldn't be the mainstream view. Paul B (talk) 11:51, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that this is a biased article. It's NOT a "fringe belief," that's simply untrue; it's a widely-accepted alternate theory. The statement above that "there is a huge amount of evidence in fact" is in my opinion actually *proof* of that perspective. There is ALSO much evidence and concrete reasons to believe that Shakespeare was NOT the actual author. Why ignore it? By the way, for those who don't know - Shakespeare or whoever's writings were EXTREMELY scandalous for those times. He's very lucky they didn't jail him; and it's a "nine-day's wonder" that they didn't. Of COURSE the true writer was kept hidden! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
A few ... um ... "eccentrics" believing in this guff does not make it "widely-accepted" by any stretch of the imagination. If you talk like this around educated people, you'll most likely be laughed at. HammerFilmFan (talk) 18:24, 23 April 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan
No they weren't. Marlowe, Jonson and Nashe were all far more scandalous. And if they had been scandalous why on earth would they be palmed off on a lowly lad from Stratford rather than simply published under a wholly fictional identity like Martin Marprelate? This whole argument is self-refuting. If an aristocrat was worried about the consequences, how on earth would middle-class Bill get away with it? And wouldn't he blab as soon as he saw the rack, thus defeating the whole object? Paul B (talk) 18:00, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the allegations of bias, a view supported rather than refuted when doubts of Shakespeare's authorship are called "crapola" believed by "um... eccentrics". The burden of proof rightly lies on skeptics, but unless the article's purpose is to completely dismiss skeptics the statements "All these converge to confirm William Shakespeare's authorship" and "The historical record is unequivocal in assigning the authorship of the Shakespeare canon to William Shakespeare" prejudice the issue because the first statement explicitly and the second implicitly settles that issue. It's a double standard to call the "literary parallels with the known works of their candidate" skeptics cite merely circumstantial evidence but "stylometrics" Shakespeare's supporters cite documentary evidence. Both are stylistic and documentary, and treating the same technique as science in one party but fantasy in another is clear bias.

If the article is meant to show all those disputing Shakespeares authorship of "the Shakespeare canon" as "eccentrics" with only "crapola" to support them, "Shakespeare Authorship Question" is an inappropriate title for an article better served by something like "False Disputes of Shakespeare's Authorship" or "Mistaken Beliefs about Shakespeare's Authorship". If the article is meant to seriously and fairly entertain minority skepticism of Shakespeare's authorship against far better documented support it should do so without bias; if it is only meant to list erroneous and crazed views of his works authorship the title should reflect that instead. (talk) 07:52, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

The "crapola" term was used by one IP whose sole contribution was the above comment, so it is not reasonable to base any claim of bias on that term. Instead, mentioning specific problems with text in the article is the only thing that it is useful on this talk page. However, each of the extracts you mentioned is supported by a reliable source, and the text stands or falls on an analysis of what such reliable sources say. It is not satisfactory to "balance" such scholarly sources with papers written by people who are not acknowledged subject experts. Johnuniq (talk) 08:12, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I believe the plaintiffs who wish the article had a different title would settle for 'A Declaration of Reasonable Certainty'. It is the reasoned certainty over this issue established by the best scholarship on the Elizabethan period, and the history of ideas, that they read as bias.:)Nishidani (talk) 09:12, 24 April 2011 (UTC)


Uh, Moonraker. You shouldn't make rush calls on a technical issue.

  • In judgment a Pylius (Nestor), in genius a Socrates, in art a Maro (Virgil)–

The earth covers him, the people mourn for him, Olympus holds him.

(Translation courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library's version of the Latin in its Old Reading Room).

I could give a lot of technical reasons why 'Pylian' is wrong, though you can get sources for it. You can muster, however, sources for 'a Pylius' and, the difference is, those sources which write 'A Pylius' reflect an understanding of Latin usage, and the correct way to translate it into English without making a stylistic mess of the line. Still, we do nothing here without broad agreement, so I've reserve proof, if proof be needed, till other editors chip in.Nishidani (talk) 21:59, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

I know next to nothing about Latin grammar, but I'm for whatever is supported by reliable sources. If the sources are equal, then I'm for whatever the academic consensus supports. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:22, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
I would go with reliable sources, but my guess is there may be RS for each translation. I checked and it was "Pylian" when the article made FA. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 22:36, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Check Katherine Duncan-Jones, Shakespeare: An ungentle life, (2001) 2nd ed.2010 p.314 note. Pylius atOvid, Metamorphoses Bk.8 line 365 = Nestor (Forsitan et Pylius citra Troiana perisset /Tempora), as it does at Juvenal, Satires Bk.10, 246 (Rex Pylius), the two texts which the Elizabethan who wrote that was undoubtedly familiar with (well perhaps not Juvenal's 10th, it rarely got printed, being so, well, 'foul').
Pylius in short was a proper noun in Latin meaning 'Nestor'. In the versions that give 'a Pylian' the Latinate proper noun becomes an English common noun, one of the class of people who are from Pylos, because folks failed to understand that Pylium is an example of antonomasia, and took it adjectivally.
Unless you translate it as a proper noun, you get a stylistic stutter, since the neat Latinate sequence of 3 proper nouns, identified with three specific individuals (Pylius for Nestor as 'Maro' for the more common 'Virgil') become a mix of a toponymic adjective(ethnikon in Greek) referring to anyone from Pylos, together with two proper nouns referring to specific individuals. The 'a' in 'a Pylian' is indefinite, whereas the 'a' in 'a Socrates' and 'a Maro' is not so.
The objection might be that I am engaging in WP:OR. No, I am just providing the reasons (not given) for why scholars like Duncan-Jones and others translate it as 'a Pylius'. Perhaps we'll have to stack up a huge amount of RS on this point to see which gets the guernsey numbers wise. Nishidani (talk) 22:45, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
This is all rational. The consensus for the meaning of the word is surely that it refers to Nestor in the sense of "of Pylos". To Juvenal he was Pylius rex, which is either "King Pylius" or "the king of Pylos". If Pylius is a name it is used in much the same way that Elizabeth I used "Parma" and "Spain" in "I think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any Prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm". There is no doubt Pylius means "of Pylos". My own Second Latin Book by Frank Justus Miller (1902) has at p. 83 "Pylius, -a, -um, adj., of Pylos, Pylian; as subst., the Pylian Nestor, a ruler who took part with the Greeks in the Trojan war." As you say, Nishidani, it's a matter for reliable sources. Certainly "a Pylius" is possible. If it ends up as that, we can always add a footnote to explain it, but Pylian avoids that, especially if linked as Pylian. Moonraker2 (talk) 01:06, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Miller's old grammar clarifies exactly the point I made ('as subst., the Pylian Nestor). That means when Pylius is used as a substantive, it refers to a specific person, esp. to Nestor, i.e., it is a proper name. In Juvenal it is stricto sensu adjectival, but as one can see from a parallel like rex Priamus(Cicero, De divinatione, Bk 1.21,42), the rex+ proper noun construction flows over to make Juvenal's usage janus-faced, 'the Pylian king' is also heard as 'king Pylius' to a Latin ear. The Elizabethans were drenched in Ovid, and Ovid is behind this absolute use of Pylius as a proper noun, figuring by antonomasia, Nestor, (which for prosodic reasons the rather clumsy Latinist here -he makes the Ist syllable of Socraten scan short- couldn't use).
  • Forsitan et Pylius citra Troiana perisset /Tempora), Ovid, Metamorphoses Bk.8 line 365-6 (See Franz Bömer (ed.)P.Ovidius Naso. Metamorphosen, Buch VIII-IX, Carl Winter. Universitätsverlag. Heidelberg, 1977 p.128)
  • Pylio referente, idem Bk.12.537('as Nestor told the tale')
  • tristis ad haec Pylius, idem Bk.12.542 ('and stern Nestor replied')
  • illius ad tactum Pylius iuvenescere possit Ovid, Amores, Bk.3,7,41 ((old) Nestor (himself) could feel the bud of youth bloom in him at her touch)
In these four cases, familiar to Elizabethans, Pylius is an alternative proper noun for Nestor.
If we found in the fields of Warwickshire a stone commemorating Anne Whateley, and read an inscription: 'Pulchritudine Hyccaraeam, genio Hypatiam, arte Sapphonem', we would only confuse people were we to translate, 'In beauty an Hyccarean, in genius an Hypatia, in literary technique a Sappho.' No one else of note came from Hyccara, just as no one other than Nestor is associated with Pylos. One would write 'In beauty a Lais, . .' using a proper name consonant with the proper names in the rest of the verse, and one any modern reader fond of Pierre Louÿs would recognise.Nishidani (talk) 14:50, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Since it is presented as a direct quotation, why not just specify the source at the end of that sentence (as WP:MOSQUOTE suggests anyway) and follow the specified source? The reference or a footnote could then explain that some translate it one way and others another. Note that I have cleverly avoided saying which version to follow - my Latin was to rudimentary and too long ago. Amo amas amat... is about all I recall. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 01:54, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Right, for Wikipedia editors to translate from Latin themselves runs straight into WP:OR: this neeeds to be quoted directly from a source and cited accordingly. Since this article has little relation to any Latin topic or the specific interpretation of “Pylium”, if the sources should translate it differently (which I've yet to notice myself, but…) we can pick one on that source's authority. I can't recall whether Shapiro gives it, but would expect so, so check his translation against, say, Schoenbaum and Chambers (or Loomis), and if there is no discrepancy there then we have a solution. --Xover (talk) 08:56, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Schoenbaum doesn't translate it in his Documentary Life. Nishidani (talk) 08:23, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Of course it would be WP:OR, as I said. On a discussion page, it is not WP:OR to note the problem and explain it.
  • 'The earth covers, the people mourn, Olympus holds (a man who was) a Pylius (=Nestor) in judgement, a Socrates in wisdom, a Virgil in literary skill.' Katherine Duncan-Jones, Shakespeare: an ungentle life, (2001) Methuen 2nd ed.2010 p.314
  • 'Nestor for wisdom, Socrates for genius, Virgil for poetry.' Peter Levi, The life and Times of William Shakespeare, Macmillan, 1988 p.343
  • 'The earth covers one who is a Nestor in Judgement; the people mourn for a Socrates in Genius; Olympus has a Virgil in art.' Park Honan, Shakespeare: A Life, Oxford University Press (1998) 1999 p.403
  • The Folger Shakespeare Library has the correct rendering on line here, as well
In each instance, 'Pylius' is translated as a proper name, 'Nestor', as befits the Ovidian allusion, and not as 'a Pylian'. There are other problems of course, ars is literary technique or artistic performance, and Duncan Jones captures this in her note, as she does the grammatical construction our version readjusts by repeating 'him'.Nishidani (talk) 14:50, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Additional examples.
  • 'In judgment a Nestor, in genius a Socrates, in art a Virgil.’N.W.Rowe, ‘Iago’s Elenchus: Shakespeare, Othello, and the Platonic Inheritance,' in Garry Hagberg, Walter Jost (eds.) A Companion to the Philosophy of Literature, John Wiley and Sons, 2010 p.174
  • ‘In judgment a Nestor, in inspiration a Socrates, in art a Virgil, the earth covers him, the people mourn him, Olympus has him.’ Scott McCrea, The Case for Shakespeare, 2005 p.8
  • ‘Earth covers, Olympus (heaven? Or the Muses’ Hill) holds him who was a Nestor in counsel; in poetic art a Virgil; a Socrates for his Daemon.(“Genius”)' Andrew Lang,Shakespeare, Bacon and the Great Unknown, (1912) Kessinger Publishing, 2003 p.186 Nishidani (talk) 08:23, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
The examples from Levi and Lang are important because, unlike many otherwise distinguished Shakespearean scholars, they took first class degrees in classical languages at Oxford. I.e., they know how to translate elementary Latin.Nishidani (talk) 08:28, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Drinks all around!

That was a lot better than I expected, plus we've harvested some good edits! Cheers, boys and girls! Drink up! Tom Reedy (talk) 03:09, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, an excellent result. I recently watched an old film where cocktails and the like featured, and am in nostalgic mood, so make mine a G&T thanks! Johnuniq (talk) 03:45, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Tom, I'll have a Sherris sack, which seems appropriate to the topic. Glad I hung around. When I joined the fray, it was a case of "the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air", and for a while I was afraid I might have attached myself to the lost cause of a new Light Brigade. But it has turned out well, and after the noxious fumes were cleared I had the pleasure of working with some fine folks in a collegial atmosphere. Congratulations especially to you, to Nishidani, and to Paul B, who has been working on this page far longer than any of us, hanging in there for some eight years! Cheers, Alan W (talk) 05:33, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Don't forget, it's still linked from the main page for the next 3 days (under "Recently featured"). But congratulations to everybody involved, a very impressive article. --NSH001 (talk) 05:28, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
It wasn't too bad in part because it was up on a Saturday, when main page articles traditionally get less traffic. Wrad (talk) 15:01, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
It got 38,800 views on Saturday and 6,700 on Sunday. It also drove the main Shakespeare page to reach 34,700 views on Saturday, an increase of about a third. The Oxfordian page also increased, hitting 1,100 viewers, about 3x above average. The Oxford biography page was viewed 5,500 times that day, about a 10x increase over average. Baconian theory page = 537 views, about a 5x increase; Marlovian theory: 390 views, a 10x increase. List of SAQ candidates got 390 views, about a 10x increase. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:40, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Additional source

I was surprised to find no reference to Durning-Lawrence Library, a collection held at the University of London.

This is the private collection of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (1837-1914), protagonist in the Bacon-Shakespeare authorship controversy, who expressed his views at greatest length in his monograph Bacon is Shakespeare (1910), a work which attracted numerous reviews, mostly uncomplimentary, and three dissident pamphlets. The library contains approximately 5,750 volumes.

From The Bacon-Shakespeare authorship controversy:

Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence held the broad view, but argued most forcefully for Bacon's authorship of Shakespeare's works, in lectures, letters to the press, pamphlets and in a monograph, Bacon is Shakespeare (London, 1910). Inspired by Donnelly, Durning-Lawrence made much of cryptograms and especially of the word 'honorificabilitudinitatibus' in Love's Labour's Lost, which he turned into the anagram: 'Hi ludi F. Baconis nati tuiti orbis' ('These plays, F. Bacon's offspring, are preserved for the world'). Durning-Lawrence was also one of the mystical iconologists. He has been widely quoted, partly for the vehemence and certainty of his expressions. In the 1920s and 1930s, writers discussed the substance of his arguments for its own sake; more recent writings have shifted the emphasis and taken him as a representative for a strand within the history of Baconian criticism.

There are proper references at the bottom of that page.

Also, there is an article published in The Private Library, [ FROM PRIVATE TO PUBLIC:THE DURNING-LAWRENCE LIBRARY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON] by K.E. Attar, Senate House Library, University of London

A review article by Brian Vickers of four works on the question of Shakespearean authorship, ‘Idle Worship’, in The Times Literary Supplement for 19 and 26 August 2005, castigates Durning-Lawrence for his extreme Baconianism and states as an aside that his ‘name as the donor of one of its collections still embarrasses users of Senate House Library’ (p. 6).

I leave it to others to decide how or where to integrate any of this. If I were coming fresh to the debate, I'd be intrigued to hear about such a character. BrainyBabe (talk) 20:03, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Actually, we do mention his bit about 'honorificabilitudinitatibus', which unfortunately solved an 'enigma' by ignoring the rules of that Latin he thought explain the cipher. We've tried to restrict our sources to academic articles and books, and keeping to an absolute minimum links to websites, or archives, or primary sources. He certainly does deserve a Wiki biography, like so many of the characters in this curious tale, whom history has unfairly turned its back on after parading their speculations before the startled eyes of the reading public over the past 160 years, people like Wilbur Gleason Zeigler, D. D. Dodge, W. F. Wigston, H. Crouch Batchelor, W. S. Melsome,Edwin Reed, Francis Peter Gervais, Theron S. E. Dixon, Edward James Castle, Constance Mary Fearon Pott, George Seibel, Karl Bleitreu (the German wiki has one on him), Captain Bernard Mordaunt Ward, Elizabeth Marriott, Horace James Bridges, H. L. Hosmer, William George Thorpe, William T. Smedley, Edward Joseph White, Percy Allen, down to contemporary sceptics like Diana Price, Keir Cutler Roger Stritmatter, etc. We also need decent bios, or even stubs of those handful of valiant historians of these movements, who managed to wade neckdeep through the slough of despond of these marginalia, like W. H. Wyman, who compiled already in 1884 a bibliography of some 255 titles published between 1848 and that date, Frank Wadsworth, N. H. Gibson, etc. History has been most unkind to these theorists, and their anatomists, and I hope these lacunae can be fixed in the future.Nishidani (talk) 21:52, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
If Roger Stritmatter gets his own page, I'll demand one each for myself, my wife and my next-door neighbour. I wanted to create a page of Percy Allen, but could find no information. Durning-Lawrence's theories and/or archive are mentioned on several articles in the SAQ stable: Oxfordian theory, James Wilmot, Honorificabilitudinitatibus. Paul B (talk) 13:50, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, I couldn't resist. I've created an Edwin Durning-Lawrence page. Paul B (talk) 11:14, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Chapeau, but, good grief, you should resist those diabolic temptations, you know. I was trying to be ironic above, and hereby absolve you of further calls to unGray those whom history's footlights have ignored, even if they implore the passing tribute of a sigh. I'd paste a Yorick barnstar on your page for retrieving the bones of the forgotten and exposing them to the light of day, were I capable.Nishidani (talk) 11:55, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
It's a sort of illness, I guess. I even created a page on Tancred Borenius just because he showed up as a red link on my shiny new Durning-Lawence page. Still, he did apparently save the world and he has a great name. Paul B (talk) 12:05, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
If it were an illness to note things most ignore Thomas Hardy was a very sick man, thank goodness. By the way, there's plenty on Borenius in Joan Schenkar's, Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde, Oscar's Unusual Niece. Regards Nishidani (talk) 12:17, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Good going! For the record, Edwin Durning-Lawrence was an MP, so notable for politics alone, quite aside from SAQ and his contributions to religion. BrainyBabe (talk) 15:27, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

"Question" and "argument"

I'm not going to look it up in the archives, but we had a long discussion about this that was instigated by Nina. I'm linking the word in the lede so we won't have to go over this again and again. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:58, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

The key alternatives were 'controversy', 'dispute' and 'debate', and both of these were consistently proposed, inserted and defended ad nauseam against a large amount of evidence that suggested there was no controversy, and exceedingly little debate, over whether Shakespeare wrote his works. The importance of 'controversy' and 'debate' for the sceptics was that is suggested from the outset that this was not a fringe view (outside scholarship) but a minority view within academia on an unresolved issue. 'Contention' was also mulled, but 'argument', as in the 'argument' of a book, (which does not mean a 'quarrel, or bone/issue of contention') seemed more neutral.
Tom came up with 'argument', which has none of these POV implications. The only thing one could say against this is that it enjoys all the richness of that word in Elizabethan English, while retaining the essential idea of a 'debate' without suggesting however that such a debate constitutes a controversy. In OED (1989:1:626 column 1 5a) we are told that argument is 'a statement of the reasons for and against a proposition', and that is what is meant basically.
As to 'The Shakespeare authorship question is the question of', I'm afraid the reduplication is stylistically unacceptable. 'Question', we tend to forget, meant 'inquiry', as in Arnold's all-too-familiar verses, precisely on Shakespeare:-
Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge. Nishidani (talk) 16:27, 26 April 2011 (UTC) </ br>

Another possibility

William Shakespeare was the theatre equivalent of a ghostwriter - others wrote the stories and provided the background information and he turned them into plays. Jackiespeel (talk) 22:17, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Why would he need to be told details of court life? As a player in the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men, he was frequently at court. Also, since he could write, he could read, and court life was described abundantly.Nishidani (talk) 22:24, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
It's an interesting theory, but like everything else, cannot be added just based on your suggestion. You would need to provide information from reputable sources that makes this claim, providing some basis for it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:46, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Virtually all the plays are based on existing stories anyway (or, in the case of the histories, existing accounts). So this "theory" seems to be just restating an obvious truth. (talk) 01:30, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Collaboration would seem to merit coverage in this article, addressing as it does "authorship". A beginning has been made with Shakespeare's collaborations (written without sensitivity to the "Shakespeare authorship question"). Artaxerxes (talk) 21:08, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Why is this important?

This is a subject that attracts attention and media interest; but aside from the overtly racist implications, I've never read an attempt to explain why the origin of the material is important. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Littlefdsa (talkcontribs) 23:31, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Wait, what? Racist? Also, there are people whose field of study is Shakespeare - the origins of the material matters a great deal to them. And for those of us who think that the scientific method, and the way we deal with evidence matters, it's quite important. Kaiguy (talk) 00:02, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
He/she probably means snobby ("pff, Shakspere couldn't have written those plays, he was too uneducated"). And I agree with Littlefdsa - it's mostly an intellectual debate fertilized by scarce documentation of Shakspere's biography and Shakespeare's widespread name recognition. I don't think it really affects the plays themselves much. Brutannica (talk) 06:35, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Maybe he/she has been looking at the Chandos portrait ('one cannot readily imagine our essentially English Shakespeare to have been a dark, heavy man, with a foreign expression' ...). --GuillaumeTell 15:03, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

The source of a body of literary work, especially one regarded as the greatest in the English language, is important in many ways. Proper attribution, formally and officially recognizing the author(s), is not least among these. How important might this be to heirs? Simply establishing that a man with little or no formal education, who never traveled outside his homeland, who was not a member of the royal court (and therefore could not have known the people about whom so many of the stories seem to be told), who lacked the necessary skills to write so much of the material (knowledge of law and other fields, foreign languages), etc. could have written this great body of work would be important enough in that it might force a rethinking on the part of those who cannot believe such a thing possible. Knowing who the writer/s was/were helps: 1) determine what and whom the stories are about; and, 2) decide what should and should not be included in the canon. The list of ways it might matter lengthens with each new discovery. Literary historians, and those in other fields, could develop quite a catalog of possibilities. As sir Derek Jacobi, Shakespearean actor of some note, states:

"A spotlight would be thrown on hitherto unfathomable passages, and centuries of delight would be highlighted by the knowledge of the real events, situations and characters that guided and informed the author's hand."[1]

So important is making the point that this investigation into authorship is important, and so often raised the alternate view that it matters not, that a dedicated section in the article on why it matters seems crucial. Artaxerxes (talk) 17:22, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

One cannot write articles on what we should like to, but don't, know. We don't know whether he had little or no formal education, whether he travelled outside England or not. We do know that he was frequently at court. We cannot say he lacked the necessary skills to write, since his contemporaries say he had them. The text as it stands covers all the essential points you raise. Jacobi's remark shows a remarkable ignorance of something scholars accept, the indeterminability of most topical references in literature, esp. in the premodern period. Nishidani (talk) 18:28, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
We have every reason to believe he had a solid formal education. "What and whom the stories are about" is what they are in fact about. Maybe Justice Shallow is a caricature of Thomas Lucy, or William Gardiner or some enemy of Oxford, or Bacon, or whoever, but this tells us very little of interest about Henry IV, part 2 and the Merry Wives. Paul B (talk) 19:05, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Mr. Jacobi bases his read on the situation largely on his own experiences with the works and his own intuition:

"I have taken part in thirty-one of the plays so far, and I can imagine--I can feel--someone behind the words whose education and life experiences, whose knowledge of all strata of society, whose relationships and temperament simply do not fit [what we know of "Shakspere"].[2]

This is very similar to what drove Thomas Looney to make the original investigation into the matter after teaching the material for so long. When what we know of a man does not square with his having been the greatest writer in the history of the English language, and we cannot verify that he indeed wrote the works in question, the matter bears further investigation. As Mr. Jacobi so distinctly puts it: "Nothing, while alive, apart from some shaky signatures, puts a pen in his hand." Artaxerxes (talk) 19:49, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure if Irv Matus played Lear, Schoenbaum hammed a Hamlet, Katherine Duncan-Jones acted Portia, or Dr Johnson (well, come to think of it Falstaff!) or Looney Macbeth, at the Vic theatre they'd be hooted from the wings by professional actors. Derek Jacobi might be able to act the part of Schoenbaum, and Rylance could no doubt do E.K. Chambers, but they cannot write or think with the intelligence, acuity and power of those scholars. I don't ask plumbers to fix my computer, or geeks to unplug the outhouse dunny. I suggest you read Plato's Ion. It is very instructive on what happens when an accomplished actor of someone else's works tries to play the critic. Pope of course had much good sense about this in his Essay on Criticism, and these words might apply to actors who jump into this game,
In search of Wit these lose their common Sense,
And then turn Criticks in their own Defence.Nishidani (talk) 20:28, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

The first to post in this discussion section stated: "I've never read an attempt to explain why the origin of the material is important." I propose that the need for this exact thing can and should be met with a related section in this article--a section that lays out why knowing who wrote what is important. Apart from argumentative deflections and diversions, what have you to say regarding this proposal? Should a section discussing why investigating/resolving the Shakespeare authorship question is important be added to this article? Artaxerxes (talk) 21:47, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

The problem with commenting on the importance of the issue would be the sources available to verify the information. Of course the fact that different people would have different reasons for believing the issue to be important is another difficulty. The first step should be to nominate a couple of sources that match the academic quality used in the article, with an outline of what the sources say. Johnuniq (talk) 01:05, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
In terms of starting with sources, as you recommend, I might lead off with Charlton Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Man and the Myth (1984), wherein he dedicates substantial space to this very question (checking how much right now is made tougher by the lack of a Wikipedia article dedicated to this important work). Then I'd move out to the broader sources on the authorship question, the many books, articles, organizations, etc. More broadly, I'd look at other literary investigations for background, and then see what general historians have to say on the importance of their work establishing the origins of ideas, etc. Artaxerxes (talk) 15:29, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
It fails the criteria of RS used for this article, since (a) the article's subject matter is a fringe theory, (b) Ogburn's book, like that of his father, is an example of fringe theorizing, written by someone with an intense passion for the subject but no grounding in, or understanding of, the problems of historical interpretation on which solid knowledge for that period and its major figures are based and (c)is best handled through what RS, here academic works written by competent and practicing historians, say of it. Use that here and you set a precedent to rewrite the whole article according to the notoriously poor quality sources that mostly constitute the literature on alternative candidates.Nishidani (talk) 15:40, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
I never replied to the first post because I had and have no idea what 'material' in 'why the material is important' refers to. As to 'why knowing who wrote what is important', it is already explained in the article: that, while 'who wrote what' is an important element of attribution studies, the 'why' of why this might appear important has two aspects. To Oxfordians and co., the interpretation of the plays and poetry changes according to the person who is assumed to have 'really' written the works, because they believe, naively, that art is intrinsically autobiographical. Scholars of literature, in generally not subscribing to this 'biographical fallacy', do not attach much importance to the idea that we must know more about Shakespeare in order to understand the plays. Evidence of collaboration does not tell us 'more' about Wilkins, Peele, or Middleton or Shakespeare as persons. It merely tells us more about the frequently collaborative character of dramatic works in the Elizabethan period. One investigates the SAQ academically not to 'resolve the authorship' question, since it is not considered problematical on the evidence we have. Scholars investigate it because it is influential among certain sectors of the public who do not read scholarly books. The 'why' here therefore is very much like the 'why' Birthers believe Obama is not an American citizen, in the face of documentary proof that he is. It is, bref no more to do with Obama, as the why here has anything to do with 'Shakespeare', but rather a matter of asking 'why' people, even intelligent ones, persist in disbelieving strong evidence for something, while accepting on faith poor evidence against it. That is an interesting issue in the sociology of knowledge and popular beliefs, but it has nothing to do with Shakespeare. The 'why' in this sense is partially answered by Shapiro, who certainly could be quoted more substantially, since he regards this fantasy as the child of American evangelical culture in crisis during the clash of traditional faith in the godlike with the rise of secular demythologiizing criticism. It is, in short, an ersatz secular religion, and that is why no amount of argument can get anywhere against its fundamentalist obsessions.Nishidani (talk) 09:41, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
First off, I agree that any additions or changes to this article need to follow policies and guidelines so that they are based on reliable sources and follow the WP:MOS and WP:WEIGHT and WP:FRINGE. Is Ogburn's book a reliable source?
Second, it seems to me that the basic issue that Anti-Stratfordians have with Shakespeare being the author is that he couldn't possibly be qualified to be the author because of his background. Everything that follows, from interpreting the gaps in the historical record (which I see as very understandable given the amount of time that has passed), to proposing various alternate candidates and contorting the known facts of their lives to fit their theories better (Marlowe faked his way too early death, or Oxford wrote everything before his too early death) stems from this basic issue - how could such a bumpkin have written such works of genius? As a counter-example (and to add my own Original Research) I offer Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin, only had about 18 months of formal schooling, and yet managed to write sublime works like the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 15:34, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Proposed history merge

There is a discussion at User talk:Graham87#Unusual history merge where I am requesting that most edits from SAQ sandbox draft2 be merged into the SAQ article. It is a complex process and cannot be varied once done. That means we need to agree on exactly what is to be requested. By the way, Graham87 made a recent edit to the article, following my request.

In order to reduce confusion about what the request is, I propose that all discussion take place here (Talk:SAQ). When we have an agreement, I will post the result to Graham87's talk.

The motivation is to properly attribute the over 1400 edits made by Tom Reedy and Nishidani when they created draft2. That draft was worked on from April to November 2010, when it was copied into the article. To avoid confusion in the article history, before draft2 is merged in, it is necessary that the edits to the article in the same period be removed (they would be moved to a talk subpage).

  • Extract from article history including revisions to be removed with a few extra before and after is here.
  • Full history of draft2 is here.
  • Remove 239 revisions from article history (move to a talk subpage): from 19:00, 28 April 2010 to 12:27, 3 November 2010 inclusive.
  • Merge 1435 revisions into article from draft2 from: 15:02, 26 April 2010 (page creation) to 21:33, 3 November 2010 inclusive.
  • No other edits need to be merged into the article (for example, nothing from draft1).

If there are no objections and I'm confident that some of the regulars who understand the history have seen this, I will ask Graham87 to perform this operation 24 hours from now. Johnuniq (talk) 08:51, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I have no objections, but also I don't have any strong feelings about it one way or the other. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:02, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
My only worry is that it might give a skewed impression of main contributors as awry as the edit history it would replace. I.e. Tom was undoubtedly the dominant editor, as he is in the present page, but I might edge him out were the sandbox2 history included, though a large number of my edits there were trivial, whereas his were almost invariably of substance. I guess it depends on how important the edit history page is for wikipedia. After some years perhaps this may not be important. On the other hand, those who object to the page may well wish to have the evidence of our editing behaviour recorded and retained, in order to get a better profile of our putative bias if they wish, in the future, to challenge the page. I think this best left to people who have a more detached relationship to the article, preferably wikipedians with some arcane interest in the pros and cons of history page retention. I'll be happy with whatever neutral eyes determine is the best policy and practice.Nishidani (talk) 12:32, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I have looked at the effects of implementing this proposal, and your "only worry" above will not arise. As we are in agreement, I have asked for the history merge to be performed. Johnuniq (talk) 03:51, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Done, thanks to assistance from Jafeluv. The history merge took somewhat longer than I expected, however. The parallel versions can now be found at Talk:Shakespeare authorship question/Overlapping history. Graham87 08:35, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Hey that looked pretty easy Graham! Just delete the article, gimble the history, and do some whiffling! Thanks very much to you and Jafeluv. Johnuniq (talk) 09:16, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Major POV issues on a related article

See Titus Andronicus and Titus Andronicus (authorship question), in particular these edits over the past month. There is a huge issue with WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE here, and the articles need expert attention. NW (Talk) 23:49, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the headsup. While I can in no way claim to be an expert on Titus, a cursory look through the diff and the secondary article suggests that if there is any WP:FRINGE related issues there they are too subtle for me to spot. What may have fooled you is that Titus Andronicus is the one play that is almost certain to get everyone vehemently expousing a view on attribution: the core of the issue being that the play is generally considered to be so horribly bad that it is almost impossible to reconcile with the author of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, or The Tempest; you just don't want to believe it was written by Shakespeare. However, this issue falls squarely within traditional (“orthodox” if you will, to use this article's parlance) attribution studies, which is often also called authorship studies. There is a marked distinction between discussing whether a given play was written by Shakespeare, by someone else, or by Shakespeare in collaboration with someone else; and the various variants of the Shakespeare Authorship Question, where the thrust is to debate whether Shakespeare existed and wrote anything at all. There are a couple of very tell-tale signs of fringe POV-pushing that are missing from these two articles: where they discuss “authorship” they discuss “What are the arguments pro and con that Shakespeare wrote this play” and don't delve into vicarious arguments for why “Shakespeare” couldn't have been an author of any plays; and when they discuss alternate attributions they discuss the plausible ones (ie. Thomas Middleton is a plausible co-author of parts of Macbeth) rather than the fanciful ones that happen to be the focus of the various fringe-theories (i.e. Bacon, Oxford, Derby, Marlowe, etc.). All of it also seems to be well cited to people like Jonathan Bate and Brian Vickers, who are generally considered reliable sources for this kind of thing.
Finally, if I'm not much mistaken, the majority of the material in question was written by Bertaut, and while I believe he has on at least one occasion expressed sympathies for at least some of those editors engaged in fringe editing—which I, perhaps unfoundedly, took to mean he had some level of inclination towards one or another Authorship theory—I have watched his edits for quite a while now and never seen one that was, to me, even vaguely questionable in terms of POV or FRINGE. Rather, I've been slightly in awe of the many and varied contributions he's made to many articles on one or another of Shakespeare's plays. There's at least half a dozen play articles that are dramatically improved by his contributions, and my current impression is that this holds true also for the ones in question here.
Paul/Tom: You've studied the capital-A Authorship subject much more in-depth than I have (and probably know Titus much better than me too); can you detect any subtle fringe POV in those articles? I'm sure the articles have issues (the sub-article, for instance, looks like it may be written a bit too much like a personal essay), but nothing jumped out at me as fringy or POV-pushing. --Xover (talk) 07:52, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, I think the phrase "authorship question" in the title is a bit unhelpful, since, at least on Wikipedia, that is used to mean Baconian, Oxfordism etc. I think it would be better to retitle it "Authorship of Titus Andronicus". The first sentence also sets the wrong tone - "Many of Shakespeare's early plays have been examined for evidence of co-authorship or proof that someone other than Shakespeare wrote them." The term "Shakespeare's early plays" implies that the Shakespearean canon itself is in dispute. I think it may be better to write "Many of the early plays attributed to Shakespeare are widely believed to have been co-authored. In some cases scholars have argued that they where wholly written other playwrights." The phasing of the original ("someone other than Shakespeare wrote them") does imply to the casual reader that an SAQ-type argument is being presented. There is a general "conspiratorial" tone to the language, too, which I do find a bit troubling - as in the next sentence "both The Taming of the Shrew (written c.1590-1592) and Henry VI, Part 1 (written c.1593) have been closely scrutinised for signs of another author, and both, from time to time, have been rumoured not to have been written by Shakespeare". The idea that there are "rumours" circulating, though not false, does create a rather cloak-and-dagger atmosphere. The main body of the article seems fine, though. I must say I find it rather hard to follow because of the structure, for example the fact that Vickers' views are inserted and discussed at various points in the text before they are actually laid out in the section devoted to him. The structure may need some work and I think the lede should be altered, but on the whole it seems a fair-minded article. Paul B (talk) 13:29, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I've no idea whether Bertaut is watching this page - probably not? It might be a good idea if one or other of you could notify him/her about the above. I've just noticed that (s)he asked some questions last month at Talk:Titus Andronicus which nobody answered (in my case, because I'm not watching the article (I have quite enough on my watchlist) - maybe in your cases too?). Perhaps it would also be worth suggesting that major ongoing or proposed improvements to articles on the lesser-known plays should be flagged up at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Shakespeare where all of us will see them? --GuillaumeTell 15:08, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Bertaut should certainly have been advised that matter has been raised on the Administrator's incidents board: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Possible_violation_of_Shakespeare_authorship_question_NPOV_forking. Paul B (talk) 15:22, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Hey all. I'm here, only found out about this today. Well, as Guillaume points out, I did ask about this article before I posted it. In fact, I posted the 'unedited' Titus article with this section in it, and left it live for a week before I split it up, and I also specifically asked for advice on the page title, as I wasn't overly happy with the 'authorship question' phrase, but I literally couldn't think of anything else, especially insofar as that's how most critics refer to the issue in relation to this play. I did suggest something like 'Authorship of Titus Andronicus', but like I said, I got no replies so I just went with what I thought 'sounded' best. But that's neither here nor there, a simple title change is no biggie.
Now, as regards me having a motive in relation to the Shakespeare authorship question in creating this page? Yes, I contributed to the debate of the Shakespeare authorship question, but I have only ever done so insofar as I believe Smatprt was unfarily persecuted. I personally, think the Oxfordian school of thought is ridiculous (and you can find where I've said that numerous times), but I believed that Smatprt was being treated unfairly, that's why I got involved, not because I wanted to spread the Oxfordian agenda! So anyone worrying about me being part of a conspiracy can rest assured. As is pointed out, the discussion here of authorship is very different from that in the (captial A) Authorship question anyway. The majority of the article deals with collaboration, as that is the predominant theory regarding the play at the moment. I don't think anyone (other than Oxforians) would argue that Shakespeare had nothing to do with it anymore. In any case, as far as I know, I don't even mention the Authorship question on the page, and I certainly never mention the Oxfordian theory. As Xover points out, traditionally at least, one of the issue regarding this play was quality; the theory being that the play was so bad, there's no way the writer of, say, King Lear could have written it. This kind of reasoing isn't a factor at all in the Authorship question. As regards Paul B's criticisims of some of the article, by all means, I welcome feedback. I actully wrestled with the opening paragraph quite a bit before I posted it and was never really happy with the outcome anyway! Finally, Xover, thanks for the compliments, and yeah, I'm still working on the whole 'essay' thing; I'm aware that I have that tendency from time to time. I'll work through it some day!
So what's the situation then? Are we thinking of a title change, or a merge back into the main article, or something else entirely? Bertaut (talk) 17:52, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that right now we're mostly thinking of clearing up this whole tempest in a teapot. :-)
While I'm sure the article(s) have some issues (there ain't no such thing as a flawless article), I don't think there's any hurry to do anything with either. It's an excellent opportunity to get more fresh eyes on them—and I hope everyone involved here will take the time to provide Bertaut with at least some feedback on his excellent work!—but as far as I can tell there's no urgent need to do much of anything except the normal continual improvement of any article. —Xover (talk) 18:09, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I certainly don't think it should be merged back. Indeed we could probably have similar articles on other comparable attribution disputes. In my experience very few people have the talk pages of the more obscure Shakespeare plays on their watchlist. A lot of the articles on specific plays are rather poor. Have you set up wikilinks to de-orphan it? Paul B (talk) 18:13, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
@All: My apologies for jumping to conclusions. I had only followed these events tangentially, and I was under the impression that any authorship theories were completely bogus. But I trust you all to handle this well, far better than I could, so I shall leave it in your hands. NW (Talk) 19:09, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's good that you were being vigilant and keeping us informed. In the end, it will, I'm sure, only have improved the relevant articles. Paul B (talk) 19:18, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I second what Paul said; it's good that there's people on the lookout. As regards your question about wikilinks Paul. Well, obviously there's a link to it on the main Titus page, and I linked it on my user page, but that's it. I didn't want to put it in the Shakespeare Template, so I wasn't really sure what else to do regarding linking it. Bertaut (talk) 00:41, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I added it to Shakespeare's collaborations page and the Shakespeare attribution studies page. Paul B (talk) 15:20, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I just now read this discussion (I've been almost ignoring WP lately). I watched the article when Bertaut was editing it and I thought he did a fine job of discussing the various Titus authorship theories. I saw nothing POV in either article. He elegantly summarised a tremendous amount of material and made it comprehensible to the lay reader. Would that we had all the play articles written to such a standard. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:39, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Wealth section

I just reverted this good faith addition per WP:BRD and am bringing it to the talk page to discuss. It looks to me that at least some of the sources cited here do not meet WP:RS for this topic. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 02:41, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

I paste the text from Itinerant1 below:


Some authors note what they see as a discrepancy between parts of the biography of Shakespeare as a resident of London and as a resident of Stratford, as pertains to his wealth, implying a double life, if not conflation of two distinct individuals.[3] Shakespeare the resident of Stratford was a wealthy individual. During the years 1597-98, there are records of him purchasing the second largest house in Stratford and a land tract nearby, paying a total of £387.[4] During the same time, Shakespeare the resident of London is almost broke: he rents an apartment in a poor part of London; his property was assessed at £5 every year from 1597 to 1600, he was behind on his taxes, and in October 1598 a warrant was issued for his arrest for tax evasion. [5] The typical playwright's income at the time was about £10 to £15 per play, and Shakespeare wrote these at the rate of about 2 a year.[4] The traditional view is that Shakespeare's status as a sharer at Lord Chamberlain's Men starting in 1594 provided him with a stream of income - perhaps £200 a year or so (a very high income at the time when average artisan's wages were on the order of £15/year) - that would've financed his real estate investments back in Stratford. Critics allege that the £200/year estimate is vastly inflated; conservative analyses yield figures closer to £40 a year per sharer for Chamberlain's Men in late 1590's. [6][7]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "The Shakespeare Conspiracy". 
  4. ^ a b James H. Forse. Art imitates business: commercial and political influences in Elizabethan theatre. p. 52. 
  5. ^ Nicholl 2010
  6. ^ Melissa D. Aaron. Global economics: a history of the theater business, the Chamberlain's/King's Men, and their plays, 1599-1642. p. 55. 
  7. ^ The Shakespeare Company, 1594-1642. pp. 106–110. 

The only reference that might not be WP:RS here is the link to, which is the synopsis of the book "The Shakespeare Conspiracy" ([Graham Phillips (author)|Graham Phillips], 1994, ISBN 0712658831), which I can't quote directly because I don't have a paper copy and it's not available on Google Books. --Itinerant1 (talk) 03:06, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. The added material has several MOS issues (if nothing else). Contractions like "would've" are not used unless they are ina direct quotation. The references do not include full information (like publisher and access date for internet sources, or publisher, year and place of publication for books). As this is a pretty contentious topic and an FA, it is a good idea to discuss any changes here first. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 03:20, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I think the essential problem here is OR by synthesis (WP:SYN). The author is taking bits of information from what may well be reliable sources and is combining them to create a novel argument - that there is some sort of discrepancy. Some things are presented as fact, which clearly are not - that "Shakespeare the resident of London is almost broke". There is no evidence of this at all apart from the fact that he was living in rented accommodation, which has has the perfectly sensible explanation that he needed somewhere near the theatre. The "tax evasion" is utterly commonplace at the time and often associated with wealthy individuals (plus ça change). Estimates of Shakespeare's income may well vary. That would probably be a legitimate aspect of the Shakespeare's life article. Obviously we don't know the full details of his sources of income and his investments, which is hardly surprising. The other problem is that it is not clear what what is meant by this mysterious "Shakespeare the resident of London". Since this is presented as a different person from the Stratford Shakespeare we have an apparently odd suggestion that the Shakespeare of the theatre was a debt-ridden semi-vagrant! Is this supposed to be the "real author" - or what? It's difficult to see how this is supposed to fit with any of the usual alternative authorship theories. Paul B (talk) 10:16, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
It's not WP:SYN or WP:OR because the essence of the claim is contained in the Graham Phillips reference. The rest of it is just backing the claim with various other references. You can hardly call this original research if the statement can be found in a 15 year old book. Whether you see it as credible source, that's a whole different story, but you most definitely can't reject it under WP:OR. --Itinerant1 (talk) 11:01, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
P.s. the "Shakespeare authorship research center" is unlikely to be considered a reliable source. Paul B (talk) 13:08, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
pps. However, I see that source only appears to be linked to this section because of the reflist template. The notes relate to an earlier, unrelated, discussion. Graham Phillips (author) is absolutely not a reliable source in this area, whether book or website is used! This is a guy who thinks the Virgin Mary is buried in Anglesey. The others do not make any claims about a "double life", except in the banal sense that the life he lived in London was somewhat different from the one he lived in Stratford. By that token anyone who goes to work and has a separate family life unrelated to it is living a "double life". They certainly say nothing about a "conflation of two distinct individuals." Paul B (talk) 13:26, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I've just checked the last source which is used to support the assertion that "conservative analyses yield figures closer to £40 a year per sharer for Chamberlain's Men in late 1590's". This source is being outright misrepresented. The author, Andrew Gurr, states "Together, the two [types of share] would have brought him [Hemminges] close to £180 a year. Once the Blackfriars started to bring in a greater level of housekeeper income he probably made more than £200. Up to 1613 Shakespeare was probably making a similar amount." (p.115). Gurr clearly distinguishes the income of ordinary sharers from those of housekeeper (householder) sharers. Yet Itinerant1 mysteriously fails to mention this. See here also for the details Paul B (talk) 20:12, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
This is original research. I don't know that any major authorship advocates have made this an important point in their arguments. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:19, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
But the discussion is not about 1613, it's about mid to late 1590's. The second reference quotes estimated £435/year total profit for Chamberlain's Men in 1594-97, divided among all sharers, of which there were eight or nine (page 108).--Itinerant1 (talk) 10:48, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
No, the discussion is about his career overall and its unfolding profits. The quotation says "up to 1613" - that is to say from the late 1590s up to the presumed date of his retirement. Obviously Shakespeare was earning less when he started out. We don't know how much he spent in London and how much used in Stratford. His income increased as he became more established and his investments started to make good returns. Your text blurs together these different stages. Paul B (talk) 11:01, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
We have three statements. One is that Shakespeare spent £387 in 1597-98 on real estate in Stratford. The other is that his London property was assessed at £5 at the same time. The third one is that the sharer income was estimated on the order of £40/year at the time. I fail to see how you get from that to "up to 1613". The whole point of Phillips was that sharer income was woefully insufficient to allow Shakespeare to spend £387 (and possibly more) on real estate acquisitions by 1598. --Itinerant1 (talk) 11:10, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
"Up to 1613" is what Gurr states. You deliberately misrepresented his text in order to create your WP:SYN. The value of the property he lived in in London is utterly irrelevant. What little evidence we have of his life in London is that he kept himself to himself, so there's no reason why he should splash out on a big house there. His money was largely spent for the benefit of his Stratford family holdings. Also, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that Shakespeare had other sources of income from patrons, occasional performances, commissions etc. We just don't know the full details. The sources I've looked at do not support your claim that "the sharer income was estimated on the order of £40/year at the time", but that's ultimately irrelevant. You are creating a synthesis to push a conclusion that none of the reliable sources make. That's WP:SYN, and it aint allowed. BTW, your sum of "£387" paid in 1597-8 appears to be a combination of the £60 he paid for New Place and the much larger sum of £320 he paid for land holdings. But the latter payment was made in 1602. Paul B (talk) 11:23, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
There are many different sources, and many of them absolutely support the traditional story that Shakespeare made £200/year or more, one way or another, in order to afford to spend £387 (possibly more) on real estate 6 years into his career. But that's not the point of this article, is it? The point is to list verifiable claims to the contrary. We do have a verifiable claim that Shakespeare's alleged income was inadequate to justify his claimed acquisitions. The appropriate response would be to list the claim in the "case against" section and to rebut it as thoroughly as you'd like in the "case for" section.--Itinerant1 (talk) 12:10, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
As to the £320 he spent on land, here's the literal quote from one of the sources I quoted: "In 1597, a scant three years after the formation of the Chamberlain's Men, Shakespeare purchased a little over 120 acres of farmland near Stratford for £327, a sum 22 times larger than the London artisan's average income." --Itinerant1 (talk) 12:10, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
So what? Your quote may be "literal", but your source is wrong. And as Paul has tried to make clear to you, evidently unsuccessfully, your edit is WP:OR and not allowable in WP articles. I suggest you acquaint yourself with the editing conventions of the encyclopedia before trying to add a controversial edit to a featured article that is under ArbCom discretionary sanctions. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:37, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Numerous sources give the date as 1602. Unless you can find others that support James H. Forse's 1597 date, we must assume that he just made a mistake. Either way, you are combining bits of fact (or fiction) from sources to make your own argument. That is not acceptable. And the "point of this article" is to summarise the arguments made by proponents and opponents of various notable points-of-view in the "Shakespeare Authorship Question", not to make up new arguments. Paul B (talk) 12:58, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Forse misreads his source, which is E.A.J. Honigmann's Shakespeare's Impact on His Contemporaries, pp. 9-10, 23. Honigmann doesn't mention the £320 land purchase on pp. 9-10, and on 23 he writes, "[Shakespeare] harshly satirised the ambition to be 'spacious in the possession of dirt' (Hamlet, V.2.88) and a year or so later paid £320 for arable land in Old Stratford." Hamlet is dated 1599-1600, perfectly consistent with the 1602 purchase date. Although Honigmann makes some very cogent arguments for an early start of Shakespeare's writing career, nowhere does he offer an argument for an earlier dating of Hamlet that would put Shakespeare's land purchase (against all documentary evidence) five years earlier. Tom Reedy (talk) 02:15, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

And indeed calculating only the sharer profits is misleading, as is the entire set up in the proposed text. Gurr estimates yearly sharer profit for the LC's Men in the late 1590s at around £55, not £40 as stated, and with the addition of the householder income beginning in 1599 he estimates the average sharer/housekeeper income was around £180 a year (p. 115; Itinerant1 should have read a bit further in the book). Of course this does not include the Blackfriar's income beginning in 1609, which Gurr estimates kicked it up to £200. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:25, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Blog reference to this page

"For a comprehensive debunking of the anti-Stratfordian myth, it is worth reading James Shapiro’s excellent book, Contested Will, or alternatively the surprisingly clear Wikipedia page, which clearly explains the issues." Tom Reedy (talk) 15:28, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Nice, but when I click on his link I get "page not found". Still, I'm sure I'll find it in the end. Paul B (talk) 15:44, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
this? Nishidani (talk) 15:53, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
My comment was somewhat hermetic. I meant his link to this page didn't work, but evidently Tom did not have the Real Author's page. Paul B (talk) 15:58, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Good stuff. I also came upon John Crace of The Guardian's report on the English-Speaking Union "debate". No need to read the somewhat predictable comments below it, but the debate can be seen and heard here. --GuillaumeTell 17:30, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I just now found time to watch it. The most memorable thing about the entire debate is the blonde on the inside aisle seat on the third row. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:26, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Apart from the sheilas, I was impressed by how many times Emmerich used 'you know' (when we don't), 'like,' and 'kinda', sometimes in combinations 'Likeyouknowkindalike'. It was the English Speaking Union. We should be slightly tickled that the Rev Dr Paul Edmondson cited, without naming it, Wikipedia - in referring to the figure 77 for the number of candidates. No academic source has figured that no. out to date, it was established by volunteers, and wiki, at least here, is implicitly acknowledged by academia to be a reliable source.Nishidani (talk) 17:11, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
The most interesting comment, written by a de Verean, ran:
Stanley Wells, showed up wearing a sky blue jacket, purple tie, and pink shirt, distinguishing himself as the poorest dressed man in the room.
We've got to this, an academic argument being demolished by dismissing its proponent as lacking in sartorial taste, unlike de Vere, who almost bankrupted his estate as a boy merely by the fortune he squandered on his wardrobe. On this score, the shabby ne'er-do-well Socrates did not mentor the elegantly aristocrat Plato, and the stonemason's son's repute as the godfather of Western metaphysics lies, like his cheap tunics, in ruins. Oh God, should I strike this out? I'd hate to engender a, . . .(sartorial metaphor) humongous, Godzilla-like thread.Nishidani (talk) 17:48, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
It is universally acknowledged that idiosyncratic dress sense is an infallible proof of academic respectability, along with disorderly hair. This merely demonstrates that Wells had the best mind in the room. Paul B (talk) 18:02, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Good grief! When I get up tomorrow and recite a poem under the shower, as is my wont, I guess Herbert will come to mind, all garbled.
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in minds a cerebralness... :=)Nishidani (talk) 19:29, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the blog links, both Tom's and Nishidani's links work for me. I just see the same blog via two different Web sites. A very well written piece. I wonder who this "Alexander" is.

On the "" site, I see that a lively debate is underway, which to me looks like a replay of everything that has been rehashed ad nauseam on this talk page over the past year or two. Some things never change. --Alan W (talk) 03:57, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

The bombastic manner of William1944 certainly seems familiar. Paul B (talk) 15:25, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
The last speaker, Paul Edmondson, noted that there have been 77 authorship claimants. There's only one place he could have gotten that tidbit of information. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:33, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Check the time-stamps Tom. For once I was quicker on the draw!Nishidani (talk) 18:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, one should add that Stanley Wells got the date of Francis Meres's book wrong, citing it for 1599. Must have been thinking of Shapiro's book. Or at least that's what I remember, though I listened to the speeches against a very noisy backdrop reminiscent of line 13-14 or thereabouts, and may have misheard.Nishidani (talk) 18:14, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
The most amusing aspect was Leahy's constant state of irritation that everyone was completely ignoring his "radical" multiple authorship theory and his own absurd belief that he was coming up with a startling a new argument, when he essentially just repeats the very earliest anti-Strat theories, those of Joseph C. Hart. Paul B (talk) 12:39, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Reverted edit

I have removed the following from the artilce complete with shouted comment at the end. Is any of this useable and reliably sourced?--Peter cohen (talk) 12:32, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

It seems we have been honoured by a visit from Paul Streitz, the creator of "Prince Tudor II" on which the plot of Anonymous is based (he asks the question about the implications for the Royal Bloodline after the debate discussed above) [4]. None of it is reliable. There is already a summary of his book in Prince Tudor theory. Paul B (talk) 12:39, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
It also appears we were honored previously by a visit from someone with a new laptop. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:50, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Your conclusion is what I thought but you know more of the details. I now see that my edit to the main page coincided with yours. Wikipedia doesn't leave an obvious error message to the seconder reverter under those circumstances.--Peter cohen (talk) 12:52, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

In The Oxfordian, Christopher Paul states that it not certain where or when Oxford died. He notes that many diaries and letters of the period did not mention the famous Earl’s death and he finds a few references that refer to Oxford as if he were alive after 1604. There were no eulopies to Oxford, as might be expected if he were "Shakespeare," nor is there any record of his funeral. It is certain that he disappeared It is not until January 29, 1608 that he finds this reference to Oxford’s death: "Being put in trust by you for the preservation of the rights of the three ladies, the daughters of the late Earl of Oxford, deceased, concerning the lordship of Castle Hedingham, and other their lands in Essex...". Christopher Paul, “A Monument Without a Tomb: The Mystery of Oxford’s Death,” The Oxfordian, Vol. VII, October 2004, pg. 49.

Strangely, on 24 June 1604, the day that Oxford supposedly died, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, and his supporters were remanded to the Tower. There was no English record of these arrests and imprisonment; the only record was in the account of a foreign diplomat. G.P.V. Akrigg in Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton reports: "Suddenly the even happy flow of Southampton’s career came to a halt. Late on the evening of June 24th he was arrested, along with Lord Danvers (his old friend Sir Henry), Sir Henry Neville (the Essex sympathizer who had shared his imprisonment in the Tower), Sir Maurice Berkeley (a fellow member of Queen Anne’s council) and Sir William Lee. Southampton’s papers were seized and scrutinized. He himself was interrogated. According to the French Ambassador, King James had gone into a complete panic and could not sleep that night even though he had a guard of his Scots posted around his quarters. Presumably to protect his heir, he sent orders to Prince Henry that he must not stir out of his chamber ...Southampton was quickly found innocent of whatever charges had been brought against him. According to the Venetian and French ambassadors, he was released on June 25th, the day after his arrest…. No documents that relate to this episode survive in either the Public Record Office or in that other great repository of state papers of the period, the Cecil Papers at Hatfield.".G.P.V. Akrigg, Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton, pg. 140. It can be firmly concluded that Oxford disappeared on this day, but not that he died. A record of his death at Hackney of the plague has been disputed by Oxfordian scholars.

John Barton makes a case in “Prospero’s Island” in The Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter that the setting of The Tempest is not in the Bermudas, nor is it a Mediterranean island. Barton points out that the island described in The Tempest has no tropical qualities but is a wonderful description of Mersea Island off the eastern coast of England, near the town of Colchester. "From 24 passages in the play alluding to this island, some remarkably detailed, it appears that the island is surrounded by foul mud-flats. Its water is salt and brackish, apart from a fresh-water well; it is cold, windy, its sea tempestuous; the wild things growing there include mushrooms, berries, scamels (limpets) filberts, crabs, broom, briars and furzes. Also mentioned in the play are sheep, wheat, rye barley, vetches, and oats. The sands are described as yellow, the shore sterile and rock hard. There are nettles, docks, mallows, sinking bogs, fens and cowslips. The isle is “almost inaccessible” and features a “strong-based promontory.” John Barton, “Prospero’s Island,” The Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter, Winter, 2003, pg 2.

The island described in the play fits the description of: Mersea Island is situated just off the coast in the county Essex, lying only 20 miles southwest (actually southeast) of Castle Hedingham, birthplace and ancestral home of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford."

Paul Streitz makes the claim in Shakespeare Matters that Oxford was exiled to this island four years and that there he wrote Shake-speares Sonnets, The Tempest and created the King James Version of the Bible. "Oxford and the King James Bible," Shakespeare Matters, Vol. 10. 2, Spring 2011.


Nothing here, except to note the phrasing of

'there were no eulopies to Oxford, as might be expected if he were "Shakespeare," nor is there any record of his funeral.'

To an ear trained in classical Greek, a "eulopy" would be a 'fine mantle' or perhaps a deviously ciphered allusion to the 'mantle good' in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which indeed it precisely what, with seasonal exactitude, that proposed edit is.
Funny that the major argument raised in the 19th century against Will of Stratford's authorship was that he had no funeral notice. Now at the beginning of the 21st century, the lack of a funeral notice for de Vere is adduced as evidence he was author of the plays. Heads you win, tails I lose, a form of logic not listed in the Aristotelian canon, though nbo doubt Lewis Carroll might have found some place for it in a revision of his masterpiece, 'All've us in Wonderland'.Nishidani (talk) 12:53, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
If the inconsistency came from the same individual, then there would be plenty of descriptions for someone making an ass if himself in that way. As it is it seems like pulling a white rabbit out of hat.--Peter cohen (talk) 13:10, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
You should see his own movie [5]. It's a masterpiece. I don't know why they bothered with that "B movie" director when they could have had Streitz himself. Paul B (talk) 15:28, 29 June 2011 (UTC)


I tried to add an image but on my computer it leaves a lot of white space. Can someone look at the article edit history and fix it, if possible? Tom Reedy (talk) 17:14, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Do we really need two images making the same point? We could combine them into a single file, or just choose one. The Lucrece might be better, if only because modern viewers will be more familiar with the abbreviation Mr. than M. - unless the Real Author was French. Paul B (talk) 17:35, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I dunno, but I know hitting people over the head again and again has more effect than just hitting them once. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:45, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Once more revealing the defects in your education, which clearly omitted coursework on The Three Stooges. Nishidani (talk) 10:12, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
If hitting someone over the head with a stick fails to work, try a bigger stick. --Xover (talk) 11:02, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, I don't know. I'll try it in the pub tonight and report back. Paul B (talk) 19:48, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I've fixed the whitespace issue, but note that this now creates other problems (that are dependent on the width of your browser window). --Xover (talk) 20:17, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I shuffled a few others around. Howz that? Tom Reedy (talk) 21:39, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
There's still that single line of text that snakes out between the two pictures on the right side, but in that case I suspect the cure is worse than the ailment, so I'd be inclined to just ignore it for now. --Xover (talk) 11:00, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia's Shakespeare "problem"

Here. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:23, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

I see one former editor still can't handle reality (in the comment section): "He [Tom Reedy] took time off work and stayed at his parents' house to complete a segment of the page changes, according to his own statement to the other participants." Where he got that bit of uninformation I have no clue. Most men my age don't stay at their parents' house for any reason except for a short visit, and even then I much prefer a hotel. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:32, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
You must be the Muammar Gaddafi of Shakespearean scholarship then Tom, though I'm frisking my memory to think of some of his sidekicks whose monicker I can borrow for my subsidiary function in the jihadic geopolitics of subverting 'a century of scholarship' Mark Anderson alludes to, rather mysteriously.
To fight so hard to dominate the article in wikipedia, and rally so many Oxfordians out there to the cause, means that wikipedia was targeted by the Oxfordian society as a key venue for promoting its heterodoxy precisely because it was thought to be of seminal importance in the modern diffusion of ideas. Once the battle was lost, Mr. Anderson, it comes over as sour grapes (the title of an exceptionally good book by Jon Elster on the subversion of rationality which I strongly recommend you read) to then dismiss the selfsame encyclopedia as an enterprise in decline. Some pointers in the article underline that the 'decline' in quality is very much on the other side. For example, in

'This heresy has a century of scholarship behind it—its advocates include Walt Whitman, Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, Helen Keller, Derek Jacobi, and Malcolm X.'

what immediately catches the literate eye is the curious use of the dash —, about which we should have had a marvellous essay from the pen of Edgar Allan Poe had he not died prematurely. The dash, Poe argued, was an emendation coming straight off the coat-tails, appositively, of what had just been written. In Poe's words:'(The dash) stands, in general, for these words--"or, to make my meaning more distinct".'
Reconstrue your sentence and we have 'a century of scholarship behind it- (or, to make my meaning more distinct) its advocates include Whitman, Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, Helen Keller, Derek Jacobi, and Malcolm X.'
See? Your punctuation yields up a confusion rather typical of exponents of this variety of heterological argument. For it illustrates the idea of scholarship by an appeal to the celebrities who advocated the theory. It confuses the austerities of formal textual analysis and historical argument done by scholars with what Oxfordians engage in, i.e. forum-shopping among the notables, save for Mr Jacobi, of yesteryear, scraping the barrell of the past for a laundrylist of big name supporters, who died, respectively in 1892, 1939, 1912, 1916, 1968, and 1965 (well Malcolm X's spiritual avatar (Malik Shabazz) still shines in our midst so all is not lost). None of these names, apart from Freud, who argued his case 90 years ago before his disconcerted fellowship of psychoanalysts, has anything to do with 'a century of scholarship'. That's the trick you employ, aside from the artifice of hyperbole. To which I now turn.

'the page that won the blue ribbon arguably has as much claim to evenhandedness as does an entry on Libya's history written by Muammar Gaddafi.'

The rhetorical figure of hyperbole, as its etymology suggests, consists in 'overshooting the mark', and since 'Mark' is the name in question, it very much looks like shooting oneself, somewhat excessively, in the foot. Nishidani (talk) 19:32, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps if Anderson had been aware of Gaddafi's own contribution to anti-Stratfordian scholarship, he would not have been so quick to make the comparison [6]. The Great Leader and Teacher revived the speculations of a nineteenth century Arab writer who knew that only a native of North Africa could have written Othello. Oddly the colonel never seems to appear on those "honour rolls of sceptics" of which anti-strats are so fond. Paul B (talk) 20:26, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Wow! Which only means, should we now move to add the info incidentally sprung on us by this timely provocation to the List page? Will it be Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq, or, since like Schmucker's role in the Western debate, he only accidentally started the haire, since his piece of satire or irony was then taken seriously and developed by Ṣafā’ Khulūṣī, the Arab world's Delia Bacon? For mine, we should add, with the scholarly analysis on that blog page, Ṣafā’ Khulūṣī's candidature. There, Mark Anderson has, by the subtlest of twists, actually assisted Wikipedia in augmenting our scholarly coverage of the debate. Nishidani (talk) 21:10, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Talking of intellectual cockups. Sheik is pronounced 'shake' and Zubayr(z-b-r) is a triliteral semitic root which yields us the modern slang zubr, which means what Shakespeare (give me thy mete-yard, and spare not me) and the KJV understood by the hyperbole, (except in certain Somalian areas according to 19th century ethnographers!), of referring to the genitive (excuse the solecism, but I'm a linguist who loves eupheminisms) 'yard'. Bah, to bed at this witching hour! Out, out sweet zubr! Nishidani (talk) 21:31, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
So how many reputable academic Shakespearians are regular contributors to the publications of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers? Something makes me thing zero and that the institute is making itself look stupid by providing conspiracy theorists with a platform on a subject outwith its area of competence.--Peter cohen (talk) 23:34, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I think Tom made a joke about living in a basement months ago, so I guess it is now part of legend. Re IEEE: my watchlist had this page directly after Meme, and the edit at the latter was to add an external link to the same IEEE "at-work". Perhaps Nishidani will explain the implications of that fateful coincidence? Johnuniq (talk) 00:17, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I make jokes all the time, but I don't remember that one. I've met very few anti-Strats with a sense of humor, so it's not surprising he would have taken a joke seriously.
What gets me about the article is the sheer nothingness of it. Any person who knows nothing about the SAQ or Wikipedia process will not learn anythng from reading it. He writes as if the mediation were the deciding factor, and that Smatprt, Nina, and the others were arbitrarily kicked out with no due process or explanation—they just woke up one morning banished for no reason other than that they were Oxfordians. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:29, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Ahh, but you earn points for the afterlife by promoting the good cause! I just used the "search archives" thingy, and it worked: see archive 22, with timestamp "15:53, 7 February 2011". Johnuniq (talk) 03:48, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Boy! Only someone with no sense of humor whatsoever could take that comment seriously, and I see he did! I also see the article is getting all the attention it deserves. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:04, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Better get the wikijournos who screwed up there (see my note on page) to fix up the error quicksmart, Johnno, or else the Oxfordians will say not only the SAQ article, but wiki coverage of the incident is slanted agin'em!Nishidani (talk) 07:25, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, I believe anyone can edit that page, and I would have done that except that the text appears sort-of ok. As of now, the Signpost contains "Unfortunately, writes Anderson, an increase in edits by Oxfordians pushed the article towards their point of view, and the mediation process ... used to resolve the issues has now left the article biased towards the Stratfordian point of view." That's saying that at one stage the Oxfordians pushed the article too far in their direction, and as a result, the mediation and ensuing edits led to the opposition (Stratfordians) taking over. I am not motivated to study the original article, but a quick look makes me think it does not actually make the claim about Oxfordians pushing the article to their POV. Johnuniq (talk) 07:49, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
It's been fixed. If we wuz POV pushers, we'd've let that stand since it inadvertently makes the Oxfordians out to be what they really were, POV pushers (trading in the Oxfordian drug?). The error played to the 'Stratfordian' advantage by blaming the Oxfordians. This chances to be what happened, but it was not the view presented by Anderson. What Anderson, reproducing as his own Smatprt's reconstruction of the episode, ignores is that the page was unreadable until Reedy started to fix it. There is an extraordinary complacency in his article: it doesn't matter that the page down to December 2009 was a junk-heap of ill-digested factoids, mediocre saucing and poor prose. What is crucial is that 'politically' both parties had equal dignity, irrespective of the fact that one pushes a fringe-lunatic proposition, and the other argued for a draft that would give the state of play according to the best modern research. What Oxfordians want is recognition for a century of effort, not the resolution of the enigma. Indeed, resolving the 'mystery' would ruin indulgence in the hobby that takes up a good deal of their leisure. It is a sociological phenomenon: identitarian, status-obsessive, resentful of imagined hurts, and a wooed to a sectarian culture of 'them guys out there are agin us, there's a plot afoot that's conned the world,' and we chevaliers of the occult truth are the lone Templars of the resistance, bearing with dignity the banner of the real truth the modern world, with its vested interests and careerist academics, refuses to acknowledge because the axis mundi of their complacency would snap were they to wake up to the awful truth. It is not an intellectual pursuit. Nishidani (talk) 09:11, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

For lurkers, here's the more balanced version just before I made my first edit to the page. I'm a bit disappointed the SAQ page didn't make the top ten edit wars. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:09, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I've been lurking around this section for a while, so maybe I qualify. Tom, I'm glad you brought in that link. A lesson in just how plausible the SAQ with an Anti-Stratfordian bias can be made to seem to those who are unacquainted with the scholarly facts and conclusions. In its own way, the article was very well written at that point. Don't know if I agree with you, Nish, that the article was "unreadable". In a superficial sense, I find it very readable. It doesn't matter how accurate or genuinely balanced it might be. I can see how it could seem "balanced". No wonder so many have been persuaded to believe that this is a genuine controversy, as if it's still an open question as to which side is right. If I didn't know better, I could easily see myself musing, Hmm, maybe these Oxfordians are on to something. I bothered to read only the lead, but I don't think most Wikipedians would exert themselves to dig any further either, much less to find and read the reliable sources. --Alan W (talk) 04:53, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh, but Alan, the New York Times must be one of the most 'readable' newspapers on earth. The prose is generally finely crafted, but, except for Paul Krugman, Maureen O'Dowd and Frank Rich's columns, or the science editors' contributions, I find it 'unreadable' on any general subject I know something about. 'Unreadable' in that sense, i.e., total absence of thought married to a great concern to be absolutely pellucid in assuaging gentrified eyes that events of public consequence are being closely monitored in the news room. Mark Anderson's piece was like that. Any journo can trot out his assigned page of prose by the hour, but. . . .:) Nishidani (talk) 09:15, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Like others here, I found the Gaddafi remark foolish. There is a grain of truth in it, but it's always more effective to understate a criticism of that kind. The overstatement undermines the credibility of the article, which in general terms I agree with. Moonraker (talk) 08:19, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Nishidani: I don't think we are that far apart here. "Readable" prose, superficially attractive and glittering, may yet be dangerous in its subliminal pull to conviction without a rational foundation. You've enjoyed a few pleasant minutes of reading, and if you're not inclined to think too intensely about it, you might find yourself saying, Sure, why not, interesting ideas, maybe there's something in this—and you've got a few more factoids to chatter about at the next cocktail party. Maybe this is not the way we read, but in its way the prose is "readable" enough, and much more dangerous than what I think of as "unreadable" prose.
Oh, by the way, when was the last time you read the New York Times? Frank Rich is gone from the Sunday Op Ed page. I miss him very much myself. --Alan W (talk) 22:32, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Frank bolted? That's poor. I never read newspapers, I only subscribe to the TLS and NYRB. I click on a dozen everyday, and pick out one or two articles to read. Now I see why I haven't seen his name linked recently. Cocktail parties, Alan? I thought those were things you saw on American movies in the 50s and 60s. In the dialect I grew up in, 'cocktail party' was heard as a phrase alluding to an orgy. Jeez, I'm cut off from the (un)real world! Nishidani (talk) 05:56, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Superposition theory needed?

The article Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship pretty much convinced me of the legitimacy of that theory. This authorship-question article almost convinced me of the opposite. Had the latter succeeded, Wikipedia might have benefited from a quantum superposition explanation of this situation, as with Schrödinger's cat: the works were written by Oxford, and they were written by the son of John Shakespeare.

What tipped me off about this article was its section making the case against Shakespeare's authorship. It didn't sound at all like the case against, it read like the case for.

When presenting both sides of an argument, it makes no sense for the counsel for the prosecution to also present the case for the defendant. If you want to use the against section to further strengthen the case for, the section should not claim to be the case against, it needs some other title. To leave it as is makes the article look like a kangaroo court. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 07:01, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

I think I get the general thrust of your argument, but could you perhaps furnish a few concrete examples of the problems you perceive so that it's possible to evaluate them against the actual article text? Incidentally, if the Oxfordian theory article "pretty much convinced" you I would immediately worry about the neutrality of that article: Wikipedia shouldn't be convincing anyone, it should merely inform. That special interests see Wikipedia as an excellent venue for persuading readers of their position is a problem, not a goal. --Xover (talk) 07:32, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
But this is exactly the problem with this section: it comes across as trying to convince the reader that the case against is a weak one made by misguided people when it should simply be informing the reader of the arguments against. Let me illustrate this with the problems in the first three paragraphs of the section, from which hopefully their counterparts in the remaining twelve paragraphs can be inferred.
First, whether the evidence against fitness for authorship is circumstantial is the sort of judgment call one would expect only from the other side. Likewise the phrases "sometimes been taken" and "taken as suggesting" have the tone of someone arguing the case for.
Similarly "Proponents of other candidates often portray" and "have depicted" are loaded wordings because they talk about those making the case against in the third person. The case against should not keep referring to those making that case at all, let alone in a way that comes across as trying to marginalize them.
The third paragraph is slightly better, with the passive voice construction "This is often used to indicate that" as the only objectionable phrase, which would be better phrased in the active voice as "which suggests that".
The rest is much the same. What this whole section should be doing is presenting the arguments in the case against. Instead there is a steady undercurrent of ridicule and disdain that makes the section sound more like a bad high school essay or a blog rant than a Wikipedia article. The case for is not structured that way, it simply presents the facts as perceived by those making that case. The case against should be allowed to follow the same form.
The last three paragraphs of Irvin Leigh Matus's essay nicely express what should happen here: scholarship over disdain. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 22:04, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Here's the first paragraph from that section that you object to:
Very little is known of Shakespeare's personal life, and conclusions based on the gaps in his biography are treated as circumstantial evidence against his fitness for authorship. Further, the lack of biographical information has sometimes been taken as an indication of an organised attempt by government officials to expunge all traces of Shakespeare from the historical record and to conceal the true author's identity. For example, a lack of attendance records for Stratford's grammar school is taken as suggesting that they may have been destroyed to hide proof that Shakespeare did not attend.
How would you reword those sentences, bearing in mind that anti-Stratfordians themselves say that the lacunae of Shakespeare biography is circumstantial evidence? Tom Reedy (talk) 00:05, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
I assume that whoever wrote the case-for section (you?) understood the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments for that case from the perspective of a supporter of that case. The only fair way to present the case against would be under the same conditions. Not only am I agnostic on the question, I've never participated in a debate about it and therefore have no idea as to the relative strengths of the arguments on either side. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to rewrite the case against simply by rewording the present version of it, since for all I know I may be presenting the weakest arguments as though they were the strongest. I can't tell from the case-against section what are the relative strengths of the arguments, I can only tell from the wording that it is clearly biased against those who support the case against. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 00:29, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
"I can only tell from the wording that it is clearly biased against those who support the case against."
Right, we got that that's your objection. Ignoring whether the argument is strong or weak, how would you re-word it to remove the perceived bias? You gave above several examples of what you said were biased wordings; what I'd like to know is how you would remove that bias. Would you present every anti-Stratfordian assertion and assumption as true? For instance, would you remove the qualifications "are treated as" and merely state that the biographical gaps are circumstantial evidence? Would you say that the dearth of grammar school records indicates they may have been destroyed as part of a cover-up? (And the article was a collaborative effort; I would be hard-pressed to identify what I wrote and what others wrote.) Tom Reedy (talk) 12:40, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
Assertions supporting the case-against that are known to be true should be presented as such, those that are conjectural should likewise be presented as such along with some idea of their plausibility. The same criteria should be applied to the case-for. I came to this and related articles on the question to learn such things myself, so I'm hardly the person to be deciding which anti-Stratfordian assertions are true. Asking me to do so is like asking someone who has criticized a work of art to demonstrate how it should have been painted; their criticism may be sound but that doesn't mean they can fix it. Furthermore I have no interesting in supporting the case-against myself, only in seeing it presented neutrally (see below), which so far doesn't seem to have happened.
One way to remove the bias would be for someone who understands why the arguments against are compelling to present those arguments, neutrally of course. If the section is written by those who think the arguments against are rubbish then there is no point having that section because it will give a biased view of those arguments whose effect will be to turn them into arguments for. If that's the only option available then I would recommend simply deleting the section on the ground that it paints a misleading picture of the case against.
A further reason for deleting it is that since 1920 the case against would appear to have morphed into the case for Oxford, which seems a much stronger case than the "case against," at least as presented here, and is well documented at that article. One might infer from this that it is harder to prove an attribution than disprove it, which would give the case-for an edge in this article.
More evidence for this asymmetry can be had at Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship#Stratfordian objections which mirrors some of the problems of the case-against section here: it gives the appearance of being written by Oxfordians. Perhaps Stratfordians should write that section in return for allowing Oxfordians to write the case-against section here. Or perhaps each of those two sections could be reduced to merely a link to the other article. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 00:03, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
"Assertions supporting the case-against that are known to be true should be presented as such, those that are conjectural should likewise be presented as such along with some idea of their plausibility." As far as I am aware, the assertions that are known to be true are presented as such. It is certainly a fact that there are no records of Shakespeare's education, and the article says so. I think the idea that the school records were deliberately destroyed as part of a cover-up is utterly absurd, but I don't think my view of its plausibility can be included. We simply have no objective means of judging how "plausible" such ideas are. In any case, this section is supposed to present the case, not to assess it. I think all ediitors here understand what the arguments against are, and why the have seemed compelling to some people, but it's not our job to make them sound as compelling as possible. Paul B (talk) 16:48, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
You might have a look at Wikipedia:Fringe_theories if you haven't already done so. --GuillaumeTell 10:21, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
It says "for writers and editors of Wikipedia articles to write about controversial ideas in a neutral manner, it is of vital importance that they simply restate what is said by independent secondary sources of reasonable reliability and quality." Exactly so, my complaint in a nutshell. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 00:03, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's not a veery intelligible one. Unlike the Oxfordian theory article, this one only uses "independent secondary sources of reasonable reliability and quality." In fact, if it stuck to what such sources said about Anti-Strat arguments it would be far more critical. So your "complaint" has no substance. By the way, there is no justification to allow "Oxfordians" to write the Case Against section. Firstly, it would contradict the very guideline you just quoted. Secondly, the 'case against' was not created by Oxfordians but by Baconians. Oxfordians just repeated the same arguments. Indeed, Looney, admits as such. He included a chapter on the topic because he was urged to do so, but felt it was unnecessary. He apologised for merely repeating what had already been said. Paul B (talk) 15:25, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

proposed move

I propose this article be moved to Shakespeare authorship fringe theories. As the article itself states, most scholars do not believe there is any serious "question" over the authorship, and the various suggestions all qualify as fringe theories under Wikipedia's definition. Gregcaletta (talk) 05:14, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

The theory is identified as a fringe theory in the lede, but you do have a point. Most of the other fringe theory articles identify themselves in the title, such as John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, Moon landing conspiracy theories, Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories, and Bible conspiracy theory. However, others don't, such as Holocaust denial, Ancient astronauts, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:29, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
It's a good point. Do move it, Tom, and then we can have a move war to end all move wars. I can already smell another arbitration case. Bishonen | talk 18:49, 21 August 2011 (UTC).
Not all good points need to be acted upon, hence my even-handed appraisal! Tom Reedy (talk) 22:24, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Good. I think leaving things as they are would be a reasonable approach. Yes, the article could be moved, but no, that might not have real world benefits. Johnuniq (talk) 00:50, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
The article probably should moved, but doing so would only stir up a hornet's nest; let it be. — Robert Greer (talk) 23:39, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Satoshi as Shakespeare

Here is a very interesting parallel for the true authorship research:

In recent year a new global digital currency / pyramid ponzi scam / secret services conspiracy and whatnot else has became popular by the name of BitCoin and started to threaten traditional fiat money fiscal systems. It's author used the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" in online messaging and many thought it was a pseudonym, because almost nothing was known about him and he wrote in way too perfect english to be a japanese (mandatory english study results in little enthusiasm in japanese schools).

Anyhow, if the BitCoin P2P crypto money was the work of a single person, whoever he or she be, then it was the work of a mega-genius polymath person, a Leonardo of economics, math crypto, tradecraft and computer programming skills, also not unlike a 21st century "William Shakespeare" in how revolutionary he/she was in changing urban society.

See story here:

Story is, a journalist by the name of Joshua Davis decided to find out about Satoshi Nakamoto's real identity. He wrote a roster list of necessary attributes to be found in S. N.'s person: perfect written british english, works after London business hours come to a close, very much in on latest developments of crypto weakness research (based on how he foiled genius researcher Dan Kaminsky's BitCoin attacks, all in advance), a fan and heart-learned quoter of Ludwig von Moses's "austrian school" of economy, ardent reader of the Times of London, based on a hidden source code references, etc.

By investigating streams of academic knowledge transfer, Joshua found the mysterious S. N. must be one of 300 computer crypto security researchers, who gather on a singulary important conference workshop every year at Santa Barbara. Joshua Davis then narrowed the ring to 9 britons and eliminated consideration for 8 of them due to their lack of P2P networking technology skills. This left him with a single perfect match, named Michael Clean, hailing from the Trinity College of Dublin, a former Allied Irish Bank employee, whom he then confronted.

What this story shows and reinforces is that schoolmaster Looney was perfectly right in his 1920's method in determining the Earle Oxenford's bardian authorship by way of trial and elimination. His method was and still remains a valid way to sort out the elite, a smallish circle, where not too many possess rare skills in some subject. Just like a japanese guy couldn't have written Bitcoin due to lack of language skills and key knowledge, commoner William Shaxper of Avon couldn't have written the bardian canon due to lack of key skills and knowledge. Joshua Davis has just collaterally vindicated Mr. Thomas Looney! (talk) 18:57, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

And the answer is: 'One only has to converse with Japanese colleagues and students, whose technical proficiency in English humbles one,' George Steiner, After Babel, OUP 1975 p.470 Nishidani (talk) 19:46, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
What a lot of words, telling us nothing relevant. What you say is analagous to the following argument: "scientists proved that that the alien autopsy film is a fake by analysing it in detail for anomalies; therefore this vindicates the arguments of those who believe the moon landings were faked, because they also analysed the film of the event in detail and found anomalies." The fact that someone successfully proves something, does not mean that someone else using vaguely the same method is vindicated for anything and everything they propose. They have to show that anomalies are real, not just a product of their imagination. They likewise have to show that the "one person" who must have done it, is really the only one. But we know that the Derbyites, Rutlandites etc use exactly the same arguments for their own candidate. Incidentally, your argument also implies the following 'logical' comparison: "The World War II ultra specialists discovered and decoded German ciphers; this vindicates the Baconian method of discovering codes and ciphers in the works of Shakespeare, identifying Bacon as the author!". Paul B (talk) 14:39, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia SAQ article in the news

Blakemore, Bill (14 October 2011). "'Anonymous': New Hollywood Film Shows William Shakespeare as Someone Else". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-10-16.  "Wikipedia, says Shapiro, has (as of this writing) a compact, illuminating and trustworthy treatment of 'The Case for Shakespeare's Authorship' to be found under the entry, 'Shakespeare Authorship Question'."

Here. Be sure to read all the comments. Tom Reedy (talk) 23:31, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Surprisingly interesting article, and good to see that Shapiro has given SAQ a tick. I guess it won't be long before the "Teacher's Guide" mentioned is used as a "reliable source". I just encountered a discussion at Jimbo's talk where a passage from an old review of a Carl Sagan book is quoted. I read the whole of that article because it's also interesting. Its relevance here is that an evolutionary biologist was writing about the common dismissal of science (specifically evolution vs. creationism), with this conclusion:

Conscientious and wholly admirable popularizers of science like Carl Sagan use both rhetoric and expertise to form the mind of masses because they believe, like the Evangelist John, that the truth shall make you free. But they are wrong. It is not the truth that makes you free. It is your possession of the power to discover the truth. Our dilemma is that we do not know how to provide that power.

Johnuniq (talk) 00:38, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
If you have a copy, you might like looking ovr the last chapter of Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man, which I had to rebrowse last night after finishing Niall Ferguson's dreadful Ascent of Money. It's too long to quote, but makes a similar if distinct point. 'If we are anything, we must be a democracy of the intellect. We must not perish by the distance between people and government, between people and power, by which Babaylon and Egypt and Rome failed. And that distance can only be conflated, can only be closed, if knowledge sits in the homes and heads of people with no ambition to control others, and not in the isolated seats of power.' ((1973) 1975 p.435 etc.Nishidani (talk) 13:01, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

A national scandal. A spokesman for a Texas police force, a practicing Alister Crowley freak,and a guy who is ashamed to sign his name to his "scholarship" got dozens of other editors bumped from the board. Almost all of whom have better academic qualifications than do the Gang of Three

Wow! Charley! I recognized Tom as Deputy Dawg (the old Marshall battery advert), but I struggled with identifying PB as an Aleister (please note, since you guys make a lot over Shakespeare's putative inability to spell his name) Crowley hierophant, and the description of myself as someone ashamed to sign his name to 'scholarship' left me bemused, especially as the accusation comes from an anonymous 'scholar' who jams Shakespeare forums with scribblings countersigned as the Dickensian 'Charles Darnay'!) I could only console myself with a guess that there was an allusion, given the evangelical-fideistic cast of 'mind' of these groupies, to the Gospels (καὶ ταῦτα λέγοντος αὐτοῦ κατῃσχύνοντο πάντες οἱ ὰντικείμενοι αὐτῷ, I'm sure none of the de Verean crowd need the crutch of chapter and verse citation to get the point). Hyperbole might lie behind that 'dozens of other editors', referring to 2 former editors, until one recalls that mathematics is not the strongpoint of the conspiratorial coterie despite years at the cypher mill grinding out codes that putatively 'explain' what the evidence can't, and provide 'facts' that history has not transmitted.
I appreciate the 'Gang of Three' rather narcisstically as a bow in my direction for help in phrasing, since I introduced that analogy ironically to describe several of us almost 2 years ago. 'Better academic qualifications?' Good grief. If that were true, why is it that they smack of pseuds from pseuds' corner in every comment they make?
Finally, Charlie, that Darnay handle wears thin. Try Mr Pickwick, sir. All of your collective persiflage is more a less what we grew to expect from certain quarters after a childhood acquaintance with the Pickwick Club's learned elucubrators and their astonishing researches.
And yeah Nina, delighted to read that, 'Tom Reedy and Nishidani, neither of whom has any academic qualifications or employment, and neither of whom has any substantial record of academic publication.' If you can't get simple contemporary data right, it would explain the mess you make of Elizabethan period data. Ho hum, time for lunch, and a bit of work in the garden.Nishidani (talk) 10:59, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
It's really hard to blame her since she doesn't know who you are. In the absence of any evidence she can only revert to the Oxfordian technique of transforming her own speculations into fact. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:10, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
My sole link to The Great Beast is the fact that I created the Wikipedia page on the god-awful film Chemical Wedding. This was only because someone had stuck the content in a different page, so I created the new page to get rid of it. It seems that there is a "Paul Barlow" who rejoices in the email address "" [7]. I assume he is the Crowleyite. Anyway, I have to perform an invocation to Horus now... Paul B (talk) 16:39, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's cleared up things. I think the guy they confused you with, to judge by the self-description under his name, was some byblow of Ken Barlow, whom all long-in-the-tooth watchers of Coronation Street will recall. (If only they studied the text of Shakespeare as they apparently do the internet telephone directory for 'truth-telling' analogies that lead to a virtual paper trial to finger the dirt on their imagined antagonists, perhaps they would develop the technical ability to reason on evidence, rather than forage for what the lack of it might tell them). Still, wiki might notify Mr Wales that, at least according to Shapiro,

Wikipedia, ... has (as of this writing) a compact, illuminating and trustworthy treatment of "The Case for Shakespeare's Authorship" to be found under the entry, "Shakespeare Authorship Question."

He did seem rather sceptical, and querulous about the trustworthiness of several of us.Nishidani (talk) 17:03, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Horus is proving very uncooperative today. I'll stick with Azazel in future. He's always up for anything. Of course I am also a well known artist, chemist, freelance web designer and Chrysanthemum expert.[8] It's a very busy life, I can tell you. No wonder I need the aid of magick. My forays into psychic vampirism may help to uncover the truth about Shakespeare, but sadly cannot predict the future of Statfordianism. As I wrote, "according to an online friend of mine (whom I consider to be an expert in matters such as astral projection and psychic vampirism, and whom I shall not name for her privacy), one can astrally project into the past but not into the future. Therefore a psychic vampire is more than likely devoid of any precognition abilities.[9]" And if you can believe I really wrote that, you can believe the author of Love compared to a tennis-play also wrote Venus and Adonis. Paul B (talk) 21:28, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Well it appears that the wind has gone out of the sails of merging Oxfordian Theory – Parallels with Shakespeare's Plays with the Oxfordian theory, so I thought I'd bring a bit of reality to it. When the historical errors are corrected the "parallels" might not seem quite so compelling. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:39, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Taking a hint from a reportedly unqualified editor (an assertion that we can be sure is correct as the reporter posted it twice ... hmmm, that reminds me of someone), I have added the news link to the header above (search for "This page has been mentioned"). Johnuniq (talk) 07:11, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

"So, who did write Hamlet?"

Today's Grauniad features a knockabout comedy act between Trevor Nunn and DORDer Mark Rylance here. --GuillaumeTell 20:47, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Shakespeare the ghost-playwright

Given that Shakespeare is known to have turned 'stories from other sources' into plays - how plausible is it that he was the 16th century version of a ghostwriter? 'All the usual suspects' gave him their stories and he turned then into plays: and he knew whom to consult to get information on subjects outside his remit. (The equivalent of the modern film director's 'Information on x provided by y.' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jackiespeel (talkcontribs)

All writers turn stories from other sources into their fictions. That does not make them ghostwriters. A ghost writer writes what is then attributed to another person. By your own definition above, this is not what Shakespeare did, since he was the writer, mainly, of most of the works attributed to him. And no one finds anything odd in this, except a handful of somebodies who burn the midnight oil, and their brief candles, trying to prove that the obvious is odd.
By ghostwriter you mean, someone who provided Shakespeare with the plays and poems which were then published under his name, or attributed to him. There are 79 candidates for the ghostwritership. All are welcome to take their pick and join Arthur Koestler's SFTKODH. Nishidani (talk) 18:40, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

I was trying to think of a term - the books which are 'written by X as told to y' (who has the writing skills)/or the scriptwriter who transforms a story into a filmscript. Perhaps a modern example would be the film 2001 - with Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's quite different short story upon which it is based. Jackiespeel (talk) 15:59, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

The page is written strictly from academic sources with expertise on the subject. So none of us, and we all have our private views, think up angles to put in. We just keep reading technical books, and when fresh information comes along, weigh up its inclusion. There's no scope for personal takes at all. If you can come up with material from Elizabethan scholarship which is close to your contemporary analogy, by all means edit it in, or refer it to us. Nishidani (talk) 16:03, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Why has the entry for Mary Sidney been deleted / Who controls the information?

I suggest that the entry for Mary Sidney (as well as that for Group Theory) be edited and reinserted into the article in the section under Alternative Candidates, as both of these entries "round out" the article by providing valid and widely-held theories. The arguments in favor of Mary Sidney's authorship outweighs those in favor of Marlow, and are certainly on par with the arguments in favor of all the other candidates listed---and, in addition, over the past years she has gained the backing of several British scholars, including Ben Alexander.

The way this article has been hijacked (by a few people and their opinions) represents the same kind of inflexibility, status quo thinking, and narrowness that marks the Startfordian position. Now, is that something we want?

The original entry on Mary Sidney (which needs to be tightened before included in the article)reads as follows:

"Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke

Several recent works by independent scholars have argued for Mary Sidney as the primary author of the Shakespeare plays. According to Robin P. Williams, author of Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?,[440] Mary Sidney had the scholarship, ability, motive, means and opportunity to write the plays. Williams outlines the extensive connection between Sidney and original source materials used for most of the plays. Williams also argues that Sidney, as an aristocratic woman had more impelling motivation to write under a pen name than the male candidates. Fred Faulkes, in his book, The Tiger Heart Chronicles [441]provides a comprehensive study of all the English literature at the time of Shakespeare and shows that Mary Sidney was at the center of the culture creating that literature. He concludes that she was in the best position to have written the plays.

A further argument in favor of Mary Sidney, put forth on the website of independent scholar Jonathan Star,[7] is based upon an analysis of Ben Jonson's eulogy to the Author, which appears in the prefatory material of the First Folio, published in 1623. Star shows that virtually every reference in the eulogy can be linked to Mary Sidney, while few, if any, of the references in the eulogy can be linked to William Shakspere of Stratford, or to The Earl of Oxford, or to any of the other candidates. Jonson's integral involvement in the editing and preparation of the First Folio, and his personal eulogy, suggest that he positively knew the author's true identity. Star argues that the measure for any authorship candidate is, therefore, how closely that candidate can be linked to Jonson's eulogy."

I also believe that the following entry (which as deleted) represents a valid and popularly-held view---and certainly represents a valid view in terms of the Shakespeare Authorship Questions---and should be put back into the article.

Group theory

In the 1960s, the most popular general theory was that Shakespeare's plays and poems were the work of a group rather than one individual. A group consisting of De Vere, Bacon, William Stanley, Mary Sidney, and others, has been put forward, for example.[442] This theory has been often noted, most recently by renowned actor Derek Jacobi, who told the British press "I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own. I think the leading light was probably de Vere, as I agree that an author writes about his own experiences, his own life and personalities."[443][444] [edit] Minor candidates

JonathanStar (talk) 23:13, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

There is no reason to pick out Mary Sidney. Her supporters are very few in number. If she garners a significant following, it may become appropriate to add a section on her, but that's a long way off. Reliable sources list Marlowe, Oxford, Derby and Bacon as the main "alternative" candidates. Your own personal view of how persuasive the evidence is cannot affect our judgement. BTW, the "British scholar" Ben Alexander is a management consultant with no expertise in the field whatever. It may be appropriate to expand the currently brief mention of Sidney on the History page. Paul B (talk) 08:52, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I understand that you cannot post every candidate on this site, but sad is the day when truth, and real debate, is determined by a popularity contest and by those who know how to peddle their opinions better than those who know how to formulate them. I was hoping that Wiki would be have broken away from this stale, status quo, approach, but alas, not yet. If you look at the material that has been written in support of Mary Sidney over the past few years you will find that it outweighs Marlow and Stanley (although I have not made a formal study of the matter). If a person actually reads the material in support of Mary Sidney, he/she will see that it has considerable merit. In addition, Ben Alexander wrote a book on the authorship of the sonnets (The Darling Buds of Maie), and has given a few lectures on the Authorship Question in UK, recently. Leveling the opinion that he has "no expertise in the field whatever" (and is a management consultant, and not a university professor) is just a demonstration of more in-the-box thinking given by someone who is obviously in a position to render judgment as to who or who does not have expertise on a given subject. For God's sake, we're talking about the already-subversive Authorship Question: the Stratfordians are great at wanting to close down every opinion that is not in line with their own parochial way of thinking, let's not operate on this side of the debate with the same concretized mindset. JonathanStar (talk) 16:01, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

It's not my personal view that his lack of expertise is an issue. It's Wikipedia policy. We have a rule called WP:RS, which states that we judge the reliability of sources by the expertise of authors or editors. We also have a rule, WP:OR, which states that we cannot evaluate evidence ourselves. We must rely on the consensus view of experts - giving what is known as "due weight" to disagreements among them. These are the rules by which we are constrained. The reason for this is simple. My evaluation of the evidence may be different from yours. How are we to decide who is right? We can argue till we have bloodstained typing fingers, but unless we finally agree, all that will happen is an edit war. Now, I agree with you that Sidney is an increasingly popular candidate these days, though I really can't say whether or not she has more support than either Derby or Marlowe. It's certainly true that there is a body of "Sidneyite" literature. I would not be opposed to a brief mention here, but it's dangerous precedent, as we will then get demands for other names to be added. We would really need an RS ("reliable source") stating that her popularity is increasing. I will add a bit more on her to the History of the Shakespeare authorship question page. Paul B (talk) 16:51, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
A lot of new authors would like to position their work here as an advertisement, as indeed the Oxfordians once did. We have tried to cover 79 candidates. Despite your concerns with the 'truth' wikipedia is concerned only with verifiability, due weight, reliable sources, and these methods exclude peddling opinions. A lot of editors have made a formal study of the relevant literature, and their collective work has passed the highest review processes here. The group theory in its old form may deserve some expansion, though it died on its feet over a century ago, for two simple reasons. There is no example in the history of literature of composite composition of a canon of work ascribed to one known author, except in the restricted field of preliterate oral epic. Secondly, the precision of modern stylometric analysis, following on the traditional methods of philology and Sprachgefuehl, yield an authorial hand or distinctive signature or thumbprint that enables us with some degree of assurance to detect who wrote what. Thus in attribution studies, we can tease out Shakespeare's collaborators for certain plays, often scene by scene. The best work on this has consistently come up with results that exclude both the main candidates and many minor nominations, while affirming a unified authorial identity in the style, which is peculiar to someone who does not figure linguistically or grammatically as any of these people, i.e. 'Shakespeare' is none of the people proposed. To speak of parochial thinking in an academic field where careers are made by innovation, and where several major insights have come from antiStratfordians who, as they pursued their research, became convinced of the essential cogency of the traditional identification, is to grasp the knife by the wrong end, or as the frogs say, it's an instance where la pitié se moque de la charité.Nishidani (talk) 16:53, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Concur with PB. I should think, given recent events, that an eye or several hundred will now be trained on this material as a neglected byway worthy of academic analysis, and a little patience will be rewarded, undoubtedly, by RS on Sidney within a year or two. Until we can secure quality secondary sources for her, she won't warrant a mention here, given the stringent criteria adopted.Nishidani (talk) 16:58, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for, at least, being diligent in your response. And, the fact that "Anonymous" is opening this week---and slanted only toward Oxford---makes the Wiki page, and its unbiased contents (and a full examination of the issue) of extreme importance. As you know, the first hit under "Shakespeare Authorship Question" is the Wiki page.

In response to Paul B, who said "reliable sources list Marlowe, Oxford, Derby and Bacon as the main "alternative" candidates" I can only ask, which sources? And who has judged them reliable? To test this statement, I did a Google Search under “Shakespeare Authorship Candidates,” and several major sites came up on the first page. The first page to come up was The Shakespeare Authorship Trust. They list the following as the major candidates: Bacon, deVere, Manners, Marlowe, Neville, Shakspere, Sidney, Stanley, and Group Theory. Next was the Shakespeare Resource Center. They list: Oxford, Bacon, and Marlow. Next was the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable. They list, Marlow, Bacon, deVere, Raleigh, Stanley, Greville, Sidney Next was “Candidates for Shakespeare”: They list: Bacon, deVere, Marlow, Stanley, Manners, Herbert.

Each page lists different "major candidates" but three out of four list Mary Sidney. (I think that “Candidates for Shakespeare” got it right: Bacon, deVere, Marlow, Stanley, Manners, Herbert. In keeping with official policy, Wiki could and should adopt this same list, one one similar to it).

In terms of Mary Sidney, the fact that her two sons were the dedicatees of the First Folio (and that her son William Herbert paid for the publication of the First Folio) should be evidence enough to list her as a major candidate (especially considering all the other supportive evidence). Again, in light of the recent upsurge of interest in this issue, I urge the "committee" to look at the material, again, and to allow this article to be revised so as to present a more broad-reaching view of the issue, and specifically to list a few "other" major candidates and the arguments that support their candidacy. JonathanStar (talk) 18:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Progress will only result when procedures that are standard for Wikipedia are followed: What reliable secondary sources support what change to the article? Given that there are lots of candidates, this article cannot provide an outline for each—what scholarly sources support a proposal to change the candidates described here? Johnuniq (talk) 22:20, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
None of the websites you list are reliable sources by our standards, except perhaps Shakespeare Resource Center. The rules are laid out in WP:RS. Paul B (talk) 16:31, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

SOURCES: Sources in support of Mary Sidney as an Authorship candidate:

(Primary Source)

1. Book: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by John Michell, which is one of the foremost books on the Authorship Question. He includes a picture of Mary Sidney in his book and also writes:

Far more interesting is the case of Mary Herbert. She was sister of Sir Philip Sidney, married the Earl of Pembroke and gave birth to ‘the most Noble and Incomparable Paire of Brethren, William Earl of Pembroke . . . and Philip, Earl of Montgomery’, to whom the First Folio was dedicated. In Gilbert Slaters’ Seven Shakespeares Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, is proposed as one of the most likely candidates for Authorship. There is, said Salter, clear evidence of a woman’s hand in Shakespeare. Lady Pembroke was intimate with many of the young philosophers and poets of the time, and was herself a poet, much praised by her contemporaries. She lived at Wilton House,, situated upon the banks of the Wiltshire River Avon. A further coincidence, which Slater missed, is that the village across the Avon from Wilton is called Stratford-sub-Castle. She could therefore have been described, equally as well as Will Shakspere, as a resident of Stratford-on-Avon. Slater posed the question: ”Does the title “Sweet Swan” better fit the money-lending malster of Stratford of the “peerless Ladie bright,” of Wilton? Which of the tow would Jonson most naturally think of as “My Beloved”? Slater naturally preferred the claims of Mary Sidney.

2. Book: Seven Shakespeares by Gilbert Slater

(Secondary Source)

3. Book: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare? by Robin Williams

4. Book: The Tiger Heart Chronicles by Fred Faulkes.

5. Web: Mention of Mary Sidney as a “Major Candidate” on many of the most-popular and most established websites on the Authorship Question (several of which were listed in a previous post).

6. Web: Website by Jonathan Star. The website is not a secondary source but the material on the site was written by an established author who has had several books published with major New York publishers, including PenguinPutnam and Bantam. JonathanStar (talk) 14:18, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

>> Instead of debating which candidates meet the criteria to be listed as "Major Candidates" I suggest that the article be expanded, so as to include two sections: a) MAJOR CANDIDATES (which will be the four already mentioned), and b) SECONDARY CANDIDATES, which would be comprised of several candidates worth mentioning and who have a good amount of support. A short list could include Sidney, Manners, and Raleigh. The article would be made more complete, more useful, and more instructive---and be more accurate---if there were a section that included several minor candidates. JonathanStar (talk) 14:32, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

(a) To repeat. The protocols governing this article exclude sources by 'independent researchers' unless they are under a strong imprint and their work has been critically reviewed by competent area specialists. The books you mention fail this test.
(b) The article (this was an issue at FA) is already at the limits for acceptable length, and to create the additional sections and sub-sections you suggest would seriously strain that tolerance, by having one or two paragraphs about Sidney and Ralegh, and if that was a precedent we would have to include Roger Manners, Michelangelos Florio, and Henry Neville.
(c) wikipedia has links, and a click takes you to sister pages where all of these contenders can be examined or written about at length. Clutter is not an option.
(d) WP:Recentism militates against giving WP:Undue weight to a flurry of books that may just represent a passing fad, or freak of publicity, which in the Chou En-lai retrospect of time, may prove to be blips. We are dealing with 160 years of history here, which has taught us to be patient with 'new' discoveries, or recyclings of old theories. We just wait a year or so, until some reliable academic source evaluates the primary books, and allows us to then cite them. In this case, as several have pointed out, you are jumping the gun, bending the rules, and ignoring the protocols, I would suggest, in order to get your (wo)man showcased on this main page. I may be wrong, of course. Nishidani (talk) 16:02, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

OK, rules are rules. I appreciate the time and diligence everyone has offered with their responses. In closing, I have no real stake in having Mary Sidney showcased on the Wiki page; and she is not "my" woman---well, I guess in a way she is---but, moreover, she is a legitimate authorship candidate. Time will tell on this one. Thanks again, everyone! JonathanStar (talk) 16:55, 25 October 2011 (UTC)