Talk:William Shakespeare/Archive 17

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Category:William Shakespeare vs. Category:Shakespearean actors

Category:Shakespearean actors is itself a category within Category:William Shakespeare. — Robert Greer (talk) 23:20, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Sceptical article about the Cobbe portrait

Shakespeare Unfound(ed)?

PKM has linked to this on the Cobbe talkpage. Nice to see an article taking a more responsible approach. Reporting Tarnya Cooper's opinion was a sensible move. qp10qp (talk) 15:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

The Shakespeare identity problem

Why is there no reference at all to the controversy that has surrounded William Shakespeare's identity and authorship for well over 100 years, and realistically for nearly 400 years? Much of this article has been written purporting details of his life, that are not accepted without considerable argument in scholastic circles. How does that work?

Since the mid-17th century, a small but vocal clique of iconoclasts has questioned the identity of Western culture's greatest writer, William Shakespeare. Despite that he is quoted more often than almost any other writer in the English language, Shakespeare left behind little evidence that he actually lived; there is scant historical record of his youth in Stratford-upon-Avon, the bucolic provincial village where he was born in 1564, or of his career as a poet and playwright in London. There seems to have been a curious lack of recognition of his gifts in his own time, and few of his contemporaries left any record of knowing him "or even having looked upon him." Moreover, he left no library or manuscripts after his death -- at least none are mentioned in his will.

On a quick perusal (there were more than 550,000 entries in a search on this topic), I have added links to the first few articles that came up within the first page of the search:

In all fairness to this topic, this issue really needs to be incorporated and addressed in this article. Schoolchildren or college students viewing this article would have no idea that while William Shakespeare (of whom very few personal details are known) existed, there is substantial debate about who the author is, since during his lifetime he does not achieve notoriety for his literary craftmanship. While Wikipedia is not the place to decide which camp of the debate(s) surrounding his identity are valid, there really does need to be some mention of this identity issue for this article (whom so many people have apparently worked on) to maintain its credibility and coverage... Stevenmitchell (talk) 11:54, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

There's been enormous discussion of this on the talk pages (see the archives) and at the Featured Article reviews (follow the box with the star at the top of this page); the main page for this issue is Shakespeare authorship question. How it works is that the article tries to keep the matter in proportion to its significance in scholarly circles. We do have a small section on it, making sure to cite only scholarly sources. Other debatable points are treated in the same way.qp10qp (talk) 13:28, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I like this better:

Since the mid-19th century, and especially near the end of the 20th century with the rise of the Internet, a small but ever-growing clique of self-styled iconoclasts with almost no knowledge of early modern theatre culture has questioned the identity of Western culture's greatest writer, William Shakespeare. Despite the wealth of evidence that survives testifying to his authorship, these questioners wonder why his records aren't similar to those in today's modern celebrity culture and, coupled with abysmal scholarship, nominate "candidates" with even less historical evidence to take Shakespeare's place, proposing a ridiculous conspiracy for that lack of evidence for their candidate. There seems to be a curious lack of common sense and scholarly method of these doubters, in inverse proportion to their certainty.

There. I think that's about right, don't you? And it has the added attraction of being more true than the one proposed. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:30, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Ah the insultfest rears its head again. The "truth" according to Tom Reedy? No, thank you. Thanks to qp10qp for just stating the facts and some general guidelines. How simple it would have been Tom to merely answer the inquiry with "the authorship debate has a section, which you must have overlooked" and just leave it at that. I guess that was just to much to hope for. How sad.Smatprt (talk) 07:09, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Don't be such a no-get-high, Esteban. If you can't have fun with it, why bother?Tom Reedy (talk) 14:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
The only sad thing is that because this viewpoint - which is certainly mainstream - has been systematically excluded from the article, the only way the reader of Wikipedia can avoid being mis-educated is by getting his information from the talk page. - Nunh-huh 09:14, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, I guess the viewpoint is "certainly" mainstream, but only to mainstream A##holes. Tom was "having fun", as he explained, but Nunh-huh really believes it. And that IS sad. Smatprt (talk) 16:20, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Alien abductions are mainstream also, but I hardly think people who don't know about them are miseducated. there is a mention of it in the article and a link to a vast and ever-changing main article for those who want to get educated about this important mainstream topic. (Just the other day I overheard the janitor telling someone about how everybody knew Shakespeare didn't write his own plays. His favorite candidate was Alexander Pope.)Tom Reedy (talk) 14:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Alien abductions are mainstream? That must explain your out-of-this-world sense of humor! Class warfare is also a hoot! I can't wait to hear Tom's jokes about blind people and mexicans. Always funny subjects to those who are blessed with brilliance. Go Tom! (lol) Smatprt (talk) 16:19, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Tom's comment made MY day. There IS no "Shakespeare Identity Problem." And I fail to see how anyone who has ever read the front matter of the First Folio could possibly think that there is. Carlo (talk) 20:20, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Then you better ask the countless scholars, both mainstream and not, who admit that there IS! And do check in with the growing number of academicians who do not subscribe to the mainstream view, or at least have nagging doubts. Of course, there will always be those who like to make fun, just to keep things light, and those who make fun, just to be mean. Smatprt (talk) 23:17, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Have you heard the one about the blind mexican who thought that the Earl of Oxford wrote the works of Francis Bacon? No? I'm sure there's a body of true believers in its infinite variety somewhere. The weird thing is the way that ordinary historical problems - which exists for every writer - are transmogrified into secret ciphers. As an art specialist I'm appalled by the idiocy of statements made about images by even sensible literary scholars on this matter. Its on a par with the Paul is dead phenomenon. What is said about literature seems even madder. Paul B (talk) 22:38, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
"You're so vain, so vain, I know you think this song is about you...", but sorry Paul, the song refers to McCartney! ;) Smatprt (talk) 23:21, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Er, no. I know. I was born in Penny Lane and Paul McCartney lived down the road. Paul B (talk) 23:27, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
And the countless scholars can be counted far more readily than the truly countless ones who dismiss it. As Paul McCartney said to me on the train once - "I just ignore it". (he was talking about autograph hunters, not Authorship doubters or believers in his death)Paul B (talk) 01:17, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Which, in this context, proves nothing, other than the idiocy of certain statements made by scholars and specialists, as you readily admit. I suppose I could add name droppers into that, but that would make me the Walrus. Coo-coo-ca-chew. :) Smatprt (talk) 02:40, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
In the first place, "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty, not Paul McCartney; and in the second place, it's "Goo Goo G'Joob." Just sayin' Carlo (talk) 02:49, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Damn! I always get my coo and my goo mixed up, to say nothing of my joob! (In your first place, however, you might read the thread! Paul is Dead...Smatprt (talk) 06:11, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

April 2009/the idea that Shakespear did not exist just because there is little evidence of his private life is ridiculous. almost as rediculous as the idea that he was gay. bisexual? possibly, but still there is no true evidence of any of this. just because he didnt keep a journal and the 500 year old manuscripts have been lost, doesnt mean you can start making wild acusation about a prominent historical figure. and one more strike against your argument, the writters you are saying that Shakespear stole from all died some 400 years ago(without accusations of their own), and your own accusations did not surface until 300 years after all of these people were dead. I hate when people make interpretation of their own on history without any true evidence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I think "accusation" is a slightly strong word to use. Shakespeare of Stratford certainly existed, but there's plenty of evidence that he was not considered particularly noteworthy in his own time. His death was noticed by few, and mourned by less. Nobody wrote odes etc in his memory, until much later, when tradition had taken hold. And that's what we have with Shakespeare to a far greater degree than any other significant historical or literary figure that I can think of - tradition. It's fine to have traditions, but traditions do not necessarily represent truth. Yet, these traditions are the bedrock of the "historical evidence" about Shakespeare's life and works. If it were anyone else, the scholars would be saying "Show me the proof". But Shakespeare seems immune from this rigour. Sure, there have been zillions of researches, books etc written about him - but almost all have been written in an attempt to bolster, support or even prove that the traditions are true. And some have been written in an attempt to prove some alternative theory: Oxford, Marlowe, etc. Very few have looked at the evidence dispassionately, without a preconceived idea of which way it would fall. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:02, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course, it's not at all uncommon for an artist or author's posthumous reputation to be different than that held during his life. It certainly requires no extraordinary explanation - like mistaken identity, or, worse, a conspiracy to deceive the public about one's "true" identity. There's simply no good way to know which works will "endure" until...well, until they actually endure. - Nunh-huh 22:09, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
A "conspiracy to deceive the public", set about by high ranking government officials? Well, THAT could never happen! Certainly not in Elizabethan England - no more than today! Smatprt (talk) 13:20, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
"Nobody wrote odes etc in his memory, until much later, when tradition had taken hold." Unless you count the First Folio, of course, which was a memorial edition prepared by those who knew him, and contain several extremely effusive "odes." Ah, those pesky facts. Carlo (talk) 02:29, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh please, the Folio came out seven years AFTER Shaksper of Stratford died. Here is another "pesky fact" - the Folio is full of deceptions that are recognized by even the most staunch Stratfordians (such as claiming that the plays were published according to the "true original copies" and that they were now "perfect" - blatant lies intended to help SELL the book.) Just "BUY" it, the preparers keep saying! It was just marketing at its best. As any prosecutor might say - You lied to us over and over, why should we believe you now?? One might also remember what Ben Jonson actually said about the portrait - "Look NOT on his picture, but his book"! Smatprt (talk) 13:50, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
The things you describe are not "deceptions" in any meaningful sense. And you might try reading the very line you quote "look not on his picture, but his book. Same person - picture and book. Plain as day. But you know well why we don't argue the toss about this on the talk page. We rely on reliable sources, not tittle-tattle and double-think. Paul B (talk) 14:50, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course they are deceptions. Don't be silly. "These are perfect copies according to the true Originals!" Pretty sweeping statement, and an out and out lie. Plain as day? Hardly. It could easily mean "Look not on the front man's picture, but on the real author's words. Wordplay from Ben Jonson? Oh, THAT could never have happened! Smatprt (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
"Oh please, the Folio came out seven years AFTER Shaksper of Stratford died."
Wow. Seven years. That's such a LONG LONG TIME. No one could have been left alive who knew him.
Did I say no one was alive? No. Certainly John Benson was alive, and he questioned the glorious portrait, "This shadow is renowned Shakespear's?" Smatprt (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
"You lied to us over and over, why should we believe you now??"
Like the claim that there were no odes written about Shakespeare until "much later after tradition took hold"?
Did I make that claim? No. Your response avoids the issue.Smatprt (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
"Look NOT on his picture, but his book"!
Whose book?
Shakespeare's duh. And that would be Shake-speare the writer, which could have been a pen name for someone else.Smatprt (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Are we talking about the Ben Johnson who said this in the same place:
"To draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy Booke, and Fame;
While I confesse thy writings to be such,
As neither Man, nor Muse, can praise too much."
I'm talking about the Ben who spelled his last name JONSON, duh! Smatprt (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
NOT an ode, I'm sure. Carlo (talk) 14:35, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Did I say it wasn't? No. You really need to read who signs each posting before responding because you are obviously confused! Smatprt (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Infobox cruft

The "notable works" list that was added to the bottom of the infobox is, of course (sigh), growing. Most works of Shakespeare are notable. Would anyone object if I removed it? Likewise the superfluous "influences" and "influenced" clinker. By the way, "hideable" information is against FA policy, since it can't be printed. qp10qp (talk) 13:05, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

You got my vote. I thought it was superfluous when it was added, but I didn't want to hurt someone's feelings by removing it. You know how thoughtful of others I am. It's a curse, I tell you! Tom Reedy (talk) 14:55, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Mine too, I added a bunch to make that exact point, and was hoping someone would see the light. Feel free to get rid of it, and the other bits you mentioned. Smatprt (talk) 16:31, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

On the lighter side

Ok everyone, this will bring a smile to all of you! For your listening pleasure: [[1]]Smatprt (talk) 18:52, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

And here are the lyrics if you have trouble with the brogue: [[2]]. Oy! Smatprt (talk) 19:28, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

That's pretty funny. When I first went to England in 1980 I met a Scot who had the dirtiest mouth and the kindest heart of any person I had ever met, and he sounded just like that. He was the funniest guy I think I've ever met. He could understand my accent about as well as I understood his. "What?" was our most common question.Tom Reedy (talk) 21:59, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Cobbe Portrait should replace Chandos

The Cobbe Portrait has indeed much evidence, quite beyond circumstantial, to back it up. I believe either it or the Droeshut should represent The Bard on the main page. I have attempted to place the Cobbe where the Chandos was, with no results. Any help would be greatly appreciated. -Thatindividual —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thatindividual (talkcontribs) 00:13, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Please see the lengthy discussion further down, especially the comments about the abundance of skepticism that the Cobbe has generated. FYI - new sections are generally added at the bottom of the talk page.Smatprt (talk) 00:23, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Read the Cobbe portrait article. Paul B (talk) 01:18, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Opinion about the portraits (another one!)

While I'm probably not alone in wanting the Cobbe portrait to be real (it's hard to call the Dreshout or the bust a likeness of Shakespeare, when they don't appear to be a likeness of anything approaching a human being) as it, for one, is a truly good painting (unlike the Chandos) and it makes the sitter look bright and good-looking, there's another reason I haven't seen noted about why it probably isn't him. The Cobbe person has a small but certain and clear widow's peak; I've always seen such balding men have their widow's peak accentuated, making an very clear M-shape, before going all bald, whereas the Dreshout and Chandos have a different type of baldness. Of course, I'm no dermatologist/hair-ologist, but I'm pretty sure the person in the Cobbe portrait would not go bald in the way you see in Dreshout or Chandos.

But that's beside the point - or beside MY point, which is yet another opinion on why the lead image in the article should change. I don't think the Chandos should lead this article any more than the Cobbe, not because it's an ugly painting (which it is) of an ugly person (likewise), but because it really isn't confirmed as Shakespeare, and its identification as such is also based on circumstantial evidence. I think the Dreshout (or nothing, I guess, but really the Dreshout) should lead the article, and it is no loss to remove it, if necessary, from its current position in the "Textual sources" section. The fact of the matter is that the Chandos is not unequivocally depicting Shakespeare, and shouldn't lead the article as if it was - it gives it too much validity. zafiroblue05 | Talk 00:34, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that would be too extreme. So little is known about Shakespeare that circumstantial evidence is taken very seriously, and this portrait always figures in Shakespearian scholarship. This doesn't mean that it is certainly Shakespeare, as our caption makes clear. The trail through Betterton to Davenant makes this portrait different to any of the other possibles because it takes us back to someone connected to Shakespeare. I doubt very much that the Chandos is of Shakespeare, but it is possible that it is, and that makes it essential to the article. As I said above, in my opinion, the Droeshout goes so perfectly where it is that something would be lost by moving it, as it would by demoting the Chandos. qp10qp (talk) 01:40, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I think the odds of the Chandos being Shakespeare are quite good, myself. It certainly looks to be the same person as the Droeshout, and not only is it confirmed that it was accepted as Shakespeare's portrait within living memory of his life, but also Davenant knew Shakespeare, and if he considered it his portrait as Vertue reported I think that's as good a confirmation as we're ever going to get. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:42, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

A few minor edits


A coat of arms was awarded John Shakespeare in 1596.
(modern recreation)

Please "Reconstructed Globe Theatre, London," to "The reconstructed Globe Theatre, London," and "A coat of arms was awarded John Shakespeare in 1596.(modern recreation)" to either "The coat of arms that was awarded John Shakespeare in 1596.(modern recreation)" or "A modern recreation of the coat of arms that was awarded John Shakespeare in 1596." (talk) 21:24, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

The first done.
As for the second, I've removed the coat of arms image altogether, which I am placing here for assessment. From the image information, it is "own work", which, however enterprising, would be unacceptable. qp10qp (talk) 22:11, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's right. Looking at the original drawing (e.g., [3]) the budgie is standing on a "wreath in his colours", not on a helmet. --Old Moonraker (talk) 22:26, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
It's standing on a helmet on the one above his monument. Nevertheless, I don't like this one either; it's too cartoony. Perhaps we could replace it with a photo of the one above the monument.Tom Reedy (talk) 03:31, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Note I have removed the semi-protected edit request, which I believe has been addressed by the above - i.e. the first edits done for the anon user, and the second is under consideration.
Furthermore, I see no reason for this article to remain semi-protected; whilst it is a potential target for vandals, it's also a target for non-reg folk to contribute and get involved - therefore I've got the semi protection lifted. (It had been in place since Oct 2007)
Best,  Chzz  ►  10:31, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Thought I might just mention

Just to say, I've noticed that has a whole lot of information that may help improve the article about this amazing man.

Could people please sign my guestbook too: that would be great. Ross Rhodes (talk) 22:23, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Problem in the header

The last paragraph contains this text:

"and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare"

Victorians has a link to the Victorian Era. I would think this should be Elizabethan. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Reeltime1 (talkcontribs) 14:42, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

No, bardolatry was a Victorian phenomenon. The Elizabethans didn't worship Shakespeare: they thought he was a good playwright but were unaware they had one of the world's great geniuses in their midst. qp10qp (talk) 14:47, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Confusion in article section plays

sorry I am a new user and because the page is semi-protected. I could not change what was shown. It was very confusing to follow in the fact that it seemed to contradict it self E.G. "Scholars have often noted four periods in Shakespeare's writing career. Until the mid-1590s, he wrote mainly comedies influenced by Roman and Italian models and history plays in the popular chronicle tradition. His second period began in about 1595 with the tragedy Romeo and Juliet and ended with the tragedy of Julius Caesar in 1599. During this time, he wrote what are considered his greatest comedies and histories. From about 1600 to about 1608, his "tragic period", Shakespeare wrote mostly tragedies, and from about 1608 to 1613, mainly tragicomedies, also called romances." could some one edit please. --Cladors (talk) 19:32, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that sentence about the four periods is at best poorly written and seems to be inaccurate and self-contradictory. The first two periods are not well described by that sentence. Niceedgarst (talk) 04:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)niceedgarst

Also, long study tells us that the real shakespeare was Edward La verre. Shakespeare never told that his plays were of his own because he made alot of fun of the queen in them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:57, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

This sort of silly conspiracy theory needs to be deleted. Niceedgarst (talk) 04:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)niceedgarst

Shakespeare's plays

I've noticed that the article has a list of what plays Shakespeare had writen, and that they are put into categories, though it doesn't show when they were made, I think we should add the table below that I have created on to the article or at least use the information on it. Ross Rhodes (T C) Sign! 11:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Year(s) Play
1588-1597 Love's Labour's Lost
1589-1592 Henri VI (Part 1;Titus Andronicus)
1589-1594 The Comedy of Errors
1590-1592 Henry VI (Part 2)
1590-1593 Henry VI (Part 3)
1590-1594 The Taming of the Shrew
1590-1594 The Two Gentlemen of Verona
1590-1595 Edward III
1592-1594 Richard III
1594-1596 King John
1594-1596 Romeo and Juliet
1595-1596 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1595-1596 Richard II
1596-1597 The Merchant of Venice; Henri IV (Part 1)
1597-1598 Henry IV (Part 2)
1597-1601 The Merry Wives of Windsor
1598-1599 Much Ado About Nothing
1598-1600 As You Like It
1599 Henry V
1599-1600 Julius Caesar
1599-1601 Hamlet
1600-1602 Twelfth Night
1601-1602 Troilus and Cressida
1601-1605 All's Well That Ends Well
1603-1604 Measure for Measure
1603-1604 Othello
1605-1606 King Lear
1605-1608 Timon of Athens
1606-1607 Macbeth
1606-1607 Anthony and Cleopatra
1606-1608 Pericles
1608 Coriolanus
1608-1610 Cymbeline
1609-1611 The Winter's Tale
1611 The Tempest
1612-1614 The Two Noble Kinsmen
1613 Henry VIII
The information is already in Chronology of Shakespeare's plays, which is linked from "List of works" here. Possibly too detailed for this general article. --Old Moonraker (talk) 11:39, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Greetings. I also think the list of plays is a bit odd. They are listed in the categories used by the first folio. While the first folio is authoritative in many respects, it is NOT authoritative on genre. Come on; Cymbeline is NOT a tragedy. I'm not sure about this particular chronological list (above); any chronological list would be subject to endless debates about accuracy. However, it would be useful in some ways to have a chronological list, with a disclaimer of some sort. Also, the old-fashioned designation "problem play" is not useful. Measure for Measure is a comedy. Hamlet is a tragedy. etc. The list of an "apocrypha" at the end of the list is rather odd; it is so large it seems to indicate there is a lot of doubt about what is and isn't written by shakespeare. No serious scholar believes that _Thomas Lord Cromwell_ was written by Shakespeare. Conversely, there is very broad agreement that certain parts of _Sir Thomas More_ were indeed written by Shakespeare. That play should be listed elsewhere (though genre is a problem again--it doesn't really fit in with Shakespeare's histories). Thank you. Niceedgarst (talk) 04:49, 5 June 2009 (UTC)niceedggarst —Preceding unsigned comment added by Niceedgarst (talkcontribs) 04:45, 5 June 2009 (UTC)