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Thread: The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy

  1. Top | #221
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    Instead of trying to pick out one of countless associations between De Vere and the Shakespeare canon made by Anderson - and believe me the number of associations is mind boggling - I thought to ask simply about the Stratford man's passing. When Ben Jonson died in 1637 his death was well marked, so why did the Stratford man not enjoy the same treatment?

    Should not the passing of "William Shakespeare" have been just as notable a passing as Jonson's? Why was it not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Instead of trying to pick out one of countless associations between De Vere and the Shakespeare canon made by Anderson - and believe me the number of associations is mind boggling - I thought to ask simply about the Stratford man's passing. When Ben Jonson died in 1637 his death was well marked, so why did the Stratford man not enjoy the same treatment?

    Should not the passing of "William Shakespeare" have been just as notable a passing as Jonson's? Why was it not?
    No clue.
    "Mine is the right to be wrong." - Ian Anderson

  3. Top | #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Instead of trying to pick out one of countless associations between De Vere and the Shakespeare canon made by Anderson - and believe me the number of associations is mind boggling - I thought to ask simply about the Stratford man's passing. When Ben Jonson died in 1637 his death was well marked, so why did the Stratford man not enjoy the same treatment?

    Should not the passing of "William Shakespeare" have been just as notable a passing as Jonson's? Why was it not?
    No clue.
    Moogly, (and Swammi, et al)

    A few things:

    First, I thought we were going to take it as a given that the Stratford Man was not the author of the Shakespeare canon - for the sake of argument in the thread? At least, that was what I proposed to Swammi in post # 219. I have already stated many times that I am not interested in defending the Stratfordian position. I am interested in trying to be convinced that Oxford could have written Shakespeare; and, short of that, examine other candidates and see if anyone other than De Vere could have done it.

    Thus, there is no reason for you to ask me about why Shakespeare's death went unnoticed. I do not know, and frankly, do not care. I said at the outset that I sort of agreed to what Bronzeage and DBT had pretty much said: that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet - ie, that no matter who wrote Shakespeare, it is the WORK that has come down to us that matters. We know that someone did it, right? Whether it was by committee, which I can almost guarantee is NOT the case, at least with respect to the parts that are absolutely brilliant, or by a single hand: alas and alack and welladay, that is the question.

    There is scant doubt that there were a number of different authors at various stages in some of the plays, whether Nashe, Fletcher and Beaumont, Marlowe, whoever: BUT, when it comes to a stretch of tremendously good blank verse, like the following, we can rest assured that a single hand did it:

    (from Richard III, spoken by Gloucester)

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
    And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
    But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
    Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
    I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
    To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
    I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
    Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
    Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
    Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
    And that so lamely and unfashionable
    That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
    Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
    Have no delight to pass away the time,
    Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
    And descant on mine own deformity:

    - Shakespeare, Richard III, from the opening monologue
    I could go on and post thousands of lines of equal and even superior quality, but Shakespeare readers already know them.

    Or do they?

    This is what troubles me. This is what bothers me about Oxfordians. It seems to me that in the main they are not accomplished poets themselves, and I know of several of them who have already demonstrated that they do not have an ear to apprehend the vast superiority of Shakespeare to nearly every other poet in English. There are a handful of notable poets who have come close, and I have given a few examples in the iambic pentameter thread: Milton, Keats, Tennyson, for sure, have climbed the steeps of Helicon to joust with the matchless Bard of Avon, only to lose in the end. As have Browning, Robinson, Frost, Stevens (Stevens especially), Eliot, Pound, and a host of others, many of them twentieth century poets. I could provide a LONG list of poets who have written excellent blank verse. Many were women. YAY!

    And then there were masters like Dryden, Goldsmith, and Pope, who excelled in heroic couplets. To my mind, Alexander Pope may have matched Shakespeare with respect to sheer mastery of technique, but where Pope fails is in the aesthetic value of the work he left behind. Due to his insistence on loving a good joke over excellent poetry, and his snobbish need to roast authors he knew were inferior to himself, he became fixated on satire. There are the excellent Essay on Man and Essay on Criticism, plus the pastoral Windsor Forest, all excellent and absolutely top shelf, but the bulk of his work was in scathing satire.

    I have less respect and little love for someone like Pope, who in my opinion wasted his talent in spiteful abandon, penning perfect rhyming couplets that were almost mathematically precise, and utterly flawless; but were they great works of art? Were they edifying and enriching to the mind and spirit? Or were they merely great artifacts, objectively superior in craftsmanship but ultimately not terribly inspiring? I suggest the latter is true.

    What bothers me about this particular thread is that so far no-one but myself has stepped up to defend the Shakespeare canon for the right reason, or let us say the complete reason.

    Shakespeare was not only a magnificent dramatist, a great wit, an intelligent and almost preternaturally perceptive student of human nature. He/she would have gone down in history for those qualities alone. He/she would have been world famous even had no poetry at all happened in the plays. Indeed, the prose parts are often spectacularly entertaining, insightful, witty, funny, downright hilarious, and they often rise to the heights of linguistic expression and almost flawless artistry. But where they reach truly breath-taking and sometimes astonishing beauty and power are in the sections of blank verse wherein the reader knows for certain that they are in the presence of unmatched genius. I argue that it is the quality of Shakespeare's poetry - and by that I do not refer to the sonnets, or to the narrative poems, though they are of a very high order - that sets that name higher than all the rest. I argue that it is because of the poetry that lives in the plays that the name of Shakespeare has remained large and on fire for more than four centuries, and why that flame will never perish as long as the English tongue survives.

    So, what I need is to understand why and how it is that a merely adequate poet transformed into the greatest poet in English, and perhaps the greatest poet of all time. You have said, Moogly, that miracles don't happen, which is why you are content to believe that the Stratford man couldn't have written Shakespeare. But to my mind, if De Vere wrote Shakespeare, that constitutes an even greater miracle.

    That kind of a sea-change would be virtually without match in the history of English letters, as far as I am aware. I am no scholar, but am well read, and I know a bit about poetry written in English. I have mentioned Keats. But his stellar achievement was not miraculous, and a deep study of his work affirms stylistic continuity between his early poetry and the poetry of the great Odes, The Eve of St. Agnes, Lamia, and specifically, the Hyperion fragments. In a few years, and we mean three or four, Keats went from a promising but awkward and imitative young poet to a singular genius who had mastered the art by a monumental effort, brought on by his supreme love of poetry and his awareness of an early death.

    I imagine that this kind of a transformation would be possible for someone else; BUT, Swammi supplied a link to some poems he said were composed by the Earl of Oxford when De Vere was in his thirties. Those poems, while often quite good, were not even remotely close to the quality of Shakespeare. This is subjective, of course, but you simply will not find any person who understands poetry, who knows about meter, and about the finer points of versification, and who has an ear to apprehend and appreciate the musical, or strictly auditory, sonic value of contrived speech, who will opine that De Vere's skills as a poet were on par with Shakespeare, or even close.

    I hate to harp on it, but it is important, and especially in light of the fact that there are many people who do not have the ear to appreciate the beauty of great oratory, or great poetry. Then there are those who can appreciate it, but cannot do it. Then there are those who can appreciate and almost do it. You know what I mean.

    Think of Antonio Salieri and Mozart. Salieri, though a highly skilled composer, and appreciated by many (and unfairly characterized in the famous film) was able to grasp the superiority of Mozart's music, but could not compose on that level. Composing magnificent music was not difficult for Mozart, in fact it was easy for him. This was OH so frustrating for someone like Salieri (at least in the film! And the film works even though it takes liberties with reality) because he could hear, he could apprehend the majesty of Mozart's compositions, but despite his technical skill he could not compose the same way, on the same hyperboreal level.

    Think of Frank Zappa. There are millions of fans who love Zappa, but due to an ordinary, earthbound grasp of music, will never fully comprehend, never totally apprehend, and really understand, what sets Zappa apart from virtually everyone else in the popular music world, not only by virtue of his incredible native talent, along with his learned understanding and mastery of music theory and formal notation, but by the (apparent, to us mere mortals!) ease with which he composed and recorded, and the sheer magnitude of his total output. I sure as hell don't grasp it. Even someone like Steve Vai wasn't able to share the same space as Frank Zappa, and could only revere him and remain in comparative discipleship.

    I must leave off right here - but I want to go back to one of Bronzeage's posts, where he said something to the effect that to Shakespeare, the plays were "hack" work. Work. He made money from it. He was a business man.

    Zappa was a business man also, and had a similar lofty detachment from the rest of the musical world. He was recognized in his lifetime as a genius but ultimately, while he himself recognized that he was probably a musical genius, he didn't make much of it. Making albums was something that not only made him millions, but satisfied his need to create music, at least partially. He had ambition. He wrote experimental music of all kinds, jazz, rock, what have you; but he also wrote orchestral music.

    Have you heard any of Zappa's orchestral music? I owned an album recorded with the London Symphony. I admit I did not and COULD NOT appreciate it. I believe Zappa was not very satisfied with the experience, or with the product.

    When asked, "How does one get the prestigious London Symphony to record their work?", Zappa replied in his point blank fashion:

    "You pay them."

    More later. Please read this. I know it's lengthy.
    Last edited by WAB; Yesterday at 06:02 AM. Reason: editing! forsooth.....
    "Mine is the right to be wrong." - Ian Anderson

  4. Top | #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAB View Post
    So, what I need is to understand why and how it is that a merely adequate poet transformed into the greatest poet in English, and perhaps the greatest poet of all time. You have said, Moogly, that miracles don't happen, which is why you are content to believe that the Stratford man couldn't have written Shakespeare. But to my mind, if De Vere wrote Shakespeare, that constitutes an even greater miracle.
    So we both discount the Stratford man but differ on Oxford. Along with others we both hold that parts of the Canon are a collaborative effort. I'm good with that.

    I'm still reeling a bit from the rest of that post, I mean, you really know your stuff when it comes to poetry and authors. I'm blown away, it's obviously your domain. I on the other hand enjoy sitting down and watching 600 episodes of forensic files. So our perspectives are quite different and I'm not going to try to convince you that Oxford is the primary source of the Shakespeare Canon based on literary accomplishment and greatness. That's not my domain.

    If I personally had any serious doubts that Oxford was that primary source Looney and Anderson answered those doubts for me. The historical dates, the associations in life with the Shakespeare Canon, the use of pseudonyms and twenty other things have laid those doubts to rest. As do others, Anderson points to 1604, the year of De Vere's death, and the end of any new Shakespeare. I will look to find the paragraph so that I may present it accurately but for now I thought it proper to post this letter from De Vere to Cecil concerning the death of Elizabeth. At this time De Vere's life has been a shambles, his health is failing and he is living unceremoniously his final days.

    I cannot but find a great grief in myself to remember the mistress which we have lost - under whom both you and myself from our greenest years have been in a manner brought up. And although it hath pleased God, after an earthly kingdom, to take her up into a more permanent and heavenly state, wherein I do not doubt but she is crowned with glory ... yet the long time which we spent in her service, we cannot look for so much left of our days as to bestow upon another ....
    In this common shipweck, mine is above all the rest - who least regarded, though often comforted, of all of her followers, she hath left to try my fortune among the alterations of time and chance; either without sail whereby to take advantage of any prosperous gale; or with[out] anchor to ride till the storm be overpassed.


    And this just one tiny example of his writing style. I think the tin letters are a great example also, but Anderson's work is filled with similar writings. I will try to locate and post Anderson's short paragraaph concerning 1604, not that one cannot find a similar argument elsewhere.

  5. Top | #225
    Veteran Member WAB's Avatar
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    I will try and acquire Anderson's book.
    "Mine is the right to be wrong." - Ian Anderson

  6. Top | #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAB View Post
    I will try and acquire Anderson's book.
    If you are able, please read Appendix C, perhaps even read it first. It lays out the argument that 1604 was the last year that new or revised Shake-speare work appeared. As Swammi noted earlier the absence of major scientific discoveries in Shake-speare after 1604 is obvious as compared to earlier works. Also, before 1604 it was common for revised works to appear, but this stopped in 1604, the year of De Vere's death.

  7. Top | #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by WAB View Post
    I will try and acquire Anderson's book.
    If you are able, please read Appendix C, perhaps even read it first. It lays out the argument that 1604 was the last year that new or revised Shake-speare work appeared. As Swammi noted earlier the absence of major scientific discoveries in Shake-speare after 1604 is obvious as compared to earlier works. Also, before 1604 it was common for revised works to appear, but this stopped in 1604, the year of De Vere's death.
    Okay, but thou wilt have to bear with me, O thou Moogly. Money is tight at the moment.

    Remember that, like poor Gulielmus Shakspere, I was born to a working father (and my mother helped). My beginnings were humble. I lived in a 60 foot trailer until I was twelve. In 1976, my parents purchased a hunting cottage (called a "bungalow"), in upstate New York, in a little town called Mountainville. The price of this grand manor was...hold onto your breeches...13,000 USD. Since my father is a wiz carpenter, plumber, electrician, and mechanic, he worked on this humble house for many years, and when it was sold in 1988, it went for 80,000 USD. I mean only to say that my father (and my beloved and quite beautiful mother - she looked like Liz Taylor when she was a lass) is, and was, a wonderful person. We never wanted for anything. We never went hungry. We never went without new clothes and new shoes (unlike poor John Osbourne of Birmingham [Ozzy], who was born to a factory worker (and his mother helped), and was "dirt poor". He often went with no shoes. Alas and welladay, I never had it bad. My father and mother raised their three whippersnappers with great love and patience. Believe me, they needed a LOT of patience with their young William, who is me.

    Isn't it funny that I took Gulielmus Beta as my username here? You know why? Mainly it was because that is William B in Latin, and my first handle here at TFT (formerly Internet Infidels, FRDB, etc.) was WilliamB.

    At Eratosphere, where I hung with many accomplished poets, my username was Williamb. I don't know why I chose to type the 'b' in lower case. For a long time people assumed I was punning on the word "iamb". But that was not the case. I am not that clever.

    Anyway, when I had my first psychotic episode, in 2010 or so, I began to obsess over my first name. Think of these coincidences:

    • I was born in 1964. Shakespeare was born in 1564.
    • I was named William.
    • My father is/was named William. What's odd is that I am the second son, not the first. Even odder, I looked like him, while my brother looked more like my mother. Hence, he was more handsome, as my mother was far better looking than dear old Dad. My elder brother was the alpha, and I was the beta.
    • So, I was the second son, and the second William.
    • Also, get this: I was born on July 2. My brother was born a year and one day before me, on July 1, 1963.
    • Also, the word iamb is in my name, as is I am; also, will. An iamb is a metrical unit containing 2, count 'em, Two feet.
    • my ex-wife was named Zoila. Common spelling of this hispanic name is Soyla. Soy la means 'I am the' in Spanish. She is also a poet. We had two sons.
    • The name William also contains two of the letter "l". II means 2.




    Can you begin to see why I became a tad obsessed with the number 2, and the concept, second? I began to fancy myself the second coming of William Shakespeare! This was NOT as a youngster, but as an adult, when I began to lose my marbles. My interest in poetry happened out of the blue. There are no poets in my family, maternal or paternal; there are no literary people at all. I believe my love of poetry began as an outlet for my creative impulse, and my intelligence. I was around fourteen when I started to like poetry, especially song lyrics. I don't believe I was crazy then, just shy and plain. I could not get the girls, like my brother. I had plenty of time alone to learn how to scribble poems. I did it myself. I did not show interest in poetry in high school. In fact, I was embarrassed by it. I thought it was a defect, because everyone around me seemed to think that poets were lazy and foolish. Which I kind of was. But that passed.

    I know, too much information.

    Let me settle down and catch my breath.


    ***

    We can discuss the Anderson book when and if I get hold of it. As for now, let me say a few things:

    You say that you are convinced that De Vere wrote Shakespeare. Well, surely you know that the vast majority of Shakespeare scholars are not convinced. In fact, they dismiss the whole SAQ as being silly. They dismiss the Earl of Oxford, not arbitrarily, but because they know a thing or two about this poor little Will Shakspere, TSM. They know a whole lot more than I do. I take that as a given. Sorry, but I must also take it as a given that these scholars know more about poor little Gulielmus, son of John the glover, than you or Swammi, and indeed, more than the vast majority of Oxfordians. Do you dispute this?

    I realize that many scholars have not looked at the evidence, and pooh-pooh the entire SAQ with a wave of their hands and a rustle of tweed and pipe smoke. I am not defending nor siding with those people.

    Also, you say that this refusal to question Stratfordian authorship is due primarily to some "religious" delusion, or bias, and you compare very educated scholars with religious fundamentalists. I believe this comparison is premature, unfounded, and downright silly.

    Nonetheless, I wish to be persuaded to take the Oxford theory seriously; and it IS true that you and Swammi have cast doubt on this Stratford bloke in my own little mind. I am not "faithful" to TSM, nor horribly offended to consider that he was not responsible for the Shakespeare canon.

    We shall proceed. But I cannot be persuaded that De Vere wrote Shakespeare until and unless I have ample reason to do so, and so far, I do not have a reason yet, ample or otherwise. I have listened to videos, and read many articles by Oxfordians, and visited many web pages dedicated to the SAQ, but I remain skeptical. Sorry, but nothing this thread or you, or Swammi, have shone me, has caused me to believe that De Vere could have written Shakespeare.

    I do believe that he may have had a hand in co-authorship. His life-stories and experiences could very well have been fodder for the brilliant poet who composed the magnificent poetry found in the Shakespeare Canon. Marlowe, maybe; William Stanley, this Neville fellow? Who knows. Perhaps there was more extensive cooperation going on. Perhaps De Vere provided his story, his history, his legal experience, his experience at court? Perhaps someone like Marlowe or Stanley wrote the blank verse? Or someone else not yet discovered?

    Or, just perhaps, Will Shakspere was a super-genius who went to London to live in a garret and learn how to write amazing poetry? When he had learned sufficiently, he returned to Stratford, to his family, with a plan to be an actor and part owner of a company that performed dramas. Perhaps he was a super-genius who preferred, like Zappa, to assure his security as a business man, letting his career as a poet and author take a back seat? Perhaps, when he was rich and well established, he retired, and wrote no more?

    Who knows? Perhaps only the Shadow knoweth...

    More later...
    "Mine is the right to be wrong." - Ian Anderson

  8. Top | #228
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    Am I correct that these are the serious candidates for the Authorship? (Sorted by putative death year.)
    1564-1593?) Christopher Marlowe
    1550-1604) Edward de Vere (17th E of Oxford)
    1576-1612) Roger Manners (5th E of Rutland)
    1564-1615) Sir Henry Neville (of Billingbeare)
    1564-1616) William Shakspere (of Stratford)
    1561-1627) Francis Bacon (1st Visc. St. Alban)
    1561-1642) William Stanley (6th E of Derby)
    I checked List_of_Shakespeare_authorship_candidates for Wiki's list, but it is huge! I wonder if any that I'm missing are serious candidates for the primary authorship? (Reading that Wiki article reminds us that Wiki is happy to publish whatever insulting garbage it dredges up, so long as a 51% majority seems to approve.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swammerdami View Post
    Am I correct that these are the serious candidates for the Authorship? (Sorted by putative death year.)
    1564-1593?) Christopher Marlowe
    1550-1604) Edward de Vere (17th E of Oxford)
    1576-1612) Roger Manners (5th E of Rutland)
    1564-1615) Sir Henry Neville (of Billingbeare)
    1564-1616) William Shakspere (of Stratford)
    1561-1627) Francis Bacon (1st Visc. St. Alban)
    1561-1642) William Stanley (6th E of Derby)
    I checked List_of_Shakespeare_authorship_candidates for Wiki's list, but it is huge! I wonder if any that I'm missing are serious candidates for the primary authorship? (Reading that Wiki article reminds us that Wiki is happy to publish whatever insulting garbage it dredges up, so long as a 51% majority seems to approve.)
    The one obvious name I've regularly heard mentioned is Elizabeth herself. Of course I discount that. The greater the number of candidates the sillier the authorship question appears to the uninformed observer, so it isn't exactly unusual for the number to be huge.

    WAB,
    Money is money. Is there a library near you that will allow you to check things out? That's my MO. Were I a more serious devotee I would purchase the books, though discounted. The books are available for a fraction of the cost if one is okay with used but serviceable items, as you are likely aware. And you are quite the wordsmith.

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