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Shakespeare Scholars: 1. Stephen Greenblatt

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I agree with you. That shit is tedious. And Shakespeare was never able to wholly free himself of his addiction to it.


Incidentally, in the same Agee review I mention above he mentions that Shakespeare's comic situations and characters have not survived the centuries into our own day without a sort of overly indulgent condescension that Agee finds distasteful.


Johnson, on the other hand, argued that Shakespeare was fundamentally a comic spirit, who labored to produce in tragedies what he accomplished without effort in comedy.


Of Johnson's powerful intellect and perceptions there can be no doubt. And in most things he says, he is persuasive. I don't follow him so readily down this path, however.

Greenblatt did not say a word about his book until twenty-six minutes into the monologue. The preamble was stream of consciousness nonsense, useless to anyone. When he did begin to discuss Shakespeare and read a bit from the book, he evidenced interest in the subject, with no particular organizing principle.  About Shakespeare, his work, his background, his expressiveness, his erudition, he had superlatives--inconceivable, unbelievable, amazing.  These do not amount to literary history or criticism. He subconsciously admits he doesn't know a thing about 'Shakespeare' and why he wrote the Shakespeare canon. Yet in response to questioning from the audience he states as fact that Shakespeare was very bright, that he was a quick study, that he got books from his friend Richard Field, the publisher, that he went through a "ferocious" learning process at grammar school, equivalent to Andover, that he hated to pay taxes and gave his books to a friend in order to avoid estate tax on those that would have been in his will inventory.

All these loose conjectures are utter complete bull-shit.  Greenblatt was not even conscious of the literary scholar's responsibility to explain the genesis, motivation, or preparation for high literature.  He explained nothing, just said whatever came to mind. He is a study in irresponsibility. There was a lot of talk about "unblemished face".  In the Elizabethan literature this was was "fair", meaning demi- god-like countenance, indicating high birth and spirituality.  "Fair" figured very importantly in Shakespeare. Nothing about that and why there are so many references to the "fair youth" in the Sonnets, an obviously autobiographical work. Was the author in love with the fair youth?  Was he the father of the fair youth?  Was the fair youth heir to the throne of England sicne there are so many references to him as royal?  Greenblatt could care less.  He knows all he needs to know.  He has a job.

His entire character description of "Shakespeare" is fiction, derived illogically from an a priori decision that the allonymous Shakspere of Stratford was indeed, without further examination, Shakespeare, the author-name on the works.  Greenblatt's response to inquiry on author identity matters was to say in the New Yorker that such inquirers are the equivalent of Holocaust deniers. 

This is seriously deficient morality and intellectual practice. Rational analysis invites and includes questioning, even major questioning of supposed settled thought. But Greenblatt's response is tantamount to racist-hatred. Greenblatt is a Jew.  I am a Jew.  Eighty-two of my relatives were murdered in Romania in World War II.  I have manifold reasons to doubt Greenblatt's myopic, arrogant version of English literature and history, the anomaly of Shakespeare in particular. Am I a Holocaust denier, or just like a Holocaust denier?

Shame on this fraud, who was saccharine sweet to say at the end that he had to get home to look after his nine-year-old son. after wasting his audience's time and betraying their trust.

It is my firm belief that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, the self-same Shakspere whose birth has been computed to have been April 23, 1564, is the author of the works attributed to him. Not Marlowe, not Derby, not Bacon, not that pathetically self-centered asshole Oxford, nor anyone else -- just the middle-class glover's son who went off to London, worked in the theater, made enough dough to buy plenty of real property, and came home to die among the family to whom he willed most of his goods.


I can -- and do -- say all this and still say that the Holocaust happened. Greenblatt applied an uncomfortable and apparently hurtful comparison, one that is needlessly provocative. But even if I denied the Holocaust, I'd still be right about Shakespeare, while those who deny Shakespeare's authorship -- even those who lost family members in the Holocaust -- would still be wrong. 

That's a fine upstanding declaration, and the only problem is providing any factual or logically consistent argument to back it up.

You obviously haven't read the historical or literary background, so your statement of belief is empty.  But I would excuse you as trusting in the folly you have been taught and now as an adult accept as self-evident.  I do not excuse Greenblatt. His office is to seek the truth and unmask falsehood.  He embraced a perpetuated legend and gave it academic endorsement, without examination.

Would it surprise you that Gulielmus Shakspere of Stratford was memorialized in the Shakespeare canon and the works of Jonson? That the four Williams in the Shakespeare canon are all fools and knaves? That Sogliardo, who bought his gentleman status, and whose motto was "Not Without Mustard", ridiculing Shakspere's "Not Without Right", is an anagram of O's [Oxford's] liar dog? That his alter-ego in Every Man Out of His Humor, Sordido, is a bald clue that Sogliardo was also sordid? That Poetaster (Poet-aster=Poet follower) features a plagiarist Crispinus, and that Crispinus is Latin for curly, like a sheep?  Shakspere was a wool broker. In the play he is a parcel-poet, i.e., a tinsel poet, an imposter.

There are manifold facts in this issue that, comprehended and analyzed, show up the Stratford upon Avon narrative of money-lender-makes-good-in-London as a fraud. 

At first it was the proffered ambiguous myth peddled by the First Folio and the Shakespeare Monument--both contrivances. Then it became the default story for lack of the truth during cultural and political upheaval.  Now we have the documents and means to seek the truth. But this function the academic dons will not take up.  In doing so they will have been laughingstocks as believers in an expedient fraud that became customary truth, or as we say, official truth.

You may go on being simple-minded and gullible.  The herd instinct is strong in human groups. But then the story of the Shakespeare canon will always be a two-dimensional idealization, instead of a real story of a rebel noble, who used the Shakespeare pseudonym and whose name was denied to his works posthumously. And his pseudonym became attributed to a like-sounding name, Shakspere, who had meddled and impersonated for profit, playing on those similar names. The Stationers Company knew he was an imposter, but it got the plays out to the public without disclosing the high aristocrat author. The big lie didn't start with George Bush, sky-scraper-dropping kerosene fires at the Twin Towers, and the WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION! scare tactic.  The big lie is a predictable characteristic of nation-states, early and late, for whom legitimacy is more important that individual or cultural truth.  Or you can inform yourself.  There are many good monographs assiduously seeking the truth and expressing it well. Greenblatt's do not rank among them.  They will be a humorous pitiful curiosity when the paradigm shifts.

William Ray

If you're looking for herd instinct then stick with the Oxfordians. The collective fear that keeps cloven-hooved quadrupeds together is about all the "evidence" they have to prove their case.


I've been down this road many times. You may find another such discussion in the thread devoted to the movie Anonymous. I didn't dodge an argument there on the issue of Shakespeare's authorship, and I certainly won't back off from one here.

But since you're using the precise technique of proving your point that you charge against Greenblatt -- insulting your adversary rather than specifying the evidence on which you base your claims -- I'm more than willing to return the favor.


So let me state this in a way that will be easy for you to understand:


First, I don't give a shit about the Holocaust. Everybody lost family during the war. So your self-righteous pontificating ain't gonna work around here. You wanna huff-and-puff, go right ahead. But nobody's gonna listen. The only way to get someone's attention is to cite evidence -- not that meaningless tripe you lapped up in conspiracy theory books about Edward de Vere, but evidence -- the sort that you insist Greenblatt and the rest of us cattle are trying to conceal.


Second, if you think the First Folio and the "monument" -- (by which I assume you mean the monument at Stratford-upon-Avon) -- are "contrivances", then you're dumber than I think you are. And be-lieve me. I already think you're dumber than a crate of maggot-ridden apricots.


Third, the only person "simple and gullible" around here is you. It's clear you've spent no quality time in Elizabethan scholarship, that you'll buy any horseshit the Oxfordians will sell, and that your monomaniacal point of view has ceased to be an opinion and has become, instead, a morbid symptom.


Despite your expectations when you use your standard opening gambit of haranguing others for their ignorance, I have read some of the historical background. I've even wasted my time on Looney, the Ogburn clan, and Sobran, among many others. So don't play the scholar with me. As far as I can tell from what you've posted you don't know your ass from your elbow about any of this and are just repeating, like a ventriloquist's dummy, the almost superhuman horseshit you've read in the conspiracy manuals.


You wanna impress us with your intelligence? Try something new -- like, for example, cite me to a contemporary Elizabethan or Jacobean document that says -- unambiguously and without "interpretive" bias -- that Oxford (or anyone else) either wrote any of Shakespeare's plays or ever claimed to have written them. Tell me the evidence -- not the supposition, the speculation, the Grassy Knoll bullshit, but the evidence -- upon which you rely for the statement that the "Stationers Company knew he was an imposter."


By the way, all you're gonna get with the claim that the plays are filled with coded anagrams that reveal the "real" author's name is a good laugh all around. The Friedmans destroyed all that mouseshit in their book about Shakespearean ciphers nigh on sixty years ago. Since you give the inference that you've read the historical materials, I'm sure you're familiar with their thesis. They didn't approach the subject solely as "literary" sleuths, but as trained cryptographers accustomed to working with the most sophisticated codes.


Lemme sum all this up: You're as fulla shit as a Christmas turkey, pal. And you talk outa your ass -- not surprising, since that's where your head is.

In reply to Sevorin:

After ignoring the evidence I alluded to, which is artfully integrated into the plays and characters of 'Shakespeare' and Jonson, you say it is no evidence? Then curse and rant? Why vituperate if you have facts?

Here are a few more items of evidence, expressed in the language of the times, buttressing that Shakespeare and Oxford were known in the Elizabethan culture to be the same person:

Gabriel Harvey, 1578: "[T]hou hast drunk deep draughts not only of the Muses of France and Italy, but hast learned the manners of many men, and the arts of foreign countries . . . . Thine eyes flash fire, thy countenance shakes a spear . . . "  Shakspere was fourteen.

Gabriel Harvey, 1580: Harvey writes of his early friendship with John Lyly when the latter was employed by Lord Oxford: "[Y]oung Euphues (Lyly) hatched the eggs that his elder friends laid." Lyly is asserted by Stratfordian scholars as having influenced the plays of Shakespeare.

William Webbe , A Discourse on English Poetry (1586): "I may not omit the deserved commendations of many honorable and noble Lords, and Gentlemen, in her Majesty's Court, which in the rare devices of Poetry, have been and yet are most excellent skillful, among whom, the right honorable Earle of Oxford may challenge to himself the title of the most excellent among the rest." Oxford had just produced the early version of 'Hamlet', attested to by Thomas Nashe's ‘An Epistle to the Gentlemen Students of the Two Universities,

Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (1589): "That for Tragedy, the Lord of Buckhurst, and Master Edward Ferrys for such doings as I have seen of theirs do deserve the highest price: Th'Earl of Oxford and Master Edwardes of her Majesty's Chapel for Comedy and Interlude."


"In her Majesty’s time that now is, are sprung up

another crew of Courtly makers (ie. poets),

noblemen and gentlemen of her Majesty's own

servants, who have written excellently well, as

it would appear if their doings could be found

out and made public, with the rest, of which

number is first that noble gentleman, Edward,

Earl of Oxford . . ."


Hall wrote a verse in 1598 referring to Labeo, compared to a cuttle fish that hides himself in clouds of ink.  He refers to a "Labeo who wrote Venus and Adonis", and Marston did as well.  He later wrote the following tribute:


            “Far fly thy fame,

Most, most of me beloved, WHOSE SILENT NAME

ONE LETTER BOUNDS. Thy true judicial style

I ever honour, and if my love beguile

Not much my hopes, they thy unvalu’d worth

Shall mount fair place when APES are turned forth.”

Richard Barksted (1607):

"And Shakespeare thou, whose hony-flowing Vaine,
(Pleasing the World) thy praises doth obtaine.
Whose Venus, and whose Lucrece (sweete, and chaste)
Thy name in fames immortall Booke have plac't.
Live ever you, at least in Fame live ever :
Well may the Bodye dye, but Fame dies never."

Vere had died in 1604. One of his mottos was: To seek fame is serious.


The rhetoric teacher, John Vicars, referred to “the famous poet” (celeber poeta) in 1621 with the words: “qui a quassatione et hasta nomen habet” - "who takes his name from the shaking and spear."

Jonson (1623): In his introductory poem to the Folio edition of 1623 Ben Jonson gives an obvious clue to the reader: “his well turned and true filed lines, / In each of which he seems to shake a lance”. His repeats Harvey’s early statement that Oxford’s countenance "shakes a speare at ignorance".

Richard Brathwait (1634): “Let me tell you: London never saw writers more gifted than the ones I saw during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  And never were there more delightful plays than the ones performed by youth whose author wrote under a borrowed name.”  Brathwait also honoured plays “Prettily shadowed in a borrowed name.” (Strappado for the Devil) Oxford sponsored the Oxford Boys and Oxford's Men. The borrowed name was his nickname, Shake-speare.

Match the facts, or what seems more likely given your rhetoric, once more time ignore them.

You are mistaken about the Friedmans' supposed cryptological analysis of Oxford.  The Folger Shakespeare Library specifically forbade the discussion of Oxford's anagrams and the code language in the First Folio and the Shakespeare Monument. The Friedmans' (funded) book was solely intended to discount Bacon, which it did.

I condemn Greenblatt, not for who he is, but for what he has failed to do as a scholar and what fiction he states as fact.  These are reprehensible actions. They indicate intentional and arrogant ignorance of important and central features of Shakespearean studies, as though they do not exist and are beneath acknowledgment. I have not made an ad hominem attack but pointed to professional lacks. He does not want to know what differs from his a priori impressions.

William Ray

Sevorin does not respond to the evidence presented showing that contemporaneous authors knew Oxford was "Shakespeare". I will proceed to respond to his challenge for evidence that the Stationers' Company allowed pirated plays, despite the impersonation, by Shakspere, of their author (name) "Shakespeare".

The evidence requested exists in the plays of Ben Jonson and "Shakespeare" , i.e., Oxford, himself.  In The Tempest, Stephano steals Prospero's books.  Prospero is generally accepted as the master, the author, himself.  The books represent the works of the master. Stephano attempts to kill the master, in order to take over the Island.

Jonson took up this same name and characteristics of a thief/imposter in Every Man in His Humor. Master Stephen claims that he is his "uncle's" heir, and he will make a pretty living once he has taken his uncle's place.  That uncle "is a man of a thousand a year".  Oxford had a life-time grant from the Crown of a thousand pounds a year.

The implication of these characterizations is that Shakspere mendaciously impersonated someone somehow related to him. In the 1601 edition of the play, Master Stephen was to be bound and punished in the marketplace for his crime--humiliated. But in the 1616 collected works, Jonson had the thief judged under terms of "forgive and forget" (5.1) Which is what happened in reality. Shakspere got off.

The Parnassus plays also feature a gull who is humiliated, but by ridicule.  His name is Gullio.  Shakspere's Latin name was Gulielmus. Gullio steals others' poetry. He is called a "haberdasher of lies".

Likewise in Every Man Out of His Humor Sogliardo (O's liar dog) is in collusion with printers who use him as their "countenance", their front, for pirated plays.  The screaming implication is that Shakspere fronted that he was his near name-sake Shakespeare.

Your sneering demand is where is the evidence that the Stationers' Company allowed this plagiaristic practice.  Because some pirated Shakespeare plays were approved for publication, despite the impersonating representations put forth by Shakspere. The practice was literarily recorded and reflected both in Jonson's and "Shakespeare's" plays as seen above.  Oxford was able to stop-press six pirated plays between 1597 and 1603.  He did not do more, nor did the Stationers' Company. Presumably that would risk greater visibility as writing for the public. The advantage of the misrepresentation was deflection and confusion regarding the actual, aristocratic, source.

In the six individual cases, Katherine Chiljan's 'Shakespeare Suppressed' stated, "The Lord Chamberlain [of Revels] and officials in the Stationers' Company were apparently acting on the great author's behalf."

After 1603, Shakspere returned to Stratford and except for brief visits left London. The only plays that issued from that point were Lear (1608), Troilus and Cressida (1609), The Tempest (1611), Macbeth (1612), and Othello (1622).  All are tracable to the anonymous work of Oxford, before Shakspere came on the scene in London in 1592. The introduction to T&C stated that that play "escaped" from the "Grand Possessors".  Grand was a term for the nobility, most likely Oxford's daughter, Susan who married Philip Herbert, one of the dedicatees of the First Folio. The other dedicatee was his brother William, who had control over publication of plays after years seeking the office.

Your move.

My move is simple. There's not a word of scholarly truth in anything you utter. What you call "evidence" is one false assertion after another, carried on without let-up throughout your entire post.


Everything you say starts with the assumption -- completely unproved -- that your interpretation of the meanings of the texts of plays written by Shakespeare and Jonson are the only ones permissible. To you, every line in them, every scene, is no more than a cover-up for the real low-down, that every scene and its dialogue are composed as part of some enormous scheme not only to hide the true identity of the author of the Shakespearean canon, but also to leave coded disclosures to allow anyone clever enough to see their meaning, to break at once through the conspiracy and learn the truth.


The sheer monumental idiocy of such a conception beggars scholarship -- which is based on the patient, step-by-step accretion of detail. Like Goebbels said, no one believes a small lie. But everybody believes a big one. My friend, you have lapped up that big lie like a cat over a saucer of cream.


You're not concerned with anything that approaches scholarship. It's already pointless to tell you that none of your interpretations of the works of Shakespeare and Jonson are anything more than fantasies -- that what you say is not "generally accepted" by anyone outside your circle of anti-scholarly nincompoops.


You're past saving. You've already adopted a point of view, and no evidence will be allowed to change it. That point of view prevents you from reading Shakespeare or Jonson as anything other than compendiums of hidden clues to determine who the real author is.


My real question is, why bother?


If Shakespeare's The Tempest is no more than a game of who-killed-Colonel-Mustard-in-the-bathroom?, then why read Shakespeare at all. You've spent all this time pissing away the value of the works themselves. And, pity to say, you've pissed away all that time for nothing. You're as fulla shit today as you were when you began this imbecile quest. Your whole reading life is worthless and wasted.


What you describe as going on in the plays is simply your own misperceptions. You don't want to read anything I say. You won't believe it anyway. I can tell you the plots really don't consist of veiled references to the lives of Oxford and the man you're pleased to call Shakspere. But why should I try to save you? You're too far gone to listen to anything that approximates reason. Every syllable you utter under the name "evidence" is no evidence at all. It's just your spastic regurgitation of what some other deluded asshole has written and that you have come, in your sickness, to believe is the real meaning of the plays.


If you want, I'll go through each sentence of your post and ask only, "Why are you interpreting this scene or this passage in that way?" But we both know the answer.


For all your hollering about truth and herd instinct and literary history you have no interest in learning anything. Your mind is long since made up. As I told another Oxfordian elsewhere on this site, you've become Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove. If you have any intellect left to read your shit with anything like detachment, you'll see it at once -- the steady, passionate, firmly held belief in absolute nonsense. "It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? Foreign substances introduced into our precious bodily fluids . . ."


Substitute Stratfordianism for fluoridation and I've got you cold.

Lear (1608), Troilus and Cressida (1609), The Tempest (1611), Macbeth (1612), and Othello (1622).  All are tracable to the anonymous work of Oxford, before Shakspere came on the scene in London in 1592


Yes, dear. Now take your medicine and be a good boy. When you wake up tomorrow you'll feel worlds better. A good night's sleep might tell you that simply repeating bullshit doesn't make it true.

Let me see if I can get this message across to you:


I don't object to quoting passages of dialogue from the plays or lines from the poems as a means of dating and ordering Shakespeare's plays. There is some scholarly basis for that -- changes in his diction, number of run-on lines, percentage of prose to poetry, etc.


But do not use the texts to establish their author's identity. It's unacceptable when Stratfordians do it, and it's quite as offensive when it's done by anti-Stratfordians.


The texts are equally susceptible of contrary interpretations. So don't waste my time by claiming we can read Oxford's life in Hamlet, or that the "bed-trick" in All's Well that Ends Well
could only refer to analogues in Oxford's marriage. Goddamn near
anybody can find tastes of his or her life in Shakespeare's plays.


And do not, I beg of you, challenge Stratfordians for relying only on mere supposition when Oxfordians are relentless implementers of that very un-scholarly practice. Read over your post. How much "evidence" is there that you don't draw from plays and plays alone?


That's not scholarship and it's not an example of competent literary history. It may work for you in the joints, Bill. But it don't work around here.

Sevorin did not respond because Sevorin had work to do and could not confine all his energies to this thread. However, Sevorin has discharged his other obligations and will now give you his attention.


First, it’s true that the Friedmans' book was directed principally at Bacon enthusiasts -- but only because Bacon was the darling of the day for anti-Stratfordians. In the years since the book was published other candidates have come to the fore. But the thesis of the book is the same, regardless of which alternative "hero" is chosen -- codes have no meaning unless they are not  subject to change at the whim of the "decoder". Those who find inescapable evidence in Shakespeare’s or others’ texts that the true author is being "revealed" invariably argue that their  particular choice -- be it Bacon or Rutland or Derby or Marlowe or Queen Elizabeth (yes, her too) or Oxford -- is the only one being referred to by the so-called coded material. If you think Sogliardo is simply an anagram of "O's liar dog ", then nothing can help you. It may be fun to play with such nonsense, but it's not scholarship -- and you and I both know it. You can just as easily translate that name into “good liars” or “L’s good air” or “do a girl so” or “God roils” or any number of interpretations – all of them equally ridiculous to you or to me, but perhaps fraught with profound truth to the one who chooses to read “Sogliardo” that way.


Second, I see you adopt a shotgun approach, firing buckshot in the vain hope that some of it will hit the target. Not so, my friend. Here we go, pellet by pellet:


The 1578 Harvey quote is worthless. Are you arguing that de Vere remembered “shakes a spear” for decades, then chose “Shakespeare” as his nom de plume  because he happened upon a bumpkin with that name – a bumpkin who happened to have been fourteen when the words were first uttered? That is a stretch, isn’t it? If Oxford were as smart and gifted as his acolytes make him out to be, why would he choose a name to hide behind that was so closely associated with him? (I ask that question, of course, ironically. This whole “shakes a spear” business is the reddest of red herrings. It’s a perfect specimen of the clutch-at-any-straw scholarship the Oxfordians engage in.)


The 1580 Harvey quote proves what, precisely? Lyly was pretty popular in his day and no doubt inspired plenty of literary aspirants. Personally, I disagree with any Stratfordian claim that he was a stylistic influence on Shakespeare. The Bard’s work is free of the flowery technique that so characterizes euphuism – Lyly’s specialty. At any rate Oxford was Lyly’s patron, not his employer. They had a falling out by 1582. So I don’t know what you’re driving at by the quote that Lyly “hatched the eggs” laid by his elders. Are you trying to pinpoint a steady stream of “influence” from de Vere to Lyly to Shakespeare? Or are you suggesting that Oxford wrote not only Shakespeare’s works, but also Lyly’s?

Webbe’s 1586 asslicking comment about Oxford’s poesie proves nothing other than that Oxford was already known for writing poetry before the great plays in the canon were written. I don’t deny it. By the way, that fact hardly supports the usual Oxfordian argument that he had to conceal his identity because it was “unseemly” for great lords to be known as poets.


At the end of the Webbe paragraph you slyly insert the remark that Oxford “had just produced” – by which I assume you mean, had just written -- an early version of Hamlet and that this is “attested to” by Thomas Nashe. That statement is complete bullshit. Nashe “attests” to no such thing. He mentions the word “Hamlets” – a plural expression -- without identifying any particular play or any particular writer.


The Puttenham quote is interesting. It would have been much more interesting if you didn’t cut the quote short and complete it with an ellipsis. The paragraph you neglected to quote in full runs like this:


           “And in her Majesties time that now is are sprong up

            an other crew of Courtly makers Noble men and Gentlemen

            of her Majesties owne servauntes, who have written

            excellently well as it would appeare if their

            doings could be found out and made publicke with

            the rest, of which number is first that noble

            Gentleman Edward Earle of Oxford. Thomas Lord of

            Bukhurst, when he was young, Henry Lord Paget, Sir

            Philip Sydney, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Master Edward

            Dyar, Maister Fulke Grevell, Gascon, Britton,

            Turberville and a great many other learned

            Gentlemen, whose names I do not omit for envie,

            but to avoyde tediousnesse, and who have deserved

            no little commendation.”

Other than the conventional listing of Oxford first, as the ranking nobleman on the list, nothing particularly distinguishes him from any of the others. Elsewhere, Puttenham quotes a piece of Oxfordian poetry. It should be noted that what he cites is not in iambic pentameter, Shakespeare’s most congenial metric pattern.


The 1598 Joseph Hall reference is, I must admit, definitive evidence. Now we know the truth: A cuttlefish authored Shakespeare’s plays. How silly of me not to realize it before.


Marston’s quote also seems definitive. But tell me? Why do you construe the “SILENT NAME” to be Oxford? Why not Izzy Moskowitz or Lady Ga Ga?

Barkstead’s 1607 poem does refer to Shakespeare in a couple of lines in the past tense. Oxfordians use this as evidence that the Stratford Shakespeare could not have been the author, since he was still alive in 1607, while Oxford was dead. It’s an interesting argument. But it ain’t true, and the proof it ain’t true is right on the face of your post.


You see, you failed to quote Barkstead’s poem. Instead, you quoted a poem by Richard Barnfield – a poem he wrote in 1598, while both Shakespeare and  Oxford were both still alive.  Please note that Shakespeare is referred to – by name, mind you – in terms that you rely upon to demonstrate he was dead.


Another example of Oxfordian scholarship? But to continue:


John Vicars’ 1621 Latin quote is no evidence at all. Why couldn’t he be referring simply to the Shakespeare whose first folio would be published two years hence? And if – which is laughably unlikely – he is referring in this passage to Oxford, then explain this: Howcum Vicars would know the “truth” of all this, especially when the conspiracy to hide that truth had been continuing for so many years after Oxford’s death and after Shakespeare’s death?


Jonson’s “obvious clue to the readers” is apparently too obvious for those of us who don’t agree with your interpretation of it. The first folio was edited by Shakespeare’s friends and co-workers – people he remembered in his will – and bore commendatory verses by Ben Jonson, who knew Shakespeare, and by Leonard Digges, who was quasi-related to an executor of Shakespeare’s will. There’s no “clue” here. Nothing but desperate, hysterical, paranoid fantasies of those too stupid to see the truth and too inept to use the tools to find it.


The 1634 Brathwait quote does not expressly refer to Oxford. But once again, you pull the same old bait-and-switch game. Once the quotation marks are closed, you continue with a sentence that is not  supported by the quote itself. In this case, you imply that Oxford is the writer to whom Brathwait refers and that he was using his “nick-name”, Shakes-peare.


That, too, is bull shit. There’s not a single document that confirms Oxford ever used such a nickname. But the fellow whom you continue to call Shakspere spelled his own name in many ways over the course of his life. And authentic primary documents prove he used the name “Shakespeare” – spelled in exactly that way – both in Stratford-upon-Avon and in London. This post is already long enough. But, once again, I refer you to the thread on the film Anonymous, where I detail the specific documents, and specific language, to prove the truth of what I say.


Finally, I don’t give a shit about Greenblatt. I don’t always agree with what he says. But I do regard anti-Stratfordians with the same contempt he does – especially when they masquerade their idiocies and impostures as scholarship.


For convenience I’ll exclude from this post my response to your which commences, “Sevorin does not respond to the evidence . . .” and post my answer to that one separately.

To Sevorin:

Thank you for the labelling correction.  It was Richard Barnfield's "A Remembrance of some English Poets" in Poems in Divers Humors. (1598)

that includes the following play on Vere's name and his pseudonym Ever or Never:

Live ever you, at least in Fame live ever :
Well may the Bodye dye, but Fame dies never.

"You" was another allusion to Oxford, a device he used for self-identification purposes.  Y-ou conflates EE-OOO, the Earl of Oxford's initials.

It was covert but adequate recognition that the true author's fame would not disappear, whatever might befall.

It was Barksted (1607) who wrote:

His song was worthie merrit (Shakspeare hee)
 sung the faire blossome, thou the withered tree
Laurell is due to him, his art and wit
hath purchast it, Cypres thy brow will fit.

This WAS in the past tense, indicating the "Shakespeare" was deceased. It cannot be countermanded unless the past tense does not mean past.

Your charges that my quotations do not matter as evidence and that the accompanying literary references could be interpreted otherwise--simply beg the question, how can they be interpreted otherwise and yet remain consistent with known fact?  This you fail to explain, despite the furious energy to escape their import.

The evidence, both the quoted portions and the material explicated from the texts, is consistent with the identity of the Shakespeare author as Oxford. Your only option to avoid this conclusion is essentially what you have presented, denial that words mean what they have meant.

This is an understandable position when one does not wish to face an undesirable conclusion. I assume you consider Oxford as creator of the "Shakespeare" pseudonym on the title-pages of the Shakespeare canon that unwanted reality. Your Shakspere doesn't come off so well in those works.

William Ray


Bill --


I mean no disrespect . . . oh fuck it!  Yes, I do mean disrespect. But you're the one who's "begging the question". Your supporting "evidence" comes from your own interpretations of the meaning of texts and scenes in the plays. When I tell you that your interpretations are not "evidence", you respond with
further interpretations -- as if, somehow, your case had already been proved.


I beg of you. Learn to distinguish between "conjecture" and "evidence".


Oxfordians are quite right when they condemn Stratfordians for making assumptions on the slimmest imaginable threads of fact. But then de Vere's advocates go on to do precisely the same thing -- only they do it not on the basis of known evidence, but only on a foundation that begins in speculation.


Thus, they -- dis includes you -- jump from conjecture to conjecture as if their logic is inevitable and inescapable, never realizing -- or, at least, never admitting -- what un-scholarly assholes they are.


When you erroneously substituted Barnfield's quote for Barkstead you failed to realize the point I was making -- that the mere use by Barkstead of the past tense -- like Barnfield's use of the sort of laudatory language one finds in a funeral oration -- does not mean that Shakespeare was dead at the time the poem was written.


Garbriel Harvey, whom you quote twice as "evidence", wrote:


"Art did but springe in such, as Sir Iohn Cheeke, and M. Ascham: and witt budd in such, as Sir Phillip Sidney, and M. Spencer; which were but the violets of March, or the Promroses of May."


Note that Spencer [Spenser] is among those listed in the past tense of "were". Yet Spenser was alive and Harvey knew him at the time he wrote these words.


I feel for you Oxfordians. I really do. Your case has so little factual support that you're obliged to rely on the flimsiest shit that comes to hand.


Another point. It's a silly one, but I feel the need to bring it up:


I realize you use the name "Shakspere" instead of "Shakespeare" in order to distinguish between the man from Stratford and the author who went under the name we usually call "Shakespeare". "Shakspere" is, after all, the spelling used in the Stratford baptismal register.


But do not for a moment suggest that the Stratford fellow confined his name to that spelling, or that he didn't conduct his affairs under the name, "Shakespeare." We know that he did so. The evidence is absolute and definitive and not subject to the least conjecture.


On the other hand, there is no evidence -- hear, O Israel, there is no evidence -- that Oxford ever went under the name Shakespeare. (Nor, now that we mention it, that he ever went under the name "Shakes a spear".)


But there is evidence that de Vere went under the name "Oxenford". Often, it turns out, since that's how he frequently signed his name to his many surviving letters -- in none of which does he suggest his authorship of Shakespeare's plays or poems.


So when you're twisting your mouth outa shape while searching for conflations of de Vere's name, remember that all your verbal gymnastics and coded references must be screened through the sieve of some very un-uniform Elizabethan spelling. With that in mind you can continue with your "Here an 'ox', there a 'ford', everywhere an 'Ox-ford', ee-yigh-ee-yigh-ohhhh . . .



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