Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

ANONYMOUS has arrived.

After the highly anticipated opening of ANONYMOUS last weekend (well, there were a few people I’m sure who almost had to wait on line to see it), the excitement has diminished significantly.  Two people I know were underwhelmed by the experience of seeing it.  My sense is that this is the reaction the vast majority of those who venture to the movies will have regarding the film.  A good number of movie critics, not to mention an impressive list of scholars, have panned the movie and its premise. I am reluctant to join the group in piling on more negative commentary considering that the film is likely to fade into oblivion soon.  However,  the concern I have is that some teachers will use the film and the promotional materials sent to them by SONY Pictures in the guise of  lesson plans in their classrooms. Doing so would be a big mistake, in my book, and might influence students not to question the authorship of Shakespeare, but to ask why his work even matters at all.

The first activity (“Mistaken Identity”) invites students to “join the debate,” and then seems to lead the reader to conclude that the search for the “true” author of Shakespeare’s plays has merit:  “Shakespeare supporters remind us that doubts about his authorship did not arise until more than 200 years after his death.” And then the question, ” What social and intellectual developments during that time might ahve prompted the search for the true author?” To be sure, a slanted question perhaps designed to get students thinking that there is an issue to be debated.

The second activity (“The Soul of the Age”) claims that the film presents a “compelling portrait of Edward de Vere as the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.” Remember, de Vere was dead for many years before a number of Shakespeare’s plays appeared on the scene (and there is no “compelling” explanation about how de Vere could have managed to write from the grave).

And the third activity (“A Kingdom for a Stage”)  notes that the film has “all the elements of a Shakespeare play.”  Perhaps it does, but does that mean anything?  For those of you who have viewed the suggested activities associated with the film, you have undoubtedly found that they are based on lots of misinformation that will lead students far afield. This is one film that teachers should avoid.

53 Comments


  • Where to begin? This Reader at the Folger will always be grateful for the warm welcome I have received there, despite my heretical authorship opinion. Naturally, my point of view on Anonymous is a bit different from R.G. Young’s.

    What about the concern that this film will influence the way teachers approach Shakespeare with their students? Is this really a bad thing? Remember, we’re talking about the greatest writer in English literature. We’re not talking about religion. Or are we?

    As a psychoanalyst who has spent much of my free time researching the authorship question for 10 years, I am fascinated by the quasi-religious reactions I see in “orthodox” Stratfordians. It does not seem consistent with an objective, scholarly interest in finding the truth. It resembles religion more than scholarship, in that the conclusion that we have identified the true author with 100% certainty is presumed at the outset, then the evidence is interpreted with that premise in mind. This is medieval deductive reasoning. Intellectual rigor requires Renaissance inductive reasoning. This is the only way to guard against the danger of being so attached to our theory that we forget it is only a testable hypothesis.

    So, getting back to teachers, I welcome the possibility that teachers will now approach the authorship question more rigorously. What would that look like in practice? It would mean identifying circular reasoning as such. Notoriously, de Vere is said to have died before many plays were written. Have we forgotten that the conventional dating of the plays is based on the premise that they were written by someone who died in 1616? Phillip Henslowe’s marginal “ne” is assumed to mean “new,” when I am unaware of other Early Modern uses of the word in this way. What about the speculation that Shakespeare enlisted co-authors for his late plays because he needed help with writing “Romances”? What about the assumption that “Ur-Hamlet” and the anonymous sources for other plays could not have been written by Shakespeare, because he was too young?

    Our need for a coherent narrative has ineluctable psychological power over us. But the traditional narrative has blinded scholars to conflicting evidence, leading them to find creative ways to explain it away.

    And, finally, what about the disgraceful pattern of unsubtantiated ad hominem attacks on those of us who believe academic freedom and intellectual rigor should welcome re-examining traditional assumptions about Shakespeare? Especially when recent scholarship by North, Starner, Traister, and others are forcing us to confront the ubiquity of Early Modern anonymity and pseudonymity?

    Some 30 of my publications on Shakespeare and on the psychology of pseudonymity are at http://www.oxfreudian.com.

    Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

  • I believe the concern posed by Dr. Young isn’t that the film will encourage discussion of the authorship question in classrooms, but that it will point students in the wrong direction for discussing it. The whole point is that Sony Pictures’ Study Guide for the film is filled with leading questions, historical mis-truths, and generally untrue statements. The film itself is more of a costumed soap-opera than a valid point in the Oxfordian corner, so it’s not even a decent venue for students to approach the question.

    The Folger, as an institution, does not take a side. As our Director stated recently, we are a collection, not a position. Scholars of all backgrounds and disciplines are welcome to use our collection to research their points – Oxfordians, Baconians, Jonsonians, the whole host of over 70 individuals who have been named the possible authors of Shakespeare’s body of work may do their work in peace and without judgement within our walls.

    However, middle and high-school students, to whom this incendiary guide was aimed, do not have this advantage of research, and have only their teachers to discuss questions like this with them. If the teachers are not educated in the actual points for both sides of the argument, how are they to have an intelligent discussion?

    • Dear Ms. Griffin,

      If I may, here are few responses to your comments. You say:

      “The whole point is that Sony Pictures’ Study Guide for the film is filled with leading questions, historical mis-truths, and generally untrue statements. The film itself is more of a costumed soap-opera than a valid point in the Oxfordian corner, so it’s not even a decent venue for students to approach the question.”

      I didn’t hear the Folger complaining about “historical mistruths” when *Shakespeare in Love* appeared.

      Why the double standard?

      By any reasonable measure, *Anonymous* is a far more historically accurate film than *Shakespeare In Love*. It offers a reasonably accurate portrayal of the waning years of the Elizabethan reign, including the major roles played by William and Robert Cecil, the Earl of Essex, and others including Oxford himself. I could go on, but I hope you take my point that whatever liberties the film does take, and it certainly does, it is quite capable of intelligently introducing students to significant historical outlines of the major events of the period, quite an accomplishment in a two hour movie that also takes on the question of authorship and produces a viable portrait of what the Oxfordian alternative might look like.

      Not having read the study guide, I can’t comment directly on it. But I can say that using words like “historical mis-truths” is not the same thing as demonstrating an argument. And if the statements made above by Mr. Young are any indication of what you regard as “historical truths,” I would respectfully suggest that you may not be in a very good position to become an arbiter of the distinction.

      How do you expect anyone to ever understand “what happens in Hamlet” without knowing who William Cecil was? Or understand Laertes rebellion without grasping its fairly obvious connection to the Essex rebellion? What is *the Folger* doing to promote an authentic historical and literary contextualization of the plays? From what I can tell, mostly keeping qualified people it doesn’t like out of seminars with empty seats, for fear that they might ask questions that would require other scholars to think in unprecedented ways about topics we’ve already agreed are settled and beyond reasonable dispute or even discussion. Personally, that’s not my idea of higher education.

      In fact, I think the real problem with *Anonymous* is the one that neither you nor Mr. Young can bring yourselves to mention: it just might offer moviegoers a motivation to dig deeper, and ask what really did go down in history, whether the tired cliche that Shakespeare is Shakespeare deserves any credibility, and what the evidence for Oxford’s authorship really is. Obviously these things cannot be good for an institution that has predicated its intellectual life for over half a century on insisting that the Oxfordians are nuts.

      You say:

      “The Folger, as an institution, does not take a side.”

      I’m sorry, while I *can* understand that this is what you are *supposed* to say, I don’t think your position is credible.

      If the library does not “take a side,” why is its bookstore piled high with the latest in Stratfordian fashion statements — stacks and stacks of T-Shirts displaying the tautological, anti-intellectual slogan that “Shakespeare is Shakespeare” — and yet *does not* — as of my most recent visit, two weeks ago — contain even a single book on the authorship question?

      That doesn’t sound like “not taking a side” to me.

      What am I missing? Are those copies of Anderson, et alia on order? How about getting some t-shirts from the Shakespeare Fellowship that offer your readers the option of exercising their god-given right to freedom of inquiry or belief? Or does the Folger define “not taking a position” as meaning “pretending there’s only one position”?

      Mr. Young states:

      “Remember, de Vere was dead for many years before a number of Shakespeare’s plays appeared on the scene (and there is no ”compelling” explanation about how de Vere could have managed to write from the grave).”

      No, Sir. Many of us already know that you *believe* that, even though as worded it is worse than irrelevant from a logical point of view. How about if *you* remember this:

      Mr. Shakspere had been dead for decades before *Timon of Athens, All’s *Well that Ends Well*, and *Two Gentlemen of Verona* appeared on the stage (based on surviving performance records). Check it out. this information is not recondite. Lots of people know that it is true.

      See the problem? The standard chronology is a construct of inferences, as E.K. Chambers acknowledged — or, as recent work on *The Tempest* suggests, a row of dominoes waiting to be brought down by one little discovery: http://www.shakespearestempest.com

      Ms. Griffin, the first adage of good public relations is honesty.

      But in order to effectively practice that, you need to have the facts first. I’m trying hard not to sound mean. Its not your fault that you work at an institution that is only in the initial stages of recovering from decades of denial. You’ve been given the difficult job of representing the indefensible.

      I can accept and even welcome the idea that the Folger library *may now wish* that it had listened more carefully to its own founder, and not gone off on eighty years of bashing the heretics at nearly every opportunity (the fact that it did so is not open to debate).

      The desire for reformation is at least a first step.

      But the facts hardly support your contention that the library has achieved anything at all like authentic neutrality. How could you? No one who works at the Folger even knows enough about the history of the topic to understand *why* Anonymous got made, or *why* it is foolishly short-sighted to think, as Mr. Young does, that the movie “is likely to fade into oblivion soon.” *Having* a book is not the same as reading it.

      I certainly would not claim to know what’s going to happen with Mr. Emmerich’s film, which is not as good a film as some of us might have wished, but is still a much better film than the ideological reviewers to whom Mr. Young approvingly refers seem to think. To them, the film’s merits are not the issue. The better it was, the more they would hate it, because ultimately their judgments are not about the film, but about the idea. They hate the idea that Shakespeare wasn’t who they all thought he was. Roger Ebert admitted that he’s not an Oxfordian still gave it 4 out of 5 stars. That’s about right in my view, and if Ebert read a little more he’d get the rest right as well. But I will say that if Mr. Young thinks blog postings like this are going to do anything to stop *the premise* on which Emmerich’s movie is based from reaching an ever-growing audience in the literate public is wishful thinking that borders on the delusional.

      I’m sure that many persons — among them Dr. Waugaman, a highly talented and professionally respected psychoanalyst — would be glad to offer their services in advising the library in how it might adopt an authentically neutral position on this important topic — one that might allow it to actually exercise intellectual leadership instead of always being in a position of trivializing or denying the insights and scholarship of others who have failed to obtain the approval of such o-so-brilliant Shakespearean movers and shakers as professor Shapiro (http://shake-speares-bible.com/2010/04/18/james-shapiro-and-the-notorious-hyphen/).

      Last week when I visited your vault with members of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford society your reference librarians learned that the Anne Cornwallis manuscript — which includes the earliest manuscript copy of a Shakespeare poem (unattributed) in existence (along with poems in the handwriting of John Bentley, the Queen’s Men’s actor who died in 1585, and some — apparently in Anne’s hand, like the Shakespeare poem, by Oxford) — has provenance tying it directly to the Oxford, who sold Fisher’s Folly to Anne’s father in 1588.

      See the problem?

      Some of us have known that since 1975. One can only wonder why the Folger is still learning it in 2011. Could it have anything to do with the policy described above, by which scholars who hold contrarian views are still being excluded from your professional conversations and those, like Professor Shapiro, who can’t be bothered to accurately ascertain the existence or non-existence of a hyphen, and present the work of other writers as their own, are treated like God’s gift to higher education?

      I’d like to think things are really changing at the Library. So far, I’m still…. skeptical. Prove me wrong.

      Best Regards,

      Roger Stritmatter
      Associate Professor
      Coppin State University

      http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/11/01/in-the-land-of-the-blind-the-one-eyed-man-is-king/

      http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/10/31/guest-post-by-dr-heward-wilkinson-the-significance-of-the-longevity-of-the-shakespeare-authorship-question/

      http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/10/26/where-are-the-fact-checkers-to-keep-track-of-those-people-from-columbia-university/

    • Caitlin, you said: “However, middle and high-school students, to whom this incendiary guide was aimed, do not have this advantage of research, and have only their teachers to discuss questions like this with them.”

      I am taken aback at your comment. As students, we sat for hours in libraries, feverishly taking notes from musty, old, non-circulating volumes and compiled annotated bibliographies on our research using stacks of color-coded index cards. What a contrast to the methods employed today by our young scholars!

      You *have* heard of the Internet, have you not?

  • R G Young, first you deny that a search for the true author has merit, then you go on to deny the existence of a debate. I would chide you for your lack of intellectual curiosity, but I can’t seem to recover from your intellectual dishonesty. Whether you admit its existence or not, the Authorship Question is viable, and deserving of our attention and scholarship.

  • rgyoung (whoever you are), just what makes you SO sure that Will of Stratford (whose name was Shakspere, not Shakespeare) was Shakespeare? I’d like to know why you disagree with people like Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, (former) Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, (current) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and two-time Pulitzer prize winning historian David McCullough (who, like the Messrs. Stevens and Scalia) happen to believe there’s a rather strong case that Edward de Vere was William Shakespeare. Please, let us know. What’s your affirmative evidence that Shakspere was the Bard? Richard Agemo

  • rgyoung, just what makes you SO sure that Will of Stratford (whose name was Shakspere, not Shakespeare) was William Shakespeare? I’d like to know why you disagree with people such as Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Hellen Keller, Henry James, (former) Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, (current) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and two time Pultizer Prize winning historian David McCullough (who, like Messrs. Stevens and Scalia) happen to think there’s a very strong case that Edward de Vere was using “William Shakespere” as his pseudonym. Just what is your affirmative evidence that Shakspere was the Bard?

  • Dr. Waugaman is quite right that our generation has been so programmed to think of only one possible solution that we seem incapable of absorbing new information about a controversy that has existed for over 300 years but kept smothered. Instead of welcoming new scholarship and re-examining our entrenched beliefs, we defend the myth that has arisen around the Stratford man as if he were a god, to be taken entirely on faith.
    We know now that Edward de Vere’s father-in-law set about deliberately to tarnish his name and obliterate any reference to him as the author who used the pen name “William Shakespeare.” This anathema was maintained after his death by his family and people who were gullible enough to believe that education can be obtained without effort, and that genius does not need to be nurtured. We have been feeding lies to our children for four centuries now. Isn’t it time we allowed young people to examine ALL the evidence, and think for themselves? If the Sony lesson plan seems biased, then so does the Folger Library seem biased in the other direction.

  • Teaching Shakespeare responsibly in the classroom means addressing the doubts about Will of Stratford with an open mind, and admitting, for example, that the inscriptions on the Stratford monument are very far from clear about exactly what the man memorialized really accomplished; that it was possible for Elizabethan noblemen to write under assumed names (we have direct testimony on this point); that, while Will’s daughter Susanna Shakspere was able to sign her name in reasonably shapely letters, this and her marriage to Dr. John Hall are the only intellectual attainments recorded for the family; and that it is troubling to find the master of Reniassance drama, poetry, rhetoric, and proverb lore of every sort without a book to bequeath to anyone in his will.

  • Professor Waugaman (Georgetown U.) makes some excellent points, and I endorse his praise of the Folger for its hospitality to all scholars, even Oxfordians, having researched there for several days.

    The Folger’s Robert Young re-cycles, perhaps innocently, the sly, old canard that Oxford died before several of the Shakespeare plays were written unless he wrote them from the grave, so he couldn’t be the author. There is, however, no valid evidence that any of the plays that first appeared after 1604, when Oxford died, had to have been written after 1604, including The Tempest and Macbeth. All could have been written years before Oxford died. Posthumous premieres, publication or first notice is not at all unusual, from John Fletcher (d. 1625) to Tennessee Williams (d. 1983). Moreover, four Shakespeare plays did not appear in the records until their publication in 1623 in the First Folio, seven years after Stratford’s Will Shakspere, as it was spelled there, died, so he couldn’t have written them either and thus would not have been Shakespeare. They are Coriolanus, Timon, All’s Well, and Macbeth, for which there is no record of a performance for King James, despite popular lore. The post-1604 argument is specious for both candidates.

    Ask yourself: If it were true that several Shakespeare plays were written after Oxford died, could the Oxfordian proposition possibly gain so much support by well-educated, accomplished people, among them lawyers, doctors, jurists including U.S. Supreme Court justices, and several dozen university professors, even a courageous few in English and theater departments? Maybe there is something to the Oxfordian proposition that should studied rather than dismissed. It’s probably too much to hope that the Shakespeare establishment will give up its quasi-religious position on the authorship question but more open-minded scholarship would be most welcome.

    Richard F. Whalen, author of Shakespeare Who Was He? (Praeger 1994)
    For details on each of allegedly post-1604 plays, see my article in Vol. 10 (2007) of The Oxfordian, a peer-reviewed annual journal, at http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com .

  • Mr. Young, 

    Apparently the Folger Shakespeare Library has earned, over the years, a reputation for being fair minded to scholars of all stripes who come to do research at your institution. Why then would you jeopardize this trust in writing when you say the following:

    “…there is no ‘compelling’ explanation about how de Vere could have managed to write from the grave.”

    Surely you realize how dishonest this is?

  • Caitlin Griffin said: “However, middle and high-school students, to whom this incendiary guide was aimed, do not have this advantage of research, and have only their teachers to discuss questions like this with them.”

    What! When I went to high school, lo these many years ago, we spent two years in English class learning how to do research. IOW, research was what our teacher taught us, and we were taught to follow the facts. I was assigned “Socialism” for my junior term paper and I learned a lot. In college I was taught above all to think for myself. They don’t do that anymore?

  • I fondly remember seeing my first performance of a Shakespeare play at the Folger when I was approximately 8 years old (The Tempest). looking back at that magical afternoon, I am not sure I knew exactly what was going on at all times, but I knew I was in a very special place. Since that day, I have revered the work done by the Folger…a place I visit every time I find myself in Washington DC.

    I was therefore quite disappointed when I read the above article. In addition to some potentially misleading language, it is quite plainly a coded plea for censorship…something which the Folger, above all institutions, should denounce.

    Why, in the opinion of the Folger, is ANY idea regarding the authorship just too dangerous to be discussed ??

    If it is a poor theory, the light of day will discredit it. If, on the other hand, it has some merit, exploration should be encouraged to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    As to the movie itself, it is a “Hollywood treatment” of a historical subject…a situation which will ever be filled with educational pitfalls with regards to total accuracy. Frankly, a teacher should welcome the chance to cover that topic in and of itself via classroom discussion…whether the movie is “Shakespeare in Love” or “Anonymous”.

    Please do not seek to muzzle open discussion in the classroom no matter how unpopular (or unlikely) you consider a given theory. Such efforts will only lead to distrust of the Folger as an institution dedicated to honest and impartial scholarship.

  • “It’s probably too much to hope that the Shakespeare establishment will give up its quasi-religious position on the authorship question but more open-minded scholarship would be most welcome.” Richard F. Whalen
    It’s probably too much to hope that the Oxford establishment will ever give up its entirely religious, unfounded, based on belief, zero evidence and nothing else conviction that Oxford was Shakespeare; so we’ll have to put up with their annoying presence on the Web and elsewhere for many many many years to come…

    • Let’s leave behind the sarcasm and insults and look at some facts and evidence:

      Here in a very small nutshell are examples of the kind of evidence that has convinced many eminent writers, jurists, professors, actors et al. that Shakspere of Stratford didn’t write Shakespeare and Oxford probably did:
      All eight official church records for William Shakspere of Stratford spell his name Shakspere from his baptism to burial, while in London the poems and plays were uniformly by Shakespeare. Different names, different men. Nothing is known about what Shakspere was doing from his birth until he was well into his 30s, a writer’s most formative years, except that he married and fathered three children, also baptized Shakspere, as were his siblings. He may or may not have gone to grammar school; there are no records. No writing in his hand has been found. His six awkward signatures, if they are his and not by a scribe, all on legal documents in the last six years of his life, are not the flowing signatures expected of a prolific writer.
      There is nothing literary in his documented biography. None of the dozen people in Stratford who left writings ever mentioned that he was a writer. No document during his lifetime in Stratford or London says that Shakspere of Stratford wrote the works of Shakespeare, whereas many in London cite an unidentified poet and playwright named “Shakespeare.”
      When he died, no one noticed. (The playwright Francis Beaumont had died a few months before and was buried in Westminster.) His will was the will of a business man. He specified who would get personal valuables, such as a sword, silver plate, a silver bowl and the famous ‘second-best bed’ but nothing about books, even though scholars list hundreds of books, some quite obscure, as sources for Shakespeare works. No inventory of books, if there was one, has been found.
      He was supposedly buried under a slab in the Stratford church, but it carries no name. A monument to “Shakspeare” high on a wall gives no first name to distinguish him from other Shakspere’s in Stratford. The original effigy did not depict a writer, as in today’s monument. It depicted a man grasping a sack of wool or grain to his belly. No pen, paper or writing surface. In today’s monument he’s poised to write on a pillow.
      This absence of evidence should “acquit” Shakspere of writing anything, just as in a felony trial a jury acquits for lack of evidence.
      The 17th Earl of Oxford fits the profile of someone who would have written the works of Shakespeare. He studied with two of England’s leading scholars, who had large libraries. He was a published poet, and the expert on the early Elizabethan courtier poets called him “premier” among them, even though much of his extant poetry is from his early teens. He was a recognized playwright; in 1598 Francis Meres called him the “best for comedy.” He was a patron of two acting companies, and at least once he acted in a court masque that he wrote. He was a complete man of the theater.
      He was a leading, if controversial, courtier in Queen Elizabeth’s court, lived in Italy for a year, and his turbulent life experience is mirrored in the plays. All except Merry Wives are about the power politics and intrigues of court life, which he knew well. The Italian plays show personal, exact knowledge of details of the topography, manners and morals of Venice and other Italian cities that could only have been acquired by someone who had spent time there. He wrote about what he knew best, and there are scores of such references and allusions in the plays. Hamlet has been called the most autobiographical of the plays, and there are more than a dozen correspondences between it and Oxford’s life experience, including its famous caricature of Lord Burghley in Polonius. Burghley was Oxford’s guardian during his teenage years and then his father-in-law. For many, Oxford’s life experience reflected in the plays is the most convincing evidence.
      Finally, the First Folio, with thirty-six Shakespeare plays, was dedicated to Oxford’s son-in-law and that man’s brother, both earls, who had the resources to finance the big, expensive volume.

      • Thanks, Richard, for an excellent synopsis. We might ad to this that Oxfordians, contrary to Bruce’s statements, have been engaging a fact and reasoned based discourse for over 90 years. Bruce is apparently not acquainted yet with *Shakespeare Identified* (http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/etexts/si/00.htm) — a book, which, in itself, demonstrates that the ad hominem arguments he’s making have been obsolete for nearly a century. That’s not even mentioning your book, Mark Anderson’s book, or any one of hundreds of other fine, fact-based analyses by lots of solid scholars over the decades since Looney’s book. To pick merely one set of examples, perhaps Bruce or those who think like him should acquaint themselves with the contents of the first two issues of *Brief Chronicles* (http://www.briefchronicles.com).

        In a recent blog I suggested to Dr. Witmore that Francis Meres is no longer a reliable witness for Stratfordians. Part of the substantiation for that may be found in the second volume of BC.

        Of course, the trouble with actually starting to learn something about the authorship question, or more specifically the Oxfordian case, is that you have to give up your facile beliefs and actually engage the abundance and quality of scholarship contradicting the faulty analogies you used to remain ignorant. That’s not an easy task. Sticks and stones will not longer work. You have to bring yourself up a few notches.

  • “It [Stratfordianism] resembles religion more than scholarship, in that the conclusion that we have identified the true author with 100% certainty is presumed at the outset, then the evidence is interpreted with that premise in mind.” Richard Waugaman

    Oxfordianism resembles religion much more than scholarship, in that it only relies on belief and is not interested in any evidence at all. The Oxfordian motto is “We truly believe that Oxford was Shakespeare, even though there is no proof whatsoever; ergo Oxford was Shakespeare. To hell with proof!”.

  • Bruce, I’ve spent 10-20 hours per week during the past ten years investigating the authorship question. I’ve published research on archival material at the Folger. Most of my 35+ publications on this topic are listed in the World Shakespeare Bibliography. In September 2011, my 2009 Notes & Queries article on some of my discoveries was the third most-read article online in that journal for the previous 150 years.

    What I’m trying to say is, I’ve contributed modestly to the tons of evidence other non-Stratfordians have found. It’s clear that you’re the sort of trusting type who accepts on faith what the supposed experts on this tell you, and I doubt you’ve gone to the trouble to look into the matter for yourself.

  • Richard, I’m familar with some of your publications, in Notes and Queries and elsewhere, and none of them contains proof that Shakespeare was Oxford. The popularity of your publications is irrelevant. The truthers and birthers’ publications are even more popular than yours. Does that mean they are right?

    • Bruce,

      Since the argument for the traditional view of the bard is largely based on the fact that the vast majority of English Professors cling to it, does that mean that you are right to make arguments like this one?

      Perhaps a modicum of self awareness to the effect that all such arguments are reversible would be appropriate. As convenient as it might seem for your your sake, I doubt if Richard is claiming that his arguments are correct because many people happen to be interested in them. I suspect, rather, that he’s suggesting that you might wish to notice what he wrote, rather than continuing to throwing stones from within your glass house. Its going to be a cold winter, and you’ll freeze without any windows.

      • Roger,

        Interesting use of the verb “cling.” As an English professor, I can assure you that the vast majority of professors teaching Shakespeare do not question the authenticity of authorship. There is no evidence to “cling” to prove otherwise. Simply stated, Shakespeare is the author…enough said.

  • “I doubt if Richard is claiming that his arguments are correct because many people happen to be interested in them. ” Roger Stritmatter
    Roger, I have no idea what Richard is claiming. I only know that he uses this forum to boast of his popularity: “Most of my 35+ publications on this topic are listed in the World Shakespeare Bibliography. In September 2011, my 2009 Notes & Queries article on some of my discoveries was the third most-read article online in that journal for the previous 150 years. ”
    Anyway, even if, as you say, “the argument for the traditional view of the bard is largely based on the fact that the vast majority of English Professors cling to it”, it doesn’t mean that Oxford was Shakespeare, does it? Your theory has been around since 1920, that is for almost 100 years, but neither you, nor Richard, nor Looney, nor Ogburn, nor anyone else of your ilk have provided proof that this is so. Yet, despite that, you continue to believe that this is the case. Without any proof. For almost 100 years. This is why I consider you a religious sect. Some believe in Krishna, some believe that water can be turned into wine, some believe in scientology. You believe that Shakespeare was the earl of Oxford. It is certainly your right. You are entitled to this or any other belief. But don’t try to convince us that your 100-year-old proof-free teaching based solely on belief has something to do with scholarship. It’s theology rather than scholarship.

  • “Proof”—what an interesting word. How about using the “weight of the evidence” instead? Geoffrey Green
    Geoffrey, according to Wikipedia, proof is a convincing demonstration that some statement is necessarily true. Do you mean that you wouldn’t like the Oxfordian proposition to be convincinly demonstrated to be true? After all, this is what scholarship is about, isn’t it?
    “Geoffrey, don’t you know that we don’t understand that concept here. We prefer invidious insults.” Roger Stritmatter
    Roger, sarcasm is a very weak argument. If you disagree that Oxfordianism is a religion, i.e. believing something without proof, try to convince me.

    • Bruce,

      You fail to understand the distinction Geoffrey is making. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m telling you that you don’t understand it. Why this is is probably none of my business, but let’s be clear about one thing: my job is not to convince you of anything. You’re making it abundantly clear that you already have a hotline to the godhead. If you want to have a rational discussion, learn something about the views you are critiquing. Its pretty clear so far that you don’t know anything about them. That’s the chief difference between yourself those you are demanding should convince you. Most Oxfordians can readily summarize the reasons why you believe what you believe. So far, you’ve not demonstrated that capacity. You’ve also shown that you prefer to throw stones, as anyone who reviews your comments can see.

      Let’s return, shall we, to one of the arguments posed in the original posting by Mr. Young: ”Shakespeare supporters remind us that doubts about his authorship did not arise until more than 200 years after his death.”

      This is just not true, as anyone who has closely studied the matter knows: http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/10/30/authorship-skeptics-are-anachronistic-thinkers/

      Best Wishes.

      • My apologies, Bruce. My point was, that when dealing with circumstantial evidence (and both the Stratfordian and Oxfordian arguments will need to do that), it is important to talk about the weight of the evidence.

  • To Richard F. Whalen.
    Richard, I’m not interested in Shakespeare of Stratford here. I’m only interested in Oxford. Even if Shakespeare of Stratford was not the author, it doesn’t mean that Oxford was. So let’s talk about Oxford.
    You say that Oxford fits the profile. Maybe. But this is not enough to be Shakespeare. You, for example, perfectly fit the profile of Mark Anderson and Mark Anderson fits yours. Both of you are Oxfordians, both are knowledgeable, both are well-educated, and both are good writers. However, it doesn’t follow that you are the author of his book and that he is the author of yours. In order to make us believe that the earl wrote Shakespeare you need some hard evidence, not just his profile.
    As for your evidence, it’s not that compelling as you seem to believe. It’s true that “in 1598 Francis Meres called him [Oxford] the ‘best for comedy.'” But sadly, he didn’t call him Shakespeare. He called him Oxford. As to Shakespeare, he listed him separately, as a different person. How would you explain that? It’s true that Oxford “was a patron of two acting companies.” But neither of them ever produced a single Shakespeare play. All of them were staged by a rival company. Isn’t that odd? Furthemore, some of Oxford’s works appeared in print and circulated in manuscript under his own name. That means that he was not inclined to conceal his authorship. On the contrary, he certainly wanted it to be known. And it indeed was. Not only Meres but some other authors as well praised him as a writer. However, they praised him as Oxford, not as Shakespeare. Why would such a person need a pseudonim? “Finally,’ you write, ‘the First Folio, with thirty-six Shakespeare plays, was dedicated to Oxford’s son-in-law and that man’s brother, both earls, who had the resources to finance the big, expensive volume.” That’s correct. But if you dedicated your book to your mother-in-law would it make her its author?

    • Bruce, I’m glad you raised the issue of Meres. Its a “sign of the times” that you should do so.

      You are quite right to emphasize that Meres’s testimony is central to the orthodox view of authorship. Ben Jonson may be the only person who is as important to substantiating the orthodox view of authorship. However, given Jonson’s notorious penchant for self promotion as “honest Ben,” he somewhat lacks Meres credibility. Meres, after all, was a clergyman. He wouldn’t lie to us, would he?

      Indeed, he wouldn’t. But he not only might, but did, find clever ways to tell the truth for those with “ears to hear,” and let everyone else believe what they wanted to believe.

      As I stated in a blog response to Folger Director Dr. Witmore’s statements, as quoted in the *Los Angeles Times on October 27 (http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/10/30/folger-library-enters-authorship-fray-with-thoughtful-but-flawed-logic/), Meres is about to go sailing out the window.

      He’s not the trustworthy witness you think he is. Consequently, the more you talk about him, the happier the Oxfordians will be.

      Please consult this article by K.C. Ligon and Robert Detobel, in the 2009 issue of Brief Chronicles: http://www.briefchronicles.com/ojs/index.php/bc/article/view/8

      I should stress that Ligon and Detobel are not the last word on this subject.

      I’ve already followed up on their study, in work that is still unpublished but which will be included in my forthcoming book on the de Vere Bible annotations (and was delivered as a lecture at the recent Concordia University Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference in September).

      Not only is their reasoning valid on a close review, but there are many reasons not yet given in their article that support their conclusions. “Shakespeare” was very aware Mere’s clever Pythagorean ruse and makes this quite plain in a play he apparently completed in 1599, shortly after the publication of Meres work.

      I understand that *you* probably won’t accept this argument, but there are others listening to the conversation — they, at least, may appreciate the significance of what Detobel and Ligon discovered in their careful scholarly study of the structure of Meres’ argument.

      O, and regarding the ancillary point you raise, “Why would such a person….” Meres is of course merely copying what was already published knowledge, dating from 1589, about Oxford being the “best for comedy.” So *that* cat was already out of the bag. Meres could use that already published gossip as the basis for his revelations.

      He’s using simple numerical logic to say that Oxford was not only the best for comedy, but that his comedies — and his other works — were being published under the name of “Shakespeare.”

      They just don’t make clergymen like that any more, do they? 🙂

    • Bruce, you bring up lots of good questions and I know that Richard Whalen can answer you much better than I can. However I can’t resist talking about Francis Meres since you cite his 1598 publication.

      We could certainly speculate about what was in Meres’ mind, but this would not be considered “hard evidence.” It is possible that Meres knew Oxford to be Shakespeare and thought it imprudent to reveal this knowledge.  It is also possible that Meres was deceived and did not know that Oxford was Shakespeare. It is also possible that Meres knew Oxford and Shakespeare to be two separate men—Oxford, “the best for comedy” and Shakespeare somewhere other than the best—this, I suspect, would be your preferred reading. There are probably other possible explanations that I haven’t thought of, but the real key would be arriving at some sound reasons for preferring one explanation over another.

      So far the sound explanations are all on the Oxfordian side, I think. Maybe you can come up with a new explanation that would better fit with all the “hard evidence” that we do have?

      By the way, some of that hard evidence you may wish to fold into your explanation would include *The Arte of English Poesie* from 1589:

      “Now also of such among the Nobility or gentry as well seen in many laudable sciences, and especially in making Poesy, it is yet they are loath to be aknown of their skill. So as I know very many notable Gentleman in the Court that have written commendably, and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their own names to it: as if it were a discredit for a Gentleman, to seem learned, and to show himself amorous of any good art.”

      Then later in the same book:

      “And in her Majesty’s time that now is are sprung up another crew of Courtly makers Noblemen and Gentleman 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.”

  • “Let’s return, shall we, to one of the arguments posed in the original posting by Mr. Young: ”Shakespeare supporters remind us that doubts about his authorship did not arise until more than 200 years after his death.” Roger Stritmatter

    Roger, this subject is certainly interesting but irrelevant. Whenever the doubts arose, there is no compelling evidence, let alone proof, that Shakespeare was Oxford. Besides, as you know, the earliest doubters favoured Bacon, not Oxford.

    • You’ll have to address you views about the irrelevancy of this point to Mr. Young. Or did you not notice that I was responding to something that he put forward as a relevant claim. Moreover, how can you possibly think that it’s irrelevant that the author of the sonnets has explicitly said

      “My Name be buried where my body is.”

      Isn’t that the whole point?

  • “Moreover, how can you possibly think that it’s irrelevant that the author of the sonnets has explicitly said “My Name be buried where my body is.” Roger Stritmatter
    Roger, I don’t remember when and where I said this Shakespeare line was irrelevant. You must be confusing me with someone else. But if I were one of the leading Oxfordians, I would avoid using this line to support the Oxford case because it perfectly fits Shakespeare of Stratford. As you certainly know, there is no his name on his grave stone, just a poem. His name thus is indeed buried where his body is. By contrast, nobody knows how Oxford’s grave stone looked like, and it is quite possible that his name was there. Moreover, it was most probably the case because it’s the case with all the graves of earls I’ve seen. If so, Oxford, unlike Shakespeare of Stratford, doesn’t fit the line you refer to.

  • To Geoffrey Green

    “I can’t resist talking about Francis Meres since you cite his 1598 publication. We could certainly speculate about what was in Meres’ mind…”

    Yes, we could. We could also speculate, as some Oxfordians in fact do, that Oxford was the son of Queen Elizabeth, that he slept with her, that he fathered Southampton, that he lived after 1604, etc. I, however, prefer to stick to facts. The fact is that Meres wrote of Oxford and Shakespeare as two persons, not one, and that he explicitly attributed Shakespeare’s plays and poems to William Shakespeare, not the Earl of Oxford. That’s all we know.

    “So far the sound explanations [of Meres’ reference] are all on the Oxfordian side, I think.”
    In my humble opinion, the soundest explanation is that Meres was confident that Marlowe was Marlowe, Chapman was Chapman, Drayton was Drayton, Oxford was Oxford, and Shakespeare was Shakespeare. The rest is silence.

    “Maybe you can come up with a new explanation that would better fit with all the “hard evidence” that we do have?”
    The trouble is that I don’t think you do, Geoffrey. Pirates, Polonius, and bed-tricks don’t count as evidence. This is rather “such stuff as dreams are made on.”

    “By the way, some of that hard evidence you may wish to fold into your explanation would include *The Arte of English Poesie* from 1589: ‘Now also of such among the Nobility or gentry as well seen in many laudable sciences, and especially in making Poesy, it is yet they are loath to be aknown of their skill. So as I know very many notable Gentleman in the Court that have written commendably, and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their own names to it: as if it were a discredit for a Gentleman, to seem learned, and to show himself amorous of any good art.’ ”

    The Earl of Oxford is not mentioned in this passage, is he?

    “Then later in the same book: “And in her Majesty’s time that now is are sprung up another crew of Courtly makers Noblemen and Gentleman 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.”

    IIRC, this passage appears in the book not just “later” but 23 chapters later, and even though Oxford is mentioned here, the author doesn’t say that the earl uses a pen name. He only says that he writes excellently well but his works haven’t yet been made public, that is, haven’t yet appeared in print. That’s it.

    • Meres: “And in her Majesty’s time that now is are sprung up another crew of Courtly makers Noblemen and Gentleman 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.”

      Bruce said: “IIRC, this passage appears in the book not just “later” but 23 chapters later, and even though Oxford is mentioned here, the author doesn’t say that the earl uses a pen name. He only says that he writes excellently well but his works haven’t yet been made public, that is, haven’t yet appeared in print. That’s it.”

      This is a joke, right? You can fantasize a whole Stratfordian universe based on nothing but speculation, but you can’t follow a simple declarative sentence? I’m not surprised that you don’t want to talk about Shaxper; you don’t have any answers to the problems arising from his candidacy for the authorship. Pound Oxford into the ground all you want; it won’t make Shaxper any more literate.

  • We Oxfordians have been told by many that we have “no evidence” for our theory. This is really a preposterous allegation. However, many people still trust Stratfordian “experts,” so we need to keep responding.

    The 2009 Notes & Queries article uncovered what may be the largest literary source for Shakespeare’s works discovered in decades. It did so thanks to 14 uniquely different marginal pointing hands next to 14 psalms in a now obscure Elizabethan psalm translation. It was set to music, and served as an Elizabethan hymnal. We know what a prominent role music plays in Shakespeare’s theatrical works. So it should not surprise us that his favorite psalm translation was musical.

    There is an unwritten “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in mainstream English literature journals, when it comes to the authorship question. This places Oxfordians in a bind. We can spell out the authorship implications of our papers, only to have them rejected. Or we can conclude with Falstaff that the better part of valor is sometimes discretion.

    So the 2009 article was discrete about its authorship implications. When the proofs were being corrected, the author slipped in the crucial fact that all 10 psalms discussed in that article as sources for Shakespeare were marked with marginal pointing hands in the Folger Library’s STC 2106 copy. That is, the copy owned by Edward de Vere.

    This story is told at greater length in the following article (the first page is blank)–

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B9YH_poTOlrbMzNmMjQyZjgtY2Q0ZC00MGQ5LWFhNDAtZTE0ZDgzZmQzNjEw&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

  • To lltheil
    “you can’t follow a simple declarative sentence?”
    Of course I can’t. Do you have doubts about that? Anyone who dares to ask you for proof that Oxford was Shakespeare and is not willing to accept your quasi-evidence as evidence is a feeble-minded imbecile, right?

    “Pound Oxford into the ground all you want; it won’t make Shaxper any more literate.”

    Pound “Shaxsper” into the ground all you want; it won’t turn Oxford into Shakespeare.

  • “We Oxfordians have been told by many that we have “no evidence” for our theory. This is really a preposterous allegation. ”

    Why is it preposterous? As far as I know, you don’t have proof that Oxford was Shakespeare. Stritmatter doesn’t have proof either. Anderson doesn’t. Whalen doesn’t. Ogburn doesn’t. Looney doesn’t. Altrocchi doesn’t. Whittemore doesn’t. Orloff doesn’t. Emmerich doesn’t. Should I go on? So what is so preposterous about this “allegation”?

    “The 2009 Notes & Queries article uncovered what may be the largest literary source for Shakespeare’s works discovered in decades.”

    1) “Your boasting is not good.” (1 Corinthians 5:6) “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
    2) Like I said, I’,m familiar with your article. With all due respect, your “discoveries” are preposterous.

    “the 2009 article was discrete about its authorship implications. When the proofs were being corrected, the author slipped in the crucial fact that all 10 psalms discussed in that article as sources for Shakespeare were marked with marginal pointing hands in the Folger Library’s STC 2106 copy.”

    Poor trusting Notes & Queries… Are the editors aware of your dishonesty? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

    “That is, the copy owned by Edward de Vere.”

    Do you have proof that the pointing hands were put there by Oxford?

    • “Do you have proof that the pointing hands were put there by Oxford?”

      Bruce, the annotations were established as being Oxford’s by a board certified forensic documents analyst, Emily Will. Do you really think that the University of Massachusetts would have awarded me a PhD about the Bible without insisting that such a critical element of the case be established by independent professional authority?

      All of this is covered in my dissertation, which you obviously have not read.

  • Astute readers must have noticed that these comments were all posted by pro-Shakespeare Oxfordians, initially. Then “Bruce” arrived on the scene.

    I think it is time to confess that “Bruce” is a conspiracy– we all got together and decided that readers would lose interest if there wasn’t at least the appearance of a debate here. So one of us volunteered to write under the pseudonym “Bruce.” I’m not about to name names. But I, for one, worry that “Bruce” is now losing credibility as our token if ersatz anti-Oxfordian mouthpiece.

    Careful readers may have noticed that “Bruce” slyly shifted from demanding “evidence” to demanding “proof,” once evidence was offered. So far, so good– that’s no worse than what many real anti-Oxfordians might have said.

    Then, he was told that mainstream journals have an unwritten policy against publishing evidence put forward by Oxfordians. In my opinion, a better imitation of an anti-Oxfordian reaction to this assertion would have been to deny this troubling allegation. “There is no such policy!” is the sort of thing “Bruce” might have responded. He should have said something like that, because anti-Oxfordians are committed to maintaining the fiction that academic freedom exists in Shakespeare studies.

    Instead, I think “Bruce” went off the rails at this point, with his imitation of an over-the-top anti-Oxfordian accusing yours truly of “dishonesty” for publishing the sort of “evidence” that “Bruce” and others keep insisting does not exist– and publishing under repressive conditions that are ironically much like Elizabethan England, where subversive truths must be disguised in order to be aired in public.

    If “Bruce” disappears from these pages, be aware that another pseudonym for an ersatz anti-Oxfordian make take his place!

    • “Instead, I think “Bruce” went off the rails at this point, with his imitation of an over-the-top anti-Oxfordian accusing yours truly of “dishonesty” for publishing the sort of “evidence” that “Bruce” and others keep insisting does not exist– and publishing under repressive conditions that are ironically much like Elizabethan England, where subversive truths must be disguised in order to be aired in public.”

      Uhu. Richard, this certainly is a creative use of the word “dishonesty.” If we follow the logic, it suggests that one should never open his or her mouth without saying everything that he or she knows, about everything, all at once. Anyone who violated such an edict would be accused of being “dishonest” for withholding…..anything. Talk about shooting the messenger.

  • Susan, there was no “reply” button on your comment, so I’m starting a new post. You write:

    “Interesting use of the verb “cling.” As an English professor, I can assure you that the vast majority of professors teaching Shakespeare do not question the authenticity of authorship. There is no evidence to “cling” to prove otherwise. Simply stated, Shakespeare is the author…enough said.”

    This is called the fallacy from majority opinion. If you would take some time out of your busy schedule teaching the bard, and study a little intellectual history, you might find that such arguments are often wrong. You state that “there is no evidence” to “question the authenticity of authorship.” This is an interesting construction, especially viewed in relation to your appeal to authority. I suppose that what you intended to write is that “there is no evidence to question the received view of authorship.”

    This is simply not true, as you would notice if, for example, you bothered to click on one of the links that have been so generously provided for you in this discussion. Put that, of course, would take you outside of your rather narrowly defined comfort zone.

    http://www.shakespearefellowship.org
    http://www.shake-speares-bible.com

  • To Richard Waugaman

    “I think it is time to confess that “Bruce” is a conspiracy– we all got together and decided that readers would lose interest if there wasn’t at least the appearance of a debate here. So one of us volunteered to write under the pseudonym “Bruce.”

    Hahaha! Well done, Richard! Of all your Oxfordian ideas I’ve read so far, this one is the best! Much better than this one, for instance:

    “I believe that envy of Shakespeare’s extraordinary works is a significant reason for the stubborn refusal of Stratfordians to look at the authorship evidence objectively…I suspect their insistence that he must be a commoner is the first of many ways they cope with their envy of his literary accomplishments.”

    This idea is not good. It’s stupid. But the idea that I am a disguised Oxfordian is brilliant. Bravo!

    “I’m not about to name names.”

    You are not? What a shame. I’m disappointed. I’m dying to know who I am. Am I Mark Anderson? John Orloff? Lynne Kositsky? Eureka! I am you, right?

    “Careful readers may have noticed that “Bruce” slyly shifted from demanding “evidence” to demanding “proof,” once evidence was offered.”

    Evidence? What evidence? You mean your so-called “discoveries”? If so, you are really “quixotic in assuming that [your] discoveries about the profound influence of de Vere’s marked verses in WBP [on Shakespeare] will lead a single Stratfordian to question her [or his] authorship premise.” They won’t, I promise you. After all, “Two prominent Shakespeare scholars have already told [you your] findings are “unconvincing”—that [your] alleged allusions to WBP… show no evidence of WBP’s influence on Shakespeare.” Isn’t that enough? Or maybe you still believe that these lines of Psalm 8:

    “Even by the mouths of sucking babes thou wilt confound thy foes
    For in these babes thy might is seen, thy graces they disclose”

    ressemble Shakespeare’s lines

    my love is as fair,
    As any mothers child.

    No, Richard, they don’t. I hate to disappoint you but they don’t. Even if Stritmatter keeps assuring you that they do, don’t believe him. They do not, period. He just doesn’t want to upset you. So what “evidence” are you talking about? Wait, as we have established, I am you. So let me rephrase the question. What am I… you… I… you…what evidence are we, Bruce Waugaman, talking about?

  • “Do you have proof that the pointing hands were put there by Oxford?” Bruce
    “Bruce, the annotations were established as being Oxford’s by a board certified forensic documents analyst, Emily Will.” Roger Stritmatter
    _________

    Roger, I didn’t ask Richard about all the annotations. I asked him specifically about the pointing hands, that is, about drawings. How can one determine whether they were drawn by Oxford, by one of his wives, by his mistress, by his son, by one of his daughters, or by someone who lived after 1604?

    • Bruce, the analyst’s opinion covers the hands. The pattern of annotations — by which I refer to words written in the margins, underlining, and various marginal drawings, including the manicules — is complex but is also arranged in such a way that it is logically clear that one annotator is involved. That annotator was the 17th Earl. There is only one exception to this, in an ink variant not seen elsewhere in the volume.

      We requested in 1995 that the Folger undertake ink testing to validate this conclusion, but the library refused.

      I refer you to my dissertation for further details. I’m not going to spend my time offering you further explanations about matters already discussed in detail there. http://www.shake-speares-bible.com, especially in view of your insulting behavior earlier in this discussion.

  • To Roger Stritmatter
    “The pattern of annotations — by which I refer to words written in the margins, underlining, and various marginal drawings, including the manicules — is complex but is also arranged in such a way that it is logically clear that one annotator is involved.”

    Words are words, but underlining and drawings are an entirely different matter. It’s impossible to know who draw them.

    “We requested in 1995 that the Folger undertake ink testing to validate this conclusion, but the library refused.”

    In other words, the crucial test hasn’t yet been done, and your theory still remains an unproved hypothesis.

    “especially in view of your insulting behavior earlier in this discussion”

    Insulting behaviour?! If I insulted you (I mean all of you) by asking some innocent questions and addressing some of your weak points, I apologize unreservedly. Who would have thought that the leading Oxfordians would be so touchy? As to you, you certainly didn’t insult anyone by suggesting that I’m stupid (“You fail to understand the distinction Geoffrey is making….I’m telling you that you don’t understand it.”, ““you can’t follow a simple declarative sentence?”), that I know nothing (“learn something about the views you are critiquing. Its pretty clear so far that you don’t know anything about them.”), that I don’t have certain intellectual capacities (“So far, you’ve not demonstrated that capacity”), that I am a disguised Oxfordian, that I am “an ersatz anti-Oxfordian”, that the reactions of Stratfordians are “quasi-religious,” that your opponents are not interested “in finding the truth,” that their views resemble “religion more than scholarship,” that “This is medieval deductive reasoning,” that the Shakespeare establishment will not give up its “quasi-religious position”, and so on and on and on. You seem to have a somewhat distorted notion of “insulting behaviour.”

    • As I said, I’m not going to debate you. Your prejudice is already apparent. Your quarrel is with Ms. Emily Will, a board certified forensic analyst. What are your qualifications? I think that any reasonable person following this discussion can see that the statements made about your debating style are accurate. Your responses are, to pick merely one point, “quasi-religious.” To pick another, you don’t know anything about the perspective you are criticizing — or, to be more accurate, you have not displayed any knowledge of it. You seem to think that the sanction of authority is a substitute for rational discussion. You are the one who publicly accused Dr. Waugaman of “lying.”

      We requested in 1995 that the Folger undertake ink testing to validate this conclusion, but the library refused.”

      In other words, the crucial test hasn’t yet been done, and your theory still remains an unproved hypothesis.

      While I don’t agree with your prejudicial characterization of “crucial,” my question to you is – are you joining us in requesting that the Folger undertake to find the answer to this question? If so, that’s a start. If not, why would you want to hide behind not knowing the answer?

  • To psi

    “you don’t know anything about the perspective you are criticizing — or, to be more accurate, you have not displayed any knowledge of it.”

    Really?! Woe is me!

    “You are the one who publicly accused Dr. Waugaman of “lying.”

    “Lying”? Exactly where did I accuse him of “lying”? I said he was dishonest. And you know that I didn’t say that without reason. Wasn’t it Dr. Waugaman who, just two days ago, shockingly and outrageously confessed here to the whole world that “when the proofs [of his 2009 article in Notes and Queries] were being corrected” he deceitfully, deceptively and dishonestly, without notifying the credulous Stratfordian editors of the journal, who naively trusted him, “slipped in [his article] the crucial [Oxfordian] fact that all 10 psalms discussed in that article as sources for Shakespeare were marked with marginal pointing hands in the Folger Library’s STC 2106 copy. That is, the copy owned by Edward de Vere,” even though he knew that the article had been accepted for publication without this “crucial fact”? And wasn’t it Dr. Waugaman who later shamelessly bragged about how he outwitted gullible Stratfordians? Do you approve of such conduct? Do you think that the words “immorality” and “scholarship” are synonyms?

    “my question to you is – are you joining us in requesting that the Folger undertake to find the answer to this question?”

    Why not? Yes, I am.

    • Why not? Yes, I am.

      Good.

      Other than that, you may have noticed that no one is really responding to you any more. I think that’s probably because you were “owned” by Waugaman. So its no use trying to drag him through the mud again.

  • Although I’m reluctant to re-open this seemingly pointless discussion, I do want to state for the record that Notes & Queries published a third “note” by yours truly last June. So Bruce’s interpretation of my 2009 article does not seem consistent with how the editors of Notes & Queries have treated me since then. (I have a new hypothesis about the identity of “Bruce.” Could “he” possibly be Gail Paster?)


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