PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Debating the Evidence

Debating the Evidence 3 months 3 weeks ago #7236

  • Unfoldyourself
  • Unfoldyourself's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Scholar
  • Posts: 408
  • Thank you received: 6
Note. This began on the Shakespeare and Italy topic but I’m moving it here so readers can go right to it and not go through the Italy posts.

In response to a very long post I’m breaking it up into several smaller posts for easier reading and in case additional responses keep growing on some of the questions.

Reply Part 1

I never wrote that it was illogical not to agree with me, so please do not imply that I did to try to bolster your argument. My statement was that the evidence for supporting the authorship of William Shakespeare of Stratford is abundant and wide-ranging for the era in which he lived, much more abundant than the comparable evidence for most other contemporary playwrights. The documentary evidence falls into several different categories, all mutually reinforcing, and shows that a real person named William Shakespeare wrote the poems and plays attributed to him.
--What preceeded your “it follows” was your evidence that Stratford’s W.S. was an actor that performed in the Shakespeare plays and was also a sharer in that company. I and thousands of others do not see that your authorship conclusion “follows” from your two pieces of evidence. The lack of a logical deduction was so great that I could only end up deducing an alternative explanation. But I see you have more evidence and argument.

Your first, and quite large paragraph, contains numerous smaller assertions that I think are best addressed by responding to each as they come up. So I’m going to break up the paragraph as I respond. As before, your comments are in bold.

Here is the logical analysis:
1. The name "William Shakespeare" appears on the plays and poems.

--Importantly, this is technically not true. Of the approximate 48 quartos (depending on what all is counted) and V&A and Lucrece, there are about 12 of them by “William Shakespeare”. It looks like three others listed as by “W. Shakespeare” and I have no problem with that. But where our opinion differs, is with the approximate 17-19 of these that have the last name with the hyphen as Shake-speare, and with the approximate 17 that were published with no author’s name, even long after the Shakespeare name had become famous and a selling point. More complete statistics than mine can be found on page 23 of Shahan and Waugh’s Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?

First and foremost, you are operating under the claim, without any documentary evidence, that the name "William Shakespeare" was a pseudonym, and that there is nothing to tie the name to William Shakespeare of Stratford.
--Not remotely true. I can’t recall ever reading of non-Stratfordians that think that there is NO evidence connecting the works to the Stratford man. Generally, the argument is that the evidence is weak, very suspicious, contradictory, greatly lacking in confirmatory evidence, and possibly approaching the nearly impossible.

This claim is baseless and without any documentary evidence to back up the claim it is a conspiracy theory at best.
--We are as likely to cite the same documentary evidence against your theory as you use to assert it. Plus, a mass of circumstantial evidence we think outweighs your theory’s circumstantial evidence.

"William Shakespeare" has none of the characteristics of a pseudonym;
--maybe not, but we think that “Shake-speare” does have such a characteristic that can’t be logically dismissed.

it was the real name of a person closely connected with the production of the plays,
--Here you’re presuming what in fact we’re debating.

and there is no indication in the historical record that anybody ever suspected it of being a pseudonym
--in your opinion. We don’t agree.

or said that anybody other than William Shakespeare was the author.
--Are you even going to try to have a rational exchange? Or is it your intent to just waste everyone’s time here? What you should be attempting to say here is that “or said that anybody other than [the actor/sharer from Stratford] was the author”. To which we say that such thought seems to have been hinted at by some (Vicars, Ben Jonson, Hall and Marston, for example). If there was an intent to hide “the true author” then you shouldn’t expect to find an open explicit declaration that the Stratford man was not, or that someone else was.

The claim that the occasional hyphenation of "Shake-speare" indicated a pseudonym is completely groundless and unsupported by any evidence. There were not two separate names, "Shakspere" and "Shakespeare"; rather, they were the same name, with "Shakespeare" being by far the most common spelling, especially in London, both in non-literary references to the man from Stratford and in literary references to Shakespeare as a poet and playwright.
--These are just your assertions that are worthless in a debate. Interested readers can go to the doubtaboutwill.org site for some of the counterarguments. Readers should also know that scholars used to routinely spell the name as “Shakspere” in their journals. This is mentioned in Chapter 1 of Shakspeare Beyond Doubt? By Shahan and Waugh. In this chapter A.J. Pointon Ph.D. writes “The most effective deception—the change to his name—took hold around 1916, the tercentenary of Shakspere’s death. It was then that orthodox scholars, individuals and organizations involved in what had become the lucrative “Shakespeare business” began airbrushing the name “Shakspere” out of existence. In all new publications it would be replaced by Shakespeare, while every Shakspere family tree published became the “Shakespeare family tree. By this technique, people would eventually believe the Shaksperes of Stratford were really called Shakespeare and doubts about it would be met with astonishment and incomprehension.”

The historical evidence ties William Shakespeare of Stratford to the plays bearing his name. Many plays, poems and sonnets were attributed to Shakespeare during his lifetime.
--For any young or still-bewildered readers, the question is whether the authorial attribution to “Shakespeare” absolutely was meant for the actor/shareholder from Stratford, who never spelt his name exactly like that.

Additionally, Francis Meres attributed twelve plays to Shakespeare, including four which were never published in quarto: [Two] Gentlemen of Verona, [Comedy of] Errors, Love labors wonne, and King John. He also identified some of the plays that were published anonymously before 1598 -- Titus, Romeo and Juliet, and Henry IV -- as being written by Shakespeare.
--Yes, to whomever the author Shake-speare/Shakespeare was.

To be continued…
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Debating the Evidence 3 months 3 weeks ago #7237

  • Unfoldyourself
  • Unfoldyourself's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Scholar
  • Posts: 408
  • Thank you received: 6
Reply Part 2

2. William Shakespeare was an actor in the company which performed the plays of William Shakespeare. From 1594 on, the plays of William Shakespeare were performed exclusively by the acting company variously known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men (1594-96, 1597-1603), Lord Hunsdon's Men (1596-97), and the King's Men (1603-42). William Shakespeare was a prominent member of this acting company.
--Not quite. “The most important evidence for dating 1 Henry VI is the Diary of Philip Henslowe, which records a performance of a play by Lord Strange's Men called Harey Vj (i.e. Henry VI) on 3 March 1592 at the Rose Theatre in Southwark.’ When Lord Strange died in April 1594….”The company endured a radical re-organization at this time; many members left to join a new version of another troupe, under the patronage in Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain — which became famous as the company of William Shakespeare and Richard Burbage, the Lord Chamberlain's Men.” Also: “Two of the earliest quarto publications of individual Shakespearean plays are both linked to this company [Pembroke’s Men]: the title page of the earliest text of Henry VI, Part 3 (1595) states that the play was performed by Pembroke's Men, while the title page of Q1 of Titus Andronicus (1594) states that that play was acted by three companies, Pembroke's Men, Derby's Men, and Sussex's Men.” (Quotations are from Wikipedia)

3. William Shakespeare the actor was William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.
The coat of arms that was granted to Shakespeare’s father sometime before 1599, attesting to his and his son’s status as gentlemen, depicted around 1600 refers to “Shakespeare the Player by Garter” and can only be the Shakespeare identified in other documents as an actor, William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, gentleman. This is the same coat-of-arms that appears on the poet's tomb in Stratford.

--Some non-Stratfordian theorists have been writing that the hidden author was deliberately conflated with the Stratford actor. And I agree with this. I don’t recall if the pieces of evidence for this hypothesis have been collected in one place. But I might at a later time see what my memory can send up to the surface. In any case, that takes care of the coat of arms on the monument. Note also, that his coat of arms was NOT in the First Folio. Nor was there any other identifying biographical information other than the very similar name that we’re disputing.

4. William Shakespeare the Globe-sharer was also William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.
In a mortgage deed of trust dated 7 October 1601 by Nicholas Brend to John Bodley, John Collet, and Matthew Browne, in which Bodley was given control of the Globe playhouse, the Globe is described as being tenanted by "Richard Burbadge and Willm Shackspeare gent."


In a deed of trust dated 10 October 1601 by Nicholas Brend to John Bodley, legally tightening up the control of Bodley of the Globe, again the theater is described as being tenanted by "Richard Burbage and William Shakspeare gentlemen."

In a deed of sale of John Collet's interest to John Bodley in 1608, the Globe is once more described as being tenanted by "Richard Burbadge and Willm Shakespeare, gent."

Notice the variation in spelling of Shakespeare's surname between the three documents, all originating in London. For some reason variants of the name seem to be a major point in the minds of some anti-Shakespearians, but such differences are no more significant than similar variants of Richard Burbage's name in the same documents.
--As usual, we disagree. I think our basic argument is that the Stratford man and his immediate family consistently used the spelling of Shakspere or something very close to this but without the medial ‘e’ after the k, and mostly without the ‘a’ after in the second syllable, very likely resulting in a different pronunciation. Then for the author’s name on the works we find consistently (like 92% of the time) spelt as Shakespeare (with or without the hyphen). And that that actor, even on his will, at the height of the author’s fame, did not make sure he was identified as the author by using the same spelling. There is no Shakespeare spelling in the Stratford man’s will.

5. William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, the actor and Globe-sharer, was the playwright and poet William Shakespeare.
Around 1601, students in Cambridge put on a play called The Second Part of the Return from Parnassus, the third in a series of plays that satirized the London literary scene. In this play, two characters named "Kempe" and "Burbage" appear, representing the actors Will Kempe and Richard Burbage of the Chamberlain's Men. At one point Kempe says, “Few of the university [men] pen plays well, they smell too much of that writer Ovid, and that writer Metamorphosis, and talk too much of Proserpina and Jupiter. Why, here's our fellow Shakespeare puts them all down, aye and Ben Jonson too. O that Ben Jonson is a pestilent fellow, he brought up Horace giving the poets a pill, but our fellow Shakespeare hath given him a purge that made him bewray his credit.” This passage establishes that the playwright Shakespeare was a fellow actor of Kempe and Burbage, contrasts him with the University-educated playwrights, and establishes him as a rival of Ben Jonson.

--Think about this: This is a play written by Cambridge students for an audience of Cambridge students. It’s an obvious satire so the audience isn’t expected to take statements seriously. As Steven Steinburg writes in his book I Come to Bury Shakspere, “It would be altogether astonishing if a play written for, and performed before, a university audience, had seriously intended to place “natural wit” above formal education and erudition.” A Wikipedia article says in reference to the quote you used above “This well-known passage is bitterly ironic: The author of the Parnassus plays is holding up to scorn for an academic audiencethe opinions of two illiterate fools, Burbage and Kempe, who think that Metamorphosis is a writer, and that their colleague, Shakespeare, puts the university playwrights to shame.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parnassus_plays

In addition, it appears unlikely that their “fellow Shakespeare” that gave Ben Jonson a purge. The editor of the Parnassus plays thinks it was Thomas Dekker's Satiomastix. Though it’s also possible that the Parnassus writers didn’t know this. And on the other hand, since the characters of Burbage and Kempe are depicted as illiterate fools, the writers could easily have also meant to show them as foolishly ignorant about their fellow Shakespeare, not realizing that the real Shakespeare was a Cambridge man himself, as the students might easily have guessed from the university, and specifically, Cambridge lingo itself.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Debating the Evidence 3 months 2 weeks ago #7239

  • Unfoldyourself
  • Unfoldyourself's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Scholar
  • Posts: 408
  • Thank you received: 6
Reply Part 3

In 1615 Edmund Howes published a list of "Our moderne, and present excellent Poets" in John Stow's Annales. He lists the poets "according to their priorities (social rank) as neere I could," with Knights listed first, followed by gentlemen. In the middle of the 27 listed, number 13 is "M. Willi. Shakespeare gentleman."
--From Ros Barber’s Shakespeare the Evidence:
• This is not a personal reference; as with all the other impersonal references in this section, it is only evidence that a contemporary writer knows the works published under the name William Shakespeare.
• The title gentleman suggests he associates the author with the theatre shareholder Shakspere, who was eligible to use this title, but there is no evidence Howes had personal knowledge of the author, or of Shakspere.

Some time between 1616 and 1623, William Basse wrote an elegy entitled "On Mr. Wm. Shakespeare," in which he suggests that Shakespeare should have been buried in Westminster Abbey next to Chaucer, Beaumont, and Spenser.
--Below is from Ros Barber’s book:
• But it is an impersonal reference. We have no evidence that William Basse knew the author personally or was connected in any way to William Shakspere of Stratford. The poem itself does not link the author to Stratford-upon-Avon.
• We do not know the date of the Basse elegy copy that links him to Stratford-upon-Avon. It is perfectly possibly that it was headed in this manner after the publication of the First Folio in 1623, and simply follows the information given in the Folio’s prefatory material. That the author was widely considered to hail from Stratford-upon-Avon after the Folio’s publication is not in doubt.

The selected evidence above, and there is more, is cumulative and interconnected, and taken as a whole it leaves no doubt that a single man from Stratford was actor, author, and shareholder.
--Your evidence is full of holes. As Mark Twain said (paraphrased) “A few bones and enough plaster of Paris to build a brontosaur.”

I have addressed most of this in my comment above. The documentary evidence is abundant and indisputable that there was one person, William Shakespeare of Stratford, who was author, actor and shareholder. As to why Shakespeare's name was attributed to works that were not his, it was most likely due to the fact that once he became acknowledged as an exceptional writer of plays, poems and sonnets his name was a seller. Printers knew they would sell more copies if they attached Shakespeare's name to works they sold, whether or not the attribution was correct. Additionally, Shakespeare might have had an editorial or collaborative role in a play like The London Prodigal and the printer could legitimately attach Shakespeare's name to the play. So, ultimately Shakespeare’s name was being used at times by fraudulent printers, if they knew he was not responsible for the work, interested in profiting off of Shakespeare's name.
--There were plenty of Shakespeare plays printed without his name on them (i.e. Anonymously) when the name was quite famous. The theory of the Stratford man as a broker of plays (among other things) is gaining ground, and as this argument builds, the one for him as a writer grows ever weaker.

Your above example is not basic counterevidence. In fact, it is not evidence at all. The “these” to which Vicars wants to add the author who takes his name from “shaking” and the “spear”, included Chaucer, Spencer, Drayton and George Wither. There is no reason to believe Vicars is not referring to William Shakespeare from Stratford. There certainly is no indication that Vicars was in any way suspicious of who Shakespeare was. Schurink makes the following interesting point: "Vicars’s punning allusion to Shakespeare, while reflecting his characteristic fondness for wordplay, also suggests that he was a familiar figure to readers of the manual. This is confirmed by the fact that Shakespeare is the only author in Vicars’s list who is called ‘famous’ (‘celeber’). It is tempting to think that his celebrity, as well as the authority which led to his inclusion in a school manual, is a reflection of the impact of the publication of the First Folio edition of his plays a few years earlier." That is very positive testimony by the author on behalf of William Shakespeare from Stratford. If Thomas Vicars had any doubts about the true identity of the “famous poet” he does not express them here. The anti-Shakespearian assumption seems to be that no one would positively refer to a real person actually named William Shakespeare with a punning allusion in latin to the “shaking” and the “speare” but only through a pseudonymous reference. That seems tangential to the direct purpose of Vicars’s book which is the teaching of rhetoric to school boys.

--Readers can compare the two arguments. I’ll rephrase and summarize the non-Stratfordian argument. In Vicars 1624 edition he did NOT list ‘William Shakespeare’ or even refer to him, EVEN THOUGH at the time he was quite famous, maybe even the most famous poet, as we agree. This is clearly very odd and surprising. Then, in his next edition of 1628, he STILL does NOT name this most famous poet, as he did the other well-known poets, even though he clearly knew of Shakespeare. Instead, he alludes to the author tangentially through the two, often hyphenated, parts of his name, which again is very odd. Further, he says plainly that this author “takes” his name from ‘shaking’ and ‘spear’. If he has ‘taken’ his name, then it follows that it wasn’t ‘given’ to or inherited by him at birth. Instead, it implies that he intentionally constructed it artificially from two well-known objects that seem to be associated with writing. [speare = pen, and shaking = directing written ideas at others]. This suggests to us that Vicars clearly knew that Shake-speare the author was NOT the actor/sharer of the playing company.

Not sure what this comment has to do with anything. It is not evidence to refute the authorship of William Shakespeare from Stratford or evidence in support of another candidate. My claim that anti-Shakespearians engage in conspiracy theories, and that you have also done so, is based on the fact that you and others suggest that William Shakespeare was a pseudonym or that he was a front man with ZERO documentary evidence to support this. Why would anti-Shakespearians do this? It is the only way to refute the abundance of documentary evidence in support of William Shakespeare from Stratford as the author of the works attributed to Shakespeare. Provide one piece of documentary evidence that shows Shakespeare from Stratford did not write the works attributed to him or provide one piece of evidence that anyone other than Shakespeare wrote the works. No one ever has.
--There doesn’t seem to be any documentary evidence that proves anyone was the author. [Though I don’t speak for other non-Stratfordians as they may disagree.] All arguments are based on interpretations of historical circumstantial evidence and reasoned analysis from this.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Debating the Evidence 3 months 2 weeks ago #7240

  • William Shakespeare
  • William Shakespeare's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Neophyte
  • Posts: 6
These comments are in response to “Reply Part 1”

What preceeded your “it follows” was your evidence that Stratford’s W.S. was an actor that performed in the Shakespeare plays and was also a sharer in that company. I and thousands of others do not see that your authorship conclusion “follows” from your two pieces of evidence. The lack of a logical deduction was so great that I could only end up deducing an alternative explanation.

-- Interesting. Let me break it down for you one more time. I left out the details and documentary evidence this time because it’s clear you are uncomfortable with both. The following facts are established by documentary evidence:
Fact 1 - The name "William Shakespeare" appears on the plays and poems. (I never wrote this was the only way it was spelled, but it appears this way too.)
Fact 2 - William Shakespeare was an actor in the company which performed the plays of William Shakespeare.
Fact 3 - William Shakespeare the actor was William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Fact 4 - William Shakespeare the Globe-sharer was also William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Thus, based on documentary and contextual evidence, it follows that...
Fact 5 - William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, the actor and Globe-sharer, was the playwright and poet William Shakespeare.
Please provide any documentary evidence that refutes items 1-5 in your next post or explain how my “lack of logical deduction was so great.”

Importantly, this is technically not true. Of the approximate 48 quartos (depending on what all is counted) and V&A and Lucrece, there are about 12 of them by “William Shakespeare”. It looks like three others listed as by “W. Shakespeare” and I have no problem with that.

-- Hmm, so “William Shakespeare” and “W. Shakespeare” are not exactly the same? That’s your argument? That’s really weak so I’ll move on.

So, if you don’t have a problem with the works attributed to “William Shakespeare” or “W. Shakespeare” do you think those are by Shakespeare from Stratford? But where our opinion differs, is with the approximate 17-19 of these that have the last name with the hyphen as Shake-speare, and with the approximate 17 that were published with no author’s name, even long after the Shakespeare name had become famous and a selling point. More complete statistics than mine can be found on page 23 of Shahan and Waugh’s Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?

-- What is your point here? Is it that the hyphen in “Shake-speare” means that it’s a pseudonym? There is no evidence in scholarly works on literary pseudonyms that hyphenations represent a pseudonym. The occasional hyphenation of the name “Shakespeare” was likely at the discretion of the printer and it was not unusual in Tudor-Stuart England for the hyphenation of the names of other real people.

As far as Shakespeare’s name not being mentioned on the early quartos, this is far from uncommon as well. It is clear that you are implying that there was some effort to keep the author's name secret, but this is not supported by contemporary evidence. Contemporary plays at that time were not considered literature, and most people didn't pay much attention to their authors, at least not until after 1600. Only about a third of all the plays printed in the 1590s named the author on the title page, and a significant portion of these were the Shakespeare quartos late in the decade. The only playwrights to be named on any title pages from 1590-97 were Robert Greene, Thomas Lodge, Christopher Marlowe, John Lyly, and Robert Wilson. Of those, Greene and Marlowe had never been mentioned on a title page while they were alive; in fact, neither had been mentioned as a playwright at all while he was alive. In this context, there is nothing peculiar about the lack of Shakespeare's name on the title pages of the few early quartos of his plays, as he was just becoming established.

As far as Shahan and Waugh’s Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?, keep in mind you are referencing a work by Alexander Waugh and John M. Shahan who are both on the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) Board of Directors and clearly have an agenda that they try to fulfill by bending and misinterpreting evidence. Neither Shahan (Master of Science in Public Health) or Waugh (degrees in music) have training or expertise in the history of Tudor-Stuart England or the literature of that era, so please make sure you reference scholarly works that have been peer reviewed by professionals. Their claims that Shakespeare from Stratford is not the author are as valid as a layperson arguing that vaccines can cause autism in children despite all of the medical and scientific evidence to the contrary.

Not remotely true. I can’t recall ever reading of non-Stratfordians that think that there is NO evidence connecting the works to the Stratford man. Generally, the argument is that the evidence is weak, very suspicious, contradictory, greatly lacking in confirmatory evidence, and possibly approaching the nearly impossible.

-- If this is your argument, and the argument of other anti-Shakespearians, then what is your evidence or proof that Shakespeare from Stratford did not write the works or that someone else did? Please provide some evidence instead of restating your opinion over and over again without any documentary evidence to support your opinion.

We are as likely to cite the same documentary evidence against your theory as you use to assert it. Plus, a mass of circumstantial evidence we think outweighs your theory’s circumstantial evidence.

-- Unfortunately, this is an example of the lack of expertise anti-Shakespearians exhibit when it comes to historical and literary scholarship. Anti-Shakespearians are often rebutted by experts in Shakespearian scholarship about their misguided interpretations of documentary evidence and their misunderstanding of the Elizabethan era in general.

It might surprise you that academics who research, write and teach in these fields are held to high standards when it comes to the collection and analysis of evidence. In order to publish in these fields there is a rigorous peer review process by other experts in these fields. The book you mentioned above, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?, was published by Llumina Press, a Print on demand, self publishing, and distribution company. The authors, Shahan and Waugh, are not experts and their writings, when reviewed by experts, are almost universally rejected.

"William Shakespeare" has none of the characteristics of a pseudonym;
--maybe not, but we think that “Shake-speare” does have such a characteristic that can’t be logically dismissed.


-- Once again, you have no documentary evidence to support what “we think.” Anti-Shakespearians in this belief, fail to mention, that the idea of hyphenated names in Tudor-Stuart England representing a pseudonym is completely unknown outside of anti-Shakespearian literature. There is no reference to it in the standard scholarly works on literary pseudonyms, nor is there any mention of it in any of the various studies of Elizabethan punctuation and orthography. Real names were occasionally hyphenated when they could be divided into two parts; the same is true of fictitious names. The best-known pseudonym of the time, Martin Marprelate, was only occasionally hyphenated, while names of several real people (such as Charles Fitz-geffrey and Robert Walde-grave) were hyphenated with great regularity.

it was the real name of a person closely connected with the production of the plays,
--Here you’re presuming what in fact we’re debating.


-- You have already admitted that it is a fact that William Shakespeare of Stratford was a shareholder in the Globe Theater. So, Shakespeare from Stratford was “closely connected with the production of the plays.” What is there to debate about here?

and there is no indication in the historical record that anybody ever suspected it of being a pseudonym
--in your opinion. We don’t agree.


-- Here is the difference, my opinion is backed by documentary evidence, the meaning of which is agreed upon by a vast majority of academic scholars in the fields of history and literature who have expert training in these fields and who regularly research, write and teach in these fields. How are you supporting your opinion?

Are you even going to try to have a rational exchange? Or is it your intent to just waste everyone’s time here? What you should be attempting to say here is that “or said that anybody other than [the actor/sharer from Stratford] was the author”. To which we say that such thought seems to have been hinted at by some (Vicars, Ben Jonson, Hall and Marston, for example). If there was an intent to hide “the true author” then you shouldn’t expect to find an open explicit declaration that the Stratford man was not, or that someone else was.

-- I am trying to have a logical and rational exchange, but it is difficult when your argument lacks both logic and rational thought. Here is your argument in a nutshell (without any documentary evidence, of course):
- Someone other than Shakespeare from Stratford wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare. Evidence? None.
- Any reference to William Shakespeare as author is reference to a pseudonym. Evidence? None.
- There are no open references to William Shakespeare as a pseudonym because people were trying to hide this fact. Evidence? None.

Your argument doesn't follow logically or rationally and you have no evidence to back up your claims. Your claim that contemporaries of Shakespeare hinted at a hidden authorship, shows a lack of expertise in the analysis of the documents in question by Vicars, Johnson, Hall and Marston, since Shakespearian scholars in history and literature have unequivocally refuted the misguided interpretations by anti-Shakespearians that any of them refer to a hidden author. I don't see any reply to my comment about your misreading of Vicars in my previous post in the “Shakespeare and Italy” section.

In the end, it is really you that is wasting everyone's time. You really should pick intellectual pursuits that are more worthwhile and suited to you.

The claim that the occasional hyphenation of "Shake-speare" indicated a pseudonym is completely groundless and unsupported by any evidence. There were not two separate names, "Shakspere" and "Shakespeare"; rather, they were the same name, with "Shakespeare" being by far the most common spelling, especially in London, both in non-literary references to the man from Stratford and in literary references to Shakespeare as a poet and playwright.

These are just your assertions that are worthless in a debate. Interested readers can go to the doubtaboutwill.org site for some of the counterarguments. Readers should also know that scholars used to routinely spell the name as “Shakspere” in their journals. This is mentioned in Chapter 1 of Shakspeare Beyond Doubt? By Shahan and Waugh. In this chapter A.J. Pointon Ph.D. writes “The most effective deception—the change to his name—took hold around 1916, the tercentenary of Shakspere’s death. It was then that orthodox scholars, individuals and organizations involved in what had become the lucrative “Shakespeare business” began airbrushing the name “Shakspere” out of existence. In all new publications it would be replaced by Shakespeare, while every Shakspere family tree published became the “Shakespeare family tree. By this technique, people would eventually believe the Shaksperes of Stratford were really called Shakespeare and doubts about it would be met with astonishment and incomprehension.”


-- Unfortunately for your argument, my assertion that the occasional hyphenation of "Shake-speare" did not indicate a pseudonym is backed by documentary evidence and agreement on this assertion by professional academic scholars who study the history of Tudor-Stuart England and the literature from that era. You reference Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? again, which is not a scholarly work and is a response to an actual scholarly work. Two books, for those interested, that should be read are:

Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, Edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells
Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, by James Shapiro

Please review the definition of conspiracy theory before you try to assail the credibility of the editors and authors mentioned above.

As far as the rest of your comment goes, A.J. Pointon is another member of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition and is on their Board of Academic Advisors. His “Ph.D.” is not in history or literature and he did not engage with either of these disciplines professionally. His claim is another conspiracy theory, and I know you are fond of those kind of theories.

For any young or still-bewildered readers, the question is whether the authorial attribution to “Shakespeare” absolutely was meant for the actor/shareholder from Stratford, who never spelt his name exactly like that.

-- Well, I’ve already provided evidence for the variations in spelling during Shakespeare’s life, but you either failed to read the comment or comprehend it. Here’s something else. One of your fellow anti-Shakespearians, Charlton Ogburn, who wrote The Mysterious William Shakespeare (1992 edition) apparently knew enough about the evidence to see how often the name of "the Stratford man" was spelled "Shakespeare," However, since this conflicts with his theory that the man's name was unequivocally "Shaksper" or "Shakspere,” he rationalizes away the mass of "Shakespeare" spellings by claiming (p. 93) that the Stratford man and others around him may have come to "fancy" this spelling in imitation of the great author "William Shakespeare," presumably to the extent of using it almost exclusively in London, and a majority of the time in Stratford. This argument by Ogburn makes no sense, similar to your arguments.

Additionally, Francis Meres attributed twelve plays to Shakespeare, including four which were never published in quarto: [Two] Gentlemen of Verona, [Comedy of] Errors, Love labors wonne, and King John. He also identified some of the plays that were published anonymously before 1598 -- Titus, Romeo and Juliet, and Henry IV -- as being written by Shakespeare.
--Yes, to whomever the author Shake-speare/Shakespeare was.


-- Ugh. I’m just going to quote William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon here:
“More of your conversation would infect my brain.” Coriolanus: Act 2, Scene 1
Last Edit: 3 months 2 weeks ago by William Shakespeare. Reason: I made a mistake in putting something in bold.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Debating the Evidence 3 months 2 weeks ago #7241

  • William Shakespeare
  • William Shakespeare's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Neophyte
  • Posts: 6
These comments are in response to “Reply Part 2”

Not quite. “The most important evidence for dating 1 Henry VI is the Diary of Philip Henslowe, which records a performance of a play by Lord Strange's Men called Harey Vj (i.e. Henry VI) on 3 March 1592 at the Rose Theatre in Southwark.’ When Lord Strange died in April 1594….”The company endured a radical re-organization at this time; many members left to join a new version of another troupe, under the patronage in Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain — which became famous as the company of William Shakespeare and Richard Burbage, the Lord Chamberlain's Men.” Also: “Two of the earliest quarto publications of individual Shakespearean plays are both linked to this company [Pembroke’s Men]: the title page of the earliest text of Henry VI, Part 3 (1595) states that the play was performed by Pembroke's Men, while the title page of Q1 of Titus Andronicus (1594) states that that play was acted by three companies, Pembroke's Men, Derby's Men, and Sussex's Men.” (Quotations are from Wikipedia)

-- It is likely that the Henry VI, Part 3 was first performed by the Earl of Pembroke’s Men at the Rose before June 1592. As far as Titus Andronicus, the performances you mention are from early 1594 or before. Go back and actually read my comment, I wrote from 1594 onwards. I guess I should have wrote from late 1594 onwards. And don’t quote Wikipedia. It doesn’t help your argument.

Some non-Stratfordian theorists have been writing that the hidden author was deliberately conflated with the Stratford actor. And I agree with this. I don’t recall if the pieces of evidence for this hypothesis have been collected in one place. But I might at a later time see what my memory can send up to the surface. In any case, that takes care of the coat of arms on the monument. Note also, that his coat of arms was NOT in the First Folio. Nor was there any other identifying biographical information other than the very similar name that we’re disputing.

-- Don’t worry about consulting your memory, just make something up. What’s nice about conspiracy theories is that they don’t rely on evidence or facts. You’ve used made up and false interpretations by others in your argument so far, why stop now?

As usual, we disagree. I think our basic argument is that the Stratford man and his immediate family consistently used the spelling of Shakspere or something very close to this but without the medial ‘e’ after the k, and mostly without the ‘a’ after in the second syllable, very likely resulting in a different pronunciation. Then for the author’s name on the works we find consistently (like 92% of the time) spelt as Shakespeare (with or without the hyphen). And that that actor, even on his will, at the height of the author’s fame, did not make sure he was identified as the author by using the same spelling. There is no Shakespeare spelling in the Stratford man’s will.

-- Can you please do some actual research on the spelling of Shakespeare’s name in the late 16th and early 17th centuries? You keep making the same point without any evidence. Your opinions, and the opinions of others, that there are two different people in question or a pseudonym is being used is not supported by any evidence.

Think about this: This is a play written by Cambridge students for an audience of Cambridge students. It’s an obvious satire so the audience isn’t expected to take statements seriously. As Steven Steinburg writes in his book I Come to Bury Shakspere, “It would be altogether astonishing if a play written for, and performed before, a university audience, had seriously intended to place “natural wit” above formal education and erudition.”

-- Okay, let me walk you through this slowly. Your wrote that Cambridge students wrote this for Cambridge students and it isn’t to be taken seriously and then you quote Steven Steinburg. His book, under the name Steven McClarran (aka Steven Steinburg), was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Not a lot of scholarly peer review going on here. Here’s a little information about the author: Steve McClarran (aka Steven Steinburg) is an independent scholar who has spent more than ten years studying the Shakespeare authorship question. His professional background is in management and organizational analysis with the US Army (Federal employee, retired). His interpretation is incorrect and does not refute the fact that this passage establishes that the playwright Shakespeare was a fellow actor of Kempe and Burbage, contrasts him with the University-educated playwrights, and establishes him as a rival of Ben Jonson.

A Wikipedia article says in reference to the quote you used above “This well-known passage is bitterly ironic: The author of the Parnassus plays is holding up to scorn — for an academic audience — the opinions of two illiterate fools, Burbage and Kempe, who think that Metamorphosis is a writer, and that their colleague, Shakespeare, puts the university playwrights to shame.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parnassus_plays

-- What is your point here? If you are going to quote Wikipedia, then give the information that comes right after in that section. Here it is:

“The audition piece Philomusus is asked to perform is taken from Shakespeare’s play, Richard III: “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York.” In this part of the trilogy, Shakespeare is seen as a poet, and also as a dramatist and actor. In the second play, The Return from Parnasus, the character named Gullio, who is lovesick and a fool, is mocked for his worshipful devotion to “pure Shakspeare and shreds of poetry that he hath gathered at the theaters.” When Gullio later cries out, “O sweet Mr. Shakspeare! I’ll have his picture in my study at the court,” it suggests that young scholars who appreciated Shakespeare’s writing, also had a regard for his person.”

The point is pretty clear that William Shakespeare is the actor, poet, and playwright.

In addition, it appears unlikely that their “fellow Shakespeare” that gave Ben Jonson a purge. The editor of the Parnassus plays thinks it was Thomas Dekker's Satiomastix. Though it’s also possible that the Parnassus writers didn’t know this. And on the other hand, since the characters of Burbage and Kempe are depicted as illiterate fools, the writers could easily have also meant to show them as foolishly ignorant about their fellow Shakespeare, not realizing that the real Shakespeare was a Cambridge man himself, as the students might easily have guessed from the university, and specifically, Cambridge lingo itself.

-- Another misguided assertion without any evidence. When documentary evidence is presented that links Shakespeare of Stratford to the works of Shakespeare, you and other anti-Shakespearians simply disregard it as false, erroneous, or a cover-up. That’s how conspiracy theories work.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Debating the Evidence 3 months 2 weeks ago #7242

  • William Shakespeare
  • William Shakespeare's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Neophyte
  • Posts: 6
These comments are in response to “Reply Part 3”

--From Ros Barber’s Shakespeare the Evidence:
• This is not a personal reference; as with all the other impersonal references in this section, it is only evidence that a contemporary writer knows the works published under the name William Shakespeare.
• The title gentleman suggests he associates the author with the theatre shareholder Shakspere, who was eligible to use this title, but there is no evidence Howes had personal knowledge of the author, or of Shakspere.

--Below is from Ros Barber’s book:
• But it is an impersonal reference. We have no evidence that William Basse knew the author personally or was connected in any way to William Shakspere of Stratford. The poem itself does not link the author to Stratford-upon-Avon.
• We do not know the date of the Basse elegy copy that links him to Stratford-upon-Avon. It is perfectly possibly that it was headed in this manner after the publication of the First Folio in 1623, and simply follows the information given in the Folio’s prefatory material. That the author was widely considered to hail from Stratford-upon-Avon after the Folio’s publication is not in doubt.


-- First and foremost, Ros Barber is not a Shakespearian scholar or an expert on that time period. Her degrees are in creative writing and she makes her living teaching creative writing and writing fiction herself. The references from Howes and Basse, taken together with all of the other contemporary evidence, are just more documentary evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford was an actor, poet, and dramatist (playwright).

In order to explain away these reference, insert conspiracy theory here...

Your evidence is full of holes. As Mark Twain said (paraphrased) “A few bones and enough plaster of Paris to build a brontosaur.”

-- Just because not every waking second of Shakespeare’s life is accounted for does not mean there is any doubt about his authorship. Nice Twain quote. Kind of the Ros Barber of the 19th century, except he was a much better writer than she is. Neither one of them, however, is or was a trained Shakespearian scholar. Here is another quote from Shakespeare of Stratford:

“I do repent the tedious minutes I with [you] have spent.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream: 2.2

There were plenty of Shakespeare plays printed without his name on them (i.e. Anonymously) when the name was quite famous. The theory of the Stratford man as a broker of plays (among other things) is gaining ground, and as this argument builds, the one for him as a writer grows ever weaker.

-- I’m wondering if your “theory” is a conspiracy theory? Yes, it is. And, it’s not gaining ground. It’s stuck in the corner of the internet where conspiracy theories live.

Readers can compare the two arguments. I’ll rephrase and summarize the non-Stratfordian argument. In Vicars 1624 edition he did NOT list ‘William Shakespeare’ or even refer to him, EVEN THOUGH at the time he was quite famous, maybe even the most famous poet, as we agree. This is clearly very odd and surprising. Then, in his next edition of 1628, he STILL does NOT name this most famous poet, as he did the other well-known poets, even though he clearly knew of Shakespeare. Instead, he alludes to the author tangentially through the two, often hyphenated, parts of his name, which again is very odd. Further, he says plainly that this author “takes” his name from ‘shaking’ and ‘spear’. If he has ‘taken’ his name, then it follows that it wasn’t ‘given’ to or inherited by him at birth. Instead, it implies that he intentionally constructed it artificially from two well-known objects that seem to be associated with writing. [speare = pen, and shaking = directing written ideas at others]. This suggests to us that Vicars clearly knew that Shake-speare the author was NOT the actor/sharer of the playing company.

-- You are trying to read something out of this document that isn’t there. Your comment reminds me of another line from Shakespeare of Stratford:

“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth: 5.5

There doesn’t seem to be any documentary evidence that proves anyone was the author. [Though I don’t speak for other non-Stratfordians as they may disagree.] All arguments are based on interpretations of historical circumstantial evidence and reasoned analysis from this.

-- And who would you trust to offer these interpretations? Trained historians and literary scholars? No. You would rather look to writers of fiction, Ph.D.’s in Physics, and people who do a number of other jobs none of which are connected to the professional study of the history or writing of Shakespeare.

There’s plenty of evidence. Maybe you should read up on some of it.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Debating the Evidence 3 months 2 weeks ago #7243

  • Unfoldyourself
  • Unfoldyourself's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Scholar
  • Posts: 408
  • Thank you received: 6
Reply Part 4

It has nothing to do with Shakespeare. I never wrote that pseudonyms or front-men had never been used, just that there is no evidence whatsoever this is the case in regards to Shakespeare. In fact there is overwhelming evidence that William Shakespeare is a singular person from Stratford who was a writer, player, and shareholder in a theater company.
--redundant.

I have already addressed much of this comment above. Here are just a few pieces of documentary evidence that prove William Shakespeare from Stratford wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare. Many plays, poems and sonnets were attributed to Shakespeare during his lifetime.
—redundant.

In 1599, Francis Meres attributed twelve plays to Shakespeare, including four which were never published in quarto: [Two] Gentlemen of Verona, [Comedy of] Errors, Love labors wonne, and King John. He also identified some of the plays that were published anonymously before 1598 -- Titus, Romeo and Juliet, and Henry IV -- as being written by Shakespeare.
–redundant.

There is a monument to Shakespeare in Stratford, erected by his neighbors, that refer to him as a writer.
--Please provide the proof, or even some little evidence, that the Stratford monument was erected by his neighbors. Otherwise, you just made it up.
In the First Folio, Johnson and Digges both refer to Shakespeare from Stratford as the author of the works. – It is disputed that Jonson (not Johnson) referred to Shakespeare as being from Stratford. Digges’ poem mentions the Stratford monument (monument) but whether he saw it first himself we don’t know.

William Basse wrote a poem entitled "On Mr. Wm. Shakespeare, he died in April 1616" (thus he was very clearly referring to the Stratford Shakespeare). It is not known exactly when this poem was written, but: a) it was certainly written after Beaumont's death in February 1616, and b) it was certainly in existence by the time of the First Folio in 1623, since Johnson's eulogy alludes directly to Basse's, and responds to it.
--see above the previous response regarding Basse.

John Taylor has a poem in The Praise of Hemp-seed (1620) in which he includes Shakespeare among famous dead English poets who live on through their works.
--Another impersonal reference to the poet known by the name on his poems. There’s no evidence he personally knew the author.

The monument to Shakespeare in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford was in place at least by the time of the First Folio in 1623, since Leonard Digges refers to it in his poem in that volume.
--That monument seems to relate to the pseudonymous author, whoever he was, with an odd and very ambiguous continuation of the surface story with the Strafford man as the author.

There is Jonson's famous poem in the First Folio (1623), "To the memory of my beloved, Mr. William Shakespeare, and what he hath left us."
--Ben Jonson is a conflicted witness in that he had a close relationship with his patron William Herbert, the 3rd earl of Pembroke, the Lord Chamberlain and a dedicatee of the First Folio. The other dedicatee, his brother Phillip, was married to the daughter of a lead alternative author, the earl of Oxford. Jonson was also closely associated with another alternative candidate, Francis Bacon. Since there’s much agreement that Jonson wrote not only his poem in the FF, but also the front matter ascribed to Heminge and Condell, along with the evidence he orchestrated and wrote some of the matter on the monument, it follows that we can’t take as literally true the surface appearance of the FF or the monument. This by itself should be enough to encourage serious scholarly enquiry into the authorship question.

The First Folio prefatory material also contains poems by Hugh Holland, Leonard Digges, and I.M., most likely Digges's friend James Mabbe.
--We have no evidence that they personally knew the author.

In a copy of the First Folio now at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the following poem is written in a hybrid secretary-italic hand from the 1620s: "Here Shakespeare lies whom none but Death could Shake, / And here shall lie till judgement all awake, / When the last trumpet doth unclose his eyes, / The wittiest poet in the world shall rise."
--Another impersonal reference, so irrelevant.

There are more specific examples, but this should suffice. Regarding Shakespeare’s “specialized knowledge,” anti-Shakespearians in many cases have greatly overestimated the extent of Shakespeare's knowledge in certain areas, or at least the extent to which his knowledge was unusual among his contemporaries. In most cases, they have greatly underestimated the resources available to any intelligent Elizabethan who wished to learn about virtually any subject.
--That still an open question and quite debatable. We can discuss it more another time.

There is documentary evidence proving Williams Shakespeare from Stratford was the author of the works attributed to Shakespeare and to claim otherwise is to refute an abundance of documentary evidence combined with contextual evidence from the Elizabethan era.
--There is no documentary proof so far. Otherwise there wouldn’t be the increasing doubt in the matter.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: William Shakespeare
 

Log in or Register

Register
Forgot username  Forgot password
Get the Shakespeare Pro app