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The Noble Sublime - Sublimation and Desublimation in Shakespeare Authorship

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Jan 2, 2023, 12:55:36 AM1/2/23
Shakespear wanted Arte - Ben Jonson, according to William Drummond


Radical Art “Informe” (formless)

Art is about form. (Visual shape is a metaphor for conceptual form.) But in the course of the twentieth century this very notion (form) has become suspect. This situation creates an interesting challenge for the visual arts: to find a form for formlessness, to show the form that has no form. Below we list some of the forms of formlessness that have been explored:

dangle, tangle, jumble, litter, mound, heap, junk, foam, fluff, mud, dirt, fat, trash, goo/ooze/putty, mess

Visual shape is a metaphor for conceptual form:

Droeshout Engraving - the form of formlessness


In 1911, Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine investigated the construction of the doublet and reported:

"The tunic, coat, or whatever the garment may have been called at the time, is so strangely illustrated that the right hand-side of the forepart is obviously the left-hand side of the backpart, and so give[s] a harlequin appearance to the figure, which it is not unnatural to assume was intentional and done with express object and purpose.

Forms of formlessness:
gallimaufry, tatterdemalion, frippery, mingle-mangle, soraismus, hodge-podge, genera-mixta, salmagundi, patchwork, motley, jumble, hash, botch, shambles, mongrel tragi-comedy, bedlam, amorphus, Italianate Englishman, shreds, sweepings, scraps

Shakespeare's Sublime Formlessness satirized as Amorphus:

He that is with him is Amorphus, a traveller, one so made out of a
<<mixture of shreds and forms>>, that himself is truly deformed. He
walks most commonly with a clove or pick-tooth in his mouth, he is the
very mint of compliment, all his behaviours are printed, his face is
another volume of essays, and his beard is an Aristarchus. (Jonson,
Cynthia's Revels)
Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e'en the FRIPPERY of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
As we, the robb'd, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,
He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own:
And, told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
The sluggish gaping auditor devours;
He marks not whose 'twas first: and after-times
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool! as if half eyes will not know a fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece?


Italianate Englishman:

Speculum Tuscanismi
Since Galatea came in, and Tuscanism gan usurp,
Vanity above all: villainy next her, stateliness Empress
No man but minion, stout, lout, plain, swain, quoth a Lording:
No words but valorous, no works but womanish only.
For life Magnificoes, not a beck but glorious in show,
In deed most frivolous, not a look but Tuscanish always.
His cringing side neck, eyes glancing, fisnamy smirking,
With forefinger kiss, and brave embrace to the footward.
Large bellied Cod-pieced doublet, uncod-pieced half hose,
Straight to the dock like a shirt, and close to the britch like a
A little Apish flat couched fast to the pate like an oyster,
French camarick ruffs, deep with a whiteness starched to the purpose.
Every one A per se A, his terms and braveries in print,
Delicate in speech, quaint in array: conceited in all points,
In Courtly guiles a passing singular odd man,
For Gallants a brave Mirror, a Primrose of Honour,
A Diamond for nonce, a fellow peerless in England.
Not the like discourser for Tongue, and head to be found out,
Not the like resolute man for great and serious affairs,
Not the like Lynx to spy out secrets and privities of States,
Eyed like to Argus, eared like to Midas, nos'd like to Naso,
Wing'd like to Mercury, fittst of a thousand for to be employ'd,
This, nay more than this, doth practice of Italy in one year.
None do I name, but some do I know, that a piece of a twelve month
Hath so perfited outly and inly both body, both soul,
That none for sense and senses half matchable with them.
A vulture's smelling, Ape's tasting, sight of an eagle,
A spider's touching, Hart's hearing, might of a Lion.
Compounds of wisdom, wit, prowess, bounty, behavior,
All gallant virtues, all qualities of body and soul.
O thrice ten hundred thousand times blessed and happy,
Blessed and happy travail, Travailer most blessed and happy.
"Tell me in good sooth, doth it not too evidently appear
that this English poet wanted but a good pattern before his eyes,
as it might be some delicate and choice elegant Poesy
of good Master Sidney's or Master Dyer's
(our very Castor and Pollux for such and many greater matters)
when this trim gear was in the matching?"
Gabriel Harvey

Poetaster, Ben Jonson

(...)The suffering ploughshare or the flint may wear;

But heavenly poesy no death can fear.

Kings shall give place to it, and kingly shows,

The banks o'er which gold-bearing Tagus flows.

Kneel hinds to *trash*: me let bright Phoebus swell

With cups full-flowing from the Muses' well!_

The frost-drad myrtle shall impale my head,

And of sad lovers I 'll be often read!

Envy the living not the dead doth bite,

For after death all men receive their right.

*Then when this body falls in funeral fire,

My name shall live and my best part ASPIRE. *

[after Ovid, Amores 1:15]


intransitive verb

1: to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal


Merriam Webster:
The word sublimate comes from the Latin verb sublimare, which means "to lift up" or "raise" and which is also the ancestor of our sublime. "Sublimate" itself once meant "to elevate to a place of dignity or honor" or "to give a more elevated character to," but these meanings are now obsolete.
*Also includes - to soar, to fly aloft, to be carried into the sky*

Ben Jonson, Alchemist Act 1;Sc. 1

Face. You might talk softlier, rascal.
Subtle. No, you scarab,
I'll thunder you in pieces: I will teach you
How to beware to tempt a Fury again,
That carries tempest in his hand and voice.
Face. The place has made you valiant.
Subtle. No, your clothes. -
Thou vermin, have I ta'en thee out of dung,
So poor, so wretched, when no living thing
Would keep thee company, but a spider, or worse?
Rais'd thee from brooms, and dust, and watering-pots,
Sublimed thee, and exalted thee, and fix'd thee
In the third region, call'd our state of grace?
Wrought thee to spirit, to quintessence, with pains
Would twice have won me the philosopher's work?
Put thee in words and fashion, made thee fit
For more than ordinary fellowships?
Giv'n thee thy oaths, thy quarrelling dimensions,
Thy rules to cheat at horse-race, cock-pit, cards,
Dice, or whatever gallant tincture else?
Made thee a second in mine own great art?
And have I this for thanks ! Do you rebel,
Do you fly out in the projection !
Would you be gone now?

(...) in that which becks

Our ready minds to fellowship divine,

A fellowship with essence, till we shine

Fully alchemized, and free of space. (Keats, Endymion I)


Attribution (?)
For the alchemist, the process of sublimation was experienced in symbolic images. He, for example, might see a bird flying up from the matter in the lower part of the vessel to the upper regions. The alchemical vessel was equated with the macrocosm its lower part being the earth and its upper part, heaven. The sublimate flees earth and is transported to heaven. A text says,” At the end of the sublimation there germinates through the mediation of the spirit, a shining white soul [anima candida] which flies up to heaven with the spirit. This is clearly and manifestly the Stone” (This “white soul” is often represented by a white bird being released from the material being heated.)

Tragic Joy and the Sublime:

Love's Martyr, Robert Chester

Haue I come hither drooping through the woods,
And left the springing groues to seeke for thee?
Haue I forsooke to bath me in the flouds,
And pin'd away in carefull misery?
Do not deny me Phoenix I must be
A partner in this HAPPY TRAGEDY.
O holy, sacred, and pure perfect fire,
More pure then that ore which faire Dido mones,
More sacred in my louing kind desire,
Then that which burnt old Esons aged bones,
Accept into your euer hallowed flame,
Two bodies, from the which may spring one name.

O sweet perfumed flame, made of those trees,
Vnder the which the Muses•ne haue song
The praise of vertuous maids in misteries,
To whom the faire fac'd Nymphes did often throng;
Accept my body as a Sacrifice
Into your flame, of whom one name may rise.
O wilfulnesse, see how with smiling cheare,
My poore deare hart hath flong himselfe to thrall,
Looke what a mirthfull countenance he doth beare,
Spreading his wings abroad, and JOYES with all:
Learne thou corrupted world, learne, heare, and see,
Friendships vnspotted true sincerity.
I come sweet Turtle, and with my bright wings,
I will embrace thy burnt bones as they lye,
I hope of these another Creature springs,
That shall possesse both our authority:
I stay to long, ô take me to your glory,
And thus I end the Turtle Doues true story.

Billy Budd/Book/Foundling/Beauty
Sublime – tragic joy/happy Tragedy (Love’s Martyr)
Phoenix and Turtle 'Urn'/Melville's Architectural "Finial"

Billy Budd chapter 22, Melville

It was Captain Vere himself who of his own motion communicated the finding of the court to the prisoner; for that purpose going to the compartment where he was in custody and bidding the marine there to withdraw for the time.
Beyond the communication of the sentence what took place at this interview was never known. But in view of the character of the twain briefly closeted in that state-room, each radically sharing in the rarer qualities of our nature--so rare indeed as to be all but incredible to average minds however much cultivated--some conjectures may be ventured.
It would have been in consonance with the spirit of Captain Vere should he on this occasion have concealed nothing from the condemned one--should he indeed have frankly disclosed to him the part he himself had played in bringing about the decision, at the same time revealing his actuating motives. On Billy's side it is not improbable that such a confession would have been received in much the same spirit that prompted it. *Not without a sort of JOY* indeed he might have appreciated the brave opinion of him implied in his Captain's making such a confidant of him. Nor, as to the sentence itself could he have been insensible that it was imparted to him as to one not afraid to die. Even more may have been. Captain Vere in the end may have developed the passion sometimes latent under an exterior stoical or indifferent. He was old enough to have been Billy's father. The austere devotee of military duty, letting himself melt back into what remains primeval in our formalized humanity, may in the end have caught Billy to his heart even as Abraham may have caught young Isaac on the brink of resolutely offering him up in obedience to the exacting behest. But there is no telling the sacrament, seldom if in any case revealed to the gadding world, wherever under circumstances at all akin to those here attempted to be set forth, two of great Nature's nobler order embrace. There is privacy at the time, inviolable to the survivor, and holy oblivion, the sequel to each diviner magnanimity, providentially covers all at last.


(Desublimation of Budd/Beauty/Book/Martyr - oozy weeds)

But me they’ll lash me in hammock, drop me deep.
Fathoms down, fathoms down, how I’ll dream fast asleep.
I feel it stealing now. Sentry, are you there?
Just ease these darbies at the wrist,
And roll me over fair.
I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist.

(Billy - Melville's 'Pinioned' Figure)

Beauty's Resistless Thunder - Marston, Love's Martyr

A narration and description of a most exact wondrous creature, arising out of the Phoenix and Turtle Doues ashes. - Marston

O Twas a mouing Epicedium!
Can Fire? can Time? can blackest Fate consume
So rare creation? No; tis thwart to sence,
Corruption quakes to touch such excellence,
Nature exclaimes for Iustice, Iustice Fate,
Ought into nought can neuer remigrate.
Then looke; for see what glorious issue brighter
Then clearest fire, and beyond faith farre whiter
Then Dians tier) now springs from yonder flame?
Let me stand numb'd with wonder, neuer came
So strong amazement on astonish'd eie
As this, this measurelesse pure Raritie.
Lo now; th'xtracture of deuinest Essence,
The Soule of heauens labour'd Quintessence,
(Peans to Phoebus) from deare Louer's death,
Takes sweete creation and all blessing breath.
What strangenesse is't that from the Turtles ashes
Assumes such forme? (whose splendor clearer flashes,
Then mounted Delius) tell me genuine Muse.
Now yeeld your aides, you spirites that infuse
A sacred rapture, light my weaker eie:
Raise my inuention on swift Phantasie,
That whilft of this same Metaphisicall
God, Man, nor Woman, but elix'd of all
My labouring thoughts, with strained ardor sing,
My Muse may mount with an vncommon wing.

Beauty's Resistlesse Thunder: Marston, Love's Martyr

No Master of Himself: Pope and the Response of Wonder
Katherine Playfair Quinsey

The late seventeenth-century invocation of the response of wonder was thus a dynamic process replete with ambivalence, a characteristic that continues to inform even current criticism on Longinian aesthetics. Often described as “rapture” or a loss of a sense of self, in an overwhelming emotive response to objects that go beyond the limits of perception, this immersion of the self in the otherness of the perceived arose, ironically, from a new focus on the self: from philosophical, religious, and scientific empiricism, and an unprecedented recognition of the empirical validity of the subjective response. As an aesthetic and philosophical concept, wonder develops through an ongoing tension with the formalistic rhetorical tradition of artful persuasion. This particular ambivalence is clearly evident in the classical treatise frequently invoked, Longinus’s Peri Hupsos—usually referred to as On the Sublime—which opens with a lucid analysis of the relationship between rhetorical strategy and emotive expression, clearly delineating the difference between persuasion and the action of the “sublime”:

*For great and lofty Thoughts do not so truly perswade, as charm and throw us into a Rapture. They form in us a kind of Admiration made up of Extasy and Surprize, which is quite different from that motion of the Soul, by which we are pleas’d, or perswaded. Perswasion has only that power over us, which we will give it; but Sublime carries in it such a noble Vigour, such a resistless Strength, which ravishes away the hearer’s Soul against his consent.*
An Essay upon the Sublime, 3

The chief feature of the response of wonder or “admiration” is ecstasy, or separation from the body, here described as separation from the willed consciousness of the self, acting “against his [the hearer’s] consent” and imaged as the near-violent overcoming of the will and reason. This is opposed to rhetorical persuasion, in which the hearer is an active participant who willingly “allows” the argument to have emotional power as well as logical validity. (Note that Longinus also invokes the traditional meaning of nil admirari, the association of admiration with “surprise.”) The rapture of the soul, or sense of a loss of self, through being immersed in that which is greater than oneself, is a distinguishing feature of the sublime, as is the word “resistless,” itself a favourite term of Pope’s, used repeatedly in this 1698 translation to characterize the action of the sublime in both individual perception and rhetorical technique.
Milton, the sublime and dramas of choice: Figures of Heroic and Literary Virtue
By Irene Montori 
...For Milton, Shakespeare’s imagination holds a paralysing, a sort of “marmorialising” effect on the reader, which anticipates Comus’s paralysis of the Lady. Her stasis is also an evident allusion to Hermione’s statue in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. The statue of Hermione, a great example of Renaissance art, is a perfect imitation of the original, “a piece many years in doing and now newly performed by the rare Italian master, Julio Romano, who, had he himself eternity and could put breath into his work, would beguile Nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her ape”. But, like the Lady of A Maske, she does not have the ability to speak (snip)
...Th(e) sublime moment of reunion between the earthly and the heavenly emerges from a momentary state of wonder, which is also one of the distinguishing features of the romance genre. Through the association of the passions and astonishment and wonder with the marvellous and the Christian supernatural, an early modern poetics of the sublime developed in the context of Shakespeare’s late romances and Spenser’s chivalric poem.
     The Lady’s release from the marble seat in Milton’s masque evokes a similar attempt to collapse the distance between the material and the divine worlds, through the mediation of Sabrina. However, in creating his sublime fiction of transport, Milton distances himself from Shakespeare and Spenser. The Lady’s salvation does not originate from a *seductive, excessive, and over-spontaneous rhetoric, like in Shakespeare*, nor does it emerge as a momentary experience of rapturous wonder, like in Spenser. Milton’s model of sublime poetry eventually results from the combination of imagination and wonder with the assistance of divine grace. Poetic creation, in other words, hinges on the same dialectic that drives the individual’s self-making between active virtue and divine providence. In the very last words of the Attendant Spirit’s epilogue, Milton recalls the dichotomy between virtuous and providential action:
Love Virtue, she alone is free,
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if Virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her. (1118-1122)

English Authorship and the Early Modern Sublime – Patrick Cheney

In _Cynthia’s Revels_, near the beginning of his career (first printed 1600), Jonson uses the word twice [note - sublime], both surrounding the figure of Amorphus, described by Mercury in Act 2, scene 3 as ‘a traveller, one so made out of the mixture and shreds of forms that himself is truly deformed’ (66-7). In other words, Amorphus is a figure of transport, and his composition, made up of ‘forms’ that are ‘deformed’, takes us into what we have previously described as Kantian territory. *Amorphus is that sublime figure of form that has none* (curiously akin to Marlowe’s Helen of Troy)[and Droeshout Engraving], accommodated to the Jonsonian public sphere, where Amorphus’ ‘adaptability and social versatility is a form of shapelessness which links the literal metamorphoses of Echo, Narcissus, and Acteaon, and the cultural ones of Asotus and others’ in the action of the play. (Rassmussen and Steggle).
In using the word ‘sublimated’, Amorphus stands before the Fountain of Self-Love, having just conversed with Narcissus’ one-time beloved, the beautiful nymph Echo – who has just abandoned Amorphus – when Jonson’s figure of formless form steps forth to take the plunge: ‘Liberal and divine fount, suffer my profane hand to take of they bounties’. Intoxicated by ‘most ambrosiac water’, he broods why the beguiling feminine potency of the well should accept him but Echo turn her heel:

Knowing myself an essence so sublimated and refined by travel, of so studied and well-exercised a gesture, so alone in fashion, able to make the face of any statesman living, and to speak the mere extraction of language…; to conclude, in all so happy as even admiration herself does seem to fasten her kisses upon me; certes I do neither see, nor feel, nor taste, nor savour the least steam or fume of a reason that should invite this foolish fastidious nymph so peevishly to abandon me. (1.3.24-35; emphasis added)

Amorphus speaks the alchemical language of sublimity but adapts it to his personal identity – his ability to transport himself into a heightened state of ‘language’ that attracts the erotic ‘admiration’ of others – in an appropriately comical language of hyperbolic elevation.
Specifically, Amorphus engages in narcissism by vaunting his self-knowledge: ‘travel’ refines and ‘sublimate[s]’ his ‘essence’ into a quintessence of gold, and such sublimity underwrites his social and political theatre, during which he can ‘make the face of any statesman living’,  as Jeremy Face will do to London citizens in the Alchemist. Sublime transport here is not transcendent but political and social, the Protean self enlivened, capable of adapting to exigency, endlessly. Self-consciously, Jonson makes comically sublime theatre out of a comically sublime theatrical character. We might even see here an impressive staging of the kind of comical hyperbole discussed by Longinus in On Sublimity, which is one form that the sublime can take: ‘acts and emotion which approach ecstasy provide a justification for, and an antidote to, any linguistic audacity. This is why comic hyperboles, for all their incredulity, are convincing because we laugh at them so much…Laughter is emotion in amusement’.
Jonson’s linking of sublimity with a character named ‘Amorphus’ merits pause, because this agile figure looks like a photographic negative of Jonson himself. Without question, the author-figure in Cynthia’s Revels is Criticus (called Crites in the Folio edition), ‘the poet-scholar’ of “Judgement’ who ‘represents Jonson’s literary, philosophical, and ethical ideals’ (Bednarz, Shakespeare & The Poets’ War 159-60), and who becomes the play’s arch-enemy to Amorphus and the motley crew of corrupt courtiers, Hedon, Anaides, ad Asotus. According to James Bednarz, Amorphus is a figure who represents ‘Deformit’ and the ‘lack of true conviction’, and who becomes enamoured of a nymph who happens to be named Phantaste or ‘fantasy’ (159-600. In these terms, the project of the play is to ‘replac[e]…the rhetoric of “nature’ and “instinct” staged in Marston’s Jack Drum with the sterner interdictions of “art” and “judgement” in a larger “allegory of self-knowlledge’ (160). According to Bednarz, Marston had rejected Jonson’s rational, judgemental poetics in favour of one based on imaginative instinct, which Jonson then shows to be purged of cultural authority.
Nonetheless, as Rasmussen and Steggle write, Amorphus ‘prefigures Jonson’s later tricksters’ in being ‘at the centre of the play’s action due to his energy and inventiveness, both verbal and physical’. Rasmussen and Steggle go so far as to see Amorphus as akin to Jonson himself: ‘biographically Jonson is more like Amorphus than Criticus’, citing Jonson’s ‘experiences in foreign travel’ and his ‘natural charisma and drive’. Even ‘Amorphus’s weaknesses (lack of money and tendency to exaggerate) are close to those of Jonson;. Wisely, Rasmussen and Steggle caution against ‘claim[ing] that Amorphus “is” Jonson, or even to over-allegorize the tension between Amorphus and his nemesis Criticus’ (eds. 1:435); but they do help us see that the figure of Amorphus qualifies as a *sublime counter-Jonsonian author-figure*. (pp. 220-1)

Love’s Martyr, Cantoes

Though death from life my bodie part,
Yet neare the lesse keepe thou my hart.
THOUGH some men are inconstant, fond, and fickle,
DEATHs ashie count'nance shall not alter me:
FROM glasse they take their substance being brittle,
LIFE, Heart, and Hand shall awaies fauour thee,
MY Pen shall write thy vertues registrie,
BODIE conioyn'd with bodie, free from strife,
PART not in sunder till we part our life.
*YET my soules life to my deare lifes concluding,
NERE let Absurditie that villaine, theefe,
THE monster of our time, mens praise deriding,
LESSE in perseuerance, of small knowledge chiefe,
KEEP the base Gate to things that are excelling,
THOU by faire vertues praise maist yeeld reliefe,
MY lines are thine, then tell Absurditie,
HART of my deare, shall blot his villanie.



Not I, I must be found.
My parts, my title, and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly.


Jan 17, 2023, 7:21:07 PM1/17/23
A lot of abstract thought going on in all this, which encourages me to wonder how it relates to what I can imagine about the distinction between Jonson and Shakespeare. I take it that Jonson identifies Shakespeare with deviating from classical unities and rigorous trains of thought; but I applaud Shakespeare the poet, who does show us use of classical unities of time, place, and action, it's just that he takes liberties.. Irony is that Jonson is poetical, too, and Shakespeare the innovator is first to use soliloquys and interior monologues so well.

Must be that when Jonson says, "Shakespeare wanted art," he means it differently.


Feb 4, 2023, 3:54:47 PM2/4/23
Hi bookburn,
Judging from some of Jonson's comments it appears he thought that Shakespeare in his pursuit of Art did not rule or restrain himself sufficiently. Certainly Shakespeare could write to rule so to speak (The Tempest) but in general his style seems to be more idiosyncratic. Jonson viewed literature as a tool to shape men's minds and the national character, and saw his role as the companion and advisor of a monarch in this capacity. As Poet Laureate it was his task to draw men to virtuous thought and behaviour - to 'impress/shape' them with forms of virtue - not to overwhelm their minds with stunning and sublime effects.

Since I now believe Shakespeare to be the Earl of Oxford I am most interested in evidence that shows how Shakespeare expressed himself in the sublime style. I believe the "Shakespearean Sublime" to be a subset of a larger "Oxfordian Sublime", and that it is most likely that Oxford and Shakespeare can be reunited at an elevated level. Located at the furthest reaches of cognition and reason the sublime persuades through awe and wonder. It persuades by bypassing reason (resistless as Pope and Marston would have it) and it is this forceful overwhelming of the mind that was so repugnant to Jonson. (Compare The Alchemist to The Tempest).

The pursuit of the sublime or a sublime/sublimated author is by nature an abstract pursuit. The experience of the sublime takes place in the brain. It explodes forms and categories. Its effects transcend death. It is formless. I fancy Shakespeare's mind has been sublimated into his Book. (That it does not appear under the name Oxford is to my mind a result of the events surrounding the Essex Uprising and that Oxford martyred his literary immortality to sidestep the charge of aesthetic and ethical degeneracy at the Court - and that his was a political sacrifice - Loves Martyr and Oxford's authorial disfiguration and defacement prefiguring the literal defacement of the Royal Martyr Charles I).

In my postings I have highlighted parallels between this sacrificial theory and the 'inside' narrative of Melville's _Billy Budd_. How Captain Edward Vere (Truth) sacrificed the *foundling* Billy Budd (Beauty) at a time of intense political instability and potential revolution. (Perhaps possible that Billy Budd was Melville's answer to Emerson's suggestion that a literary prize should be given for the best explication of the poem now known as the Phoenix and the Turtle).
Interestingly Melville had written that he wished all great books were *foundlings*:

1850 "Hawthorne and His Mosses"

Would that all excellent books were foundlings, without father or mother, that so it might be we could glorify them, without including their ostensible authors. (...) I know not what would be the right name to put on the title-page of an excellent book, but this I feel, that the names of all fine authors are fictitious ones, far more than that of Junius,---simply standing, as they do for the mystical, ever-eluding Spirit of all Beauty, which ubiquitously possesses men of genius. Purely imaginative as this fancy may appear, it nevertheless seems to receive some warranty from the fact, that on a personal interview no great author has ever come up to the idea of his reader. But that dust of which our bodies are composed, how can it fitly express the nobler intelligences among us?"

Melville was obsessed with the sublime and the tragic beauty of the hanging of Billy from the Royal Mast follows the upward trajectory of the sublime. However the fact that Billy ends up muddily bedded in 'oozy weeds' (and the manuscript buried in a bread tin) probably hints at some type of disillusionment on the part of the great Shakespearean Melville.

For decades I have been intrigued by the Droeshout Engraving of Shakespeare. I had linked it to a ghostly figure named Deformed. Perhaps I should have thought Disformed. Jonson believed that Shakespeare - composed of the shreds of many forms - had disformed himself and had the potential to disform and disorder others. (see Gabriel Harvey's description of Oxford in Speculum Tuscanismi. Also Castiglione - the courtier collects the best.) The form of the Droeshout is nonsensical. It lacks symmetry and proportion. The right front panel of the doublet is in fact the back part of the left making the figure ambisinister - incapable of 'right' or dexterous writing. It is the form of formlessness, and it cuts a ridiculous figure. It mocks the author Shakespeare and its every line shows that Shakespeare 'wanted Arte'.

My posts have been rather formless. This was not intentional - I imitated Art Neuendorffer because I found it gave a free form to store information without being forced to form an opinion. For many years I tried to not have a theory and to just enjoy the journey but I guess at some point your mind just favours some patterns above others. The above is all simply opinion. But I have a ton of research to back it up lol.


Feb 5, 2023, 5:00:10 AM2/5/23
Except that William Shakespeare wrote all the plays in the First Folio. (Bar the odd scene.)

marc hanson

Feb 10, 2023, 11:54:10 AM2/10/23
timeline[s] via wikipedia,_19th_Earl_of_Oxford

Robert de Vere was born after august 23, 1575, and would have been 14 and 15 years old in 1590...

canon chronology:
Henry VI, Part 2 (1590–1591)
Henry VI, Part 3 (1590–1591)
Henry VI, Part 1 (1591–1592)
Richard III (1592–1593)
The Comedy of Errors (1592–1593)
Titus Andronicus (1593–1594)
The Taming of the Shrew (1593–1594)
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594–1595)
Love's Labour's Lost (1594–1595)
Romeo and Juliet (1594–1595)Richard II (1595–1596)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595–1596)
etc, etc

in 1532, Robert de Vere, about 52, was killed while taking part in the siege of Maastricht, 20 years after the last play was first performed/written,
and about 9 years after the First folio was published...

the 20, and 9 year gaps stand out, at least to me, with not one historical hint about de Vere, and the canon

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