On Tue, 17 Jan 2012 02:48:14 -0800 (PST), Christian Johansen
> Because the other links I click on are all about hot sex; secret
>codes; or conversations that start out about Shakespeare, then get too
>obscure for me to understand, then veer rapidly into astronomy, I
>thought I'd ask some questions I that had.
> About the authorship thing...
> What I know of the question comes only from two or three websites
>that argue against Shakespeare's authorship; David Kathman and Terry
>Ross' website; and a book (Contested Will). Also there's this guy on
>YouTube who keeps asking me why he was never told things. I was hoping
>he'd explain it himself instead of asking *me*, but here I am.
> After reading those things I can't help but believe that the
>Stratford man is the man who wrote the works. The points that are made
>by the anti-strats seem to be, from my view, annihilated by context.
>If I'm to believe Kathman and Ross, then none of the things I hear
>about, say, letters, books, signatures, education, - none of that
>matters. It's the same as we have for most playwrights. I need the
>answers to that. So here's just one of my questions.
Like living with a great religion, you can have doubts about Stratman
and find room to personalize everything, IMO.
> It's pretty basic stuff to you guys, I imagine, but if for a
>moment you'll stoop to my level:
> I hear that we have no letters written by Shakespeare. That guy
>on YouTube wonders why he wasn't told this, he thinks it's
>unbelievable. Kathman and Ross tell me it's irrelevant: we don't have
>letters for most playwrights back then. Letters just didn't survive.
> Is that true? Can anyone make a list of a lot of popular
>playwrights and show how many letters we have for each? There's two
>questions here, here's another: Would people who got letters from
>Shakespeare have any reason to save them for posterity? I mean, would
>"because he's Shakespeare" be a good reason to keep letters written by
In deep water here, because supposing starts using negative logic,
like assuming not having evidence for something is proof that it
doesn't exist, which then suggests that its not existing means
something positive; like Shakespeare must have been illiterate and/or
used as a puppet in some conspiracy.
Kathman and Ross, who research this and similar issues, assure us
there are ways to account for absence of letters, such as common
letters were used as bottoms for pies in the kitchen. And without a
mail service, they were typically delivered by friends, involving a
long turn-around time. I get the impression that some letters
delivered for upper classes by courier might be coded and not saved.
Yet, because they didn't have banks, a lot of business and money was
negotiated between friends and relatives with letters, and Shakespeare
did do business this way.
The one letter to Shakespeare we know about seems to be from Quincy
asking for a loan. The anti-Stratsman proponents discount this by
saying it doesn't prove that he could read. Because only seven shaky
Shakespeare signatures exist, anti-Strats suggest this proves he was
illiterate. So it goes.
My idea is that by the 18th century Shakespeare and bardolatry was in
full swing, his memorabilia was scavenged by tourists and "pickers"
and sold in Stratfore upon Avon like religious relics. Not hard to
imagine that something like a Shakespeare letter would have received
attention, but none are mentioned by the likes of Ben Jonson, a prime
source. Find a letter by Shakespeare to Ben Jonson commenting on
something of literary interest, and you're talking about something
worth ten Stradevarius violins, I bet.
Interesting that Shakespeare uses letters frequently as obvious plot
devices in the plays. bookburn
> Also, because you guys are so academic and everything, what do
>you think of all my semicolons? Should I have just used commas right
Semi-colons are fine for those compound sentences where you link two
or more thoughts. Academics like that sort of thing; relatives
exchanging personal letters might think semi-colons too business-like?