Counterfeiting Shakespeare: evidence, authorship, and John by Brian Vickers

By Brian Vickers

Brian Vickers addresses the elemental problems with what Shakespeare truly wrote, and the way this is often decided. lately Shakespeare's authorship has been claimed for 2 poems, the lyric "Shall I die?" and A Funerall Elegye. those attributions were accredited into convinced significant variants of Shakespeare's works. via a brand new exam of the proof, Professor Vickers indicates that neither poem has the stylistic and innovative traits we go together with Shakespeare. He identifies the poet and dramatist John Ford because the real writer of the Elegye.

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Extra info for Counterfeiting Shakespeare: evidence, authorship, and John Ford's Funerall elegye

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Pain by my love’ (), and ‘smiles . . frown’ ( –), some of which are echoed in Delia. ’ and other Elizabethan poems. ’ is constructed: Shall I then silent be or shall I speake? And if I speake, her wrath renew I shall: and if I silent be, my hart will breake, or chok`ed be with ouerflowing gall. Prologue. ’ as a Petrarchan poem, below. The faults in Taylor’s methodology must now be obvious. Robbins pointed out that Taylor’s ‘allegedly statistically persuasive evidence’ failed to take the elementary safeguards against the well-known phenomenon of two writers drawing on a common stock of language: In the absence of respectable tests of inconspicuous function-words, resort is had to individual occurrences and collocations of open-class words – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs – which as evidence are vulnerable in two respects: the conspicuously individual usage is precisely that most likely to strike and be used by an imitator, so that it must fail as a test between one inventive poet and his many derivative admirers; and such words are determined by context: a subject demands a particular vocabulary, love poetry tends to be written in the language of love.

Dear Lord, you are full of fair words. Pandarus. You speak your fair pleasure, sweet queen. Fair prince, here is good broken music. Paris. You have broke it, cousin; and by my life you shall make it whole again – you shall piece it out with a piece of your performance. –) But here the laboured puns and mindless repetitions simultaneously evoke this decadent milieu and satirize it. ’ is beyond, or below parody, simply unaware of his own poverty of imagination. Amazed at the highly demanding rhyme-scheme, readers will also have noticed the unusual metre, doggedly carried through over a far longer stretch of verse than anything we can recall in Shakespeare’s authentic work.

Sampley was certainly justified in expressing doubt concerning the validity of basing authorship claims solely, or largely, on such evidence (pp. , ). The essays by Byrne and Sampley demonstrating the weakness of the undisciplined use of parallels based on single words or short phrases were both published in the early s, and have often been cited in the literature on attribution studies since then. Whether Taylor knew of them or not, he had obviously given little thought to the possible weaknesses of his methodology.

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