Sunday, July 10, 2011

Prof. Stritmeyer Reviews Shapiro's Contested Will

Readers have probably heard of the new book "Contested Will" by James Shapiro. But they are less likely to have read any reviews of it by non-mainstream reviewers that have not studied the authorship literature. So here's a link to a review by an Oxfordian researcher. Plus I'm adding an excerpt below it.

While the name as it appears in that context seems to reassuringly connect the author with the flesh-and-blood Henry Wriostheley, stabilizing our preconceptions about the author and his milieu, the appearance in Avisa seems more inclined to induce vertigo than complacency in the average Stratfordian college professor.

Though Collatine haue deerely bought,
To high renowne, a lasting life,
And found, that most in vaine haue shought,
To haue a Faire, and Constant wife,
   Yet Tarquyne pluckt his glistering grape,
   And Shake-speare, paints poore Lucrece rape.

Verses from the 1594 Willobie His Avisa, showing the first ever instance of the name "Shake-speare" hyphenated. Note the Roman type.

Not only is the name hyphenated here,  for the first time, but it appears in a pseudonymous publication. Moreover, the close reader will notice that the logic of the passage associates “Shake-speare,” by parallelism, with a fictional character in his own poem – the rapist Tarquin, who steals the jewel of Lucrece’s female honor while her husband, Collatine, is off sporting about in Italy (I refer to RL, 106-112).

Have we just run smack dab into our first good clue that Elizabethans could read, god forbid, allegorically?

Could this association between Tarquin and “Shake-speare” have meant something?

Hold that thought – we’ll fish in that stream another day. For now, let’s just note this in passing: for Stratfordians, this is not a propitious moment. No wonder they’d prefer to just sing the chorus to Shapiro’s convenient fiction about the origins of the hyphen.

There is another, more subtle problem here.

In Avisa the hyphenated name is not, as Shapiro’s theory requires us to predict, italicized. It is also spelled with the –e- after the k.

This is more bad news for Shapiro’s credibility.

Here's another excellent review by Oxfordian Stephanie Hopkins Hughes

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