Sunday, August 25, 2013

Shakespeare Beyond Doubt - 18 - Warwickshire references

Chapter 11 of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt discusses the Warwickshire connections to Shake-Speare, the author.

There are mentioned the Richard Quiney letters. Quiney was a businessman like William. From Quiney’s many surviving letters we learn that his son could write some Latin. Also, Quiney was  invited by Sir Fulke Greville to Christmas at Beauchamp’s Court. And this helps to show that William had a close friend who was important and that had court connections. However, Quiney had served in several town offices: Principal Burgess, Chamberlain, Alderman, Bailiff, and Capital or Head Alderman. And Sir Fulke Greville had been High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1572 so it’s likely he had known Quiney since then. So it would be natural for Quiney to have this connection, just as he would with another wealthy businessman like William from his town. The evidence doesn’t show that William himself was a friend of Greville.

Quiney also had correspondence with an unnamed Privy Counselor but then again that was part of his job in behalf of the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, not as some kind of intimate friend of anyone on the Council. There’s still no evidence that William had any friends or connections with the Privy Council or sponsors at court or that were highly educated and cultured.

Another friend of William was Thomas Greene. The evidence around Greene shows that he surely should have known whether or not his friend William was the poet/playwright Shakespeare. And there’s a great deal of Greene’s surviving writings and he even mentions William regarding business or legal matters. Unfortunately for the Stratfordian argument, Greene is one of ten expert witnesses indicating that William was NOT the poet/playwright Shakespeare since he gives nowhere the slightest thought of there being such a connection.

There is also mentioned Thomas Russell, one of the overseers of William’s final Will. From this it’s implied that the two were close friends. Are all businessmen and the lawyers executing their Wills close friends? In either case, one would think that a friendly lawyer, like Russell supposedly was to William, would have helped William, if he was the poet/playwright Shakespeare, to use his Will to properly dispose of his intellectual and cultural property like everyone else did, by leaving particular books, bookcases, musical instruments, theater shares, art, maps, etc., to various individuals along with any charitable gifts to schools. But there was no such thing. His Will is thoroughly dissected in the Doubter book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? In that analysis of Shakspere’s Will we find that it is nothing like anyone else’s who was literary, cultured, and a well-connected intellectual. In fact, it gives the exact opposite impression.

And the evidence that Ben Jonson was a close friend and promoter of William of Stratford’s plays takes a particular beating in the doubter SBD? book. There are several chapters showing how odd and very ambiguous are the First Folio prefatory pages as well as the Stratford bust. And the most skilled person around in the use of ambiguity was Ben Jonson himself. These chapters will especially be eye-openers for anyone who has never questioned their own beliefs about the traditional Shakespeare authorship.

Regarding Warwickshire references, some of these have already been explained as not unique to that area. This was discussed in the review by Tom Regnier that I linked in the last post. In addition, the Baconian Nigel Cockburn mentioned what he thought were a few legitimate Warwickshire references. But they don’t amount to much. For one, in 1 Henry IV, Act 4 there is mentioned Falstaff’s intended travel from London to Shrewsbury in Wales. But, oddly, he goes much out of the way up to Sutton Coldfield, 20 miles North West of Coventry where he meets Prince Hal. Did not Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon know his way through his own Warwickshire? Cockburn explains how Bacon would have been more likely to make this traveling mistake. But also Bacon himself had some knowledge of Warwickshire since his grandfather Sir Anthony Cooke and his close friend Sir Fulke Greville (this is the son of the one metioned as a friend of Quiney) held large estates there.

Shake-Speare actually seems to have been much more familiar with, say, Irish culture than that in Warwickshire. So much so that that there is some thought that maybe he was Irish himself. The Irish references in the Shakespeare works aren’t obvious, as they might have been by someone with only a superficial knowledge of the country. As with other Shakespeare knowledge area experts in their observations, the Irish references are subtle such that you almost need to be Irish to notice them. Most of these discovered Irish connections came from Sir D. Plunket Baron, an Irish High Court judge who wrote Links between Ireland and Shakespeare, 1919. He found various Irish words, phrases, grammar, pronunciation, poetry, mythology, music, and history in Shakespeare. With this contrast, even the asserted links to Warwickshire will come across as insignificant.
See the Irish references at this site

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