Books

Shakespeare with or without the waffle

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

30-Second Shakespeare: 50 key aspects of his works, life and legacy, each explained in half a minute sounds trivial, but it isn’t. The purpose of this short, beautifully presented and fully illustrated guide is not to feed vain show-offs with sound-bites to give them something clever to say at dinner parties but, as Ros Barber puts it in her 30-second introduction, ‘to make Shakespeare interesting and comprehensible by cutting out the waffle’.

Thus the reader is invited to peruse this lively compilation of micro-essays in any order, to learn about the different themes that dominate Shakespeare’s plays, his crafty use of language, his knowledge of law, medicine and history, the context in which he wrote his plays, the problems that surround his biography and, of course, his almighty legacy.

By cutting out the waffle, Barber and her team of Shakespearean scholars have shorn the narrative of all but one or two of the silliest myths that have dogged the Shakespeare story since Charles Knight attempted the first full-length biography in 1843. ‘So what is the appropriate speed for enjoying Shakespeare?’ asks Mark Rylance in his 30-second foreword. ‘Thirty seconds? Fine with me.’ The whole book takes just an hour to read and is full of vitality — one of the most refreshing books on Shakespeare that I have come across.


By contrast, The Shakespeare Circle is a weightier anthology of 25 academic essays about individuals who knew, or are said to have known, Shakespeare. It is published by the Cambridge University Press ‘in partnership’ with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, to which both of its editors are closely connected — Stanley Wells, as ‘honorary president’, and Rev Dr Paul Edmondson as ‘head of knowledge and research’. Subtitled An Alternative Biography, its editors explain that their purpose is to ‘find something of Shakespeare reflected — or perhaps refracted’ — in the various portraits that their contributors have drawn up.

Lack of historical data is a problem. We know little about Shakespeare’s siblings or his interactions with them and there is no unequivocal evidence to show that he was personally acquainted with any of the great literary figures of his day. In light of this, Edmondson and Wells encourage their contributors to express their ‘longing’ for historical data through ‘speculation’.

The results are interesting. Most of them exploit this licence to make Shakespeare appear more middle-class and better connected than the documentary record would otherwise suggest. David Fallow speculates that Shakespeare originally came to London as a wool-broker, which may help to explain why his monument at Stratford originally portrayed a man clutching a wool-pack; Lachlan Mackinnon speculates that Shakespeare’s elder daughter, Susanna (who could not recognise her husband’s handwriting), was a Latinist: ‘maybe she playfully noted the odd false construction’. Only Germaine Greer goes against the grain, having ‘decided’ that Shakespeare’s younger daughter, Judith, was a serving maid who could ‘write well enough’, despite the fact that she could not sign her name.

Edmondson has previously written of his and Wells’s Shakespearean work that ‘our approach to the facts and historical evidence is complex and is informed by deep knowledge in order to understand them’. To see what is meant by this we need look no further than Edmondson’s short essay on Shakespeare’s ‘editors’ Heminges and Condell. Here we learn that Shakespeare ‘inherited’ a coat of arms upon the death of his father (but that is not how grants of arms work); we learn that the ground upon which the Globe theatre was built was owned by Nicholas Bland (his name was Nicholas Brend); we learn that Shakespeare performed in Ben Jonson’s Every Man Out of His Humour in 1599 (he didn’t: that’s the wrong play and the wrong year); we learn that Shakespeare’s name appears upon ‘a receipt for scarlet cloth granted by royal patent on 17 May 1603 for liveries at James I’s coronation’ (it was not a ‘receipt’, the cloth was not granted ‘by royal patent’, it was not on ‘17 May 1603’ but on 15 March 1604 and it was not for ‘James I’s coronation’ as James was already crowned King of England). And so the malarkey continues, not only in Edmondson’s contribution, but right across the book which he and Wells claim to have edited.

Neither of them spots that one of their contributors twice miscounts the number of boys’ names in the Stratford register, and yet this document is held in the Birthplace Trust archives, just a short waddle from where Edmondson and Wells presumably have their desks. Nor does either appear concerned that Shakespeare’s grand-daughter is referred to 11 times as ‘Lady Elizabeth Barnard’, indicating that she was of the rank of an earl’s daughter or above. Is it not common knowledge that she was the only child of an untitled provincial doctor?

What’s to be done? Were I the Cambridge University Press I would refuse to do anything more ‘in partnership’ with the Birthplace Trust, and were I in charge at the Birthplace Trust I would gently suggest to my ‘honorary president’ and my ‘head of knowledge and research’ that they make their ‘approach to the facts and historical evidence’ a little less ‘complex’ in future.

'30-Second Shakespeare', £12.74 and 'The Shakespeare Circle', £16.14 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Thank you for setting the record straight on the appalling lack of scholarship demonstrated by Wells and Edmondson. They are so committed to acting as cheerleaders for the Stratford tourist industry that they have sacrificed their scholarly integrity. Wells claimed in an interview several months ago that he is 100% convinced that Shakspere wrote Shake-speare. He added that he refuses to read any contradictory evidence published by Oxfordians, until they have proven that it is 100% certain that Edward de Vere wrote Shake-speare. This is precisely how paradigm shifts are bitterly resisted by traditionalists.

    And it is worth mentioning that in their book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, Wells and Edmondson made a small oversight–they forgot to include the evidence that Shakspere wrote Shakespeare. Even the co-editor of the orthodox Stratfordian publication The Shakespeare Newsletter pointed out that omission in his review of their pathetic book.

    • Benjamin Hackman

      Looks like the up votes from ShakesVereans are showing up, on schedule.

    • StoptheWhiteElephant

      Am looking into an alternative to Stratford for William Shakespeare’s education.
      It’s an interesting theory. I’ll say more later.

  • Tom Reedy

    That’s some real class, Alexander.

    • Benjamin Hackman

      Perhaps he was not getting enough attention here on Spectator, except from the ubiquitous Dr. Waugaman, Cheerleader-in-Chief, so he needed to rally the troops.

    • headlight

      Apparently, the author of this review and a small group of Shakespeare doubters are coordinating an attack on two of the most distinguished Shakespeare scholars in the world who edited this fascinating biography. It seems odd that the Spectator would choose Mr. Waugh to review this new book, knowing his bias against the idea that William Shakespeare even wrote the plays and poems attributed to him. It is an odd editorial decision by the Spectator, and a disservice to its readers.

      • Has Alexander reviewed the book somewhere, then?

        • Tom Reedy

          He certainly didn’t review it here, he merely pointed out a few minor errors and made a few of his own during the process.

      • Hoghton

        Perhaps Shakespeare’s authorship denial and climate change denial go together.

      • Betekenis

        The truth is often uncomfortable. It seems that the distinguished scholarship of Prof. Wells and Rev. Edmonson has been unmasked with apparent ease by simply checking the things, ‘data’ they present as facts. Waugh, representing a large and ever-growing group of reasonable doubters that William Shaksper (name according to his birth and death certificates) was Shakespeare. It is not odd but sensible of the Spectator to have asked Alexander Waugh, who made some important discoveries in the Authorship Question, to review this book, as a service to its readers.

        • headlight

          You merely confirm my point: Waugh has a partisan bias against the basic premise of this biography. It’s like having a member of the Flat Earth Society review “Around the World in Eighty Days.”

          If facts are important, you might want to check your own: there is neither a birth certificate nor a death certificate for William Shakespeare (by any spelling).

          • William Corbett

            A partisan bias maybe, but there is no excuse for such shoddy scholarship on the part of Wells and Edmondson. They should both resign and let some people who’ve actually familiarised themselves with the facts takeover.

          • Tom Reedy

            Please name one scholarly work that doesn’t have a few minor errors. I’ve read a few in my time, and so far have yet to find one. You only wrote two sentences above, but you made a grammatical error by using a noun for a verb.

          • headlight

            My point goes to the editorial choice to allow someone like Waugh as a reviewer of this book. Let some people who’ve familiarized themselves with the facts take over? Waugh doesn’t know that William Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s sonnets. He thinks that Shakespeare’s monument originally had carved gorilla heads on the columns. Maybe let someone familiar with the facts review biographies of Shakespeare rather than adherents of fringe theories.

          • Tom Reedy

            > He thinks that Shakespeare’s monument originally had carved gorilla heads on the columns.

            There you go, making another major error, which consequently disqualifies everything you ever said or wrote about Shakespeare! Waugh claims they were apes, not gorillas!

            http://www.deveresociety.co.uk/articles/AW-2014Oct-Monument.pdf

          • headlight

            He’s inconsistent in describing the kind of primate he sees. At one point, he says that the ape faces are “more gorilla than gibbon,” but he also describes them as monkeys. Anyone actually seeing Shakespeare’s monument will see that the drawings accurately depict the acanthus leaf motif that still crowns the columns.

          • Tom Reedy

            His “more gorilla than gibbon” is used to describe the torso of the sketch, not the column tops, though he does refer to it as “apelike” also. Perhaps he is ignorant of the difference between an ape and a gorilla.

          • cc

            Thanks for drawing attention to that article! It’s fantastic! I’ve never seen such a complete interpretation of the monument! I urge you to read to the end and not to get stuck on the first part: Waugh has made a very sensible argument for the interpretation of the Latin inscription and cryptic riddle on the monument that scholars including Wells have been struggling over for years. The rest of the article has little to do with the authorship question, and should be considered by people on both sides of the debate. Start on page 5 for analysis of the inscription.

          • Tom Reedy

            You’re certainly welcome. The more people who read that the more people will know what they’re dealing with when they read something of his.

          • cc

            Do you have a better interpretation of the inscription on the monument? All Wells could manage was to call it ‘somewhat cryptic’ and admit that he hardly understood the last part but could only speculate. Waugh has done a much better and more thorough job.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Headlight – Neither ‘The Shakespeare Circle’ nor my review of it make any mention of the Shakespearean authorship crisis, so what are you banging on about? It is not ‘bias’ that drove me to point out Wells and Edmondson’s extraordinary error rate – but concern that a book published by a university press ‘in partnership’ with an educational Trust, edited by a university professor and a ‘Head of Knowledge and Research’ should be so riddled with basic mistakes. Why are you trying to defend them by bringing in the irrelevancy of Shakespeare authorship?

          • Tom Reedy

            “riddled with basic mistakes”? Some heraldry and title technicalities that no one but a pedant would quibble over, a typo, and two actual errors. What is the exact criterion for “riddled”?

            An actual review would have been helpful. Most reviews mention errors in the last paragraph or so, but they actually give the reader an idea of what the book is about. Yours doesn’t. (Myself I was disappointed at the incomplete explanation of the law suit that resulted in the ransacking of New Place after the death of Dr Hall. That’s some gangster stuff there.)

            Did you catch any errors in 30-Second Shakespeare?

          • He got distracted by the nice, big picture of the Earl of Oxford.

            Any scholar would have pointed out that it doesn’t belong in an otherwise very well-designed and presented introduction to Shakespeare. It does compress a great deal of useful fact into an easily consumable format.

            Not quite sure of the audience, mind and it does, undeniably, have a tap-dancing Marlovian in its background dropping hints and shaping coincidences. You might want to point out that a summary of the relevance of Greene’s “Shakes-scene” insult ought to include (rather than sneakily omit) the fact that it includes a line from Shakespeare in it when drawing conclusions about who made it.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Leadbetter – Why are you bringing in the Earl of Oxford and calling yourself Sicinius? The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is an educational trust which has allowed its ‘Head of Knowledge’ and its ‘Honorary President’ to publish ‘in partnership’ with a university academic publisher a huge raft of factual error. you should be concerned about this – but you are an authorship nut and all you want to do is crash on about what interests you, which here is quite irrelevant. Try to get a focus.

          • Perfectly willing to join you in excoriating sloppy scholarship, Waugh, especially since there’s so much of your own to enjoy.

            That attempt of yours to repatriate “Swan of Avon” into the Oxfordian camp your Avona Moaner*, is particularly enjoyable.

            There are, however, no scholarly works without errors. Yet if we are calculating ‘error rates’ correctly, based on the number of errors in whole works, your own error rate hardly puts you in a position to criticise those of Wells and Edmondson. Remember Covell’s triangle and Oliver Cromwell’s watermarks? Your articles on Oxfordian discoveries haven’t won any awards for accuracy, have they?

            Mistaking Oxford for the author of Shakespeare’s work does not count as a small error of scholarship in an otherwise sound argument. Nor is it an idiosyncratically inaccurate piece of guesswork, like your Gorillas in the Schist claim that others are chuckling at, hereabouts. It rates as one of the biggest failures of understanding in the history of critical thought.

            And you made it.

            Since you actively pursue the Oxfordian agenda (and ignominiously recruit attention for articles like this on Oxfordian websites), it is more than fair to point out where you are coming from when you criticise scholarship and promote the (in this case slightly) jaundiced work of your fellow doubters.

            * I had a better word that rhymes with ‘moaner’ and means ‘daft error’ on this side of the pond, but in deference to our American friends, The Spectator censored it.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Leadbetter Here you go again! As I wrote to you a short while ago, this is not about your obsession – Oxfordianism – it is about the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which is set up as an educational trust and fields its “Head of Knowledge” and its “Honorary President” (respectively Edmondson and Wells) to create a catalogue of childish blunder and factual inaccuracy with the endorsement of Cambridge University Press. If you can pull your snout out of the authorship troth for just a second…

          • You are not mistaken in pointing out errors in Edmondson’s essay, although some are hardly serious. The objection to the phrase that Shakespeare ‘inherited’ his father’s coat of arms is a quibble. Although coats of arms are personal to the owner, they pass down the generations with small alteration and this coat of arms certainly passed to Shakespeare Junior.

            Calling the book a “a catalogue of childish blunder and factual inaccuracy” is a massive overstatement especially with the meagre support you have provided in your review. The only context in which such an overstatement can be understood is that of the extreme hyperbolic knockabout of the Authorship Question, which is why I feel entitled in raising it.

            I am not ‘obsessed’ with Oxfordianism. I am keen that it doesn’t deface the anniversary celebrations next year and support a website dedicated to exposing the febrile and unsupported ravings of its supporters.

            However, if you are finally forswearing Oxfordian argument and taking a step back, better yet, plighting your ‘troth’ to sensible scholarship and moving outside their tent, then even though I don’t count as a scholar, I will gladly join you in your efforts at setting Shakespeareans back on the correct path.

            Hand me that nitpicker.

          • cc

            You say that ‘some’ of the errors in the book are ‘hardly serious.’ So Edmondson and Wells made ‘some’ errors that you deem to be ‘serious’ and ‘some’ that you deem not to be so serious. Does’t that still make a pretty poor and badly researched book? Who cares that some of the errors are more minor than others?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Yes “riddled with basic mistakes” not just “some heraldry and title technicalities and a typo” as you put it – and those are bad enough coming from an educational trust, a “head of Knowledge”, a university professor and an academic publisher. Do you think that ALL of the errors I noted are included in the last paragraph or so of my review? There are plenty more I can assure you. But you seem to think that’s fine, or just par for the course. Why? And what prey is the “typo” of which you write? I suppose you mean the name “Bland” that appears both in the “Head of Knowledge’s” essay as well as in the index – some “typo” indeed!

          • Someone who knows what an ‘error rate’ is would be an improvement.

          • headlight

            Mr. Waugh — the question is one of judgment. Your judgment is at issue, since the readers of your review deserve full disclosure that you hold views far outside the mainstream on the history of Shakespeare’s works. You certainly avoided the “Shakespearean authorship crisis” — knowing that airing your fringe beliefs would undermine your credibility — but those beliefs manifest themselves nonetheless.

            For instance, you state as a fact that Shakespeare’s monument “originally portrayed a man clutching a wool-pack.” The interpretation that the monument was changed in any material way over the centuries has been soundly rejected by all but a few scholars. Even fewer hold your odd beliefs that the columns were originally depicted with monkey or ape or gorilla heads rather than the acanthus leaf motif any visitor to Stratford-upon-Avon can see today. Exposing your belief in this fringe theory and active support for it is needed for full disclosure. We have your own statement shown above that your efforts are intended to publicly humiliate Dr. Wells and Rev. Dr. Edmondson.

            The other question of judgment is that of the editors of this publication in giving you this forum to carry out your campaign against these two distinguished scholars. They can’t have been ignorant of your bias. It’s a terrible disservice to their readers to allow you to write such a slanted review; and questionable journalism not to disclose your interest in the matter.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Headlight – it is babyish to assume that literary editors should only give books to people to review if they are sure that those reviewers share exactly the same opinions as the books’ authors or editors. That is not how literary pages operate and nor should they. I was invited to review these two books because I am knowledgeable about Shakespearean biography and because I have long experience of writing book reviews for the Spectator and elsewhere.

            17th century illustrations of the Shakespeare monument show the bust of a figure holding a wool-pack. You should know that.

            You insist, like other boobies on this thread, of dragging in the Shakespeare authorship debacle. Neither my review nor the book in question (if you took the trouble to read it) mentions Shakespeare authorship. It is your obsession with this problem that is clouding your ability to censure “Head of Knowledge: Edmondson and Professor Wells for their dismally sloppy scholarship.

          • headlight

            Dear Mr. Waugh – I entirely agree with your sentiment that literary editors need not restrict their selection of reviewers to those who “share exactly the same opinions as the books’ authors or editors.” Which is why I never suggested that should be the case. But it seems to me that they might want to find someone whose opinions are within the mainstream of the field, or who had achieved some level of distinction beyond the detection of monkey faces in engravings of memorials.

            As for wool-packs, I’m certainly familiar with your interpretation of the illustration, but there’s no evidence at all that the engraving (or the original sketch, which is still extant) are true depictions of some earlier state of the monument, rather than simply an artist’s impression. You state: “his monument at Stratford originally portrayed a man clutching a wool-pack.” That’s different than “17th century illustrations of the Shakespeare monument show the bust of a figure holding a wool-pack.” You’re stating as a fact that the monument itself was changed from one depicting Shakespeare holding a bag of wool to one with a man holding a pen and writing on a large cushion as seen today. Now you’re changing your story — it’s not the memorial, but just that there are inconsistent illustrations.

            I suppose this shows that your review is riddled with errors.

          • Tom Reedy

            > Why are you trying to defend them by bringing in the irrelevancy of Shakespeare authorship?

            What are *you* banging on about? If Shakespeare authorship is irrelevant to your review, why did you post a link to it on an Oxfordian Facebook page with the remark, “This week’s Spectator should give pleasure to those who think that Edmondson and Wells deserve occasional public humiliation”? Until you did that, no one at all had posted to this comment section, so in actuality it was you who brought in Shakespeare authorship.

            As far as public humiliation goes, I think it’s clear from this exchange that the sower and the reaper are one and the same.

          • cc

            Just because Mr Waugh shared the review with a group of people who happen to be Oxfordians doesn’t mean the review is about the authorship question. It clearly isn’t. Just read it. Shakespeare authorship is irrelevant to this review. The facts are there: the book is factually inaccurate and lazy. If you want to critique the review why don’t you find some facts in it that you disagree with? You clearly can’t so you’re resorting to attacking things that Mr Waugh has said in the past that you did’t like. Talk about holding a grudge. Why don’t you just admit that the review was spot-on and the book was incompetent?

          • Just because Mr Waugh shared the review with a group of people who happen to be Oxfordians doesn’t mean the review is about the authorship question

            But it’s a great, big, fat, snaily clue. A manicule pointing straight at it. There were no comments here, until he went over there, begging for some.

            It doesn’t come close to being adequate as a review. Alexander doesn’t cover any part of the book except the small mistakes he found in the chapters written by his two bêtes noires, both academics who were active in the Authorship Debate, who he has often patronised and insulted elsewhere.

            And he precedes it with the review of an obscure primer produced (and tainted) by a Marlovian, Ros Barber, introduced by a quote from Mark Rylance, an Oxfordian.

            If he was trying to leave the authorship ‘debate’ aside, he could have done a much better job.

          • cc

            I think you’re overreacting. As I said, the review does not mention the authorship question once. I think your ‘big, fat, snaily clue’ is wishful thinking because you are on the attack. I found it to be an excellent and thoroughly researched review. He can’t be expected to cover everything in a short piece, but he pointed to something important that other reviews had failed to spot, which I’m sure all the readers of this article will appreciate.

            The bottom lie is this: The book was poorly researched, factually inaccurate, lazy and pompous. These Shakespeare ‘scholars’ need to step up their game, actually do some research and leave behind their ‘longing’ and ‘speculation.’

          • headlight

            Mr. Waugh was certainly careful not to mention the authorship question, or crisis, as he calls it in these comments. Some of the few facts he cites are standard anti-Stratfordian canards: the wool sack; Shakespeare’s illiterate daughters; even the quotation marks around “editors” when referring to Heminge and Condell.

            Perhaps the editors of The Spectator didn’t detect what Waugh was doing; or perhaps they chose Waugh because they knew he’d inject his authorship skepticism into even a review of this kind. Regardless, the result is worthless as guidance to the reader who may be interested in knowing more about Shakespeare. Perhaps as Mr. Waugh intended, the piece tells us more about Waugh than about Shakespeare, or Professor Wells and the Rev. Dr. Edmondson.

          • cc

            The facts he states are facts, used and accepted by Stratfordians and anti-stratfordians alike. If you think they point towards Shakespeare not being written by Shakespeare then that’s very interesting, but it’s not what the review is talking about.

            The review is far from worthless. All the points he makes are true and will help Wells and Edmondson to improve their second edition. It will also inform readers of the truth, and ensure that they don’t believe inaccurate facts just because the ‘experts’ have written them down in a book.

          • headlight

            Not a fact: “his monument at Stratford originally portrayed a man clutching a wool-pack.” That’s an interpretation. It’s unfortunate you can’t tell the difference.

          • cc

            You were the one that called them ‘facts’ in the post I was responding to. Freudian slip?

          • headlight

            Ah! Yes, I see the problem. I should have had “facts” in quotation marks.

          • cc

            They’re pretty close to facts. The evidence certainly points that way. Any way, my main point is that the errors Waugh pointed out are correct and needed to be noticed. The editors have no excuse for not picking up on them.

          • headlight

            “Pretty close to facts.” I love that. Close enough for Oxfordian theory, anyway. And “pretty close to facts” is all you guys have.

          • cc

            Nothing is an absolute fact. I was being fair. But there is a lot of evidence for these statements. Wells and Edmondson on the other hand seem content to invent facts as can be seen in this review.

          • headlight

            William Shakespeare’s name is on the title page of the First Folio. Fact?

          • cc

            Getting into the authorship debate again are we? Let’s put it this way, the points about Shakespeare’s daughter being illiterate and the monument being altered are equivalent to the theories of gravity or evolution. There is so much evidence pointing in that direction that they can be considered as facts. Obviously we can’t see it with our own eyes, like we can’t see evolution, but there is not much point arguing with it, the evidence is overwhelming. Wells and Edmondson, on the other hand, are content with zero evidence and prefer ‘speculation’ and ‘longing.’

            But we digress from the point. This has turned into petty bickering. Let’s leave what could be an endless philosophical debate about the existence of fact. The main point is: Waugh has pointed to a number of serious errors in the book. I think this is useful. You apparently do not.

          • So.

            You make a fatal error in your argument and then, even though I quoted it in my reply, you still try to cover your tracks by editing your post. To add to your continuing difficulty with the nature of fact, you clearly don’t know what is meant by the word ‘theory’.

            Do you think maybe it’s time to stop lecturing the rest of us

          • cc

            Oh, can we get to the point please! There is nothing wrong with the review. You are all complaining for nothing because you have a Stratfordian agenda and have wrongly decided that the article is addressing the authorship question. I regretted one comment about fact, which is totally irrelevant to the point and you were enjoying using it as a straw man argument, so I edited it to try to clarify what I meant. You can now see what I meant and it is clearly perfectly logical: Wells and Edmondson invented facts, something which Waugh has never done. Can we now leave this subject please. You have no choice but to admit that the book had many flaws and they were correctly pointed out in this review. What is your agenda, and why are you all over this article trying to smear Waugh’s name? I wonder if you are being payed by someone. Otherwise you are obsessive about the authorship question which is totally irrelevant here, and therefore need to use any tactics possible to try to discredit what is clearly a decent and accurate review.

          • Tom Reedy

            > Wells and Edmondson invented facts,

            Committing errors is not the same as inventing facts.

            > something which Waugh has never done

            I thought you read Waugh’s monument essay? Clearly your judgment is amiss; he invents several facts, such as the monkey faces atop the columns, as well as a–shall we say, out of charity–fanciful interpretation of the inscription.

          • cc

            What exactly is your problem with the review please? Without mentioning anything Waugh has said in the past or anything to do with the authorship debate you are so obsessed with.

            Waugh didn’t invent any facts, that’s rubbish. He offered an interpretation of the monument. Wells and Edmondson committed errors by inventing facts such as :

            ‘we learn that Shakespeare performed in Ben Jonson’s Every Man Out of His Humour in 1599 (he didn’t…)’

            That is clearly an invented fact if it didn’t happen.

          • cc

            Here are some of the many logical fallacies presented in the argument of yourself and your crew on this page alone: ‘tu quoque’ ‘straw-man’ ‘ad hominem attacks’ (this is your favourite – you can’t attack the article so you attack the person and their ‘motives’) ‘appeal to authority’ (Stanley/ the ‘experts’ and ‘scholars’ said it so it MUST be true)

            You could write the book on logical fallacies just based on your repeated failed attempts at arguing.

          • Betekenis

            No, the name ‘William Shakespeare’ is on the title page of the First Folio. ‘Mark Twain’ is on the cover of Huckleberry Finn, just as Sicinius, headlight and Betekenis are in this discussion

          • cc

            Why on earth do you presume I am an Oxfordian!? This is all very strange indeed. You seem to be fixated on the authorship debate. I, in the meantime, am simply defending a well researched, accurate and informative review.

          • headlight

            Waugh is an Oxfordian, IIRC, and he was the one who stated the “facts.”

          • cc

            Except you said ‘you guys.’ Clearly referring to me.

          • headlight

            That and I know what cc stands for 😉

          • cc

            carbon copy? crowd control? country code? cubic centimetres? I’ll be honest, I’m totally lost here.

          • They’re very close to facts.

            Game, set and match.

          • cc

            Sorry, what exactly have you won there?

            Please read my comments below.

            ‘Let’s put it this way, the points about Shakespeare’s daughter being illiterate and the monument being altered are equivalent to the theories of gravity or evolution. There is so much evidence pointing in that direction that they can be considered as facts. Obviously we can’t see it with our own eyes, like we can’t see evolution, but there is not much point arguing with it, the evidence is overwhelming. Wells and Edmondson, on the other hand, are content with zero evidence and prefer ‘speculation’ and ‘longing.’ ‘

          • headlight

            No, really, there isn’t all that much evidence. You’re simply wrong. There are some things, like Shakespeare’s daughters’ ability to read, that is beyond the ability of history to answer. The evidence about the monument is actually against Waugh’s statement.

          • cc

            Waugh never said that she couldn’t read, did he? You’re distorting what he said. As for the monument, please enlighten me? The monument itself is clearly modern and has been altered. Many previous drawing of the monument show a wool sack. It’s very clear it has been altered.

            But this is besides the point! Waugh has pointed out some critical problems with the book which is supposedly written by the ‘head of knowledge’ at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which has a duty, as a registered charity, to inform the public and do their research properly. Waugh, unlike them, has done his research properly.

          • Let’s put it this way, the points about Shakespeare’s daughter not being
            able to sign her name and the monument being altered are equivalent to
            the theories of gravity or evolution

            In just the same way as pooh-sticks are equivalent to the USS Enterprise. You clearly do not understand what is meant by theory. Do you know any scientists who doubt the theory of gravity?

          • cc

            Back to the ‘straw-man’ argument again are you? We were not arguing about ‘fact’ and ‘theory.’ We’re not in an Oxbridge interview. I was sticking up for Waugh’s review because he was facing a barrage of ‘ad hominems’ and ‘tu quoques.’ Somehow you decided to turn this into an argument about ‘fact’ vs. ‘theory,’ which is really a philosophical debate and totally irrelevant. Evolution, for example, has often been described as both ‘fact’ and ‘theory.’ It is an ongoing battle in the scientific community. The problem is the two possible definitions of fact: “Fact is often used by scientists to refer to experimental or empirical data or objective verifiable observations. “Fact” is also used in a wider sense to mean any theory for which there is overwhelming evidence”

            However, as you can see we are totally digressing from the main points of this argument. It is now a straw man argument, which is clearly what you wanted.
            Stick to the point Sicinius.

          • cc

            This is an ‘ad hominem,’ more specifically it is an ‘appeal to motive.’ This is a red herring fallacy and completely irrelevant to Waugh’s argument.

          • headlight

            I certainly found facts in it that I disagree with, as stated in my other comments. You state: “The facts are there: the book is factually inaccurate and lazy.” Well, no — those are OPINIONS, not facts. Waugh identified a small number of statements he disagreed with, and some are certainly erroneous. None of them are critical to the history here, though I suppose if the book was about the proper form of address for members of the gentry they’d be pretty substantial. Waugh’s short review, just six paragraphs long, is inaccurate in a number of places — I’ve discussed the wool-pack reference, and I see that the reference to Susanna’s “father’s” handwriting has already been edited to refer to her husband instead.

          • cc

            Come on! They have the records in the Birthplace trust! It’s incredibly lazy that they didn’t check the facts, and the review shows proof that the book was factually inaccurate. It’s not an opinion, it’s true: Many of the facts were wrong! The ‘editors’ even admit they are using ‘longing’ and ‘speculation’ instead of facts.

          • frodo

            When did it become a crisis?

          • Someone who’s read the whole book would be an improvement.

          • cc

            This is an ‘ad hominem’ – and clearly false. You have no evidence that Waugh didn’t read the book. As far as I can tell, he seems to have read and researched it thoroughly.

      • cc

        Excellent use of ‘appeal to authority’ and ‘ad hominem.’ Well done! Unfortunately, as you probably know, these are logical fallacies.

        • headlight

          Actually, wrong on both counts.

          • cc

            I presumed you were mentioning the ‘most distinguished Shakespeare scholars’ and Waugh’s ‘bias’ in order to try to discredit his argument. But maybe not, maybe you actually agree with the argument then.

  • Benjamin Hackman

    Mr Waugh does catch some mistakes in the book reviewed here. But he should be wary when casting the first stone.

    Shakespeare’s granddaughter married Thomas Nash, also of Stratford. They had no children.

    After his death she married again, to John Barnard, who was knighted in 1661 by Charles II. They took up primary residence at Abington Manor, Sir John’s sprawling estate in Northamptonshire, with his eight children from a previous marriage.

    Barnard became the MP for Huntingdon in 1660 and was made a baronet in 1661, thus giving his wife the title Lady Barnard.

    Elizabeth herself had no children and was Shakespeare’s last descendant. She died in 1670, just days short of her sixty-second birthday.

    So it’s quite proper to address Shakespeare’s granddaughter as Lady Barnard, though it appears Mr. Waugh is not aware of this item rather common knowledge, preferring instead to identify Lady Barnard merely as “the only child of an untitled provincial doctor.”

    Mr. Waugh is, however, correct on Jonson’s play (it should have been “Everyman in His Humor” one year earlier) and the spelling of the Globe landowner, though his other points seem more like quibbles.

    Thus we should not summarily dismiss this volume, especially given its interesting perspective.
    Rather, we should simply agree that better editing would have been helpful for both the reviewer and the book reviewed.

    So let’s hope we see corrections in the next edition of “The Shakespeare Circle.” And that Mr. Waugh makes a quick correction to his post here–while sparing us his usual rancor.

    • Alexander Waugh

      Dear Benjamin Hackman, I trust you do not believe that Elizabeth Hall was styled “Lady Elizabeth Barnard” by virtue of her marrying a knight. If so you would be in error. To call herself “Lady Elizabeth Barnard” she would need to be the daughter of an earl, a marquess or a duke but she was the daughter of an untitled provincial doctor. Wells and Edmondson should have styled her “Lady Barnard” but they appear to be in ignorant (as do you) of this well known fact.

      • Tom Reedy

        Correctly it should be styled “Elizabeth, Lady Barnard”.

        I am happy to see that you are well-versed in titles and their correct usage. Tell me, what does the appellation “Mr William Shakespeare” signify in the 1607 Stationers’ Register entry of King Lear? Or the “M. Willi. Shake-speare gentleman” identified in a 1615 published list of “Our moderne, and present excellent Poets”?

        • Alexander Waugh

          She should never be styled ‘it.’

          • Tom Reedy

            “It” refers to the form of address, not the person.

            I bow to your superior knowledge. I was in error.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Why would you say “[the form of address] should be styled ‘Elizabeth, Lady Barnard’?” That does not make much sense either, but thank you for your gracious acknowledgement of error. For your information “Elizabeth, Lady Barnard” would suggest that she was a previous (as opposed to present) wife of a Lord Barnard, which she wasn’t. Tricky things these English titles!

          • Tom Reedy

            Technically, you have a case, especially if this had been a book about titles and forms of address, but it is of an extremely petty and minor nature. In her will she refers to herself as “Dame Elizabeth Barnard”. “Elizabeth, Lady Barnard” would also have been correct for a legal document and many other situations. The burial entry of the Abington Parish church lists her as “Madame Elizabeth Barnard”.

            “Lady Elizabeth Barnard” is extremely common in scholarly works. No less a scholar than B. Roland Lewis refers to her as “Lady Elizabeth Hall-Nash-Barnard”, “Lady Barnard”, and “Lady Elizabeth Barnard”. Halliwell-Phillipps calls her “Lady Elizabeth Barnard” and “Lady Barnard”. Stopes called her “Lady Elizabeth Barnard”. Chambers, Lee, and Schoenbaum all refer to her as “Lady Barnard”. Many other lesser-known scholars refer to her as “Lady Elizabeth Barnard”. Its use is no indication of slovenly scholarship; you are merely picking nits. Your indignation is misplaced, and your objection to this and the phrase that Shakespeare “inherited” his father’s coat of arms are quibbles that only a pedant would object to.

            I see where you corrected your error about Susana not being able to recognize her “father’s handwriting”. Did you correct the error, or was that done by an editor?

            I know that you have no intention of answering my previous questions about Shakespeare’s honorific, “Master”, so let me ask you to clarify your statement ” there is no unequivocal evidence to show that he was personally acquainted with any of the great literary figures of his day.” Do you not consider Ben Jonson to have been a great literary figure of his day?

          • cc

            ‘”Lady Elizabeth Barnard” is extremely common in scholarly works.’ Maybe that’s because ‘scholars’ are all copying each others mistakes rather than doing their own research? Luckily, as you point out, Chambers, Lee, and Schoenbaum all got it right.

            ‘Unequivocal’ means ‘having only one possible meaning or interpretation.’ There is definitely no ‘unequivocal’ evidence that Shakespeare of Stratford met Ben Jonson, that’s a fact. If you think there is, please show it to me and I will give you the other interpretation.

          • Tom Reedy

            If you think it’s a serious mistake that is indicative of sloppy scholarship, you have other problems that can’t be addressed here. They don’t get any better than Halliwell-Phillipps and Lewis. Chambers, Lee, and Schoenbaum barely mention her.

            “I loved the man, and do honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions . . . his wit was in his own power; would the rule of it had been so too. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues: there was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.” Ben Jonson

          • cc

            Stop using logical fallacies! That was yet another ‘appeal to authority’! I actually warned you about those. Come on Reedy! It’s a mistake. Get over it. Maybe you’re right, it’s not the worst mistake Wells and Edmondson made, but it’s one of many, many mistakes, which happened because they copied other scholars or wrote whatever came into their heads without checking facts and doing the work themselves.

            As to your Ben Jonson quote, there are two pretty large problems which mean it is not ‘unequivocal’ evidence that Jonson knew Shakespeare:

            1/ He doesn’t say he ever met or knew him, he just said he ‘loved’ him. In fact he even said he idolised him, which might even suggest they had never met, as people don’t usually idolise their friends. Don’t people nowadays say they ‘love’ Shakespeare? Do you think they’ve all met him as well? No, they love him because of his wonderful works.

            2/ Now you won’t like this one, but you have to admit it’s a possibility. Jonson is referring to Shakespeare, the author, in this poem. Nothing says he was the man from Stratford upon avon, which is the man the book was about.

            Now, I know you love ‘straw-man’ arguments. So I can pretty much predict that you will start trying to argue about the authorship debate with me here. Don’t do that as it would be another logical fallacy, and I think you’ve used enough of those already. The quote you have given is clearly not ‘unequivocal’ evidence that they met or were personally acquainted. Try again.

          • Tom Reedy

            I’m not the one having problems with logic in this discussion. Denial can also be a fallacy. It is the most basic and powerful human defense mechanism. You appear to have an unusual amount, to the extent that it is clouding your judgment.

            Jonson wrote that he loved the *man*. Try to deal with the fact that your basic assumptions might be mistaken.

          • cc

            I’m afraid it is you that is making an assumption. Look at the quote. It does not state unequivocally that he met Shakespeare. I’m afraid that is so obvious, I don’t really know why you bother to try to deny it. Since it does not state that he met him, it cannot be considered to be ‘unequivocal’ evidence that he did.

          • MDHJohnson

            >> “In fact he also said he idolised him, which might even suggest they had never met, as people don’t usually idolise their friends.”

            As a matter of fact, Jonson said no such thing. I have a better understanding now as to why you avoid dealing with textual analysis.

            >> “Don’t people nowadays say they ‘love’ Shakespeare? Do you think they’ve all met him as well? No, they love him because of his wonderful works.”

            This is the logical fallacy of presentism.

          • cc

            I’m sorry… he said ‘on this side idolatry’ implying that he ‘almost’ idolised him. That must totally invalidate my point, right?

            The bottom line is: There is no unequivocal evidence they met. Please I have asked you many times to show me your unequivocal evidence. You ignore me every time. Clearly you don’t have any.

            To avoid the ‘presentism’ issue, I’ll try a new tack: Is the word ‘love’ a synonym of the word ‘meet’ ? No it isn’t. Therefore they did not necessarily meet.

          • MDHJohnson

            >> “I’m sorry… he said ‘on this side idolatry’ implying that he ‘almost’ idolised him. That must totally invalidate my point, right?”

            Yes, actually, it does. If you knew anything about Jonson [and his similar usage of such language in a poem to Sir William Uvedale] you might understand what is being said in the text.

            >>”The bottom line is: There is no unequivocal evidence they met.”

            The real bottom line is that, once again, you are making yourself the sole judge. And yet you are unable to offer any reasoned argument in support of your position. You can only produce silly statements about synonyms which ignore the text itself, the context of the remarks made, and all of the surrounding facts and circumstances –even though it is evidence you claim to know very well.

            I have already supplied you with the evidence. Cast lists for Jonson’s plays. The First Folio. Jonson’s *Timber*. If you have an argument to make, please feel free to read those documents and come back and make your reasoned argument as to why they should not be considered to support a conclusion that Jonson and Shakespeare knew each other.

          • cc

            My evidence is the definition of the word ‘unequivocal’

            “If you knew anything about Jonson [and his similar usage of such language in a poem to Sir William Uvedale] you might understand what is being said in the text.” – Please tell me about it then. Rather than just telling me I know nothing, why don’t you create an actual case for your belief?

            I’ve read your evidence and I don’t see it as unequivocal. Which part of it do you find to be unequivocal? You have the burden of proof for such a claim.

          • MDHJohnson

            Why should I do your homework for you. Try to learn something on your own. I have directed you to the evidence and now you want me to force-feed you.

            The burden is on you, as I have pointed out elsewhere. I find the cumulative case, made by all of the evidence and the surrounding facts and circumstances to be more than sufficient to prove the assertion beyond a reasonable doubt.

            Please answer this question…when it comes to historical questions is the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt not synonymous with unequivocal. If not, what standard would you contend should be met. Doesn’t the doubt that is expressed need to be a REASONABLE doubt for something to be equivocal?

            Is there some reason that you can’t supply evidence to support that your claim of doubt is a reasonable one?

          • cc

            All I’m saying is it’s not unequivocal. I’ve read your evidence and it does not show that they necessarily met. It shows that Jonson knew of Shakespeare as an author and appreciated his works. Whether they met or not is another question. I can see why you make the assumption that they met, but it is an assumption. You were criticising Waugh’s statement. I am just showing you that he is right.

      • Benjamin Hackman

        Mr. Waugh,

        I would style her Lady Barnard, as I did in my post. But I do see your point. It was not that she wasn’t entitled to the honorific “Lady”–my point, but that the first name should be omitted if not to the manor born –your point. (I am, after all, a colonial.)

        But that does not change the gross and scope of the book. Like the early efforts to pick out mistakes in the 1st ed of “Contested Will,” Oxfordians are again picking away at a few trees and ignoring the forest.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Benjamin, you may not consider it relevant or important that Edmondson and Wells incorrectly styled Shakespeare’s granddaughter eleven times in their new book, but as I pointed out this is one of many errors set forth by people who set themselves up as authorities on Shakespeare who cannot be challenged. It is simply not good enough. This has nothing to do with Oxfordians or ‘Contested Will’. Like several other bloggers here you are confusing the authorship question with the question of Edmondson and Wells’s incompetence in getting their facts right. Are you saying I should not have drawn attention to these errors, because they are only a ‘few trees in a forest’?

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Waugh, Of course you can point out the mistakes, and as I said earlier, I hope they will be corrected in the 2nd edition.

            But we both know where you are coming from –the same place as Dr, Waugaman, who, as is often the case, showed up first to bring de Vere into the discussion.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Benjamin, If you read my review carefully you will note that I am not coming from any position with regard to authorship, only sighing at the deplorable grade of scholarship exhibited by Professor Wells and ‘Head of Knowledge’ Edmondson in their latest book about Shakespeare’s circle. I know where you are coming from, but what does that have to do with the matter in hand? Are you attempting to condone the Edmondson-Wells gaffes with this irrelevant authorship persiflage?

          • Benjamin Hackman

            See 1st sentence of my previous post.

          • cc

            Can you spot the logical fallacy in your argument, Benjamin?

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Chris,

            No. Alexander is standing on the ramparts of Castle Hedingham, at least figuratively.

          • cc

            It’s a ‘tu quoque’ argument, a form of ‘ad hominem’. You started off trying to criticise the article. You failed at this, so had to resort to attacking the writer’s previous actions, which is totally irrelevant.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Given his post on SV, its quite legit to question the writer’s previous actions.

          • cc

            No, that’s totally irrelevant to the point of the article. It’s a logical fallacy. Just look up logical fallacies. Previous actions of the speaker are irrelevant to their logical argument. That’s just basic critical thinking.

          • MDHJohnson

            Nonsense.

            Mr. Waugh’s previous writings on Shakespeare, and his Shakespeare
            denialism, are quite obviously relevant in critiquing his review of a
            book on Shakespeare which is written by individuals with whom he
            disagrees. His bizarre notions about Shakespeare’s monument are
            germane and there is no straw man argument in alerting the reader to
            these facts.

            Likewise, Mr. Waugh’s admitted motive [the desire to humiliate the authors of
            the work being reviewed] is also relevant, as it demonstrates the
            potential for bias, or even personal animus, in his review.

          • cc

            Whether or not Mr Waugh has any ‘motives’ does not discredit the review. He hasn’t invented anything, he isn’t lying, the facts are all there. The review is accurate. It is very sneaky trick which happens to be a logical fallacy to address the motives of a speaker rather than the argument itself.

          • MDHJohnson

            More nonsense. A reader of this review who may not be aware of Mr. Waugh’s position in the authorship debate is entitled to know that there may be an ulterior motive at work, especially when Mr. Waugh is offering up opinions [not facts] such as the misleading claim that “there is no unequivocal evidence to show that he [Shakespeare] was personally acquainted with any of the great literary figures of his day.” Note that slippery use of “unequivocal”, which I suppose is Mr. Waugh’s means for avoiding Jonson’s *Timber*.

            The sneaky trick is in failing to divulge the personal animus, displayed presently and over the past, which appears to motivate this review.

            As for the review being accurate, you might want to read it again. There’s at least one real howler in there.

          • cc

            I’m sorry, but there IS no unequivocal evidence that he knew Jonson personally! Just because a man praises an author does not mean he has met him. This was not sneaky at all but perfectly logical and correct.

            But I’m glad you are FINALLY actually trying to argue against the review itself rather than throwing around ad hominems. Too bad it failed.

          • MDHJohnson

            It is not logical, correct, or a fact. You need to read Jonson’s *Timber* — Jonson praises the man himself…

            “And to justify mine own candor (for I loved the Man, and do honour his memory (on this side Idolatry) as much as any.)”

            Too bad you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • cc

            Excuse me… are you saying that that is unequivocal evidence that Jonson met Shakespeare? If you are, you are definitely mistaken. Waugh’s statement was completely accurate, and you know it.

          • MDHJohnson

            And here I thought you considered it inappropriate to engage in the authorship debate here. You seem to want to defend Waugh to the death.

            Sorry, but what Jonson states in *Timber* is as unequivocal as historical evidence gets. In fact, the need to somehow twist it to make it something less than unequivocal demonstrates the paucity of the methods employed by Shakespeare denialists such as Waugh. Waugh’s statement couldn’t be more inaccurate, especially when all of the surrounding facts and circumstances are considered. Jonson’s remarks in *Timber* set out his conversations with Shakespeare’s fellow actors regarding the man Shakespeare, and the remarks are corroborated by the introductory preface to the First Folio. That’s how history and the examination of historical evidence works. Denial of that evidence is a logical fallacy in and of itself.

          • cc

            I’m defending unreasonable criticisms of the article. This is not about the authorship. It’s about whether Jonson ever met Shakespeare. Why do you think it’s about authorship?

            Actually Jonson saying ‘I met Shakespeare for tea yesterday’ would be as unequivocal as historical evidence gets, then I would be on your side. However, no such evidence exists. Jonson saying he liked Shakespeare does not mean he met him. I don’t understand why you haven’t got that yet?

          • MDHJohnson

            I don’t understand how you can fail to understand how evidence works in answering historical questions. Your arguments by appeal to personal incredulity are another logical error.

            Do you think Jonson did not meet the actors in his plays? When someone says that he loved the man what reason is there for you to take that as meaning that he did not know the man [of course, Jonson follows that by discussing personality traits of the man]? You are entitled to your doubts but your doubts must be reasonable to have any significance at all. In this case, perversity is all that permits an interpretation of the facts which claims that Shakespeare and Jonson did not meet.

          • cc

            I’m not appealing to personal incredulity, I would perfectly believe they met. There just is no UNEQUIVOCAL evidence that it happened!

          • MDHJohnson

            You are submerged in denial. That Shakespeare and Jonson knew each other is accurate beyond a reasonable doubt. If there was a reasonable doubt you would be able to explain what it was without resort to spurious arguments and the obviously desperate need to ignore the language of the document itself. Your inability to answer questions is another hallmark of the denialist methodology that you practice. That it is an established fact beyond a reasonable doubt is as unequivocal as history gets.

            Prove me wrong. Set forth a reasoned argument, addressing *Timber* and all of the surrounding facts and circumstances.

          • cc

            I’ve made my point. There is no unequivocal evidence. I think the burden of proof is on you to show there is. So far the one quote Reedy came up with was not good enough. I’m not going to make my point again. Someone praising a famous author does not mean he met them. Jonson never says he met Sh.

          • MDHJohnson

            You’re still in denial as to the facts. Jonson specifically praises the man, but, for your own reasons, you keep stating that he is merely praising a famous author. I realize that for a Shakespeare denialist like yourself it is best to avoid actually dealing with the textual evidence, but blatantly misrepresenting it should be out of bounds even for you.

          • cc

            I have not misinterpreted anything. Show me the quote that you believe is such unequivocal evidence…. Reedy showed me his, and I quickly dismissed it. You are not dealing with textual evidence. You have not given me any actual content which proves your point. Also ‘Shakespeare denialist’ really? You have no idea of my opinions on the matter. I thought you, unlike the rest of your crew, were trying to keep ad hominems out of this. I also thought we agreed to stop mentioning the authorship question. You admitted it was a straw man.

          • MDHJohnson

            You are confused. The authorship debate is not a straw man and I have not ever said any such thing. By saying that you “quickly dismissed” the text provided to you [and I supplied it myself already as well] only serves to reveal the abject poverty of your analysis. You appear to be unaware of the surrounding facts and circumstance, and of the text itself, and yet you still feel entitled to pontificate as to its evidentiary value.

            As for “Shakespeare denialist”, that isn’t an ad hominem. My argument was not that you are wrong by reason of you’re being a Shakespeare denialist but that you were wrong by failing to deal with the text of the document itself. Accurate description of what you are is not the same thing as ad hominem.

          • cc

            It is a straw man! The article is not about the authorship debate.

            I am very aware of the existing evidence that could be used to show that Jonson may have met Shakespeare. I am also aware that this mainly consists of him praising Shakespeare and that he never said he met him. There is therefore NO unequivocal evidence that he did.

            Your comment was ‘ad hominem’ – you were trying to show that I only believed something because I was apparently a ‘Shakespeare denialist’ therefore invalidating the logic of my argument. You said that ‘Shakespeare denialists’ can’t deal with textual evidence. Again trying to invalidate my argument based on a belief that you for some reason think I have.

            Maybe you won’t show me your ‘unequivocal evidence’ because as a ‘Shakespeare denialist’ you presume I wouldn’t understand it. Or maybe it’s because you don’t have any…. I think the latter.

          • MDHJohnson

            Sorry, but Mr. Waugh made it about the authorship debate. You are naive if you believe otherwise.

            If you are “very aware of the existing evidence that could be used to show that Jonson may have met Shakespeare” then you ought to be able to make that reasoned argument, as I requested previously, supporting your claim that the evidence does not support a conclusion, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Shakespeare and Jonson met. Maybe you won’t do so because you simply can’t.

            >> “Your comment was ‘ad hominem’ – you were trying to show that I only believed something because I was apparently a ‘Shakespeare denialist’ therefore invalidating the logic of my argument”

            Now you are contending that you know my motive better than I know it myself. Not only are you illogical but you also appear to have pretensions to clairvoyance.

          • cc

            Read the article. It is not about the authorship debate.

            I am not going to cite every reference to Shakespeare and Jonson and explain to you why they may not have met. If you think you have unequivocal evidence show it to me. You are making the claim that there is such evidence so it is up to you to prove it. You are using the ‘burden of proof’ fallacy here. The person making the claim is the one who needs to offer proof.

            Not going to go down this ad hominem issue. It seemed like one to me. But you are trying to create a straw man argument again about ad hominems

          • MDHJohnson

            Waugh makes the claim that the evidence is equivocal. You support that claim. The burden of proof is upon you to prove that claim.

            As I’ve said elsewhere I’ve already supplied you with the evidence. I am not going to do your homework for you as well. From what I’ve seen of your argumentative skills here I doubt that you have the ability to make a reasoned argument using the evidence itself. Prove me wrong. Step up or step off.

          • cc

            That’s not how it works. the claim that something is ‘unequivocal’ is a position of ‘knowledge.’ The claim that something is ‘equivocal’ is a position of doubt. It is up to the person who believes that they have the ‘knowledge’ to provide the evidence and proof for that knowledge. It is never up to the doubter to provide proof.

          • MDHJohnson

            In this particular case, it is a well-accepted fact, and has been for four hundred years, that Shakespeare and Jonson knew each other. The evidence has been discussed for centuries. In a court of law, it would be judicially recognized as a given fact. In such a situation, it is incumbent upon you to prove that it is wrong. Keep trying to avoid making a reasoned argument, and you keep proving that you just don’t have what it takes to do so.

          • cc

            Logical fallacy: ‘appeal to popularity’ and I think a sneaky ‘appeal to authority’ with your ‘court of law.’

            I’m not saying they definitely never met. I’m saying we can’t know for sure, which makes Waugh’s statement that you are so angry about correct.

          • MDHJohnson

            If you are speaking about complete and total, metaphysical certainty, then nothing is ever unequivocal. But, of course, that is not a standard that is applied in any human system of thought. It certainly isn’t the standard applied in law or historiography.

            We employ standards to establish whether or not something is to be considered unequivocal in trying to determine larger truths. In this case, it is incumbent upon you to explain why you contend that there is any REASONABLE doubt about Shakespeare and Jonson having met.

            My comments were not an appeal to authority, but were meant to show that the fact of Jonson and Shakespeare knowing each other would be accepted as a given in a court of law. And that has nothing to do with an appeal to authority but is an appeal to employ a methodology which has been used throughout history to determine the accuracy or falsity of claims made by mere mortals.

          • cc

            If there existed correspondence beteween the two, or If Jonson said ‘I met Shakespeare for coffee’ or ‘I visited Shakespeare in Stratford’ or ‘last time I saw Shakespeare…’ or anything like that, that would be ‘unequivocal’ evidence, (as far such a thing ever exists.) But he never said he met him, and Shakespeare also never mentioned such a meeting.

            Again, I can totally see why you make the assumption, but it is not ‘unequivocal’

            Waugh was making a point about the lack of historical data behind some of the claims in the book. It was a valid point. There are no letters between Jonson and Shakespeare etc.

          • MDHJohnson

            No, actually, that isn’t what Waugh was doing. He was not making a point about the lack of historical data. What he was doing was twisting a piece of actual historical evidence, and the data contained therein, to fit his a speculation that Oxenford was Shakespeare. The text of *Timber* and of the First Folio is direct evidence supporting the factual claim that WS of Stratford wrote the works. Mr. Waugh [and you, apparently] feel a need to treat it in a way that is contrary to the way that such historical documents are usually treated. You are also indulging in an argument which promotes a double standard. There are no such documents for many authors of the period and yet their authorship of their works is not questioned. Additionally, as admitted by Oxenfordians, not a single piece of such direct evidence exists for their Lord.

          • cc

            Please! Stop with the authorship! We are debating whether the poor review of ‘The Shakespeare Circle’ was justified. We also seem to now be debating the accuracy of one statement in the review. But the authorship question is totally irrelevant.

            Waugh was making a point about the lack of historical data. A clue to this might be in the opening sentence of his paragraph: ‘Lack of historical data is a problem’

          • Tom Reedy

            > Show me the quote that you believe is such unequivocal evidence…. Reedy showed me his, and I quickly dismissed it.

            Yes, you did, based on your perverse rationale. It’s a good illustration of why not very many people take people like you and Waugh seriously when it comes to Shakespeare and history, nor will they ever. I’m sure the imaginary methodology gives you great personal satisfaction, and I’m happy that it does, because that’s all you’re going to get from it.

          • cc

            Well prove me wrong then. Show me that the evidence was unequivocal.

          • Tom Reedy

            Sorry, but you have already demonstrated (and continue to demonstrate) that your idiosyncratic standards of evidence prevent you from being shown anything. The fact that your unique definitions and claims violate the scholarly standards used by academic historians doesn’t appear to bother you one whit, and I cannot nor will I learn your bizarre deviant code for your benefit. Jonson said he loved the man; he comments on his personality traits from first-hand experience. If nothing but a letter signed by Jonson saying, “I met Will Shakespeare today” will swerve you from your perverted idea of what the term “unequivocal” means, why, then just be happy that for the most part the great majority of the world is perfectly happy to let you aver anything you please. I’m sure the praise you get from your tiny, comfortable, padded corner of the world is sufficient benefit. Enjoy your easily-earned laurels.

          • cc

            “The fact that your unique definitions and claims violate the scholarly standards used by academic historians” – First of all, this statement is untrue. I am using logic in all my arguments. Also it’s a massive ‘appeal to authority.’

            “he comments on his personality traits from first-hand experience.” – This is an assumption. The quote you provided as evidence for this was the following:

            “I loved the man, and do honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions . . . his wit was in his own power; would the rule of it had been so too. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues: there was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.”

            I pointed out that this statement could easily be made about an author based on his works. There exists no correspondence between the two and neither ever mentions that they met the other. They may have met, but there exists no unequivocal evidence that that was the case.

            “your perverted idea of what the term “unequivocal” means,” – in what way is my definition of unequivocal perverted? It’s from the dictionary – it is something which does not have more than one interpretation or meaning.

          • headlight

            Dear Mr. Waugh — I certainly agree with the point that it is unfortunate when an academic work contains errors. Wells and Edmondson might have done well to have the entire work peer reviewed which might have caught some of the flaws you identified.

            But on the whole, you really haven’t shown that the the work is “riddled with errors,” or that the errors are substantive. As you say, “tricky things, these English titles.” Using the proper form of address is a greater concern for Eliza Doolittle heading to the Embassy Ball than of an historian detailing the life of England’s greatest playwright.

            As one who has purchased a number of your books, I’d also suggest that you adopt the standard you expect from the first edition of this work for your own. I’ve identified mistakes of a similar nature in your own works.

            Your focus on very small points like misspelled names and incorrect forms of address, but your failure to give a decent description of the work overall suggests your review itself was a bit of a botched job. Considering your bias against Stratford-upon-Avon and the Birthplace Trust, the book came off remarkably well. Considering the spectrum of possible Alexander Waugh reviews of such a work, we’re far on the positive end of the scale. You praise the book with faint damns.

  • Alexander Waugh

    I do not think it possible for one person to humiliate another. Edmondson and Wells have humiliated themselves and it is richly deserved.

  • Nat Whilk

    Surely The Spectator could have found a less rancorous reviewer? Given Mr. Waugh’s absurd belief that the seven-eighths-literate—and for much of the playwright’s career, stone-dead—Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare, he shouldn’t be carping at the work of scholars. Yes, there’s a scattering of minor errors in The Shakespeare Circle; but as a verse unmarked in Oxford’s Bible says, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

    • cc

      The review doesn’t mention the authorship question. It is an accurate and amusing review, based purely on the books Waugh was given to read. You cannot deny the facts: The book was lazily put together and contained many flaws. This needs to be pointed out. No-one else had even noticed these whopping errors made by the ‘head of knowledge’. The Spectator did well to find someone with a critical eye, who doesn’t just believe everything the ‘experts’ say, but instead goes directly to the original sources to find the facts of the matter.

      • headlight

        “Scholar” is actually just a job description for the editors. What other term would you have for a person who study history and literature and publish books and articles in scholarly journals? Academics? Professors?

        • cc

          “he shouldn’t be carping at the work of scholars.” I took this to mean that the ‘scholars’ were in some way not to be criticised. But, I’ll take your point. Still, you can’t deny the ad hominems and tu quoques here.

    • Betekenis

      Proof please for “and for much of the playwright’s career, stone-dead – Earl of Oxford”. ‘scholars’ have already unmasked themselves.

  • Paul Crowley

    Sicinius to cc

    >> Game, set and match.

    cc to Sicinius

    > Sorry, what exactly have you won there?

    He’s won nothing. It’s just routine Leadbetter behaviour. When he loses (as he routinely does — the Strat case being hopeless, but he’s wedded to it) . . . when he loses, he runs off the field as fast as his little legs will carry him, shouting “I’ve won, I’ve won . . . . See how I’ve won”.

    • cc

      Here are some of the many logical fallacies presented by Sicinius and his crew on this page alone to try to discredit the review: ‘tu quoque’ (the moral character and past actions of the opponent are not relevant to the logic of the argument) ‘straw-man’ (avoiding the point of the argument and trying to argue something else – i.e the authorship debate) ‘ad hominem attacks’ (this is their favourite – they can’t attack the article so they attack the person and their ‘motives’) ‘appeal to authority’ (Stanley/ the ‘experts’ and ‘scholars’ said it so it MUST be true)

      You could write the book on logical fallacies just based on their repeated failed attempts at arguing.

      • Trying to demonstrate how much you know about the techniques of argument isn’t going to help after you’ve publicly shot yourself in the foot, even after your attempt to conceal your schoolboy howler by editing it.

        Too late.

        • cc

          Great! Another example of ‘tu quoque’! You’re getting really good at this! The past actions of the writer are not relevant to the logic of their argument.

    • When he loses (as he routinely does — the Strat case being hopeless, but he’s wedded to it)

      Mr Crowley is a sore loser. A bad condition for someone who loses as many arguments as he does. You can watch him falling down the deep hole from which his present discomfort arises here.

  • Children, children!

    This article is about the Shakespeare Authorship Question or it is about nothing.

    No teacher or academic is going to use a book with a “Resources” section that lists junk scholarship and offers links to Oxfordian websites without a good solid health warning—however pithy, neutral and well-produced the rest of the operation may be. If you take work of Kevin Gilvary and Diana Price seriously, you can’t expect to be treated seriously as an educator. And that is what Alexander and the book’s hidden doubters like Marlovian Ros Barber and Oxfordians Mark Rylance and Earl Showerman are expecting us to do in 30 Second Shakespeare. If The Shakespeare Circle is “riddled” with mistakes, then using the same measure, 30 Second Shakespeare is “packed full” of intentional and deliberately misleading errors of omission and fact.

    Neither book is “packed” or “riddled”with error. The not-so-cleverly-concealed purpose of this article is to use these publications to praise the doubters and throw sand in the eyes of the SBT, discrediting the whole work by drawing attention to the errors in just the chapters written by two SBT contributors. You really cannot form the slightest impression of what “Shakespeare Circle” is about from Alexander’s review.

    Finding a good platform for Authorship articles is Mission Impossible, these days, though, isn’t it?

    Possibly because journals like The Spectator may well have had enough Authorship nonsense, at least until after the Centenary.

    Even the Doubters themselves seem finally aware of the pressure. Just the faint whiff of Oxfordianism in this article has seen its Apostles (and even the odd High Priest) deny it three times.

    At least.

    • cc

      Ok. Let’s go through some of the fallacies in this post, shall we?

      “The not-so-cleverly-concealed purpose of this article is to use these publications to praise the doubters and throw sand in the eyes of the SBT” – this is an ‘appeal to motive,’ which is an ‘ad hominem circumstantial’ argument and a logical fallacy. As I have repeatedly stated, the review is accurate and ‘motive’ is irrelevant to the logic of the argument represented in the review.

      ‘This article is about the Shakespeare Authorship Question or it is about nothing.’ – This is a ‘straw-man’ argument and a logical fallacy. The article is clearly not about the authorship question. You are trying to create a new argument, because you can’t actually argue against the review.

      “No teacher or academic is going to use a book with a “Resources” section that lists junk scholarship and offers links to Oxfordian websites without a good solid health warning” – This is an ‘appeal to authority,’ yet another logical fallacy. It also continues along your ‘straw-man’ argument that you have created about the authorship question.

      “If you take work of Kevin Gilvary and Diana Price seriously, you can’t expect to be treated seriously as an educator.” – Surely I don’t need to point out that this is an ‘ad hominem’ and again irrelevant to the logic of Waugh’s review. Also, it’s just downright rude.

      Are you capable of logical thought? Or are you just humouring me with obvious fallacies I learned in GCSE critical thinking class?

      • Have you noticed everyone ignores your explanations of technique?

        This is because we do not want to detract from their comic effect.

        • Tom Reedy

          And it’s boring. He’s always had a tendency to prate on long past any interest his auditor might have and to repeat himself.

          • cc

            Ad hominem…

          • MDHJohnson

            No…that is just insult. Perhaps you should look up “ad hominem argument”.

          • cc

            Ok, it’s an insult then… even better if he’s not even attempting to undermine my argument. I suppose I presumed he was. Actually, you’re right. He’s just accepted it and is resorting to simple insults. I suppose I never expected it to get this bad!

          • MDHJohnson

            Nobody accepts your argument, as you appear not to know what the word “relevant” means.

          • cc

            Interesting analysis of the situation. Actually, I just see through attempts to discredit the review which aren’t actually focussing on the review itself.

          • MDHJohnson

            The review is written by an individual with a recognized agenda, one that it appears he has attempted to cover up in praising a book by a fellow denialist and trashing a book by people he admittedly wishes to humiliate. This agenda, and the potential for bias [revealed by Mr. Waugh’s obvious need to seek applause from his fellow denialists], is a part of the review itself. The comments that have been made here are relevant to that issue. That you don’t understand this is difficult to understand. To claim that his participation in the authorship debate has no relevance in a discussion of this review is naive at best.

          • cc

            Ok, I’ve made my point 100 times now. As Reedy rightly points out, this is getting boring. You cannot dismiss someone’s argument based on perceived ‘motives.’ It’s logically flawed (ad hominem) and unfair to a well researched and accurate review. The authorship debate is not mentioned once in the book being reviewed or in the review itself. Just leave it now. If you want to have a good old authorship debate go to another page, I’m sure there are many doubters who would be willing to oblige. This page, on the other hand, is a review of two books. One of which you seem to want to defend to the death for reasons of ‘appeal to authority’ by the sound of it. However, the book is poor, it has many errors and was badly researched and lazily put together.

          • MDHJohnson

            Nice straw man. I have not defended the book at all, much less “to the death”. I find the errors committed in it to be a problem with the book; it annoys me to no end when I come across such errors in a book [although I must say the Lady Barnard mistake is rather trivial]. Whether or not the book is “poor” [besides the factual errors pointed out by Mr. Waugh] is something that one would never know after reading this review, as Mr. Waugh doesn’t spend much, if any, time actually critiquing the message of the book.

            Another strawman…I’m not arguing the authorship debate here. I am arguing that Mr. Waugh should have divulged his motive [as he did elsewhere] if he wished the review to be an honest one.

            Have you read the book yet? If not, your last sentence is one long argument by appeal to authority.

          • cc

            I actually don’t want to go down a straw man argument at all. My main point is simply that ‘motive,’ especially perceived ‘motive’ is not important and it is a logical fallacy to bring it up.

            I know we’re not arguing the authorship debate! That has been my point all along. It’s your straw man, not mine. I’m simply replying to your repeated references to it. Let’s leave the authorship debate then. We can both see it’s a straw man, which is great!

            Yes, I have read the book. I’m not an idiot. Have you? I actually found many more problems with it than have been mentioned in the review. But I’m not going to bore you with them all.

            Also I’m really glad you agree that the book has many problems! That’s great! The impression I was getting from your team was that the views expressed by Waugh somehow ‘didn’t count’ because of his opinions about authorship. This is what I was arguing against.

          • cc

            Waugh gives a good two and a half paragraphs about the general overview of the book as well, he is not only pointing out the factual errors. It’s a short review of two books. How much detail do you expect!?

          • MDHJohnson

            I note that you didn’t answer my question…so I will take it that you have indulged in an argument by appeal to authority in your defense of Waugh.

          • cc

            I DID answer your question! Read my replies properly! And of course I’ve read the book!

          • MDHJohnson

            I will repeat the question:

            >> Have you read the book yet? If not, your last sentence is one long argument by appeal to authority.

            You did not answer this question.

          • cc

            Are you serious!? I’ve now twice told you that I’ve read the book.

          • MDHJohnson

            >> “You cannot dismiss someone’s argument based on perceived ‘motives.’ It’s logically flawed…”

            This notion is a major part of your problem. As a matter of fact, in law and in historiography, the motive of the witness can provide the basis for dismissing his argument, and there is nothing that is necessarily illogical about doing so.

          • cc

            That’s because the witness might be lying. We can all see that Waugh has not lied in this review, which makes his motives irrelevant.

          • MDHJohnson

            I’m sorry but that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in the context of the authorship discussion.

          • cc

            Insults… clever… Also this is not about the authorship discussion!! For the last time please!

          • MDHJohnson

            Asserting that you speak on behalf of all of us [“we”] is also an error in logic.

            Making yourself the sole judge of whether or not Mr. Waugh’s review is motivated by malice is an error and is grandiosely narcissistic.

          • cc

            I never said I was the sole judge… I said that whether or not he had any motives doesn’t make the slightest difference. I also can’t find where you think I tried to speak for everyone… Maybe when I said Waugh never lied in the article. I’m sorry? Do you think he did? I can tell you that would be wrong. But by all means try to argue that he did if you want.

          • MDHJohnson

            I think his entire review is a lie [other than the attention to certain mistakes in the book]. And your notion that motive makes no difference is still wrong, and is not supported by legal or historigraphical principles.

          • cc

            It’s supported by the very existence of the ‘appeal to motive’ fallacy.

            You think the entire review is a lie? Sorry what?? Please elaborate on that…. I do not see a single lie. How can the entire review be a lie?? This is rather extreme since you have yet to find one lie.

          • MDHJohnson

            The argument as to motive is supplied by evidence provided by Mr. Waugh himself when he indicated a desire to see the authors of the book reviewed humiliated on a daily basis. That you don’t wish to acknowledge this fact is indicative of how desperate you are to defend Mr. Waugh.

            The review is a lie because it does not divulge the fact that Mr. Waugh has a personal dislike of the authors of the book. Any reader of the review is entitled to know about the existence of such a bias. I realize that you don’t understand this rather simple fact, and will probably fall back on jargon like some sophomoric child, but the facts are there for anyone who is not biased to see.

            Let me ask you a straightforward, yes or no question. Did Mr. Waugh’s post to the Oxenfordian Facebook page reveal a personal dislike of the authors of the book he reviewed?

          • cc

            You are right, I’m back to the basics, which you seem to have forgotten:

            Logical fallacy: ‘Ad hominem’ – the authors motives are irrelevant as long as the logic of his argument is sound.

          • MDHJohnson

            Another question ignored. I am beginning to think it is useless to engage in this discussion with you. I’ll give it one more try.

            What is the sound logic of Mr. Waugh’s argument? For that matter, what is his argument exactly in your own opinion?

            ** I have to run out for a bit but I’ll check back later.

          • cc

            The review shows that many of the arguments made in the book ‘The Shakespeare Circle’ are not really based on data but ‘longing’ and ‘speculation.’ For example, Susanna speaking Latin, Judith ‘writing well enough,’ and a lot of information about possible relationships Shakespeare might have had, when really there is no evidence. It also shows that it was poorly edited and many of the facts were wrong.

            It is an argument based on data and facts.

          • MDHJohnson

            What is wrong with speculation if the authors admit that they will be engaging in such? And the review doesn’t show that many of the facts were wrong, does it. It shows that one mistake involving honorifics [kind of a minor one at that] was repeated a number of times. It shows that a couple of dates and a few statements were incorrect [although the inheritance of the coat of arms is a minor quibble]. How many facts are stated in the book and how many are in error? Do any of the mistakes have any detrimental effect as to the overall message of the book?

            You still haven’t explained what the argument actually is, or what the sound logic behind such an argument might be.

            What does the concluding paragraph in the review have in it that partakes of sound logic?

          • cc

            “What is wrong with speculation if the authors admit that they will be engaging in such?” – Nothing, unless they are going around painting themselves as ‘scholars’ and the ‘authority’ on Shakespeare, and trying to make out that their ‘approach to the facts and historical evidence’ is too ‘complex’ for anyone else to understand and therefore should not be questioned, when actually they are just fantasists.

          • Tom Reedy

            You really should have someone explain to you what the term means.

          • cc

            Look it up on wikipedia – I shall be clearer – ‘appeal to motive’ is a form of ‘ad hominem’

          • Sue Smith

            That’ll teach you for relying on Wiki!! Think I’ll sign up to Wiki now and make some necessary changes…. Oh, wait…

          • MDHJohnson

            I have done as you requested and have looked up “appeal to motive” on Wikipedia. Perhaps you should do the same. Here is what I found…

            “Appeal to motive is a pattern of argument which consists in challenging a thesis by calling into question the motives of its proposer. It can be considered as a special case of the ad hominem circumstantial argument. As such, this type of argument may be an informal fallacy.

            A common feature of appeals to motive is that only the possibility of a motive (however small) is shown, without showing the motive actually existed or, if the motive did exist, that the motive played a role in forming the argument and its conclusion. Indeed, it is often assumed that the mere possibility of motive is evidence enough.”

            ——-
            I think I see where you have been going off the rails in this discussion. You think that any mention of motive automatically results in the argument being logically invalid, but that simply isn’t the case. It “may” be a logical fallacy but it doesn’t necessarily have to be, especially, as in this instance, if the motive is shown to actually exist and there is evidence that it has played a role in the argument made.

            With that, I am finished with this particular discussion. As has been noted elsewhere, you argue just like the late, unlamented Knitwit. I have sworn off responding to her and I now do the same with you.

          • cc

            Again from a wikipedia page, but that seems to be the standard now :

            “If one can prove the opponent’s argument is false, and that they have an ulterior motive for making the false claim, their entire position is much weaker. But to argue robustly, you need to show the actual argument is wrong. Being colourable as having a conflict of interest does not make one wrong.”

          • headlight

            So someone claiming that a pair of distinguished scholars who believed that William Shakespeare wrote the works were motivated as “cheerleaders for the Stratford tourist industry” would be making an ad hominem attack? Yeah, I can agree with that.

          • cc

            You seem to have understood the concept. Now please can you explain it to your friends, who are in permanent denial.

            Also, I am sensing a sneaky ‘tu quoque’ argument here and a continued straw man reference to the authorship debate

          • Tom Reedy

            The review is also suspect because of his relationship with the author of *The 30-Second Shakespeare*. They have appeared together at anti-Stratfordian conferences, debates, and radio programs. That he does not disclose this in the review should put one on guard.

          • cc

            ‘Appeal to motive.’ Actually they fundamentally disagree on the authorship question. She believes it was Marlowe. He didn’t seem to care, he gave the book a good review, because it was a good book.

          • MDHJohnson

            Excuse me, but have you never read a review in which the author, in the interest of transparency, discloses his relationship with the authors of the books being reviewed? Seriously…?

          • MDHJohnson

            As I read through the thread, I have come across many comments which discredit the review based on the review itself.

          • cc

            Ok great. Now make a lovely comment with all those things at the top. And I may or may not agree with them. From what I’ve seen we’ve only had appeals to motive, straw men, ad hominems etc.

          • Careful now. I’m not the only person who admires a well-crafted insult around here. Alexander’s a dab hand himself and his father was an acknowledged master of the art.

            They have their place.

          • Tom Reedy

            Certainly not an insult, just an observation on your debating technique. You also use a lot of words that you don’t really understand.

          • cc

            Another pointless insult to try to diminish the valid points I have made… Nice one Reedy. I think calling someone’s argument boring is an insult. But let’s not get into another straw man.

          • MDHJohnson

            Why not…you show a remarkable talent for creating them yourself.

        • cc

          Or maybe it’s because you can’t argue against it.

          • No. It’s definitely for the laughs.

          • cc

            Ok great. Glad you’re laughing away then. I always aim to make people happy!

        • cc

          Also…. that’s an ‘appeal to ridicule’ … just saying.

  • cc

    Here are some of the many logical fallacies presented by Sicinius and his crew on this page alone to try to discredit Waugh’s accurate and insightful review: ‘tu quoque’ (the past actions of the writer are not relevant to the logic of the argument) ‘straw-man’ (avoiding the point of the argument and trying to argue something else – i.e the authorship debate) ‘ad hominem attacks’ (this is their favourite – they can’t attack the article so they attack the person and their ‘motives’) ‘appeal to authority’ (the idea that because Stanley/ the ‘experts’ and ‘scholars’ said it, it can’t possibly be criticised)

    You could write the book on logical fallacies just based on their repeated failed attempts at arguing.

  • cc

    Here are some of the many logical fallacies presented by Sicinius and his crew on this page alone to try to discredit Waugh’s accurate and insightful review: ‘tu quoque’ (the past actions of the writer are not relevant to the logic of the argument) ‘straw-man’ (avoiding the point of the argument and trying to argue something else – i.e the authorship debate) ‘ad hominem attacks’ (this is their favourite – they can’t attack the article so they attack the person and their ‘motives’) ‘appeal to authority’ (the idea that because Stanley/ the ‘experts’ and ‘scholars’ said it, it can’t possibly be criticised)

    You could write the book on logical fallacies just based on their repeated failed attempts at arguing.

  • Callipygian

    Great, but it might also be mentioned that philosophy (and Shakespeare is a political philosophy subject) is not for the lazy and impatient. In short, those without the stamina to read his works with care and meticulous attention are bound to miss their meaning — in some respects, nearly entirely (‘it’s life, Jim, but not as we know it’).

  • MDHJohnson

    What did you do with the 195 comments that were previously posted here and why are they no longer shown?

Close