Spot the Looney: A lot of bad evidence=good evidence

I just got a new tablet computer. Yay! Of course, that means I’ve been downloading free books like a crazy woman. One of the first ones I downloaded was J. Thomas Looney‘s “Shakespeare” Identified in Edward De Vere the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford (1920). You can read it here, if you really want to. Looney was not the first to suggest that someone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Far from it; indeed, he borrows heavily from the Baconians. His work, however, is  the basis for the claims that Oxford wrote Shakespeare. That’s right, without Looney, there would have been no Anonymous.

A word about the man’s name: it’s pronounced “loney” (rhymes with “pony”), so I won’t tolerate any childish “loony” jokes. Well, all right, but no more than a dozen or so.

I’ve only gotten through the first chapter, but the Introduction was extremely instructive. In it, I found this gem:

I do not maintain that any single objection, to what for convenience sake we must call the Stratfordian view, afforded by itself sufficient grounds for regarding it as untenable; for most of these objections have been stoutly combated severally, by men whose opinions are entitled to respect. It was rather the cumulative effect of the many objections which, it appeared to me, made it impossible to adhere with any confidence to the old view of things, and so gave to the whole situation an appearance of inexplicable mystery. (p. 3)

I reread that several times thinking, “he can’t really be saying what I think he’s saying. Surely not.” I even emailed Bob to ask “Is he saying what I think he’s saying?” Yes, that was the subject line. Eventually I came to the conclusion that he was indeed saying that no single objection to Shakespeare’s authorship has any real validity as they have all been “stoutly combated.” But put all these invalid objections together and–hey presto!–you’ve got yourself a reasonable argument. Wow. That’s almost exactly what critical thinking isn’t.

So, you may ask, what qualifications did Looney have in literary/historical investigation? Well, there’s this:

For several years in succession I had been called upon to go through repeated courses of reading one one particular play of Shakespeare’s, namely “The Merchant of Venice.” This long continued familiarity with the contents of one play induced a peculiar sense of intimacy with the mind and disposition of its author and his outlook upon life. (p. 2)

Ah. He read ONE play and felt he understood the author intimately. Makes perfect sense. More importantly, his lack of qualifications make him the right man for the job:

That one who is not a recognized authority or an expert in literature should attempt the solution of a problem which has so far baffled specialists must doubtless appear to many as a glaring act of overboldness; (p. 4)

I don’t know what “specialists” were baffled by the authorship question. I imagine if you asked the specialists of the day, “Who wrote Shakespeare?” They’d answer “Shakespeare.” If they looked baffled, it would probably be because they were puzzled that someone would ask such a silly question.

Looney continues,

…whilst to pretend to have actually solved this most momentous of literary puzzles will seem to some like sheer hallucination. A little reflection ought, however, to convince any one that the problem is not, at bottom, purely literary. That is to say, its solution does not depend wholly upon the extent of the investigator’s knowledge of literature nor upon the soundness of his literary judgment. (p. 4)

Well, I suppose that’s true. A person who is not trained in literary analysis and research could theoretically discover documentary evidence that proved that Oxford wrote Shakespeare, especially if that person was trained in historical research (which Looney was not). But Looney discovered no such evidence. All the documentary evidence (and there’s a lot of it) is on Shakespeare’s side.

This is probably why the problem has not been solved before now. It has been left mainly in the hands of literary men, whereas its solution required the application of methods of research which are not, strictly speaking, literary methods. (p. 4)

Suck it, experts! I’m not sure what Looney thinks “literary methods” are, but they do involve looking at historical context. He adds, “The imperfection of my own literary equipment…was therefore no reason why I should not attempt the task (p. 4).” It’s no reason why he shouldn’t make the attempt, but it may be a reason some of his conclusions are faulty: he looked at poems ascribed to Oxford and thought they fit Shakespeare. In fact, in many ways, the styles do not match at all. His opinion of actual experts is not high:

The common sense of the rank and file of Shakespeare students, when unhampered by past committals, leads irresistibly towards the rejection of the old idea of authorship: and only the doctors of the ancient literary cult hang in the rear. (p. 11)

Yay! I’ve always wanted to be in a cult. Wait, does this mean that if Stephen Greenblatt tells me to drink poison-laced Kool-Aid, I have to drink it? No, I’m a medievalist; I think I’m safe from Greenblatt’s evil cult-leader charisma.

But Looney’s comments on literary cults and literary men are typical, not just of Shakespeare-deniers, but also of conspiracy and fringe theorists the world over: you can’t trust experts; they are too invested in the “official story.” Either they are too stuffy and closed-minded to see the Truth, or they are actively suppressing it. Ancient alien proponents, 9/11 truthers, Holocaust deniers–they all sing the same tune.

A look at Looney’s biography may help explain why he needed to find a different author for the Shakespeare works. He grew up in an evangelical Methodist household, but he later became a leading light in the positivist Religion of Humanity. They placed great, almost worshipful, emphasis on Great Men (and women), even proposing to rename the months after important thinkers. From Looney’s point of view, Shakespeare-the-poet was a Great Man, but Shakespeare-the-man didn’t fit the bill, so he had to find someone else. Why he picked a murderous profligate, I don’t know. According to Looney’s Wikipedia page, his family claimed to be descended from the Earls of Derby, one of whom, William Stanley, the sixth Earl, is another candidate for the “real” author of Shakespeare’s work.

In assigning a “Great Man” to the Great Work, Looney thought he was performing another Great Work.

The transference of the honour of writing the immortal Shakespeare dramas from one man to another, if definitely effected, becomes not merely a national or contemporary event, but a world event of permanent importance, destined to leave a mark as enduring as human literature and the human race itself. (p. 1)


147 Responses to Spot the Looney: A lot of bad evidence=good evidence

  1. De Vere says:

    My budget psychoanalysis after reading half his wikipedia page…

    This guy just needed to be the man. He wasn’t the man with the fundies, and his stint with the diet fundies ended too soon, leaving him with a desperate taste for more TheManness.

    But lo, he was merely a mediocre sayer of sooths, and so soon found himself sooty with the ash of his own non-awesomeness. Wanting to dust himself off but lacking the intestinal fortitude, he decided to do the only thing he could do – find The Man, and take him down.

  2. Pacal says:

    Your so right that pseudos tend to think that piling up a large number of dubious reasons strengthens a case. It usually does not.

    In my own area of interest that of the pre-columbian civilizations of the New World it is common for diffusionist thinkers to pile up similarities between the Old World and the New World and then say that since there are so many similarities that proves contact.

    In otherwords one similarity may be weak but 10 is some how stronger by sheer force of numbers. That ten weak pieces of “evidence” become stronger by force of numbers.

    Well ten times zero is still zero. And adding up disconected similarities proves notthing, esspecially if they are mere “similarity”.

    Looney’s piling up of weak reasons that don’t conect with each other seems to be the same sort of thing.

    • psi2 says:

      Pacal, I’m not sure what you mean by the epithet “peudos,” but I’ll assume you mean JT Looney and other skeptics of the official story of Shakespeare. If I were you, I wouldn’t take that reasoning into court. Lawyers are very well acquainted with the probative force of relevant circumstantial evidence. Since you are evidently unaware of the evidence for a) contesting the traditional view of the bard or b) the hypothesis that Oxford actually wrote the work, you might wish to pause before you continue in public denigrating that evidence as consisting of “dubious reasons.” Do you really think that Supreme court justices (at least four living Justices support the Oxfordian claim, most prominently Stevens) decide cases base on one side “piling up a large number of dubious reasons”?

      Perhaps rather than arguing by fiat you would care offer an example of one of Looney’s “weak reasons.” I’d be happy to consider any of those that most interest you. It’s always useful to understand how another person thinks — at least that’s how I approach the problem of knowledge. But of course, I’m just a “pseudo” so I probably don’t count in your book.

      psi (Master’s degree, Cultural Anthropology).

  3. Bradley A. Skene says:

    in re the p. 11 quote:

    How is it that the Oxfordian thesis is being put forward for the first tie in the book, but already everyone but a few recalcitrants already believe it? I’d have to ask, but there’s a page somewhere on the internet of quotations from creations going back about years, each one say that now that Darwin has been disproved, Evolution will is already out favor except for a few fanatics and will soon be a dim memory, and I suspect its just the same phenomenon.

    • Eve says:

      He is leaning heavily on the work of a lot of previous Shakespeare-deniers, particularly Baconians, so in that quote I think he’s saying that the rank-in-file readers of Shakespeare reject the “official theory.” He does seem to think that once people have read his argument, they’ll be convinced (if they aren’t members of the “ancient literary cult”).

      In the last bit I read, he was defending Ignatius Never-Met-a-Crazy-Theory-He-Didn’t-Like Donnelly. Something along the lines of “yes, the cryptogram stuff is crap, but that doesn’t mean we should reject everything he says in his nearly thousand page tome.”

      • Wait… is he actually claiming that the average person reading Shakespeare for the first time (probably as a teenager forced to by an English teacher in school) will read it and say, “Boy, this certainly was written by someone else!”?

        Also, am I allowed to play on the Looney/loony connection by claiming that his book was clearly written by a man named Nutter (pronounced Noo-ter)?

    • psi2 says:

      Bradley, that shoe fits your own foot. Here is what William McFee, the novelist and essayist, wrote about Looney’s book in his introduction to the second 1948 edition:

      “Shakespeare Identified is destined to occupy, in modern Shakespearean controversy, the place Darwin’s great work [Origin of the Species] occupies in evolutionary theory. It may be superseded, but all modern discussions of the authorship of the plays and poems stems from it, and owes the author an inestimable debt.”

      You may suspect what you wish. Your suspicions are not arguments and your grasp of intellectual history is not particularly impressive, not to mention that you need an English tutor (or at least an editor).

  4. Eve says:


    I think when he says “rank and file of Shakespeare students,” he means everyone but scholars.

    “Also, am I allowed to play on the Looney/loony connection by claiming that his book was clearly written by a man named Nutter (pronounced Noo-ter)?”

    Yes, yes you are. In fact, I insist on it.

    • psi2 says:

      Christina asked:

      Wait… is he actually claiming that the average person reading Shakespeare for the first time (probably as a teenager forced to by an English teacher in school) will read it and say, “Boy, this certainly was written by someone else!”?

      No Christina, I think he had in mind actual adults who take an interest in matters like where literary concepts and words come from, and what motivates artistic expression and creates the context in which that expression can have meaning.

      Eve says:

      “Also, am I allowed to play on the Looney/loony connection by claiming that his book was clearly written by a man named Nutter (pronounced Noo-ter)?”

      Yes, yes you are. In fact, I insist on it.

      How skeptical. You find your arguments against Looney where you find your arguments for “Shakespeare”: on a title page. You really know a lot. I’m deeply impressed, Eve. Good luck with that in the future.

  5. sant maskeen says:

    sant maskeen…

    […]Spot the Looney: A lot of bad evidence=good evidence « Skeptical Humanities[…]…

  6. psi says:

    You apparently have difficulty understanding the concept of circumstantial evidence. And while it might be too much to ask you to actually understand and apply this concept to the case in point, is it too much to request that in future posts you please refrain from further anti-intellectual insults embodied in phrases like “Shakespeare denier”? Thanks.

    • Bradley A. Skene says:

      There is no evidence circumstantial or otherwise that anyone wrote Shakespeare’s works except Shakespeare, so denier is presciently the right word.

      • rstritmatter says:

        Ok Mr. Skene, if you say so, that must make it right.

        Let’s follow your logic a little further, shall we?

        That would mean that Supreme Court Justices Stevens, Kennedy, Blackmun, and Scalia — and Shakespearean actors Sir John Gielgud, Sir Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, and Michael York, Orson Welles, and Tyrone Guthrie, and Sigmund Freud, Marjorie Bowen, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, Henry James and all require your assistance in evaluating evidence on questions of evidence and the character of artistic genius.

        As W.W. Furness, the father of the great Variorum editor H.W. Furness, put it in 1866, summarizing the views of all these persons —

        “I am one of the many who has never been able to bring the life of William Shakespeare within planetary space of the plays.”

        Grow up and try doing a little research before you pontificate your prejudices in public. Your opinions will have a longer half life and you will do less damage to the concept of “skepticism” than you are doing in the present conversation.

  7. Bradley A. Skene says:

    So you’re falling back to a defensive line constructed of appeal to authority, but none of your authorities have recent peer-reviewed publications in the field in which they’re supposedly authorities? How do you figure that will get any response except laughter?

    • psi says:

      Do you not understand the irony of you calling other people “denialists” when your own position consists of the spurious claim that

      “There is no evidence circumstantial or otherwise that anyone wrote Shakespeare’s works except Shakespeare”?

      It is clear that you not paying attention in the back of the room; your position is based on denial and nothing more. You are like one of the followers of Ptolemy who in 1610 was still refusing to look into Galileo’s telescope and continued to insist that the moons of Jupiter did not exist because you had never seen them. If you like arguments from authority, how about Walt Whitman:

      “Only one of the wolfish earls, or some born knowner and descendant so plentiful in [the history plays] would seem to be the author of these amazing works.”

      Of course, since you know so much more than Whitman did about Shakespeare, you’ll fall back on accusing me of making an argument from authority. If you do a little bit of research beyond the end of your nose we could have a substantive discussion – until you do that, I’ll stick to with my authorities. I don’t like reinventing the wheel for slow students.

      • Eve says:

        If you have some evidence, feel free to present it. Insults and quotations of another person’s unsupported opinions don’t really count as evidence.

      • psi2 says:

        Hello Eve.

        The evidence is all over the internet. It may be a cliche, but google is your friend.

        For starters, this conversation has been poisoned by the dishonest and condescendingly stupid summary of J. T. Looney’s work that is represented in the blog entry.

        If you’ld like to examine the work for yourself (which I suggest as a good first step towards educating yourself), it’s here:

        The evidence Looney presented in 1920 was already sufficient to impress (and, indeed, convince) Sigmund Freud, Leslie Howard, Orson Welles, John Galsworthy, and many others who knew Shakespeare far better, apparently, than you do.

        Since that time evidence has only continued to accumulate and has appeared in a whole series of articles and books, some of them available on the internet. There is, for example, Mark Anderson’s fine recent updating of the case for Oxford, which you can now buy used for a very reasonable price:

        One of the longstanding issues in the authorship question concerns the bard’s detailed, comprehensive, and unfailingly accurate use of legal terminology, something one did not learn in a grammar school or on the internet in Elizabethan England. You can read up on that question here:

        Or there’s this current academic journal that is dedicated to the topic, three issues of which are available online:

        Now, regarding your astounding remark that “quotations of another person’s unsupported evidence don’t count” — excuse me, but I cited to you the very well informed opinion of one of the greatest literary minds in American history regarding the question we are allegedly discussing. If you think that Walt Whitman’s view of this matter “doesn’t count,” then you have no business discussing it. Whitman’s view, moreover, is very well supported in the article to which I already provided you a link to. But apparently you did not read it. Why am I not surprised?

        If you go in for video, on the other hand, I can hardly do better than to recommend this lovely new documentary:

        And since we are on the topic of all those many people whose opinions really ought to count on this subject, but about which you are apparently not yet informed, here’s another quotation, in case there are any readers here who actually do practice true skepticism:

        “Doubts about Shakespeare came early and grew rapidly. They have a simple and direct plausibility. The plausibility has been reinforced by the tone and methods by which traditional scholarship has responded to the doubts.”

        That was Richmond Crinkley, the former director of educational programs of the Folger Shakespeare library, writing in the Shakespeare Quarterly, which is about the most traditional journal in the world on this topic. If you want an example of “tone and methods” with which traditional scholarship has responded to the doubts in such a way as to reinforce the conviction that something is rotten in Stratford, then reread the original blog entry.

        I suppose you’ll tell me that Crinkley’s opinion is “unsupported.” Actually, Crinkley came to that conclusion only after reading Charlton Ogburn’s *The Mysterious William Shakespeare* (1984), without which we would not be having this discussion. When you know that book (or Mark Anderson’s, or J.T. Looney’s), well enough to have an intelligent conversation about it, then your bold statements about whose opinions are supported and whose are not will have some substance. Right now, you may be making Bradley feel better, but you aren’t really making an argument. you’re just taking refuge in the fact that you don’t know very much. And of course there are plenty of people around you, cheering you on in your quest to remain ignorant – so don’t take that personally.

        Best Wishes,


  8. Tom Reedy says:

    According to Looney’s descendants and other family members, the name is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled: Looney, rhymes with moonie (what relevance the pronunciation of a name has I don’t know; his ideas would be just as faulty if his name were Lincoln).

    Note that Looney dismisses the reliability of literary minds yet Stritmatter defends it when he believes (falsely) that it adds weight to his argument. These types of inconsistent ad hoc arguments are rife in Oxfordian arguments. You literally cannot read one page without finding one or more logical fallacies.

    And Furness, Crinkley, Leslie Howard, and Orson Welles believed that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Anti-Stratfordians (the accepted term for Shakespeare deniers) have difficulties knowing when a person is speaking their mind as opposed to speaking character lines in a movie or trying to garner publicity by being outrageous. That’s one reason why they’re anti-Stratfordians.

    • psi2 says:

      Tom, you don’t waste any time showing up, do you. I was hoping that you might leave a little breathing room for some of the “skeptics” here to actually read up on the topic before barging in with your insinuations. Let’s consider your point, however, that “anti-Stratfordians” are “unable to “know when a person is speaking their mind as opposed to speaking character lines in a movie or trying to garner publicity by being outrageous.” I gather from this that you are alluding to this clip of Leslie Howard from Pimpernel Smith:

      It’s a shame that you didn’t save me the trouble of posting the link by doing it yourself, but after all one of the reasons people like you refuse to look at real evidence is that you prefer to make up stories about the facts rather than consider them as they present themselves.

      Perhaps you aren’t aware that Leslie Howard almost certainly learned about Oxford from Freud, as he was in therapy with Freud during the war years before his death — and Freud, as you know, was a convinced and very well read Oxfordian, who repeated his conviction that Oxford was the author over many years time in many different contexts, against the opposition of a number of his colleagues including Jones, Strachey, and Fleiss. If you’ve ever bothered to watch all of Pimpernel Smith, moreover, you will see that Howard’s comments about Oxford in the persona of “Horatio” Smith are perfectly integrated elements of the movie’s thematic emphases on disguise, culture, and intellectual barbarism.

      You are welcome to your opinion that Leslie Howard was “merely trying to “garner publicity by being outrageous” when Smith says those lines. You are welcome to your interpretation — but let’s be clear. That’s what it is. Its your interpretation.

      As usual, you come on casting aspersions that actually reflect more on the weakness of your own position than say anything of substance about the phenomenon you are supposedly describing. By this point in time, Tom, you really ought to be ashamed of yourself for that kind of language. Why don’t you just call me an imbecile? It would be more honest than insinuating in your usual style that I don’t know the difference between a character and an actor. Puleeze. If Howard was using the mask of a character to say something that he himself wanted to say, using literature to “catch the conscience of the king” — he wasn’t doing anything that Hamlet — and the Bard — hadn’t already done four hundred years before him.

      Let’s notice also, since we are having this conversation on a website that goes under the banner of skepticism, and not in your little club at Wikipedia with your gang of Kafkaesque rules and regulations, that you responded to one tiny element of my post and left the rest alone. Of course, you would have sounded pretty ridiculous if you had tried to claim that Walt Whitman said to Horace Traubel “I go with you fellows as far as you say no to Shaksper — I mean the actor, but as for Bacon, we shall see, we shall see” because he was “trying to garner publicity by being outrageous.” No Tom, he was saying that he didn’t believe your little fable.

      Neither do I. And my skepticism has nothing to do with your interpretations of it.

      • Bradley A. Skene says:

        “You are welcome to your opinion that Leslie Howard was “merely trying to “garner publicity by being outrageous” when Smith says those lines.”

        No. In this case, Howard is reading lines for a fictional character–lines which he had no part in writing, lines which speak to the film’s themes of false identity and which have nothing to do with historical reality in the 17th centurry at any level. Do you think that the actors who played Nazis in the film were really fascists too?

        I’ll oblige you. You’re an imbecile.

      • Tom Reedy says:

        Yet another demonstration of the cutting-edge mental abilities of one of the top Oxfordians. Wells was the person I was referring to as trying to “garner publicity by being outrageous”. It’s obvious if you read the entire article. In the same interview he said:

        ‘Santayana? He’s a ton of feathers.’

        ‘When you have said Proust was sick, you have said everything.’

        ‘Negro actors are all untalented, Paul Robeson was just Brian Aherne in black-face.’

        ‘What’s the problem about The Cocktail Party? It’s a straight commercial play with a traditional comic climax that Saki used and Evelyn Waugh used—surprising martyrdom of well-bred lady in exotic surroundings.’

        Of course I expect the irony to be lost on you.

      • Tom Reedy says:

        Correction: the first two quotes are not from Welles, but from Thurber’s Eliot Vereker, to whom Welles is compared in the article.

      • Tom Reedy says:

        I hate to disappoint Roger by not pasting in a YouTube link, so I found one especially relevant to him:

    • bkm says:

      How does one determine which of Welles’ proclamations are “real?” Is there scholarly consensus of when he is serious and when he is joking? Will converting to Stratfordianism make these distinctions obvious?

  9. psi2 says:

    Tom Reedy says:

    Welles referred many times to Shakespeare as the native of Stratford, as did Leslie Howard.

    You can read about Welles here:

    and about Howard here:

    This is perhaps the most eloquent answer I can think of, from the Shakespearan actor Michael York:

    What Mr. Reedy seems unable to understand is that Orson Welles may have actually changed his mind on the subject, or at least entertained doing so at certain points in his life. Here is what Welles also said:

    “I think Oxford wrote Shakespeare. If you don’t agree, there are some awfully funny coincidences to explain away…”

    It is interesting note, moreover, that rather than talking about the substance of the posted links above — for instance, discussing Shakespeare’s copious and sophisticated knowledge of the law, something any true skeptic should take an interest in — Reedy and others defending the traditional view here want to continue arguing about the possibly ambiguous opinions of dead celebrities. The living ones, like York, V. Redgrave and Sir Derek Jacobi, have made their positions clear enough that even Mr. Reedy cannot try to make them mean something they do not.

    Readers may chose two possible responses to this reality:

    1) Begin to consider *why* these distinguished persons have changed their minds about the bard (please see the above links for some good places to get started)


    2) Follow the lead of the o-so erudite “skeptic” Mr.Skene and respond by calling them imbeciles or “pseudos.”

    Only one of these choices has a future. Guess which one?

    • Tom Reedy says:

      Nobody is making the argument that no other person believes in Oxfordism, and no one if failing to look at the reasons. The point of this blog post was to show the underlying logical fallacies of those reasons. You have yet to address any of those points, and it was you who brought up the celebrity endorsements as if that somehow mitigated the bad thinking behind such fringe beliefs.

      My suggestion would be to go bark at a mirror. No matter what any other respondent points out, it’s obvious that you refuse to or can’t follow the argument. It is not academics who defend Shakespeare’s authorship out of some fear that they will ruin their career if they question the identity of the author; it is you who can’t squarely address the historical evidence and can’t bear to see–much less admit–that Oxfordism is based on distorted and fallacious reasoning because of the fear that you have wasted your life and career in defense of a fraud.

      To be frank, if I were in your shoes I’d probably do the same. Where else can you find an adoring crowd to tell you how brilliant you are? Certainly not in academe; you’re just not that talented. Stick to FaceBook ( and your echo-chamber blogs; maybe you can keep the delusion up until the day you die. It won’t matter after that; you’ll go down in the history books as another Orville Ward Owen, except without the self-awareness he displayed on his deathbed when he admitted he had thrown his life away trying to prove Bacon was Shakespeare and warned others not to follow his example.

      • psi2 says:

        Hi Tom, are you feeling ok? People who had read this are concerned about your state of mind. I would agree with you about one thing, however: Orville Owen Ward was barking up the wrong tree when he thought that Bacon had written the works. I suppose that has something to do with Whitman’s reticence to endorse the Bacon argument and his preference for one the “Wolfish Earls.”

        I would surmise that as a great poet, Whitman had a deeper intuition into the solution of the problem than Owen. But you can spend as much time reading Owen et al as you like, and passing judgement on their lives. Not knowing anything about him beyond what you say in your post, I will leave such judgments to others like yourselves who are more ready to pronounce verdicts about the meaning and significance of the lives of people they don’t know.

      • psi2 says:

        By the way Tom, thanks for posting the facebook link. Here’s another facebook link that would be very useful for readers of this blog who don’t know much about the authorship question yet:

        As for your advice about me confining my writing to my blog and to facebook, I hate to disappoint you, but I have one book forthcoming from McFarland this year, on the date and sources of the Tempest (, and three others on the way. So as much as I appreciate the advice, I think I’ll stick to my own plan.

      • knitwitted says:

        Tom, instead of spending your time slurring your words, why don’t you prove Dr. Shaheen’s assessment of Shax’s cites per the Geneva Bible is incorrect []? Then kindly prove the accusations by Howard and Arundel against Oxford are false []. You’re reluctance to correct errors in facts proves you can’t.

        Best, Libby

  10. Hugh Evans says:

    I think you have misinterpreted the phrase “stoutly combated severally” as used by J. Thomas Looney (hereafter JTL).

    You write: “Eventually I came to the conclusion that he [JTL] was indeed saying that no single objection to Shakespeare’s authorship has any real validity as they have all been “stoutly combated.” But put all these invalid objections together and–hey presto!–you’ve got yourself a reasonable argument. Wow. That’s almost exactly what critical thinking isn’t.”

    Your conclusion seems to be based on subtly misconstruing the definition of several words used by JTL and/or simply missing the contextual clues in the text itself regarding the precise intended meanings of those words. JTL never called any of the individual objections to the Stratfordian POV “invalid” or even hinted that such objections were ill reasoned in any way…far from it.

    JTL wrote:

    “I do not maintain that any single objection, to what for convenience sake we must call the Stratfordian view, afforded by itself sufficient grounds for regarding it as untenable; for most of these objections have been stoutly combated severally, by men whose opinions are entitled to respect”,

    Are you aware that one of the definitions of ‘stoutly’ is “stubbornly and uncompromisingly”…or that ‘severally’ as used here means “individually, in an isolated fashion and unconnected to other items” ?

    JTL’s meaning may be paraphrased thusly:

    “I myself admit that no single piece of evidence is likely to prove the Stratfordian POV indefensible; as most individual pieces of evidence against the Stratfordian POV have been stubbornly resisted by respected authorities precisely by treating them as isolated points.”

    Again: “stoutly” does not mean EFFECTIVELY or ACCURATELY as JTL uses it here. It means: stubbornly, uncompromisingly and determinedly.

    • psi2 says:

      Yes, a little lesson in reading would go a long way towards comprehension here. Or perhaps the misconstruction is intentional.

    • psi2 says:

      or that ‘severally’ as used here means “individually, in an isolated fashion and unconnected to other items” ?

      You would think a medievalist would know Shakespeare well enough to grasp this meaning, which is the way the term is used in law:

      I will dispatch you severally; you to Lord Lucius;
      to Lord Lucullus you.

      Timon of Athens, 2.2.201

      • Hugh Evans says:

        Another odd thing I noticed was the blogger’s comment regarding JTL having repeatedly studied and taught classes on The Merchant of Venice:

        “Ah. He read ONE play and felt he understood the author intimately. Makes perfect sense.”

        Yet, the blogger admits to only reading the first 15 pages (“…I’ve only gotten through the first chapter…”) of Shakespeare Identified yet presumes to understand JTL’s writings and literary forensics intimately enough to spout forth upon the topic so freely.

        This type of unintentionally humorous “pot calling the kettle black” revelation always brightens my day…

    • Eve says:

      Are you aware that “stoutly” meaning “stubbornly, contumaciously” was obsolete by the time Looney wrote his book? The OED cites two examples, the second from 1631. Regardless, he says no single argument against Shakespeare’s authorship is sufficient in itself.

      • psi2 says:

        Hi Eve, have you read any of the links yet? Are you ready to discuss some of Looney’s arguments, or are we going to go on ad finitum making these kinds of inconsequential arguments. Let’s hear one of Looney’s arguments for Oxford’s authorship that you find unconvincing. I can think of several things he says that I don’t agree with, even thought I find him generally one of the clearest and most credible (not to mention insightful) Shakespeare scholars of the last hundred years. What’s your beef with one of his specific claims?

      • Hugh Evans says:

        Are you aware that the current Merriam-Webster dictionary lists definition 1b. for “stout” as:

        “firm, determined; also : obstinate, uncompromising”

        Perhaps if one advances one’s reading comprehension past 1631 standards, one would be aware of such things ?

        One can see it online at:

        Can you find me any definition for “stout” which equates to it meaning ‘correctly” or “accurately” ?

        By the way, your post above calling this definition obsolete by the time JTP wrote his book has now been CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED to be wrong. Will you politely admit that and correct yourself ? I will gladly forgive your error…as I take Pope’s view on how best to handle this sort of this honest mistake.

        Regarding Looney’s comment about “no single argument being sufficient”. What he actually wrote was:

        “I do not maintain that any single objection, to what for convenience sake we must call the Stratfordian view, afforded by itself sufficient grounds for regarding it as untenable…”

        I would agree, as in this case (or indeed in any case involving such a long-standing status quo) I think it must take many different lines of research / evidence from a number distinct disciplines (all of this evidence sound in its own right) to create a case of sufficient weight to render the status quo POV untenable.

        It is a high bar…and thus requires multiple valid arguments (ideally from different fields of study) taken corporately…not singularly and in isolation…

        What is your problem with this ?

        P.S. JTL seems to have pre-supposed that enough evidence had been provided by previous skeptics…whether from the Baconian school or the Greenwood-style agnostic school of thought….to establish the basic authorship question as one worthy for both scholarly consideration and forensic investigation.

        He actually objected to including the entire section on “the case for Shakspere of Stratford” from the front of his book…and did so only under pressure from his publisher.

        Other than a belief in the basic validity of the field of research due to deficiencies in the bio of Shakspere of Stratford (and contrary to the above blog post) JTL borrowed very little from the Baconians…whose arguments and methods he found as unpersuasive as do you.

        His approach was novel for his era…and one can certainly argue with his methods, POV and conclusions, but IMHO, one should at least READ THE WHOLE BOOK before one attempts to discount it wholesale.

  11. Greg Koch says:

    This was amusing to see a humanist choose the side of the traditionalist. First, mewling and puking over Looney, who helped provoke reasonable doubt over the pretender from Stratford. (ES, I must recommend to you, if you have compelling evidence, feel free to present it. Insults – equating his work to Monty Python’s – just don’t pan out for a humanist – viz, if you claim to be one.) “Humanism generally prefers individual thought and evidence (rationalism, empiricism), over established doctrine or faith (fideism).” – So, get with it. Second, “… what qualifications did Looney have in literary/historical investigation?” – That would not be a humanistic question. (Of course, ES, authoritarianism fits medieval study like an iron corset, right?)

    Learning is uncool, isn’t it? – Especially to a submissive audience.

  12. Kjellgren says:

    Insults. The last stop on the stratfordian journey is insult.

    “Yes we’re ignorant and we don’t read anything about this topic, but we surely know how to insult people.”

    The blogger has read one chapter of Looney’s book and is now ready to start the old game of insulting. Impressive. WOW.

    As Elton John used to put it

    “It’s a sad sad situation, and it’s getting more and more absurd”

    • psi2 says:

      Hello Kjellgren, thanks for that. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And when a little dash of cold water on the face brings a sense of reality to one, Tom Reedy is always ready and prepared to launch into a fresh round of insults. How impressive. It is disgraceful that such emoting is carried out under the banner of “skepticism.”

      • Kjellgren says:

        And Roger, don’t forget: “Learning is cool”. Learning without doing or reading, that is. And with these beautiful results. As for Mr Reedy, I find it embarrassing to see people behave like that. Even on the Internet.

  13. knitwitted says:

    Hi Eve! Off topic for this post, but have you had a chance to read about de Vere’s Bible? The overlap between the marked passages in his Bible and the Bible passages used by Shakespeare as identified by Carter, Noble, Milward and Shaheen is a significant argument. Several of the themes of de Vere’s marked passages as identified by Dr. Stritmatter also overlap known themes in the Shakespeare canon (especially the theme regarding the discrepancy between truth and appearance). Dr. Stritmatter also found Bible passages in Shakespeare previously missed by the prior authorities. I’ve purposely not read Mr. Looney’s book so can’t respond to your comments but hope you won’t decide the outcome of the authorship question based on just one book. Thanks very much for your consideration! And please say “hey” to Bob for me!!
    Best, Libby

  14. knitwitted says:

    Eve, you may wish to also review Dr. Waugaman’s research on the Sternhold and Hopkins *Whole Book of Psalms* which proves to be a major source for Shakespeare.
    Then please compare with his article

  15. Bob Grumman says:

    Appeal to celebrity (there being no genuine authorities on their side) and whining about sane persons’ too often impolitely describing their defective mentalities seem still to be about the only ways the Shakespeare-deniers have to defend their psitchosis (i.e., psituational psychosis).

    • knitwitted says:

      Say Bob, why would a chaired Columbia University English professor write a book about such Shakespeare deniers? Seems to me all Shapiro did was validate the authorship question and inform the public of a previously little-known subject. I’d never heard of the SAQ until his book came out. The way to get rid of a nuisance is to ignore it; not promote their ideas. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also acknowledged the SAQ by writing their own missive dismissal of such “utter nonsense”. My question: Why did they need to do this?

  16. Kjellgren says:

    Bob Grumman, what, in your taste, would be a “genuine authority” on the SAQ?
    The real situation is that the people you refer to as “sane persons” (like the blogger who wrote this post, and probably you yourself as well since you use the same debate technique) don’t know what subject they are discussing. Reading one chapter of Looney’s book and then write a heap of insults is not very ‘sane’, if I may differ from your opinion. It’s not “skeptical”, it’s not “cool” and it has very little to do with “learning”.

    • Bob Grumman says:

      For me, Kjellgren, a genuine authority in Shakespeare Studies is someone familiar with the literary history of the time, particularly what was going on in the drama and poetry, and has given evidence of his familiarity with essays and books that others in his field have acknowledged as being of value. Of course, it’s possible for someone to be an unacknowledged authority. However, my point is that the psitchotics like Chaplin and Twain who are forever being used by people like Roger as authority figures are without scholarly credibility. Not that it matters except to cretins: evidence is
      what counts, not who is on one’s side.

      I would add that the best authorities write much more about Elizabethan Literature than the anti-Shakespearians do. The latter just about never write about any Elizabethan works except the Shakespearean oeuvre, except to quote something in them they take to be an Important Clue indicating Who The True Author was.

      As for why Shapiro wrote his trivial book about anti-Stratfordianism, to answer your fellow wack’s post, I’m sure money had something to do with it. But he also seems to have been sincerely interested in the same question about it that most interests me: how it is that seemingly sane people can believe Shakespeare did not write the works attributed to him considering all the (strong) evidence there is that he did, and the complete absence of any direct evidence that he did not. I claim that most such people do because of their need to believe in the holiness of formal education, which Will seems not to have had much of, though he had as much or more than Edison, Faraday, Lincoln, Franklin, Sheridan, Shaw and many others of similar accomplishments (if one of you can believe anyone was equal to the author of such Magnificent Works). The very thought of a child’s learning on his own instead of from someone inculcating Proper Knowledge (and countering individualism, self-reliance and creativity, since those will lead to . . . non-conformity) horrifies them.

      • knitwitted says:

        Hey Bob:

        Per Dr. Steven W. May in his “The Poems of Edward De Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, etc.” from *Studies in Philology* Vol. 77, No. 5 (1980), p. 10: “Professional scholars have dismissed his [Looney’s] arguments along with those of his successors in the cause, often with some indignation, yet the “Oxfordians” have made worthwhile contributions to our understanding of the Elizabethan age. Foremost among these is [B. M.] Ward’s quite competent biography of the Earl,…. Also noteworthy is Charles Wisner Barrell’s identification of Edward Vere, Oxford’s illegimate son by Anne Vavasour, a relationship which escaped E. K. Chambers…. Scholars tend to belittle as well the significance of the Oxfordian movement, yet its leaders are educated men and women who are sincerely interested in Renaissance English culture. Their arguments for De Vere are entertained as at least plausible by hosts of intellectually respectable persons, and the general interest in the “Oxfordian” movement is undoubtedly more widespread now than ever before.”

        Professor Steve May —

        Maybe a little research on your part would help keep your feet outta yo’s mouth. Best, Libby

      • Bob Grumman says:

        A few Shakespeare-deniers have added tinily to our understanding of the times (data about Oxford can never be of more than very slight importance although he IS interesting as an minor poet and a patron. The best contribution of deniers is in exemplifying various sorts of mental dysfunction.

        And, yes, Chaplin, Twain, Jacobi and the rest of the genuine Shakespeare-deniers (which excludes people like Joyce who was definitely not a denier, or Whitman and James who made skeptical remarks but never explicitly stated they were cranks) WERE psitchotic. Insane, that is, but only about one subject (usually–Twain, it appears from Shapiro’s book, was also insane about Queen Elizabeth and Bunyan; Freud was insane about a lot more, and–of course, Delia Bacon and Georgi Cantor were, at the end of their lives, clinically insane).

        I don’t consider myself a researcher–research is for plodders, but, Libby, I suspect I’ve read many more books in this subject area than you have. As well as written my own book about it.

        As for Shakespeare’s not being there, his non-existence seems pretty strange considering that we have a book from his time with plays in it stated to be his, and testimony from known writers that he wrote them, along with his address, vocation (acting), social status (gentleman), and PICTURE–not to mention a reference to a monument in his home town’s main church to him that contain a bust of him. Without even a hint that anyone believed him not a poet, or believed Oxford or anyone else wrote the plays attributed to him. It is beyond reasonable doubt that he was who he was said to be.

      • Kjellgren says:

        Bob. The question you and Shapiro share interest in has a pretty obvious answer, but you will not find it in the sort of mental analysis of antistratfordians that Shapiro is trying to accomplish (with, from a reader’s horizon, terrible results). No, the answer is to be find in the quality of what you call “(strong) evidence” that William-of-Stratford was the great author we call Shakespeare. I am sure that if the evidence were as strong as you think they are, all these people who has come out as ‘doubters’ in one or another form would not have done so. The reason to mention doubters like Chaplin, Whitman, Welles, Jacobi and whoever is not to appeal to authority, it’s rather to say to the insulter “well if you consider me insane then you have to say the same about…” In fact it is very simple; it is not the question of what we BELIEVE the man from Stratford could achieve or not, it is about the historical record of his literary achievements. As said by (stratfordian) Bill Bryson; “he is a kind of literary equivalent of an electron – forever there and not there.”

      • Kjellgren says:

        Yes Bob, pretty strange it is that the greatest Elizabethan writer of them all was non-existant as a writer in his own lifetime. How was his lifelong interest and expertise in Italy, English history, botany, falconry, heraldry, music and Ovid and the other classics reflected in his biography do you think? Can you even show that William-of-Stratford was at all literate? That he ever owned a book? No you cannot, and that’s why there is an AQ. The Folio, I have to inform you, is 1) not contemporary, 2) not unambiguous on who is referred to. The engraving is certainly not a portrait of a real person; Droeshout was born in 1601 and could never have met with Stratford-Will, the portray has too big a head and is apparently wearing a mask and, as noted by “Gentleman’s Taylor” in 1911, the tunic “is so strangely illustrated that the right-hand side of the forepart is obviously the left-hand side of the back part and so gives a harlequin appearance to the figure which it is not unnatural to suppose was intentional, and done with express object and purpose.” This is certainly why we every tenth year or so are presented with a new “discovery” of a portrait of “Shakespeare” by the Trust; the engraving is most unsatisfactory. The Folio gives no bigraphical information about the Author, other than that he is (in 1623) dead. He is called Sweet Swan of Avon! (in a poem that in the first line puts the name Shakespeare inside a parenthesis) but there are dozens of Avons in England. A 1623 reader has to work hard; he has to combine Avon with the “And Time dissolves thy Stratford Moniment” (there were dozens of Stratfords as well) mentioned at an other place to find the place where the Monument is put, and when he finds it he will be once more confused; not even the Monument will tell him that William-of-Stratford was a writer, instead it confronts him with a challenge; “Read, if thov canst whome enviovs death…” So the Monument is a riddle to “dissolve” (a riddle nowadays solved) and not a homage to the Stratford man, but obviously stratfordians do not as a custom study their own artifacts very thoroughly.
        As for your claim that there were no hints about Oxford’s true authorship, you are simply wrong. Read Chiljan’s book I would say, but of course, you people never read “cranks” (well maybe the first chapter).
        As for your theories about antistratfordians being insane about “one subject” I think I will leave these theories for you to develop further…

      • boswell says:

        Perhaps it was to analyze Freud, as others have, without any sense of irony in their amateur status?

      • psi2 says:

        I do now remember a saying:

        “The fool doth think he is wise,
        but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

        – Quoth Touchstone.

    • Bob Grumman says:

      Kjellgren, no matter how much evidence scholars find for something, cranks like you will find (or hallucinate) anomalies to “refute” them. Sorry: they will never be enough to overcome genuine evidence.

      • psi2 says:

        It is amusing to read Bob “Mr. Denial” referring to other people as “cranks.”

        Regarding Kjellgren’s point about the folio:

        The Folio, I have to inform you, is 1) not contemporary, 2) not unambiguous on who is referred to.

        Bob may think that he is hallucinating when he realizes that the folio was patronized by Edward de Vere’s son-in-law Montgomery and his brother (and almost de Vere’s second son in law) Pembroke, but hallucination or not — it’s all true.

        Isn’t it interesting how all of those who were initially defending the orthodox view have apparently dropped out of this conversation, leaving Mr. Grumman to defend them? This devolution ironic in the extreme. Perhaps with a little luck, Eve will actually consult some of the sources that have been posted and realize that following Mr. Grumman’s genuflections to authority is no way to defend the principle of skepticism.

      • Hugh Evans says:

        Mr. Grumman,

        Do you believe that ANY literary hoaxes are possible ? I refer specifically to the sort where authorship is claimed on behalf of X…but in reality, the author was Y…and where this is not discovered until centuries later…and is done so in the face of written evidence just as “clear” as the authorship attribution found in the First Folio ?

        If “no”, why not ?

        If “yes”, then HOW, in your opinion, might such a successful hoax have succeeded in fooling learned experts for centuries ? Meaning: What characteristics, in your opinion, would such a hoax theoretically have to possess in order for it to have been convincing for so long before it was uncovered ?

      • Kjellgren says:

        …and that, Bob Grumman, finishes what could have been a discussion. It is a pity you are not able discuss the facts of this affair. And for the future, remember that when your opponent begins to call you things you’ve already won the battle.

      • Bob Grumman says:

        Hugh, literary hoaxes are possible BUT not one that lasts four centuries without any reasonable evidence that anyone suspected its existence for 200 years, then underwent 150 years of intense scrutiny that turned up NO evidence that convinced a genuine scholar in the field of its existence.

        And now I’ll call you a wack so you can claim, like poor Roger, that my only contribution to discussions like these are insults.


      • Hugh Evans says:

        Mr. Grumman,

        How about a literary authorship hoax which was successfully maintained for 1000+ years in manuscript form and then (on top of that) another 250+ years after a key “Shakespearean era” edition of the work in question was published.

        The authorship hoax to which I refer was finally uncovered in the late 19th century….and the key to it being discovered was forensic research into the contents of the text itself by an obscure scholar working in isolation from the great scholars of his day.

        In other words, the text itself revealed the improbability that the claimed author was the true author…but initially the ONLY clues to the hoax were to be found in the text….and yet, after over a millennium, the truth finally outed.

        Until I was made aware of the particulars of this hoax, I thought (like you) that the very IDEA of such a hoax being able to fool literally HUNDREDS of learned scholars over several centuries was ridiculous. Why…only CRANKS and WACK JOBS could believe that such a successful hoax was even possible. The poor fools…

        Now that I know a little more about history, I wish I had listened to Pope’s advice on the dangers of an incomplete education a bit sooner.

        It seems you are ignorant of the hoax to which I refer. Would you like a primer on it ?? I myself had been totally unaware of it for the first 18 or so years of my life, until I overheard it being discussed by two professors at a Mensa meeting back in the 1980s.

        P.S. One of those scholars fooled was (arguably) one of the greatest scholars EVER on the source material in question…an author whose name you would instantly recognize as a giant of historical scholarship…yet he was gulled along with many lesser lights by this hoax.

      • Hugh Evans says:

        P.P.S. Even AFTER the hoax was uncovered, it took nearly another century for the majority of modern experts in this field to finally embrace the fact that earlier scholars had indeed been “hoaxed”….and this happened only after yet another brilliant 20th century scholar expanded and restated the work of the lone (and still obscure) 19th century scholar mentioned above who first conclusively demonstrated the hoax.

        Any of this sounding like a parallel to the topic at hand here ?

      • Bradley A. Skene says:

        Mensa? That explains quite a bit.

      • Hugh Evans says:

        Yes, I agree the admittance standards are laughably low, but I was just an impressionable young kid back then…what did I know ?

        Now then, would you perhaps deign to comment substantively on the post…or would you prefer to just stay on the sidelines and continue to preen ?

      • Hugh Evans says:

        P.S. Mr. Skene, are you not a member of the Hypatia Society ?

      • Bradley A. Skene says:

        Oh, my god!Him knows how to Google old dead websites ! Him’s a genius! No wonder he’s in Mensa.

      • Hugh Evans says:

        I am always fascinated when I find someone with the cojones to publicly admit their self-titled status as a “universal genius”…that’s all. Did you not feel a wee bit of hubris in doing so ?

        But I digress…you are a classicist (and a universal genius to boot) so I am actually very much looking forward to your feedback on my hoax comments. Please, do not make me beg for your insights here…pour forth, good sir…

      • Hugh Evans says:

        P.S. For the record, I am NOT a Universal Genius, like yourself…I merely “test well”…

    • Bob Grumman says:

      So far laughter is as close as any of you cranks has gotten to attempting seriously to refute it, Knit. If you promise to post a refutation of it of more than a few hundred words, I’ll send you a free copy.


      • knitwitted says:

        Hey Bob. I’ll do ya one better. I’ll send you a free copy of my essay which is based primarily on documentary evidence supplied by Dr. Alan Nelson (specifically, libel suits against Oxford) and Dr. Naseeb Shaheen’s authoritative knowledge on Shakespeare’s usage of the Bible.

        BTW… I’d buy a copy of your book… but Amazon seems to have sold ya out :(

      • Bob Grumman says:

        Sorry, Knit, I probably won’t have time to read your essay. Have already read Roger. His reasoning seems daft to me: there’s an overlap between passages Oxford (probably) marked in a Bible and Biblical passage in Shakespeare’s play, but many passages marked in the Bible not in Shakespeare, and many Biblical passages in Shakespeare not marked in the Bible. Two men interested in the Bible, as a huge number of folks were back then.

        So what? Even if Shaheen’s subjective idea of what counts as a Biblical reference in Shakespeare, and overlook other absurdities.

        And, of course, refuse to accept the evidence that Shakespeare of Stratford is the author of the works attributed to him no matter how close the play passages are to the the marked passages.

        I myself think one of Oxford’s tutors marked the passages as ones to read to Oxford, who was illiterate. The real conspiracy was to make it seem like the feebleminded earl was an intellectual. Prove me wrong.

        As for Amazon and my book, I never had them market it. Some else probably tried to sell a secondhand copy of my book (Tom Reedy’s?) through them at one time, then withdrew the offer, having no takers. It is not a popular book.

  17. knitwitted says:

    Bob spewed “I probably won’t have time to read…” My sentiments exactly re your book. Per Google Books : This book first destroys the hypothesis that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the works of Shakespeare. It then tackles the more interesting question of what makes a seemingly sane person believe such rot with an in-depth analysis of the psychology of crackpots.

    What documents does your book reference that aren’t in my copy of *Cartae Shakespeareanae*? And what formal training in psychology have you had in order to figure out that “rot” rhymes with “crackpot”? And what the heck is a “rigidnik”? Is that some sort of Elizabethan redneck?

    BTW… Sorry but Wikipedia deleted your book… Something about it being a non-reliable source…

    Finally, maybe you’d find this interesting:
    1. Mrs. Shakespeare was buried 8 Aug 1623
    2. First Folio entry at Stationers’ Hall 8 Nov 1623
    Apparently Mr. Shakespeare hid his plays under the mattress of his second-best bed.

    • Bob Grumman says:

      Last response, Knit: That Shakespeare’s wife died the year the First Folio was published means nothing whatever to me. It would if you had any genuine evidence that connects it to whatever psitchotic idea you have of its meaning–like a letter of Jonson’s telling the nobles in charge of the Folio that he’d killed Anne so they’d no longer worry that she’d see the Folio and ask people why her illiterate husband’s picture was in it, or whatever you believe happened.

      • knitwitted says:

        Good grief Bob. The coincidence is actually one which I think makes the Strats’ case. Best get some of the wacks outta yo’s ears.

      • psi2 says:

        A stronger idea than connecting the folio to the death of Mrs. Shakspere is Peter Dickson’s observation that the publication coincided with the Spanish marriage crisis, a fact that has enormous and still very under appreciated significance.

        As for Bob’s dabbles in psychology, perhaps a citation of the Oxfreudian would be appropriate:

        Bob, how do you explain the fact that not only Freud, who is the primary founder of the methodology by which you purport to “analyze” the Oxfreudian et alia, was an Oxfordian?

      • Bob Grumman says:

        Roger, as you would realize if you knew anything about my methodology, it has nothing to do with Freud’s nonsense.

      • knitwitted says:

        Bob, what is it about Twain that makes you a we’re-not-feeling-the-love-regarding-your-take-on-the-SAQ debater? Isn’t the joke being that he played on people’s gullibility? Wasn’t his *1601* his answer to the SAQ?

      • knitwitted says:

        Help please, Roger… Is Peter Dickson’s article on-line? I’m trying to understand the significance of the Spanish marriage crisis i.e. if there had been no crisis, would the First Folio have ever been published?

      • knitwitted says:

        Roger, I found *An Inquiry Into Several Aspects of the Production of the First Folio of William Shakespeare in the form of a letter* (1999) apparently from Nick Drumbolis to Mr. [Bill] Boyle.

        Quickly, Drumbois figures it took at least 3 years to print the FF. We know the Spanish marriage crises apparently became known 1621 (who knows how long before that it was discussed privately) which would give an approximately 3-yr period to the FF registration Nov 1623.

        Drumbois also says the Herberts were already great patrons of literary works such as Ben Johnson’s own Folio. Drumbois considers the expense of printing the FF and the rate of return on investment to its publishers. However, he seems to fail to connect the Herbert’s ability to finance the *entire* FF.

        He also wonders if the Spanish marriage crisis compelled the publication by the Herberts (as proposed by Dickson), what event would have similarly compelled the publication of the Second Folio in 1632 “replete with errors” by the same “beards”? umm… Maybe because the FF sold out.

        In conclusion, the coincidence that Mrs. Shax was buried 3 months before the registration of the FF has no bearing on its publication.


      • Ed Boswell says:

        Does your mention of “the nobles in charge of the folio” refer to De Vere’s in-laws, who received the dedication to the first folio? Does it include Sir Francis Bacon, a relative of de Vere’s, who at one time employed Ben Jonson as a personal secretary?

      • psi2 says:

        God forbid that such facts should appear on a website called “skeptical humanities.” : )

  18. Bob Grumman says:

    A rigidnik is a person seriously deficient in the ability to let go of fixations. A longer explanation would take more time than I want to waste on people like you–now. I used to waste lots of time on them, which helped me refine my definition of “rigidnik” far more than “formal training in psychology” would have. although that would have gotten me the respect of the people running Wikipedia.

  19. Bob Grumman says:

    Roger. saying a person claiming you are a rigidnik is himself a rigidnik is not really an intelligent way to invalidate his claim. What you have to do is determine what a rigidnik is, then provide evidence showing that the definition does not apply to you. If you did this, you’d find that you are unquestionably a rigidnik, if perhaps only regarding the subject of who wrote the works of Shakespeare.

    I think, for example, that only an extreme rigidnik would dismiss the the First Folio as evidence for Shakespeare’s authorship because it was not published until seven years after he died. And only a rigidnik would try to vigorously tie the plays of Shakespeare to every significant historical event in the Western World between 1580 and 1630 the way you and your colleagues do. Can’t stand the thought that Shakespeare was “only” a poet, and not a crucial political figure behind the scenes, can you. (Rigidniks tend to promote some historical figure at the center of their main fixation to a demigod.)

    • psi2 says:

      Bob, you’ve been seen. Your posts are the self indulgent trash of an first class ignoramus who couldn’t learn anything of substance about this topic if his life depended on it. Your sole contribution to the discussion is your flagrant abusive tactic of transforming measured factual statements into straw men which you take pleasure in putting out the eyes of. I repeat, if you want to know what is wrong with this discussion, look in the mirror.

      ‘Rigidniks tend to promote some historical figure at the center of their main fixation to a demigod.”

      To quote Feste, Gentlemen, take away the rigidnik.

  20. Bob Grumman says:

    I can’t believe it, Roger–you rose to the occasion and used unanswerable arguments against my position to utterly demolish it. I retire in disgrace. Except to get one last insult in–against Hugh Evans.

    • Hugh Evans says:

      Holy moly…was I being insulted ?? Missed it completely…but then again I usually take a Senecan view of intended insults and the insulter.

      I just thought you were frustrated that I pointed out an example of literary authorship hoax for which you had ZERO counter-argument…and that you merely slunk away in shame.

      Either that or you are trying to figure out to exactly which hoax I was referring and are planning some sort of quasi-poetic retort as to “why that hoax was NOTHING like the Oxfordian premise regarding Shakespeare and why only a WACK or a CRANK could perceive any parallels.”

      P.S. Brad Skene seems to have vanished because I had the temerity to suggest that his public self-proclamation of being a ‘universal genius’ (on another website) just MAY have been a bit immodest. I supposed that you two were co-miserating by licking each other’s wounds.

  21. knitwitted says:

    Argghh!! Come back Bob!! You said:
    Have already read Roger. His reasoning seems daft to me: there’s an overlap between passages Oxford (probably) marked in a Bible and Biblical passage in Shakespeare’s play, but many passages marked in the Bible not in Shakespeare, and many Biblical passages in Shakespeare not marked in the Bible. Two men interested in the Bible, as a huge number of folks were back then.

    What Bob fails to realize is that Shakespeare used more than one Bible in writing his plays. Per Dr. Shaheen, he also referred to the Bishops, Great Bible, Tomson N.T., as well as the Geneva. Also, many passages appear in Shax that are *LEAST LIKE THE GENEVA*. Therefore it is easy to understand that verses referred to in Shax would not appear in de Vere.

    The primary assumption of the Strats (particularly Kathman, Ross and Veal) that de Vere used his Bible as a workbook to write the plays is totally incorrect. Hence Bob’s further misconception that passages marked in de Vere’s should appear in Shax as well as passages in Shax should appear in de Vere in order to prove the argument for Oxford’s authorship.

    Per my essay on Shax’s usage of the Geneva Bible , of 29 Shax passages cited by Shaheen as clearly or closely relating to the Geneva Bible, only 2 are marked in de Vere’s Bible, both at one verse. Had de Vere used his Bible as a workbook for writing the plays, he would have marked *all* the verses as cited by Shaheen as being clearly or most closely related to the Geneva Bible. Therefore, it is easy to understand that verses marked in de Vere would not necessarily appear in Shax.

    As for Bob’s “Two men interested in the Bible, as a huge number of folks were back then.” would Bob please provide evidence of what passages other people marked in their Bibles for the same time period? Dr. Stritmatter successfully proved that the usage of the Bible in the writings of Bacon, Spenser, Marlowe, as well as Montaigne and Rabelais (based upon prior authorities) is significantly different than Shax’s usage, and hence the de Vere Bible’s overlap with Shakespeare is a significant argument.

    • knitwitted says:

      Would like to add that Dr. S also proved the passages marked in de Vere’s Bible and the usage of the Bible by these other different.

  22. knitwitted says:

    OMG Bob!! You’re book resides at the Folger Shakespeare Library… Congrats!!

    For those seeking a copy, the full and correct title of the book is *Shakespeare & the rigidniks : a study of cerebral dysfunction*.

    Bob, please tell us again how we may purchase a copy…

    • Bob Grumman says:

      I didn’t think I’d return to this thread but the possibility of helping someone actually order a copy of my book overcame my reticence: it’s available directly from me at 1708 Hayworth Road, Port Charlotte FL 33952 for $10. I consider an intelligent person will find its theory of temperament types the most interesting thing in it, not its refutations or insults of anti-Stratfordians. I am not a salesman, though, being honest, so I will tell you that NO ONE yet has found that theory of any interest at all.

      Still not up to getting involved with Oxford’s Bible or any other authorship question, Knit–sorry. I will respond slightly to one other post of yours, though, but only to make a very trivial correction: it’s Drumbolis . . . I’m pretty sure, not Drumbois. Or it could be “Drombolis.” Check.

      • knitwitted says:

        Well heck Bob. It’s Nick Drumbolis. Geez, I got it right the first time. Why can’t you ever be happy for me? When will you ever learn my needs are infinitely more important than yours? Drumbolis Drumbolis Drumbolis … There. I spelled it right three times via cut-n-paste just for you. I hope this satisfies your right to trivialize my feelings.

        Take care, Love and kisses, Knit

  23. knitwitted says:

    Hi Eve!
    Apologies for going so far off-topic on your original post. But if all is okay, may I ask for your opinion regarding the following?

    Would you think a Bible dated 1568-70 would be of interest to Bible scholars, Renaissance scholars, social historians, and o/or ther similar groups based on its thematic content?

    Per William H. Sherman’s *Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England* (2008):
    p. 72: “[S]cholars have been surprisingly slow to take a closer look at what the growing number of readers did with the growing number of religious texts that were made available to them. Despite the fact that Renaissance households were far more likely to contain a Bible than any other volume, religious books have attracted less attention from historians of reading than used books from the fields of literature, rhetoric, politics, law, mathematics, and medicine.”

    p. 79: He goes on to say: “Very often the notes and underlinings simply serve to highlight noteworthy passages, but it can be interesting to see which sections particular readers took a special interest in.”

    p. 109: And thusly: “Even when we cannot know how representative a single object or practice is, it can shed light on larger logics (structural, social, and symbolic) that only can be glimpsed in their particular manifestations.”

    Thanks in advance for any comments you may have!
    Best wishes,

  24. Greg Koch says:

    Also fascinating ES chose excerpts from the work that are the least interesting, really, to anyone. In other words, avoiding anything which may enlighten the reader about how exciting this hunting expedition was. Looney hunted for the background of an Elizabethan poet that fit the intelligence and CV revealed in the plays.

    I feel for the traditionalists. Old cartilaginous creatures endlessly returning to the shoreline for the same old diet. Heaven forbid when in sudden awareness they realize the entire Ecosystem was a fraud.

    A dumb country bumpkin and small time hood who contributed nothing at all to the Arts.

    • psi2 says:

      Yes, she forgot to mention, for example, that most historically informed Shakespearean scholars accept the argument that William Cecil was the historical prototype for Polonius in *Hamlet,* or that he was de Vere’s adoptive father and eventual father in law, a fact that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, in his “Shakespeare Canon of Statutory Construction” (UPenn Law Review, 1992), found to be quite significant.

      • Ed Boswell says:

        The nearly impossible to disprove theory that Polonius was created as a parody of William Cecil, and not out of the stale air of Stratford is plausible proof to me that Hamlet was written with royal sanction by none other than the top ranking Earl of the Realm, the only man who could parody the man who ran England’s govt. for the Queen, William Cecil, who ascended to the peerage as a direct result of marrying his daughter to De Vere, aka “shake-speare”. The fact that Cecils, both father and son, were the “keepers of the records” for the crown is also key to this mystery, as they had reason to remove de Vere from their sanitized history, as De Vere died in disgrace, and spent much of his time and money hanging out with low-life’s from the “lewd” common stage.

  25. knitwitted says:

    My Review of Bob’s Book: *Shakespeare & the rigidniks: a study of cerebral dysfunction*, Port Charlotte, FL: The Runaway Spoon Press, 2006

    By: Knitwitted 30 January 2013

    My review of Bob’s Book begins with his comment on Skeptical Humanities’ “Spot the Looney: A lot of bad evidence=good evidence , a post written by Eve Siebert and posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2011 at 2:03 pm. Said post was filed under “academia”, “Anonymous the movie”, “conspiracy theory”, “critical thinking”, “history”, and “literature” according to some alphabetically-endorsed filing procedures, all being possibly topics of interest to the Skeptical Humanities’ bloggers. We should note Eve’s qualifications for writing her own post on her own blog per her opening statement: “I just got a new tablet computer.”

    Proof that I had encountered Eve’s post is documented at January 18, 2013 when at precisely 2:12 pm I posted the following comment which may be read in its entirety here :

    “Hi Eve! Off topic for this post, but have you had a chance to read about de Vere’s Bible? The overlap between the marked passages in his Bible and the Bible passages used by Shakespeare as identified by Carter, Noble, Milward and Shaheen is a significant argument. Several of the themes of de Vere’s marked passages as identified by Dr. Stritmatter also overlap known themes in the Shakespeare canon (especially the theme regarding the discrepancy between truth and appearance). Dr. Stritmatter also found Bible passages in Shakespeare previously missed by the prior authorities. I’ve purposely not read Mr. Looney’s book so can’t respond to your comments but hope you won’t decide the outcome of the authorship question based on just one book. Thanks very much for your consideration! And please say “hey” to Bob for me!!
    Best, Libby”

    For notoriety’s sake, please note my “hey” to Bob was in reference to Bob Blaskiewicz, another blogger on the Skeptical Humanities’ team. It should be further noted that I deem Bob to be quite a highly intelligent individual as witnessed by my comment to him on June 3, 2011 at 10:23 am : “Dang Bob! Ur lookin’ good!”

    On January 18, 2013 at precisely 3:24 pm , Bob Grumman attempted to make his first comment on Eve’s post. We can with 100% certainty say that Bob posted his comment 72 minutes after mine. Whether or not Bob thought I was saying “hey” to him has yet to be determined. Future researchers may wish to ascertain the conclusiveness of such false hope.

    Further, Bob Grumman says on January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm regarding his own Book:

    “So far laughter is as close as any of you cranks has gotten to attempting seriously to refute it, Knit. If you promise to post a refutation of it of more than a few hundred words, I’ll send you a free copy.


    For simplicity’s sake, we should note Bob did not fully sign his name. I suggest the Skeptical Humanities’ blog log of viewers by ISP be reviewed so we may ascertain this “Bob” is indeed Bob Grumman who later on January 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm posted his mailing address as Port Charlotte FL 33952. If it cannot be determined that the signator “Bob” is “Bob Grumman” we may legally not be able to hold him to his comment as posted on January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm regarding his own Book:

    “So far laughter is as close as any of you cranks has gotten to attempting seriously to refute it, Knit. If you promise to post a refutation of it of more than a few hundred words, I’ll send you a free copy.”

    For full disclosure, I retrieved my copy of Bob’s Book from my mailbox on Monday, January 28, 2013 at approximately 3:36 pm which said curbside mailbox stands at the required vertical height of between 41-45 inches from the road surface as mandated by the United States Postal Service Code regarding City Delivery Service and is situated in front of my legal residence as listed on numerous legal documents which may be obtained for a fee from the local courthouse (research fees and mailing costs extra). On that same occasion, it should also be noted that in my mailbox were local store ads from Super One, Albertsons, and Lowes. For those interested, I no longer receive store ads from Piggly-Wiggly as they closed their stores locally some time ago. An interesting fact may be noted that the Piggly-Wiggly grocery-store chain began operations under the auspices of my paternal grandmother’s first cousin’s husband, the said first cousin’s husband having also enlisted the employment of his wife’s half-sister’s husband in running said operations who, needless to say, was not to be outdone by his said wife’s half-sister’s husband, for this said husband’s son-in-law later opened the first Ford dealership in his hometown. In further interest of documentation, Bob’s Book was sealed in a brown envelope lined with poppy bubble wrap.

    The Book arrived in excellent condition.(fn. 1) On first glance, I found the Book’s spine to be highly informative. The placement of the title, then the author, then the publisher *all on the same line* by an apparently highly skilled and highly unionized typesetter is to be highly commended.

    The front cover appears to be a non-Escher-like pictation of a William Shakespeare-like portrait. I was highly encouraged that the Book would indeed be about the poet and playwright William Shakespeare of Stratford and not William Alton Shakespeare of Park City, Utah .

    I think here we should take a break and reflect on what the back of the Book tells us. We are told “the author of this book, lives with his cat, Shirley, in Port Charlotte, Florida.” I was indeed relieved with this statement as we can now verify that Bob’s mailing address as Port Charlotte FL as posted on January 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm is correct.

    As for Bob’s cat, Shirley, I would like to note upon my further due diligent research into the life of Bob Grumman, I have discovered his cat is actually named “Spike” . I think we can at this time surmise that at some point between the publication of Bob’s Book and this authoritative notice , Bob’s cat indeed had a sex change operation.

    In conclusion, I suggest Bob’s Book is highly-provocative though sublimely challenging in its appearance and deserves much acclimation to its own solely refutable intrinsic merit. I can truthfully say I have enjoyed my review immensely.(fn 2)

    (1) My thanks to Bob for carefully packaging his said Book.

    (2) Per Bob Grumman’s comment on January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm regarding his own Book: “If you promise to post a refutation of it of more than a few hundred words, I’ll send you a free copy.” to which I would like to respond: Bob, I expect the return of my money order forthwith as my review of your Book as posted is 1,189 words long.

    Copies of the Book may be lease-to-purchased per Bob’s long and boring instructions at .

    • Bob Grumman says:

      First off, to clear up Important matters: Shirley was the cat I had in 2006, when my book was published, Spike the cat I had after Shirley died when I began my blog at Scientific American; he, too, I’m sorry to say, is no more (although I haven’t had the heart to notify Scientific American).

      I hadn’t realized there was another Bob posting to this thread when I apparently responded to a post to him. The gods were behind it, though, because it connected me to the person posterity will consider the one who made me famous when she started an entry on me at Wiki . . . I’ll be nice and finish that with “pedia,” although I’ve never been a fan of it.

      As for your money order, Ms. Knitted, I will frame it and hang it on my living room wall–in place of the math poem of mine that now hangs there, so much will it mean to me (if it arrives, and it hasn’t yet!) Technically, though, the comments in your post can’t be considered any kind of refutation of my book, nor–really–a review, although much fun, as all your knutted material is. I truly would greatly appreciate a serious appraisal of the book’s arguments. Even better would be your providing the world its first serious appraisal of my theory of temperaments. Or any reaction to it.

      Thanks for joining me in showing that two people on opposite sides regarding who wrote the Shakespearean oeuvre can get along very nicely–all that is required is each one’s acceptance that he or she is very possibly as nuts as the other, which I certainly do.


      • knitwitted says:

        Bob, the really important stuff first… Per my email to you Wed. Jan 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM, I wrote “BTW… check’s in the mail.” YIKES!! I’m very sorry you haven’t received it yet. I will send you a scanned and notarized copy of my receipt as well as an affidavit from the Postmaster General after the mail box in which I deposited my letter to you is dusted for my fingerprints.

        Of course, a more sincere review is waiting to explode from my keyboard just as soon as I can get myself to quit playing around on Facebook, SkepHum (i.e. BeeHiveBuzz), Amazon, ebay, WordPress and of course, my beloved Yahoo Mail so I may have a chance to sit and read the rest of your book. (As per my review, you will note I have read your cover-front and back- as well as the spine. Not too much more to read, admit it!!!)

        Am very sorry about your kitties… as well I am sorry I made a bad assumption… hope you will forgive… And you’re more than welcome regarding your take on opposite sides of the Shakespeare tracks so much so that I would like to take up more of Eve’s blog by thanking you as well for being such an important person to be worthy of my time and effort.

        I hope you will get to enjoy my money order or else I want my money back dude!!!

        Have a :P day,

      • Bob Grumman says:


      • knitwitted says:

        O heck Bob. Just say the darn word. Generally, I call if Wikipee but my favorite is Wikimpedia (based on my experience as a very talented, humble and Wiki-abiding editor). And HA! I got YOU on Wikipedia (why should Dr. Shapiro be the only person immortalized for writing a crappy book?) for all your posterity but it was YOU who got me banned indefinitely as an editor on the SAQ pages on Wikipedia because of your cerebrally dysfunctional book.

        How’s that for irony!!! :)

        How’s that harumph feeling now? :P

  26. Bob Grumman says:

    “Wikimpedia” is excellent. But harumph again, anyway.

    • knitwitted says:

      Say, Bob, ya think we could make a movie outta yo’s book? That way I could waste 1-1/2 hours of my time rather than spend 90 minutes reading your book. BTW… Is there a CliffNotes version? Dontcha think Cliff’s a heck of a lot smarter than that dang Stanley Wells?

      • Bob Grumman says:

        A movie IS in the works, Knit, but I’m holding our for ten million. I’ll let you know what comes of it. As for the Cliffnotes version, I told them to wait for the blank verse version. By an ironic coincidence, Stanley Wells will be the one writing it–with editorial assistance from Roger Stritmatter.

  27. knitwitted says:

    O goody, a movie. I must insist I be given a part in your play as the pizza delivery girl. BTW… “ten million” what??? Laughs?? I’ll give ya 9,999,999 (my daily limit) of those right now. I’m willing to go waaaay out on a limb, but I’m pretty certain Roger Stritmatter will be willing to let you have this one . Best always, Knit

  28. knitwitted says:

    Hi Eve! (and Bob! … Please do not be confused Bob Grumman!!)

    Perhaps you and your readership would be interested in Roger Stritmatter’s and Lynne Kositsky’s latest book *On the Date, Sources and Design of Shakespeare’s The Tempest*

    Best wishes,

    • Bob Grumman says:

      Well, congratulations to Roger and Lynne. I’m glad to see Niederkorn is still around, too. He’s ALWAYS good for a laugh, and wonderfully represents the intellectual level of the New York Times.

      • psi says:

        Sorry Bob, but William Neiderkorn, the same one who is the composer and actor/producer in New York City, retired from the New York Times several years ago. Apparently you haven’t been following what the Times has been publishing since Mr. Neiderkorn’s retirement. Otherwise you couldn’t possibly say anything quite so illustrative of your comprehension of terms like “evidence.”

        You think you can lay the claptrap the Times has been publishing during the last three years under the banner of the Stratford tourist industry at Mr. Neiderkorn’s door? No. That’s just too obtuse, even for you. Bob, you really might want to attend to your own intellectual level before thinking you are in a position to evaluate that of anyone else, least of all a newspaper (whatever the current silliness of the paper’s adherence to the Shakespearean party line) with the distinguished historical reputation of the New York Times.

        Talk about not getting the point.

      • Bob Grumman says:

        The Times has been intellectually tenth-rate for years, Roger, even before Neiderkorn used it to push the long-dead insanity that the works of Shakespeare were not by Shakespeare. But Neiderkorn brought it to an all-time low, and for that I will always consider him representative of the intellectual level of the NY Times, retired or not.

    • knitwitted says:

      Eve and/or Bob (*not* Bob Grumman although this may apply to you as you do now have a copy of your very own upon which to reflect),

      Would either of you (or both) be reviewing Dr. Stritmatter and Ms. Kositsky’s book? And/or could you possibly please kindly spread the word amongst your colleagues to perhaps kindly do so? Unfortunately, for those of us interested, the bulk of the reviews on Amazon
      are merely reviews attesting to the fact that the book is indeed pretty. And further unfortunately, there appears to be only one other review elsewhere which was indeed on point.

      Perhaps am hoping your unbiased opinion will be heard…

      Thanks for your consideration!
      Best wishes,

      • psi says:

        Thanks Lib. I wouldn’t hold my breath. Reviewing a book requires reading it first.

      • knitwitted says:

        Hi Rog,

        Can’t we conclude that Eve is indeed qualified to read your book (and hence review it) per her opening statement: “I just got a new tablet computer.”

        Perhaps she would consider upgrading her “I’ve been downloading free books like a crazy woman” from merely “free” to “purchased” books.with a copy of your book’s Kindle version.


  29. Bob Grumman says:

    Note to those concerned that the Knit wouldn’t never pay me for my book: she finally did! So, one sale of my book this year!!!

  30. psi2 says:

    In rereading this blog entry I am re-impressed by its vulgarity. It looks more and more irrelevant with every passing day.

  31. Bob says:

    Glad you like the site!

    • psi2 says:

      Hi Bob, I didn’t say anything about the site. I have not read many articles here and don’t visit often, perhaps because, if this particular blog entry is any indication, you guys have difficulty understanding the nature of real skepticism.

      But I don’t automatically pass blanket judgement on the site merely because you have at least one wholly assinine and fatuously uninformed blog entry.

      Perhaps you have other content that is more worthwhile. And you do some to do a good job of promoting yourselves with google, which is the only reason I came back for a visit. I was looking for this:

      To help in the composition of this:

      By the way, I’d be happy to write a guest post for you, any time you want to actually examine what “skeptical” might mean when it comes to the bard.

      • Bob says:

        Oh, I think that I’m pretty good at being skeptical, but that judgment is subject to revision should the weight of the evidence shift. :)

        As far as a guest post. Dunno. We don’t do that generally.

      • psi says:

        Bob, it takes a special kind of cultivated ignorance for you to say, in the year 2014 “should the weight of the evidence shift.”

        You’re only about 90 years late on that. Google is your friend. And you have dozens of links already on this page that demonstrate the intellectual shallowness, not to mention the vulgarity, of the original post. Your smugness is breath-taking.

      • Bob says:


      • psi2 says:

        That was my point exactly. Since when did skepticism = ridicule? You poison the name of philosophy with such vulgarities.

      • Bob says:

        It’s amazing. You come on here, treat people like shit, and then try to take the high road. Pizzle.

      • knitwitted says:

        @ psi: Dude… what are you doing on this board?!! This is a nice board with nice boys and girls and we do not discuss the things you are discussing… that is very impolite. We are on here to discuss nice things like ballet and weed.

        Please behave yourself or I will be forced to word up master Bob’s ‘pizzle’. Dude, seriously, you cannot afford another pizzle on your C.V.

  32. knitwitted says:

    Eve and Bob (including Bob Grumman),

    Have you had a chance to see “Digital Humanists to Catalog Notes Scrawled in Books”

    Any comments about the project would be much appreciated!


  33. Bob Grumman says:

    I think it’s a mildly good thing to do but, as a contemporary poet I do think less needs to be done for the works of the dead and more for the works of the living.

    It’d be great if another annotated copy of the Bible showed up. I contend that ANY annotated Bible from the Shakespeare era can be used to prove its annotator wrote the works of Shakespeare.

  34. knitwitted says:

    Howdy Bob-boy!
    Yes, I agree, the living are more important than the passed and, you being among the former, certainly are of more import!

    That said, yes, it would be great (in fact, A-W-E-S-O-M-E) if another annotated Bible(s) showed up. As you very well know, Dr. Stritmatter assessed the biblical references in Bacon per Porter Cole’s Oxford University dissertation, Marlowe per R. M. Cornelius’ University of Tennessee dissertation, Spenser’s Faerie Queene per Dr. Naseeb Shaheen, and Rabelais and Montaigne, and found little if any overlap between those authors’ usage of biblical references and Shakespeare’s usage. That the marked passages in the Edward de Vere 1568-70 Geneva Bible (Folger shelfmark 1427) do overlap the biblical references in Shakespeare as per Shaheen, Noble, Carter and Milward as authorities on Shakespeare and the Bible is a significant finding.

    AFAIK no other Bible has been found as yet whose marked passages overlap Shax and/or the de Vere Bible. Nor AFAIK has any other contemporary author’s works been found as yet whose biblical references overlap Shax and/or the de Vere Bible.

    Thanks as always for your good intentions!

    Your bestest pal,

    • Bob Grumman says:

      Have any marked Bibles of the time (and country) turned up other than the Oxford Bible?

      As for the Bible-work you and the Roger are doing, I can’t keep up with it. Too small a question because we KNOW that the author of the Shakespeare works did not annotate the Oxford Bible.

      The comparison of Marlowe references to Sh/Ox “overlap” means little to me because (1) there must have been too few Biblical references in Marlowe to allow a meaningful comparison and (2) Marlowe was an obvious outlier of his time, Shakespeare (and the annotator) not. He was not religious, for instance.
      The comparison to Spenser might be of interest. Rabelais and Montaigne not so much because their French public knowledge would have been different from Shakespeare’s and the Bible-annotator.

      But I just izn’t got time for this game, though I can see how much fun it might be.

      Hey, has Golding’s Biblical allusions gotten into this controversy? Should there be some overlap?

      See, you iz getting me too innerested and I got other things to do! So. goombye as some famous old comedian (Durante?) used to say.

      • psi2 says:

        Dear Mr. Grumman,

        I regret to say that I simply will not engage a discussion of this nature with you at this venue. The perpetrators of this website have made their style of “moderation” very clear:They employ ridicule in place of reasoned argument. They substitute a systematic amnesia of the sort Freud diagnosed as repression and students of the history of ideas know as bigotry, in place of an informed study of the history of the topics they allegedly discuss. They think that making fun of good ideas will make them go away, and that defending weak ones with ad hominems improves them; they suppose that calling those with contrary ideas “loonies” is a way to defend “skepticism.”

        They are, moreover, so far as anyone can tell at this point, ineducable. Months of attempted conversation have only yielded the harvest of renewed arrogance. Who knows why. Maybe they are so confused because they went to Harvard and think that Greenblatt is the bees knees. Or maybe the are just all 20-somethings with the typical blind “nothing can kill me” attitude that afflicts the typical person of that age. Or perhaps it is because it is impossible for a man (or woman, as this site has shown) to learn something he thinks he already knows.

        Until the editors of this site apologize, and learn something about the subject, they deserve exactly nothing from anyone who does know anything about the topic — apparently, even, including you. Please email me or contact me on Facebook if you want some responses. As Richmond Crinkley wrote in 1985 in the *Shakespeare Quarterly* in his review of Ogburn’s *Mysterious William Shakespeare,* those who are like the apparatchiks who run this website are engaging in a systematic form of “bizarre mutant racism.” Asking me to respond here is like asking to bum a quarter from someone who is sitting at a segregated lunch counter while the racists are pouring ketchup into his hair. Go fish.

      • Bob Grumman says:

        Aw, Roger, you can call me “Bob”–or “Dopey” or anything else, but “Mr. Grumman!” Ech. Anyway, I was replying mainly to the one of knitted wit, not thou. And I’ve too much non-Authorship confusion between my ears to re-engage authorship questions, as noted in my post, so am grateful you don’t want to get into another discussion with me.

        Hey, believe it or not, I’m beginning to see that your idea of the overlap of Oxnotations and Willusions makes more sense than it once did. Still, my attachment to Will as author, which I still consider extremely rational keeps me from being much swayed by it.

        As I think about your efforts for Oxford, it occurs to me a rather interesting book could be written about the history of your involvement with the Oxford Bible, and then with those who have responded to your ideas about it favorably or unfavorably could be interesting and entertaining–provided you were a little less strident about how right your side is and wrong your opponents. A sense of humor would help a lot. And, for gawdsakes, leave out the arguments from authority–except maybe for maybe one brief reference to a few reasonable famous people who explicitly and permanently became anti-Stratfordians.

        I have pretty much the same problem with an intellectual establishment as you, mine being the poetry establishment, which won’t even recognize my school of poetry (no big guns trying to shoot me down like the ones trying to shoot you down!), and I speak from the experience of writing books about my attempts at poetry the way I think you should consider a book about your Bible-studies. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that, because the two I have in print have done nothing at all for me! Still, I had fun writing them.

        Knitwit’s Pal, Bob

      • knitwitted says:

        Hey Bobman!
        That’s very smart of your brain to say: “Hey, believe it or not, I’m beginning to see that your idea of the overlap of Oxnotations and Willusions makes more sense than it once did.”

        Actually, you’re the first person I’ve met from that know-it-all side who gets it. Consider the recent Mellon Foundation grant to catalog and transcribe 16th-17th century books… I’m hoping they’ll tackle a bunch of Bibles. And then we’d finally have a few more examples of what other readers were interested in. That will either reinforce the overlap in biblical parallels between the de Vere Geneva Bible and Shax or show that everybody was interested in the same bible passages.

        Stay tuned!

        P.S. Maebee youze shuld wattch urseff… sumtimms hour seekreet kode seams too bee slippy outty four udders two cee altho i bee serten nosebodie ells kan reed it butt youze knever nose soo bestest maebee too knot postage suchness know moor.

      • Bob Grumman says:

        Yezz 2 d’kooh duh, but Lastest postest wuzz tooo th’Rodj, psew nod codet.

      • knitwitted says:

        Howdy Bobman,

        re Marlowe per Roger:
        “[T]he vast majority of early modern scholarship recognizes a clear set of diagnostic features that generally allow one to distinguish one writer from the other. These include or might include (I’m sure that others, were they here, could add much more to my paltry list);

        1) The relative scarcity of humor in Marlowe;
        2) The pattern of Biblical allusions (which is a subject upon which I am well informed);
        3) Marlowe’s theme of upward mobility (as distinguished from Shakespeare’s of downward mobility)
        4) Marlowe’s characterizations are relatively flat compared to Shakespeares;
        5) The great metrical simplicity (like unto a metronome!) of Marlowe’s characteristic “mighty line,” as juxtaposed to the extreme variety of metrical and phonological effects employed by Shakespeare

        “These are a few. Like I said, I’m no expert — I’m sure the experts would have much more thorough justification of why it is nearly impossible that the same man can have written the vast majority of both canons (there are a few touches in Marlowe, esp. in Edward II and Massacre at Paris, that read to me as possible collaborations between the two bards. But I have to conclude that there is a very different aesthetic vision at work in Tambourlaine, Jew, and Faustus, as well as Marlowe’s poetry and translations. He didn’t see the world from the same POV as Sh. did.”

        The entirety of his comment can be found

        re Spenser. I’m sorry I don’t know any more than Shaheen’s assessment of Faerie Queene. And I’m even more sorry that Roger refuses to educate Eve and the other Bob at this venue thereby in effect refusing to educate Eve and the other Bob’s massive readership including me.

        As for your “Rabelais and Montaigne not so much because their French public knowledge would have been different from Shakespeare’s and the Bible-annotator.” Interesting observation but wasn’t Shax a big fan of Montaigne via Florio’s 1603 translation? But then, according to Shaheen, Shax seldom borrowed biblical references from his sources. Shaheen does note borrowing from Florio but I can’t recall if it was of a biblical nature. But I think the idea is that the bible is universal, and to what extent did other contemporary writers use the Bible in their own writings leading to the question of what verses they focused on. Admittedly, I am guessing this is what Roger was thinking but then I’m guessing we’ll never know (at least on this blog) what he really thinks.


        P.S. Affidavit attached attesting to the fact that KNOW CEEKREET KOADES are present in above transmission.

    • knitwitted says:

      Yezz butt the Rahj doosiez noseyz ceekrett koadiez himm beein’ anne Ochsphourdeeanne butt maebee itz onlee iff scribbenned inn ceecretarrie hand.

      • Bob Grumman says:

        I don’t know how to reply to any specific post in the thread that endz with you musspellizing “coald,” KW. The spuhsiphic post I wand to replie to is that very one. I am confoozed because I know all about why Marlowe supposedly could not have wrote S, but the overlap I was talking about was Marlowe’s with the Oxnotations. Right now, though, I’s too confoozled to know what my point was. I think maybe we should discuss this at yor nu site.

      • knitwitted says:

        Yagga. I bee confoozled two on howe too respondie vue to the korrect kommentarie as evidentiaried bye my postage too psi2 know where neer his postage sew inn phack I’zz hazz know ideeologie wot youze izz yappity about re Marlowe and the Oxnotations since there izz little to nil such overlappage. Sew eksellint choozie my knew site. C u their. BYOB.

  35. knitwitted says:

    @psi2: Would you consider please reviewing and contributing to the discussion of the de Vere Geneva Bible at

    In particular, I would be interested in any comments you may have regarding suggestions to find other annotated Geneva Bibles of the period and rule that those unique sets of marked passages do not overlap Shakespeare.

    Also, any comments regarding the idea that the 1,040 biblical references identified by Dr. Naseeb Shaheen in his *Biblical References in Shakesepeare* also includes passages from the Book of Homilies; the Book of Common Prayer; specifically from other versions of the Bible beside the Geneva; references to well-known biblical persons, well-known biblical events, commonplace phrases, and proverbs; are religious sentiments rather than actual biblical references; or “seem to be” biblical references per Shaheen.

    Shouldn’t one whittle away all of these “biblical references” that are anything but clearly from the Geneva Bible (or verses which cannot be identified as having come from one particular among the several versions of the day) to see how many of the 1,040 references actually could come from the Geneva?

    Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter.

    Best wishes,

  36. Actually his descendants do pronounce the name Loo-nee. Others have changed it, because of the obvious (and deserved) reference. Thank you for this piece. I finally started reading Looney’s book. It is hilarious. I love it that he thought that the librarian of the British Museum in 1918, Sir Frederick Kenyon, had done him some great service by accepting a sealed letter from him bearing a statement of his discovery. The man just took the sealed letter. That was it. Thus began a very bizarre tale…

  37. John McGivering says:

    Fascinating ! You should all read Kipling’s “The Propagation of Knowledge.”

  38. knitwitted says:

    Per my comment at re My Review of Bob’s Book: *Shakespeare & the rigidniks: a study of cerebral dysfunction*, Port Charlotte, FL: The Runaway Spoon Press, 2006 By: Knitwitted 30 January 2013:

    >> “I think here we should take a break and reflect on what the back of the Book tells us. We are told “the author of this book, lives with his cat, Shirley, in Port Charlotte, Florida.” I was indeed relieved with this statement as we can now verify that Bob’s mailing address as Port Charlotte FL as posted on January 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm is correct.

    >> “As for Bob’s cat, Shirley, I would like to note upon my further due diligent research into the life of Bob Grumman, I have discovered his cat is actually named “Spike” . I think we can at this time surmise that at some point between the publication of Bob’s Book and this authoritative notice , Bob’s cat indeed had a sex change operation.”

    And per Bob Grumman’s comment at re First off, to clear up Important matters: Shirley was the cat I had in 2006, when my book was published, Spike the cat I had after Shirley died when I began my blog at Scientific American; he, too, I’m sorry to say, is no more (although I haven’t had the heart to notify Scientific American):

    >> “First off, to clear up Important matters: Shirley was the cat I had in 2006, when my book was published, Spike the cat I had after Shirley died when I began my blog at Scientific American; he, too, I’m sorry to say, is no more (although I haven’t had the heart to notify Scientific American).”

    I would like to update said condition of Bob’s cat. Bob’s current cat is named Shirley.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Best all,

  39. Bob Grumman says:

    Actually, I would have commented on this informative gathering of Bob’s cat material, which will be a great boon to posterity, Knutwhatted, but I thought Shirley had taken care of it. I’m still not able to play tennis but am going everywhere on my bike as usual. Thanks for the concern. Rabtwit

    • knitwitted says:

      Hey Bobman,

      I bee glad youze is back to normal at least bike-wise. Sorry about your tennis playing but hope the piano playing still works. As for the Shirley, I’m thinking she must bee off for the rest of the summer as are the Fritz and the Snoopy.

      Have a bestest day,

  40. knitwitted says:

    Eve (and Bob) (and Bob G.),

    You are cordially invited to come join the fun over the latest Oxfordian tragedy re “Shakespearean academics clash over ‘conspiracy theories’ : Academics trade blows over a paper questioning whether Shakespeare penned his own plays, with a rival professor comparing the conclusions to those of a ‘Holocaust denier'”. With 801 comments thus far, this one’s sure to be a must-doozy! Be sure to tell your friends! BYOB

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