Greetings in the Spring

Posted By on March 5, 2010

The snow is nearly melted in Baltimore, and after a full week’s redress from the busy schedule of classes at Coppin State University, during which we huddled next to the heaters while the February blizzard pounded us for several days, or so it seemed, we are by now almost poised for spring break.  In the long interim between my last post and this one, much has transpired.

I want first to say “thank you” to the visitors who have come, even if for a brief time, to visit my site. Quite a number of you have actually registered, which is lovely, and a few less shy than others have even offered some pingbacks, emails, or commentaries to let me know you’ve read. The weeks since I last wrote here in November  have been full ones.

In late December and January I worked intensively with Lynne Kositsky on material for our Tempest book, and we’ve launched a new website, Shakespeare’s Tempest, as an internet repository for the articles we’ve written and for updating news on the book project. More generally, we hope to keep tabs on at least the most important outlines in current Tempest scholarship, so that the site might eventually become a kind of “one stop shopping” venue for those who are looking for solid scholarship about that particular play.

Currently the book proposal, with sample chapters on the “Tempest as Shrovetide Revelry,” is at a major academic book publisher.

More recently, I’ve done a lot of work on Wikipedia, developing what was once one a minor fetish into a real hobby, with my own page, which you can access here if you happen to be curious about what Wiki projects I’m involved in.  One of the more contentious articles was the one I seeded on Brief Chronicles, which swiftly became a candidate for  deletion.

As of today, March 4 (going on March 5), however,  it would appear that the Wiki editors in favor of retaining the entry  outnumber (and have out-argued) those who wanted to delete it on the grounds of its alleged “non-notability.”  As Hamlet would say, “I devised a new commission, wrote it fair…..”

Speaking of Brief Chronicles, there is some big news, “big” at least for the Oxfordians, shortly to announce on that score. But I’ll update that news in a later post within the next week or so.

Work on the Hydrachos project has been somewhat delayed due to circumstances beyond my control, but happily involving the business success of Dr. Carole Chaski, whose work with identifying authorship using computer-assisted analysis of syntactic patterns  continues to grow in influence and attract new clients, both actual and potential,  including government agencies.

As you may imagine, the potential uses for this software, which supplies the closest thing to a linguistic “fingerprint” known to in contemporary  linguistic practice, are enormous. A half-dozen early modern authorship enigmas stand ready to fall, like dominoes in a row, once we can harness the Alias system to the required early modern research strategies.

But the first literary-historical application of the system will be to investigate the authorship of the Hydrachos manuscript, which I hope can still happen some time within the next month.

Meanwhile, researchers at Cedar Buffalo, under the supervision of Dr. Sargur Srihari, are submitting the document to a second round of forensic handwriting analysis to attempt to disprove findings of their first paper, which tentatively identified the Hydrachos author as a famous 19th century American novelist. Assuming the second round of tests is unable to invalidate the first, the results will be made publicly available on this site and elsewhere.

Stay tuned. It promises to be a fun ride.

–R.S.

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, and renaissance literature, the latter a field in which he has published extensively

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