How Do I Love Thee, William? Let Me Count the Ways, Or, Seventeen Answers to the Shakespeare Deniers
Posted By Tom Weedy on March 12, 2011
Hank Whittemore has embarked on the ambitious quest of listing 100 Top Reasons why he thinks Oxford wrote the Shakespearean canon.
Since none of the internet Stratfordians has contradicted Whittemore in public, I thought it would be useful to do so in my own blog.
We all know that Shakespeare, if not written by Shakespeare, was written by somebody else named Shakespeare. Or, as Touchstone puts it with figurative grace (to the country clown William, no doubt a caricature of an Oxfordian):
to have, is to have; for it
is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured out
of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty
the other; for all your writers do consent that ipse
is he: now, you are not ipse, for I am he.
See? The Earl of Oxford is not, pace Mr. Whittemore’s delusions, ipse — for “I am he.”
What could be more obvious than that?
But in higher education, epistemology reigns, so if we want to have any impact in the academy, we should ask (and answer) the question of why we know with such certainty that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Fortunately this is not difficult, since the most significant reasons are already so well known. Let us Count 17 answers to the Shakespeare deniers:
1) He named his son “Hamnet,” which sounds like Hamlet;
2) He became very wealthy, and since we don’t have any other explanation, he must have done it by writing plays;
3) Droeshout drew a lovely pic of him in the first folio and we’re supposed to look at it all the time instead of reading the plays,
just like Gullio in Pilgrimage to Parnassus;
4) He spelled his own name in many creative ways, a sure sign of his versatile imagination;
5) When asked to write, he was in so much pain that it explains the genesis of Hamlet and also some scenes from Titus Andronicus;
6) He was an actor; the author was also an actor;
must have probably might have studied Law during the lost years;
8) The Stratford grammar school was truly amazing. Those boys learned more Latin in a year than modern students learn in four years of graduate studies in Classics (Showerman, 2010). Well, almost;
9) He says right here in the Sonnets, “whoever hath her wish, thou has thy ‘Will’ [i am Shakespeare].” WTF is wrong with those Oxfordians?
10) No one questioned his authorship at all during his own lifetime (out, out, damned spot!…Labeo, Cuddie, Meres, Spenser, Nashe, Harvey, and all you other loudmouths, get thee a nunnery post haste post hoc);
11) His copious use of Warwickshire dialect has never been debated. He uses rare dialectical variants like like “crink” (Apple), “gleek” (abuse), and “sprag” (active), doubtless never spoken outside the Midlands, except of course in His plays;
12) He said so in public to the Earl of Southampton (‘first heir of my invention” & etc.) and there is
no ZERO evidence that Southampton blushed;
13) Famed playwright Ben Jonson, nicknamed “Honest Ben,” was his great friend, and they had many wit combats, not only at the Mermaid Tavern, but in their own plays;
14) He gave Ben Jonson Latin spoons that scholars still can’t translate;
15) Only a genius like him would dare to ridicule the Lord Treasurer by offing him with a line like “dead for a ducat.”
16) The Earl of Oxford was a nasty no-good piece of work (Nelson, 2003).
17) I give up. That was way too much work….
NB: Additional citations available on request.