Posted By Roger Stritmatter on January 17, 2014
Yesterday was the most active day in the history of the site, with 208 unique visitors, 56 of them returning visitors, and 377 page views. The heightened interest in the site continues today, with 69 unique visitors already before noon EST today, 22 of them returning visitors.
The most popular page, naturally, has been the new post on the Latin/Anglo-Saxon annotations in the copy of the Folger Library’s issue of William Lambarde’s 1568 Archaionomia, which may be in the handwriting of the 17th Earl of Oxford and in any case are certainly a monkey wrench in the longstanding Stratfordian theory, recently pumped on Wikipedia, that the very same volume contains an authentic “signature” of William Shakspere.
Among other recent visitors, it was pleasing to have Tom Reedy commenting for the first time on the site, and a number of Mr. Reedy’s comments on this post and on the ongoing discussion about the disputed authorship of “My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is,” are material contributions to the discussion.
Tom, Marie Merkel, and other participants in the Oxfraud facebook discussion, have raised various vague objections to the idea that the annotation could be in Oxford’s hand. Marie, for example, points out that Elizabethan era italic hands can easily be confused with one another by analysts unfamiliar with the sometimes subtle patterns of variation which can distinguish one from the other.
This was precisely my point in this detailed empirical analysis of Elizabeth Imlay’s abortive attempt to claim (over the objections of Cambridge librarians) that certain annotations in books from the library of Oxford’s tutor Sir Thomas Smith were in Oxford’s hand.
Mr. Reedy, as per his usual method, tries to ridicule me for allegedly concluding that the annotations are Oxford’s. As I tried (but apparently failed) to make unambiguous in my original post, the notion that the annotations are in Oxford’s hand can at this point in time be regarded as no more than a hypothesis, awaiting further discussion. As of this time I stand by that hypothesis, and no one has offered any reason credible to me why this hypothesis should be falsified.
I did, however, take a gratifying pre-emptive slap at the longstanding failure of Professor Nelson to account for his contradictory statements about the de Vere Bible annotations (he first said he was certain they were in Oxford’s hand, but later changed his mind without explanation when the political heat descended and it seemed appropriate for the purposes of professional advancement to claim otherwise).
I also stand by those remarks, which only recap the analysis long available on my site FAQ (which perhaps Mr. Reedy had not read). Should Professor Nelson care to clarify his comments, which incidentally impugned the professional reputation of a board certified forensic handwriting analyst, Emily Will, I will be happy to reconsider my position on this question.
In the meantime, I wanted to clearly put on record that until Professor Nelson explains his reasoning more fully, he has, in my opinion, forfeited any claim to professional qualification in the relevant field of forensic handwriting analysis, in which unsubstantiated claims to the media do not constitute evidence.
Several readers have contacted me privately with interesting observations and in at least one case I hope this conversation will give rise to a future guest post regarding some of the specific reasons for concluding that the Shakspere “signature” on the Lambarde title page is most likely a forgery.
This evidence is not, at least for the most part, new or unknown (and has been noted in the past by orthodox scholars who have remained skeptical of the view), but it has been swept under the rug by the apologists for the inscription’s authenticity as a “signature” and deserves a fuller airing in light of the present discussion about the overlooked annotations in the volume.
I look forward to seeing these analyses brought before readers at the earliest possible opportunity.