Shakespeare Authorship Collaboration, 101: Chatting with Lavendoski, Rambling with Rambler, Analyzing with Theil

Posted By on January 20, 2014

Whoa…..the high number of visitors continues unabated, so perhaps Tom Reedy’s theory that the local traffic increase is due to his scintillating commentary has some validity after all!

In a private email Reedy announced that his research efforts are branching out beyond the Shakespeare authorship question, and he is taking an interest in modern forensic paleography, requesting two articles on this topic in which I had some part, but which largely represented the work of the University of Buffalo’s CEDAR institute for Forensic Studies.  The two articles are studies of an anonymous 19th century words and pictures manuscript that I cover in this blog entry.

Since  the links to the articles in question are now longer functional, I’ve uploaded them to my own server; they are now available via my online CV, here.

For nearly a week now we’ve had between 98-208 unique visitors a day. In response to my “Thank you” post, I  did receive a challenge to a duel from the webmaster of a “competing” website who claims that his visitors are in the thousands, no doubt due to his charming manners and breathtaking command of scholarship.

Now, of course 100 or even 200 visitors  is not a very large number when one looks at the giant sea of the internet with its millions of users, but hey, you have to start somewhere, and personally I couldn’t be more pleased with the significant traffic increase the site is currently experiencing. Dreaming on the wide world of things to come, those of us who are up on our Ogburn know where this is headed….

I’ve been especially grateful over the past few days for the many friends who have commented on facebook and elsewhere on some of the recent postings. In one comment just today John D. Lavendoski singled out this recent review of Leah Marcus Puzzling Shakespeare as one of the better posts on the site, and I have to agree. While the Lambarde and “My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is” posts continue to generate a lot of heat, Stratfordian commentators don’t seem to want to go near the topic of any self-reflexive analysis of trends in their own scholarly tradition.

I was also gratified to have an honored guest over the last two days in  person of Alexander Waugh, grandson of the British novelist of whom we are all aware, and new Executive Director of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, whose recent entry into the authorship debate I covered in a previous blog entry. Waugh commented in response to Mike Leadbetter, here.

One thing I don’t do enough of in this blog is comment on the fine work being done by other Oxfordians across cyberspace.  In a future blog I will spend some time reviewing the incredible work of the anonymous Rambler on his cleverly named Quake-Speare Shorterly blog.

For now, suffice it to say that Rambler’s  remarkable blog is systematically taking down the reflexive belief that “nobody said anything” about de Vere’s authorship of the plays. Nope. Guess again. Plenty of people said plenty, and Rambler is on to them.  I hope he’s thinking of a book….he’s got one.

Linda Theil’s Oberon blog for today follows the deconstructive tradition of Leah Marcus, by both promoting and taking apart the upcoming Spring 2014 Folger library seminar on “The Problem of Biography.” Linda’s brilliantly acerbic commentary contains so much worthy of quotation that it’s hard to know where to begin in finding an excerpt, but perhaps her commentary on the fetishization of the idea of “collaboration” within contemporary Shakespearean scholarship of the traditional sort will do:

Uh, oh! The cee-word, that’s not good. “Collaboration” is the latest straw in the establishment’s crumbling bulwark against anti-Stratfordian encroachment upon the Shakespeare orthodoxy. Stanley Wells in his online diatribe, Shakespeare Bites Back, said: “Any case against Shakespeare falls down as soon as Shakespeare is understood as an honest and open collaborator.”

Why Wells and other Stratfordians believe that creating a multi-Shakespeare somehow makes the Stratfordian more convincing as an author, I have no idea, but the flood of recent material by orthodox scholars on Shakespeare collaborators make the rush-to-collaboration trend undeniable.


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, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


4 Responses to “Shakespeare Authorship Collaboration, 101: Chatting with Lavendoski, Rambling with Rambler, Analyzing with Theil”

  1. John Lavendoski says:

    TY for the shout-our, Roger. Please allow me to explain why I so thoroughly enjoyed your entry on Puzzling Shakespeare.

    In that particular dissection (of a 20+ year old book no less) you chose to include and comment upon select authorial quotes by Marcus which cut DIRECTLY to the beating heart of Startfordia as it existed in the late 20th century….and as it continues to live now.

    With the skill and emotional detachment of a surgeon, your critical scalpel crisply and cleanly exposed the biology of BOTH the “Franken-Shax” which the Stratfordian thought leaders have created and also their OWN addiction to performing never-ending cosmetic surgeries on their CREATURE….which they revise in their own shifting images and for their own convenience.

    This creature is very useful. He’s the ULTIMATE empty suit / hollow-man…to be filled in as needed to meet any purpose desired. He’s a blank slate…an academic etch-a-sketch, etc. on which generation after generation of orthodox academics can project, revise and erase their own POV without fear of ever being proved wrong…since the man himself has left no personal LITERARY trail which can contradict them.

    The Franken-Shax of Stratfordia is a Zelig-like “engineered product” designed to enable and advance whatever theory comes into vogue at any given time frame….and to be able to do it over, and over, and over again. He is infinitely malleable to the wants, needs, whims and fancies of grad-students and academic grandees alike.

    The current version has been sutured up (with SBT approval) as a “co-author / hard-scrabble working playwright for the masses / non-literary writer out to make a buck / man of the stage”.

    In this version…call him “Franken-Shax 7.0″….he stomps about in Southwark with his posse of fellow playwrights, job-shopping his talents where needed. From his favorite table at the Mermaid…where he hangs out with Middleton, Jonson and Fletcher while tossing off bon-mots and revising scenes…he also churns out his own plays 2 or 3 times a year.

    Ahhh…the magic of that holy and sacred word: COLLABORATION !!!!


    P.S. The SBT advertising brochure reads: “Notice to all Professors: Buy now !!!! With Franken-Shax 7.0 as your research-assistant, you can never be proved wrong !!! Publishing becomes a simple cut and paste exercise. No deep thought is required with Franken-Shax !!!! So what if Franken-Shax 7.0 is stitched together from old body parts and lacks an artistic soul ?? There really is no need for a soul or even any actual personality with Franken-Shax 7.0….he satisfies ALL research needs…and besides, a genuine authorial personality / artistic motivation-set would just get in the way of YOUR own theories…and who needs that ?? Hurry up and BUY NOW before Franken-Shax 8.0 appears and your theories need to re-jiggered to keep up !!!!”

  2. Roger Stritmatter says:

    John, very apt and amusing analysis. Would you like to work it up into a guest post? It would make a great one, especially in view of the new attention that the site is getting from Oxfraud operators like Mike Leadbetter, Tom Reedy, and the more subtle but equally malicious Mike Gordon.

  3. shelphi says:

    Thanks to all mentioned above for your informative and spirited work. Still a student among you, I learn every day and am humbled by your knowledge and tenacity. Keep up the good works!

  4. Roger Stritmatter says:


    Thanks for your comment. Looking forward to your further insights.

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