Monday, March 20, 2023

ChatGPT and Shakespeare Authorship

 Intelligently I asked Artificial Intelligence

"What is the answer to the Shakespeare authorship question"

ChatGPT replied

The Shakespeare authorship question is a topic of debate among scholars and enthusiasts, and there is no consensus on the answer. The traditional view is that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was the sole author of the plays and poems attributed to him. However, some individuals and groups have proposed alternative theories that suggest other individuals or groups wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare. These theories are not widely accepted by the academic community, and most scholars believe that William Shakespeare was indeed the author of the plays and poems attributed to him.

True enough--except for the phrase "William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon". William went by the family name Shakspere.

He did not become Shakespeare until the publication of the first book of Complete Plays (known as the "First Folio") in 1623--seven years after William's death, which went unnoticed by the London theater crowd and the community of poets.

To be more accurate it should read
The Shakespeare authorship question is a topic of debate among scholars and enthusiasts, and there is no consensus on the answer. The traditional view is that William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon was the sole author of the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare. However, some individuals and groups have proposed alternative theories that suggest other individuals or groups wrote the works attributed to the writer known as "Shakespeare". These theories are not widely accepted by the academic community, and most scholars believe that William Shakspere was indeed the author of the plays and poems attributed to him.
Chalk one up for Human Intelligence.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Ghosted Writer

by David @ More

Sweet Swan of Avon! England's holy ghost!
Who chose to dispose of the trove of unpublished shows
that Marley composed not pre-'93, but post?
The Shakespeare First Folio is surely the most
audacious literary author hoax
(a front man getting credit when the writer croaks)
ever pulled on English-speaking folks.

In 1623, a collection of plays
performed during Kit's 'living-dead' phase
were gathered and published for cash with bold praise
for the dead author (addressed as Soule of the Age,
Star of Poets and wonder of our stage).

Described as a rash enterprise, the Folio offered
three dozen Shakespeare plays that Marley authored--
but words inside implied another father!
A necessary lie? Ah yes! But why bother?
This question isn't meant rhetorically;
the answer's evident historically:
Kit Marley's lurid 'rap sheet' killed his chance
of getting credit for his Art's advance
in the course of a stellar 20-year career
as the hidden poet-playwright "Shakespeare"
from The Rape of Lucrece through King Lear
and every line in which he "shook a lance
at ignorance"—a stance gravely enhanced
by deathly banishment. No pun is meant,
just grievous and egregious punishment
about which Marley surely had no choice:
He lost his name, his love, his home, his voice.

When he was just a 20-something wit,
Kit wrote and said some irreligious shit
in jest, offensive to The Church. Alas,
those words came back to bite him in the ass
so hard that all the world believed he'd passed.
This public dead-and-buried circumstance
would cause his readership to look askance
if his name proudly crowned the title page
and Christopher Marley was hailed Soule of the Age.
They'd wonder "How'd a dead man write so much?
"He truly must possess a magic touch!"

So what else could the Grand Possessors do
to print Kit's Shakespeare plays for public view?
They execute a simple switcheroo:
Employ the dead Stratfordian anew—
as decoy for the hard-luck playwright who
could not (back then) get credit he was due.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Go Shakespeare! Beat Shakspere!

In order to fairly and accurately assess evidence of Christopher Marley's authorship of poems and plays attributed to the writer known as "William Shakespeare" it is crucial not to make the mistake of referring to the actor William Shakspere as "Shakespeare" for two important reasons.

The actor's name was Shakspere, as shown on his baptismal and burial records—and  all other legal and family documents. Never in his lifetime was he called "Shakespeare" (not until 7 years after his death in the First Folio of 1623). Nor was he ever honored or acknowledged as "the soul of the age" in his lifetime. His death in 1616 passed without public notice. No one from the worlds of publishing or theater commented on or lamented his passing. Hardly the kind of send-off one would expect for the Star of Poets.

The statement "Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare" creates a logical double-bind, the mind instinctively rejects such a proposition. However, it is far less confusing and more to the point to say "Shakspere wasn't 'Shakespeare'" if that is your belief.

Moreover, Marley had dibs on the name "Shakespeare"! Prior to his untimely murder at the age of 29 in 1593, he had written a long poem about Venus and Adonis. Following his 'death', it was published with no name on the title page, but with a dedicatory epistle that was signed "William Shakespeare" (He could hardly sign his own name.) A second narrative poem Rape of Lucrece was published the following year. As a result, until about 1598, the author Shakespeare, was known primarily as a premiere poet. Plays were secondary, published anonymously or not at all.The fact that most of the plays in the Shakespeare First Folio had not been previously printed attests to this.

In fact, the actor did not make his entrance as an author until the First Folio, when the legend was born—seven years after the Shakspere's death. And the Shakspere=Shakespeare myth was born.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stop Calling Shakspere "Shakespeare"

The following anonymous comment to P. Farey's essay "Prosecute it to the full" in MSC blog illustrates a key reason why it matters what name we use when referring to the Stratford actor.
"But I think you guys do need to recognise that *superficially* it sounds supremely nuts to say 'Shakespeare didn't write his plays, Marlowe did'. Because an obvious first reason for assuming authorship is the presence of the name on the title page. That's not a small, irrelevant, detail. It's pretty darn big and important. To suggest anything but the simplest explanation for that fact requires a very very good reason.

As it happens, you do possess some very intriguingly good reasons. And because the data is actually so good, if you confine yourselves to simply presenting it in as un-contrived and un-adorned way possible, it will sell itself, despite the obvious initial sense of 'wtf'?"
So if you love Marlowe and want his reputation and credit to be restored, then stop calling Shakspere Shakespeare!

The man from Stratford (whose name was pronounced Shakspur) never spelled his name that way and was never seriously thought to be an author of plays or poetry by anyone during his lifetime; nor was the possibility even hinted at in 1616 when he died. Not until the "rash enterprise" known as the Shakespeare First Folio was published in 1623 did the man from Stratford become identified as the pseudonymous author known as WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

Similarly, the belief that Christopher contracted with Shakspere to be his front is nonsense. There was no need. The Earl of Southampton had Marlowe's back in the first few years, when the two classic epic narrative poems, Venus & Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, made the name "Shakespeare" famous. No plays were printed with name "Shakespeare" on the title page until 1598, (coincidentally the year Edward Blount gave Marlowe a proper literary burial in his dedicatory epistle to Sir Thomas Walsingham, but that's another story).

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fooled by the Folio

The paradigm is shifting. Current Shakespeare scholarship is catching on: "For many in the profession today, Shakespeare was not an author with a literary career but because constructed as such in the 1623 First Folio and then by subsequent generations." Shakespeare and Spenser: Attractive Opposites, Oxford U. 122 (page link)

This is because—during his lifetime—there is no evidence that Stratford's William Shakspere had a literary career. When he died in 1616 not a single literary tribute, nor epistolary reference, was offered by any contemporary poets; nor was there so much as a prosaic mention by anyone in the town were he'd lived most of his life. William did not become known as the author until the "rash enterprise" known as the Shakespeare First Folio in 1623.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remembering Christopher Marlowe, 1564-1593(?)

Monday is Memorial Day in the U.S. ... Originally, the 30th day of May was set aside to honor those killed in the Civil War, but now its memory extends only from WWII to more recent conflicts.

To me (and most Marlovians) however, May 30 stands out as the official date of Christopher Marlowe's "sudden and fearful end" in 1593.

The phrase "Remember Christopher Marlowe"  on the plaque at King's School, Canterbury,  (shown here in 1993 with the great Marlovian scholar Dolly Walker-Wraight) was the theme of a  citywide memorial of Marlowe's passing 400 years earlier—and a celebration of his genius.

But did Marlowe die in 1593? Ever since Calvin Hoffman made an international splash with his book The Murder of the Man Who Was Shakespeare in 1955, many have come to doubt that claim due to the suspicious circumstances of the murder and curious facts regarding the inquest. Even more doubters were created by the pro-Marlovian documentary Much Ado About Something, broadcast in 2001. The next year, Marlowe's murder was further questioned at prestigious Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, where a plaque dedicated to Marlowe was installed with a QUESTION MARK before the date! The interrogative would have been better placed after his death than before his birth, but point taken.

So, on May 30, take a moment to remember "the muses' darling" —an atheist martyr whose early exit from life set the stage for his pseudonymous rebirth as the author known as "Shakespeare.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Marlovian poem wins 2nd Prize in "Bard Battle"

Last month, some lines excerpted from The Marliad (an epic essay in verse) won 2nd prize as a stand-alone entry in the Fort Collins, Colorado, public library's annual poetry contest. It wasn't quite as satisfying as winning the coveted Hoffman Prize, or another prestigious literary award, but it's a step in the right direction!

The Case of the Murdered Bard

To all you Shakespeare fans, I dare to say
The Stratford actor never wrote a play,
No way: Kit Marley (known as “Marlowe”) wrote
Four centuries ago the words we quote
From the collection called the Folio
Of Shakespeare Plays—and scores of Sonnets, so
Listen up! The evidence makes clear
That Marley used the pseudonym Shakespeare
Which worked out well for Mr. Will Shakspere,
Whose name got him a sinecure and share
Of ticket sales at the Globe Theater door—
Although not knowing whom he stood-in for:
The greatest poet of his time for sure.

None stood above Kit in dramatic art.
On top of that, he played a secret part
In England's anti-Catholic war: a spy
Who gave good service to the Queen, no lie.
But his belief in Jesus Christ fell short,
According to a sland'rous, signed report
Addressed to Privy Councilors at Court
(A list of blasphemies Kit spoke in sport).
The hearsay was heresy—dangerous it read:
His mouth must be stopped. (His words had 'street cred')
The upshot was a dagger in the head
Two inches deep, the Royal Inquest said.

But Marley's sudden end did not mean dead,
Because another head got stabbed instead—
That of a Welsh reformer with bad luck,
Into whose cadaver the blade stuck.
In fact, Kit Marley's murder in a fight
Was faked by friends who had their story tight—
And tacit right (per royalty's discernment)
To end his plight and foil his internment.

The punishment for blasphemy was certain—
A tragic scene before the final curtain—
Burned to death—or strangled by noose end—
Would be his mortal fate. (Oh, Muse forfend!)
The plan to rescue him had no loose ends—
The jury bought the story they confabbed,
How Christopher allegedly got stabbed
By his companion in a "tavern brawl"
About the tab for food and alcohol.

Th' equation was simple. Do the moral math:
Instead of punishment to take his breath,
They banish him for life and fake his death;
Thus saving Kit from certain prosecution
For heresy—and painful execution—
So he'd continue dishing-out sublime
And timeless poetry while in his prime:
The greatest poet-playwright of all time.
© 2016 Christopher Marlowe More