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By Brian Vickers

Brian Vickers addresses the basic problems with what Shakespeare truly wrote, and the way this is often decided. in recent times Shakespeare's authorship has been claimed for 2 poems, the lyric "Shall I die?" and A Funerall Elegye. those attributions were authorised into yes significant variants of Shakespeare's works. via a brand new exam of the proof, Professor Vickers indicates that neither poem has the stylistic and innovative characteristics we go together with Shakespeare. He identifies the poet and dramatist John Ford because the real writer of the Elegye.

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Additional info for Counterfeiting' Shakespeare: Evidence, Authorship and John Ford's Funerall Elegye

Sample text

There is a serious error of logic here, for all to see. Shakespeare’s vocabulary was certainly large, but many other writers in this period regularly coined new words, and their vocabularies are easily distinguished from Shakespeare’s, as my discussion of Ford’s (in chapter ) will show. Taylor’s ‘quantifiable’ stylistics rests on elementary errors of reasoning. Readers familiar with the language of English Renaissance literature who are encountering his claims for the first time may be surprised by Taylor’s list of words and phrases that supposedly link this poem indissolubly to the Shakespeare canon.

If two lost sonnets turned up tomorrow, one written by Sidney, the other by Shakespeare, we should have no difficulty telling them apart, since their other sonnets constitute a large enough database to make comparison easy. ’ is only  words long makes it virtually impossible to isolate any distinctive features. Still, we can agree with Robbins that the attempt to decide authorship on the basis of verbal parallels is in urgent need ‘of the negative check: that is, of hard proof that similar correspondences can be found nowhere else’ (p.

Taylor attempted to legitimize this qualitative judgment with the assertion that the poem ‘bears every stylistic hallmark of belonging to the th century’, but this is an empty claim, given the impossibility of finding any stylistic criterion which could distinguish a work written before  from one written after that date. In these articles for the New York Times and the TLS Taylor was equally disparaging about its rhymes, which make the poem a technical exercise: a kind of verbal obstacle-course in which one of every three syllables is a rhyme .

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