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Actual Author of Shakespeare's Works

  1. May 25, 2004 #1
    It has brought to my attention that PF members are willing to discuss the author of Shakespeare's works. This issue has a long and varied history with many a claims as there are skeptics and believers. I myself have held the view that Sir Francis Bacon as the only real candiate for the authorship of such works. Let us discuss the issue.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2004 #2
    Appetiser: [The following are minute quotes from www.sirbacon.org

    "There be some whose lives are as if they perpetually played a part upon a stage, disguised to all others, open only to themselves." Francis Bacon from The Essay of Friendship found only in the 1607 & 1612 edition

    Tobie Matthew's letter to Bacon , in 1623, written from France:

    "The most prodigious wit, that ever I knew of my nation, and of this side of the sea, is of your Lordship's name, though he be known by another."

    In 1603, Bacon wrote to a friend of his, the poet, John Davies, who had gone north to meet the King:

    "So desiring you to be good to concealed poets, I continue, yours very assured, Fr. Bacon."

    The only Shakespeare notebook, a collection of expressions, phrases, and sentences, many of which appear in the Shakespeare plays. This is the Promus, written by Francis Bacon.

    " To write with powerful effect, he must write out the life he has led, as did Bacon when he wrote Shakespeare." Mark Twain

    "Will be ready to furnish a Masque" Francis Bacon in Letter to his Uncle, Lord Burleigh .
    Last edited: May 25, 2004
  4. May 25, 2004 #3


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    I thought some guy from Stratford-upon-Avon was responsible for those plays
  5. May 25, 2004 #4
    Do you mean the original publisher of his works? I always thought Shakespeare wrote his own plays.
  6. May 25, 2004 #5
    Sumtime, long ago, people thought the world was flat ...
  7. May 25, 2004 #6


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    Interesting site, quddu, but get the link right..
  8. May 25, 2004 #7
    Thanks for that arildno
  9. May 25, 2004 #8


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    Ah, I was waiting for this :)

    Do we agree there was someone named Shakespeare, or Shaksper- however you want to spell it, and that the records of Shakespeare's life are accurate? (Records being his will, coat of arms application, records of baptism and mariage, and so on.)

    As for what you have posted, I'm sure there are several such similarities- which is why there are so many different claims to authorship.

    I understand that it was customary for 'noble' people, or people of high stature (like Bacon) to write and circulate poetry, but never to publish it. Writing for money or fame was looked down upon. So this could explain a lot of those references to masks and concealed poets and such. They also could refer to the flattery and pageantry of the court. Of course, it could also explain why Bacon would have published under a pseudonym- granted.

    How would you explain Greene’s comments:
    "There is an upstart crow beautified with our feathers that, with his 'tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide,' supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; being an absolute Johannes Factotum, in his conceit the only shake-scene in a country."
    Robert Greene
    Groatsworth of Wit (1592)
    Doesn’t “tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide” and "Johannes Factotum" suggest that Shakespeare was a known player? Did Bacon disguise himself and work as a player? Or was Greene in on the trick? Or did Greene just not have any idea what he was saying?

    ("In the 16th century, "factotum" was often used in English as if it was a surname, paired with first names to create personalities such as "Johannes Factotum" (literally "John Do-everything"). Back then, it wasn't necessarily desirable to be called a "factotum"; the term was a synonym of "meddler" or "busybody."-http://www.42geeks.com/index.php?page=yourblog&blogger=25)

    Happy thoughts

    It's been a while, but when I researched this, I was leaning toward Edward de Vere. I've changed my mind, obviously.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  10. May 25, 2004 #9


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    "It is incredible that Ben Jonson, who knew both Shakespeare and Bacon intimately, who himself dubbed Shakespeare the “swan of Avon,” and who survived Bacon for eleven years, could have died without revealing the alleged secret, at a time when there was no reason for concealing it."

    I was looking for something like this. One must also explain away all the people who knew Shakespeare- as in dealt personally with him- and made references to him as a poet.

    Shakespeare was certainly involved in the theatre in London- he was a member of The Lord Chamberlain's Men/King's Men. People would have known "Shakespeare the player". How could someone other than "Shakespeare the player" be "Shakespeare the poet"?
    Shakespeare played roles in his own plays- how does that work?

    Happy thoughts
  11. May 25, 2004 #10
    William Shakespeare could not write. On the one paper that has been found with his handwriting, he has written four signature on the sides, all misspelled in four different ways!

    But I love Shakespeare anyway! His literature is awesome!
  12. May 25, 2004 #11
    Now there are so many avenues of thought I feel like exploring - it's like being a child again - sweet days in the sweet shop.

    I shall start with a fair question on your views if you will. Am i right is supposing that you are agree with the orthodox authorities on the authorship of the Plays?
  13. May 25, 2004 #12
    Shakespeare misspelling his signature could be an attribute to high intelligence. It's said that people with extremely high IQ rates often have handwriting in which the lines are parallel and the design is unique in a way that the signature can be written efficiently and quickly. I glanced over an example of this on the Internet in which two different letters were written as identical "g" like figures.

    He could've been perfecting the most efficient signature he could rather than incorrectly spelling his name. Was the other sentence structure and spelling within the letter found to be misspelled as well?
  14. May 25, 2004 #13
    In Ben Jonson's Discoveries (1641) he gives Bacon the highest praise, and describes his writings in these peculiar words:

    "He who hath filled up all numbers and performed that in our tongue which may be compared or preferred to insolent Greece and haughty Rome....so that he may be named as the mark and acme of our language."
    Bacon is here compared to Homer and Virgil in the same words that Jonson used about the author of the Shakespeare Folio in 1623:

    "Leave thee alone for the comparison
    Of all that insolent Greece and haughty Rome....
    Sent forth.... "
  15. May 25, 2004 #14
    I am not worried of the spelling - as you shall see - spelling had not yet 'crytallised' in the Elezebethan times as it is now. Far from it - this fact will in another way prove to be useful in the proof of the *real authorship of the plays i.e. Sir Francis Bacon
  16. May 25, 2004 #15


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    This is without any significance whatsoever, because at the time we're talking about, there existed no correct way of writing English
    (Grammar was invented later)

    I believe it is Ben Johnson who have written something to this effect:
    "I consider any man to be boorish, if he lacks the imagination to spell a word in more than one way.."
  17. May 25, 2004 #16
    Why should he reveal that which is a secret? A very partial peck at a partial view of the full story.

    It is amazing that Ben Jonson looked down on the works of Shakespeare publicly - and many years later would make a u-turn on his views once he got to know Sir Francis Bacon. The phrase "swan of Avon" has been most grossely misconstrued.

    Has it ever struck anyone that if this phrase is to be taken at its face value, it is singularly inept as a simile? The verses of a poet are melodious,or should be. A poem may often be termed a song, and the poet himself the singer of it. Hence are poets described as sweet singers and compared to singing birds, as when Edmund Waller spoke of Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Francis Bacon as "nightingales." But what of the swan?
    Is it a bird of song? Hardly!
    And Jonson is not even alluding to the mythical "swan song" ; in fact a few lines lower he speaks of "those flights." He is thinking of the movements of the bird, not of its song-- and quite naturally too. Here are the lines in question :

    Sweet Swan of Avon! What a sight it were
    To see thee in our waters yet appeare,
    And make those flights upon the bankes of Thames,
    That so did take Eliza and our Iames!

    If we are meant to take these lines even in a partially metaphorical sense, Queen Elizabeth and King James are represented as having taken pleasure in the sight of the "Sweet Swan," thus pointing rather to an actor on the stage than to an author in his study; especially as the theatres of those days were situated close to the Thames Bank. In other words, Jonson was not so foolish as to compare the melodious verses of the author to the harsh tones of a swan. He was not thinking of the author's writings at all, and there is another explanation to the whole matter.
  18. May 25, 2004 #17


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    is a nice compilation of records.

    Thallium, what piece of paper?
    "The will was written on 3 pages of paper and Shakespeare's signature appears 3 times, adding to the value of the document because only 3 other copies of his signature are known to survive."
    -http://www.pro.gov.uk/virtualmuseum/millennium/shakespeare/will/default.htm [Broken]

    This contradicts what you have said. What is your source?

    qudd, may I call you qudd? :) I'm not sure what the orthodox view is- can't I just play Socrates? I believe "Shakespeare the player" was "Shakespeare the poet". How could someone be one, but not the other? It would be a whopper of a deception.
    Were you planning on answering my questions? ;)

    Dooga, nice point. Besides, a signature is a signature- have any of you never practiced your signature or doodled on a sheet of paper? (not THAT kind of doodle :rolleyes: )

    One also has to ask how much thought and effort was put into the types of records that we have. Is it fair to expect to find a poem in a legal document? Perhaps he should have expected people to question whether or not he was who he was, and taken more time to provide us with sufficient evidence.?

    Happy thoughts

    EDIT- seems our posts crossed paths- this is not in response to your last post, but the post before it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  19. May 25, 2004 #18
    "Were you planning on answering my questions? ;)"
    I intend to 'play the game' as I observe yiou are doing when you want to "play Socrate" - everyone wants to play a part on the stage ;D
  20. May 25, 2004 #19
  21. May 25, 2004 #20


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    Already answered, "at a time when there was no reason for concealing it." You realize those were not my words- that was a quote which I quoted more for the 11 years part than anything else. I realize the author makes a mistake in assuming to know Jonson’s reasons.

    Or after he got to know Shakespeare, even. Is Jonson not allowed to change his mind for any reason other than Bacon?

    I feel like the judge in My Cousin Vinny:
    Judge: Mr. Gambini?
    Vinny: Yes sir?
    Judge: That is a lucid, intelligent, well-thought out objection.
    Vinny: Thank you, your honor
    Judge: Overruled.

    How do you know what Jonson was thinking? Poetry is ambiguous if nothing else, and you could read several meanings into it.

    My reading goes this way: Jonson is surprised to see the son of a glover from Avon, a poor player become the delight of kings and queens, the “star of poets”. Swans are gray & ugly as babies and grow to be white & beautiful.
    This adds to the idea that Jonson changed his own mind about Shakespeare- not because of someone else, but because of Shakespeare himself- he says so much in this poem.

    Jonson is not referring to the author’s writings? Wait, what author?

    And all this means so little in comparison to the fact that Shakespeare would have had to interact with people, face-to-face. Who is the face to the name?

    Happy thoughts

    P.S. yes, it is fun, isn't it? :)
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