Tuesday, January 29, 2008

After a short hiatus, while my obsession took other forms, I return to take up yet again the cudgels for Bacon is Shakespeare. The break has been worthwhile, and given some much needed space and perspective from which to re-think the entire topic. It has become clear to me that the Baconian enterprise has essentially ground to a halt. The well-worn arguments have become encrusted with the dead weight of time. Absent an entirely fresh set of narrative facts, the movement threatens to fade away. Nothing could illustrate this better than the most recent edition of the venerable publication Baconiana, which put its recent issue on-line for the first time. It is a depressing read, full of tired, overblown, underwhelming pieces which do little to inspire newcomers or old-hands. Pomposity jostles for space with ridiculousity, if they be words. It's time to shut down Baconiana, disband the societies, throw out the jaded old arguments and start again. Let's face it: the Baconians have botched it. We have never really recovered from the blow dealt by Friedman to the writings on codes and ciphers which muddied the stream of early twentieth century Baconian writings. Meanwhile, despite the best book ever on the authorship crisis being written and published (Cockburn), it remains unknown and virtually unobtainable. The intellectual argument has been won, but the public relations battle has been comprehensively lost. We have the keys to the riddle, but have rendered ourselves mute and unable to give coherent voice to it anymore.

There is only one answer. It is pointless rehashing the same tired old narratives. It is time for an entirely fresh injection of material into the debate, and a complete recasting of the terms on which it has been fought. The Bacon enterprise 2.0 begins here, now, today.