Monday, April 06, 2009

So the deal at the Marlowe-Shakespeare blog apparently (see following entry) is that pro-Marlovian comments get posted without fuss, but comments correcting errors of fact, or providing other useful information which does not support the Marlowe position, don't get past the moderator. My first two comments only appeared there after the moderator was prodded. My third comment hasn't shown up, which is my cue to give up. 

It's been instructive though. I was contacted by several of the contributors to the blog privately, eager that I should help them with information. Which I did. Which they then promptly turned inside out and upside down to see how it could be used to bolster the Marlowe theory.  It's all so predictable. Here's how it works. First you decide that Marlowe, or Oxford, or whoever, was Shakespeare. Before anything else, you commit to that position, as if you are supporting your local football team. Then, you trawl the material to find things that back up the position you've already decided is the correct one.

Recipe for disaster.

What they never do is check to see whether the other candidates, like, ahem, Francis Bacon, might have a plausible case. No one does due diligence. When I say no one, I mean no one. I've made it a point over the years, when corresponding with Oxfordians, Stratfordians and Marlovians, to ask them: have you ever read, for example, Francis Bacon's Personal LifeStory by Alfred Dodd? Or The Bacon-Shakespeare Anatomy by W.S. Melsome? Or Tudor Problems by Parker Woodward? Or The Mystery of Francis Bacon by Smedley. Or, indeed, ANY BOOK WHATSOEVER laying out the Bacon case competently. I have yet to receive a single positive reply, ever, to this generic enquiry.

Not one person interested in the authorship debate, who is not a Baconian, has ever read a single Baconian book. Haha. Hilarious isn't it. Tragic is another word. If you are reading this, and you're a non-Baconian, and you have read even one Baconian book, please, get in touch with me. I am fascinated by how and why the Bacon position fails to convince sane humans, but so far, the answer is simple: because everyone refuses to read the material.

By the way, the John Michell book doesn't count, as the chapter on Bacon contains a number of errors which render it useless as an accurate summary of the Bacon case. 

Here is the problem with the Marlovian theory: it starts well enough, with the observation, after Medenhall, that the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe were written by the same person. Fair enough. But in order to proceed competently to conclude that this person was Christopher Marlowe/Marley, the Cambridge graduate, spy and coin-forger, it is first necessary to prove that he himself was the author of the works posthumously attributed to him. Otherwise, and unless this is done, the possibility remains that SOME THIRD PARTY was responsible for the works of both Shakespeare and Marlowe. I mean, if the name of Shakespeare could have been a mask, the possibility exists that other names, including Marlowe, were also masks. This possibility needs to be positively eliminated to render the case for Marlowe water-tight. Why is this so hard for Marlovians to understand? Well, read their blog and you will see. It's the football team syndrome.  This is not an attempt to get at the truth; it's an attempt to get our team to the top of the table. 

So ignore, overlook, don't acknowledge the difficulties; just keep banging away at the goal hoping, one day, someone manages to get a ball in the back of the net. And give the opposition hell. 

Reality check. There's not a shred of evidence that Marlowe survived the events of May 30 1593. Not a shred. His body was laid out at the coroner's inquest in front of the jury and witnesses, with the bloody hole in his eye.  A substitute? Riiiiiiiiiight, as the kids say. Not so much as the merest shred of evidence, even after 50 years of assiduous searching, has turned up which would prove that he survived the events of Deptford. You might think it was time to rethink the basic premise. But apparently not. All it needs is some fancy new graphics and a whole new generation is ready to go down the wrong path.

There's also not a shred of evidence during Marlowe's life that links his name to writing for the theatre or poetry in any format whatsoever. But what happens when you bring this up? Attitude, that's what happens. Instead of standing back and seriously considering the possible consequences of this, the Marlovians just get all bent out of shape. Like you've dissed their football team. 

Sometimes I think it must all be a joke, that these people know exactly what they are doing. How else to explain an article which calls Bacon a misogynist, and cites this as the reason why he could not be Shakespeare, which is then followed by another article by the same author waxing lyrical about The Taming of the Shrew as the key to understanding Marlowe's authorship of this and the other Shakespeare Plays.  I mean, if "New Atlantis" is a misogynist tract, then one would expect that Shrew ought to give a feminist kittens.  Ah, but that would be expecting consistency, and perspicacity, and insight, and that's something in short supply over in the House of the Marlovians. 

My name, said Bacon, I leave to foreign nations, and my own countrymen, after some time be passed. Clearly, "some time" is yet to fully elapse. Hasten the day.