Video Survey

Published on 30 Apr 2016 under the title Shakespeare Legitimized

Plausibility: 2/10, Credibility 1/10, Useful content 0/10

Link to video This video appeared shortly after Shakespeare's anniversary in 2016. Were Oxfordians being polite? Or did they just miss the deadline?

They say: Diana Price discusses why the Shakespeare Authorship Question is a legitimate academic subject. Her book, "Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of An Authorship Problem," is now available in paperback. This event commemorated the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare of Stratford’s death, and took place on April 24, 2016, at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto. Her remarks are introduced by Keir Cutler, PhD.

We say: Claiming to be a discussion of the legitimacy of the authorship discussion, Ms Price treats us to her special brand of evidence-evading conclusions and artful misdirection. 


A closer look at the contents

Screenshot They say... We say...
Tell Me 01:45
In his introduction, warming to his theme of Stratfordians refusing to play fair in discussion, Cutler proudly announces "I look forward to your comments".
He clearly wasn't looking forward to them very much, as after just three mildly contradictory statements, he decided to close the comments section altogether. This is the equivalent, in online discussion, of raising the white flag.

Price 1 05:28
Diana Price gets down to business. "I have been unable to find any evidence that Shakespeare's primary vocation, or even one of his sidelines, was writing".

Well where was she looking?
Professor Alan Nelson, author of the only peer-reviewed biography of the 1st Edward, Earl of Oxford.

"Diana Price knows how to put a sentence together, but she does not know how to put an argument together without engaging in special pleading: that is, taking evidence that has an apparent signification, and arguing with all her might that it does not fit the special case of William Shakepeare for this or that special—and wholly arbitrary—reason.

Take the fact that Ben Jonson writes a poem of dedication to the "memory of my beloved, the author, Mr. William Shakespeare"; or the fact that Jonson reported that he had offended "the Players" who thought he had insulted their "friend" Shakespeare. Jonson explains, "I loved the man, and do honor his memory (on this side Idolatry) as much as any."

Master William Shakespeare, whom Jonson also calls "Sweet Swan of Avon," associating him with Stratford upon Avon for any but the wilfully deaf, is thus the recipient of a greater expression of friendship than any contemporary author.

Price cannot of course accept this evidence, so she must find some way to discredit it: such evidence is necessarily ironic, or satiric, or deliberately misleading, or written after Shakespeare's death: note that there is always some reason why evidence does not count in the case of William Shakespeare. Of course, one could make up a set of special rules for any other author of the period: why could there not have been two Edmund Spensers, one real but stupid (since any evidence that he was a writer cannot be allowed to count), another the pseudonym for some aristocrat?"