Distillery to create gin using New Place mulberries

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A Stratford distillery is hoping to create a gin fit for the Bard after teaming up with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to harvest fruit from two historic mulberry trees.

The trees, which are in the Great Garden of Shakespeare’s New Place, are thought to have been grown from cuttings taken from a mulberry tree planted by Shakespeare during his time there.

Shakespeare’s original tree was cut down by Reverend Francis Gastrell more than 250 years ago, but the Shakespeare Distillery will be hoping some of its Shakespearean magic remains.

Last week the distillery, which is based on the Alscot Estate, harvested fruit from the trees and will use it to create small handcrafted batches of its New Place Mulberry Gin.

The tipple, which takes inspiration from the Tudor period and would have been common in Shakespeare’s time, will take several months to make as the berries are steeped in the gin.

 

For full story see this week’s Stratford Herald.

  • What’s clearly important is to monetize the Bard. Relics made from the wood of the mulberry tree in Shakspere’s yard were overproduced a bit, leading some cruel critics to say–without any evidence whatsoever!–that it would take a whole forest of mulberry trees to make all those relics.

    I note with interest that your article makes the modest claim that “The trees, which are in the Great Garden of Shakespeare’s New Place, are thought to have been grown from cuttings taken from a mulberry tree planted by Shakespeare during his time there.”

    I would only suggest that you might perhaps have used some of the phrases that we all like to use when speaking of the Bard himself. Such as “These trees must no doubt have been grown from cuttings, in all likelihood perhaps from a mulberry tree that had to be planted by Shakspere, who most certainly is thought to have doubtless been the author of the works of Shake-speare, quite possibly.”

    • And your objection is?

      On my first visit to the USA I took a historical tour of Boston. Having done the equivalent of majoring in American literature and history at university, I could hardly recognise the events of The American Revolution from the Bostonian tourist industry’s perspective.

      As we all know, ironically, nothing was ever further from historical truth than your own ideas on who wrote Shakespeare’s work, so I suggest you leave the good people of Stratford upon Avon alone. They all have a better perspective than yours on the author who made their town eternally famous.

      • Paul Crowley

        Sicinius wrote:

        > I suggest you leave the good people of Stratford upon Avon alone.<<

        Likewise for the good people of Lavenham, in their (soon forthcoming) celebrations of the birthplace of Harry Potter:
        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-40923579

        But it does matter. Listen to an otherwise excellent program on Othello from last Monday, marred by dollops of egregious nonsense: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07k01bn

        The real author was tormented by the horrors that result from jealous husbands acquiring unjustified suspicions of their virtuous wives. It’s a topic he returns to again and again. Also, he was thoroughly familiar with Venice and its cosmopolitan nature. Sound like the Stratford man? So who else?

        • headlight

          Tell us what Shakespeare described about Venice’s “cosmopolitan nature” that he could not have imagined living in London? We always hear these generalizations about the vast learning exhibited by Shakespeare, but when we get the details, they don’t support the claims.

          • Paul Crowley

            > Tell us what Shakespeare described about Venice’s “cosmopolitan nature” <<

            Clearly you have not listened to the BBC program on Othello that I recommended. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07k01bn I was, in effect, quoting Professor Carol Rutter (from about 24:30). Within the play Iago tells Othello that Venice is not as he thinks, and then explains its unique characteristics.

            > that he could not have imagined living in London?<<

            Stratfordian fantasists believe that Shake-speare (as the Stratford man) could have imagined ANYTHING — hitting the nail perfectly on the head, time after time. Even if such absurdities were possible, what are the chances against them being likely? Who sets a play in a foreign city they don’t know (in a country they don’t know) getting every nuance and striking every tone to perfection?

          • headlight

            What we’ve come to expect from you — give a link to a 30 minute show where whatever you’re complaining about is a 20 second comment five minutes before the end.

            And of course, your point is nonsense. Shakespeare came from insular, provincial Stratford, and was living in London. Who knew better than Shakespeare what it felt like to be an outsider in a cosmopolitan city? For that matter, who would know less about it than a belted Earl, who had servants to ease his way in Venetian society?

          • Paul Crowley

            > What we’ve come to expect from you — give a link to a 30 minute show where whatever you’re complaining about is a 20 second comment five minutes before the end.<<

            At that point I was complimenting Professor Rutter. She actually got something right! The rest of her guff was awful. She takes the traditional date: Othello was supposedly written early in the reign of James, during a prolonged closure of the theatres due to plague, with 4,000 Londoners dying every week. Yet is any of that (or of any other issue of the day) reflected in the play? Of course not — not a whisper. That’s because it was written 20+ years earlier, when the poet was at the height of his contrition for his treatment of his wife.

            > And of course, your point is nonsense. <<

            Which point is that?

            > Shakespeare came from insular, provincial Stratford, and was living in London. Who knew better than Shakespeare what it felt like to be an outsider in a cosmopolitan city? <<

            Great poets never have a problem about feeling an outsider. This one was often treated as a pariah. Only he understood the extent to which he had “done some service to the state”.

            That programme (and Carol Rutter, and Stratfordians generally) miss everything of significance about the play. They never referred to unjustified jealousy, nor to its frequency in the canon.

            Stand back from it for a moment, and ask yourself: “In how many 16th century European cities would it have been conceivable for a negro to hold high political and military office?”. No one, who had not seen Venice and had some grasp of its government, would have considered it possible.

          • headlight

            Stand back from it for a moment, and ask yourself: “In how many 16th century European cities would it have been conceivable for a negro to hold high political and military office?”

            Where does “negro” come from? He was a moor, as was the character he was based on from Giovanni Battista Giraldi’s story “Un Capitano Moro.” By the time Shakespeare wrote the play the story had been around for many years.

          • Paul Crowley

            > Where does “negro” come from? <<

            It comes from the play, and from the descriptions in it of Othello. ‘Black’, ‘thicklipped’, and much else.

            > He was a moor, as was the character he was based on from Giovanni Battista Giraldi’s story “Un Capitano Moro.” By the time Shakespeare wrote the play the story had been around for many years.<<

            It’s a safe bet that almost no one in your supposed audience would have read the story, since it was written in Italian, and translated only into French. The playwright is known to have read the Italian version (since his text is closer to the original than to the French translation). Where, why, when and how did the Stratford man learn Italian?

        • headlight

          Speaking of egregious nonsense: “The real author was tormented by the horrors that result from jealous husbands acquiring unjustified suspicions of their virtuous wives. It’s a topic he returns to again and again.”

          You know nothing of what tormented the “real author.” Shakespeare left no personal records, and the person you think wrote the works never expressed any such torments.

          • Paul Crowley

            > You know nothing of what tormented the “real author.”<<

            Weasel words. We know that he became sure that his first-born child was not from his loins, and that he deserted his wife for several years. We know that he changed his mind, was reconciled to her, and had three more children with her. We know that then she died. If there was one small fraction of a story similar to this, with regard to the Stratford man, no one would doubt him. But there isn’t.

          • headlight

            ” . . . had three more children with her. We know that then she died.”

            And we know that he then dumped the three daughters off on his wife’s family to raise, and remarried.

            His reconciliation with his wife most likely brokered by the Queen who was outraged that during the period where he scandalously impugned the reputation of his wife, the daughter of her chief minister, he impregnated one of her maids-in-waiting. In the years after his first wife’s death, he busied himself in wasting the estates he inherited, leaving it to his father-in-law to provide dowries for his three daughters.

            The daughters were largely identified in documents of the period with their prominent grandfather (and later, their uncle). There is little to show that Oxford maintained a relationship with the daughters and considering his abusive treatment of Lord Burleigh’s daughter, it’s unlikely that Oxford was a frequent guest visiting the children.

            Please specify any documented fact beyond your imagination that suggests that Oxford had any remorse over his conduct. His frequent letters to his in-laws often played upon their relationship but were largely confined to asking financial favors of them. You’re projecting how you would feel in Oxford’s position — but you’re not a sixteenth century Earl.

          • Paul Crowley

            > And we know that he then dumped the three daughters off on his wife’s family to raise, and remarried.<<

            His daughters were aged 12, 4, and 1, when his wife died. I have no more idea than you on how late-Tudor nobles managed the upbringing of their daughters in such circumstances, but I doubt if many stayed with the father especially when the mother’s family was so powerful, so wealthy and so numerous,

            > In the years after his first wife’s death, he busied himself in wasting the estates <<

            He was in receipt of his £1,000 a year “pension” from the Queen from 1586, two years before his wife’s death. His estates were well wasted before then. The Frobisher expeditions of 1577-8 had left a mighty hole.

            > Please specify any documented fact beyond your imagination that suggests that Oxford had any remorse over his conduct. <<

            Since his correspondence was heavily edited by Burghley (leaving little more than his begging letters of the 1590s — with few or no replies, even though copies were usually made and filed) there’s no useful documentation on this. But his conduct should be more than enough for you. No one disputes that he treated her badly from 1576 until late 1581; but then they reconciled. How else but with his deep apologies, which she and her family must have taken at face value?

            > You’re projecting how you would feel in Oxford’s position — but you’re not a sixteenth century Earl.<<

            This is nonsense — a perverse reading of historical evidence, solely because of your prejudices. Like nearly every other great author (Tolstoy, Dickens, Joyce, Hemingway, Yeats, etc., etc.) Oxford treated his family disgracefully. He had more important things on his mind. Which is not to deny that he was a drunkard, adulterer, spendthrift, etc., etc. But he knew it, and felt guilty about it. Jealousy, especially of the unjustified sort by husbands of their wives, is a constant theme in the canon. It fits Oxford like a glove. It matches the Stratford man like a cat’s coffin.

          • headlight

            I doubt if many stayed with the father especially when the mother’s family was so powerful, so wealthy and so numerous,

            Oxford needed a male heir. His first family were the wrong sex. So out they went.

            Since his correspondence was heavily edited by Burghley (leaving little more than his begging letters of the 1590s — with few or no replies, even though copies were usually made and filed) there’s no useful documentation on this.

            The “my dog ate my homework” defense. No, of course nobody thinks you need any evidence for your assertions, as long as you have a logical excuse like “Oxford’s mean father-in-law made Oxford sound like a selfish creep!”

            No one disputes that he treated her badly from 1576 until late 1581; but then they reconciled. How else but with his deep apologies, which she and her family must have taken at face value?

            The reconciliation was in the mutual interests of all concerned. For Anne and her family, they needed to remove the blot on Anne’s reputation and Elizabeth’s legitimacy. Oxford needed a legitimate heir and his illegitimate son with Anne Vavasour didn’t count. Cecil wanted his granddaughters to be noblewomen. Marriages at that level of society were often not love matches, and the evidence of Oxford’s wandering and philandering strongly suggests that was the case with his first marriage.

            Like nearly every other great author (Tolstoy, Dickens, Joyce, Hemingway, Yeats, etc., etc.) Oxford treated his family disgracefully. He had more important things on his mind. Which is not to deny that he was a drunkard, adulterer, spendthrift, etc., etc. But he knew it, and felt guilty about it.

            I don’t accept your premise that being a terrible person to one’s family is a characteristic of great authors. Samuel Clemons was a doting father; Herman Melville was married over 40 years. In any case, comparing the personal behavior of people who lived centuries after Shakespeare seems pointless. There is, very simply, no evidence at all for Oxford feeling the slightest guilt about his behavior, and in fact his character of feeling quite entitled was consistent from beginning to end.

            From his early years casually murdering a servant with a sword, for his guardian to hush up, to his efforts to get the tin concession, he never seemed to think he ever did anything wrong, and always felt like others, like William and Robert Cecil, should put forth a little more effort to get him money or status.

          • Paul Crowley

            > I don’t accept your premise that being a terrible person to one’s family is a characteristic of great authors.<<

            You must have read very few of their biographies. It’s a near-universal pattern.

            > Samuel Clemons was a doting father; Herman Melville was married over 40 years.<<

            Neither of them would have claimed a status remotely near Shakespeare nor close to most other great writers in history. However, this is from the Wikipedia article on Melville:

            ” . . . An unsympathetic person might characterize Melville as a failed writer who held a low-level government job, drank too much, heckled his wife unmercifully about the housework, beat her occasionally, and drove the children to distraction with his unpredictable behavior. A sympathetic observer might characterize him as an underappreciated genius, a visionary, an iconoclastic thinker, a sensitive, orphaned American idealist, and a victim of a crude, materialistic society that ate artists and visionaries alive and spat out their bones. He was both, and more . . . ”

            > In any case, comparing the personal behavior of people who lived centuries after Shakespeare seems pointless.<<

            Yes, of course, the world changed, and dem peeple den could only grunt. Dey new nutting bout literature and such tings.

            > There is, very simply, no evidence at all for Oxford feeling the slightest guilt about his behavior, and in fact his character of feeling quite entitled was consistent from beginning to end.<<

            You will, of course, believe what you want to believe about the man’s private thoughts. But consider the plot (as well as other similar plots elsewhere in the canon) and ask whether or not they fit the known facts in the Stratford man’s life, and whether or not they fit those of Oxford.
            1) The hero become almost insanely jealous about his wife’s behaviour
            2) His wife is seen to be entirely virtuous
            3) He expresses deep regret about the way he treated her

          • headlight

            Is this really what passes for an argument among Oxfordians? No wonder Oxfordianism is entirely discredited.

            Your argument appears to be that there is a strong positive correlation between being a “great writer” and being a tremendous ass. But there are a couple flaws here:

            — Is it the case, as you seem to imply, that the bigger the lout, the greater the writer? Or are there abusive fathers, husbands, and employers who aren’t good writers? Are there talented writers who are not sociopaths?

            — Was William Shakespeare an ideal husband, or might he have had similar regrets?

            But consider the plot (as well as other similar plots elsewhere in the canon) and ask whether or not they fit the known facts in the Stratford man’s life, and whether or not they fit those of Oxford.
            1) The hero become almost insanely jealous about his wife’s behaviour
            2) His wife is seen to be entirely virtuous
            3) He expresses deep regret about the way he treated her

            Let’s see:
            Oxford did not express insane jealousy. He just claimed that he was not the father of her first child and then shunned her for years.

            I’m not sure how you can know the truth of the situation. Perhaps Edward knew for certain that he was not the father, never having consummated the marriage; perhaps Anne and her father conspired to get her with child, in hopes of forcing Oxford’s hand; and perhaps the wily Lord Burghley’s strategy in the end succeeded.

            As for 3), I’ve explained before that there is no evidence of deep regret on Oxford’s part.

          • Paul Crowley

            Apologies for the delay in replying — various family matters.

            > Is this really what passes for an argument among Oxfordians? <<

            It’s not an argument. It’s an observation, and one familiar to every reasonably intelligent reader of literature and of the lives of great authors. It’s clearly one that passes by most Stratfordians, especially the ‘learned’ professors of Stratfordianism.

            > No wonder Oxfordianism is entirely discredited.<<

            It’s discredited among Stratfordians, whose concept of authors and authorship is well exemplified by the “pig’s bladder” of their Bard’s memorial bust.

            > — Is it the case, as you seem to imply, that the bigger the lout, the greater the writer? Or are there abusive fathers, husbands, and employers who aren’t good writers? Are there talented writers who are not sociopaths?<<

            Trying to explain literature, or authorship, or the nature of literary art to a Strat is rather like trying to outline the workings of a central bank to stone-age hunter-gatherers. They lack the basic concepts.

            There’s hardly a direct relationship between what are seen as “ill-manners” by their contemporaries and the quality of their work. But, as we saw with Melville, they rarely make a good living from their work and (assuming that they are good and come to be appreciated) later ages will usually see them as grossly undervalued in their own day. No one should expect them to be happy bunnies. But, even when they are commercially successful as authors when young, they are still, nearly always, ‘louts’. for example Byron, who also remarked: “We of the craft (poets) are all crazy”. It is in their nature to be ‘troubled’. Most appear to be strongly bipolar, often with strong suicidal tendencies when ‘down’ but capable of immense output while ‘up’. A high proportion are alcoholics, no doubt from the same reasons that give rise to their creativity.

            http://www.neuroticpoets.com/
            https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/605c/7e68a78ac5fad87e1edf4fd2a8195e924739.pdf
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28277566
            http://rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/childhood%20IQ%20and%20bipolar%20link.pdf

            All this is light-years from the Stratfordian conception of their own candidate — who, according to most Strats, placed no value whatever on his own work, and probably didn’t see himself as an artist at all — even though he regularly and explicitly tells us otherwise.

            > Oxford did not express insane jealousy.<<

            You were there, and heard every word?

            > He just claimed that he was not the father of her first child and then shunned her for years.<<

            It’s not difficult to assess how each party involved in all that is likely to have felt.

            > I’m not sure how you can know the truth of the situation. <<

            There is little we can be certain about in history (or in human affairs generally). The best we can do is to make reasonable interpretations. But I accept that this is never a course you’ll follow.

            > Perhaps Edward knew for certain that he was not the father, never having consummated the marriage;<<

            A grossly fanciful theory. Why would he be so reluctant?

            >perhaps Anne and her father conspired to get her with child, in hopes of forcing Oxford’s hand; <<

            A sure way of ending a marriage. Burghley would never have been so foolish.

            Strats should also wonder why the notion of the ‘bed trick’ was so frequent a theme in the poet’s work. Oxford learnt that his wife was pregnant while he was in Paris, a month after leaving England. He had no suspicions then, nor for many months, sending her extravagant presents. But at some point before he returned to London his mind became poisoned against her. (Who was the Iago?) His daughter, Elizabeth, was six and a half when the couple were re-united, and by then any similarity to (or difference from) his side of the family would have been apparent.

          • headlight

            Trying to explain literature, or authorship, or the nature of literary art to a Strat is rather like

            Actually, we’re talking about history. And there’s no indication you know anything about those topic, let alone explain them to others.

            There’s hardly a direct relationship between what are seen as “ill-manners” by their contemporaries and the quality of their work. But, as we saw with Melville, they rarely make a good living from their work and (assuming that they are good and come to be appreciated) later ages will usually see them as grossly undervalued in their own day.

            This exposes one of the obvious flaws in your approach. Comparing 19th and 20th century novelists with a 16th and 17th century player/playwright is nonsense.

            Shakespeare was on the ground floor of a new form of entertainment — purpose-built professional playhouses, with professional in-house playwrights and a company of professional players. Shakespeare did not make his living on book sales. His plays were written for performance by his company. As a sharer in the company, and later as a householder in the Globe and Blackfriars, Shakespeare received a share in the profits.

            “We of the craft (poets) are all crazy”. It is in their nature to be ‘troubled’. Most appear to be strongly bipolar, often with strong suicidal tendencies when ‘down’ but capable of immense output while ‘up’. A high proportion are alcoholics, no doubt from the same reasons that give rise to their creativity.

            But Shakespeare was not Byron, or anyone else, and your generalizations from a particular poet born nearly 200 years after Shakespeare’s death make no more sense than if I made claims about Edward de Vere’s character based on another nobleman from a couple centuries later who was a writer with a bad reputation — the Marquis de Sade.

            > Perhaps Edward knew for certain that he was not the father, never having consummated the marriage;<<

            A grossly fanciful theory. Why would he be so reluctant?

            Simple: if he was pushed into an arranged marriage with Oxford’s daughter against his liking, and he refused to consummate the marriage, he could move for annulment for lack of issue. As an Earl, his marriage served the state purpose of continuing his line; his primary job was (like the young royal princes of today) to produce an heir.

            >perhaps Anne and her father conspired to get her with child, in hopes of forcing Oxford’s hand; <<

            A sure way of ending a marriage. Burghley would never have been so foolish.

            You’re ignoring the evidence. The fact is Oxford denied paternity. The question is why he would do so. Was it that he had some reason to believe that the child was not his own? If not, he seems remarkably malevolent.

            Sure way of ending a marriage? What does that mean? Divorces were not easy to come by in the sixteenth century. As a lord, he couldn’t divorce his wife without permission by the monarch (who was also the head of the church). On the other hand, if he never consummated the marriage, he could justly seek an annulment.

            Burghley wanted his daughter married to an Earl. He could see how the chess game would unfold: his ungrateful son-in-law is biding his time, refusing to consummate the marriage, while having an “active social life” in other respects. He can see an annulment on the horizon, where his now older daughter is cast off, and no longer a good prospect.

            The real “bed trick” is for a man to be presented with the prospect of being seen as a cuckold when his wife turns up pregnant. Fait accompli. Oxford maintained that Anne’s daughter was not his own for five years — but once he’d impregnated Vavasour, his chance of getting the Queen’s approval for an annulment disappeared. He unhappily returned to his marriage, once again losing in one of Burghley’s schemes.

            All this is light-years from the Stratfordian conception of their own candidate — who, according to most Strats, placed no value whatever on his own work, and probably didn’t see himself as an artist at all — even though he regularly and explicitly tells us otherwise.

            Any cites for this? It certainly doesn’t apply to me. Shakespeare and his fellows knew perfectly well that he was the best playwright of the time. The value he placed on the works is demonstrated by the company’s refusal to publish many of the works when they were still part of their repertoire. The profits on book sales would be paltry compared to the cash river the plays represented when played at the Globe. Shakespeare was an artist both as a writer and as a player.

            > Oxford did not express insane jealousy.<<

            You were there, and heard every word?

            You asked whether the “known facts” “fit those of Oxford,” and implied that Oxford “become almost insanely jealous about his wife’s behaviour.” There are no “known facts” supporting this point.

          • Paul Crowley

            >> . . as we saw with Melville, they rarely make a good living from their work and (assuming that they are good and come to be appreciated) later ages will usually see them as grossly undervalued in their own day.

            This exposes one of the obvious flaws in your approach. Comparing 19th and 20th century novelists with a 16th and 17th century player/playwright is nonsense.<<

            The Bard saw himself more as a poet. But we’re talking about literary artists, especially of the greater sort. I appreciate that Strats want to demean their man as much as possible, and regard him as a hack playwright, writing for a largely illiterate audience, intent only on maximising bums on seats.

            > Shakespeare was on the ground floor of a new form of entertainment<<

            How come this supposed ‘new form’ came into existence only in England? And only for the briefest of periods? Does it ever occur to you that you might have been misled? Here’s a tip: if the proposition (or the scenario) is impossible or unprecedented, apply some scepticism (e.g. writers growing up in illiterate households are unknown; authors with illiterate daughters are unknown; educated Elizabethans with clumsy illegible signatures are unknown).

            > Shakespeare did not make his living on book sales. His plays were written for performance by his company. As a sharer in the company, and later as a householder in the Globe and Blackfriars<<

            The Stratford man got rich before ‘Shake-speare’ had a reputation (and, under the Strat timetable, written only a few plays). His two tranches of spending (buying New Place early in 1597 and tithes in 1605) both followed extensive periods of plague and closure of the theatres.

            >> “We of the craft (poets) are all crazy”. It is in their nature to be ‘troubled’. Most appear to be strongly bipolar, often with Most appear to be strongly bipolar, often with strong suicidal tendencies when ‘down’ but capable of immense output while ‘up’. A high proportion are alcoholics, no doubt from the s ame reasons that give rise to their creativity.

            > But Shakespeare was not Byron, or anyone else, and your generalizations from a particular poet <<

            I pointed you to lists of dozens. I could have made that hundreds, or even thousands.

            http://www.neuroticpoets.com/
            https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/605c/7e68a78ac5fad87e1edf4fd2a8195e924739.pdf
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28277566
            http://rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/childhood%20IQ%20and%20bipolar%20link.pdf

            > born nearly 200 years after Shakespeare’s death make no more sense<<

            The pattern (of ‘craziness’ in authors and other artists) is cross-cultural, commented upon by Socrates and other ancients, and rampant throughout the Renaissance. As ever, Strats are obliged to make an exception for their man and their (supposed) English historical episode.

            In fact anyone, with the slightest sensibility who reads or sees the plays, will often have to conclude ” . . the guy who wrote this stuff was a nut . . . someone deeply psychologically disturbed, on the edge of sanity”. Also, ‘madness’ was a frequent theme. His plays are full of mad or semi-mad people, or those pretending to be so. Take a look at Hamlet, or Macbeth, or Lear, or Coriolanus, or Titus Andronicus, or Timon of Athens or Winter’s Tale.

            > Simple, if he was pushed into an arranged marriage with Oxford’s daughter against his liking, and he refused to consummate the marriage, he could move for annulment for lack of issue. As an Earl, his marriage served the state purpose of continuing his line; his primary job was (like the young royal princes of today) to p roduce an heir.<<

            Not an answer. Most nobles had arranged marriages and produced heirs. They often also had mistresses. There would be no advantages, and huge costs, in doing whatever it is you imagine De Vere might have been up to. There is no record — ever — of any noble behaving so erratically and irrationally.

            > The fact is Oxford denied paternity. The question is why he would do so. Was it that he had some reason to believe that the child was not his own? <<

            He had some reason. Eventually, he came to see that it was false. End of story. He put a lot of his pain into ‘Othello’ and all those other plays about the consequences of wholly unjustified jealousy by foolish husbands of their innocent wives.

            > If not, he seems remarkably malevolent.<<

            He confesses so. Read the plays, or go to see them. (But skip the fatuous Stratfordian commentaries.)

            > Sure way of ending a marriage? What does that mean? Divorces were not easy to come by in the sixteenth century. As a lord, he couldn’t divorce his wife without permission by the monarch (who was also the head of the church). On the other hand, if he never consummated the marriage, he could justly seek an annulment.<<

            It’s your crazy theory. If Oxford had such devious plans, he’d have done something about them in the seven years between learning of his wife’s pregnancy and their reconciliation;.

            > The real “bed trick” is for a man to be presented with the prospect of being seen as a cuckold when his wife turns up pregnant. Fait accompli. <<

            Do you really believe that an Elizabethan noble (or any male at any time) would arrange, or connive at, a fake scandal that presented him as a cuckold?

            As you have discovered, it’s never easy to contrive even remotely plausible historical theories. Give them a little thought and one touch turns them into dust. Stratfordian theories, about the Sonnets based on Southampton being the Fair Youf, fail in a similar manner (the Stratford man supposedly being hired by the noble family to write passionately erotic poems to their young homosexual scion in order to encourage him to marry someone . . . anyone . . and have an heir). The amazing thing to me is that so many anti-Strats blindly adopt almost identical nonsense.

            > The value he placed on the works is demonstrated by the company’s refusal to publish many of the works when they were still part of their repertoire. <<

            Just not true. Stratfordian dating of the plays relies on the first (‘acceptable’) mention in the historical record. More often than not, this is the publication of the quarto. Strats therefore date the writing of the play to shortly before that publication.

            > You asked whether the “known facts” “fit those of Oxford,” and implied that Oxford “become almost insanely jealous about his wife’s behaviour.” There are no “known facts” supporting this point.<<

            Your reading of the historical record is systematically perverse. You might as well claim that the Trojans would have been delighted to see their city destroyed.

          • headlight

            The Bard saw himself more as a poet.

            There is no evidence about how the author of the works saw himself. Your imagination is not evidence.

            But we’re talking about literary artists, especially of the greater sort.

            Here’s where you try to change the subject since you have no argument.

            I appreciate that Strats want to demean their man as much as possible, and regard him as a hack playwright, writing for a largely illiterate audience, intent only on maximising bums on seats.

            What’s your theory? I’m suggesting that Shakespeare was popular at the time, both as a player and writer; as a result, his theatrical company was successful, attracted sizable paying audiences, and was eventually selected as the King’s Men by James, where they played many times at court in Whitehall. How that demeans Shakespeare is a mystery.

            How come this supposed ‘new form’ came into existence only in England? And only for the briefest of periods? Does it ever occur to you that you might have been misled? Here’s a tip: if the proposition (or the scenario) is impossible or unprecedented, apply some scepticism (e.g. writers growing up in illiterate households are unknown; authors with illiterate daughters are unknown; educated Elizabethans with clumsy illegible signatures are unknown).

            What on earth are you talking about? I don’t have time, space or inclination to teach you about the development of theater in the 16th and 17th century, but it was not isolated to England, nor a brief phenomenon.

          • Paul Crowley

            > What on earth are you talking about? I don’t have time, space or inclination to teach you about the development of theater in the 16th and 17th century, but it was not isolated to England, nor a brief phenomenon.<<

            List the major cities of Early Modern Europe: Paris, Rome, London, Madrid, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Oslo, Milan, Venice, Florence, Frankfurt, Antwerp, Brussels, Geneva, Lyons, Moscow, Vienna, Prague, Krakow . . . . Go further, if you like, and list the major cities outside Europe, in the Ottoman Empire, the Arab world, Persia, India, China, Africa . . . .
            Then ask yourself: How many theatres, open to the common people, prospered in each of these cities in 1400? In 1450? In 1500? In 1550? In 1600? In 1650? In 1700? In 1750? And in 1800?

            The answer in every case, except one, will be “Zero”. That one will be London in 1600. Why was London in 1600 such an exception to this otherwise universal rule?

            The answer is that theatres did exist _within_ most major European royal courts, sometimes spreading out a little among the aristocracies. There were plenty of travelling groups of entertainers that put on shows in open public places. But the kind of public theatres seen in London were unknown elsewhere — for many reasons. One was that
            they were thought too dangerous — as indeed they were, being ideal places to inspire and foment rebellion.

            In England the monarch wanted public theatres to exist, in spite of the political danger. A major element of her motivation to allow them was to provide a cover for the publication of the great works she enjoyed so much and which she knew would come to be seen as the glory of her age.

            Those works were not publishable for what they were: frequently roman-a-clefs centered on her own person and her own court. She knew that a slight distance, and a ridiculously silly tale, would be more than enough to fool the newly-literate, hopelessly gullible, fractionally-educated “middle-classes” of her day. She might have been surprised to see how little has changed in this respect over the following 400 years.

            >> In fact anyone, with the slightest sensibility who reads or sees the plays, will often have to conclude ” . . the guy who wrote this stuff was a nut . . . someone deeply psychologically disturbed, on the edge of sanity”.

            > Actually, I have that reaction reading your theories.<<

            Note the non-answer. Do you accept or deny my point?

            >>> he seems remarkably malevolent.<> He confesses so. Read the plays, or go to see them.

            > Round and round you go. You’re claiming here that Oxford confesses his mistreatment of his first wife only through the plays; and that the way we know Oxford wrote the plays is that the characters reflect Oxford’s biography.<<

            All that matters (as regards the authorship question) is the strength of the (alleged) parallel. You’ll never see anything so powerful nor so persuasive for the Stratford man. Nothing in his life illuminates the works. Nothing in the works reflects in his life. Whereas with true authors (such as Oxford) the bell rings true time and time again.

            > I’m trying to explain the observable facts: Oxford claimed that he was not the father of Anne’s daughter . . . For some reason, you dismiss the possibility that Oxford was right.<<

            You’re missing the observable fact that Oxford was initially delighted to hear of the pregnancy, and remained so for several months. Something then got into his brain. Maybe he heard that his wife had been unfaithful. Later he changed his mind presumably, at least in part, on the basis of the physical appearance of his daughter.

            > many of the leading roles in Shakespeare’s plays were first performed by Richard Burbage;<<

            No evidence for this whatsoever. Burbage was born in 1567, and was a child when most of the plays were first performed.

          • headlight

            Then ask yourself: How many theatres, open to the common people, prospered in each of these cities in 1400? In 1450? In 1500? In 1550? In 1600? In 1650? In 1700? In 1750? And in 1800?

            The answer in every case, except one, will be “Zero”.

            Unless you count the Commedia dell’arte in Italy beginning in the 1560s, Spanish “Golden Age” theater contemporaneous with Shakespeare’s heyday, and French Baroque theater. All public theaters with paid audiences. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_theatre#High_and_late_Medieval_theatre.2C_1050.E2.80.931500

            > Round and round you go. You’re claiming here that Oxford confesses his mistreatment of his first wife only through the plays; and that the way we know Oxford wrote the plays is that the characters reflect Oxford’s biography.<<

            All that matters (as regards the authorship question) is the strength of the (alleged) parallel.

            It’s a lot easier to get a parallel if you assume that your candidate wrote the work and that the work reflects your candidate. By the way, if you’ve obtained Fischer’s book, this fallacy is discussed on page 49. https://archive.org/stream/HistoriansFallaciesTowardALogicOfHistoricalThought/historians_fallacies_toward_a_logic_of_historical_thought#page/n71/mode/2up

            You’re missing the observable fact that Oxford was initially delighted to hear of the pregnancy, and remained so for several months. Something then got into his brain. Maybe he heard that his wife had been unfaithful.

            Maybe so — or maybe he figured out the math and that she couldn’t have been pregnant by him.

            Later he changed his mind presumably, at least in part, on the basis of the physical appearance of his daughter.

            “Presumably?” There’s no evidence to support the claim that he saw a resemblance.

            He changed his mind because his father-in-law told him to, at a time when Cecil held all the cards. Oxford had impregnated a “maid” of honor, under the protection and patronage of the Queen — disrespecting the maid of honor is disrespecting the Queen herself. Since he was already married, he couldn’t legitimize the bastard son. So he took the only way out — his father-in-law saved him and he reconciled with Anne. Cecil continued to complain about his son-in-law’s mistreatment of Anne in May 1587, just a year before her death.

            > many of the leading roles in Shakespeare’s plays were first performed by Richard Burbage;<<

            No evidence for this whatsoever. Burbage was born in 1567, and was a child when most of the plays were first performed.

            You’re foolish. Your nutty make-believe timeline is not evidence either.

          • Paul Crowley

            >> Then ask yourself: How many theatres, open to the common people, prospered in each of these cities in 1400? In 1450? In 1500? In 1550? In 1600? In 1650? In 1700? In 1750? And in 1800?
            The answer in every case, except one, will be “Zero”.

            > Unless you count the Commedia dell’arte in Italy beginning in the 1560s<<

            As I said: performed in open places. No theatres open to the public, with audiences of common people, of the sort imagined by Stratfordians for London.

            > Spanish “Golden Age” theater contemporaneous with Shakespeare’s heyday, and French Baroque theater. All public theaters with paid audiences. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…<<

            The common people of Italy did not speak nor understand Italian. The common people of France did not speak nor understand French. The common people of Spain did not speak nor understand Spanish. The vernacular of each province (and often each locality) in each of these countries was different and incomprehensible to its neighbours. Itinerant actors could only entertain them with mime based on stock characters, with music, juggling, tumbling boys, etc. Courtiers, state officials, army officers, etc., were required to speak, and usually to read and write in the official language of the country, and they made up the audiences for the likes of Lope de Vega — but they were a small fraction of the population.

            >> All that matters (as regards the authorship question) is the strength of the (alleged) parallel.

            It’s a lot easier to get a parallel if you assume that your candidate wrote the work and that the work reflects your candidate. <<

            A consideration of a hypothesis that X (or Y or Z) wrote the works requires merely the _working_ assumption (for that brief time) that X (or Y or Z) wrote the works. I note that you (like others of a religious disposition) are completely incapable of considering any hypothesis at odds with what you were taught at school. For you, it would be logically, morally, epistemologically, ethically and religiously wrong to allow yourself to consider the possibility that someone other than your illiterate yeoman wrote the works. It would be heretical . . . haram.

            > By the way, if you’ve obtained Fischer’s book, this fallacy is discussed on page 49. https://archive.org/stream/… <<

            There is no fallacy here. I don’t recall any Oxfordian identifying De Vere as the author because of this theme in Othello.

            Scientific and historical theories cannot be proved, they can only be disproved. If Oxfordian theories were false (as, in fact, some are) it’s usually trivially easy to show how and why. Stratfordians rarely try. They don’t engage because whenever they get near, they get battered.

            In this case, you should be keen to undermine the parallels by showing how common it was for husbands to falsely accuse their wives of immorality, leave them, and then years later, reconcile with them. So list all the Elizabethan courtiers, and all the other claimants to the authorship, who could just as well have had the motivation to harp on this recurring canonical theme.

            Likewise, you could point out the OTHER authors who often put this theme into their works. (Again let’s see your list). And then you could show how these (purely theoretical) authors had, in fact, happy marriages, or were single, or gay.

            But no chance of that, nor anything like it.

            >> You’re missing the observable fact that Oxford was initially delighted to hear of the pregnancy, and remained so for several months. Something then got into his brain. Maybe he heard that his wife had been unfaithful.

            > Maybe so — or maybe he figured out the math and that she couldn’t have been pregnant by him.<<

            How often have you heard (in history) of:
            (1) Male Y being informed by Female X that she is pregnant by him;
            (2) Male Y expressing delight at the news
            (3) Continuing to do so for many months
            (4) Then one day ‘figuring out the math’ and repudiating his parentage . . .?

            Let’s see your list here. I’d ask you then to apply the concept of probability to such questions, but I know it’s foreign to you. I might as well ask the Pope to apply probability to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

            >> Later he changed his mind presumably, at least in part, on the basis of the physical appearance of his daughter.

            > “Presumably?” There’s no evidence to support the claim that he saw a resemblance.<<

            You think that the question never came up? No one who knew the families ever looked at the child, nor took a view on the similarities to, or the dissimilarities from, any of the De Veres or their cousins?

            Since we often lack good evidence that historical people defecated, do you routinely question the possibility? Likewise for living people. Surely you don’t think that Taylor Swift actually defecates?

            >> Burbage was born in 1567, and was a child when most of the plays were first performed.

            > You’re foolish. Your nutty make-believe timeline is not evidence either.<<

            I can — unlike Strats — be precise about particular plays, explaining how, why and when they were written, and how they couldn’t have been written or first performed at any other time. But, more generally, are you not astonished that Strats can’t relate any canonical play to current events, other than with the vaguest of arm-waves, e.g. ” . . there were food riots, so that’s when Coriolanus must have been written . . . ”

            By the way — a question you first dodged, then deleted,
            >> In fact anyone, with the slightest sensibility who reads or sees the plays, will often have to conclude ” . . the guy who wrote this stuff was a nut . . . someone deeply psychologically disturbed, on the edge of sanity”.

            > Actually, I have that reaction reading your theories.<<

            Note the non-answer. Do you accept or deny my point?

          • headlight

            I think your real point is that only a complete sociopath could act as Oxford did for his whole life — completely self-centered, treating his servants, wives, children, relatives and everyone around him as objects for his use. It certainly is hard for me to imagine being like that, and I’m sure you’re the same in that regard — but unfortunately, there’s really no evidence that Oxford was anything but a selfish, entitled lout.

          • Nat Whilk

            Oxford—that shrill, self-pitying, ungifted man—had merely talked of investing in the Frobisher venture. As Frobisher himself wrote to Leicester on 1 October 1581:

            “My L. of Oxforde … bares me in hand he wolle beye the Edwarde Boneaventar, and Mr Bowland & I have offrede feyftene hondrethe poundes for here, bute they howlde her at eyghtene hondrethe. We shall not go throwe wt anethyenge tille your honores retorne…”

            To bear in hand, according to the OED is “to profess, pretend; to assure, to lead (one) to believe; to delude, abuse with false pretences.” Frobisher knew that the earl was lying, making easy promises never to be realized—that was always Oxford’s style.

            As for Oxford’s abuse of Anne Cecil, certainly the thing was common gossip. On 3 February 1582, Richard Madox, lately Fellow of All Souls, and about to embark as chaplain to the Edward Bonaventure, wrote in his journal: “Cowrt newes … I herd … that my Lord of Oxford had taken his wyfe agayn and that my Lord treasurer shold mary a second daughter to my Lord Wentworth desyring rather a man than money.” Oxford, he implies, is no man: perhaps, like Gabriel Harvey, he means “no man but minion”; or perhaps in the broader sense, no honorable man, no mensch. And Cecil, whose ambition had chained him to one disastrous caddish millstone of a son-in-law, has no desire for a second.

            A month later, Madox noted:

            “My Lord of Oxford fowght with M. Knevet abowt the quarel of Besse Bavisar and was hurt and Gerret his man slayn, which greeved the Lord treasurer so muche the more for that the yerl hath cumpanie wyth his wyfe syth Christmas and taken hir to favowr but throe this mishap and throe the payns he took at the mariage of an other dawghter to my Lord Went[worth] on Shrovemunday my Lord Treasurer was syck. God send hym health for he is the health of the whole land.”

            (It’s worth noting that in Madox’s closely observed diary of the voyage, he does not otherwise mention Oxford, who had no share in the venture or the ship.)

  • old bill

    Mothers ruin for tourists,