Bunch of people sending me this WSJ article. It’s funny, I actually saw it last night around 11pm – on the new WSJ application for my iPhone. But I was in no position to blog about it at the time.
Anyway, the article is about Justice John Paul Stevens, 34 years on the Supreme Court and an admitted Oxfordian.
While it is interesting to see actual justices arguing the point – after all, they’re supposed to be some of the best at the art of the debate – I still disagree with some of the foundational points:
"Where are the books? You can't be a scholar of that depth and not have any books in your home," Justice Stevens says. "He never had any correspondence with his contemporaries, he never was shown to be present at any major event -- the coronation of James or any of that stuff. I think the evidence that he was not the author is beyond a reasonable doubt."
He was never shown to be present is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he must not have been there? Really? The fact that correspondence is lost means it never existed? Because if that’s true then there’s no such thing as the Ur-Hamlet.
I also hate the argument that people who “like to think that a commoner can be such a brilliant writer,” which seems to imply that the authorship people think this can *not* be the case.
Then they just turn stupid, in my opinion. Justice Stevens, upon realizing that the nearby Folger owns a Bible that once belonged to De Vere (Oxford), makes this wild case that “since the ‘bed trick’, (where the man thinks the woman is someone else) came from the old testament, then Oxford would have underlined those passages in his Bible.” Ummm…. what? Given that they found no such underlining, should we therefore argue this as evidence that the author was NOT Oxford?
I think all this article ends up showing us is that our justices, while likely very smart men who can form a persuasive argument, are admittedly not as well schooled in their literature. Stevens himself refers to his wife as “a much better expert in literature than I”, and she thinks he’s wrong.
The article fails to mention that Oxford died before several plays, including The Tempest and Macbeth, were written.