Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DIO, the International Journal of Scientific History on Marlowe-as-Shakespeare

Click here to read Dennis Rawlins's truly compelling (and highly amusing) paper entitled "Marlowe Created Shakespeare" in the latest issue of DIO, the International Journal of Scientific History.  Since 1991, DIO has held an interest in exposing historical hoaxes of various types (read about their work regarding the North Pole discovery here in the New York Times). International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society members Peter Farey, Ros Barber, and Samuel Blumenfeld receive nice plugs in Rawlins's must-read paper.


Peter Farey said...

Great stuff. But what a pity that it was written too early to take in the campaign by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells. He could have had a field day!

RRaymo said...

I truly enjoyed Mr. Rawlins's paper.

DresdenDoll said...

As Rawlins points out, why would the alleged Shakespeare call Venus & Adonis "the first heir of my invention"? How do Stratfordians reconcile this with the chronology - e.g. that the Henry trilogy was written well before Venus & Adonis?

"the first heir of my invention" is more likely Marlowe saying (wink, wink) "Here is the new me."

Peter Farey said...

The Stratfordian response is (a) that this was Shakespeare's first published work, (b) that the word 'heir' meant that the poem was legitimately his (i.e. not by anyone else), and (c) that plays would not count in any case, being considered mere trifles.

Ron Maimon said...

The stylometric evidence is misrepresented in that work, it is extremely supportive of Marlovian authorship, it is conclusive by itself. The paper pretends that it is somehow off.

Maureen Duff said...

The Stratfordians' interpretation needs over complication to make their explanation fit. The simpler Occam's Razor interpretation makes more sense, ie the poem is the first produced work under "my" newly-invented Shakespeare name. Also the style of Venus and Adonis is very similar to other poems by C. Marlowe.

Peter Farey said...

There was an interesting discussion about the meaning of the phrase "first heir of my invention" at the humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare newsgroup way back in 1999. The thread includes two lengthy pieces by Terry Ross, one on the word "invention" and the other on "heir", which anyone interested in the subject really should read. The thread also moves on to discuss the spelling of the name "Shakespeare", which is worth a look. It's at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare/ZTnz7V6AyxQ%5B1-25-false%5D.

Maureen Duff said...

I have just read the two Terry Ross posts. I was clearly wrong (above) in assuming that “invention” had our modern meaning. The 16th century literary meaning is wit, imagination - or in modern parlance, creativity. "Heir" is the legitimate offspring of the poet's wit, ie a child with a named father (or poet in this case). Terry Ross gives convincing 16th century literary examples of both. Thank you, Peter, for pointing the way.

daver852 said...

I don't find Mr. Ross's arguments persuasive at all. If one looks at Shakespeare's works, the word "invention" is used ten times in the plays, five times in the sonnets, and once in both "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrece." And while it can mean "wit or imagination," read in context, it is clear that it can also mean "plan, scheme, or stratagem" or "novelty, fresh creation, or innovation."

Peter Farey said...

This is certainly true, although I think you have missed a few! (There are in fact 25 uses of the word in the plays, and the one you give to V&A is in RoL.)

In fact, Shakespeare's use of the word covers a surprising range of the definitions given in the OED. Omitting the ones which, as far as I can see, he doesn't use, I find:

I. The action, faculty, or manner of inventing.

2. The action of devising, contriving, or making up; contrivance, fabrication.

   Humphrey of Gloucester, if thou canst accuse,
   Or aught intend'st to lay unto my charge,
   Do it without invention, suddenly,
   As I with sudden and extemporal speech
   Purpose to answer what thou canst object.
   (1H6 3.1.3-7)

   You love my son. Invention is ashamed
   Against the proclamation of thy passion
   To say thou dost not. Therefore tell me true,
   (AW 1.3.169-71)

   PAROLES Ten o'clock. Within these three hours 'twill be
   time enough to go home. What shall I say I have done?
   It must be a very plausive invention that carries it.
   (AW 4.1.24-6)

   CORIOLANUS The word is "mildly". Pray you let us go.
   Let them accuse me by invention, I
   Will answer in mine honour.
   (Cor 3.3.142-144)

   And made the most notorious geck and gull
   That e'er invention played on? Tell me why?
   (TN 5,1.340-1)

   FALSTAFF You shall hear. As God would have it, comes
   in one Mistress Page, gives intelligence of Ford's
   approach, and, by her invention and Ford's wife's
   distraction, they conveyed me into a buck-basket.
   (MWW 3.5.177-80)

3.b. In art and literary composition: The devising of a subject, idea, or method of treatment, by exercise of the intellect or imagination; ‘the choice and production of such objects as are proper to enter into the composition of a work of art’ (Gwilt Archit. Gloss.).

   How innocent she died, and if your love
   Can labour aught in sad invention,
   Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
   And sing it to her bones, sing it tonight.
   (Ado 5.1.274-7)

   For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
   When thou thyself dost give invention light?

   If there be nothing new, but that which is
   Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled,
   Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss
   The second burden of a former child!

4. The faculty of inventing or devising; power of mental creation or construction; inventiveness.

   Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,
   Nor age so eat up my invention,
   (Ado 4.1.195-6)

   Choose your revenge yourself,
   Impose me to what penance your invention
   Can lay upon my sin.
   (Ado 5.1.264-6)

   And in our name, what she requires. Add more
   As thine invention offers.
   (A&C 3.12.27-9)

   JAQUES I'll give you a verse to this note that I made
   yesterday in despite of my invention.
   (AYL 2.5.43-4)

(to be continued)

Peter Farey said...


   CHORUS O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
   The brightest heaven of invention:
   (H5 Pr 1-2)

   And why indeed "Naso" but for smelling out
   the odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention?
   (LLL 4.2.124-5)

   where I will prove those
   verses to be very unlearned, neither savouring of poetry,
   wit, nor invention.
   (LLL 4.2.155-7)

   O what excuse can my invention make
   When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed?
   (RoL 225-6)

   ANGELO When I would pray and think, I think and pray
   To several subjects: heaven hath my empty words,
   Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,
   Anchors on Isabel;
   (MfM 2.4.1-4)

   O, she will
   sing the savageness out of a bear! Of so high and
   plenteous wit and invention.
   (Oth 4.1.184-6)

   Look in your glass and there appears a face
   That overgoes my blunt invention quite,

   "Fair, kind, and true" varying to other words,
   And in this change is my invention spent,

   SIR TOBY Go, write it in a martial hand, be curst and
   brief. It is no matter how witty so it be eloquent and
   full of invention. Taunt him with the licence of ink.
   (TN 3.2.40-2)

5. The manner in which a thing is devised or constructed; invented style, fashion, design. Obs.

   I say she never did invent this letter.
   This is a man's invention, and his hand.
   (AYL 4.2.29-30)

   You must not now deny it is your hand.
   Write from it if you can, in hand or phrase,
   Or say 'tis not your seal, not your invention.
   (TN 5.1.328-30)

II. The thing invented.

6.a. Something devised; a method of action, etc. contrived by the mind; a device, contrivance, design, plan, scheme.

   KING EDWARD What if both Louis and Warwick be appeased
   By such invention as I can devise?
   (3H6 4.1.33-4)

7. A work or writing as produced by exercise of the mind or imagination; a literary composition. Obs.

   Women's gentle brain
   Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,
   Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect
   Than in their countenance.
   (AYL 4.2.34-7)

   Why write I still all one, ever the same,
   And keep invention in a noted weed,

8. A fictitious statement or story; a fabrication, fiction, figment.

   SECOND LORD DUMAINE None in the world, but return
   with an invention, and clap upon you two or three    probable lies.
   (AW 3.6.97-9)

   Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed
   And my invention thrive, Edmond the base
   Shall to th' legitimate. I grow, I prosper.
   (KL 1.2.19-21)

   MACBETH We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed
   In England and in Ireland, not confessing
   Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
   With strange invention.
   (Mac 3.1,31-34)

9. Something devised or produced by original contrivance; a method or means of doing something, an instrument, an art, etc. originated by the ingenuity of some person, and previously unknown; an original contrivance or device.

   IAGO I am about it, but indeed my invention
   Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frieze_
   It plucks out brains and all. But my muse labours,
   And thus she is delivered:
   (Oth 2.1.128-31)

As we can see about half of them come under definition 4 - "The faculty of inventing or devising; power of mental creation or construction; inventiveness", which is the one that Terry Ross was illustrating.

The question is which of the others best illustrate how "invention" can be the thing of which Venus and Adonis can be the "heir", rather than being the invention itself.

Peter F.

daver852 said...

Well, I would say that if one looks at the dedication as a sort of pun, one that is deliberately designed to resemble the stock dedication of the day, one could take the second sense, i.e., fabrication, and then the customary anti-Stratfordian interpretation makes perfect sense to me. Another item is the promise of "some graver labour," which may be interpreted as meaning that Marlowe will produce a future work from beyond the grave (as in Mercutio's 'Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man'). Finally, does no one besides myself find it strange that the word "invention," which was by no means a common one in Elizabethan times, appears not only in the dedication to "Venus and Adonis," but also in Thorpe's dedication to "The First Book of Lucan"? Was Thorpe dropping a hint?

Peter Farey said...

Certainly the anti-Stratfordian argument has always been that "the first heir of my invention" was intended to be read by most people in the way that Terry Ross described, but that it was possible to read it in an entirely different way which fitted the anti-Strat scenario.

What is less clear, however, is just what that hidden meaning actually is. In our case, for example, does the "my" mean Christopher Marlowe (whose "thing invented" is William Shakespeare) or William Shakespeare (who has been invented), and which specific OED definition of "invention" is being used if it isn't OED 4, "The faculty of inventing or devising; power of mental creation or construction; inventiveness" as the Stratfordians would have it?

Yes, the possible double meaning of "graver labour" is a nice one for Marlovians, isn't it? I can't say that I find Thorpe's using the word "invention" twice all that strange, however. No more than Shakespeare's using it five times in the Sonnets.

daver852 said...

I have always thought there was more to Thorpe's dedication to "The First Book of Lucan" than meets the eye. Thorpe would have been one of those who know Marlowe was still alive. Consider the line, "a Dedication in the memory of that pure Elementall wit, Chr. Marlow; whose ghoast or Genius is to be seene walke the Churchyard3 in (at the least) three or foure sheets." Sheets can be taken to mean sheets of paper, of course, but can it also not mean a disguise, i.e., that Marlowe had used not one, but several pseudonyms? The use of a sheet as a disguise was well known, as in "The Atheist's Tragedy."

"What have wee here? A Sheet!
a hair! a beard!
What end was this disguise
intended for?"

Indeed, could not Thorpe's dedication be a response to Blount's dedication to "Hero and Leander," in which Blount refers to Marlowe being dead a half dozen times? Perhaps it was a subtle way of letting him know that Marlowe still very much alive.