Sunday, April 22, 2007

The 17 percent solution

Today's New York Times's Education section has a nice, brief article relating the results of a survey they conducted on how the Shakespeare authorship question is treated in colleges and universities around the U.S. The Times's William S. Niederkorn begins by quoting the top result from the poll: 82. That's the percent of Shakespeare professors who say there's no good reason to question the tautology at the core of Shakespeare studies: Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.

Well, perhaps I'm just a half-glass-full sorta guy. (Waiter, more vino, per favore!) But this scribbler does take some solace in the fact that 17 percent of the 265 surveyed said that there was anywhere from possibly to definitely good reason to question the conventional belief that Will Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon was a poet or a playwright. As it happens, 17 is also the percentage of professors who had read "Shakespeare" By Another Name.

17 is a start. But, as all good scientific papers conclude: More work, clearly, needs to be done.


jhm said...

All true, but the curious thing is that given 29% read J. Thomas Looney, and 26% read Charlton Ogburn, only 17% think that there is 'possibly' a good reason to question orthodoxy. What about that other 9-12 percent? I suggest that they must have read someone else's take on these author's works?

TBrew said...

I have spoken with professors at my university who have been 'convinced' by SBAN of the de Vere theory. I don't expect them to come out of the woodwork any time soon, though.