How Stratfordians Cheat


    When a paradigm is in conflict, proponents feel attacked and some will twist the facts to bring their views into a broader perspective.  Consider the remarkable discovery by Hardin Craig regarding the so called Dering manuscript of Henry IV. (Folger Document V.b.34)

    Craig was a well established Shakespearian scholar in the mid 1950s, when he noticed the manuscript of Henry IV, extant in an Elizabethan hand, was, in all probability, an early pre publication version of the play, when it was one part, before it was expanded and became the two part version we now know.  Craig was not a manuscript scholar, but his insight was based on his solid background in textual studies.  As Editor in Chief of an important new collected works of Shakespeare, Craig knew the text of the manuscript was more primitive than anything in print.  More comprehensive studies would prove the manuscript lacks "bridge lines" meaning that it "jump" seamlessly  from what is now one scene to another or from one act into another act or, in some cases, from what is now part one to part two.  How would such cutting, if it is cutting, be possible?  How could anyone cut the two part version down into a single part version without adding "bridge lines?"  And why cut ten percent from what is now Part One and 70% from Part Two?  Why not abridge the two parts equally?

    It was a landmark discovery involving the only Elizabethan Shakespeare manuscript known to scholars .  It should have made Hardin Craig world famous.  Instead it put him at odds with the Shakespearian establishment on numerous fronts.  The confrontation became bitter and  nearly ruined Hardin Craig.

    The paradigm problem is straight forward.  If the manuscript represents a prepublication version of Henry IV it proves Shakespeare revised his materials in a methodical fashion, a viewpoint at odds with the Stratfordian paradigm.  It also proves Shakespeare maintained a "scriptorium" like work habit, carefully producing authorial fair copies of his manuscripts and preserving them, as once maintained by Pollard, but rejected by Gregg for "want of a connecting link...namely proof that Shakespeare produced authorial fair copies..." (Editorial Problems)   Worse yet the manuscript evidences thousands of proof marks that testify to a methodical proofing of this particular document for a subsequent transcription,  strongly suggesting this particular manuscript was in the authorial stream leading to the two part version.  Indeed similarities in style between pages that are now segregated by all of Part Two, suggest that parts of this manuscript were once part of a very short version of  play, a version which was expanded by interleafing of authorial pages.  None of this "fits" with Stratfordian theory about how Shakespeare wrote.  So Craig's theory was rejected without due consideration.

    Indeed not satisfied with maligning Craig's scholarship and reputation, two scholars, G. Blakemore Evans and G. W. Wllliams,  hired by the Folger Shakespeare Library, which owns the manuscript, misstated Craig's published opinions about the manuscript's provenance, falsely claiming that Craig agreed with them and believed the manuscript was dependent on the printed texts! Which he emphatically did not.

See for yourself!


This footnote implies that Craig's essay on the manuscript suggests it was dependent on the printed materials.  This is precisely the opposite of Craig's viewpoint, which concluded the manuscript predated the printed texts and represented Shakespeare's early conception of Henry IV, when it was "one part, not two."

     I have repeatedly petitioned the Folger and its house organ, the Shakespeare Quarterly, for a simple correction.  Just a statement that Craig believed the manuscript to be a prepublication version of Henry IV, along with an acknowledgement that the printed facsimile inadvertently misstated Craig's viewpoint .  But no such correction has ever been published.  Such is the power of paradigm blindness.


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