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
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.
Return to John Baker's Home