Quote family: The works Shakespeare were not written by Shakspeare but by another man of the same name

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 17 16:22:53 UTC 2014

Excellent citation! Thanks, Stephen.

Thanks for your response, JL. There is a connection to Mark Twain. He
repeated a version of the Homer quip and ascribed it to a school
child. Details will be given on the QI website within a few days; lord
willing, and if the creek don't rise.


On Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Quote family: The works Shakespeare were not written by
>               Shakspeare but by another man of the same name
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting! Here's an apparent use in 1860:=0A=
> "This [argument about a planet discovery] rivals the new discovery about Sh=
> akespeare--that the well know plays and poems were not by William Shakespea=
> re, but by another person of the same name!"=0A=
> The Spectator, January 14, 1860 p. 38 col. 1 GoogleB=0A=
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DQi8_AQAAIAAJ&pg=3DPA38&dq=3D%22but+by+an=
> other+*+of+the+same+name%22&hl=3Den&sa=3DX&ei=3DscfwU-CGLciI8gH3xoGYDA&ved=
> =3D0CCIQuwUwATgK#v=3Donepage&q=3D%22but%20by%20another%20*%20of%20the%20sam=
> e%20name%22&f=3Dfalse=0A=
> =0A=
> Stephen Goranson=0A=
> http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/=0A=
> =0A=
> ________________=0A=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> Garson:=0A=
> =0A=
> Jonathan Lighter wrote:=0A=
>> "Shakespeare" means many things besides "wanker." That's why=0A=
>> his works are acclaimed. (Or, as seems likely, works written by=0A=
>> someone else of the same name.)=0A=
> =0A=
> JL alludes to an old joke that has been applied to Homer and=0A=
> Shakespeare. Here are two exemplars:=0A=
> =0A=
> 1) The Homeric Poems were not written by Homer, but by another person=0A=
> of the same name.=0A=
> =0A=
> 2) The plays of Shakespeare were not written by Shakspeare but by=0A=
> another man of the same name.=0A=
> =0A=
> I was asked to explore the history of this family of quips which has=0A=
> been connected to Mark Twain, G. K. Chesterton, Lewis Carroll, Israel=0A=
> Zangwill, Jerome K. Jerome, Aldous Huxley and others.=0A=
> =0A=
> Here are the earliest citations I've found at this point.=0A=
> =0A=
> The spelling "Shakspeare" was used for "Shakespeare" in the following=0A=
> two excerpts which made it harder to locate in the GB database.=0A=
> =0A=
> [ref] 1868 December, The National Quarterly Review, Volume 19, Number=0A=
> 35, Article 2: Early Christian Literature, Start Page 23, Quote Page=0A=
> 33, Edward I. Sears, Editor and Proprietor, New York. (Google Books=0A=
> Full View) link [/ref]=0A=
> =0A=
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DXiUAAAAAYAAJ&q=3D%22not+written%22#v=3Ds=
> nippet&=0A=
> =0A=
> [Begin excerpt]=0A=
> This admission of the learned bishop's, that the Apocrypha was not=0A=
> written by the apostle John but by an inspired man of that name,=0A=
> reminds us forcibly of the Frenchman's criticism on the authorship of=0A=
> the plays usually attributed to Shakspeare, wherein after a careful=0A=
> review of the evidence pro and con, he comes to the conclusion that=0A=
> they were not written by Shakspeare but by another man of the same=0A=
> name!=0A=
> [End excerpt]=0A=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> [ref] 1870 May 21, Harper's Bazaar, Volume 3, Meditations Among the=0A=
> Tombs of the Washingtons by Gail Hamilton, Quote Page 322, Column 4,=0A=
> Harper & Brothers, New York. (Google Books Full View) link [/ref]=0A=
> =0A=
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DDR6NP-RgCfUC&q=3D%22not+written+by%22#v=
> =3Dsnippet&=0A=
> =0A=
> [Begin excerpt]=0A=
> What have we gained when we have reached the conclusion that the plays=0A=
> of SHAKSPEARE were not written by SHAKSPEARE, but by another man of=0A=
> the same name?=0A=
> [End excerpt]=0A=
> =0A=
> Below is the earliest instance I've found in this family of humorous=0A=
> remarks based on Homer.=0A=
> =0A=
> [ref] 1874, The Shotover Papers, Or, Echoes from Oxford, Volume 1,=0A=
> (Special Commemoration Number), Arrowlets, Quote Page 112, (No date=0A=
> was specified for this issue; the previous issue 6 was dated May 30,=0A=
> 1874; the next issue 8 was dated October 17 1874) Publisher J.=0A=
> Vincent, High Street, Oxford, England. (Google Books Full View) link=0A=
> [/ref]=0A=
> =0A=
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DVKk-AQAAMAAJ&q=3D%22not+written%22#v=3Ds=
> nippet&=0A=
> =0A=
> [Begin excerpt]=0A=
> The other day the witty D.C.L. listened gravely to a long debate among=0A=
> the dons at the High Table about the authorship of the Homeric Poems,=0A=
> and wound up the discussion thus: "I am much interested in the subject=0A=
> now before us, and I have come to the conclusion on hearing your=0A=
> arguments that the Homeric Poems were not written by Homer, but by=0A=
> another person of the same name."=0A=
> [End excerpt]=0A=
> =0A=
> Here is an example in 1840 of a discussion concerning multiple Homers=0A=
> without humorous overtones. It is this type of theory that prompted=0A=
> the comical remarks.=0A=
> =0A=
> [ref] 1840 September, The London Quarterly Review, Volume 66, Article=0A=
> 2, (Book Review of "The Plains of Troy" by Henry W. Acland), Start=0A=
> Page 189, Quote Page 194, Column 1, American Edition Published by=0A=
> Jemima M. Mason, New York. (Google Books Full View)=0A=
> =0A=
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DalQAAAAAYAAJ&q=3D%22same+name%22+#v=3Dsn=
> ippet&=0A=
> =0A=
> [Begin excerpt]=0A=
> In the next place, according to the opinion of divers great=0A=
> scholars--not Germans--for example, Mr. Payne Knight, Bishop=0A=
> Thirlwall, and others--the man who wrote the Odyssey was not the same=0A=
> man who wrote the Iliad, but another of the same name, who lived a=0A=
> long time after Homer I,. and wrote so exceedingly like him that=0A=
> almost all the world have confounded them together, like two single=0A=
> gentlemen rolled into one; and lastly, the same scholars, and many=0A=
> others, hold it clear that the man who wrote that book of the Odyssey,=0A=
> in which the above quoted passage occurs, was neither Homer I., nor=0A=
> Homer II., but another man again, whom we may properly call Homer III.=0A=
> [End excerpt]=0A=
> =0A=
> Garson=0A=
> =0A=
> ------------------------------------------------------------=0A=
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> ------------------------------------------------------------
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