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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 17 15:30:01 UTC 2014

Thanks, Garson. I'd always heard it attributed to Mark Twain (not his real

Your notice also advances the cause of Punnoporno Critique,


On Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>

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> 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=
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org=0A=
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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