The Eye of Horus
The Eye of Horus

Article Abstracts

Tired with a Peacock's Tail: All Eyes on the Upstart Crow
It is contended that the warning to three play-writing colleagues in Greene’s Groatsworth of Witte has never been evaluated with the dispassionate objectivity it deserves. This on account of its de facto status as the foundation stone of Shakespeare’s professional biography. While not underestimating the tenacious hold of a 240 year old tradition, this paper examines the evidence for a contrary viewpoint. A fresh investigation of the critical sentence that has been claimed to identify Shakespeare finds the evidence in his support weak. By comparison, a more substantial and coherent alternative case can presented for the actor-impresario Edward Alleyn. Considerable doubts are therefore raised as to whether Greene’s Groatsworth actually constitutes Shakespeare’s firstconfirmed appearance as an actor and playwright. A subsequent paper will examine how the theory of Alleyn being the target of attack fits in with the wider context of Greene’s pamphlet.


In Quest of the Crow Maligned for the Unyarking of Robert Greene
In a recent article (Bull, 2020), it was argued that the supposed reference to Shakespeare, coming in a single sentence in the epistle to Greenes Groats-worth of Witte (1592), actually fits the actor and impressario Edward Alleyn with far greater fidelity. This paper examines the wider context to Greene’s denunciation of the “vpstart Crow” and argues that there is ancillary evidence before, within and after Groats-worth lending further support to the case made for Alleyn. .

Fowl Satirical Conceits: B.J. Twits the Bird of Avon
Through his contribution to the First Folio of 1623, Ben Jonson played a seminal role in shaping Shakespeare’s historical legacy. His fulsome praise of Shakespeare’s qualities succeeded in creating the image of a sublime and gentle poet praiseworthy to the point of adulation. However, he wasn’t always so friendly. In 1599, he wrote Every Man Out of his Humour, which, through the ignoble shifts of Sogliardo and Sordido, satirised a shadow version of Shakespeare as a morally-destitute, nouveau riche fool. It is generally assumed that this unpleasant portrayal was a one-off ambush by a sour and curmudgeonly writer who was striving at the time to make a name for himself as a satirist. This paper argues that Jonson’s lampooning of Shakespeare was more protracted than has hitherto been recognised and can, in fact, be traced back to two earlier plays. It is posited that the characters Peter Onion in The Case is Altered and Philip Sparrow in Guy of Warwick both satirise Shakespeare by mocking his efforts to attain gentle status through the acquisition of a coat of arms. In addition, the two plays parody crucial scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merry Wives of Windsor. As such, they not only add to our knowledge of how the man from Stratford was perceived by his great rival, but also constitute previously unacknowledged antecedents to the “War of the Theatres.”

Marlowe and the Cabala: A Cabalistic and Numerological Subtext to Tamburlaine. A paper in two parts. The first part examines the background to Marlowe's use of Cabala and esoteric numerology. The Christian Kabbalah has been shown to have had a considerable influence on the other major writers of his generation and is likely to have been particularly well known to the author of Doctor Faustus, as this is a play in which two of the key exponents of Cabalistic philosophy, Giordano Bruno and Henry Cornelius Agrippa, exert a powerful presence. The second part examines Tamburlaine the Great from a cabalistic perspective. The analysis reveals a significant philosophical subtext to the play. The contention that the author may have incorporated further such symbolism by the related numerical means of gematria and notarikon is investigated and found to be well supported. An analysis of the numerological patterns emerging by these techniques sheds new light on the play.

Kit Marlowe Wrote Shakespeare’s Sonnets? This essay, which can be downloaded on request, was entered for the 2008 Calvin and Rose G Hoffman Prize. The critical evidence which is presented resides in a message woven into Shakespeare's Sonnets by acrostic means. The message is short, direct and unequivocal. It simply states, "Kit Marlowe Wrote This". As an acrostic message, it provides an unanswerable case for Marlowe’s authorship of Shakespeare’s most personal work. The secondary encryption method by which the acrostic is authenticated rests upon the inscrutable laws of mathematical probability.




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