Let's stop with the generalities and deal with specifics. Because its just too Red State Blue State. 50% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. That was the official view, promoted by the authority of the state. Were they correct? I could care less about what is accepted "official" policy and what is not. I speak for myself and my core belief is that there is more here than meets the eye, no matter who wrote what and there are things to possibly learn that do not get play because the issue is too politicized. And we will never agree, that is clear.
I don't want to beat this particular theme to death too long but from my view you are way off on this. And perhaps you can clarify your position. Is it that Roe is completely wrong, or mostly wrong, as your appeal to authority which I quoted twice suggests, or is it that this has been rehashed before and has no substance, that Shakespeare's Italy is a literary construct of imagination, a variation of the other position? Otherwise why post the link?
First about the Sycamores. I didn't get to LION but you are kidding right about Shakespeare's usage? He uses "sycamore" three times in 36 plays, the same as "elm". The only reference to Sycamore geographically is in the passage he cites and they are exactly where the author places them. I'll get to Yew in a second. You might have done better with "Oak". Shakespeare uses Oak 26 times in the canon, 8 times in Merry wives alone with a reference to a specific Oak. Since it is not Italy, Roe was not interested. Is it real? I don't know. But of the 26 usages of Oak, only one refers to a place. All the others are metaphors or adjectives for attributes. Of course the one "Place" is "The Duke's Oak" in MND which along with the "Temple" gives a compelling argument to a real place. So if "sycamore" in R&J is supposed to be fantasy or pure literary invention, I think you are reaching badly and have struck out. But that seems to be your modis operandi with this book anyway, reaching and striking out.
Here is a post of yours from HLAS which you did not post here.
"At the risk of pissing off Ken, I have a few other comments aboutRoe's book.
First, to revisit Roe's failure to mention the yew trees in the churchyard in which Juliet's tomb is placed, here's a quotation from Roe,
pg. 18: "I felt almost certain that everything the author 'sneaks
into' his Italian plays can be found on the ground." And on the same page: "I wanted a completely fresh approach. ... I underlined *only*
what I could glean about the settings from the words spoken by the playwright's characters--as Benvolio had done with the sycamore trees."
So contrary to Crowley's criticism, it is perfectly reasonable to
point out Roe's failure to say anything about the yew trees in the grave yard. They are mentioned by two different characters Roe believes that the more times a certain feature is mentioned the more the playwright was trying to call attention to it, no doubt for future authorship researchers to find), and in addition they are not mentioned by any of the sources Shakespeare used to write the play."
This is a valid point but as I will express later, I hope you are not pulling a Ross and using a few minor points to invalidate an entire thesis. Roe could have missed the Yew trees, or he may have looked for them and found a mall and no records. There is a way to find out rather than your pontifications. Have someone (Anti Stratfordian like Michael York or a Strat Prof) call to Verona who is in Shakespeare studies and check it out. Or as you suggested with Sycamore (which ARE there) Yew also has strong universal connotations and could have been a literary device of the author.
"The Yew is sacred to Hecate, and the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess; both are guardians of the Underworld, death and the afterlife. A lot of our ancient Yews are found in churchyards but there is no doubt that they were there before the churches were built. Many churches and churchyards once stood in a circle of Yews, which were probably a legacy of the Druids' sacred groves. At Amesbury in Wiltshire, there are 14 Yews in a churchyard and 18 at Bradford-on-Avon. All are growing on blind springs. The 99 Yews in a churchyard at Painswick in Gloucestershire were also found to be on nodes or springs. It seems likely that the Yews were planted with the intention of marking and protecting these powerful spots. A new system of dating Yews suggests that some of our most ancient and protected Yews are 4,000 years old and not 1,500 years old as previously thought."
Now on to Two Gentlemen of Verona.
I can honestly say that Roe has proven that it was possible to travel from Verona to Milan via water (Bully for you-Ken, thanks)(I won't go into the details, but instead leave it up to readers to find out themselves). However, he does not prove that Verona has a seacoast, which is what anyone closely reading the play would think the playwright assumed. Really-if you say so) Roe
himself unknowingly proves that the playwright was ignorant of Italian geography (or--more likely--he didn't care about it).
Roe makes a big deal out of the fact that Shakespeare never uses the word "seaport", and he gives a long-winded explanation of the meaning of "road", as in "roadstead" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadstead
).He also praises the playwright's knowledge and use of nautical terms.
However, Roe is mistaken in his idea that a road pertains to inland canals, even though he tries to make it so: "Along select channels of the seas, and in the large and smooth rivers the world over, there are wide places for ships to anchor called 'roads' (though some recent dictionaries call them 'roadsteads'). Roads are the preferred places for ships to ride at anchor, either to be served by lighters, or else to come up, in turn, to a nearby quay, to load or unload passengers or cargo" (37). Roe even provides a photograph of what he believes a road to be on page 58, with the cutline, ".... Landings, or 'roads,' were located inside cities and at regular intervals along the length of each canal, much like modern bus stations."
Roe is mistaken. Roads, or roadsteads, are places for ships to anchor outside harbors. Roads are not canal quays or docks, nor are they harbors. The playwright clearly refers to roads, and if he is as accurate in his use of nautical terms as Roe claims, he **cannot have meant a dock or a quay.**
Roe also ignores another term that Shakespeare has Valentine say, even though he himself quotes it: I rather would entreat thy company | Tosee the wonders of the world abroad, | Than, living dully sluggardized at home, | Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness. The term"abroad" can mean in another country, but it is very commonly used to mean "overseas" also."
Your first criticism is specific, the second ambiguous. And why at this moment should I accept you as an authority on this? Roe was in Italy. If I am to use this point of yours I would have to seek a third unbiased party, familiar with terms in the 16th century.
You should have read further before this comment. In the beginning of TOS the dialogue from Lucentio, as the men arrive in Padua, turning in an off stage direction, raising his voice to someone we haven't yet seen
"If Biondello, THOU WERT COME ASHORE,
We could at once put us in readiness,
And take lodging fit to entertain
such friends as Padua shall beget."
(Roe)" This business of coming ashore in Padua has led to such nonsense as the observation in the Riverside Shakespeare that 'like a number of other inland cities, Padua is endowed by Shakespeare with a harbor".'
So much for "Shakespeare scholars demonstrate that his knowledge was either _not that accurate_ or common to other playwrights of the time. **His mistakes in geography are well-documented and _not rebutted_, as far as I know, by any anti Strat.**"
You have just affirmed the intricate canal system and inland water routes of Italy you have previously denied and here Roe points out the author's use specifically of that knowledge. He goes onto focus on the dialogue which pinpoints the the near proximity of the Inn and finds such an exact conjunction. It is archetypical enough in detail to serve as the real location or model for the location of the opening scene (post "induction".)
Reedy-"Proteus also says later on in the same scene: Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wreck, | Which cannot perish having thee aboard, |Being destined to a drier death on shore.
"Shore" is universally used to mean the land bordering a sea or a
lake. The land bordering a river or a canal is generally called a
bank. Shakespeare uses the term to mean both that and--in at least one place--to mean a shore of an island, but he never uses the term"shore" to mean a river or canal bank."
But, Tom, I just wrote the dialogue from TOS,
""If Biondello, THOU WERT COME ASHORE,"
Are you sure you still want to argue this point when the author has contradicted you and Roe has affirmed his knowledge and usage?
"I'm sure I'll have more comments later on--my book looks like a wall of graffiti with all the notes I've scrawled in the margins--but I'm not gonna pick every little nit
Let's hope not. Let's hope you can focus on the larger picture. Take your time. I've read 80% of it. You haven't.
You admit the river and canal system and travel by INLAND water.
You admit the location of the Sycamores.
You admit the truth of "St. Gregory's Well", an historical fact Roe had to move heaven and Earth to find out about.
You haven't come yet to "tranect" which existed.
Or Shylock's "penthouse" (pentice) in the Jewish Ghetto (its there-next to a BANK)
The correct geography and topography of Northern and Western Milan.
The street route Bertram takes in his entrance to the city.
You glossed over the Strat mistake of "fruitful Lombardy"
The Strat misunderstanding that Milan had an Emperor.
The verbal parallels between Cinthio's source and Othello and how the author got them.
And a really potentially important find, "The Duke's Oak", not in Greece but specifically in detail in Sabbioneta.
These are just part of Roe's research that demonstrate that the statement
""Shakespeare scholars demonstrate that his knowledge was either _not that accurate_ or common to other playwrights of the time. **His mistakes in geography are well-documented and _not rebutted_, as far as I know, by any anti Strat.**" is horribly misguided.
And you go Ross on me with Sycamores, which are placed exactly where they grow in Verona???
During the Iraq War it was the proclivity of the mainstream press to hide the lies and denials of the administration and it was the rare reader to look at one of the many truthful books about that war such as Thomas Ricks "Fiasco".
My experience of Shakespeare Orthodoxy is the same. Anything that smacks of good work by an anti Stratfordian is denied, dismissed, derided. And you have been a chief offender. This for ME has nothing to do with who wrote what. It has to do with other things which people like you, Steese, Shapiro (who did find the Wilmot forgery on his own but refuses to acknowledge he didn't get there first and put Rollet in a footnote and never mentions him in talks-kind of being second to the top of Everest and claiming to be first)and the rest sneer at.
Go to it. There's enough in Roe to discredit your foundational position abundantly.
How the author got his knowledge is a different subject. If Shapiro wrote this book it would be feted. And therein lies the dishonest.
But go for it. You did not piss me off.
I'm about done with this.