CHARLES VERE: I just wanted to respond to some of the points in Professor Taylor's main talk, if I might? Particularly on the conspiracy theory. Because to my mind it assumes the whole Stratford, whole Stratford theory assumes a much greater conspiracy than the Oxfordian one. How did everyone manage to keep silent, and in such a concerted manner about the Stratford man's authorship? When there was nothing to hide. Because if he was the author, there would be no shame attached to him writing. And indeed he expresses that shame in the Sonnets. No shame attached to him writing them, and he would be recognized by his fellow writers and given praise and credit, and would have received payment for the works which he never did. So for me, the Stratford theory is the one that assumes this conspiracy. This conspiracy of silence. The Oxford theory really just posits business as usual in politics. There were reputations at stake. People very high in the political world, and they wanted to protect those reputations. There's no great conspiracy there at all.

WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.: So your point is that intimacy with Elizabethean vogues et mores makes not at all unusual, the kind of thing that from our vantage point we think to be so eccentrically

CHARLES VERE: Exactly. I don't think there's some modest conspiracy there. The second point I wanted to make was this whole business that in the Academy, Professor Taylor says that it is the academics that really know the river. Well in my experience during this tour of campuses over the last year, the academics don't know the river at all. They know the plays, and the know how to teach them and so on, and they have critical opinions about them, but on the authorship question which is as much a historical question as a literary one, they know next to nothing. They do not know the historical background of these plays. I've met professors at universities in this country who do not know who the Earl of Leicester was, who do not know who Philip Sidney was hardly. You know, don't know the historical background. Who Cecil was, what the power struggle was, and the even what the time was. And therefore can't place the plays in their historical context. That for me is hardly knowing the river. They rely on tradition, they don't go back and reassess the ...

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Solitary NationApril 22nd