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And therefore, we do not believe the compression of the two excerpts cited changes the meaning of what was written in Puttenham's (actually Sir John Lumley's) "Arte of English Poesie." Both say the same thing: there are noblemen writing good works who don't dare put their names to it.
Here are the two excerpts, with the words used in the Frontline documentary in italics:
.."..and many notable gentlemen in the Court have written commendably, and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their own names to it...."
"and in her majesty's time that now is are sprung up another crew of Courtly makers, Noblemen and gentlemen of Her Majesty's own servants, who have written excellently well as it would appear if their doings could be found out and made public with the rest, of which number is first that noble gentleman Edward Earl of Oxford."
Frontline considered using both excerpts but didn't because they are redundant. To have included both would, if anything, have strengthened the evidence that Lumley thought DeVere's name as poet and author was being suppressed.
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Your criticism derives from an apparent misinterpretation of the three words--with the rest. You are saying these words are referring to the list of "learned Gentlemen" which immediately follows these three words. Whereas, we believe the words with the rest means "the rest" [of those who are publicly acknowledged poets/writers].Frontline reads Puttenham to say that Oxford, Buckhurst, Paget, Raleigh, Dyer, Fulke Greville, Gascoigne, Breton, Turberville (and others) were not publicly acknowledged poets. Therefore the words "the rest" must refer to another list of poets who are indeed publicly acknowledged. However, there are two problems with Frontline's interpretation.
First, if there were other Elizabethan poets that Puttenham had in mind, who were they? There is no other list of Elizabethan "courtly makers" in Puttenham. In Book 1, Chapter 31 of The Arte of English Poesie, Puttenham lists the notable English poets during the reigns of every monarch from Edward III to Elizabeth I. The only Elizabethan poets in his chronological survey are Oxford, Buckhurst, Paget, Raleigh, Dyer, Fulke Greville, Gascoigne, Breton, and Turberville. Frontline's interpretation of the passage can only make sense if none of these men were publicly acknowledged poets in 1589.
Second, the Elizabethan poets Puttenham names were indeed publicly acknowledged poets. Some of them were known by name as the authors of printed works:
Many poetical works circulated for years in manuscripts before appearing in print (indeed, some were never printed at all). No volume of poems by Sidney was printed during his life, but George Whitney's 1586 Choice of Emblems, which appeared shortly before Sidney's death, extols his poetry. Moreover there are dozens of quotations from Sidney in Abraham Fraunce's Arcadian Rhetoric (1588), whose cover lists among its sources for rhetorical examples the works of Homer and Virgil as well as "Sir Philip Sydneis Arcadia, Songs and Sonets (Sidney is the only English poet so honored). Thus Sidney too was a "publicly acknowledged" poet before Puttenham's book was printed.
It is important to note that Puttenham did not restrict himself to poetry that had appeared in printed books. At the start of Book 1, Chapter 31, Puttenham says that his basis for the chapter is his reading of "sundry records of books both printed and written...." He does not seem to have thought that it was the act of printing that constituted publishing; for him, manuscripts also counted as published works, so long as they circulated widely enough to come into his hands. Not once does he ever use the word "publish" to refer to printed as opposed to manuscript works. He was familiar with poems by Raleigh and Sidney and Oxford and the others that had not yet appeared in print but that had been circulated in manuscript. Indeed, the Oxford poem he quotes in his discussion of the rhetorical figure Antipophora had never been printed before that we know of, yet it was known to Puttenham and appeared in print with a public acknowledgment of its author, "Edward Earl of Oxford a most noble and learned gentleman."
Thus, Frontline's reading of the passage is, at best, highly implausible. The words "the rest" cannot refer to another list of Elizabethan poets who were publicly acknowledged poets, because there is no such list anywhere in Puttenham; moreover, the poets on Puttenham's list were in fact publicly acknowledged poets. Whole volumes by some of these poets had been printed; occasional poems by these poets had been printed; manuscripts of acknowledged poems by these poets had circulated; and Puttenham read these "sundry books printed and written," and left us his judgment of their authors.
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In Chapter 8 of Book 1, Puttenham tells us that throughout history the wisest rulers have encouraged poetry, and poetry has thereby flourished. In his own time, however, some people look down on poetry (and indeed all learning), and therefore do not either practice it themselves or support others who do. Puttenham is appalled that some courtiers seem proud of their ignorance and lack of artistic accomplishment. Puttenham's task is to change the minds of those courtiers, to demonstrate that high birth should be no bar to intellectual accomplishment. Those courtiers who have written but (to use Frontline's words) "who don't dare put their names to it" do so (to use Puttenham's words) "as it were a discredit for a Gentleman, to seem learned, and to show himself amorous of any good Art." Those who believe Puttenham was referring to Oxford in Chapter 8 (where he is never named) must also believe that Oxford was proud to be thought ignorant. Yet when Puttenham does refer to Oxford it is not only as a poet but also as "a most noble and learned gentleman."
In Chapter 31 of Book 1, Puttenham suggests that there may be more courtiers writing poetry than he knows of, but as he does not have such works he doesn't know for sure. That is why his sentence is conditional: "as it would appear if their works could be found out and made public...." Indeed, it's likely that some of the manuscripts Puttenham perused contained poems by unnamed authors, as is the case with some contemporary manuscripts that have come down to us. In any event, as he does not know these works or their authors, he does not name them; instead he names those whose works have been made public (whether in written or printed form): Oxford, Buckhurst, Sidney, Raleigh, Turberville, etc.
Thus, in the first passage Puttenham says that some gentlemen have either withdrawn their work from circulation or have allowed it to circulate anonymously, out of a misplaced concern that they might appear too learned or artistic if they owned up to their writings. Neither Oxford nor Buckhurst nor Sidney nor Raleigh nor any of the Elizabethan "courtly makers" is mentioned in the chapter that contains this passage; but this is not surprising, as these were men who were not afraid to be known as poets. In the second passage, Puttenham suggests that there may be poets in the court that he is unaware of, and he believes that if they had indeed produced verse, and if he could come to know their work, he could add their names to those of Oxford, Buckhurst, Sidney, Raleigh etc. The only way to read both passages as applying to the same poet is to suppose that Puttenham had come across a manuscript with anonymous verse written by someone who was embarrassed to be a thought a poet, and that it then turn out that the actual author was someone Puttenham had not known was a poet. Oxford, Buckhurst, Sidney, Raleigh and the others named meet neither of these conditions. Thus, even if we read both passages as somehow being about the same men, Oxford cannot be one of those men.
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In the show, the reporter is shown reading this purported sentence from The Arte of English Poesie: "I know very many notable gentlemen in the Court that have written commendably and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their own names to it, of which number is first that noble gentleman Edward Earl of Oxford." As he repeats a phrase, we see a page from the book with the words "without their owne names to it" highlighted.
In fact, as I pointed out in my original essay, the first part of the passage comes from Book 1 Chapter 8 of The Arte of English Poesie and the second part comes from Book 1 Chapter 31. I might have thought that Frontline had never looked at Puttenham, and instead merely yoked the two disparate passages into one sentence because someone found the two passages quoted on the same page by some Oxfordian (perhaps Ogburn himself)--except that somebody took the trouble to photograph a page from Book 1 chapter 8. This means somebody at Frontline had to know that Oxford's name does not occur anywhere near the first passage, yet this is what at Frontline passes for legitimate "compression" of evidence.
In its response, Frontline shows fragments of the chapters from which a sentence was created by "compression." Let me show those fragments in a bit more context. I have placed the words used by Frontline in italics:
[From Book 1, Chapter 8 of The Arte of English Poesie:]
"Now also of such among the nobility or gentry as be very well seen in many laudable sciences, and especially in making or Poesie, it is so come to pass that they have no courage to write and if they have, yet are they loath to be known of their skill. So as I know very many notable gentlemen in the Court that have written commendably and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their own names to it, as it were a discredit for a gentleman, to seem learned, and to show himself amorous of any good art.
[Then comes the rest of chapter 8, all of chapter 9, all of chapter 10, all of chapter 11, all of chapter 12, all of chapter 13, all of chapter 14, all of chapter 15, all of chapter 16, all of chapter 17, all of chapter 18, all of chapter 19, all of chapter 20, all of chapter 21, all of chapter 22, all of chapter 23, all of chapter 24, all of chapter 25, all of chapter 26, all of chapter 27, all of chapter 28, all of chapter 29, all of chapter 30, and most of chapter 31]
"And in her Majesty's time that now is are sprung up another crew of Courtly makers Noblemen and Gentlemen of her Majesty's own servants, who have written excellently well as it would appear if their doings could be found out and made public with the rest, of which number is first that noble Gentleman Edward Earl of Oxford. Thomas Lord of Buckhurst, when he was young, Henry Lord Paget, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh, Master Edward Dyer, Master Fulke Greville, Gascoigne, Breton, Turberville and a great many other learned Gentlemen, whose names I do not omit for envy, but to avoid tediousness, and who have deserved no little commendation.
This is what Frontline considers legitimate "compression."
Frontline has two defenses: first, that I misinterpret the words "with the rest." I have argued against Frontline's interpretation above, but even accepting so highly implausible an interpretation would not justify fabricating one sentence out of two such widely separated passages.
Frontline's second defense is that "Frontline considered using both excerpts but didn't because they are redundant. To have included both would, if anything, have strengthened the evidence that Lumley [sic] thought DeVere's name as poet and author was being suppressed." I have already answered the claim that both passages say that the author of The Arte of English Poesie thought Oxford's name was suppressed. But even if I agreed with Frontline's interpretation of the passages, I would not understand why, if Frontline truly believed that the two passages were redundant, they did not just quote from Chapter 31? Why yoke it to part of Chapter 8 (where Oxford's name never occurs) and pass the result off as a single sentence? I am forced to conclude that Frontline realized that only a doctored sentence, combining fragments from two widely separated passages, could be made to look as if it said something that Puttenham never said. I hope that Frontline's other programs are held to higher standards of accuracy and fairness.
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