Stonehenge, Animal Tales, and The Somme (Blog Entry, 1 July 2016)
Two bits of news: Christopher Pankhurst has offered a generally positive review of William Fortyhands at the Counter-Currents website. I think the review is fair, and it is true that there may be too many theoretical interpolations, but that is what I was aiming for very deliberately, as I explained in the Acknowledgments. But I am pleased that he finds my explanation “plausible”: at this point however I reiterate my main point, which is that we would better served to look at Shakespeare’s known writing contemporaries rather than to attribute supernatural powers to the Bard or to go digging around for some Earl or other who secretly wrote the plays start to finish in his private study.
One criticism leveled concerns the notoriety of Shakespeare: If I am right, Shakespeare was wise enough to understand that by branding his productions he could gain common currency that much faster, but while it is self-evident that he was the prime mover for his theater company, and is remembered as such, the dearth of literary remains, along with the surfeit of talented writers only too willing to put together a play script leads to certain conclusions. Not to mention the absence of any memory about the time Shakespeare went down to the Mermaid to get the low down on falconry for a few lines in Othello ……
The other bit of news concerns a new book, that seeks to decipher Stonehenge as a memory palace plus animal stories. Since, as it happens, Stonehenge and animal folktales play a certain role in Fortyhands, I was a bit alarmed as to where this argument would be going, but as with many serendipitous discoveries, it looks like this one is merely happenstance. What sticks in my mind is that, if Stonehenge was meant to be a mnemonic device for remembering folklore or ethics or construction techniques, it seems remarkable that while Stonehenge was built to remember, whatever it was that was meant to be remembered has been forgotten, while Stonehenge still stands. But we should take Lynne Kelly’s theory as it stands, and she what she does with it.
Finally, I should note that today is the centennial of the Battle of the Somme, in which some 60,000 casualties were taken by the British in one day. In Memoriam!