A Brief Explication of Interpretive Models

Mark Alexander

An "Interpretive Model" is simply composed of the assumptions that form the foundation for interpreting evidence and arguments. The Oxfordian Interpretative Model (OIM), as defined within the context of this Web site, is composed of only one assumption: Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, is the author of the Shakespeare poems and plays. The Stratfordian Interpretive Model (SIM) is composed of only one assumption: William Shakspere of Stratford is the author of the poems and plays.

Within each of these interpretive models are a number of sub-models that may conflict with each other. For example, within the SIM, we may argue that while William Shakspere was the author of the poems and plays, he may or may not have been the "upstart crow" referred to in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit.

Therefore, when working within the context of the larger interpretive model, there are two ways to look at evidence and arguments: 1) How the evidence or argument applies within the interpretive model that is assumed, and 2) How the evidence or argument applies to the opposing model.

Understanding these two approaches is crucial to understanding how the commentary in this Web site is constructed: The reader must always keep in mind the context of the commentary. For example, while looking at evidence and arguments within the context of the OIM, there will be commentary that looks at the evidence or argument in terms of how it applies to the OIM itself, and that looks at the evidence or argument in terms of how it applies to the SIM.

Just because there are conflicting views within an interpretive model, that is no reason to claim support for the opposing model. For example, just because those who support the SIM may disagree about whether the "upstart crow" applies to William Shakspere, that disagreement is not positive support for the OIM.

Furthermore, the commentary may appear to contradict itself if the reader fails to keep in mind that the context may have changed. For example, within the OIM, there may be contradictory statements made between different sub-models (Oxford conspired with Shakspere over the hidden authorship. Oxford did not conspire with Shakspere over the hidden authorship.) Just because there are contradictory statements, that is not reason to suppose that the OIM is insupportable.

Remember: The OIM simply assumes that De Vere is the author and no more. The SIM simply assumes that Shakspere is the author and no more. Within both interpretive models are a wide range of sub-models.

The commentary is designed to help the reader sort through the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and arguments of those sub-models.

Each interpretive model is like looking through a different lens, where each lens organizes the evidence into difference patterns.


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