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2013 Conference Abstracts and Speaker Info

2013 SOS/SF Toronto Shakespeare Authorship Conference: Speakers, Titles, Abstracts and Brief Bios including hot links to resources and contact information where available. The full 2013 Conference schedule can be found here.


MARK ANDERSON
Shakespeare, Newton and Einstein: Listening to the Obsessions of Genius

Abstract: You hear what you want to hear. And by extension: You don’t hear what you don’t want to hear. This is human nature. And these words are truer still for some of the greatest geniuses who ever lived. In this paper, I will  at looking at three towering figures in human history and the three subjects that each of them obsessed over. In all three cases, history has all but forgotten their greatest obsessions — in part because their obsessions revealed inconvenient truths about their worlds and about our world too.

The author of Shakespeare By Another Name (Gotham), the critically-acclaimed biography of Edward de Vere as “the man who was Shakespeare,” Mark Anderson is based in Massachusetts. A freelance writer with a science background, he has written regularly for newspapers, magazines and journals including PBS.org, the Boston Globe and Wired.  His most recent book was Transit of Venus.

Resources: A work in progress about the history of controversial ideas in science and the humanities. Not published. Contact: Mark Anderson, P.O. Box 1652, Northampton, MA 01061.

Contact: 413-727-3600mka@markkanderson.com

PRISCILLA COSTELLO
Astrology Points to de Vere

Abstract: In the past 60-70 years, scholars like Frances Yates, D. P. Walker and their successors have stressed the importance of esoteric philosophy as being profoundly influential during the Renaissance.  We can see its pervasiveness–especially astrology–through specific references in the plays of William Shakespeare, but familiarity with it is unlikely if the man had only a provincial grammar-school education.  This paper will be an examination of this spiritual philosophy, and how was it transmitted into Elizabethan England.  Included will be a comparison of the astrological charts of William of Stratford and Edward de Vere , a comparison that quite definitely favors de Vere as the author.

Priscilla Costello is a retired high school English teacher who has worked as a professional astrologer for many years. She has spoken on astrology and Shakespeare at many venues including this past summer at the Stratford Festival’s first Forum. She lives in Toronto. B.A. Wellesley College, M.A. York University

Resources: Book in preparation:  “Shakespeare and the Stars: The Secret Keys to Understanding the World’s Greatest Playwright”  (pub. date TBA)

Contact:  pac@idirect.com  or 1-416-929-1810 (May – October) and 1-267-250-9205 (November – April)

Other Resources:  for articles about the transmission of esoteric ideas from ancient times into the Renaissance and about the secret key to “Romeo and Juliet,” see:  uraniatrust.org

KEIR CUTLER
From Crackpot to Mainstream: The Evolution of the Authorship Question

Abstract:  Are all the doubts about the man from Stratford’s authorship now becoming mainstream?   Can Shakespeare Authorship studies become the norm at colleges and universities?  Will absolute certainty about the Bard be replaced by reasonable doubt?  In this paper, I suggest that the answer to these questions is definitely, “Yes!”

Keir Cutler is a Montreal-based actor and writer with  a PhD in Theatre. His popular one-man show about the authorship issue,  Is Shakespeare Dead  (based on Mark Twain) has been produced in numerous university and professional venues across North America. He is also the author of an e-book (available on Amazon) called “The Shakespeare Authorship Question: A Crackpot’s View” as well as nine plays.

Resources: Video of presentation available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpc5A-14tmw

Contact: keircutler.com.

ROBERT DETOBEL
The Outcast State: Oxford’s Passion for the Theatre

Abstract: In his essay on “The Earl of Oxford and the Order of the Garter” Peter Moore writes: “Shakespeare’s personal sense of disgrace is found throughout his Sonnets: the poet is barred from “public honour and proud titles” (25), he wants his name buried with his body (72), he knows himself to be “vile esteemed” (121). Shakespeare alludes to the cause of his dishonor several times, most clearly in Sonnet 110: “I … made myself a motley to the view.” It is argued in this paper that “made a motley to the view” is synonymous with “exposed myself to the view of the vulgar” or “acted on the public stage”, thereby committing a serious breach of the aristocratic behavioral code. It was his passion for the theatre that led to Oxford’s “outcast state” (sonnet 29). This is confirmed at least twice: 1) by John Davies of Hereford’s epigram to “Our English Terence” (“played kingly parts in sport”)  and, largely unnoticed, by Henry Chettle in his apology in 1592 (“the quality he professes,” my article on this issue in Shakespeare Matters). I further argue that the necessity of finding a suitable front man derives from Oxford’s having acquired in 1592 the public image of a playwright and actor. And that this image had to be transferred to somebody else for Oxford to get rid of it.

Robert Detobel from Frankfurt, Germany, is a translator and publicist, and co-founder (with Dr. Uwe Laugwitz) of the Neues Shake-speare Journal which started in 1997 as the first Oxfordian publication in continental Europe. He also contributed articles to The Elizabethan Review, The Oxfordian and many other Oxfordian publications. He is co-chairman of the German Neue Shake-speare Gesellsshaft and editor of Spektrum Shake-speare. He was honoured in 2001 by Concordia University in Portland, Oregon for his research. His paper will be read by Hanno Wember who has taught Math and Physics as a secondary school teacher for 30 years in Hamburg, Germany. He is co-chairman (with Robert Detobel) of the German Neue Shake-speare Gesellsshaft and editor of the German Oxfordian website shakespeare-today.de. Delivered by Hanno Wember.

Resources: published as “Unsent Letter” (Part III) by Robert Detobel in Neues Shakespeare Journal, Band XII, Wege der Forschung – Peter Moore zum Gedächtnis. Buchholz in der Nordheide 2008, p. 68 – 83. Also at http://www.shakespeare-today.de/index.222.0.1.html. Contact: gesellschaft@shake-speare-today.dewww.shakespeare-today.de

Other resources: Peter R. Moore, The Lame Storyteller, Poor and Despised, Studies in Shakespeare, Editor: Gary Goldstein, 345 p, Buchholz 2009, Laugwitz Verlag. http://www.laugwitz.de/ and Robert Detobel; Shakespeare The Concealed Poet. ms copy 2010, 183 p. gesellschaft@shake-speare-today.de

CHERYL EAGAN-DONOVAN
The Reason for the Alias: Oxford’s Bisexuality and the Elizabethan Theatre

Abstract:  This presentation is based on a collaboration between John Hamill and myself and explores the evidence of de Vere’s bisexuality as it relates to his pseudonym, Shakespeare. Certainly many gay and bisexual writers have used pseudonyms to protect their identities over the centuries including prominent poets and playwrights This practice certainly existed in the 16th century and continues into today in the use of pen names by writers such as George Sand and Tennessee Williams. This history will be reviewed to gain new insight into the motivations of the author of Shakespeare’s works as well as the possible motives of his heirs in preserving the alias.  As well, we will look at the sexual behavior of both actors and audiences of the period which clearly supports the argument that Oxford’s sexuality was a primary reason for the pseudonym.

Cheryl Eagan Donovan is an independent filmmaker and scholar based in Cambridge, Mass. She has spoken on numerous occasions at Oxford conferences. Her film on Oxford’s travels in Italy will be officially premiered in 2014.

Resources: The evidence for Edward de Vere’s bisexuality as it relates to the pseudonym “Shakespeare,” the use of pseudonyms by gay and bisexual writers to protect their identities, and the history of Elizabethan and late twentieth-century theater in the context of social mores about gender identity and sexuality. Text will be available at www.controversyfilms.com. Trailer for the film Nothing Is Truer Than Truth also available at www.controversyfilms.com

Contact: Cheryl Eagan-Donovan, Controversy Films, 49 Cross Street, Winchester, MA 01890 (781) 729-6204 office, (617) 312-0924 mobile, eagandonovan@verizon.net, www.controversyfilms.com

NOTHING IS TRUER THAN TRUTH an IFP project http://fiscal.ifp.org/project.cfm/169/Nothing-is-Truer-than-Truth

Sources: Based on a forthcoming book by John Hamill and Cheryl Eagan-Donovan

Other resources: Woods, Gregory A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998

Ciuraru, Carmela Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2011

Weis, Rene Shakespeare Unbound: Decoding A Hidden Life, Henry Holt & Company LLC, New York, 2007

Bram, Christopher Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2012

Lenz, Joseph Base Trade: Theater as Prostitution, The John Hopkins University Press, ELH Volume 60, No. 4, (Winter 1993) pp. 833-855

Bristol, Michael D. Carnival and The Institutions of Theater in Elizabethan England, The John Hopkins University Press, ELH, Vol,50 No. 4 (Winter 1983) pp. 637-654

Barbour, Richmond, “When I acted Young Antonious”: Boy Actors and the Erotics of Jonsonian Theater, Modern Language Association,PMLA, Vol 110 No. 5 (Oct. 1995) pp. 1006-1022

MICHAEL EGAN
The Shakespeare Grain Dealer Uproar

Abstract: My thesis is that the documented facts about Shakspere’s financial arrangements, when compared with the plays, particularly King Lear, show clearly that we are dealing with two quite distinct individuals — Shakspere the man and Shakespeare the Writer. I examine the documents closely, especially Shakspere’s purchase of tithing rights for 440 pounds, a huge amount of money, which set him up as tax collector. I will then look at how tax collecting and other economic issues are treated in the plays. My presentation may include a short Youtube video with Prof. Carol Rutter of Warwick in the Stratford Records Office.

Michael Egan is Editor of The Oxfordian, the peer-reviewed journal of the Shakespeare Oxford Society. An internationally known writer, consultant and educator,  he earned his BA from Witwatersrand University in South Africa and M.A. and PhD degrees from Cambridge. He has been a Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts,  a Lecturer in English at Lancaster University in the UK. and a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University. He is a prize-winning author of ten books and over 80 professional articles.

SKY GILBERT
Was Shakespeare a Euphuist?

Abstract: Shakespeare’s writing descends from a humanistic influence connected with John Lyly (Oxford’s secretary) and the patristic medieval school of grammarians and rhetoricians, a tradition that is significantly alien to us. We like to think of Shakespeare as an emblematic literary pioneer, but in the context of the literature of his time he resisted the most radical stylistic movements (and their epistemological implications). By examining early modern pedagogical methods, through a close reading of both form and matter in the work of Shakespeare and Lyly, and through brief live performances of passages by both writers, this presentation seeks to illuminate the philosophical foundations of an early modern English literary feud that has significant implications for the real identity of Shakespeare. This essay does not suggest that Shakespeare was, strictly speaking, a euphuist, but rather that an extraordinarily delicate balance between content (matter) and style (form) makes Shakespeare?s work of singular historical import.

Dr. Sky Gilbert, is a playwright, director, actor and associate professor at the University of Guelph in Canada where he holds the University Research Chair in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies. An active Oxfordian for many years, he is the founder of Canada’s foremost gay theatre company, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto and  has been interested in reinterpretations of the Shakespeare canon from a gay point of view. He has his doctorate from the University of Toronto.

Resources: http://skygilbert.blogspot.ca  and http://home.istar.ca/~anita/index2.htm  and The Cabaret Company on Facebook. To be published in Brief Chronicles.

Contact: sky@uoguelph.ca

RON HALSTEAD
Death of a Dictator: The Dangerous Timeliness of Julius Caesar and the Authorship Question

Abstract: Julius Caesar is a dangerous play written during a dangerous time.  What happens when a play raises questions about the very right to rule? Ben Jonson used Tacitus’s Annals for his play about Sejanus and wound up being interrogated by the Privy Council.  Delia Bacon argued that an English courtier must be behind Julius Caesar. She identifies de Vere as one of  the courtiers who wrote under an assumed name. He had an interest in rebellion and an exposure to European anti-tyrannical thought through an interpretation of Tacitus by Justus Lipsius. The Julius Caesar from the Folio is likely not the version seen by Platter in London in 1599.

Ron Halstead has an MA in English from Wayne State University where he later taught Humanities.  His Master’s Thesis was on the tragic drama of Eugene O’Neill. He has read papers at many Oxfordian conferences including those at Houston in 2009 and Washington DC in 2011.

W. RON HESS
The Significant History of The Passionate Pilgrim (paper not delivered)

Abstract: Is it possible that Shakespeare’s The Passionate Pilgrim (TPP) actually predated the 1593 Venus & Adonis (V&A) and the 1594 Rape of Lucrece (RofL)?  Oddly enough, that may be the case, because the sole extant copy of its first edition has no title page, thus no date.  Copies of its second edition do have a title page and are clearly dated 1599. Indeed, a 1612 edition was marked “third edition.”  Thus, it should be significant that some of TPP’s poetry has been found in manuscript or early publications back to the early 1590s, and in one case perhaps as early as 1586.  But TPP may be a relic of a much larger anthology of poetry which possibly existed in manuscript circa 1589-94, was revised circa 1610 to accompany an intended publication of all of Shakespeare’s works (poetry and drama), but was not fully published until some three decades later.  It’s also notable that the 1640 anthology attributed to Shakespeare contained TPP plus lengthy poetic paraphrases from Ovid in much the same mold as V&A and RofL.  This paper will also briefly delve into the murky world of  Elizabethan publishing of the 1580s wherein Oxford’s former servant, Anthony Munday, may have had an important role in the disposition of each of “Shake-speare’s” works.

Ron Hess is a retired professor in IT Security who for two decades has also actively published books and articles on Elizabethan History and the Oxfordian role in the authorship of Shakespeare’s works.  His trilogy, The Dark Side of Shakespeare, and website http://home.earthlink.net/~beornshall/index.html propose that Oxford was an active participant on the European Stage and that the Shakespeare plays allude to that role.  He also maintains an Oxfordian e-mail list with some 250 Oxfordians worldwide.

Contact: BeornsHall@earthlink.net.

Resources: Hard copies of four intended speeches total package for $3 postage, contact Hess  at BeornsHall@earthlink.net.  Website at  http://home.earthlink.net/~beornshall/index.html/.  The papers are:

“Hypothetical Earlier Dating for ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ and ‘First Folio’” by W. Ron Hess

“Did Oxford Use a ‘Secretary’ Hand as well as his ‘Italic’ Hand?” by W. Ron Hess & Alan Tarica

“Early Dating Allusions in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (MOV)” ed. by W.Ron Hess

“Who’s Kyding who..??” by Keith Browning  of UK (Kbrow5121@aol.com)

WALTER (WALLY) K. HURST
What’s Your Authority for that Statement: An Approach to Examining External Evidence in Early Modern Authorship

Abstract: This paper will examine the notion of evidence generally and specifically historical evidence connected to establishing the authorship of any work. It is based on the notion of who, what, when, where and why.

Who: Who wrote it? Can we verify his or her authorship? Are we sure, or is there a doubt? “Who” also means “who is involved?”

What: What is the document? What is the purpose of it? Is it directly related to authorship, such as a payment for something that has been written, or does it primarily pertain to something else? In other words, what is being written about here? If it does pertain to something else, does that decrease its value as to its relationship to the authorship question? Does this evidence have a “paper trail” of some kind, or is it merely a tradition, made up of whole cloth?

When: When was the document written? The notion of the document being contemporaneous with the event is crucial to its veracity. Was the document written so long after the event that it is no longer trustworthy? Is it the product of a contemporary eye-witness, or the second-hand report of someone talking about what someone else told him or her? Is it the product of a sharp, coherent mind, or an old feeble one, trying to remember things long ago past?

Where: Where was the document written? This is an even more important question to ask in early modern studies, given that geographical location meant that a person could not physically travel from one location to the other in a single day like they can now. We must also examine class in the “where” question: an aristocrat writing from his or her country estate may be different from a struggling playwright corresponding from his drab rented lodgings near the Globe Theatre.

Why: This is probably one of the most important questions of all. Why was the document written? Why is this piece of evidence relevant? Was the document written to advance the cause of someone at court? Was it written to demean or slander someone, tarnishing their reputation? Was it written to advance a particular religion or a political idea? Was it written for love – or for money?

How: This is the question of origin. How was this piece of evidence created? How did this document come to be used in the fashion it is being used? What is the provenance of the document? How is this document relevant to the question of authorship attribution?

By answering these questions, it may be possible to establish what is and what is not real evidence in literary fields.

Walter Hurst has an MA in Authorship Studies from Brunel University in the UK. He teaches English at Louisburg College in North Carolina and is director of the Norris Theatre, Louisburg College.

Resources: Presentation available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPN11Dp5Y9U

Contact: whurst@louisburg.edu, (919)-497-3429

RAMON JIMENEZ
Shakespeare’s Two Lear Plays: How the Playwright Transformed His First Romance into His Last Tragedy

Abstract: The anonymous True Chronicle History of King Leir and his Three Daughters, published in 1605, is generally accepted as one of the sources of Shakespeare’s King Lear. It has been attributed to at least eight different playwrights, including an “imitator of Shakespeare” and an anonymous “older journeyman dramatist.” There is, however, substantial evidence that it was written by the same playwright who wrote under the pseudonym “William Shakespeare”—Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The evidence also indicates that he wrote it before the age of twenty, as he did at least four other plays printed anonymously between 1591 and 1598. His revisions of King Leir and of the four other plays subsequently appeared under his pseudonym in the First Folio.

Ramon Jimenez has been an Oxfordian since reading This Star of England in high school. He  has been a member of the Shakespeare Oxford Society for almost twenty years, and a Trustee or Committee Member for ten years. He has published more than a dozen articles and book reviews in the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter and The Oxfordian. His particular interest has been to demonstrate that several anonymous plays, pre-dating the first Shakespeare quartos, were actually Oxford’s earliest versions of canonical plays. Jiménez has a degree in English from U.C.L.A. and lives in Berkeley, California. He currently serves as a Trustee of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.

Resources: Text available in The Oxfordian  v. 15  2013

Contact:  ramjim99@gmail.com

Other major resources:

Eric Sams: The Real Shakespeare II, Retrieving the Later Years, 1594-1616. 2008. http://ericsams.org/index.php/onshakespeare/books-on-shakespeare/828-the-real-shakespeare-ii

Michie, Donald M. A Critical Edition of The True Chronicle History of King Leir And His Three Daughters,Gonorill, Ragan and Cordella. New York: Garland, 1991.

Lee, Sidney, ed. The chronicle history of King Leir: the original of Shakespeare’s ʻKing Lear‘ London: Chatto and Windus, 1909. http://books.google.com/books?pg=PR34&id=HAqyZV0mZwC#v=onepage&q&f=false.

SHELLY MAYCOCK
Essex, Oxford and the Concept of Popularity in Late Elizabethan Discourse

Abstract: For the past decade, a number of early modern historians and Stratfordians have been very busy writing about the concept of “popularity” with respect to the political upheavals of the last years of Elizabeth’s reign, and its role in events as well as in cultural and political discourse.  Arguments center often around Essex’s rise and fall and the reflection of the political in the plays, and around Richard II and other contemporary literature and propaganda sponsored by the various factions that had arisen as the problem of succession loomed larger. Historians have attempted to reappraise and even rehabilitate Essex’s reputation, showing that the Privy Council and its adherents distorted traditional accounts of Essex’s intentions and actions, and in turn, influenced interpretations of discourse by the victorious perspective. Many Oxfordians have been also been skeptical about the political biases of traditional Essex story. This paper will show how the scholarship on “popularity” can be recast from an Oxfordian perspective, referring to Richard II and other related texts and political documents of the time.  Revising Essex’s story in the light of recent historiography as well as with Oxford as the true author of the related plays, results in a different story about what may have happened to Essex and his followers.  A clearer view of Essex and what others thought about his actions and intentions at the time also affects assessments of how or whether the concept of “popularity” evolved or influenced political thinking in the public sphere, and necessitates a reappraisal of the bases for interpreting the political currency of cultural material, including the plays.

Shelly Maycock teaches English at Virginia Tech.

MICHAEL MORSE
What the Thunder Said: Oxford, Lear, and the Ambient World of Fisher’s Folly

Abstract: Located just outside London’s city wall in the parish of St. Botolph, on the bustling thoroughfare of Bishopsgate ‘Without’, stood the sprawling mansion and grounds popularly known as Fisher’s Folly. Built by Jasper Fisher, a London goldsmith and Chancery Clerk, this opulent personal residence served as a risible symbol of one man’s fiscal improvidence and, some would maintain, his indecorous transgression of station. Upon the death of Fisher in 1579, the Earl of Oxford appears to have found the property irresistible, purchasing it the following year, a remarkable acquisition during a period when he was otherwise engaged in the accelerated liquidation of his hereditary estates. In this presentation, I offer highlights from my lengthier study of the Earl of Oxford’s life during the literarily-fecund decade of the 1580s, in particular the discernible relationship between biography and art during Oxford’s Folly tenure (c. 1580-88). This presentation explores the philological, imagerial and conceptual origins of King Lear, Oxford’s most ponderous – and in many respects, most bewildering – tragedy. Integrating recent archaeological findings with my own empirical investigations of the Folly environs in June 2013, this paper explores the interconnectedness of life and art as influenced by Oxford’s ambient world. Utilizing principles of archaeo-historicism and phenomenological reconstruction, Fisher’s Folly emerges as the tangible locus of a particular creative synthesis that would leave its indelible imprint on Lear, the broader Shakespeare corpus, and on the birth of the English Renaissance.

Michael Morse attended Harvard College and the University of Louisville, where he earned a BA in Philosophy and English. He attended the University of Kentucky College of Law earning his degree in 1993. The following year, he started a private law practice in Kentucky. After reading Mark Anderson’s compelling biography, Shakespeare By Another Name, he became persuaded of Edward de Vere’s authorship and joined the Shakespeare Fellowship in 2006. Fort he past several years, his research has focused largely on computer-based linguistic analysis of the Shakespeare canon (as well as various apocryphal works and fringe dubitanda) and de Vere’s extant literary and epistolary output. He lives in Memphis and currently serves as Treasurer of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.

GERIT QUEALY
Studying Authorship: Why It Matters for Actors; The Road to Revelation

Abstract: How authorship research can inform and illuminate the acting of the text. Working in reverse: acting with authorship in mind has led to the discovery of a character revelation, a dating marker in Henry V and other plays, and a key to the publishing puzzle. This presentation includes performances from Twelfth Night, Henry IV & V, Two Gentleman of Verona, and selected poetry. She will be assisted by two student actors from York University.

Gerit Quealy is a journalist, sometime actor, and avid Elizabethan researcher and paleographer. She has lectured or taught workshops on Shakespeare’s texts at Williams College, Columbia University, SUNY-Albany, NYU, CCNY, The Century Club and others. From 2010–13, she was a daily columnist at NBC’s Life Goes Strong.com. She currently writes for A+E’s Biography and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. Ironically, she also edits academic titles for Oxford University Press. She podcasts on blogtalk radio: HistoryChiQ SmartTalk.

TOM REGNIER
Could Ben Jonson Think Like A Lawyer: Taking a Closer Look at Clarkson and Warren

Abstract:  In 1942 Clarkson and Warren published a study of property law in Elizabethan drama including both Shakespeare’s works and those of 17 other playwrights. Half the playwrights employed more legalisms than Shakespeare. Given that this book is often used to disparage Shakespeare’s legal knowledge, this paper will evaluate their analysis and conclusions.

Tom Regnier is a lawyer by profession. Based in Florida, he is currently First Vice President of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.

JOHN SHAHAN
The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition: Future Strategies

Abstract: The head of the Coalition discusses next steps for its Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, and some of the responses to its book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?.
John Shahan is chairman and CEO of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition and principal author of the Declaration. He was co-editor with Alexander Waugh of the book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? — Exposing an Industry in Denial.

Sunday Banquet Speaker John Shahan, chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC), gave a talk on the SAC’s accomplishments during 2013, and strategy going forward. He announced that (1) British author/scholarAlexander Waugh has been named Honorary President of the SAC, greatly increasing its visibility in the U.K., (2) the SAC has challenged the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford to prove its claim that the identity of the author Shakespeare is “beyond doubt” in a mock trial, and (3) the SAC next planned to offer a £40,000 donation to the Birthplace Trust if it succeeded in proving its claim in such a trial. The donation offer was subsequently communicated to the Birthplace Trust in an open letter, along with a list of 40 prominent doubters who pledged to put up the money if the SBT agreed to participate. On December 6th the open letter appeared in a full-page ad in the print edition of the Times Literary Supplement. The Birthplace Trust has so far refused to defend its claim. Given the strength of the evidence in the SAC’s book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? (Shahan & Waugh, eds.), it seems unlikely that the SBT will ever agree to participate.

Resources: http://doubtaboutwill.org

EARL SHOWERMAN
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Shakespeare’s Aristophanic Comedy

Abstract: Only one scholar has taken it upon himself to systematically support the argument that Shakespeare was intimately acquainted with Athenian drama. In Shakespeare’s Greek Drama Secret (2011), independent scholar Myron Stagman cites the many “striking, unmediated textual correspondences” between ancient Greek dramas and the plays of Shakespeare. Stagman concludes that William Shakspere of Stratford became “Shakespeare’ precisely because of his mastery of the Attic drama. His book begins by briefly describing the plots of the relevant dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, and catalogues many possible intertextual connections between the Greek dramas and Shakespeare plays. Stagman is led to the conclusion, despite much historical evidence to the contrary, that the Stratford grammar school curriculum must have included reading Homer, Lucian, Pindar, and the Athenian dramatists in the original language.  Stagman is also alone in asserting that Aristophanes directly influenced Shakespeare’s comedies, particularly as regards the Greek’s use of  bawdry and epilogues at the conclusion of seven of his eleven extant dramas.  Except for citing several specific Shakespeare allusions to passages from Aristophanes’ Frogs and Plutus, Stagman, does not establish a broader basis for Aristophanic influence. This paper extends the argument that recognizing Shakespeare’s debt to the Greek dramatists enhances our understanding the works themselves, and philologically challenges the myth behind the attribution of Shakespeare’s dramas.  In approaching this, I also owe a particular acknowledgement to Concordia University undergraduate student, Andrew Werth, whose 2002 presentation, “Shakespeare’s ‘Lesse Greek’”, has inspired me to pursue investigations into the Greek drama sources in Hamlet, Macbeth, Timon of Athens, Troilus and Cressida, The Winter’s Tale, and Much Ado about Nothing.  My paper will  explore the possible influence of Aristophanes’ comedies on the structure, plot, motifs, allusions, political allegory, burlesque, and epilogue in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Earl Showerman has written for numerous Oxford publications including Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? Exposing an Industry in Denial.  Educated at Harvard and the University of Michigan, he is a medical doctor by profession, former President of the Shakespeare Fellowship, and currently serves as a Trustee of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship..

Resources: To be submitted to Brief Chronicles. Extended abstract available here.

Contact: earlees@charter.net

LYNNE KOSITSKY and ROGER STRITMATTER
And Therefore, as a Stranger Give it Welcome: The Tempest, the Oxfordians, and the Critics

Abstract: Like all scholarship, Shakespearean studies is a self-corrective process involving the collaborative search for truth. When Shakespeareans find themselves confronted by contrary evidence, they swiftly and gracefully move to accommodate their theoretical models to bring them into adherence with the facts. Lynne Kositsky and Roger Stritmatter (assisted in the presentation by Don Rubin)  present an insiders’ study of  the reception of  the findings contained in their new book, On the Date, Sources, and Design of Shakespeare’s Tempest (2013, McFarland).

Roger A. Stritmatter is an associate professor of humanities at Coppin State University and general editor of Brief Chronicles: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Authorship Studies. He has published on Shakespearean topics in a range of academic journals, including The Shakespeare Yearbook, Review of English Studies, Notes and Queries, and The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts. Lynne Kositsky is a poet, author, and independent researcher whose honors include the E.J. Pratt Medal and Award for Poetry and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Youth. Her articles with Roger Stritmatter on the dating and sources of Shakespeare’s The Tempest have appeared in journals such as The Oxfordian and Critical Survey. She lives in Vineland, Ontario. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.

Resources: http://shakespearestempest.com/

HANK WHITTEMORE
The Unbroken Line: Oxford, Acting Companies and the Phenomenon of Shakespeare

Abstract: Edward de Vere was the guiding force behind the three most important acting companies of Elizabeth’s reign, from his arrival in Court in the early 1570s to the succession of James in 1603. These companies – the Lord Chamberlain’s Sussex Men (1572-83), Queen Elizabeth’s Men (1583-94) and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (1594-1603) – were actively led by Oxford without linking himself to them publicly. Through this work, he became the dramatist known as Shakespeare.

Hank Whittemore has been a professional actor, director and writer for many decades. He has also been an active Oxfordian during most oft hat time. He is well-known for his play about the sonnets, The Monument and is a co-editor of the scholarly series The Great Shakespeare Hoax.

Resources: http://hankwhittemore.wordpress.com/. Extended abstract available here.

HEWARD WILKINSON
Coleridge and the Implications of Authorial Self-Awareness in Shakespeare

Abstract: If Shakespeare ‘invented the human’ (Bloom), Coleridge gave us the Shakespeare we now know. The person who wrote the Shakespeare canon cannot have less consciousness than his characters. As Ogburn and Looney grasped, ‘Shakespeare’ is likely to have embodied his consciousness particularly intensely in certain characters, and from them we may expect to find him in the contemporary world. There is no sign whatever that the Stratford man embodied or could embody any such consciousness. There is, however, substantial direct and indirect testimony that Oxford did embody such consciousness. Much in Coleridge points to his implicit awareness of this authorial dimension, especially in relation to Hamlet and also to his references to ‘Gentleman Poets’ such as Mercutio and Biron. Coleridge grasped the prodigious scale of mentality implicit in this creation. In a memorable marginal note on the hovel scene in King Lear, he writes: ‘What a World’s Convention of Agonies — surely, never was such a scene conceived before or since — Take it but as a picture, for the eye only, it is more terrific than any a Michael Angelo inspired by a Dante could have conceived, and which none but a Michael Angelo could have executed — or let it have been uttered to the Blind, the howlings of convulsed Nature would seem concentred in the voice of conscious Humanity.’ Only one man’s mind matches this, the mind of the man evoked in Speculum Tuscanismi and Gratulationes Valdinenses, the mind that penned the letter on the death of Queen Elizabeth, the mind that wrote the lines (‘Ignoto’) echoed by Ben Jonson in the First Folio Panegyric:  that is, the mind of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

Heward Wilkinson is a psychotherapist and literature scholar based in London, England. A student of the literary critic Dr FR Leavis at Cambridge, he was Senior Editor of the International Journal of Psychotherapy  (the Journal of the European Association for Psychotherapy) from 1994-2004, and has published a variety of papers there and in other psychotherapy journals. He is currently Chair of the Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. Bringing psychotherapeutic insight to bear on the authorship issue, his Doctoral submission (Middlesex University) referenced his book The Muse as Therapist: A New Poetic Paradigm for Psychotherapy (2009). The fourth chapter oft he dissertation was an Oxfordian treatment of the Authorship Question, illustrating the interface between psychotherapeutic and literary understanding. It is one of the earliest avowedly Oxfordian Doctorates to follow Roger Stritmatter’s. He has published papers and reviews in Brief Chronicles, has given Oxfordian talks to the Shakespeare Authorship Conference in Washington 2011, and to the De Vere Society UK in 2013.

Resources: text at  http://hewardwilkinson.co.uk/coleridge-and-implications-authorial-self-awareness-shakespeare

To be submitted to Brief Chronicles, advanced draft available on request.

MP3 recording of presentation available here.

Contact: http://hewardwilkinson.co.uk/contact

Dr. Heward Wilkinson, Hon. Fellow UKCP, Hon. Fellow EAIP, UKCP Registered Integrative Psychotherapist, 98 Robinson Road, Tooting, London, SW17 9DR

Mobile: +447710100181

Website: hewardwilkinson.co.uk

Other resources: There are links to papers delivered to the Shakespeare/Oxford Conferences and to the De Vere Society of Great Britain, as well as to other fora such as conferences sponsored by the Leavis Society – and also multiple blog entries, including reviews of James Shapiro and Peter Dickson and others, many of them on Authorship issues.

Dr Wilkinson is author of the book, which includes a major chapter on Shakespeare and Oxford, The Muse as Therapist: A New Poetic Paradigm for Psychotherapy and more available from http://www.karnacbooks.com/Product.asp?PID=25803&MATCH=1

He has written many psychotherapy papers and developed an original concept of the field – in terms of the poetic paradigm. Papers relating to all that are at: http://hewardwilkinson.co.uk/psychotherapy-writings

My work involves a radical multidisciplinary synthesis between psychotherapy, philosophy/theology/anthropology, and literature and literary history and criticism. I am deeply interested in the history – and the historicity – of consciousness, and believe this is deeply relevant to the Shakespeare Authorship issue.  Some of the material on Shakespeare was used again, with developments, in Brief Chronicles Vol 2, Cordelia’s Silence and Edgar’s Secrecy: Emblems of the Authorship Question in King Lear by Heward Wilkinson pp. 139-166 at http://www.shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/briefchronicles/ also hardcopy available on request.

LAURA WILSON MATTHIAS & LISA WILSON
Film: Last Will. & Testament

Abstract:  Praised by critics as “a powerful cultural & artistic achievement” and “a force for historical re-assessment”, LAST WILL. & TESTAMENT explores the greatest literary mystery of all time; who wrote the works of William Shakespeare?  Although the official story of a Stratford merchant writing for the London box office has held sway for centuries, questions over the authorship of the plays and poems have persisted. Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles are among the many famous figures who doubt that a grain-dealer from Stratford-Upon-Avon was Englandʼs “Star of Poets”.  Derek Jacobi leads an impressive cast on a quest to uncover the truth behind the worldʼs most elusive author, and discovers a forgotten nobleman whose story could rewrite history.

Directed by Lisa Wilson and Laura Wilson Matthias presented at SOF (SOS/SF) Toronto conference 2013, Executive Producer: Roland Emmerich. Produced by Lisa Wilson, Laura Wilson Matthias, Aaron Boyd, Patrick Prentice.

Resources: Visit official film website at www.firstfoliopictures.com

View official trailer at www.firstfoliopictures.com

Official PBS DVD available upon request at mail@firstfoliopictures.com for $20.

Visit ShopPBS.org to order Official Educational DVD

Available for download or Video-On-Demand via iTunesAmazon  and more outlets.

Currently broadcasting on PBS, check your local listings.

Follow Last Will. & Testament on Facebook

Contact: First Folio Pictures, Laura Wilson Matthias, laura@firstfoliopictures.com,  (401) 782-7585

 

 


 

Conference Media

WALTER HURST  What is Your Authority for That Statement?

KEIR CUTLER  Shakespeare Authorship: Crackpot to Mainstream

HEWARD WILKINSON   Coleridge and the Implications of Authorial Self-Awareness in Shakespeare (audio)

 

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