Sunday, May 15, 2016

Report from May 14, 2016 Oberon meeting

Rosey Hunter at after-meeting dinner at Beau's in Bloomfield Hills, MI May 14, 2016.

Oberons send hugs to our friend Robin Browne who is recuperating after surgery at Beaumont Hospital May 11. Get well soon, Robin!

On June 18, 2016 several Oberon members will attend author James Shapiro's talk on the topic of "The Scottish Play"at 10:30 a.m. in the Studio Theatre as part of the Festival Forum series of lectures in Stratford, Ontario.

We discussed the Oberon blog, particularly the Mark Twain Project Online (MTPO) article titled “Mark Twain’s Benighted Book”  and the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship's letter of protest to the Bancroft Library at UC/Berkley and the National Endowment for the Arts that is partially funding the MTPO. An article titled "SOF responds to omission of authorship book from Mark Twain Project" appears on the SOF News weblog online

We urged Oberon members to sign up for email notification of Oberon posts on the Oberon blog page to get information and links regarding interesting topics such as the MTPO, the Rylance/Jacobi interview on NPR, etc. Just enter your email address in the box below the words: "Follow Oberon by email:" (see photo below)
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Several members: Richard, Pam, Mara, and Sharon plan to attend the "Shakespeare Live" film on Monday, May 23 at the Livonia theater at 7 p.m. Please see more information in Richard Joyrich's report below.

We discussed our "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" event at UM-Flint on April 24, 2016 and agreed Matthew Wyneken and Richard Joyrich’s presentations were masterly. Matt will investigate the possibility of presenting a reprise event at UM-Flint this fall.

Although chairperson Richard Joyrich was unable to attend the meeting, he sent us information about other Shakespeare events available to us in Southeast MI. Richard Joyrich reported:
DETROIT: Mosaic Youth Theatre’s new production: A Midsummer SOULstice looks interesting. Here is the description from their website (
“A mash-up of Soul hits from the 60’s and 70’s and one of the funniest plays ever written, A Midsummer SOULstice is a non-stop, hilarious musical romp through the woods on the longest day of the year.” This will show at the Detroit Film Theatre at:4 PM today (may 15),10 AM May 19,PM May 20-21, andPM May 22. The Detroit Mosaic Youth Theatre is a wonderful institution. Get more info about them show and this particular show by reading the story from the Play section of today’s Detroit Free Press at: 
STRATFORD: On Sunday, May 29, at 3 PM there will be a showing of the HD film of last year’s Stratford, Ontario production of The Taming of the Shrew. Unfortunately, the closest theater to us where it is showing is the Celebration Cinema in Lansing. We have already missed the showings of Hamlet and The Adventures of Pericles. Eventually, these will be released on DVD so you will have to wait for them. (I saw all of these productions live in Stratford and they were all great.)
LONDON: Another cinema experience (at many closer theaters) coming up, on Monday, May 23, is The Shakespeare Show. Here is the description from the Royal Shakespeare Company website: Recorded live from the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the event known as Shakespeare Live, will be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of Shakespeare’s plays and their enduring influence on music, dance, opera, musical theatre and comedy. 
As part of a year-long celebration of the Bard, this star-studded show was conceived and directed by Gregory Doran and will be hosted by David Tennant and Catherine Tate and features Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, David Suchet, Joseph Fiennes, Rufus Wainwright, Tim Minchin, Al Murray, Meera Syal, Alison Moyet, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Paapa Essiedu, Pippa Nixon, Alexandra Gilbreath, the Royal Ballet, the Orchestra of the Swan and many more. Don’t miss this spectacular cast for a unique tribute to one of the most influential storytellers of all time.
This movie will be shown at 7 PM on Monday, May 23 at the Quality 16 in Ann Arbor, the Livonia 20, and the Commerce Township 14. Tickets are $15. More info available at

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kietzman and Gifford join reasonable doubters

New Declaration of Reasonable Doubt signers Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD and UM-Flint archivist Paul Gifford join Oberons at "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" presentation April 24, 2016 at UM-Flint. In photograph back row: Paul Gifford; Matthew Wyneken, PhD; (Declaration of Reasonable Doubt) Richard Joyrich, MD; Pam Verilone; front row: Sharon Hunter, Rosey Hunter (almost invisible behind Sharon), and Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD.
by Linda Theil

University of Michigan -- Flint, Shakespeare professor Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD and her husband UM-Flint archivist Paul Gifford joined the ranks of Shakespeare authorship "reasonable doubters" yesterday at the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group presentation, "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" organized as part of a worldwide project by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition.

Matthew Wyneken, PhD, welcomes attendees at "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare"
April 24, 2016 at UM-Flint
Oberon member and University of Michigan--Flint associate professor Matthew Wyneken, PhD organized the local event at UM-Flint and welcomed guests to the program, saying: "I feel it is incumbent on academia to study and investigate the matter [of the Shakespeare authorship]." 

Richard Joyrich, MD, gave a talk on the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition's
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt at the "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" presentation
at UM-Flint April 24, 2016.
Oberon chairperson Richard Joyrich, MD, gave a talk explaining the SAC's Declaration of Reasonable Doubt and the new evidence that makes the Shakespeare authorship question "Beyond Reasonable Doubt" to a small audience in the Happenings Room of the University Center Building. Joyrich said:

"I think [the Shakespeare authorship] is  question of evidence. As a physician thats what I do -- investigate evidence -- and the same is true of lawyers. I think thats why there are so many doctors and lawyers interested in the issue."

Shakespeare scholar Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD, signs the SAC's
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt April 24, 2016.
After his presentation, Shakespeare scholar Mary Jo Kietzman and her husband, archivist Paul Gifford engaged Joyrich and others in a wide-ranging discussion of aspects of the authorship debate including the topics of Hamlet's sources, dating Macbeth, and Roger Stritmatter's work on deVere's Bible. When Kietzman suggested Shakespeare's attitude toward the common man is admiring, Joyrich disagreed saying the works derive from an aristocratic point of view and the only wise servants are representative of commedia dell'arte influence on some of the plays. Kietzman said that the authorship angle that would most persuade her would be the Italian connections. 

"I'm not personally invested in the man from Stratford," Kietzman said. "I think we should look into [the authorship question] further. I'm kind of convinced that its good to have the possibility opened."

Archivist Paul Gifford signs the SAC's 
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt April 24, 2016.
Archivist Paul Gifford's interest had been piqued by the PBS Frontline program "The Shakespeare Mystery". "It does bring up interesting questions," Gifford said. 

Kietzman is currently working on a book with the working title, Shakespeare's Covenantal Theater and its Biblical Muse of Fire about how the Old Testament view of covenant informs Shakespeare's plays.

"I chanced upon [the topic] when I began reading the Bible and could not help but apprehend all the ways Shakespeare was weaving the stories into the subtexts of the plays to give them more ethical resonance," Kietzman said. 

Of her work, she said:

Covenant is, in my view, the biblical beating heart of Shakespeare’s secular-seeming drama, central to its content and form. By subtly yoking his characters and their struggles to the flawed yet chosen men of the Bible, Shakespeare gives them a sublime or spiritual dimension. . . .It is the biblical component which I believe lends Shakespeare’s alienated others like Aaron, Shylock, Hamlet, Othello, Falstaff, Caliban, and the mad kings their grandeur: no matter how flawed or troubled, they are in touch with another reality and struggle to trust that reality enough to say “Here I am” in response to it. 
A chapter of Kietzman's Shakespeare's Covenantal Theater. . . titled "The Merchant of Venice:  Shylock and Covenantal Interplay", has been accepted for the journal, English Literary History, published by Johns Hopkins.

Oberons Sharon Hunter, Richard Joyrich, Matthew Wyneken, and Rosey Hunter confer
after "Beyond Reasonable Doubt" at 501 Bar and Pub in Flint, MI.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jacobi and Rylance appear on NPR's Morning Edition and YouTube

Shakespeare Authorship Coalition Chairman John Shahan, shared this news with Oberon readers:

Jacoby and Rylance discuss the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt on SAC YouTube channel.

by John Shahan

Claremont, California -- In an interview with Renee Montagne, host of NPR's Morning Edition, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Shakespearean actors Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance reaffirmed support for theDeclaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare, which they launched in the U.K. in 2007. The Declaration has been signed by "over 3,000 actors, academics, lawyers and others," Montagne said, later adding that several U.S. Supreme Court Justices have been doubters, and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and John Paul Stevens have actually signed the Declaration.

In the interview, titled "Shakespearean Actors Revive Debate Over The Bard's Identity," Jacobi and Rylance say that Shakespeare, uniquely among Elizabethan writers, left no contemporary evidence of a writing career, that the life he lived seems unrelated to the plays, and when he died in 1616 nobody seemed to notice. In contrast, "When Frances Beaumont, a lesser-known writer, died a month before Shakespeare..., he immediately goes to Westminster Abbey," Rylance said.

Jacobi and Rylance give a "portrait" of the sort of person the real author must have been, based on their understanding from reading and performing the plays -- someone with a documented literary career; extensive education in "a huge range of subjects;" fluent in multiple foreign languages, including French, Italian, Spanish and Greek; easy familiarity with the ways of the nobility and with aristocratic pastimes such as falconry and equestrian sports. He would also have traveled widely in Italy. "So anyone to be a candidate to be the author would have to meet these basic characteristics of the works we have," Rylance said.

"Writers write from their own point of view, and the point of view ... in the works just isn't that of Mr. Shakspere, based on what we know of his life." Jacobi said.

"We are not questioning out of any animosity to the author," Rylance said, "we are questioning because we love the author and think there's ... a mystery here."

In addition to the interview, Jacobi and Rylance produced a 30-minute video for theShakespeare Authorship Coalition, the host organization for the Declaration. The video, titled "Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance Discuss the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt," can be viewed at the SAC website at:

Open letter to WNYC's On The Media program re: "On Shakespeare"

On the Media podcast April 22, 2016 "On Shakespeare" with James Shapiro 

Open letter to On The Media from Linda Theil:

Hi, thanks for your show; I love it! 

I would like to comment on your [April 22, 2016] Shakespeare presentation with James Shapiro:

I know you are in the business of bringing truth to light, and you dislike conspiracy theories and ignorance of all kinds, but I would like to point out that perhaps your zeal was inappropriate in the case of the Shapiro interview [re: the Shakespeare authorship controversy].

For one thing, you allowed no one but Shapiro to speak on the topic — so only one viewpoint was allowed. I know this has to do with false equivalence on the part of newscasters, but I think it produced an inaccurate view of the topic.

Secondly, the language used to describe the topic is antagonistic: calling those who are interested in the authorship question “Shakespeare deniers” — a term used several times in the course of the interview — is remniscent of “holocaust deniers” a repugnant term that is vicious and inaccurate. Also the term “anti-Shakespeareans” is prejudicial and inaccurate since anyone who is interested enough in Shakespeare to study this issue is anything but “anti” Shakespeare. Stanley Wells of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust urged using this term as a substitute for the "anti-Stratfordian" adjective typically used in the discussion.

Third, when Shapiro said that we have more documentation of Shakespeare (implying the Stratford man) than anyone else, Brook correctly asked, “Is that true?” but accepted Shapiro’s “Yes” with no further comment. A respected academic researcher named Diana Price wrote Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography that counters Shapiro's claim.

Furthermore, Brook allowed Shapiro to ridicule an alternate candidacy based on the assumption that Shakespeare's plays can be reliably dated -- a completely baseless assumption since the dating of the plays is by no means a settled issue.

AND she let Shapiro use his canard from his Contested Will book tour about bestiality with Richard III's horse to besmirch the name of an alternate candidate for the authorship. Really?

You may decide that there is no arguing with a confirmed conspiracy theorist, but I hope you will acknowledge that perhaps in this case you may have chosen a point of view too soon. 

Many thanks again for sharing your work and your talent with your listeners,

Linda Theil

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mark Twain's benighted book

Is Shakespeare Dead? by Mark Twain (Harper, 1909) is not in the Autobiography of Mark Twain or Mark Twain Project Online because the editors didn't know where to put it.

by Linda Theil

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, wrote his autobiography in chunks, and although he published much of the work before he died, he made legal arrangements stipulating that the complete work could not be published until 100 years after his death in 1910. That publication was completed last year with the third and final volume of Autobiography of Mark Twain.

This autobiography, including the entire corpus of his work, letters, and other writings is available at the Mark Twain Project Online. Here is what that site says about their vital work:
Mark Twain Project Online applies innovative technology to more than four decades' worth of archival research by expert editors at the Mark Twain Project. It offers unfettered, intuitive access to reliable texts, accurate and exhaustive notes, and the most recently discovered letters and documents. 
Its ultimate purpose is to produce a digital critical edition, fully annotated, of everything Mark Twain wrote. MTPO is produced by the Mark Twain Papers and Project of The Bancroft Library in collaboration with the University of California Press; the site is hosted by UC Berkeley's Library Systems Office. During 2005–8 the California Digital Library collaborated in MTPO's creation and initial development. 
In April 2009, the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions designated MTPO an "Approved Edition," and in 2015, MTP was honored as part of NEH@50.
As one of those favored projects honored last year when the National Endowment for the Humanities turned 50, the NEH website wrote about the Mark Twain Project:
The Mark Twain Papers and Project at UC-Berkeley’s Bancroft Library began documenting Clemens’s life in 1949. The collection began when the library received the papers Clemens had personally selected and made available to his official biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine. Since then, the library has amassed more than 17,000 letters to Clemens or his family and another 11,000 written by them. There are also unpublished manuscripts, working notes, typescripts, business documents, clippings, scrapbooks, interviews, bills, checks, and photographs. 
With $4,093,639 from NEH, the Mark Twain Papers and Project has been publishing the archive in four series. The Mark Twain Papers consists of scholarly editions of letters, notebooks, and unpublished literary manuscripts. The Works of Mark Twain are authoritative critical editions of Twain’s published works.  The Mark Twain Library is meant for use in the classroom and by the general reader. The final series, Jumping Frogs: Undiscovered, Rediscovered, and Celebrated Writings of Mark Twain, showcases Twain’s short stories, travelogs, plays, and journalism. The project also has a robust website that offers digital versions of the completed volumes. . . .
Lest one think that $4-million-plus was sufficient to the task, here is what MTPO says on their site regarding funding:
Mark Twain Project Online is an ambitious undertaking, requiring ongoing work. In addition, financial and other crucial support has been instrumental in the development of the critical editions and this Web site—and will continue to be so. 
Please support the Mark Twain Project Online by donating now.
The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley is the home of the Mark Twain Papers & Project. The Bancroft plays a vital role in housing the archive and has also provided financial support for Mark Twain Project Online. 
The Mark Twain Foundation, a perpetual charitable trust located in New York City, possesses the publication rights to all of Mark Twain's writings unpublished at his death. It was created by a provision in his daughter Clara's will, which also stipulated that the income from the Foundation be used for, among other things, “enabling mankind to appreciate and enjoy the works of Mark Twain.” The Mark Twain Foundation has given UC Press and Mark Twain Project Online exclusive rights to publish copyright-protected writings by Mark Twain, both in print and electronically. 
The National Endowment for the Humanities has supported the editorial work of the Mark Twain Project, without interruption, since 1967, and made generous funding grants for the development of Mark Twain Project Online.
Yet, Mark Twain's treatise on the Shakespeare authorship question, Is Shakespeare Dead?, appears nowhere in this monumental endeavor. If you query the massive trove on the title Is Shakespeare Dead? you will be rewarded with exactly nothing.

We contacted the MTPO on behalf of this weblog in January and received an immediate reply from Autobiography of Mark Twain associate editor Sharon Goetz. She supplied links on the site to letters and/or dictations wherein Twain discussed the topic of his book:
"Is Shakespeare Dead?" isn't part of our current offerings at The essay is related to Clemens's autobiographical dictations of 11 January and 25 March 1909, which are part of our recently published _Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3_.11 Jan 1909:;;toc.depth=1;;style=work;brand=mtp#X25 March 1909:;;;toc.depth=1;brand=mtp;style=work#X
Clemens went to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1907:;;;toc.depth=1;brand=mtp;style=work#X
For the essay itself, see the free-to-access Project Gutenberg version of the 1909 Harper & Brothers printing, which is out of copyright: 
Best wishes,Sharon Goetz
Brief postscript: Clemens was benighted with respect to Shakespeare, though he didn't have access to some important pieces of information that might have changed his mind (again). See, for example,

A Google query defined benighted as "in a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance, typically owing to a lack of opportunity".

We wrote back with additional questions to which Goetz replied on Jan. 6, 2016:
Thank you for your reply. Yes, certainly, Clemens's issues with Shakespeare and Bacon would not be a reason to suppress content.
I've passed your query to the co-editors of volume 3. My colleague Benjamin Griffin has responded--please see below. 
Regarding my earlier words, "isn't part of our current offerings": our goal is to prepare accurate texts of everything Clemens wrote, in due course. We've edited nearly thirty years' worth of his letters, for example, with another thirty years of letters remaining. I expect that MTP will edit "Is Shakespeare Dead?" but have no clear sense of when. 
Our website does include some content that the print version of vol. 3 does not: the textual commentaries for all dictations in that volume, that is, descriptions of the typescripts, manuscripts, and printed texts that underlie our edited text, and records of how each text varies (see Note on the Text for context); Clemens's working notes for the Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript; and color scans of a few of the photographs (print is all b/w). 
Best wishes,Sharon Goetz 
[Benjamin Griffith:]
There are several long pieces which Clemens intimated, in one way or another, to be "part of" or "from" his Autobiography. Some of them are on the borderline as far as whether they can be considered part of the *finished form* (intended final form) of the work. 
"Is Shakespeare Dead?" is definitely on the borderline. One consideration is both intentional and pragmatic: if this text is part of the Autobiography, where does it go? We didn't include anything that is without indications of where, in the sequence of dictations, it should go. Clemens does not introduce it, make a place for it, in and among the dictation series, as he does with other heterogeneous texts of his own in the book--such as "Was It Heaven? or Hell?" and "Wapping Alice," for example. 
One work that he says is "in this Autobiography" is [1907 short story] "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven," which we also have not included. Here, our conclusion was that by the time Clemens published it separately as a book, he had lost interest in the question of the Autobiography. Book publication therefore represented his final intention--so far as one can tell. 
In the end, it was our feeling that Clemens felt the same way about "Is Shakespeare Dead?" It's debatable, of course.
What we could have done is to publish "Is Shakespeare Dead?" as an appendix. That at least seems unnecessary in view of the text's wide availability.
If we understand correctly, according to these communiques there are several reasons why Is Shakespeare Dead? does not appear in Autobiography of Mark Twain or the Mark Twain Project Online:

  • Is Shakespeare Dead? has to be edited before it can be included; but there are no plans to edit it.
  • The editors don't know where to put Is Shakespeare Dead?
  • Is Shakespeare Dead? is widely available elsewhere so does not need to appear in the Mark Twain Project Online.
  • 1909 publication represented Mark Twain's final intention for Is Shakespeare Dead?
This seems so patently nonsensical that we have delayed commenting for fear we had missed some essential nuance of reasoning, but we can delay no longer because we don't think we will ever understand why Is Shakespeare Dead? has been eliminated from Mark Twain's life work.


Is Shakespeare Dead? is available on Amazon, and free in ebook and audio formats on the Internet. Perusal of the book reveals an historically valuable, first-person account of the status of the Shakespeare authorship question during Twain’s lifetime, told with passion and humor in Twain’s unmistakable voice. 

In Chapter One of Is Shakespeare Dead? from My Autobiography, Mark Twain reveals his introduction to the Shakespeare authorship controversy:
Did [Captain Ealer] have something to say--this Shakespeare-adoring Mississippi pilot--anent Delia Bacon's book? Yes. And he said it; said it all the time, for months--in the morning watch, the middle watch, the dog watch; and probably kept it going in his sleep. He bought the literature of the dispute as fast as it appeared, and we discussed it all through thirteen hundred miles of river four times traversed in every thirty-five days--the time required by that swift boat to achieve two round trips. We discussed, and discussed, and discussed, and disputed and disputed and disputed; at any rate he did, and I got in a word now and then when he slipped a cog and there was a vacancy. He did his arguing with heat, with energy, with violence; and I did mine with the reserve and moderation of a subordinate who does not like to be flung out of a pilot-house that is perched forty feet above the water. He was fiercely loyal to Shakespeare and cordially scornful of Bacon and of all the pretensions of the Baconians. So was I--at first. 

UPDATE May 18, 2016: The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship board of trustees sent a letter of protest re: the exclusion of Is Shakespeare Dead? from my Autobiography from the Mark Twain Project Online to the director of the Bancroft Library, and copied the NEA. See SOF News Online article at:

Resources: ebook — all formats

German anti-Strat films to be screened this week by ARTE

Screen shot of Is Shakespeare Dead? author Mark Twain from Claus Bredenbrock's new, 
anti-Strat film, Ist Shakespeare Tot?/Shakespeare Est il Mort?, to be aired
this coming week by European cultural TV broadcaster ARTE.
by Linda Theil

Neue Shake-speareGesellschaft (New Shakespeare Society) board member Hanno Wember of Hamburg, Germany reports that European cultural television broadcaster ARTE will air two anti-Stratfordian films in Germany and France this week.

On April 24, 2016, the award-winning 2014 German authorship film, Der Nackte Shakespeare (The Naked Shakespeare) by Claus Bredenbrock and its French translation Shakespeare Mis a Nu (Shakespeare Exposed) will be broadcast. This film was screened in North America at the 2013 SOS/SF authorship conference in Toronto, Ontario.

Bredenbrock's 2016 sequel to Der Nackte Shakespeare -- titled in French Shakespeare Est il Mortand in German Ist Shakespeare Tot? -- is based on Mark Twain's 1909 anti-Strat book Is Shakespeare Dead?. This film will be broadcast in Germany and France on April 27, 2016. There is no English version available.

Hanno Wember translated Twain's Is Shakespeare Dead? into German at Bredenbrock's suggestion, and the film is based on Wember's translation. The translation, Ist Shakespeare Tot?, was published last year by Stratos Verlag and is available from Amazon/Germany.


Note: re updates on no English translation and use of Wember translation in production of film were added May 3, 2016.

Monday, April 18, 2016

French Stratfordians release epub

Shakespeare, Combien de Pretendants?, new book of French essays on Shakespeare authorship
by Linda Theil

According to their announcement on today's European Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA) email distribution list, French scholars Dominique Goy-Blanquet and François Laroque edited a book of French language essays addressing the Shakespeare authorship question. 

The ebook, titled Shakespeare: Combien de Pretendants? (Shakespeare: How Many Pretenders?) was released last week by French publisher Thierry Marchaisse. The ebook is available in Kindle format at Amazon/France.

Contributors include: Daniel Bougnoux Christophe Camard, Roger Chartier, Jacques Darras, Jonathan Frances Dominique Goy-Blanquet, François Laroque, Lois Potter, James Shapiro, Henry Suhamy, Gisèle Venet, Stanley Wells and Paul Edmonson, and Richard Wilson.

Goy-Blanquet and Laroque said in their joint announcement on the ESRA list:
As you probably heard, Lamberto Tassinari has undertaken to prove that John Florio is the true author of Shakespeare’s work and [to] denounce the “Stratford industry” who are doing their best to hide [Florio's] revelation from the world. 
Instead of being ignored as it deserved, [Florio’s] hypothesis has received such strong support in France from the philosopher Daniel Bougnoux that [French newspaper] Le Monde (9 January 2016) published -- side-by-side -- [UK Prime Minister] David Cameron’s launch of the Shakespeare year [2016], and Tassinari/Bougnoux’s conspiracy theories.  
The ample media attention [Tassinari and Bougnoux] received made us feel it time to answer, with hopes that more critically aware readers will restore the balance between facts and fiction. The e-book [Shakespeare: Combien de Pretendants?] is a collective effort to  discuss and clarify their more fanciful assertions.
The Le Monde article that infuriated the French Stratfordians
Lamberto Tassinari is a Canadian emigre who authored John Florio: the Man who Was Shakespeare (Giano Books, 2009), with a second edition and ebook published in 2013. His January 9, 2016 Le Monde article that so infuriated the French Stratfordians was titled "Le célèbre « Barde de Stratford » n’est pas celui qu’on croit!"(The celebrated 'Bard of Stratford' is not who you think he is!). 

Tassinari said, ". . . the French newspaper Le Monde published my article . . . alongside David Cameron's Shakespearean celebration. John Florio, a step away from London, is knocking resolutely at England's door asking for a long denied recognition."

In 2014 Daniel Bougnoux reviewed Tassinari's book on his weblog Le Randonneur. In this review, titled titled "Pour un Shakespeare vrai" (For a true Shakespeare) Bougnoux said:
Je suis, venant de lire son ouvrage, partagé entre deux sentiments, d'admiration et d'indignation : je crois vraiment qu'il a raison, et ça renverse tout ce qu'on croyait savoir, ça remet tout à l'échelle.
(. . . I think he [Tassinari] is right, and it overturns everything we thought we knew . . .)
Je propose donc aux lecteurs de ce blog d'être les premiers en France à s'intéresser à cette thèse, au moins à l'entendre et à l'examiner. La « vérité » en cette matière ne peut naître que d'un débat loyal, sans arguments de principe ni d'autorité.
(I propose to the readers of this blog to be the first in France to be interested in this thesis, at least to hear and consider it. The "truth" in this matter can only be born of a fair debate, no arguments of principle or authority.) 
Bougnoux published an extensive response to his review under the headline, "Affaire Shakespeare-Florio-Tassinari, petite suite". 

Bougnoux's book on the Shakespeare authorship, Shakespeare le Choix du Spectre  was published in February this year. Goy-Blanquet reveiwed both Tassinari and Bougnoux's books in the French literary journal En Attendant Nadeau under the same title as her ebook "Shakespeare: Combien de Pretendants?" and Bougnoux responded evoking Diana Price, whereupon Goy-Blanquet replied evoking -- of all people -- Alan Nelson.


Le Monde Jan 9 2016,
Bougnoux response,

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare, April 24 at UM-Flint

Matthew Wyneken, PhD, at Oberon meeting April 16, 2016.
Wyeken will host "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare"
 April 24, 2016 at UM-Flint.
by Linda Theil

Yesterday at our monthly meeting, Oberons prepared for our "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" program to be held next Sunday, 2 p.m. April 24, 2016 at the University of Michigan -- Flint. 

Oberon member Matthew Wyneken, PhD, will host, and Oberon chair Richard Joyrich, MD, will moderate our discussion of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition's “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt” signed by over 3300 doubters including 48 notable signatories — among them, 2016 Oscar winner, Mark Rylance.

Shakespeare doubter, Mark Rylance. Photo by Steve Pyke
Our event is one of several reasonable-doubt programs to be held worldwide, organized by SAC chairman John Shahan.

Join us and decide for yourself if there is reasonable doubt that the Stratford merchant wrote the plays of William Shakespeare. 

2 p.m., Sunday, April 24, 2016 
Happenings Room 
University Center Building, main floor 
University of Michigan - Flint,
303 E. Kearsley St., Flint MI

Hosted by 
Matt Wyneken, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Department of Education
University of Michigan-Flint

Moderated by
Richard Joyrich, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor  of Radiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine
Medical Director, Division of Nuclear Medicine at Harper University Hospital and Sinai-Grace Hospital

This event is free and open to the public. 
A campus map and directions are available at the UM-Flint website.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Oberons got the right (double) stuff!

Sharon Hunter, Rosey Hunter, (unseen) Pam Verilone, Richard Joyrich, and Robin Browne confer at
March 12, 2016 Oberon meeting at Bloomfield Twp. library -- discussion fortified by Oreo Double-stuff!
Present but not pictured: Linda Theil and Rey Perez.

by Linda Theil

Fortified with Oreo Double-stuff cookies, Oberons met March 15, 2016 to discuss upcoming events.

Oberons plan to attend Shapiro lecture in Stratford, Ontario
June 18, 2016

Several members have purchased tickets and plan to attend James Shapiro's lecture on "The Scottish Play" at 10:30 a.m. June 18, 2016 in the Studio Theatre, Stratford Ontario. The lecture is part of the Stratford Festival Forum series of lectures. Tickets are $20 Canadian.

Oberons host "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" at UM-Flint
April 24, 2016
Oberons discussed plans to will host an event -- "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" -- a discussion of the Shakespeare authorship question, and the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition's "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt" at:

2 p.m., Sunday, April 24, 2016 
Happenings Room
University Center Building, main floor
University of Michigan - Flint,
303 E. Kearsley St., Flint MI.

Park at Mill Street ramp or lot, open to public on weekends. A campus map and directions are available on the University of Michigan - Flint website.

Oberons examine 2015 yearbook

We viewed a hard copy of the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group Yearbook 2015 , available free in ebook format from Blurb. Print-on-demand hard copies may be ordered from Blurb. A PDF version is also available for $4.99.

Monday, February 29, 2016

2015 yearbook now available from Blurb

Our 2015 Oberon yearbook is now available from Blurb. The yearbook contains all Oberon web log posts from 2015. An ebook version of the 2015 yearbook is available at no charge from Blurb at .

Order a hard copy from the Blurb print-on-demand catalog at

The 2015 yearbook contains a tribute to Oberon member Thomas George Hunter who passed away last year, an interview with noted author Ros Barber, information about Oberon activities, and articles about notable Shakespeare events in 2015.