Friday, May 1, 2009

Tom Hunter reports on the UN-birthday party

Dear Oberon,
A warm glow still persists from our Shakespeare UNbirthday party last Thursday, April 23, and it isn’t all from the candles on the UNbirthday cake or from the happy sight of Joy Townsend and Rosey Hunter providing atmosphere in their colorful Elizabethan costumes.

A near full house of celebrants watched as Ron Destro’s  “Who Really Wrote As Shake-speare?”  presented historical and literary reasons to doubt that William Shakspere of Stratford-Upon-Avon wrote the works of William Shakespeare, as well as reasons for Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford as the true author.

The presentation was followed by a series of UNtoasts to Shakspere as the UNauthor and to April 23 as the UNbirthday (it is only a guess as to when Shakspere was born). Since we had neither glasses nor champagne, we imagined them, just as Stratfordians imagine biographical details of their man’s life, which are also in short supply. While we were at it, we imagined that the glasses were crystal and the champagne the finest available. We also remembered Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens whose finding for Edward de Vere had just been published by the Wall Street Journal. We didn't have to imagine Justice Stevens whose years of research and reading are very real and have produced a finding for Edward de Vere "beyond a reasonable doubt."

The program was received most favorably by all who attended, including a group from nearby Oakland Community College’s Adult Learning Institute who responded to the invitation of Oberon members George and Sharon Hunter (yes we are related!).  Spokesperson Del McPherson said that the ALI members were delighted with the program.  Even more gratifying, she has scheduled us to present it as part of her group’s well attended and well respected regular lecture series in October.

Del appreciated that the program presented interesting information about Shakespeare and did not make her or her companions feel pressured one way or another.  She particularly appreciated the idea that the identity of the author truly does matter and that in pursuing the topic, one could expect an even greater understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare.

Interest in the follow-up discussion included reasons why use of a pen-name by Shakespeare might have been desirable or even necessary; the nature of evidence which might have played a role in Justice Stevens’ decision; and Mark Twain’s common sense and insightful insistence that the experience needed to create Shakespeare’s works was sorely lacking from Stratford’s life.

Dr. Richard Joyrich told the group about the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.  Many attendees appeared interested and took with them copies of the Declaration and directions for signing up.

There was a final toast, of course.  It was to the real Shakespeare whose works will live forever.

I do want to thank all of you who so graciously and generously contributed your time and efforts to making the UNbirthday party a success.  Now we are off to planning a special observance of the 400th anniversary of Shake-speare's Sonnets, published in 1609 by "our ever-living poet."

Thomas Hunter, Ph.D.
Oberon Chair

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