Wednesday, October 21, 2009

George Hunter essay

Oberon member George Hunter offers the following essay for readers' consideration.

Authorship as a University Discipline: Shakespeare vs The Earl of Oxford
The Question
     How can authorship become a university discipline?
The Solution
     Research must have a two-fold interest, one, to deal with matters of general interest to current university disciplines; and second, to also deal with matters of interest to the question of authorship.   Some of this research may already exist. 
Examples of Research with a Two-fold Interest.
     How does a current theatrical company respond to a new play?  Is the playwright present during rehearsals?  Does the cast offer new dialogue?  How often is there a major rewrite of the play?  Does someone else work the script rather than the playwright?  These are questions of interest to university disciplines but may also throw light on the question of authorship, that is, how could a play, written by Oxford,  be transformed into a theatrical performance ascribed to Shakespeare?
      Variety, a show business publication, has a wealth of information about the current and past theater.  Is there a record of a secret playwright?  How do theater people communicate with each other?  Does everybody know each other's business?  How difficult is it to keep a secret?  Again, these are questions of general interest which also deal with the question of how the Earl of Oxford's authorship was kept a secret.
     In the early British navy,  sailors could not speak out against an officer, but  they could express their feelings in song without fear of reprisal.  In Soviet Russia there were songs, jokes, and jingles expressing negative feelings about the government.  What evidence is there of songs, jokes, and jingles in general but also about the authorship question. 
     This approach will constitute a defacto recognition of the authorship question as a university discipline in which there is reasonable doubt about both Shakespeare and the Earl of Oxford as authors of the body of literature currently ascribed to William Shakespeare.  The goal is to develop a body of evidence both for and against both William Shakespeare and the Earl of Oxford.  
     About two months ago I emailed a gist of the above (I can't find a copy of the email) to ten acting companies associated with universities and ten to community or professional acting companies. I did not expect to, and did not, get a response but I hope that someone in the future will consider the issue and eventually respond in some way. This may be our best access to a university discipline.
 George Hunter, a.k.a. Tommy Mysliwiec
    Retired Social Worker
    Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

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