Monday, December 27, 2010

Waugaman inaugurates authorship web-log: The Oxfreudian

Georgetown University psychiatry professor Richard M. Waugaman, MD has launched a new web-log about the Shakespeare authorship controversy. He has christened his space, The Oxfreudian. This quirky title is apt because Sigmund Freud was an early proponent of Thomas J. Looney's work on the Shakespeare authorship question, and an ardent Oxfordian. Waugaman said,
Freud's intellect has deeply impressed me since I first read him in college. Under Walter Kaufmann's direction, I did my college senior thesis on Nietzsche's influence on Freud. We studied Freud during my psychoanalytic training, then I read (or re-read) all his 23 volumes during the years after I graduated from the psychoanalytic institute. I puzzled over Freud's endorsement of Looney's authorship hypothesis. Then I put it out of my mind. Until 2002, when William Niederkorn's New York Times article introduced me to Roger Stritmatter's dissertation showing that de Vere's Geneva Bible might be the smoking gun that proves Freud was correct about de Vere. That excited me so much that I got Reader's privileges at the Folger, just to hold Shakespeare's Bible in my hands. I had no idea that I would get so hooked that I would devote 10-15 hours a week to Shakespeare research during the ensuing years.
Waugaman has written many articles highlighting psychological aspects of the Shakespeare authorship question. Links to Waugaman's work -- including his recent "The Bisexuality of Shakespeare's Sonnets and Implications for DeVere's Authorship" from the Oct. 2010 Psychoanalytic Review and "What's in a Manicle: the deVere Psalms as a New Shakespearean Source" from the 2010 edition of Brief Chronicles -- are a feature of the new Oxfreudian site. Waugaman said,
Research on de Vere has become part of my identity. I still love psychoanalysis, and I still conduct the clinical practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy some 30 hours per week. The connections between psychoanalysis and Shakespeare are strong, and they help me integrate two vital parts of my identity. One of my goals is to persuade my fellow psychoanalysts to join me in Oxfreudian studies. Psychoanalysts have long been interested in literature, and especially in Shakespeare.
In addition to providing access to his articles, Waugaman's new blog may turn the tables on Stratfordians -- like James Shapiro in Contested Will -- who find reason to doubt the mental health of anyone who cannot, or will not, swallow the traditional Stratfordian gruel. Waugaman said:
One of the many psychological aspects of Shakespeare research is trying to understand the groupthink that has led centuries of scholars so far astray. It's true of the history of every intellectual discipline. The history of science, for example, is full of similar stories -- the establishment abuses its power in order to suppress new ideas. The new ideas are later proven to be correct, but those in power don't like to be proven wrong, despite the intellectual ideal of the pursuit of truth.

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