Sunday, January 29, 2012

Waugaman chosen for 2012 Frieda Fromm-Reichmann lecture to be held March 2, 2012 in Chevy Chase

Richard Waugaman, MD will deliver the 2012 Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Lecture at 7 p.m. March 2, 2012 at the Chevy Chase Women's Club, 7931 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Tickets are $30 for members, $50 for non-members, and free to students and active military.

Waugaman's topic will be "A Refugee from Chestnut Lodge Receives Asylum at the Folger Shakespeare Library: New Discoveries about the Authorship of Shakespeare’s Works”

Waugaman is clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine; Training & Supervising Analyst, Emeritus at Washington Psychoanalytic Institute; and a Reader at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Forty of his more than 100 publications are on Shakespeare and the psychology of pseudonymity.  The English literature journal Notes & Queries listed Waugaman's 2009 paper as the most-read online article for the month of October; and his 2009 and 2010 articles on the topic of Edward de Vere's marked psalms as a previously unknown literary source for Shakespeare's works were ranked #9 and #10 most-read online for December, 2011. These statistics include all of the articles read online from the past 150 years of Notes & QueriesThe full texts of most of his publications are available at Waugaman's website, The Oxfreudian.

Waugaman said the Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Lecture honors the memory of the renegade psychoanalyst who shaped the identity of Chestnut Lodge as a psychoanalytic hospital dedicated to the treatment of severely ill psychiatric patients who had failed to respond to conventional treatment. Fromm-Reichmann's lack of theoretical orthodoxy influenced the facility to pioneer innovative treatments rather than practicing narrow models of conventional psychoanalytic technique. He said the lecture committee felt that having a speaker who worked at Chestnut Lodge -- as Waugaman did for 13 years until shortly before it closed in 2001 -- would be fitting, as would his interest in the unorthodox topic of Freud's opinion that Edward de Vere wrote the works of Shakespeare. Waugaman said: 
I am humbled by this honor. It is more a recognition for all my fellow Oxfordians than it is for me. In particular, it would not have come about had it not been for the pioneering work that Roger Stritmatter is doing with de Vere's Bible. It brought the new evidence for de Vere to my attention ten years ago, when Roger was written up in the New York Times. And the psychoanalyst who is most deserving of this honor is A. Bronson Feldman, who sadly did not live long enough to see his work begin receiving the recognition it deserves from his fellow psychoanalysts.
The lecture honors a psychoanalyst who has been an inspiration for many of us. When I was 16, I read I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, assuming for years afterwards that it was a novel. When I learned it was a memoir, I became entranced with Chestnut Lodge, the hospital where it took place. It was Fromm-Reichmann who treated the author, Joanne Greenberg (she published the novel under a pseudonym!). When I met Joanne Greenberg years later, I told her how much her book has influenced my career, and that I always thought of Chestnut Lodge as a half-real, half-ficitious place. Which it seemed to be during the 13 years I worked there.
Ann-Louise S. Silver, MD, chair of the Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Lecture series said, "This year's speaker is making an enormous impact on the world of Shakespeare scholars and students. Dr. Waugaman will be discussing the virulence of the opposition he has experienced, and will present his evidence that Freud was right in feeling that Edward DeVere was the author of the Shakespeare plays and sonnets. This promises to be an exciting and memorable evening."

Waugaman said that his lecture will attempt to summarize the Oxfordian position and his own research on DeVere, as well as its respective reception in various quarters.
Already, the announcement of my lecture has stirred some of the polarized reactions the topic always generates. One friend wrote that she couldn't come because of a schedule conflict. But she added, "I confess I'm not prone to attend something on this topic." When I met this talented scholar years ago, she worked for the Shakespeare Association of America, and told me it has a policy of not discussing the authorship question. Taboo, I gather.
But other friends who are English professors have reacted much more warmly, despite their differences with my Oxfordian position. One in Ohio wrote, "Congratulations on this! I wish I could attend." Another wrote from Florida, "Thanks for the of luck!" An English professor wrote from New Zealand, "Thanks, Rick -- I will pass this along!" Yet another wrote, "Thank you so much for this invitation. I should love to have come, but sadly will be back in England at that time. I do hope it goes well and you have a good discussion." A local professor asked me to break a leg, but of course he meant that in the friendliest theatrical meaning of the phrase.
I quote from all these messages because it has been my good fortune to have formed friendly relationships with many scholars of early modern English literature. This helps sustain me in my heretical work, as does the kind support of everyone at the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group.
The  Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Lecture provides continuing education credits in psychology, social work and medical education. The lecture will be filmed, and a link will be provided at

See also: 
"Who is this baby?" at

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Say wha', Jimmy?

Not only does I-don't-approve-of-speculative-biography author James Shapiro approve Graham Holderness' imaginative biography, Nine Lives of William Shakespeare (Continuum Books, 2011), but he has recently also praised Germaine Greer's 2008 biographic speculation, Shakespeare's Wife. In a short article titled "Fact and fiction don't blend well in biographies" that appeared in the January 23, 2012 edition of Hindustan Times writer Antara Das reported:  
Shapiro is less dismissive of [Greer]‘s attempt to add substance to the somewhat sketchy portrait of Shakespeare’s wife (in the book of the same name). “Greer does bring her own preoccupations, concluding that Shakespeare died of venereal disease for which there is no evidence. But she did manage to shift perspectives and liberate Shakespeare from a clutch of mainly male biographers,” he says. In the end, the bravery of her attempt outshines the flaws of her book. Contesting the authorship of Shakespeare’s work is a phenomenon not more than 150 years old. But if one is patient, Shakespeare is bound to “emerge as a figure of the moment, responsible to the moment”.
" . . . emerge as a figure of the moment, responsible to the moment"? Fiddle-dee-dee, Jimmy, what the heck does that mean? 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Redford Theatre runs Forbidden Planet today and tomorrow

Leslie Nielson in 1956 Forbidden Planet

Richard Joyrich reported that the Redford Theatre will be showing 1956's Forbidden Planet, starring Leslie Nielson, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and introducing Robby the Robot today at 8 PM and Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM. Richard said:
There is usually a thirty minute organ "overture" before the movie there and a 30 minute organ "intermission" as well. As some of you may know (and others might be pleased to learn) this movie was inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest and has many parallel characters. It is considered one of the best science fiction movies of the 1950s. I hope you will consider taking advantage of this opportunity to see this movie on the big screen (it is, of course, available on DVD). I promise you that you will not be disappointed.
And for those of you who don't live in southeast Michigan, check out the available Shakespeare films discussed by Jeff Heinrich in yesterday's Montreal Gazette, "DVD Blu-ray and download: Handy viewing guide to Shakespeare on film" Heinrich gives a shout-out to the release of Roland Emmerich's Anonymous on DVD February 7, 2012.
Finally, if you don’t buy this whole Shakespeare thing and seriously think someone else wrote all those wonderful plays, check out Anonymous. Roland Emmerich and John Orloff’s fiction premiered at the Toronto Film Fest in September and is coming to Sony DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 7. The real Shakespeare? Apparently he was an Oxford earl named Edward de Vere.
Reader, if you have a favorite Shakespeare or Shakespeare derived film, add to our list by posting a comment below. I'll start with the 1999 Taming of the Shrew deriviative, Ten Things I Hate about You, with Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.

Note: Don't forget tomorrow (January 21) at 1 p.m. is the simulcast of the Met's Shakespeare derived opera Enchanted Isle


Monday, January 16, 2012

Klein says Marche's case is weak

Stephen Marche's vicious, NYT Magazine review of Roland Emmerich's film, Anonymous, earned brickbats from an atypical source last fall. On Nov. 16, 2011 the weblog Organizations and Markets ran a post titled "Shakespeare and Epistemology" in which economist Peter G. Klein chastised Marche for his hubris in excoriating the anti-Stratfordian viewpoint. 

"I don’t know anything about the issue other than what I’ve read in recent commentaries, but Marche’s case, in the piece linked above, is surprisingly weak," Klein wrote. He elaborated:
  • some Shakespeare products are dated after de Vere died, which only proves that de Vere couldn’t have written those;
  • the doubters are snobs who don’t believe a poor country boy could have written such beautiful verse, which could be true, but hardly establishes that the country boy did in fact write them;
  • and other circumstantial bits and ex cathedra pronouncements.
But his major criticism was for Stratfordians' intractable certitude, which Klein says is epistemologically unsound.
How can we possibly know with 100% certainty who authored every one of the literary works attributed to Shakespeare? Heck, we don’t know who really writes the stuff published under names like “Doris Kearns Goodwin” and “Stephen Ambrose,” and those appeared in the last few years, not the 17th century. There’s even a lively controversy about what Adam Smith wrote and what he copied. Intellectual historians are frequently reinterpreting and revising, and few cows are sacred. Regarding Shakespearean authorship, then, shouldn’t we expect a little Popperian or Hayekian humility? 
Recently, Klein explained to us his reference to Popper and Hayek:
On humility, I was referring the reader to prior posts on Organizations and Markets on Popper's and Hayek's methodological views. Both Popper (the philosopher of science) and Hayek (the economist) emphasized fallibility, skepticism, the conjectural nature of scientific knowledge, etc. Popper regarded as scientific only those propositions that are "falsifiable"; Hayek's [1974] Nobel Prize lecture was titled "The Pretense of Knowledge."
Klein said Organization and Markets is a business/economics blog focused on organization theory, entrepreneurship, and management. "The authors and most readers are social scientists, but we touch occasionally on literature, society, culture, etcetera, as they relate to our core themes." 

As for how Shakespeare relates to those core themes, Klein said, "I’m puzzled by the core epistemological issue: what do we really know about Shakespearean authorship?"


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jefferson Foote publishes Brazil -- electronic version to follow soon

Robert Brazil’s childhood pal, Jefferson Foote, published Brazil’s book, Edward DeVere and the Shakespeare Printers, as an act of friendship. When Foote – a research scientist in Seattle, Washington – learned of Brazil’s death in 2010, he also learned of Brazil’s interest in the Shakespeare authorship question.

“I found out he had written this book and he had published it as a Kinko copy (in 1999),” Foote said in a telephone interview on January 8. “And I’m not prepared to let this slip away – it is his life’s work and I wanted to see it preserved.”

Although he had been long out of contact with Robert Brazil, Foote contacted Brazil’s brother, Tony Brazil, and received a copy of the contents of Brazil’s computer along with permission to publish Shakespeare Printers under the copyright of Brazil’s son and heir Jessie Brazil.

“I had no trouble at all getting approval from the brother and sons,” Foote said. “They were delighted that I picked that up.”

Foote also enlisted the aid of Robert Brazil’s friend, Lisa Duff -- owner of the audio-book publishing firm, Wetware Media, LLC -- who advised Foote on the publishing process. He used the Amazon print-on-demand company CreateSpace as printer of the volume and published under the name of his Seattle research firm, Cortical Output, LLC. The book was released on Brazil’s birthday, November 19, 2011, with all profits going to Brazil’s heirs: Jessie Brazil and David Brazil. “We want to keep the price moderate; their priority is to get the widest circulation,” Foote said.

Foote expects to release an electronic version of Shakespeare Printers by spring this year. He does not rule out the possibility of further publication, although he found no other books in preparation among Brazil’s electronic effects.

(UPDATE 02/09/13: This book is available as a Kindle edition from the Amazon website at:

“I looked over his disk files that Tony sent. I went over them almost file-by-file; there are thousands of them. I found various versions of stuff that’s in the book; the contents of the book is not that different from the contents in the 1999 version. The thousands of files I saw were more like primary research data, not manuscript drafts.  [Robert Brazil] wrote that this was going to be the first volume of a multi-volume set, but I didn’t find subsequent volumes. There were the beginnings, and discussions with people about Oxfordian issues.  It may be at some point a genuine Oxfordian scholar could go through these and recognize the significance of these. That would be a privacy issue, but I think Tony [Brazil] would be amenable.”

Foote and Brazil were childhood friends who attended school together in Tarrytown, New York.  Foote said they had a teacher at Sleepy Hollow High School who was passionate about Shakespeare and an advocate of the Oxfordian authorship attribution, but Foote didn’t think this teacher was the main influence on Brazil. Foote himself had no real knowledge about the topic until he took on Brazil’s book project last year.
It’s been interesting to me to look into this world. I’m a scientist; so in a way it’s not new.  I deal in a field where every fact is suspect.  It was interesting to see the players and the arguments back and forth. I’m developing an impression. It’s so interesting this controversy. I read all the reviews of [Emmerich’s film] Anonymous and there were three things that were striking about them:
  • One was the bombast. Reviewers wouldn't just say 'I disagree'; they would say this [view] of Shakespeare was the greatest affront to intelligence of all time.
  • Another thing that struck me: they all brought up this snobbery argument; it’s such a distortion. Nobody ever said 'One's rich; the other's poor so the rich guy must have written it.'
  • The third thing that struck me about these reviews: there’s nothing there. They kind of huff and puff all through the review without saying exactly what's wrong with the Oxfordian postion, then end up saying, 'So-and-so has thoroughly debunked this," which is a sure sign of someone who couldn't be bothered to do homework.
My impression of the  Stratfordians is pretty bad.They're academics and they come off as a bunch of pompous twits. The Oxfordians come off, to me, as the ones with energy: tracking down leads, finding new evidence, thinking about it, talking about it, maintaining an active discussion. And I understand Robby himself digitized a lot of Elizabethan literary works and made them available on the Internet, free, for anyone, for any purpose.
Foote refers to the Elizabethan Authors website created by Robert Brazil and Barboura Flues that is currently available at

When asked about why he took on this remarkable project in his friend’s memory, Foote said, “I’m from a small town and we take care of each other even after one of us has passed on.”

Foote is researching what became of the material on Brazil’s website He is amenable to hearing from Oxfordians and may be reached at mailto:

Edward DeVere and the Shakespeare Printers by Robert Sean Brazil, a 244 page paperback, is available for $19.95 on Amazon at:

This description of the book is provided on
Dozens of important books from the Elizabethan era praise Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, for his patronage of literature in general, and for encouraging the creation and publication of specific works. In sheer numbers, William Cecil and the Earl of Leicester patronized more books. But "Oxford's Books,” have a robust, hyper-intelligent and even bawdy character, a special collection in publishing history because they form the reading matter and the linguistic universe in which "Shake-speare", as poet and wordsmith, resided. The Oxford books are pivotal pieces of the literary Renaissance in England, and these books are found reflected in the themes and language of the Shakespeare plays. Could de Vere have been the true author of Shakespeare's plays and poetry, using the man from Stratford as a front? In the first half of this volume, Robert Brazil gives a lucid explanation of the Shakespeare/ Oxford authorship question. In the second half, Brazil adds his own findings to this complex and contentious playing field. Through association with specific printers and publishers, Brazil links de Vere to the men who first printed "Shakespeare.” These printers and sellers turn out to be key suppliers of works classified as Shakespeare apocrypha, as well as works that Shakespeare drew upon, the so called "Sources of Shakespeare,” which include everything from Holinshed's chronicles, to translations, anonymous plays, poetry, and editions of the Psalms. Following the existing paper trail, Brazil additionally shows that "Shake-speare" edited his own books, for improved published editions, but only from 1598 to 1604. After 1604, the year of de Vere's death, access to texts and to the original editor was permanently interrupted.

A portion of Edward de Vere and the Shakespeare Printers is readable on the Amazon site; the acknowledgments in the book read:
"Thanks to my friends and family who have supported this endeavor with encouragement and bemusement: The Right Reverend David Z. Brazil, The Right Honorable Dr. Percy Brazil, Jessie Brazil, Lisa Duff. And many thanks to my far-flung fellow researchers and correspondents: Mick Clarke, Barboura Flues, Nina Green, Andy Hannas, Roger Stritmatter, and Dr. Jack Shuttleworth." Signed Robert Sean Brazil, 2010



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tom Townsend announces Jan. 23, 2012 Oberon meeting

Hello Everyone,
And Happy New Year.
We have a finalized the meeting date, time and place for the first Oberon Meeting of the new year. It will be Monday, January 23 in meeting room 3 at the Bloomfield Township Public Library.  The meeting time is 6:45 to 8:30 PM. The address for the Bloomfield Township Public Library is 1099 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Township MI 48302 (phone: 248-642-5800). It is actually at the intersection of Lone Pine Road and Telegraph Road.
When you enter the library you can walk straight in for a couple of yards. You will see stairs on the right. If you go down the stairs and through the door you will see a modest conference room on the right. This is our meeting room! (There are elevators somewhere but I’m not sure where at this point!).
In this first meeting of the new year we have several things to talk about. However the main focus is to hear from everyone: What Shakespeare subjects would you like to discuss this year in our group? We’ll accumulate ideas and put together a non-binding “calendar” of subjects to discuss in the new year. –This is one possibility, I’m sure there are others.
Tom Townsend, Treasurer
Oberon Shakespeare Study Group