by Richard Waugaman, MD
I appreciate Oberon’s invitation to tell you about my presentation on Edward de Vere at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC on January 24, 2013. The full title of the program was “Shakespeare: Oxfordian and (Ox)Freudian Perspectives—Exploring Psychological Dimensions of the Authorship Question.” It was videotaped and may be available from the Kreeger Museum.
My fellow presenter was Peter Kline, and the moderator was his wife Syril Kline. They have been Oxfordians for many years. Syril has written a novel on the topic, and Peter has completed a manuscript outlining his theory that Shakspere served as de Vere’s research assistant for his history plays.
Syril was exemplary in serving as a neutral moderator. She explained to the sold-out audience that we Oxfordians do not always agree with one another. I admitted, for example, that I would personally be surprised if Shakspere knew how to read and write. I’m in a small minority of Oxfordians who are not convinced he was an actor, either. Since the record of the actor “William Shakespeare” in Ben Jonson’s 1616 First Folio stops in 1603, the year before de Vere’s death, I wonder if the name was equivalent to the author’s name: a sort of stage name that alluded to de Vere’s performances at court.
As I told the audience, Stratfordians are engaged in a disinformation campaign against de Vere. I gave an example of a local Stratfordian, upon meeting Roger Stritmatter, asking him “Well, are you for Shakespeare or against him?” This is an instance of the Stratfordian insistence on merging Shakspere with Shakespeare, insinuating that disagreement about authorship means disrespect of the works of Shakespeare. I made it clear that learning about the real author enriches our enjoyment of his stupendous literary works.
I warned the audience that information from the likes of James Shapiro, author of Contested Will (Scribners, 2010), ) leaves out essential facts: he was known as the best courtier poet of the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign; he was known as the best author of comedies; and, crucially, some knew that he wrote anonymously. Some of this information comes from the anonymous 1589 Arte of English Poesie. I briefly mentioned a few reasons I believe de Vere wrote that important but widely neglected book. (Waugaman’s two publications on the Arte, along with the text of many of his 50 other publications on Shakespeare are available on his website, The Oxfreudian, at http://www.oxfreudian.com.
I told the audience that Oxfordians have to try harder, and that, personally, I have often felt like the boy in the Johnny Cash ballad, “A Boy Named Sue.” That is, being the object of some degree of ridicule toughens one, and teaches one to fight back. With fresh evidence backing the Oxfordian authorship theory, that is.
The Kreeger Museum and its director, Judy Greenberg, have been admirably loyal to its founder’s interest in the Shakespeare Authorship Question (SAQ). David Kreeger, who was CEO of Geico insurance company, became so deeply interested in this topic that he funded the moot trial on the SAQ held at American University in 1987, that was moderated by three Supreme Court justices. David Kreeger’s son was Peter Kline’s student in an English class at the Maret School in Washington, and introduced Peter to his father. That launched Peter Kline’s several decades as an Oxfordian.
As the audience was gathering, an audio recording of the 1987 event was played. The museum also displayed the signed Simon Simpson print of de Vere and Shakesper given to David Kreeger by Lord Vere of Hanworth, to commemorate the 1987 moot trial. I brought with me a copy of Kreeger’s fascinating article on the event from the 1988 American University Law Review, and gave it to a Geico employee who introduced himself to me after the presentation.
The audience reacted warmly and enthusiastically to our presentations, and raised many friendly questions in the discussion afterwards. However, not a single person questioned our authorship theory. The Stratfordians apparently stayed home, or at least stayed silent.
In her gracious introduction, Judy Greenberg mentioned that I was recently named a Faculty Expert on Shakespeare for Media Contacts at Georgetown University. The day after I received this news, I was invited to review a book on Shakespeare by the book review editor of the Renaissance Quarterly.The Folger Theater in Washington, DC had me discuss The Taming of the Shrew last June, and I was just invited by the Shakespeare Theater in Washington to sit on a panel discussing the psychology of Coriolanus on April 28.