Thursday, March 27, 2014

Belated report from France

Yesterday, Oberon member Susan Nenadic reported this encounter in Ann Arbor:
A woman who had taken my Shakespeare Authorship Controversy class came to the program I presented today and handed me a note indicating that the Petit Larousse from a 1965 biographical entry of Shakespeare calls into doubt the authorship by Stratford Will. I Wonder how many other foreign language sources do the same thing.
Oberon member Rey Perez followed up with this information from the 2001 edition of Larouse:
The online Larousse dictionary of literature, 2001 edition, in the entry “Shakespeare (William)” from its first sentence begins by expressing doubts about the traditional authorship, then continues with the bare facts about Shakespeare from Stratford. The key sentence is the second, that some have seen in him a pseudonym for others, such as Oxford. The French seem way ahead of the rest of us.
Rey provided this link to the dictionary item on William Shakespeare:
Shakespeare (William)
. . . Poète dramatique anglais (Stratford on Avon 1564 – id. 1616).
Si la nature finit toujours par ressembler à l'art, on attend souvent d'une vie qu'elle soit l'image anticipée d'une œuvre, surtout quand cette œuvre a l'ampleur et la diversité de la vie. On comprend alors que nombre des contemporains de Shakespeare – et une notable partie de leur postérité –, déçus par la platitude de sa biographie face au foisonnement de son théâtre, aient été tentés de lui dénier l'existence pour n'en faire que le prête-nom de personnages illustres et cultivés, comme Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon ou le comte d'Oxford. Il est vrai que l'on possède peu de renseignements précis sur sa vie et qu'il est difficile de les démêler d'avec les enjolivures de la légende. On peut dire cependant qu'il était fils d'un notable prospère qui se ruina assez vite, et qu'il épousa à 18 ans une femme, Anne Hathaway, de 8 ans son aînée. S'il n'est pas certain qu'il approcha d'abord le théâtre en tenant par la bride les chevaux des spectateurs, il est, pour les premiers documents d'archives (1594), acteur et actionnaire de la troupe du Lord Chambellan : la scène est d'abord pour lui une bonne affaire (en 1596, il a refait la fortune familiale et obtenu l'anoblissement de son père), et, en 1598, il s'installe dans le nouveau théâtre du Globe. On peut chercher ailleurs le secret de sa vie, dans ses poèmes (Vénus et Adonis, 1593 ; le Viol de Lucrèce, 1594) ou dans ses 154 sonnets, publiés en 1609 : on y lit, plus ou moins clairement, le trouble, la frustration, l'homosexualité, le masochisme. Et il meurt, dit-on, des suites d'un banquet avec Ben Jonson. . . .
We don't have access to the 1965 edition to confirm the report, but would welcome a photo if anyone out there has a copy.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lear and Henry broadcast in Ann Arbor this spring

by Linda Theil
Simon Russell Beale as Lear in NT Live production. Photo UMS

Ann Arbor's University Musical Society has announced that they will present re-broadcasts of National Theatre of Great Britain's high-definition, live broadcast of King Lear and the Royal Shakespeare Company's Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor this spring.

The National Theatre's  production of King Lear directed by Sam Mendes and with Simon Russell Beale as Lear will be shown at 7 p.m. May 21, 2014. The Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Henry IV, Part I and Part II directed by Gregory Doran and broadcast originally live from Stratford-on-Avon will be shown at 7 p.m. June 15; Henry IV, Part II will be shown at 7 p.m. July 13, 2014.

These plays will be broadcast live and re-broadcast in venues throughout the USA and world-wide. Check the NT Live and the RSC onscreen webpages for information.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Joyrich spoke at Detroit event March 14, 2014

Tom Townsend, Rosey Hunter, Joy Townsend, Rey Perez, and Richard Joyrich at Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, March 14, 2014.

Oberons supported our chairperson, Richard Joyrich, MD, at his talk about the Shakespeare authorship, "Shakespeare beyond Doubt?" on March 14, 2014 at the Institute for Retired Professionals lecture at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit. Joyrich ably propounded the anti-Stratfordian point-of-view to an audience of approximately 60 retirees.

 "There is doubt about who Shakespeare is," Joyrich said, in conclusion. "We should be able to talk about it."

Joy Townsend

 Tom Townsend

Susan Grimes Gilbert

After the event Oberons enjoyed a convivial lunch at a nearby Applebys restaurant. In attendance were: Susan Grimes Gilbert, Rosey Hunter,  Richard Joyrich, Rey Perez, Linda Theil, and Tom & Joy Townsend.

See also:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Detobel reviews SBD? in German journal Theaterforschung

Neue Shake-speareGesellschaft (New Shakespeare Society) board member Hanno Wember reports from Hamburg, Germany:
After Don Rubin’s recently published brilliant review in Critical Stages we have now a review from Robert Detobel in Germany (written in English). Background information:On 9. October 2013 the German online publication Theaterforschung (“theatre-research”) had a review in English of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt (Edmonton, Wells) by Michael Heinze. Although mainly in consent with orthodoxy, it showed some openness in the last sentence:
It has to be mentioned that the fierceness of the debate can be read from the fact that Shakespeare Beyond Doubt. Evidence, Argument, Controversy was published on April 18, 2013 and was followed on June 11 (both publishing dates according to by Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? Exposing an Industry in Denial, edited by John M. Shahan and Alexander Waugh of The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (Tamarac, FL: Llumina Press, ISBN 978-1-62550-033-5, $ 20.95). Controversial academic publishing does not come any more instantaneous, but this second book should be reviewed elsewhere.
Theaterforschung now published the requested review of SBT?- also in English:
Reported by Hanno Wember 
 See also Oberon post dated March 3, 2014 by Richard Joyrich titled "Professor Rubin reviews SBD and SBD? in Critical Stages".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dudley decries ossified Strats in Canadian library journal

Michael Dudley, Indigenous and Urban Services Librarian
University of Winnipeg

In his complex and comprehensive, nine-page opinion piece in the current issue of Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, University of Winnipeg librarian Michael Dudley exhorts his fellow librarians to embrace the Shakespeare authorship question:
. . . the potential benefits of engaging in this issue are many. This subject has engendered an enduring and high level of fascination which is certain to arouse the interest of our campus communities, as it represents a novel approach to locating Shakespeare and provides professional and amateur scholars alike with new perspective. The historical, multicultural and, most importantly, interdisciplinary interest in Shakespeare—be it through a conventional or skeptical approach to the author—implies that an open-minded approach to the question of authorship would appeal to the widest audience.

This engagement can take a variety of forms depending on a given library's diverse strengths and audiences. There are a number of creative ways a university library could use the Shakespeare authorship question to further its own mission, chief among which would be to develop the capacity for critical engagement with scholarship and sources. Collections can be used to highlight important context-setting, such as literary and performance history of the canon, as well as illustrating the contemporary and historic uses of anonymity and pseudonymity in literature. For the purposes of information literacy, instructional librarians could also use the topic to introduce primary and secondary source research, digital humanities, the use of special archival collections and repositories and—significantly—the role of critical thinking in assessing the quality and veracity of information sources.
. . . Through thoughtful engagement with our campus communities—and enough time—perhaps our libraries can be "dukedoms large enough" to help open expansive new vistas of research possibilities in the humanities that are otherwise currently constrained by an increasingly ossified and controversial mythology. 

Dudley will carry this message to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences conference at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario on May 25, 2014 where he will speak on the topic "Academic Libraries and the Shakespeare Authorship Debate".

Dudley is an anti-Strat of the Oxfordian variety, having arrived at this position in a humorously unorthodox manner. He told Oberon:
I've been interested in the topic [of the Shakespeare authorship question] since probably 1990, when I was working at the Edmonton Public Library. I'd graduated a few years previously from a theatre degree in which the third year was wall-to-wall Shakespeare, and we were never told anything about the authorship controversy, although I remember hearing something about Bacon and cryptograms. I realized that for all my study of Shakespeare I'd never read a biography, so I found Ogburn's Mysterious William Shakespeare, thinking it a bio of the Man from Stratford. I was completely stunned at what the book actually was and felt positively betrayed by my professors, who had only repeated the [Stratfordian] myths to us in class without any hint that was what they were.
Since Oberon is such a fan of librarians, we wondered if Dudley felt librarians will have knowingly limited access to authorship information, or if silence on the topic is an issue of benign neglect. He replied:
I'm not sure about self-censorship on the part of librarians; it may be more out of -- as you say -- benign neglect. Certainly none of my colleagues have had any objections to my research and interests in this area. However, with collections management becoming more automated and outsourced to vendors according to profiles and “approval plans”, it may be that the recent literature is being missed because it falls outside conventional reviewing tools. The other major issue for academic libraries is that if the English professors don’t want anti-Strat or Oxfordian books purchased with their budgets, then those titles don’t end up in the collection.
We were curious to know if Dudley believes that librarians are the keepers of the keys to the academic kingdom. He said: 
I think framing the issue as a matter of academic freedom is one way to gain interest on the part of librarians -- who, I would agree, are not the primary gatekeepers on campus nor the major source of anti-Strat discrimination. However, I think that as a neutral ground libraries can at least help familiarize students with the issue through collections, programming and information literacy tools. For example, at the University of Winnipeg, our subject guide on Shakespeare is author-neutral and treats authorship as a genuine research area:
Do not miss Michael Dudley's persuasive and well-written "My Library Was Dukedom Large Enough"* in Partnership.

*Title quote from The Tempest, Act I, scene 2

Update March 5, 2014:
In a letter to the editor in the March 1, 2014 issue of Library Journal, Dudley addresses the issue of the "conventional review sources" mentioned in the quote from his Partnership article above. His letter was written in response to a previously published Library Journal article, "The Bard at 450," Collection Development, LJ 1/14, p. 48–51. We will post a link to the letter when it becomes available online.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Professor Rubin reviews SBD and SBD? in Critical Stages

by Richard Joyrich

Professor Don Rubin, of York University in Toronto, who organized the recently concluded and very successful Annual Joint Conference of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship in Toronto (at which the two organizations united to become the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship) has scored a major opportunity.

In the current (February) issue of Critical Stages, the online journal of the IATC (International Association of Theatre Critics) Professor Rubin has a wonderful review of the two "competing" books Shakespeare Beyond Doubt (edited by Stanley Wells and Paul Edmonson) and Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? (edited by John Shahan and Alexander Waugh).

This is a review that everyone should read. It really compares the tactics and arguments of both books and comes to the proper conclusion (in my opinion) of which book really is about evidence and which book is more of a "smokescreen".

The IATC was formed in 1956 in Paris under the guidance of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a Non-Governmental Organization. It currently represents people from approximately 60 nations.

Critical Stages, the online journal of this organization, is apparently published in both English and French.

I am so pleased that Don Rubin's review will be able to have such a widespread audience.

If you would like to read this review (and why wouldn't you?) go to the following link (link courtesy of Mark Anderson):

You won't regret it.

Way to go, Don!