Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kietzman and Gifford join reasonable doubters


New Declaration of Reasonable Doubt signers Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD and UM-Flint archivist Paul Gifford join Oberons at "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" presentation April 24, 2016 at UM-Flint. In photograph back row: Paul Gifford; Matthew Wyneken, PhD; (Declaration of Reasonable Doubt) Richard Joyrich, MD; Pam Verilone; front row: Sharon Hunter, Rosey Hunter (almost invisible behind Sharon), and Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD.
by Linda Theil

University of Michigan -- Flint, Shakespeare professor Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD and her husband UM-Flint archivist Paul Gifford joined the ranks of Shakespeare authorship "reasonable doubters" yesterday at the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group presentation, "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" organized as part of a worldwide project by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition.

Matthew Wyneken, PhD, welcomes attendees at "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare"
April 24, 2016 at UM-Flint
Oberon member and University of Michigan--Flint associate professor Matthew Wyneken, PhD organized the local event at UM-Flint and welcomed guests to the program, saying: "I feel it is incumbent on academia to study and investigate the matter [of the Shakespeare authorship]." 

Richard Joyrich, MD, gave a talk on the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition's
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt at the "Reasonable Doubt about Shakespeare" presentation
at UM-Flint April 24, 2016.
Oberon chairperson Richard Joyrich, MD, gave a talk explaining the SAC's Declaration of Reasonable Doubt and the new evidence that makes the Shakespeare authorship question "Beyond Reasonable Doubt" to a small audience in the Happenings Room of the University Center Building. Joyrich said:

"I think [the Shakespeare authorship] is  question of evidence. As a physician thats what I do -- investigate evidence -- and the same is true of lawyers. I think thats why there are so many doctors and lawyers interested in the issue."

Shakespeare scholar Mary Jo Kietzman, PhD, signs the SAC's
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt April 24, 2016.
After his presentation, Shakespeare scholar Mary Jo Kietzman and her husband, archivist Paul Gifford engaged Joyrich and others in a wide-ranging discussion of aspects of the authorship debate including the topics of Hamlet's sources, dating Macbeth, and Roger Stritmatter's work on deVere's Bible. When Kietzman suggested Shakespeare's attitude toward the common man is admiring, Joyrich disagreed saying the works derive from an aristocratic point of view and the only wise servants are representative of commedia dell'arte influence on some of the plays. Kietzman said that the authorship angle that would most persuade her would be the Italian connections. 

"I'm not personally invested in the man from Stratford," Kietzman said. "I think we should look into [the authorship question] further. I'm kind of convinced that its good to have the possibility opened."

Archivist Paul Gifford signs the SAC's 
Declaration of Reasonable Doubt April 24, 2016.
Archivist Paul Gifford's interest had been piqued by the PBS Frontline program "The Shakespeare Mystery". "It does bring up interesting questions," Gifford said. 

Kietzman is currently working on a book with the working title, Shakespeare's Covenantal Theater and its Biblical Muse of Fire about how the Old Testament view of covenant informs Shakespeare's plays.

"I chanced upon [the topic] when I began reading the Bible and could not help but apprehend all the ways Shakespeare was weaving the stories into the subtexts of the plays to give them more ethical resonance," Kietzman said. 

Of her work, she said:

Covenant is, in my view, the biblical beating heart of Shakespeare’s secular-seeming drama, central to its content and form. By subtly yoking his characters and their struggles to the flawed yet chosen men of the Bible, Shakespeare gives them a sublime or spiritual dimension. . . .It is the biblical component which I believe lends Shakespeare’s alienated others like Aaron, Shylock, Hamlet, Othello, Falstaff, Caliban, and the mad kings their grandeur: no matter how flawed or troubled, they are in touch with another reality and struggle to trust that reality enough to say “Here I am” in response to it. 
A chapter of Kietzman's Shakespeare's Covenantal Theater. . . titled "The Merchant of Venice:  Shylock and Covenantal Interplay", has been accepted for the journal, English Literary History, published by Johns Hopkins.


Oberons Sharon Hunter, Richard Joyrich, Matthew Wyneken, and Rosey Hunter confer
after "Beyond Reasonable Doubt" at 501 Bar and Pub in Flint, MI.