“Dr. Showerman’s writings and presentation filled in the particulars for me and gave more detail on the issue. It was clear that Dr. Showerman had a great knowledge of the subject.” –Collin Schinkle
Willamette University, a small, private, liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon recently offered a course entitled Who Wrote Shakespeare? The course, taught by Professor of Theatre Christopher L. Harris, coincides with the Theatre Program’s theatrical season that is entirely devoted to Shakespeare-inspired performing arts.
According to Willamette University student Jordan Freed, students in the course “have been critically examining various theories surrounding the Authorship Question, both for and against the candidacy of William Shakespeare of Stratford, as well as trying to understand the culture of dismissiveness towards those who attempt to ask ‘the question’ and learn more.”
Professor Harris reached out to the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship for support. Earl Showerman met with the students at Willamette on behalf of the SOF Speakers Bureau on October 20th.
Freed summarized the experience:
“Through the courtesy of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, Dr. Earl Showerman was gracious enough to attend the class as a guest speaker. A former doctor and an Oxfordian, Dr. Showerman has spent his later life examining many aspects of the Authorship Question. . . . Delving into the medical knowledge displayed within the Shakespeare canon, Dr. Showerman gave the class extensive and meticulous breakdowns of the many characters within a variety of Shakespeare plays who display true and quite precise ‘cutting edge’ medical knowledge for the time, as well as detailing the sources of the knowledge. The class was incredibly fortunate to spend time with someone so well researched and with such great enthusiasm for the subject.”
Students shared their appreciation for the opportunity to meet with Showerman.
“His attention to detail and pulling from primary sources made it very easy to follow the extent of medicinal knowledge exemplified in Shakespeare’s plays.” –Lydia Savelli
“Dr. Showerman’s lecture was particularly eye-opening in its use of the text as a tie to historical documents. For a man whose life we know so little about, the best alternative to speculation is the study of the historical context of the era in which he created his art. Showerman exemplifies this strategy in his work; he not only points out the lines of Shakespeare’s text that would have required medical knowledge, but he shows us exactly where; books, medical practitioners, scholars, that knowledge would have come from. His library of Elizabethan medical texts gives a much-needed context to the theory that Shakespeare’s plays were extraordinary for more than their artistic quality.” –Will Forkin
“Dr. Showerman’s presentation gave a great deal of helpful information, especially for myself as someone who supports the candidacy of the 17th Earl of Oxford.” –Amar Kshetrapal
Willamette University recently completed an over 5 million dollar renovation of its theater building, where the performing arts courses, design shops, classrooms, and offices are held. The Theatre Program produces three to four main stage shows, plus dance concerts, and student-driven projects each academic year.
The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship administers The Speakers Bureau, a collective of scholars who can provide live, introductory presentations on the Shakespeare Authorship Question (SAQ). Speakers are available across the US and in Canada, the UK, and Germany.