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Professor Michael Egan, Shakespeare Scholar Who Is Open-Minded on the Shakespeare Authorship Question, Named Editor of Shakespeare Oxford Society’s Quarterly Newsletter
Professor Egan believes the Shakespeare authorship issue is a “legitimate and important area for investigation” and that “there are enough doubts to continue serious academic research”
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – June 7, 2010 – The Shakespeare Oxford Society (SOS) has announced the appointment of Professor Michael Egan, a Shakespeare scholar who is open-minded on the Shakespeare authorship question, to be the editor of the Society’s quarterly newsletter.
With M.A. and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge, Professor Egan is an internationally known writer, consultant and educator. Professor Egan will continue in his role as editor of The Oxfordian, the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s flagship annual scholarly publication.
There is a long and distinguished history of doubting the traditional “Stratfordian” attribution of the Shakespeare works. Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Chaplin. More recent skeptics include renowned Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons, Michael York, and Mark Rylance.
Last year, the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship jointly presented the 2009 “Oxfordian of the Year Award” to John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Stevens has long doubted whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon is the real Bard.
The BBC published a story about the case for Edward de Vere as the real Shakespeare. (See BBC News: The Earl of Oxford’s Big Secret.
In this BBC article, Professor Egan is quoted as follows:
“One of the most disturbing aspects of the whole debate is the way the anti-Stratfordians are silenced. There isn’t any real attempt to confront the arguments. There’s just a general mocking and ridiculing strategy — what I call arguing by adjective… ‘ridiculous, absurd’ and so on… whereas in fact there’s some very suggestive and interesting pieces of information that need to be factored in there. It’s a little like the Copernican theory of the universe. What seems obvious at first turns out to be not so when you try to reconcile the obvious with the anomalies and the anomalies are great.”
Regarding the case for the 17th Earl of Oxford as “Shakespeare,” Professor Egan told the BBC:
“He was very interested in the theatre. He was often mentioned by contemporaries as being the finest writer of comedy in his day. There are aspects of Oxford’s life which are reflected otherwise in the plays. For example, he was captured by pirates at one point, which is also a mysterious moment in Hamlet. There are lots of suggestive hints and details which should make a thoughtful person reflect a little bit on the question.”
John Hamill, president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, said: “We’re delighted that a Shakespeare scholar of Professor Egan’s stature agreed to join us as the editor of newsletter and our flagship annual publication. We invite other Shakespeare scholars and Bard lovers worldwide to approach the Shakespeare authorship issue with the same open mind that Professor Egan displays. It’s a fascinating topic that deserves the serious attention of scholars and the media.”
Needed: A Shakespeare Authorship Commission
To resolve the Shakespeare authorship mystery once and for all, the Shakespeare Oxford Society has called for the creation of an independent, blue ribbon commission composed of distinguished, internationally recognized experts in relevant fields – including historians, biographers, jurists, and other esteemed writers and scholars.
More About Professor Michael Egan, PhD
Michael Egan is an internationally known writer, consultant and educator, with experience working in England, South Africa, the US mainland and Hawaii. Formerly Scholar in Residence, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Egan earned his BA from Witwatersrand University, and his M.A. and PhD degrees from Cambridge. He has served as Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Lecturer in English, Lancaster University, UK. and as Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, and South London University. He is a prize-winning author of ten books and over 80 professional articles.
About The Shakespeare Oxford Society
Founded in 1957, New York-based Shakespeare Oxford Society is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to exploring the Shakespeare authorship question and researching the evidence that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550 – 1604) is the true author of the poems and plays of “William Shakespeare. The homepage of the Society also says the group is “Dedicated to Researching and Honoring the True Bard.”