It’s been a hectic —but also exciting and satisfying— four days for everyone here in Portland, Oregon, attending the 13th annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference on the campus of Concordia University. Of course the big news of the weekend turned out to be the front page story in the Wall Street Journal about the authorship debate and the US Supreme Court. Professor Daniel Wright (Conference Chair and Director of the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre at Concordia) read the story in full to start the Saturday afternoon session, and in the end had to be the one to sacrifice presenting a paper in order to keep everything on schedule. The sacrifice was, he said proudly, worth it.

There will undoubtedly be more to come, re: Justice Stevens and the Supreme Court. For now I want to report on the conference, beginning with this short post, and continuing later today and tomorrow; even with the conference over I have a meeting to get to by noon today about the formal opening of the brand new Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre which will take place in August as part of the dedication of the new George R. White Library on campus. Tours of the new facility were given on Sunday afternoon.

Here is one pix of some conference attendees touring the 3rd floor room that will be part of the new home of the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre come this August, 2009.

Touring the new Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre

Among presenters at this year’s conference were keynote speaker Ramon Jimenez of Berkeley, California, long-time Oxfordian researcher and author. Ramon spoke on the so-called “ur-texts” of Shakespeare (“The Ur-Hamlet and its Seven Siblings; Explorations in Shakespeare’s Dramatic Juvenilia”), by which is meant not only the “Ur-Hamlet” but other early play manuscripts and quartos that could be considered first drafts of Shakespeare plays, but must —to remain politically correct and all that in Strat-think— be considered stand alone early versions by someone else that Shakespeare merely “borrowed” from (i.e, stole from, or plagiarized):

Ramon Jimenez answers questions

Another featured speaker over the weekend was Prof. Michael Egan, author of the multi-volume Richard II, Part I (a study of the so-called Thomas of Woodstock play manuscript). Prof. Egan, who is also now the new editor of The Oxfordian (even though he remains —at this point at least— a Stratfordian!) presented a most interesting commentary (“Shakespeare’s authorship of The Tragedy of Richard II, Part One: Evidence and its Interpretation”) on how his fellow Stratfordians have received his work on Richard II, Part I. In short, they have not treated his Mellon-award winning work well, which is more shame on them than on Prof. Egan. But more to the point, some have been undoubtedly “unscholarly” in their own work and methodology on this subject, as Prof. Egan made abundantly clear:

Prof. Michael Egan’s presentation was a response to his Stratfordian colleagues

We will continue with our report later today.