Well, in truth, I’m no longer reporting from Portland, ’cause I’m back home in Boston (and recovering from jet lag … we got in after midnite).

Anyway, to continue with brief reports and accompanying pix about each presentation, let’s look at some poetry and songs. Prof. Michael Delahoyde of Washington State University (Pullman, WA) and one of his graduate students there, Jacob Hughes, both gave presentations on Shakespeare and Chaucer Saturday morning. There are a number of instances of parallels between Shakespeare and Chaucer (anyone surprised?), but what caught my eye during these presentations was the instances of “pilgrims” and “pilgrimages” in Chaucer (and especially how one of these instances matched up with Richard II). In working on my own presentation for Saturday afternoon I had decided to bring The Passionate Pilgrim (1599) into a discussion about the politics of the succession crisis (which includes Richard II) and had just been wondering why the title “The Passionate Pilgrim.” These presentations got me thinking, and I’ll have more on that next week.

Prof. Michael Delahoyde (center) and graduate student Jacob Hughes (right) after answering questions on their presentations Saturday morning (Conference Director Daniel Wright is on the left).

Dr. Earl Showerman’s presentation (“Bottom’s Dream: Herculean Farce as Political Allegory”) continued in the tradition of his presentations over the past several years at the SASC, concentrating on Shakespeare’s use of ancient Greek and Roman myths, legends, stories and plays. There is fertile ground for finding such connnections (since they are merely all over the place, and other scholars have written about them also). But the wealth of detail in Shakespeare’s use does raise that troubling question again …you know, the one about Shakespeare’s education and how he gained (and apparently became obsessed with) such knowledge. And for this blogger, it is interesting to see how often such use had a political agenda in it.

Dr. Earl Showerman presenting “Bottom’s Dream”

Prof. Ren Draya (Blackburn College, Calinville, IL) is another presenter who has become a regular at the SASC in recent years. She has done joint presentations with Prof. Delahoyde several times, focusing on Othello. This year Prof. Draya gave a talk on “Shakespeare’s Songs, with Special Attention to Othello.” Her talk focused on another well-know attribute of Shakespeare, i.e. that some of his poetry was meant to be song lyrics, and that those lyrics can sometimes be poetry just as pointed as any play dialogue.

Prof. Ren Draya of Blackburn College

I will continue with this report later today or tomorrow.