In Response to: Voices: On Not Going Gently [6]

What an inspiring story! Many of us might fantasize about doing such a thing, but few of us follow through.

It's fascinating to hear about Charles' reactions to how literature is approached in graduate school. Yes, theoretical fashions have changed since his time at Princeton. In fact, they seem to change at an accelerating pace, as edgy new theories push aside the stodgy old ones. I asked a friend who is chair of English at a local university what makes adherents of new theories think their theory will last any longer than previous ones? He smiled -- ruefully, I thought.

As a fellow physician, I admire Charles' use of the scientific methodology of medicine in trying to ascertain literary truths. For one thing, scientists know the danger of falling in love with one's theory. Literary theorists would profit from that lesson. In medicine, we know newer evidence will inevitably mean we have to revise our current understanding. On the other hand, some clinical wisdom has held its own since the time of Hippocrates.

I'd like to shift now to my own pursuit of literature. I had one English course at Princeton, and one graduate course in English at Duke. Then my curiosity was ignited by a 2002 New York Times article reporting that the Geneva Bible that belonged to the Earl of Oxford has many hand-drawn annotations that track closely the biblical allusions in Shakespeare. I've found in the course of my research on this Bible and the larger question of authorship it raises that members of English departments are not necessarily interested in new evidence about who wrote Shakespeare. A pity!

Most of my 75 publications on Shakespeare and pseudonymity are in mainstream journals, and are listed in the World Shakespeare Bibliography. They can also be read on my Georgetown University web page here: [7]