The Playgoer: Niederkorn Outrage Goes Nuclear

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Niederkorn Outrage Goes Nuclear least in the small world of people who care.

At last, a major exposee. Go read Ron Rosenbaum's fantastic essay in the New York Oberserver. Once again, one of the alternative cultural pages in the city (first The Sun, now the weekly Observer) shames the Times, by example, for its intellectual sloppiness (at best) and (at worst) pandering to tabloid-level sensationalism in promoting the mysterious William Niederkorn as an objective Shakespeare expert.

Rosenbaum--admittedly a cultural journalist, not a professor--is as good as it gets when it comes to non-academic Shakespeare studies. His command of the literature and the issues is more than apparent in this article. He is now the most prominent journalist to take on this issue (Niederkorn and Shakespeare authorship in general) and my hope is that finally an article of this visibilty will wake up the rest of the cultural elite (provided anyone still reads the Observer!).

I look forward to posting some excerpts and comments about the piece a little later, once I've really sat down with it. So far, Rosenbaum seems emminently fair and tempered. (He even faults Greenblat--and, perhaps implicitly Playgoer!--for crossing that line into invoking Holocaust denial.)... But for now let me add to his case just this: Rosenbaum quotes Niederkorn as swearing he is not an Oxfordian and "just trying to keep an open mind." Well how, pray, does Mr. Niederkorn explain this, a prime speaking slot at the 2004 Oxfordian conference. (Scroll down the page to the "Friday 11:30" event, shortly before the "Oxfordian Jeopardy.")

In the world of Shakespeare Studies, and New York Times arts coverage...this is big, folks. Hold on to your hats.

Update 9/16: here's another Niederkorn appearance at a pro-Oxfordian conference. (Hat tip, Dan A.)


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