Why Censorship Doesn’t Work

Posted By on August 25, 2014

Here is the link to Professor Waugaman’s article, as refused publication by editor Taylor on the grounds of being “profoundly unscholarly”:

Memoria di Shakespeare-Psychol. Sh. Bio. v6.doc – Google Drive

Here’s an excerpt:

This is a small but representative sample of the reactions one encounters if one raises questions about who wrote Shakespeare. This article will bring a psychoanalytic perspective to bear on the widespread intolerance for asking reasonable questions about who Shakespeare was. Such a perspective is uniquely helpful in taking a step back from this bitter controversy, and looking for underlying disavowed psychodynamics. Psychoanalysts have, with Freud, been deeply interested in Shakespeare’s works. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in fact, coined the word “psychoanalytical” to describe the richness of character in Shakespeare’s works. The few psychoanalysts who have closely explored Freud’s belief that Shakespeare was a pseudonym used by Edward de Vere (1550-1604) have indeed used a psychoanalytic approach–but in order to diagnose the “psychopathology” that led Freud into this supposedly embarrassing error.

Try reading it and see if you can figure out what Taylor meant. Maybe, in Taylor’s view,  “scholarship” consists of repeating the views you already agree with and ignoring those you don’t agree with but haven’t read.  If you haven’t read them, then your readers shouldn’t read them either. By this definition, Waugaman’s work is indeed “profoundly unscholarly,” since it conducts a literature survey and explicitly summarizes positions with which it does not agree.  The next time someone tries to bully you with phrases like “profoundly unscholarly,” you might wish to keep this example in mind.

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


One Response to “Why Censorship Doesn’t Work”

  1. Wikipedia says that the term “psychoanalytic” was first coined by the German romantic Schelling, and shortly after translated and used in English by Coleridge, before being popularized by Freud:


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