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Release: April 2, 1999

UI alumnus Matson weighs in on Shakespeare authorship dispute in April 12 lecture

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa theater alumnus Lowell Matson will present an illustrated lecture on "A Wounded Name, or The Passions of an Oxfordian" at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 12 in Room 304 of the UI English-Philosophy Building. The lecture, sponsored by the UI department of theatre arts and the UI English department, is free and open to the public.

When Matson identifies himself as an "Oxfordian," he indicates that he is taking sides in a raging international controversy about the authorship of the works attributed to William Shakespeare. Oxfordians argue that these plays and poems were written not by the uneducated actor from Stratford but by the learned nobleman Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Matson's talk is subtitled, "A personal pilgrimage in honor of the Earl of Oxford."

The recipient of three UI degrees -- a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1947, a Master of Arts in 1950, and a doctorate in 1953 -- Matson served on the faculties of the University of Florida, the University of Kansas City, Purdue University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and the City University of New York. He has been published widely in the humanities and the arts, and he is a noted collector of Shakespeariana.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel said of Matson's Oxfordian lecture, "Lowell Matson's impact as a speaker is not only powerful and dynamic, it is at once brilliant, impeccably researched and unforgettable. Dr. Matson's presentation on the true Shakespeare is a completely spellbinding mystery -- fresh, convincing and explosively controversial. His theories and hypnotic visuals are sure to make the adrenaline flow."

Matson has prepared a special version of his lecture specifically for his UI presentation, including reminiscences of his UI experiences.

"It is the history of my physical and intellectual journey to discover the truth about the authorship," he explains. "It is an exploration of the facts, and it will describe my journey to England to cover the actual ground and view some of the extant evidence. It is illustrated with many photographs I took there."

For his UI audience, he will also share memories about the legendary "Boss" of the UI theater department, E.C. Mabie, who was the chair of Matson's doctoral committee.