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Home :: Archive :: 1990 :: September ::
Beds, Biography, and Classic Criticism (70)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 58. Sunday, 16 Sep 1990.
 
 
(1)   Date:   Sat, 15 Sep 90 21:27:43 EDT                    (26 lines)
      From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
      Subject:  Re: The Second-Best Bed, Shakespeare's Life
 
(2)   Date:   Sat, 15 Sep 90 22:14:26 EDT                    (26 lines)
      From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
      Subject:  Re: Richard Levin, Classic Criticism
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Sat, 15 Sep 90 21:27:43 EDT
From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Subject: Re: The Second-Best Bed, Shakespeare's Life
 
   About the bed:  We are what we eat, and we also are what we look at.
Facts, such as the appearance of the 2nd-best bed in Will's will, are
indeed appealing, but we may not be able to weave them into our
particular narratives.  If we spend a lot of time looking at the
compositors of Q1 *King Lear* then we may want to make the compositors
the most important figures in our stories about how that text took its
peculiar shape.  When I chose to look at the theatrical sensibility
behind entrances and exits in that same text, some critics felt that
I was looking at unimportant things, mere stagecraft, actors' concerns.
But I spun out my narrative that touched on lots of stage events.
By choosing what we eat or what we look at we shape our worlds.
Perhaps because I grew up looking at odd places and eating odd things,
I'm not so upset when I see other people's very different choices.
You want to do testamentary beds?  Fine!  You think they're silly?
That's your option.  But too much of the limited supply of academic
good will often seems to me to be squandered as one group of vegetarians
castigates a different group of duck-roasters.  The delightful satires
generated by Richard Levin may serve as a helpful antidote to our
sometimes too-fierce condemnations of other critics' sins of commission
or omission.
                                   Steve Urkowitz, SURCC at CUNYVM
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------28----
Date:   Sat, 15 Sep 90 22:14:26 EDT
From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Subject: Re: Richard Levin, Classic Criticism
 
When I think of the critical texts that most shaped my own critical
vocabulary,  the items that come to mind are Bernard Beckerman,
*Shakespeare at the Globe--1599-1609*, Hereward T. Price, *Construction
in Shakespeare*, Michael Long, *The Unnatural Scene*, C.L. Barber and
R. Wheeler, *The Whole Journey*, and then a group of essays recently
on feminist issues.  These include Lynda Boose, "The Family in
Shakespeare Studies . . ." Renaissance Quarterly 40 (1987), and others
in *The Woman's Part* ed. Carolyn Ruth Swift Lenz.  Other exciting
essays are by Stephen Booth, "On the Value of *Hamlet*" in N. Rabkin,
*Reinterpretations of Elizabethan Drama* and Booth's *King Lear,
Macbeth, Indefinition, and Tragedy.*
 
These people seem particularly sensitive to drama as a fluid event
manipulating emotional and intellectual power.  My earliest training
was in math and science, and these folks tapped the same sources of
delight that I had found in differential equations and tensors:
elegance, rigor, quickness.  Do let me know what you think if you
try them.
 
                                           Steve Urkowitz
                                           English, City College of
                                           New York,  SURCC@CUNYVM
 

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