Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 181. Saturday, 20 March 1993.
Date: Saturday, 20 Mar 93 08:22:01 -0500
Subject: Peter Erickson/WEB DuBois
I've been reading with some interest Peter Erickson's various essays on
multiculturalism, most recently the one on Shakespeare and the 2 canons
[forgot the precise title] in Kenyon Review 14.2 '92. Inter alia he
mentions the sudden popularity of the African-American social thinker
W.E.B. DuBois among U.S. conservatives in the summer of 1991, when
he was invoked by both Donald Kagan and Allan Bloom to justify the notion
of what P.E. calls a "universalizing" canon. Esp. popular was the sentence
"I sit beside Shakespeare and he winces not."
P.E. demonstrates that this use of DuBois amounts to scholarly dishonesty,
since it ignores the anti-assimilationism, the increasing insistence on
"difference," in DuBois' work--it is as if WEBDuB served only as a "quote
Anyhow, a correspondent has not sent me another ref. to the same quote, in
an article by J.Wilson Moses in Partisan Review 58 ('91) 376, 384. I don't
have that right at hand but I believe it was one of their big anti-change,
anti-deconstruction, anti-new historicism issues--I'll try to dig it out.
So I'm sending this out for P.E. to add to his list of folks who invoked
WEBDuB in the summer of '91.
I'd also be interested to know if Erickson is on this list, and whether
folks know of other appearances of "I sit beside Shakespeare and he winces
[Peter Erickson is not currently a member of SHAKSPER. --hmc]