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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: December ::
Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 919.  Friday, 10 December 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Ben Ross Schneider <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Dec 1993 17:34:41 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0908  Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Dec 1993 22:45:31 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0914  Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Ross Schneider <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 09 Dec 1993 17:34:41 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 4.0908  Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0908  Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
 
After giving us as graceful a demonstration of Unity as you can get, (on
e-mail anyhow) Leo Daugherty says Unity has had its day.  But isn't the
alternative to Unity - at least the assumption of a degree of it - that
a text can mean anything you want it to?
 
Perplexedly,
Ben Schneider
Lawrence U, WI
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Dec 1993 22:45:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0914  Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0914  Re: The Paradox of Historicizing Shakespeare
 
My hat's off to Martin Green. A nice parody of the new-historicist style. But I
want to ask him what he thinks of the following two sentences, taken from a
recent article. I withhold the author's name - with a nod to Richard Levin (who
used to do the same):
 
"The very idea of effeminacy, then, has a profound, though hitherto hidden,
critical and historical relevance. It marks a point where the cultural
correspondences between sexed bodies and gendered codes can be revealed as
implicated in larger systems of cultural production, where masculinity and
femininity signify less the qualities of biologically sexed bodies and more the
cultural forms through which power circulates."
 
The more I read these sentences, the more I'm mystified. We are told that an
"idea . . . marks a point" where something "can be revealed." But what is to be
revealed? Are "sexed bodies" different from "biologically sexed bodies"? Are
"gendered codes" the same as "cultural forms"? If there are "larger systems of
cultural production," what are they "larger" than? Do "sexed bodies" refer to
all animals? We can watch the blood circulate. Can we watch power circulate? Or
is this a metaphor?
 
I feel like one of my students trying to make sense of Orsino - a very humbling
feeling.
 
In quest of explication, I remain, Bill Godshalk
 

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