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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: November ::
Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, History,
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 777. Saturday, 13 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1993 08:27:40 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0771 Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
 
(2)     From:   Timothy Bowden <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 93 07:12:26 PST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0771  Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
 
(3)     From:   Nancy W Miller <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 93 13:32:28 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0771  Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1993 08:27:40 +0200
Subject: 4.0771 Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0771 Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
 
>  Recently in a review, Frank Kermode argued, pursuasively, I think,
> that we should distinguish among documents. He suggested, as I recall,
> that we should consider the intention. As I recall, he uses the
> illustration of a subway schedule and a play. I could be wrong, but
> aren't these two different kinds of historical document? Their
> functions as well as the intentions of their authors are quite
> different.
 
I agree that they are two different types of document.  But (for example)
the subway schedule often containments advertisements, trying to sell you
something. In the Chicago Metro schedule or the CTA brochures, it's usually
itself--and indirectly the city government that supports it.  The play may
criticize that same government, directly or indirectly, but matters will be
complicated by whether or not it has recieved Arts Council funding, whether
it's aimed at local or tourists, etc.  In this case, looking at a subway
map next to a play might make sense.  Whether or not this can be done with
Shakespeare is another matter.
 
Respectfully,
M.A.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Timothy Bowden <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 93 07:12:26 PST
Subject: 4.0771  Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0771  Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
 
I think the subway schedule may be more in the realm of the `Wishful
Prophetic', like cave paintings of earlier eras in which a bison on the
walls was meant to conjure one in the next day's hunt.
 

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  (Timothy Bowden)
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy W Miller <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 93 13:32:28 EST
Subject: 4.0771  Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0771  Re: Shakespeare, Ontology, and History
 
Bill,
 
Ah yes--the sticky issue of intentionality.  Even if we leave that issue aside
for the time, I would have to say that I certainly agree that the function of a
subway schedule is not the same as that of a play.  But we do understand that,
don't we?  We can apply the same sort of understanding of different functions
to a statute and a ballad (for example).  Both of these documents may be
discussing the same topic in vastly different ways that can inform a reading of
both.  The contemporary analog to a subway schedule--a livery stable book of
accounts, perhaps?--may offer, say, some information on movement around London
that is of interest to someone reading city comedies (or whatever).
 
(I'm fully expecting someone to jump in here and discuss the distinction
between "function" and "intention")
 
Nancy
 

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