Re: History and Literature
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 834. Thursday, 24 November 1993.
From: Nancy W Miller <
Date: Tuesday, 23 Nov 93 10:40:37 EST
Subject: 4.0822 Re: History and Literature
Comment: Re: SHK 4.0822 Re: History and Literature
In reply to Jim McKenna,
I do not mean to advocate the "abandonment" of distinctions between (or the
"equivalency" of) non-literary and literary texts. This oversimplifies the
process somewhat. I may have overstated my position in order to make my case.
What I DO advocate is the recognition that this "history" that we all enjoy as
a means into a work of literature is itself a text that mediates material
conditions and must undergo the process of interpretation. I have enough
interest in rhetoric to accept the idea that occasion, purpose, and audience
are important factors in determining that interpretation (a nod to Bill
Godshalk here). For the record, I do not necessarily "equate" *Shrew* with the
"Homily on the State of Matrimony." I read the "Homily" to illuminate *Shrew*
because literature is my primary interest, but I keep in mind two points: 1)
the illumination could certainly work in reverse if I chose to focus my study
that way; and 2) the "Homily" cannot be blindly accepted as factual historical
material. Does this help to bring our positions slightly closer together?