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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Re: Shakespeare's Politics
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 531.  Tuesday, 7 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Monday, 06 Sep 93 15:02:48 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
 
(2)     From:   David Bank <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Sep 93 20:25:38 BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Sep 93 15:02:48 +0100
Subject: 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
 
> Signally amazed by this point of view, I rejoined that Shakespeare's
> political views were the last thing I considered important about the man,
> inasmuch as what has allowed his work to endure four centuries has nothing
> to do with its political correctness, and everything to do with the beauty
> of his poetry, and his astonishing perception of the human condition.
 
By political correctness, I understand something like 'a body of agreed codes
of speech and behaviour, working within a agreed set of values (eg anti-
racism, anti-sexism)'. This is not what I mean by Shakespeare's political
radicalism, quite the opposite in fact. It is because such agreement did not
exist, and many of the values which are 'general' now (and I know that's a
sweeping statement) came out of the conflicts of this period, that Shakespeare
cannot be politically correct, but is nonetheless radical. What excites me is
how Shakespeare engages with questions such as power relations, imperialism,
gender roles etc, and reveals inherent contradictions in the value-system of
his day.
 
Concerning 'the human condition': for many Marxists, there is no singular human
condition, but rather a lot of conditions that arise in a lot of specific
material conditions. Liberal humanist teaching of Shakespeare has always
advanced the idea that Shakespeare had a piercing insight into a 'human
condition' that was universal. Cultural materialists (a group I optimistically
include myself in) argue that the 'condition' that Shakespeare had insight into
was the very specific one of his own period, with all its seething political
conflicts. Cultural materialists also generally argue that liberal-humanism
attempts to pass off its own politics and values as universal, and does so for
very clear political reasons. Shall I elaborate, or mention some possible
reading? Preferrably, some of the members of this LISTSERV who have written on
this subject could join in and explain much better than I can.
 
Looking forward to a thorough debate on this..
 
Regards
 
  *********************************
  * Gabriel Egan 
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  *
  *********************************
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bank <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Sep 93 20:25:38 BST
Subject: 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
 
*re* Shakespeare's Politics.
 
A colleague of mine buys a mag. called _Fortean Times_, subtitled
"The Journal of Strange Phenomena". A recent issue has an article on
alphanumeric markings on butterflies' wings. The Callicore butterfly
of Argentina has '89'; a Riodininae has 'F', "perfectly formed".
 
And so on. [Issue 70, August/Sept. 93]. For some reason the easiest
character to find is 'O' - which is either the letter or zero
according to cognitive disposition or expectation. Unless of course
you're a monolingual Chinaman.
 

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