1993

Re: Shakespeare's Politics

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 534.  Tuesday, 7 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Robert Mullin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 10:56:49 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare's Politics
 
(2)     From:   Bill Denning <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 14:15:08 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0531  Re: Shakespeare's Politics
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Mullin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 10:56:49 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare's Politics
 
Subject: Shakespeare's Politics
 
Gabriel Egan:
 
Political correctness is "... a body of agreed codes of speech and behaviour,
working within an agreed set of values ... such agreement did not exist ..."
for Shakespeare's time.  And then further along in the same paragraph ... "What
excites me is how Shakespeare engages with ... the value-system of his day."
 
R. Mullin:
The value system existed, but there was not agreement?  Is that the crucial
distinction?
 
Gabriel Egan:
"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."
 
R. Mullin: Is it not rather the case that Marxists deny the `universal human
condition' because of its alleged singularity?  And may we not then at least
grant it the characteristic of universal singularity, albeit a veritable chaos
of material circumstances to be apprehended (described, rather) by means only
of some Brownian statistical model?
 
Gabriel Egan: Liberal humanist teaching of Shakespeare has always advanced the
idea that Shakespeare had a piercing insight into a 'human condition' that was
universal.
 
R. Mullin: Universal within the subset of entities yclept `human,' I trust. A
necessary distinction lest a dangerous equivocation seize us. And I had thought
the liberal humanist view was that Shakespeare had merely shone one of the
strongest lights in the effort to locate that human condition.  Did he actually
find it?
 
Gabriel Egan: Cultural materialists ... argue that the 'condition' that
Shakespeare had insight into was the very specific one of his own period ...
 
R. Mullin: Is that specificity temporal?  What years specifically, then?  Or
conceptual.  What specific issues?  Or geographical/conceptual? Which issues
unsullied then by `les etrangeres'?
 
Gabrial Egan: ... liberal-humanism attempts to pass off its own politics and
values as universal ...
 
Tendentious phraseology, this of the cultural materialist ... May it not be
said as clearly ...
 
`liberal-humanism, operating openly as the enquiry-driven, anti- entropic
endeavor that it is, continually attempts to broaden the applicability of its
principles and their consequent insights.'
 
I could not find a way to work in "attempts to pass off."  Honest!
 
                             ******
 
I enter this field with trepidation, unfamiliar as I am with the language and
distinctions of 'cultural materialism.'  If my questions are too parochial for
the general consideration of list- members, perhaps someone will let me know
... politely, off-line, so to speak.
 
Sincerely,
R. Mullin
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Denning <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 14:15:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0531  Re: Shakespeare's Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0531  Re: Shakespeare's Politics
 
Gabriel Egan writes:
 
>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)'.
 
I would agree with this definition of 'politically correct', with the caveat
that the 'agreement' is inferred by the person using the term.  The term
'politically correct' has become very popular with the media and liberal
politicians here in the U.S. over the last couple of years.  Probably views in
favor of preserving the environment could also be included along with
anti-racism and anti-sexism.
 
Personally I support many of the viewpoints that are presumed to be politically
correct, but I absolutely abhor the use of the term.  To me it is _very_
presumptive to use such a term, and is reminiscent of political regimes such as
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.  Political correctness
would be right at home in works such as "1984", "Darkness at Noon", or "One Day
in the Life of Ivan Denisovich".
 
While each of us in a free society has every right to agree or disagree with a
particular political viewpoint, and of course to express our own views, how can
any of us possibly categorize our views or those of others as being correct or
incorrect?  The whole thing makes my skin crawl.
 
>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.
 
It is true that Shakespeare's understanding of the human condition may have
been specific to his own time, but the insights that he offers can also be
applied to other times, including ours.  I frequently marvel at the
technological innovations we have created, such as this electronic message, but
often despair at the realization that in spite of our technological progress,
from a social perspective we are not much different that people in previous
ages.  War, famine, dishonesty, etc. continue to plague us.
 
What makes Shakespeare seem universal to me is that although the language,
clothing, living conditions, etc. in his plays are all quite different than our
own, at the core of his works people behave the same today as in his time.  I
frequently see people acting just like various characters in Othello, King
Lear, and Measure For Measure, to name but a few.
 
>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.
 
I agree with this statement, even though I might be considered to be a
liberal-humanist myself.
 
I'm also looking forward to further discussion.
 
Best regards, Bill

Re: Papp's Shrew; Computers; ISGC

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 533.  Tuesday, 7 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Georgianna Ziegler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 13:49:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0530  Re: Papp's *Shrew*
 
(2)     From:   Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 13:03:33 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0474  Re: Computers and Shakespeare Studies
 
(3)     From:   Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 13:08:35 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0479  Q: ISGC
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Georgianna Ziegler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 13:49:33 -0500
Subject: 4.0530  Re: Papp's *Shrew*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0530  Re: Papp's *Shrew*
 
Films Incorporated, 5547 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago IL 60640 also
has plenty of copies of the Papp *Shrew* for $79. plus $5. shipping.
Betsy Walsh, who orders films at the Folger, called them, and they
assured her the tapes were available.  Phone: 800-323-4222.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 13:03:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0474  Re: Computers and Shakespeare Studies
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0474  Re: Computers and Shakespeare Studies
 
Dear Michael Mullin:
 
Your posting on SHAKSPER reminds me that one of the omissions in the
questionnaire that will be coming out for the Shakespeare volume has to
do with computer-assisted teaching materials.  I'll try to correct that
error before the mailing (The MLA now has the questionnaire!).  More
importantly, you may well want to consider an article yourself dealing
with that subject for the book.  What do you think?  Other suggestions?
From others, as well?
 
Best,
Milla Riggio
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 1993 13:08:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0479  Q: ISGC
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0479  Q: ISGC
 
Dear Robert O'Connor:
 
This is not really a response to your query, since it was published in
1990 and you no doubt know the book, but in case you do not, refer to
Christine Eccles THE ROSE THEATRE, a Routledge book, for a history of
the theatre and the campaign to restore the theatre; the book walks
you through early 1990.
 
--Milla Riggio

Re: Shakespeare's Politics

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 531.  Tuesday, 7 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 06 Sep 93 15:02:48 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
 
(2)     From:   David Bank <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 6 Sep 93 20:25:38 BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0529 Shakespeare's Politics
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. *
  *********************************
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bank <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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.

Re: Wanamaker's Globe

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 532.  Tuesday, 7 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 93 13:24:00 BST
Subject: Re: Wanamaker's Globe
Comment:        SHK 4.0524 Re: Wanamaker's Globe
 
I'm often bemused by what passes for critical thought when the issue of
Shakespeare is raised. Bill Godshalk seems to think that so long as you make
a noise then this will be adequate compensation for ignorance.  I read
Terence Hawkes' contribution to this debate and can see nothing in it to
which I would wish to take exception.  All this has nothing whatever to do
with whether Shakespeare the man was a conservative or not.  It has to do
with the ways in which a body of texts attributed to him are used as icons in
our (i.e. British) culture.  There is an irony- lost, obviously on Godshalk-
in the fact that an American should wish to rebuild the Globe AND that his
efforts should be rewarded with a particular kind of royal honour.  On this
side of the Atlantic, where politics is not an optional add-on, some of us
find this matter interesting. There are, of course, further complications,
some of which I outlined in a chapter I contributed to Graham Holderness's
collection The Shakespeare Myth.  There is much more of an offensive nature
in the papers of the Friends of The Globe which I was shown by a former
member of the committee. Hawkes's pointing to the larger cultural issues
involved serves merely to underline the complexities of this case.
 
Michael Mullin's comments, however, are rather more disturbing. The Globe
Newsletters CLAIM universal support for the project, but I find that
difficult to believe.  Peggy Ashcroft may well have lay down in the dirt to
prevent bulldozing of the site; if she did then she may not have got the
location exactly right, and she can count herself very lucky that I wasn't
driving the bulldozer.  As for Mullin's punch-and-judy analysis of my
"narrow" and "parochial" politics, all I can say is that I guess from a
distance of 3500 miles it might look like that.
 
But what surprises me is that the non-political Mullin is really interested
in making Southwark's streets safe for tourists! "The Cut and the Southwark
area around Waterloo station have long been an eyesore- beset by an
underclass of beggars and homeless alcoholics panhandling (sic) for drink or
drugs".  Now I realize that it must be very incovenient for those of us
engaged in serious scholarly pursuits to be reminded of certain harsh
realities.  Anyone who suggests that you clean the streets by erecting
replicas of Globe theatres seems to me to be suffering from a narrowness of
vision that I could not contemplate in the wildest nightmare. I leave Michael
Mullin with this "fact"; that there is more of a need for affordable housing
in Southwark than there is for a theatre which, in its original guise, had
the good sense to regard itself as impermanent.  I don't know what "labour
cant" he refers to which allegedly kept "Maggie the Great in office".  Maybe
he's been following too uncritically the fulminating missives of Tory Central
Office.
 
As things stand, the best candidates for cleaning the streets of Southwark
were the roadsweepers who were so unceremoniously deprived of their depot by
the proselytizing zeal of Sam Wanamaker CBE and a bunch of actors driving
Porsches.
 
Cheers Michael!  See you in Stratford.
 
John Drakakis

Re: Papp's *Shrew*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 530.  Monday, 6 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 5 Sep 1993 16:27:51 -500 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0528 Q: Papp's *Shrew*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0528 Q: Papp's *Shrew*
 
Dear Joan,
 
The 1993 catalog of The Writing Company lists *Kiss Me, Petruchio*. col. 58
min. VHS $79.00 (FLM221V-K3) on pg. 11. I can't guarantee the accuracy of this
information as video titles come and go in dealers' hands as swiftly as the
women talking of Michelangelo. Films Inc. may still have the 16mm version. For
The Writing Company, call (800) 421-4246. or write to 10200 Jefferson Blvd.,
Room KO, Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802. Good luck!
 
As Ever,
Ken

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