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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: July ::
Re: Grouping Shakespeare's Plays and so on
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0633.  Sunday, 24 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Laurie White <
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        Date:   Saturday, 23 Jul 1994 17:53:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0631  Q: Grouping Shakespeare's Plays
 
(2)     From:   Christine M Gordon <
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        Date:   Saturday, 23 Jul 1994 18:16:59 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   another discussion, naivete, and ever on
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laurie White <
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Date:           Saturday, 23 Jul 1994 17:53:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0631  Q: Grouping Shakespeare's Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0631  Q: Grouping Shakespeare's Plays
 
Dear John Perry, I like your exuberant reaction to Shakespeare.  I, too,
am untutored but very willing to learn.  I would put _As You Like It_
into your second group--and possibly _Love's Labours Lost_.
 
                   --Laurie White (
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine M Gordon <
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Date:           Saturday, 23 Jul 1994 18:16:59 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        another discussion, naivete, and ever on
 
For John Perry:
 
I think *As You Like It* would fit nicely into your first (or maybe second)
category, depending on how you read Orlando, *Twelfth Night* probably into the
second, *LLL,* *Two Gentlemen,* *Comedy of Errors* into the third. From then
on, I think most of the plays take on a more serious edge that wouldn't quite
fit into any of these categories. Glad you liked *Much Ado*: I find it quite
wonderful still, even after eleven or so viewings. As to your naivete: thank
God for it! I'm so glad I've managed to retain some remnant of mine, the most
recent evidence being the frank disbelief of a graduate student in English here
at the University of Minnesota who was stunned to discover that I "get
emotionally involved with these characters." Always have (since my first
introduction to stories); hope I always will. That's one reason I've been
delighted and amused by the "character" discussion (even though, at times, I
too was muttering to myself, "Ah--boys, boys . . . "), like Naomi Conn Liebler.
 
Thanks to Dave Evett for his comments on *Hamlet,* which I find fascinating and
will probably draw upon when I teach the play later in our upcoming second
summer term (sonnets and five plays in five weeks, with two-and-a-half hour
evening sessions twice weekly; I've never taught in this format before, and am
moderately concerned for my sanity and that of the students; I look forward to
the discussions here to keep me both alert and amused).
 
Re Ben Schneider's comment: I don't think only "people like us" (whoever we
are) would necessarily be the only ones to see Henry V's manipulative side. I
think that might be the interpretation we focus on, while earlier ones might
have assumed that SOME members of their audience found war glorious and great
training for courtiers. But Shakespeare himself gives us Williams et al. to
confront Henry with the impact of war on the ordinary soldier and surely other
members of audiences from the 16th century to nearly the 21st would find
themselves responding to that. I'm of the contingent that finds us not all that
different from the Elizabethans (or from people today in very different
cultures), and that's why I think multiple readings are inherent in the plays:
think, too, of the father and son who kill one another in *Henry VI*: they
remain nameless, yet who does not respond to the horror and poignancy of that
scene?
 
Affectionately,
Chris Gordon
University of Minnesota
 

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