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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: "How Many Children . . ."
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0533.  Tuesday, 14 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Charles Lyons <Charles.Lyons@STANFORD.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 13 Jun 94 21:22:08 PDT
        Subj:   "How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth"
 
(2)     From:   David M Richman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jun 1994 11:32:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0531 Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
(3)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jun 1994 08:31:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0531  Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
(4)     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jun 94 09:00:10 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0531  Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
(5)     From:   Imtiaz Habib <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jun 1994 19:19:14 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0531 Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Lyons <Charles.Lyons@STANFORD.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 13 Jun 94 21:22:08 PDT
Subject:        "How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth"
 
You are probably thinking of L. C. Knight's essay, "How Many Children Had Lady
Macbeth," which was originally in SCRUTINY, I believe, in 1933.  It is
reprinted in Knight's EXPLORATIONS, a collection of essays (1947), reprinted by
NYU Press in 1964.  As you probably know, the essay confronts A. C. Bradley's
notion of character.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jun 1994 11:32:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0531 Q: "How Many Children . . ."
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0531 Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
The essay "How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth" was composed in the 'thirties by
L. C. Knights.  It has often been anthologized.  I  found it in one of Robert
Corrigan's collections:  either "The Craft and Context of Drama" or "Tragedy,
Vision, and Form."  Knights expands upon his views in his own collections
"Explorations" and "Further Explorations."
 
Having said this, let me add a caveat.  Knights provides an important
corrective to the "character"-based stuff of Bradley and his metaphoric
children. But Knights can be at best confusing and at worst damaging to us poor
sods who are trying to speak the stuff from a stage.  As a corrective to
Knights, have your students read the chapter on Lady Macbeth in "Clamorous
Voices:  Shakespeare's Women Today."  The actor Sinead Cusack argues (and
convinces me) that the "access and passage to remorse" is her sexual center.
Like her husband, she curses herself by getting what she wants.  She does unsex
herself.  She once had children, but can have no more.  Is this extra-textual?
Of course.  Does it help in performance?  Better believe it!!
 
David Richman
University of New Hampshire
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jun 1994 08:31:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0531  Q: "How Many Children . . ."
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0531  Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
The essay, written by L. C. Knights, originally appeared in *Explorations*
(London: Chatto and Windus, 1946).  One of the places it's reprinted is in
Alvin Kernan's anthology, *Modern Shakespearean Criticism* (New York: Harcourt
Brace, 1970).
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jun 94 09:00:10 EDT
Subject: 5.0531  Q: "How Many Children . . ."
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0531  Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
When I began to read Shakespeare criticism, I had a terrible time keeping
straight the critics Dover WILSON, G. WILSON KNIGHT, and L.C. KNIGHTS because
of the common elements in their names.  I think Ms. Schnell is having the same
problem perhaps, for the essay she want is written by L. C. Knights.  The piece
first appeared under the title, "How Many Children, etc." in 1932 in Scrutiny,
I believe. It then was reprinted in Knights' book Explorations under
"Shakespeare's Dramatic Poems."
 
I've taught with this essay to good effect:  students became engaged and
enraged and lively.  In fact older criticism often seems to elicit excellent
discussion, particularly when the class can spot the critic's assumptions and
prejudices.  The Frank Kermode anthology in paperback, Four Centuries of
Shakespearian Criticism (NY: Avon, 1965) was an inexpensive sampling of items
that was a useful teaching tool.  But it's long out of print.  The new editions
with intros to recent theory are useful, but I miss the sort of book that
tucked Aristotle next to Coleridge, then seated Carolyn Spurgeon and Harry
Levin at the table, and then let the ideas go at it.  The class read snippets
out of context and badly introduced, but they did get a sense of range and of
openness.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Imtiaz Habib <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jun 1994 19:19:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0531 Q: "How Many Children . . ."
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0531 Q: "How Many Children . . ."
 
That essay was by L.C. Knights. It was published in 1933, by itself. It should
be listed in most places under Knights. Dover Wilson wrote The Fortunes of
Falstaff and What Happens in Hamlet, among other things. Very different kettles
of fish, these two!
 

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