1994

Re: The Human Condition

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0103. Thursday, 10 February 1994.
 
(1)     From:   James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Feb 1994 09:59:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
(2)     From:   David McFadden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:55:37 -0500
        Subj:   Insomnia
 
(3)     From:   Nina Walker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:58:30 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 09 Feb 1994 09:59:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
Bill:
 
You've been going out on a limb the past few days and taking the fire
on behalf of a lot of your fellow humanists.  I, for one, am grateful,
and will stick my neck out, too.
 
I know that there is a strong case to be made that we are all (each of
us) different from one another and that the specific quality of
those differences is worth study.  But it is easier to see differences
than to see similarities (the old cognitive question:  how do we know
that that straight-backed wooden thing in the library and that overstuffed
ugly green thing in the livingroom are both "chairs"?).  The object
of our study should be (yes, I know that is a prescriptive statement)
how we forge a society out these many differences:  what do we share in
common (heartbeat, death, etc.) and (here is where the study of differences
comes in) what can we learn about life from the responses of others to
those common experiences -- responses that may be completely different
from our own, or that may be similar, but so much better stated than
our own halting efforts.
 
Perhaps it takes a leap of faith to be a humanist these days (or ever);
if so, _credo_.
 
Jim Schaefer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(202) 687-4478
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David McFadden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:55:37 -0500
Subject:        Insomnia
 
Bill Godshalk:
 
Good heavens, sir, I hope your insomnia wasn't induced by the Great Absolute
Debate. I should think the opposite would be the case, for one of the
several Great Absolutes in the human condition is that the Great Absolute
Debate is deadly boring. To allow it to keep you awake at night would be
playing right into the hands of these young whippersnappers who are forever
going around moaning and groaning and weeping and wailing that there are no
absolutes. It's positively evil, it is, the way they are allowed to go
around like that, trying their utmost to upset our complacency, with their
chains, leather jackets, tattoos, shaved heads and their fake airs of
Wagnerian romanticism. Doesn't Martin Amis have a good go at these guys in
one of his recent novels?
 
Well, they're not going to upset my complacency. If I lose sleep it'll be
for a better reason than that, for it's axiomatic that there are absolutes in
the human condition, and beyond that, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an
absolute idiot.
 
David W. McFadden
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nina Walker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:58:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
Finally, it seems to me, Mr. Godshalk hits the point, driven to it by
Piers Lewis's pertinent question. Let me add to it by submitting 1)
Without universal experience none of us would be reading Shakespeare; 2)
Without universal experience Shakespeare would not have written (or
perhaps could not have written.) Before you ignore these large
assumptions Mr. Hawkes, please answer me this: Why do YOU read
Shakespeare? What do you expect to gain? Why would you teach
Shakespeare? Using your logic, what good could students possibly gain
from the study? Beyond that, why would anyone bother with anthropology
and, since you appear to be its champion, history?
 
Sincerely,
Nina Walker

Another Landmark for SHAKSPER

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0102. Wednesday, 9 February 1994.
 
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, February 9, 1994
Subject:        Another Landmark for SHAKSPER
 
Dear SHAKSPEReans,
 
On October 3, 1993, I announced that SHAKSPER's membership had passed the
400 mark.  I am pleased to announce today that as of Friday, February 4,
1994, SHAKSPER has more than 500 members.  This phenomenal growth reflects
the vitality of our conference.  With this growth comes new ideas, new
questions, and new perspectives from which we all benefit.  On the
administrative side, however, more members can mean more work for me
as your editor and for the University of Toronto's LISTSERV Maintainer,
Steve Younker, to whom we all owe an enormous debt.  To reduce the number
of error messages that are sent to me and to Steve Younker, it particularly
important that if you are going to be away from your accounts for an extended
period that you use the NOMAIL option and that if your account is going to
become inactive that you SIGNOFF at that address.
 
I have every expectation that SHAKSPER will continue to grow and thrive.
Below you will find the current version of the SHAKSPER Announcement, which
you can download to share with colleagues and friends who may be interested
in joining us.
 
Let me close by thanking all of you for making SHAKSPER the exciting
international conference it is.
 
Thanks,
        Hardy M. Cook
        Editor
 
```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
 
 
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Re: The Human Condition

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0100.  Tuesday, 8 February 1994.
 
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Monday, 07 Feb 1994 21:56:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0098  Re: The Human Condition
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0098  Re: The Human Condition
 
I think we can agree with Pat Buckridge that not all human experiences are
experienced by all humans. Men do not get pregnant, for example. But all live
humans experience a beating heart. And I think we can be skeptical about an
assertion that we all experience a beating heart in the same way. But we all
have the experience, or we'd be dead.
 
That's all, but it's a place to begin building a bridge out to other humans,
eh?
 
Bill Godshalk

Re: The Human Condition

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0101. Wednesday, 9 February 1994.
 
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Tuesday, 08 Feb 1994 12:56:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0100  Re: The Human Condition
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0100  Re: The Human Condition
 
I had insomnia last night, and I remembered someone asking what was at stake in
the Great Debate over the Human Condition. Since I couldn't sleep, I thought
about that question, and I now think that the possibility of understanding is a
stake. If someone from another culture comes to my office and says, "I hurt,"
and explains why, I think I can understand. I have experienced life and I know
what it is to hurt.
 
Those of us who reject Terence Hawkes's position do so because we want to
establish a common ground for understanding. Hawkes would seem to be saying
that we can only understand others who share our culture, and I'm not sure how
narrowly he describes "culture." Is it possible that I just do not understand
this Welshman and his Dragon?
 
And if we cannot understand across cultures, we surely cannot understand across
history. Shakespeare is doubly distanced from us by both time and by a
different modus vivendi.
 
And if we take this cultural isolationism one step further, we realize that
each of us is subjectively isolated. The brain beneath the skull stands in
absolute isolation. How can I understand what you feel, what you say?
 
I reject this isolationist point of view because I believe that we can
understand Shakespeare's plays. We may not live the way Shakespeare lived, but
we can understand how and why a human could and would live as Shakespeare
lived.
 
Of course, Mr. Hawkes will tell me that I am totally deluded, totally
determined by my culture into believing that I can understand. But since he is
also caught inside his culture, completely time-bound, as myopic as the next
scholar, how can he KNOW this?
 
No, I'll keep arguing that we do have a basis in human experience for
understanding each other and for the humans that have come before us. We eat
and have eaten; we copulate and have copulated; and we die.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk

Re: BBC and *Chimes at Midnight* Videos

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0099.  Tuesday, 8 February 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 7 Feb 1994 09:46:53 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0097  Re: *Chimes at Midnight* Videos
 
(2)     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 7 Feb 1994 09:46:50 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0094 Q: BBC and *Chimes at Midnight* Videos
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 7 Feb 1994 09:46:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0097  Re: *Chimes at Midnight* Videos
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0097  Re: *Chimes at Midnight* Videos
 
Milla Riggio writes:
 
> But I must warn you that obtaining it is at best a mixed blessing;
> the quality of the film and especially the sound track is so poor that
> you should be prepared to stand by the monitor and "translate" almost
> all that is said in the film.
 
I've had this same problem with all of Welles' Shakespeare films. It was a
perennial problem for him; operating on low budgets across several
continents, the sound quality was always the first to go. I found this to
be true of the restored Othello as well, and it seriously hampered my
enjoyment of that film.
 
The complete text of the screenplay for Chimes is available, with
photographs, notes, introduction, interviews, and many absorbing essays;
edited by Bridget Gellert Lyons, Rutgers University Press, 1988. I
recommend it highly. (This is where I first read Welles' opinion of
Olivier's Henry V: "a bunch of people in fancy armor riding around a golf
course.")
 
     Tad Davis
     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 7 Feb 1994 09:46:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0094 Q: BBC and *Chimes at Midnight* Videos
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0094 Q: BBC and *Chimes at Midnight* Videos
 
Dear Tom Jensen, For the BBC Shakespeare Plays, try Ambrose Video
Publishing, 381 Park Ave.So. #1601, New York NY 10016. Call 800-526-4663.
For Orson Welles, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, I think Facets Video, 1517 West
Fullerton, Chicago, IL 60614 is a good bet. There are of course dozens of
other dealers spewing out catalogs. Everything I say is subject to
correction, since the market shifts and changes exasperatingly from one
month to the next. Ken Rothwell

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