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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: April ::
The Fair Youth (Freud and Sonnets): Early Mod.
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0293.  Thursday, 13 April 1995.
(1)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Apr 1995 13:19:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0287  Re: The Fair Youth
(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Apr 1995 23:01:57 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0290  Re: Early Modern Subjectivity
From:           Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
Date:           Wednesday, 12 Apr 1995 13:19:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0287  Re: The Fair Youth
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0287  Re: The Fair Youth
If we are to reject the Freudianism of Peguiney as outdated, then what of other
(more heterosexual) Freudian approaches--be they Janet Adelman's SUFFOCATING
MOTHERS (1992) or William "Shakespeare hated the vagina" Kerrigan (who has a
recent book on Hamlet and the virgin whore split). Whatever the failings of a
psychoanalytic "approach" (or at least jargon), it at least engages the text in
a way allegedly more "up to date" theories such as Greenblatt do not. As for
myself, I'm more interested in how the early sonnets in which Shakespeare is
ostensibly exhorting the fair youth to be fruitful and multiply exist also on a
self-referential level and question the humanist "lyric 'I" in the process.
Though the chronology of Shakespeare's sonnets "and their time relation to the
plays" is not known. It does seem in some of these sonnets (I'm thinking in
particular of Sonnet #8--Has anybody on this list done any work on that
particular sonnet? If so maybe we could compare notes---), the author
(construct?) can be read as telling himself that the self is a fiction (a la
Donne's NO MAN IS AN ISLAND) and thus writing plays may actually serve an
ontological function---I.e. Shakespeare didn't just turn to drama for money and
to make a "motley of the few" but to allow for a more dramatic subjectivity
that manages to break down the distinction between "self-expression" and
commercial theatre....I have more to say about this, and can say it clearer no
doubt---but I wanted to throw this out in hopes someone jumps down my throat to
make me argue more clearly, etc, etc. Chris Stroffolino
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Apr 1995 23:01:57 +0100
Subject: 6.0290  Re: Early Modern Subjectivity
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0290  Re: Early Modern Subjectivity
Bill Godshalk's 'defence' invites point-by-point refutation, so here goes...
>First, the position I take is absolutely counter to the position, say, taken in
>THE BELL CURVE. My argument emphasizes not only the individuality of persons,
>but also their extreme similarity. I take the position that there is absolutely
>NO significant genetic difference among the peoples of this world. May I point
>out that that is an egalitarian position?  I do not emphasize cultural
>difference, or non-rational hatreds based on these supposed differences.
To assert that everybody is basically the same is not 'egalitarian' but rather
a method of denying that real difference is the means by which real oppression
has been done to real people. It represents oppression as merely atavistic fear
of difference which has no rational basis in under-the-skin genetic formation.
I hope Bill Godshalk would acknowledge that the genetic difference between male
and female is highly significant and is used to oppress millions of women.
>Second, I am not in favor of starving babies. I am not in favor of ethnic
>cleansing or culture wars. Why would someone who emphasizes human unity be seen
>as a racist? Or racialist, if you will?
The starved baby was my 'reductio ad absurdum' of the vain attempt to consider
man stripped of social relations, since, without social relations, and hence
culture, babies do not get fed. Nobody suggested Bill Godshalk was in favour of
starving babies.
>Third,  my account of the learning process takes into account Habib's concept
>that "we live in our feelings," but not just "about our bodies." We would not
>know our world if we had no feelings. Montaigne, as you know, has an extended
>essay on this topic. And, without our bodies, we would have no feelings.
PASS - I don't think anything is said by this point.
>Fourth, I am not a megalomaniac. Nothing I can or may do will "preserve the
>power relations of a dominant ideology" or any "particular Eurocentric world
I have long assumed that Bill Godshalk is employed as lecturer. If so, he
necessarily will influence his students by his conservative opinions, and so
"preserve the power relations of the dominant ideology". That is what he is
employed to do. Some people manage to subvert, perhaps only slightly, the
dominant ideology by teaching English studies in an overtly political (as
opposed to Godshalk's covertly political) way. Their employers have the desire,
but not the resources or the intelligence, to prevent such subversion.
>Fifth, Eurocentric world views emphasize cultural diversity, with the submerged
>implication that any culture not European is inferior. If you indeed have read
>and understood my postings "over the last several years," this position is the
>very position I have been arguing AGAINST!!!
By emphasizing similarity over difference Bill Godshalk is not suggesting that
his response to, say, _Richard II_, is like that of an Eskimo. Rather he is
asserting that an Eskimo's response is like his. This 'egalitarianism' does not
celebrate difference but effaces it.
Gabriel Egan

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