Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0820.  Thursday, 19 October 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Joseph M Green <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 15:54:50 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0815  Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
 
(2)     From:   Al Cacicedo <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 21:18:39 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0815  Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph M Green <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 15:54:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 6.0815  Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0815  Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
 
Michael Harrowood is right in seeing pathos in overgeneralization.  I don't,
for example, think that all nationalisms are alike -- interesting differences
and complexities and so on.  In fact, it was my distaste for overgeneralization
that led to the introduction of "xenophobia" and "Babylon" -- two words, I
would think, that one would invite to the party whenever one wished to discuss
early modern English attitudes towards Italy.  The original instance of
wonderment was the attitude expressed by Ascham who opined that abetter
education/experience (I forget) could be had by spending a year seriously
studying "The Book of the Courtier" than by spending three years in Italy.
(Did someone already mention "The Unfortunate Traveller?")  This was tied in
with the importance of getting at an English essence that could travel Europe
and take away the best without becoming ...what?  soiled?  polluted?...
without, anyway, losing its doughty Englishness.  And this, in turn, was tied
in (perhaps only by happy juxtaposition) with remarks by Carlyle on Shakespeare
and the colonies and Arnold on Shakespeare and keeping him while giving up coal
mines -- and, as interpreted, I assume, keeping that English feeling.  I am
guessing that Mr. Harrowood sees this (these) as particularly English
expressions of nationalism and of a piece with the particularly English
linguistic nationalism that issues forth in such books as "The Triumph of
English."
 
My point throughout has been that the gassy part of the gaseous vetebrate we
are discussing isn't particularly English and that a bit more context and
generalization is needed.  If the gunboat Shipspeare is sent sailing to foreign
ports, similar deployments have been made by others.  There is nothing
exclusively English about the putative activties of the putative essence.  The
details might be particularly English -- it is Shipspeare who is sent out
rather than the anti-submarine cruiser Pushkin and, when "The Triumph of
Chinese" is published it might be full of interesting claims as to the
universal fitness of Chinese characters but it will have been published
because, for all the weighty reasons why Chinese had to triumph, the "real"
reason will have mostly to do with people needing to know Chinese to make their
way in a material world.
 
This sort of generalization is needed lest, because we require a particular
sort of service, the English "essence" is considered the only essence bearing
this sort of significance.  And, I will admit, I don't find the particulars of
this sort of nationalism very interesting -- chiefly because these particulars
are usually deployed to draw the fascinated gaze to horrors and stupidities in
the service of the usual ritual cleansing and sacrifice.  In other contexts, as
I said in my first few sentences, I do find the particulars interesting -- as
long as the generalization that takes them out of the usual narrative (at least
momentarily) is there.  Otherwise I find that I am again reading the usual
stuff by the usual suspects.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Cacicedo <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 21:18:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0815  Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0815  Re: Shakespeare, Literature, and Importance
 
With profound hesitation, two points.  First, at the beginning of the _Poetics_
Aristotle reminds us that Greek had no word for literature--so Aristotle takes
great care to define the thing(s) he wants to discuss by mode of
representation, etc. Second, with a trembling nod to Foucault:  could not one
consider the Holocaust (or _any_ event or object) not only as a thing in itself
but also as a discursive phenomenon? So yes, there's the "fact" of the
event/object; but in a human context, perhaps, its facticity becomes marginal
to the prac- tices inscribed in it and that it inscribes.  I realize, of
course, that I've just inscribed myself in a practice, so that maybe for some
of you I'll become merely an object of pity or loathing or . . ..  Trust me:  I
have eyes and do weep from time to time.
 
Al Cacicedo (
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 )
Albright College
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.