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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: January ::
Re: Apology; Handfasting; Ham. Quotation;
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0023.  Tuesday, 9 January 1996.

(1)     From:   J. H. Sawday <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Jan 1996 17:55:04 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0014  Sidney's Apology

(2)     From:   Helen Ostovich <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Jan 1996 17:07:12 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0019 Qs: Handfasting Illustrations

(3)     From:   Michele Crescenzo <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Jan 96 17:11:03 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0019 Qs: *Hamlet*

(4)     From:   Thomas G. Bishop <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Jan 1996 17:51:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0018  Re: Development of Individualism


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J. H. Sawday <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Jan 1996 17:55:04 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 7.0014  Sidney's Apology
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0014  Sidney's Apology

Geoffrey Shepherd's ed. of Sidney's _Apology for Poetry_ is (according to GBIP)
still in print: ISBN 0 7190 0516 7 (Manchester University Press, 1964) price
L.9.99. Shepherd's introductory essay, though dated, is still a comprehensive
account not only of the genesis of the _Apology_ but of the text's position
within the complex rhetorical debates Sidney was enagaged in. Certainly,
students find it helpful. I also note that there is an ed. of the _Apology_
published in London by Sangam (1986), originally published in Hyderabad by
Orient Longman (1975) edited by Visvanath Chatterjee. ISBN: 0 86131 662 2. At
L. 2.95, this looks like remarkably good value.

Jonathan Sawday
Department of English,
University of Southampton,

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Jan 1996 17:07:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0019 Qs: Handfasting Illustrations
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0019 Qs: Handfasting Illustrations

To Michael Friedman,

I don't know about illustrations of handfasting, but for a sense of the staging
of it, perhaps you should look at the "promise" scene between the incestuous
sister and brother in 'TIS PITY SHE'S A WHORE.  But why would you need a
picture?  There's no handfast scene on stage in MEAS, is there?  Are you
thinking of introducing one?

Helen Ostovich
Department of English / Editor, _REED Newsletter_
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada  L8S 4L9

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michele Crescenzo <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Jan 96 17:11:03 EST
Subject: 7.0019 Qs: *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0019 Qs: *Hamlet*

On 7 Jan 96, John Lee wrote:

>Some years ago I read and noted the following comment of a critic reflecting on
>the proliferation of interpretations of Hamlet's actions.  He suggested that it
>was time to stop speculating on whether the Prince was mad, and proposed
>another question: 'Are the Comentators on Hamlet Really Mad, Or Only Pretending
>to be?'
>
>Unfortunately I didn't note down the author and work, and now I need to provide
>a reference for the phrase.  Can anyone help?

The author of this is Oscar Wilde, and thanks for reminding me of it: it's one
of my favorites.  Wilde once remarked to his friend Robert Ross, "My next
Shakespeare book will be a discussion as to whether the commentators on
_Hamlet_ are mad or only pretending to be."  This info is from Richard
Ellmann's biography, _Oscar Wilde_ (299).

Michele Crescenzo

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Rutgers University-Newark

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas G. Bishop <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Jan 1996 17:51:49 -0500
Subject: 7.0018  Re: Development of Individualism
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0018  Re: Development of Individualism

I think it might help a bit here to attempt to distinguish between
"individuality" as fact and as value (the terms are provisional). All creatures
from the level of, say, fish, experience themselves as in important ways
separate from other creatures, even if it is only on the level of the
competition for food or the attempt to escape mortal peril. In times of acute
starvation mothers will even abandon (or eat) their young. It's hard to
imagine, in a Darwinian universe, any other evolutionarily possible outcome
than individualism at this level. So I'm with Bill Godshalk here. It is a not
unreasonable inference that complex individual biological organs like human
brains will have the capacity and tendency to encode experience as fact in ways
that contribute to the survival of the individual, though this does not mean
that such a complex organ could not also over-ride such an inherent tendency in
particular cases. The recognition of the SEPARATE fate of individuals in
respect at least of death is an important, but not very high-level one. And
accordingly, our relation to our bodies, our sense-perceptions, and perhaps
even our emotions, tends to be predicated on our experience of them as
individual. I can move my hand by willing it. You cannot move my hand by
willing it.

(Stephanie Hughes notwithstanding to the contrary, it is just not true that
individuality is the product of agricultural community or "civilization".
Hunter-gatherer cultures such as Australian aboriginal tribes have highly
complex and sophisticated mechanisms for identifying individuals and for
assigning to them quite specific individual "bits" of a common culture, such
that each member of a tribe will have his or her own peculiar "dreaming" -- a
kind of personal mythography. That all the bits are needed to make the culture
work does not imply that there is no value attributed to the individual in that
culture.)

It is, however, a different thing to speak of the promotion of "individuality"
from fact to value, from an inalienable (except under extreme conditions,
perhaps such as hypnosis, torture and so forth, conditions that Althusserian
Marxism takes as normal for everyone but Marxist theoreticians) aspect of
experience, to a cultural institution with specific investments of ideological
and discursive effort. At the latter level, it's a whole new ballgame.  I note
for the current argument that "even" medieval culture, which so many people
these days seem to believe was a kind of anonymous and anodyne period in which
people knew their place and did as they were ideologically instructed, had a
powerful overarching commitment to the idea of the "individual soul" which had
certain prerogatives, notably ones _not_ granted to, say, slaves in antiquity.
There is all the difference in the world between noting that MSS were not
(often) personally signed or notated by their writers, and the claim that these
writers "did not experience themselves as individuals."

But actual history always screws up theory's horoscopes.

Cheers,

This node of ideological space-time-discourse intersections.
 

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