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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: December ::
Re: Politics; Rom. Film; Unities
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0902.  Tuesday, 3 December 1996.

(1)     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Sunday, 1 Dec 1996 17:05:29 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0895 Re: Politics: Marxists, Elitism

(2)     From:   Amy Ulen <
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        Date:   Sunday, 01 Dec 1996 15:45:08 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0896  Re: New *Romeo and Juliet* Film

(3)     From:   Ed Pixley <
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        Date:   Monday, 02 Dec 1996 14:53:47 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0890 Re: Shakespeare and the Unities


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Dec 1996 17:05:29 -0000
Subject: 7.0895 Re: Politics: Marxists, Elitism
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0895 Re: Politics: Marxists, Elitism

Far be it from me to remind William Proctor Williams that Shakespearean "texts"
have a particular kind of cultural capital as "Literature", hence our
discussion of them as texts.

I suppose that treating them as "scripts" for performance will help us get back
to their "original" meaning, will it?  Now there's an interesting critical
posture for you, and one that doesn't have much going for it intellectually.

Best wishes
John Drakakis

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy Ulen <
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Date:           Sunday, 01 Dec 1996 15:45:08 -0800
Subject: 7.0896  Re: New *Romeo and Juliet* Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0896  Re: New *Romeo and Juliet* Film

>Bruce Fenton <
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 > writes:
>
>Someone said that movies are no substitute for the text in teaching the plays.
>Who on earth came up with the idea that text should be used at all in teaching?
>Certainly the author did not intend for them to be read- but performed.
>
>In my opinion the best way to learn the plays is by seeing them performed-
>ideally on the stage and if not then in a movie theater- if that is unavailable
>then by reading them aloud and finally, as a last resort, by simply reading the
>texts.

Bruce, I agree that the plays should not simply be read because, after all,
they are scripts for performance.  When I made the comment about not using film
to teach a play, I may have left out that I believe that the students should
perform the text themselves!  I personally don't see much of a difference
between a child passively sitting in her desk watching a film or passively
sitting in her desk reading a play.  She isn't going to experience the beauty
of the language or the emotion behind the text until she gets up on her feet
and puts the words in her mouth!  I taught at an alternative school for four
years, and my students never got much out of watching a video, but they made
amazing discoveries about the text when they performed it themselves.

Amy Ulen

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <
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Date:           Monday, 02 Dec 1996 14:53:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0890 Re: Shakespeare and the Unities
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0890 Re: Shakespeare and the Unities

> From:           Rick Jones <
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 >

> Re Keith Ghormley's question about the "classical unities." There's no such
> thing: the concept of unities of time, place and action was a neo-Classical
> (mostly Italian, partially French) invention.  Aristotle speaks of what can be
> called a unity of action, but mentions time only in passing, and place not at
> all.  The neo-Classicists, on the other hand, emphasized time and place even
> more than action (cf. the furor over Corneille's _Le Cid_).
>
> Certainly Shakespeare was not alone among English playwrights in ignoring
> unities: witness _Gorboduc_ or _Cambyses_ or _Doctor Faustus_ or _Bartholomew
> Fair_.  Sidney's Defense of Poesie seems, at least, to revel in the difference
> between England and Everywhere Else.

Just to add to Rick's useful points, at the time Shakespeare was writing, Lope
de Vega in Spain and Alexandre Hardi in France felt equally free to leap across
time and space when their plots called for it.  Mahelot's designs for Hardi's
plays show simultaneous staging at the Hotel de Bourgogne that rival the
mansion staging of the Vallencienes Passion Play. The Pleiade had tried to
inspire more controlled style in France, but not until the 1630s are the
unities fully installed by the elitist taste of preciosite and by edict of the
academy. Lope is a great one for multiple plots as well.

Ed Pixley
 

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