1996

Re: Benjamin, Adorno

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0780.  Tuesday, 29 October 1996.

(1)     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 12:03:42 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0776 Qs: Benjamin, Adorno

(2)     From:   Surajit A. Bose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 11:13:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0776 Qs: Benjamin, Adorno


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 12:03:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 7.0776 Qs: Benjamin, Adorno
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0776 Qs: Benjamin, Adorno

To John Lee:

Sounds like Fredric Jameson to me.

Lynn Gajowski
Associate Professor of English
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Surajit A. Bose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 11:13:33 -0500
Subject: 7.0776 Qs: Benjamin, Adorno
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0776 Qs: Benjamin, Adorno

John Lee asks:

>I'd be very grateful if anyone could locate the phrase `the aestheticization of
>politics' for me.  I thought it was from Walter Benjamin, but perhaps it was
>from Adorno.

Benjamin discusses the aestheticization of politics in "The Work of Art in the
Age of Mechanical Reproduction," when he discusses fascism.

Q: TN in Playing Shakespeare

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0779.  Tuesday, 29 October 1996.

From:           Edna Boris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Oct 96 07:59:41 EST
Subject:        Playing Shakespeare

One of the videotapes in the Playing Shakespeare (John Barton) series uses
Twelfth Night as the focus for rehersal.  The library system that my university
uses classifies those tapes not by the overall series but by the names of
individual tapes.  Therefore, unless I know the name of the tape that uses
Twelfth Night, I cannot retrieve it.  Does anyone know the name of that tape?

Re: SEX and Politics; Who originated the roles?

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0777.  Tuesday, 29 October 1996.

(1)     From:   Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 96 14:17:55 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0771   Re: Politics

(2)     From:   Andy Grewar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 13:25:13 GMT+120
        Subj:   Re: Who originated the roles?


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 96 14:17:55 EST
Subject: 7.0771   Re: Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0771   Re: Politics

Isn't the problem with "everything is political" or "everything is sexual" that
the adjectives are being applied in the wrong place? Things aren't in and of
themselves political or sexual.  We take a political or sexual view of them.
Properly stated, the proposition would be, "Everything can be looked at
politically or sexually or vegetarianly or Zoroastrianly or any way you
choose."

                                          --Best, Norm Holland

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andy Grewar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 13:25:13 GMT+120
Subject:        Re: Who originated the roles?

On Monday, 21 Oct, Michael Kremer asked:

> Is there a source which gives documentary evidence about which
> actors originated the primary roles in each of Shakespeare's plays?
> I am particularly interested in who originated the role of
> Falstaff.
>
> The only comment I have been able to find attributes the role to
> Thomas Pope.

This is an area of speculation and uncertainty, and I doubt very much whether
documentary evidence for such things will ever be found.

The only work I know that attempts to answer your question is:

T.W. Baldwin, _The Organization and Personnel of the
     Shakespearean Company_. Princeton: Princeton University
     Press, 1927.

Baldwin worked on the assumption that the actors of the Lord
Chamberlain's/King's Men each had a particular "line" or type of role, one
specializing in the role of the "low comic", another in that of the "gruff
military man", the "braggart" and so on.  Later writers have found his
arguments dubious.  It is this line of reasoning that leads him to assign the
part of Falstaff to Thomas Pope.

There are two recent books which deal with the original Shakespearean company:

T.J. King, _Casting Shakespeare's plays: London actors and
     their roles, 1590-1642_. Cambridge: Cambridge University
     Press, 1992.

David Mann, _The Elizabethan Player: Contemporary stage
     representation_. London/New York: Routledge, 1991.

Both avoid speculation and concentrate on what contemporary evidence there is
for the stagecraft of the time.  There is also Wiles's book on Shakespeare's
clowns, Kemp and Armin:

David Wiles, _Shakespeare's Clown: Actor and Text in the
      Elizabethan Playhouse_. Cambridge: Cambridge University
     Press, 1987.

As far as I can recall, Wiles argues that Falstaff would first have been played
by William Kemp, the company's chief clown.  The role seems to be an amalgam of
two older stock types, one deriving back through the Italian renaissance to
Roman comedy, namely the "braggart soldier", and that of the
"fool/clown/jester".  Goldsmith's work, "Shakespeare's Wise Fools", is the
standard work on the latter.

Andy Grewar
University of Fort Hare
Alice, Eastern Cape
South Africa                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Politics

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0778.  Tuesday, 29 October 1996.

(1)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 21:38:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0777  Re: SEX and Politics

(2)     From:   Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 08:34:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Politics

(3)     From:   Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 08:34:56 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0771   Re: Politics

(4)     From:   David E. Frydrychowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 12:48:15 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0777  Re: SEX and Politics


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 21:38:59 -0500
Subject: 7.0777  Re: SEX and Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0777  Re: SEX and Politics

Norm Holland writes (reasonably):

>Isn't the problem with "everything is political" or "everything is sexual" that
>the adjectives are being applied in the wrong place? Things aren't in and of
>themselves political or sexual.  We take a political or sexual view of them.
>Properly stated, the proposition would be, "Everything can be looked at
>politically or sexually or vegetarianly or Zoroastrianly or any way you
>choose."

I gather that the assertion "everything is sexual" is meant to be a parody of
"everything is political."  Norm's solution seems moderate and reasonable, but
I think that those who assert that everything is political would reject
moderation and rationality as the worn out tools of the Enlightenment Project.
I think that our political theorists really believe that "politics" (i.e.,
power relationships?) are fundamental to all human acts.  It's not a matter of
approach; it's a matter of what motivates our actions.

Am I wrong?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 08:34:22 -0500
Subject:        Re: Politics

Mr. Egan writes:

>There's no point giving one's own set of 'facts' about text and asserting that
>these are un-political. What happens to different models of textuality, and why
>different models are valued at different times, is the deeply political matter
>that students must be able to address.

It was not my intention to expound an exhaustive set of facts about English
texts, but to begin to clear some ground that might provide us with a shared
agreement about what criteria there are that -can- delineate facts about texts.

I profoundly agree that students should be encouraged to engage in criticism of
their own intellectual heritage. But Mr. Egan's account of his class seems to
show that what they are being taught to do there is to "Ask Mr. Egan" to
explain the history and politics of the readings for this week. Are they
researching for themselves "why different models are valued at different
times"? Is there, in fact, agreement about this? Or merely dogma? What might
help us reach agreement? What relevant "facts" might there be in the question?

By all means read Propp. And ask about his politics, if we can judge them. Or
of those who adopted him -- if we can judge them. But also ask, as Propp does:
how are narratives put together? What aspects of a narrative's design does
Propp's model address? What aspects is it incapable of addressing? If one does
this for a poetic text, one is sooner or later going to have to explain that in
English, the regular fronting of stress onto the first syllable, has made
alliteration a prominent element in the patterning of sound. (And yes, here too
there is a political dimension in the influence of French and Latin meters in
displacing alliteration as a primary organizing feature of English verse. Yet
that does not invalidate the observation.) That one does not have to explain it
all the time doesnt mean it's any less a fact. My heart beats even when I dont
pay attention to it (I can prove this).

I agree with Gabriel Egan that an important function of intellectual activity
in the humanities is to ask what assumptions we are making about how to frame
the objects of our inquiries, and further, to inquire into the history of those
assumptions withinand beyond our disciplines.  One source of criticism of our
assumptions is surely, as Mr Egan says, the possibility that the objects of our
analysis have been framed for inspection by political choices or assumptions
that we might wish to dispute.  This exercise of "critique" over our
educational institutions is by no means confined to the present, or to the
Left.  It is at least as old as Plato. It has been one of the ongoing
preoccupations of philosophy since its inception. Bacon is referring to it in
seeking to deliver us from "the Idols."

But Mr. Egan seems to me to be making a further claim, which I am inclined to
dispute. He seems to be claiming that "facts" can only ever exist in relation
to some framework of knowledge that constitutes them, and not otherwise, that
is that they have -no- independent existence. This is a rather odd thing for a
Marxist to claim, if that is what Mr. Egan is, since one of Marxism's major
strengths as a tradition of critique is to point with great and bracing moral
rigour to the indisputable fact of historical oppression and human suffering,
one that demands to be recognized for what it is and -not- translated into
something more convenient for the purposes of the oppressors. This may be
called "vulgar Marxism" by some, but it remains the heart of Marxism's claim to
be taken seriously as a moral and political discourse.  I cannot see how it
could be otherwise without becoming totally inane.  To make this claim as a
historical discipline, it must be able to argue cogently that oppression
exists, that it can be identified and explained. Otherwise, it can have no
basis for imagining what might consitute an improvement and hence developing a
politics in the first place. It must have a vision of human need, of how that
need has been and is being violated, and how it could better be answered. In
order to do this, it must, unless it is merely to become a set of rhetorical
postures, have a view about the facts. For instance, the "fact" that people
deprived of food for long enough will die, will cease to exist as active,
embodied historical agents endowed with will and consciousness.  There must be,
in other words, agreed criteria, according to historical logic, as to what and
how facts exist. That doesn not mean they are easy to determine, but one must
start somewhere. I would have thought E. P. Thompson had laid these particular
ghosts to rest in his great critique of Althusser, whom Egan seems in some sort
to be following here.

Some facts, then, remain facts even if we choose not to address or invoke them
in a particular act of reading. The chemical structure of alcohol remains the
same, even if one chooses not to drink it.  That Propp -- and Mr. Egan's class
-- did not cite phonemic stress in English is neither here nor there. It is
still a fact, and a fact in his class, if not one before his class, if he
conducts it in English. (And I'm sure in fact Vladimir Propp -would- have been
interested in it as a central trait in the phonological structure of English,
if he had turned his mind to it).

I do not have the expertise to discuss the definition of a phoneme or of
vocalic stress (though Roman Jacobson and Calvert Watkins do, and I take their
word for it). Does Mr. Egan? Shall we discuss it? But I note that Mr. Egan does
-not- dispute my claim that "all known human societies practise the composition
and exchange of narratives". Would he care to dispute the framing of that as a
mere fact? It seems a suitably general place to start. It is, if you like, a
"political" fact, purporting to tell us something about human sociality. If we
could understand or agree about it, we might also be on the way to grounding
"politics" in relation to Propp in a new way. At least it might give us
something to chew on on SHAKSPER that we could bring back to the nominal
subject of the list.

Cheers,
Tom

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 08:34:56 -0500
Subject: 7.0771   Re: Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0771   Re: Politics

Surajit A. Bose points out quite rightly that the question of what meter would
best serve the development or "improvement" of English letters was a political
question in the sixteenth century.  It is a good point. But it's a slightly
different one from the one I was making, and the fate of Sidney's own efforts
to wrest English phonology into quantitative patterns makes my point over
again.  Sidney's efforts to impose quantity on English meter by sheer
willpower, for political ends, were a rather embarrassing failure, and most of
the results are now impenetrable, as Bose points out. No-one legislated  for
political ends the eventual dominance of accentual meters: the architects of
these latter were in fact the very ones trying to foment support for quantity
in the 1580, viz. Sidney and Spenser.  The facts of English phonology dont
provide a basis for choosing quantity as the organizing principle of a metrical
system, and no amount of classicist trumpetting can make them do it. Sidney did
not know this, or chose to ignore it out of political zeal.

I would never deny that prosody -can- have a political resonance. No reader of
Paradise Lost, to take only an explicit example, can be unaware of that. That
seventeenth-century theorists often allegorized their meters in political terms
is something we need to know in order to read them carefully and fully. But it
is their habit of -allegorizing- that is historically important, a habit we
(mostly) no longer have. Anything can be allegorized - but this is very
different from attempting to analyze it without allegory.

Likewise I have no problem imagining an English poem in Sapphics -- in fact I
know several. But such a poem needs to do one of two things -- adapt the Greek
quantities to English stress accent somehow (the usual choice), or invent
arbitrary rules for assigning quantity to a language that doesnt use it (the
Sidney option, and, in part, what Latin also may have done in adapting Greek
meters for ends in part political).

I am not proposing that we "teach accentual-syllabic meter as an intrinsic part
of poetic language, an aesthetic fact meaningful in itself."  It is a long way
from the observation of a tendency of English words to stress their first
syllables to the construction of a metrical system based on that fact. I do
however believe that the occurrence of phonemic stress (for instance) in
English is a historical accident, entirely contingent, and therefore, properly
speaking, without intrinsic political meaning until taken up into a specific
political argument -- and that the latter move is an inappropriate one. It is
very dangerous to begin allegorizing some aspects of language as "intrinsically
superior" to others as the bearers of value. Poets like to do this as much as
politicians, I grant you, but, at a certain point, they should both be
resisted.

I do not say that observations about language have not been "framed" for
political purposes. At one time Chinese was held by some Western linguists to
be inferior because of its structure. But I do say that, as a language, Chinese
has certain characteristics which can be described scrupulously, or not.
Sometimes that lack of scruple results from political interest, ideology or
pressure, as was the case with biology in the Soviet Union under Stalin. But
Stalinist biology, like racist linguistics, like creation science, was a
failure precisely insofar as it stopped being scrupulous about defining and
delimiting the relations between fact and theory. The facts, and their limits,
need to be struggled for, not regarded a priori as delusive ideological
phantoms. But no one said that was going to be easy.

Cheers,
Tom

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David E. Frydrychowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Oct 1996 12:48:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0777  Re: SEX and Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0777  Re: SEX and Politics

Norm Holland asks us to remember that no political or sexual element inheres
within the text, and that we choose to impose a certain reading on the text.

To me, this implies that we sully the pure phosphor of thought with our
particular interpretation.  Surely the critique has advanced us to the point
where we can see that reading is essentially dyadic - it is far more valuable
to consider our purchase on the truth than it is to long for the roast
partriges which we think to be hidden behind the podium.

To paraphrase Wm. James, perhaps "pure" reading of the texts is posssible, but
where on this moonlit and dream-visited planet is it to be found?

Dave Frydrychowski
MFA Candidate, CWRU/Cleveland Play House

Qs: Lodgings in London; Benjamin, Adorno; Marlowe

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0776.  Tuesday, 29 October 1996.

(1)     From:   Sandy Feinstein  <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 14:31:43 -0400
        Subj:   Lodgings in London?

(2)     From:   John Lee <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 10:09:32 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Benjamin?  Adorno?

(3)     From:   Peter Paul Schnierer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 14:10:48 +0100 (MEZ)
        Subj:   Marlowe


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sandy Feinstein  <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 14:31:43 -0400
Subject:        Lodgings in London?

I would like to ask my colleagues in London if they know of any available
dormitory space or of any particularly indulgent families for the period from
15 December to 19 December 1996.  My very small Renaissance class (6 students:
5 women, 1 man) has raised money that will enable them to pay for the $400
Round Trip ticket from Wichita, Kansas to London.  These are students with very
limited financial resources, but very hard working (and very bright).  The
teacher (me) can afford to put herself up at a B&B or small hotel, so there is
less urgency to find her complimentary or low, low cost housing.  If you know
of _anything_, or need more information about the students or the trip, please
contact me at either e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (my list serv
address) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All assistance will be deeply appreciated.

Sandy Feinstein
Assoc. Prof. of English

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Lee <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 10:09:32 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Benjamin?  Adorno?

I'd be very grateful if anyone could locate the phrase `the aestheticization of
politics' for me.  I thought it was from Walter Benjamin, but perhaps it was
from Adorno.

Thanks,
John Lee

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Paul Schnierer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 14:10:48 +0100 (MEZ)
Subject:        Marlowe

A colleague of mine maintains that the latest serious attempt to assign
Shakespeare' plays to Marlowe was made by an Austrian scholar last year, but
cannot recall the publication details. Can anybody help us? Our bibliographical
tools here haven't reached 1995 yet.

Thanks!
Peter

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