1996

Re: The State of the Profession

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0722.  Saturday, 5 October 1996.

(1)     From:   Framji Minwalla <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 3 Oct 1996 10:46:50 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession

(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 3 Oct 96 21:41:24 BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession

(3)     From:   Edward T Bonahue <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 3 Oct 1996 17:44:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession

(4)     From:   Kezia Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 4 Oct 1996 10:53:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0716 Re: The State of the Profession


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Framji Minwalla <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 3 Oct 1996 10:46:50 -0400
Subject: 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession

Daniel Lowenstein's broadside against Gabriel Egan is the kind of deplorable
thinking most people in this country are saddled with. While it is unfortunate
that so many literature courses advance secondary at the expense of primary
texts, this clearly does not mean we should ignore the powerful implications
theoretical readings suggest about the sociopolitical climates in which these
texts were conceived and disseminated.  Teaching undergraduates and graduates
that literature was made in a cultural vacuum would be like teaching law
students about the constitution without considering when or how it was written.

And the reason Mr. Lowenstein is paying an excessive amount to send his
children to school clearly is because we have no socialist "tyranny" in this
country. The state of the profession is actually the state of the university
under siege from a capitalist society that consistently denigrates teachers.
As Rudy Giuliani put it, teachers should get second jobs if they feel they're
not making enough money--after all, they only work a ten-hour week.

Mr. Lowenstein might serve himself, and his students, better by paying more
mind to the inequities rampant in the world, and less attention to
party-political hype that claims the US spends so much helping the rest of the
world.  It actually doesn't--less than 10% of the budget goes to foreign aid.
Even less than that to education.

Framji Minwalla
(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 3 Oct 96 21:41:24 BST
Subject: 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession

David Knauer writes

>Truth be told, Egan's computer
>was most likely built in several contradictory places, both by happy
>technicians in white coats and by de facto slaves...

Okay, I'll grant that.

>Reading Raymond Williams isn't as
>stirring, but didn't he problematize the exchanges between base and
>superstructure sufficiently to show just how complex and therefore
>immune to reductive rhetoric such socio-economic formations are?

None of this is to do with superstructure. Discussion of where my computer was
made concerns only the base. I live and work in affluent western Europe and my
rate of consumption of the world's resources could not be sustained without the
third world's massive contribution. If the west gives a little back in the form
of aid, it's made conditional upon economic re-organization which renders the
recipients even less able to resist the systematic removal of their resources.

It's a bit sly to bring in Williams to suggest my simple model of movement of
resources is inadequate when you know that it's base/superstructure relations
he's concerned with.

I imagine Kezia Sproat thinks that the Shakespeare texts plays no part in all
this, but the ongoing education of young middle-class persons is essential to
the maintenance of the system of removal of resources westwards and northwards.
One can choose to teach the texts as a remedy to the misery of the world, but
only if you believe that it's all a terrible misunderstanding that can be
sorted out over the domestic chores. If you think that economic structures, and
especially notions of property, are the problem, you'd probably look in the
texts for moments when economic structures and notions of property are made
apparent and, as so often happens, problematized. You might also want to
discuss the uses to which the texts have been put in an effort to draw
attention away from economic and political processes (as Terry Hawkes commented
upon earlier, concerning Granville-Barker's Old Vic _King Lear_).

Gabriel Egan

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward T Bonahue <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 3 Oct 1996 17:44:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0716  Re: The State of the Profession

I'm sure Gabriel Egan's zeal for filling students full of politics will receive
a chorus of raucous responses, especially on our side of the Atlantic.  (Quite
ironic, actually, considering the MLA's usual docket of causes, most of which,
incidentally, I agree with.)

But if I might ask Gabriel a question, one materialist to another: would you
make a distinction in any way between (1) teaching literture as a process of
recognizing that all writers and readers have "political positions" (even if
they don't know it or won't admit it), _without_ necessarily endorsing one or
another position; and (2) teaching literature as a means of stuffing students
with personal political views, for which most of us have no mandate and in
which students have little interest. Or do you think the first should always
lead to the second?

A sophomore from my Brit Lit survey, reading over my shoulder, offers another
relevant question: "Why does he teach English instead of political science or
philosophy, if that's what really interests him?"

Thanks in advance,

Ed Bonahue
University of Florida

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kezia Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 4 Oct 1996 10:53:52 -0400
Subject: 7.0716 Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0716 Re: The State of the Profession

My post on the value of spending years studying Shakespeare and widely sharing
the fruits of that study has been misread, and that's partly my responsibility
for having dealt with too many ideas in a short space, having let go and
written as if I were talking to friends or kindred souls, in an effort to
encourage the many PhDs who will not be employed in academia. The principal
misreading, by Egan, is that I said Shakespeare can save the world. Certainly
Shakespeare is dead, and I was referencing people who study Shakespeare's
works---for a long time and seriously. Egan had to stretch what I wrote, at
several points and in several directions, before he could show how ridiculous I
was, and softens at the end of his tirade at the memory of Joe Hill (as do I).
As a lifelong student of Shakespeare and teacher of nonviolence, I am most
interested in what drives people who appear to be established Shakespeareans to
feel the need to misrepresent the ideas of others by reducing them to
absurdity. Defensiveness is usually exhibited among those who feel insecure.
Perhaps all those whose economic health derives from the study of Shakespeare's
texts feel insecure, academic appointments or no? I find the study of
Shakespeare a pleasure, and believe pleasure makes me and others more sturdy of
soul, more able to withstand tribulation, less willing to cause distress to
others. Take heart, Egan. If you lose your job, you will still have the
pleasure of Shakespeare, and that can be a source of strength.

My little rhapsody did intend to suggest that---assuming, (wrongly as it turns
out) that Shakespeareans are good at reading carefully statements made by a
huge assortment of characters---the oversupply of PhDs may employ themselves
happily across the planet, sans academic positions, because they have developed
essential, increasingly rare, and much-needed skills, to wit: listening
intently, reproducing accurately what another has said, and saying what one
means oneself very clearly. Without those skills there is no peace.
[<------Repeat that sentence about 1000 times, apply to families, departments,
listservs, cities, nations]. I stand by every word in the rhapsody. To respond
fully to Prof. Egan's put-down will take (and has inspired an outline for)
another book. Prof. Egan may attend my nonviolence classes at Highbank Farm
Peace Education Center tuition free. In fact, so may any PhD in Shakespeare who
wants to come to Chillicothe. Then we can start another new "school" of
Shakespeare study: Nonviolence. This quite old but very new area of study may
provide the long and full answer to Prof. Egan's distress about his computer,
etc.

I may have prompted Egan's verbal violence with the violent language I
addressed at deans and university presidents. That violence begets violence is
a major tenet of nonviolence studies.

Re: Old Criticism (Barker vs. Bradley)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0721.  Thursday, 3 October 1996.

From:           David Schalkwyk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 3 Oct 1996 12:15:05 SAST-2
Subject: 7.0706  Re: Old Criticism (Barker vs. Bradley)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0706  Re: Old Criticism (Barker vs. Bradley)

The answer to Ed Pechter's question about why we continue to reproduce an
anti-historical and anti-theatrical Bradley is probably quite simple.  It is
the most natural thing in the world to misrepresent any writer that few people
read any longer.

David Schalkwyk
University of Cape Town

Renaissance Position, specialty Shakespeare

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0719.  Thursday, 3 October 1996.

From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 01 Oct 1996 17:07:37 -0400
Subject:        Renaissance Position, specialty Shakespeare

VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH
     at the University of Cincinnati

January 1, 1997--December 31, 1997.  Two courses per quarter (Winter, Spring,
and Autumn; Summer optional).  Shakespeare, general literature, composition.
Ph.D. (defended by January 1997) with specialty in English Renaissance,
especially Shakespeare. Apply to James M. Hall, Head, Dept. of English, U. of
Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210069, Cincinnati, OH  45221-0069.  AA/EOE. Inquiries
welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (513) 556-5924.  Deadline for
applications: November 1, 1996.

Olympia Dukakis' Lear Piece

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0720.  Thursday, 3 October 1996.

From:           Dale Lyles <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 2 Oct 1996 15:21:56 -0400
Subject:        Olympia Dukakis' Lear Piece

A regular of my theatre chat room, The Stage Door on AOL, is the PR director
for the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas.  For the past month or so, she's been
panicked about selling tix to this piece, and since she's resisted my
suggestion to entitle it "Lear and His Babes" ["Oooh, Daddy, I love you *this*
much"...], I told her I would try to post it to this newsgroup.

I would be interested in hearing anyone's review of how it goes.  Jo has been
beserk about it.

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS PREMIERS IN
THE MYSTERY OF THINGS... A WOMAN'S EXPLORATION OF LEAR

On October 5, 1996, Olympia Dukakis will perform the world premier of her
one-woman production, "The Mystery of Things... A Woman's Exploration of
Lear"at Dallas' historic Majestic Theatre. Conceived by Ms. Dukakis and Dennis
Krausnick, "The Mystery of Things... A Woman's Exploration of Lear" is a
dramatic soliloquy using the text of William Shakespeare's "King Lear".

Relations, which are probably one the greatest mysteries for mankind to
understand, are the focus of Ms. Dukakis' exploration. Ms. Dukakis wil perform
excepts from "King Lear" playing the characters of King Lear and his daughters
Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. The passages will highlight a woman's relationship
to the uses and abuses of power, true authority and tyranny, the love and anger
that bonds parent to child and the acceptance of aging.

Ms. Dukakis is a renowned actor of stage and screen. She defines herself as an
actress, producer, teacher and activist. She has performed in over 100
productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally. She is also well-known
for her many screen performances such as "Moonstruck" and "Steel Magnolias" and
has received a multitude of awards including an Academy Award and two Golden
Globe Awards.

This critically acclaimed actor continues to actively create and develop
theatre projects. Her passion for the works of William Shakespeare and her
regard for Dallas' Shakespeare Festival of Dallas have led her to choose Dallas
as the location for the premier of her latest work.

In the past 25 years, the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas has attracted
audiences totaling almost one million people. Award-winning actors for around
the country have participated in the summer performances of Shakespeare, which
are offered free of charge to the greater Dallas community. "The Mystery of
Things... A Woman's Exploration of Lear" is part of the Shakespeare Festival of
Dallas' newest concept, the Spotlight Series, which brings highly acclaimed
actors to Dallas to perform their unique interpretations of Shakespeare's
greatest works.

"To have such a talented actor support the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas is
truly a great compliment," says Cliff Redd, the Executive Producer of the
Festival.  "This premier performance is something so special for the Dallas
community, we wanted to make it accessible to all. We have purposely priced the
event to make it affordable to everyone."

Tickets for this special performance are on sale now through ARTTIX, with
prices at $15, 20, $35, $50 and $150. The $150 Patron ticket includes a private
cocktail party the evening prior to the performance on October 4, with an
appearance by Olympia Dukakis, as well as a dessert and champagne reception
following the performance on October 5. To order tickets, please call ARTTIX at
(214) 871-ARTS. For additional information on "The Mystery of Things... A
Woman's Exploration of Lear" or the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, please call
(214) 559-2778.

Contact: Jo Trizila Ingerson, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, (214) 559-2778

"respecting": Shakespeare, Angley, Heston

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0718.  Thursday, 3 October 1996.

From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 01 Oct 1996 14:45:55 +50000
Subject:        "respecting": Shakespeare, Angley, Heston

Given the intensity of hostile rivalry between Protestant and Catholic
adherents in early modern England (and Louis Montrose's contention that the
Elizabethan state church and theater are likewise to be seen as specifically
rivalrous), Mr. Bishop's mocking entertainment at the Rev. Ernest Angely's
passion play seems mild enough, and suggests an interesting historical analogy.
If the Elizabethan state put such effort into "suppressing" the cycle plays as
papist, were there not probably many unextreme voices like Mr. Bishop's (who
should perhaps be renamed for this purpose) deriving satisfaction from enemies'
humiliations? Loathing other people's sincere faith, whether in various gods or
arts, is an old practice. Surely Stubbes and Prynne offer samples of much more
disrespectful passion? Indeed, is it not often assumed that "the people"
lamented the suppression? I wonder if "their" responses were not much more
varied than just pro and con. I think those of us who value the arts for a
living pay too little attention to those who despise them; many Elizabethans
surely felt complex versions of this alienation. I doubt that all Elizabethans
will fit neatly into a general "folk" category on a matter of such political
moment. Indeed, if modern academics (not anti-dancing evangelicals, for the
most part) are ambivalent about TV drama (the dominant dramatic form of our own
time, which many, probably most of us, watch daily), mightn't many Elizabethans
have felt similarly mixed feelings -- including some theater-goers?

On another front of the "respect" issue, seems to me that the various reactions
from different folks to Shakespeare with movie stars, as to whether, say,
Charlton Heston or Keanu Reeves are embarrassing or cool, contain a theoretical
issue. We presumably all have feelings about bad acting and elitism. But I
wonder what we think about just why, just how, "popular" actors and acting
appeal, what's good or effective or appealing about Heston, why he's a Name.
Put another way, can we explain how entertainment works, what needs it meets,
what the experience of entertainment *is*, without resorting to verticalities
about Art? (I bet many readers of this list watch Seinfeld and Law & Order
regularly. This ought to matter.) Surely Shakespeare was a master at *using*
star quality like Burbage's. What is it? And Michael Keaton's Dogberry may have
been wretched (I thought so, anyway), but Chaplin's frame-breaking physical
comedy was dazzling; maybe Kemp's jigs were too. (Seems likely, really.)

After all, the early modern theater was, it's endlessly said, a "popular"
theater. We need to think more about popular pleasures, as complex. I'm not
happy with the view that Heston and Reeves just appeal to modern groundlings,
but the notion of "entertainment" is not at all self-explanatory. Nor is it
thin.

If nothing else, this is certainly an important pedagogical issue.

Frank Whigham

PS. Any discussion of modern movie Shakespeare should involve the dazzling
"Funny Bones," the purest reinvention of Shakespeare comedy I know, especially
regarding physical comedy.

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