1996

Re: The State of the Profession

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0672.  Wednesday, 18 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Sean K. Kelly <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 16:09:46 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0665  Re: The State of the Profession

(2)     From:   Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 96 14:09:49 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0665  Re: The State of the Profession

(3)     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 14:30:20 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0665 Re: The State of the Profession


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean K. Kelly <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 16:09:46 +0000
Subject: 7.0665  Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0665  Re: The State of the Profession

Dear Fellow Professionals,

As an ABD Comparitivist who is soon to be experiencing the "real" state of the
profession, I feel somehow obliged to enter this discussion.

Is it not the case that this discussion is able to take place because we are
currently unsure/insecure about the "meaning" of the words ("state",
"profession", and perhaps even the "of") that we use to respond to what we are
experiencing as a real academic crisis?

Why have we, as readers of both literary and cultural texts, failed as a
culture to respond to the fact that the university is, in Heidegger's words,
not the bricks, wall, and desks (as well as bills), but the
exploration/questioning of our own linguistic being in relation to the language
that we speak/read?  I am sure that there is not a one of us who has entered
the profession for deeply practical reasons, and yet it is the "practicalities"
that we have allowed to dominate our discoure about the humanities.

As I see it, the Humanities have become the site of the average.  We seek to
teach the average student, we desire the average faculty racial/gender make-up,
we must maintain average class sizes, etc. Inspite of this, the "truth" of our
calling always seems to be to the exceptional text.  (I am on this list not as
the average Shakespeare scholar, but as a Faulknerian/Poststructuralist who
experiences Shakespeare as that which promises a linguistic sight which exceeds
the average.) Let me illuminate this position:  there is nothing average in
even a line of Shakespeare, just as there is not an average Shakespeare that we
experience as his greatness.  Every reading is a singular encounter with this
linguistic experience.  This is our experience when we enter the "state of the
profession" in its most profound form.  However, we are quick to adopt the
"state of the university (as brick, wall, suits, and downsizing)" as the state
of our profession and thus succumb to its demands -- even in our hope beyond
hope of experiencing and helping others to experience the excellence of the
texts we teach and write about.  How is it that we have not understood that
each of these demand a certain relationship to the technology that we call
thinking?  While MLA continues to propogate the technology of the mediocre as
the truth of the profession, we as real people are forced into dealing with
this fallen notion excellence as best we can.  Is it not time that we learn
from our texts?  The questions involving how we deal with the current state of
the profession must first begin with the questions of what our profession
involves.  Must we deal with the ratino-technical "truths" of pigeon-holing,
publication quotas for tenure, explotation of part-time faculty, etc. as givens
within which we must navigate our ethico-political decisions regarding hiring,
firing, promoting, etc?  Is it not time that we, the literary, pay attention to
the language that is being imposed upon us by those with a notion of excellence
that is neither our own nor thoroughly interrogated even by itself?

Ultimately, I am suggesting that we are fighting a losing battle if we choose
to fight (in the classroom or with the university) on grounds which we should
reject as not being our own ( even our texts -- the Shakespeare's that we love
-- depend on this).  How do we navigate this crisis otherwise?  I am unsure.
However, I am sure that we have to reconsider the state of our own profession,
the state of our relationship to language itself,  before we can respond on
equal footing with the techno-political state of the profession that is
currently being imposed upon us (even by ourselves).

Sean K. Kelly
SUNY Binghamton

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 96 14:09:49 EDT
Subject: 7.0665  Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0665  Re: The State of the Profession

As someone who's been in the profession forty years, I'll take it on myself to
answer Lisa Broome's question about the relation between teaching and research.
 (Research, of course, really means publication, and precious little of that,
in literary studies, anyway, requires research, only a lot of lucubration.)
When I entered the profession the formula was, "You are hired for teaching and
promoted for publishing."

As far as I can tell, that formula still holds.  Nowadays, though, there is a
lot of emphasis on "demonstrating" one's teaching skills. It is my impression,
though, that these demonstrations are as spurious as they always were.

The real test of whether there has been any fundamental change in the formula
would be to see a gifted teacher who had no publications promoted.  By the way,
I don't think that's a good thing at all.

In my experience as professor and as chair, teaching and publication usually go
together.  People who are beloved as teachers but don't publish, tend to be
people who don't have new ideas but do have effective stand-up routines.

                                                  --Best, Norm

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 14:30:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 7.0665 Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0665 Re: The State of the Profession

Hello.

I was rather surprised by the number of respondents to the "state of the
profession" thread, who talked about a conflict *between* teaching and
research.  In my own experience, teaching is a useful way to explore new ideas
in the company of original young minds.  The process of preparing a lecture
provides the fodder for what eventually becomes conference papers.

Moreover, some of the best teachers I've ever known have been publishing
fiends.  There's something particularly inspiring about hearing someone discuss
her or his own research.  Besides, people who stay intellectually active by
publishing usually have more to say.

Cheers,
Sean.

Branagh's Ham; Just Like; EMLS; "Shylock"

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0671.  Wednesday, 18 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Douglas Abel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 13:00:05 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0664  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*; Keaton's Dogberry

(2)     From:   Janet MacLellan Winship <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 10:35:09 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Just Like Romeo and Juliet

(3)     From:   Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 96 14:16:02 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0667  Early Modern Literary Studies (2.2)

(4)     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 14:41:46 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0668 "Shylock"


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Abel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 13:00:05 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 7.0664  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*; Keaton's Dogberry
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0664  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*; Keaton's Dogberry

It seems that a lot of people on this list, no matter what camp they put
themselves in, have trouble with criticism, period.  It's getting rather boring.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet MacLellan Winship <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 10:35:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Just Like Romeo and Juliet

SHAKSPEReans,

Do I detect a certain snarkiness in the inquiries regarding the casting of
DiCaprio and Danes as R and J?

In my opinion, this casting decision is more than usually astute. Physically,
Danes's height and her big-featured, un-Hollywood face accord well with the
qualities of emotional maturity, honesty, and practicality that we find in
Juliet's verse, while DiCaprio's high-cheekboned beauty--less earthly, more
androgynous--not only harmonizes with the impassioned Petrarchanism of Romeo's
poetic style, but also promises to add a certain erotic *frisson* to his
relationship with Mercutio. (Is it known who will be playing Mercutio?)

Of course, visual impact doesn't count for much if your actors can't act, but
this is not the case with Danes and DiCaprio, who have both earned solid
reviews for some quite challenging work even at this early stage in their
careers. (Personally, I was especially impressed by Danes's performance as Beth
in _Little Women_; she achieved a raw, compelling honesty in a role notorious
for its sickly-sweet sentimentality.)

I look forward to the film's release.

Janet MacLellan
University of Toronto

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 96 14:16:02 EDT
Subject: 7.0667  Early Modern Literary Studies (2.2)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0667  Early Modern Literary Studies (2.2)

Can someone tell me what a PURL is?  A Persistent URL?  Thanks, Norm

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 1996 14:41:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 7.0668 "Shylock"
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0668 "Shylock"

Persons interested in viewing the new play _Shylock_ in Vancouver will be
delighted to know that it will be playing at the University of British Columbia
on October 3 and 4.  Contact the Bard Box Office for more details.

Sincerely,
Sean Lawrence.

Richard III (1912 version)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0669.  Tuesday, 17 September 1996.

From:           Michael R Moore <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 22:11:28 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Richard III (1912 version)

      New York Times
      September 17, 1996


Movie History Emerges From a Basement


      By BERNARD WEINRAUB

HOLLYWOOD -- A film that archivists believe to be the oldest complete American
feature, a 1912 version of Shakespeare's "Richard III," has been been turned
over to the American Film Institute in near-perfect condition. The print had
been stored for more than 30 years in the basement of a onetime theater
projectionist in Portland, Ore.

Produced three years before D.W. Griffith's Civil War epic, "The Birth of a
Nation," "Richard III" was long thought by film historians to be lost. The
film, starring Frederick Warde, a popular Shakespearean actor of the day, was
the second feature produced in the United States. (The first, a version of
"Oliver Twist," released in May 1912, five months before "Richard III,"
survives in incomplete form, with one reel missing.) The director of "Richard
III," James Keane, rose to prominence in 1914 with the release of a social
drama called "Money," which included a scene of starving workers storming a
banquet.

The discovery of "Richard III" is "like finding a Rembrandt that you didn't
know existed, in somebody's closet," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, director of
the American Film Institute.

She said the institute planned to show the 55-minute movie on Oct. 29 in Los
Angeles as part of its annual film festival, with further screenings in New
York and other cities in the United States and abroad.

The film's survival "complete in its original print is really astounding," said
the silent-film historian Kevin Brownlow. The movie was long considered lost
and "expunged from the memory," said Brownlow, the author of "The Parade's Gone
By," a history of silent films.

"Richard III" was one of eight American dramatic and documentary feature films
released in 1912, the first year that features were made in the United States.
Only five survive in any form, and of those, only "Richard III" and two others
released later in the year survive in their entirety. (Film archivists define a
feature film as a work of at least 40 minutes, or four reels of 35-millimeter
film.) From 1895 to 1912, American companies released single-reel films,
lasting 10 to 15 minutes.

By all accounts, "Richard III," made by the M.B. Dudley Amusement Company, of
New York City, created a splash when it was first released. Filmed in
Westchester County and at City Island in the Bronx at a cost of $30,000, the
film includes lavish battle scenes with a cast of hundreds, large for the day.

In an interview in The Brooklyn Eagle in November 1912, Warde, the film's star,
who for years had his own stage company, described his first film experience.

"The staging and methods of the moving-picture people were revelations to me,"
he said. "I thought I knew all the tricks of acting, but their work was simply
amazing to me. The director of the company simply told the other actors what to
do, telling them when to look glad or sorry, when to shout and when to fight,
without telling them why they did any of these things."

Warde said he "had to suppress all sense of the ridiculous to go through with
the thing in such surroundings."

"Richard III" was given to the film institute by William Buffum, a retired
flour mill manager in Portland. Buffum, 77, also was a part-time movie
projectionist who had meticulously cared for the film for more than 35 years
without realizing its significance. In a telephone interview, Buffum said he
acquired the film around 1960 from a friend, Clifford Beckwith, in exchange for
several other silent movies. Buffum said he believed that Beckwith was dead.

Describing himself as a film fan since he was a teen-ager, Buffum said he began
working as a projectionist in 1938, partly to earn extra money and partly
because of his hobby since childhood of collecting and repairing movie
projectors.

At the time, he said, he and some friends began collecting feature films. "I
bought a few features through ads in Popular Mechanics," he recalled. "I bought
B-pictures, Tom Mix, one of them with Hedda Hopper. My friends did the same
thing, and we began trading them back and forth."

During World War II, Buffum was deployed as a film projectionist on Army
transport ships going to Guam, the Philippines and Australia. After the war, he
returned to Portland and resumed his part-time work in movie theaters.

Even as he collected old films through the 1950s, Buffum said, his wife,
Margaret, was "scared to death we'd have a fire," because of the
highly-flammable nitrate content of the movie stock. Before 1951, 35-millimeter
films for theatrical release were made of nitrocellulose, or nitrate, a
chemical relative of guncotton, which is used in explosives.

Around 1960, Buffum said, he gave up his remaining collection of 10 to 20
silent films in exchange for two movies from Beckwith, a rare Lon Chaney rural
drama from 1919 called "When Bearcat Went Dry," and "Richard III."

Last February, the Buffums decided to sell their home and donate the films to
the American Film Institute. Buffum said he had read of preservation efforts of
the institute, which was founded in 1967 and is supported by federal and
private funds.

"We had seen the films so many times that my wife liked going backward rather
than forward," he said. "I had no idea that this was any different than any
other old film."

Buffum called the institute's office in Los Angeles, which contacted the
preservation staff in Washington.

Over the phone, preservationists told Buffum him how to package and mail the
fragile films to the institute's vaults in Suitland, Md., outside Washington.
Buffum was sent about $70 to cover the costs of mailing the films.

What surprised archivists was the almost perfect condition of "Richard III."
More than 70 percent of all feature films produced before the 1920's do not
exist at all, institute officials said.

"We kept the films very carefully," Buffum explained. "We would take them out
and rewind them once a year to make sure they weren't disintegrating."

During summers, the Buffums kept the films in a cement enclosure under their
porch. "We were cautious," he said. "We didn't want to start a fire. We wanted
to keep them in a cool place."

The Lon Chaney film, though made after "Richard III," was in far worse shape.

The Chaney movie has become part of the film institute's collection of the
actor's films at the George Eastman House in Rochester.

The original nitrate print of "Richard III" will become part of the American
Film Institute's collection at the Library of Congress. The collection contains
nearly 30,000 films and television shows. The preservation of the film is being
financially supported by the Joseph H. Kanter Foundation, which is also paying
for the composition of a musical score to accompany the film.

Literature Resources for the High School and College

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0670.  Tuesday, 17 September 1996.

From:           Michael Lee Groves <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 18:36:45 -0700
Subject:        Literature Resources for the High School and College Student

The "Literature Resources" site has one of the largest, if not the largest,
indexed selection of authors available on the internet.  In addition there are
many other literature resources, references to writing resources, and a section
on books on-line.  The Shakespeare section is good, too.

The address is:  http://www.teleport.com/~mgroves/

Post-Colonial *Tempest*; "Shylock"; Cultural

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0668.  Tuesday, 17 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Amy S. Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 96 12:40:19 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0661  Q: Post-Colonial *Tempest*

(2)     From:   Kenneth Brown <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 1996 23:35:47 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0645 Re: "Shylock"

(3)     From:   David Akin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesdat, 17 Sep 96 07:26 EDT
        Subj:   Looking for texts on cultural materialism


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy S. Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 96 12:40:19 EDT
Subject: 7.0661  Q: Post-Colonial *Tempest*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0661  Q: Post-Colonial *Tempest*

Re:  Post-colonial stagings of the Tempest.  You might want to take a look at
Susan Bennett's "Performing Nostalgia:  Shifting Shakespeare . . ." which
includes a whole chapter on such treatments of this play.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth Brown <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 23:35:47 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 7.0645 Re: "Shylock"
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0645 Re: "Shylock"

>From:           Richard Sutherland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

>In reference to Kenneth Brown's mini-review of "Shylock," the producing company
>was Bard on the Beach (which is set in Vanier Park), and the actor's name was
>David BERNER, not Bergen. I did not see "Shylock," but I have had the
>opportunity in the past to work with Mr. Berner (who played Fagin to my Sykes
>in a production of "Oliver"), a local radio personality and actor of no mean
>ability. I trust this will set the record straight.

Thanks to Mr. Sutherland for correction on Mr. Berner's name, and indeed his
performance of "Shylock" was excellent.  The play has been published by Amble
Press of Vanvouver, BC, Canada.

If you wish to write Mark Leiren-Young, his email address is

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

Kenneth Brown

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Akin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesdat, 17 Sep 96 07:26 EDT
Subject:        Looking for texts on cultural materialism

I'm in the midst of reading the 1985 collection of essays edited by Jonathan
Dollimore and Alan Sinfield called Political Shakespeare. The collection is
subtitled "New essays in cultural materialism". I find the methodology and
politics of the cultural materialist attractive and I should like to do some
more reading about the theory.

Other than the works of Raymond Williams, can anyone direct me to some of the
central texts of the cultural materialist and his/her detractors, particularly
as it relates to theatre and performance?


David Akin                      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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