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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
8.0255 Re: Ed. III; Ideology; MND; TN Film; Parallel Scenes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0255.  Friday, 21 February 1997.

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 13:45:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0242   Re: Edward III

[2]     From:   Daniel Lowenstein <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 12:32:56 =

        Subj:   Ideology

[3]     From:   Adrian Kiernander <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Feb 1997 17:56:51 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: MND

[4]     From:   Chris Gordon <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 97 21:05:35 -0600
        Subj:   Trevor Nunn's _Twelfth Night_

[5]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Feb 1997 00:35:36 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0247 Re: Parallel Scenes


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 13:45:25 -0500
Subject: 8.0242   Re: Edward III
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0242   Re: Edward III

Addition:

Pearlman, E. "Edward III in Henry V," <italic>Criticism </italic>37
(1995): 519-536.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel Lowenstein <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 12:32:56 PST
Subject:        Ideology

Terence Hawkes had written: "History ... suggests that =91Transcendance=92=

is written on the banner of all self-respecting colonialist projects. =

The imposition of one culture on another is usually undertaken in the
name of =91humanity=92.  Can we have forgotten [that] already?"  Apparent=
ly,
Hawkes intended the implication=97which is a non sequitur=97that all
=91Transendance=92 and =91humanitarian=92 banners are attached to colonia=
list
projects.

Sean Lawrence responds by referring to a speech of Nelson Mandela=92s, in=

which apartheid was described as an "inhuman" system.  The point, of
course, is that beneficent actions may be taken in the name of humanity.

It ought to be added that the vigorous and probably effective
international opposition to South African apartheid was, precisely, "the
imposition of one culture on another."  So, for example, was the
forcible abolition of slavery in the south following the American Civil
War.  So was the overthrow of Hitler by the allies in World War II.

The imposition of one culture on another is an everyday occurrence in
human history.  It may be accompanied by (or in part effected by)
various slogans and rationales.  Whether the impositions or the
accompanying rationales are justified is a matter of case-by-case
judgment.

The fact that some professors of literature hold political views that
are narrow, rigid, and generally foolish is a matter of little or no
consequence, because the professors and their ideas have little or no
political influence.  (If support for that statement is needed, see
Stanley Fish=92s volume of lectures entitled "Professional Correctness.")=
 =

That some professors of literature insist on viewing plays, novels,
poems, etc., through the narrow and restrictive lens of such views is
regrettable, to the extent that it discourages students from approaching
literature as openly as possible.

Another consequence of the strident attempts to impose a crabbed
political outlook on all works of literature is that it provokes others
to overreact, by denying that political, social, and economic
considerations are important in literature.  Thus, Paul Hawkins writes
that to a large extent "aesthetic considerations DO float free of
economic and political imperatives."  If the emphasis is on the word
"imperatives," then Hawkins is certainly correct.  But more generally, I
think it is misleading to think of aesthetics "floating free" of
politics, society, and economics.  PERHAPS it is true enough of some
works, e.g., some lyric poems.  But consider works such as "King Lear,"
"Madame Bovary," "Bleak House," "The Brothers Karamazov," "War and
Peace," or "Absalom! Absalom!"  In the very greatest works, of which
these are representative examples, aesthetic considerations do not float
free from political, social, and economic considerations, but are
inextricably bound up with them.

                                Best,
                                Dan Lowenstein

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Feb 1997 17:56:51 +1100 (EST)
Subject:        Re: MND

"Shaping Fantasies", Louis Adrian Montrose=92s article on _MND, is in
Stephen Greenblatt=92s _Representing the English Renaissance, University
of California Press, 1988, pp. 31-64.  When I talked about happy and
pretty productions having passed their use-by date, I was thinking
specifically of the Mendelssohnian tutued-fairies-in-a-forest approach,
and most of the interesting productions I=92ve seen or have heard about
have left this way behind, ever since Jan Kott or even earlier. I=92m
thinking of course of Brook and Mnouchkine, but also Robert Lepage=92s
mudwrestling staging, and several productions I=92ve seen in Australia an=
d
New Zealand (including Scott Crozier=92s recent production here). Most of=

them have perhaps ended on an up-beat note, but these productions have
acknowledged the power in the play of violence, uncontrolled (sexual)
energy and cruelty. And I can imagine a production (indeed one day I=92d
like to try it out) which really might scare an audience, and leave them
feeling that (as with a lot of Shakespeare=92s "happy" endings=97Tempest,=

Merchant, 2 Gents, Cymbeline...) the "happiness" is a very complex
state, mixed in with a great deal of bitterness and unresolved tension.
Who thinks Hippolyta=92s marriage to Theseus is really happy, even (or
especially?) if she=92s got used to the idea by the end of the play? Is
anyone=92s marriage to Theseus ever happy? Do we ignore what we know (and=

Shakespeare and his audience presumably knew) about the Theseus legends?
Do we forgive and forget the fact that at the end Titania has been
fucked into submission by a donkey at her husband=92s instigation? If thi=
s
is the wider context for the blissful marriages of Hermia and Helena,
what does it say about their future happiness? And of course Hippolytus
and Phaedra are lurking as ghosts-to-be between the lines of the final
speeches.

Incidentally, Montrose's reading largely bypasses the
"Indian-boy-as-catamite" idea. What is really at stake according to
Montrose is how the boy is to be brought up; whether it is in the
company and under the influence of Titania and her women, or in the
masculine world of Oberon.  This becomes something with considerable and
serious implications for an Elizabethan audience =97 and of course our
own.

Adrian Kiernander.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Gordon <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 97 21:05:35 -0600
Subject:        Trevor Nunn's _Twelfth Night_

I don=92t remember a lot of discussion about this film when it was
released last fall, but since I didn=92t see it then, I may not have been=

paying careful attention. I did finally see it last night, and thought
I=92d share a few comments. I found it fairly successful overall, but
thought the pacing was quite sluggish in parts, especially at the
beginning. I kept want to shout at the screen, "Pick it up, pick it up!"
This definitely seems to be a problem of directing rather than acting. I
also thought that the two storylines=97the romance and the comic
subplot=97didn=92t quite mesh as they do in the best productions. I thoug=
ht
the acting quite wonderful in most cases, with some interesting
interpretive choices (Ben Kingsley=92s Feste was particularly
fascinating). And the twins looked like twins, which was quite lovely. I
also thought Nunn might take a few lessons from Branagh: the text was
really muddled on occasion; even with a solid knowledge of the play, I
found it hard to understand at times; I=92ve never had that problem with
any of Branagh=92s films, where the text always seems crystal clear
(thanks no doubt to Russell Jackson and Hugh Crutwell who work as text
consultants). I=92m also waiting for someone in their wisdom to pluck
Nicholas Farrell from his small parts (Horatio in _Hamlet_, Antonio in
_Twelfth Night_, Tom Newman in Branagh=92s _A Midwinter=92s Tale_) and ca=
st
him in a leading (preferably Shakespearean) role. Anyone want to help
fund a production of _Coriolanus_?

Chris Gordon

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Feb 1997 00:35:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0247 Re: Parallel Scenes
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0247 Re: Parallel Scenes

I haven=92t been following this PARALLEL SCENES thread very much, but doe=
s
anybody here have a better memory of the GILLIGAN=92S ISLAND Hamlet
musical put to "Carmen" than I do?

All I remember was Gilligan's "to be or not to be/that is the question
that I
ask of thee" song and the Skipper=92s "neither a borrower nor a lender
be/DO NOT FORGET STAY OUT OF DEBT"=97 I think the Howe=92s were Claudius =
and
Gertrude....but any more memory it would be appreciated. Chris S.
 

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