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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
RE: Ideology
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0284.  Thursday, 27 February 1997.

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Feb 1997 20:28:25 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   RE: Ideology

[2]     From:   Simon Morgan-Russell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Feb 1997 17:25:03 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Invasion!


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Feb 1997 20:28:25 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        RE: Ideology

I'd like to butt in on a question Paul Hawkins asked Terry Hawkes:

> he avoids the question that I had asked:  can
> students love Shakespeare and be critics of the
> ideological currents running through him and
> his appropriators?

To say one 'loves' Shakespeare is ambiguous. Some people want to emote
about certain lines of poetry and don't care where they come from.
Others feel nostalgic for their schooldays and the texts they were made
to learn.  Only quite recently has 'appreciation' (saying what's good
about a text) become optional. 'Criticism' and 'appreciation' were the
practical skills of discrimination to be demonstrated in order to enter
the ranks of 'sensitive readers' who knew just why the canon was the way
it was, with Shakespeare at the top. That is, the taught skills
sustained an ideological construct and passed it off as the most natural
thing in the world: the best thoughts and words of the best people.

Times have changed. One doesn't have to prove one likes the stuff. Would
Paul agree that Terry Hawkes "loves Shakespeare" if Terry merely admits
to taking great pleasure from the job that he does? The texts are, after
all, only grist to the scholar's mill.

Concerning the students...

> I encourage my students to decide for themselves
> what they should think about literature.  That's what
> I call education.

But you don't let them set the exam paper, do you? They can't really
"decide for themselves" but only choose from a range of permitted
positions. Or would you let candidates in a Shakespeare exam decide for
themselves that there is nothing worth commenting on in any Shakespeare
text?

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Morgan-Russell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Feb 1997 17:25:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Invasion!

In response to Hawkes's pending tour, Bill Godshalk writes:

> You see, I was correct.  This is the advanced guard of the
> Cultural-Materialist colonial invasion of the Americas.  They want to
> bring us back into the Pale.  They want to stop us from reading
> <italic>Moby-Dick</italic> and force us to read
> <italic>Capital</italic>.  Let us say, "No in thunder."

> Yours, Bill Godshalk

Too late, Bill.  We've been infiltrating higher education for years,
poisoning your students' minds and planning our revolution.  You should
have been more vigilant.  Best give yourself up quietly.  Is Terry
Hawkes coming close to NW Ohio?  I don't know who to ask . . .  unless
Terry Hawkes himself will reveal all.

Simon Morgan-Russell
Department of English
Bowling Green State University
 

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