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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
The Annual Meta-Discussion
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0008.  Friday, 3 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Friday, January 3, 1996
        Subj:   New Year's Greeting and More

(2)     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jan 1997 18:02:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Mr. Egan's Remarks

(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jan 1997 17:12:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0002  Re: A Community?

(4)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jan 1997 17:01:01 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0002

(5)     From:   Matthew Bibb <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jan 97 18:06:37 PST
        Subj:   Re: Who gets in? (was Last Lines of Lear)

(6)     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jan 1997 21:07 ET
        Subj:   SHK 8.0002  Re: Last Lines of Le


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Friday, January 3, 1996
Subject:        New Year's Greeting and More

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

Thanks to all who have responded so far to my questions regarding SHAKSPER.  I
have decided not to share them with the list, except as they appear in my
paper.  The remarks have been very thoughtful and useful.  Thanks again and
keep them coming.

Hardy

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jan 1997 18:02:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Mr. Egan's Remarks

I certainly hope Mr. Egan does not log off of this network; however much I may
disagree with him on some points, he has a lot to offer.

With regard to the quality of questions that come up on the network, it occurs
to me that even in a purely academic setting, the degrees of knowledge and
breadth of knowledge on a given subject shouldn't be assumed.

The' last lines of Lear' is a case in point.  The research done on the subject
is on my bookshelf, but I have been frankly too busy with other scholarly and
professional pursuits to read it.

The other talking group I subscribe to, concerning stage combat, is a similar
mixture of experts and performing artists, with a predictable mix in terms of
knowledge.  The results are very uneven, with questions sometimes being more
basic or less stimulating than I would prefer.  But when those threads of
conversation emerge, I simply delete them pass on to the next, more interesting
topic.

Cheers, and Happy New Year

Andy White
Urbana, IL

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jan 1997 17:12:05 -0500
Subject: 8.0002  Re: A Community?
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0002  Re: A Community?

Gabriel Egan raises an interesting question.  If we are not all at the same
level of preparation and learning, are we still a "community"?  Do we all have
to have the same knowledge in order for us to talk about Shakespeare--and our
many other concerns?  Are generalist not welcome in this discussion group?

I assume that generalists might not have read Steve's book on the two texts of
<italic>Lear</italic> and indeed may not have read both versions in the
complete Oxford edition--or elsewhere.

But back to "community."  Do we really talk only to people who have attained
<italic>our </italic>level of expertise?  Aren't communities often made up of
people who have varying levels of knowledge and many different interests?  If
we all knew and believed the same things, we certainly would have no questions
to answer or issues to debate.

And so we can all got quiet to bed.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jan 1997 17:01:01 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0002
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0002

This is not the first time I've scratched my head over one of Gabriel Egan's
postings, but this time I'm truly baffled.  The post he cites as evidence of
the dumbing-down of the list (my term, not his) was, to my mind, far less
"amateur" than many I've seen: to my mind, at least.  And isn't that the key?
We all have strengths (and weaknesses!) in different areas: some of us are
primarily textual critics, others are theatre historians, others are actors or
directors or designers.  I once acted in a production of _As You Like It_ for a
director who insisted that anyone who had not directed, designed, or acted in
Shakespeare was by definition an amateur Shakespearean at best.  Others might
insist on publications in scholarly journals as evidence of "professionalism."
Few of us could call ourselves "professionals" by all definitions.  Nor am I
convinced that those who know less about a subject than I necessarily have
nothing to teach me.

Moreover, virtually everyone who posts on the list with any regularity has, on
occasion, been rude or petulant or vapid or opaque.  I have, Mr. Egan has, at
least a few members of the advisory board have.  So?

I would hesitate to describe myself as a Shakespeare scholar, but I have been a
member of this list for several years at three different e-addresses.  Mostly,
I lurk.  Occasionally, I participate more actively.  Often, I delete messages
without more than (or even as much as!) a cursory reading.

Mr. Egan has contributed much to this list.  I would be saddened to have him
depart because he believes the list is not now as it once was.  But I would
also be saddened to feel that, as a non-specialist, I was no longer welcome to
contribute to the discussion.  If I am one of those whom Mr. Egan would prefer
to exclude from the conversation, I am apologetic but unrepentant.

I should stress that whoever continued to pester Mr. Egan with off-list
messages after he made it clear he did not want to engage in a private
discussion acted inappropriately.

Finally, it is time once again for all of us to repeat our thanks to Hardy
Cook, whose efforts remain impressive and largely under-appreciated.

Happy '97 to all,

Rick Jones

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(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Bibb <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jan 97 18:06:37 PST
Subject:        Re: Who gets in? (was Last Lines of Lear)

On 1/2, Gabriel Egan wrote:

>I know I risk causing great offence, but...

Uh-oh....

Well, here's an interesting situation. Mr. Egan's comments, while potentially
inflammatory, raise an interesting point. Who is Shakespeare for? I think (at
least, one can only hope) that we would all be in favor of Shakespeare being
exposed to as broad an audience as possible, the kind that would find the word
"exposed" funny. (Huh-huh, settle down Beavis.) As someone who is not a scholar
(although I have a degree, a small one) but an actor and director, I feel that
I can both learn from and contribute to the discussions on the list. I may or
may not have insights into performance and production of Shakespeare that
purely textual researchers wouldn't, but I like the thought of having the
opportunity nevertheless.

On the other hand, Mr. Egan has a point. (yes, yes straddling the fence as
always, bear with me) If the list is intended for scholarly inquiry only, then
one should possess certain qualifications prior to admittance, and Mr. Cook's
presence as moderator seems to support the argument that this is a moderated
group that may refuse entry to anyone it damn well pleases. But Mr. Cook has
said that he rarely refuses admittance, and one has to wonder where the line is
drawn. I have a BA in English from a relatively respected institution, but not
only do I not know who has the last lines of Lear, I don't give a rat's ass
(The argument boils down to director's prerogative anyway). By Mr. Egan's
standards, it would seem I should not be admitted to the group. (Thanks, Mr.
Cook!) But despite this lack of knowledge, I may have insight into theatrical
issues that could be useful to subscribers, and it seems certain that once you
start cutting off voices, however uneducated, intellectual stagnation cannot be
far behind. Besides, somebody might say something interesting someday (out of
the mouths of babes and all that).

I don't mean to flame Mr. Egan because I find his remarks interesting and
certainly well-phrased. I just don't agree, partly for intellectual reasons and
partly because I'd hate to get kicked out if Mr. Cook changed his policy. My
$0.02....

     Matt Bibb
     UCLA Shakespeare Reading and Performance Group

(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jan 1997 21:07 ET
Subject: Re: Last Lines of Le
Comment:        SHK 8.0002  Re: Last Lines of Le

Gabriel Egan and I disagree on a good many things, but I find his participation
in the list stimulating, and I hope he won't pick up his bat and slouch off
just because Hardy's advisors (who have, after all raised the threshold enough
lately to fend off the more egregiously sophomoric inquiries and comments)
agree that well-meant if relatively unsophisticated posts should be broadcast
with the rest.  I wonder at this in particular from a professed leveller
(raiser?) like Egan: are some modes of elitism acceptable and others not?
Should we as teachers not seize any and all opportunities to do our work in
cases where our pupils have been only normally indolent and inattentive?  Is
our time so valuable that we can't afford 60 seconds a couple of days a week to
identify and erase weak posts?

Mellowly,
Dave Evett
 

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