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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: March ::
Re: Ideology
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0295.  Saturday, 1 March 1997.

[1]     From:   Sean K. Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Feb 1997 10:29:03 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0284  RE: Ideology

[2]     From:   Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Feb 97 13:49:00 CST
        Subj:   Ideology Revisited

[3]     From:   Lee Gibson  <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Feb 97 13:42 CST
        Subj:   Re: Ideology


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean K. Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Feb 1997 10:29:03 -0800
Subject: 8.0284  RE: Ideology
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0284  RE: Ideology

> 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?

One assumes that students who felt that there was nothing worth
commenting on would not sign up for the course.  Of course, they could
also write a fervently brilliant paper, defending literalism, if they so
chose.  Even to say that "there is nothing worth commenting on" would be
to comment.

As for whether students can set the final exam, I always derive
examination questions from matters that have been discussed in class.
While I do have some control over class discussion, it is hardly
absolute.  I would even say that all teaching, even lecturing, is a sort
of dialectic between my concerns and those of my students, in which
their responses condition me as much as mine conditions them.  Unless
one is to take the humanist position (or, to save argument, what some on
this list choose to term "humanist" position) that as a teacher, one is
an absolutely free individual, then the students do, in part, set the
exam.  Alternatively, I suppose, one could take the fascist position
that only I am in a position to tell others what they ought to think,
but I rather doubt that either you or Paul would take such a position.

Of course, I can't speak for how Paul teaches.

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Feb 97 13:49:00 CST
Subject:        Ideology Revisited

I have been pondering the whole issue of transcendence, and a few
belated thoughts have occurred to me.  Could Shakespeare's
"transcendence" be due in large part to the fact that he is the perfect
product of the English Renaissance educational system?  Grammar school
encouraged boys to see language as an infinitely malleable sophistic
tool, and the cleverest writers (and therefore most manly men, if you
believe Walter Ong and Richard Lanham)  were those that could produce
poetry that meant as many things at once as possible - double entendre
taken to its most artistic (and sophisticated, if you'll excuse the pun)
level.

This would mean that Shakespeare's transcendence comes not from the
universality of the ideas represented in the plays, but instead from
their "re-interpretability."  They can be virtually whatever we most
want them to be.  Witness the huge variations from production to
production.

Any thoughts on this?

Lysbeth Em Benkert

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lee Gibson  <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Feb 97 13:42 CST
Subject:        Re: Ideology

Gabriel Egan's crack that Shakespeare's plays are nothing more than
"grist for the scholar's mill" embodies a peculiarly characteristic
trait of the solipsistic Postmodern Mind:  its complete and total
disregard for anything outside itself.  Shakespeare's plays, first,
last, in between, and foremost, are for audiences to attend.  Period.
Anything else is, at best, a second order epiphenomenon.

Lee Gibson
Department of English
Southern Methodist University
 

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