Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: April ::
Re: Ideology: The Aesthetics of WT
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0433.  Wednesday, 9 April 1997.

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Apr 1997 13:30:08 -0400
        Subj:   Ideology

[2]     From:   Paul Hawkins <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Apr 1997 20:51:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Ideology

[3]     From:   David Schalkwyk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Apr 1997 10:33:39 SAS
        Sub:    Re: SHK 8.0427  Re: The Aesthetics of WT


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 8 Apr 1997 13:30:08 -0400
Subject:        Ideology

That Paul Hawkins is transported AT ALL by the last scene of The
Winter's Tale may be a matter of ideology. An eye-witness who saw the
play at the Globe in 1611 doesn't even mention it.

Terence Hawkes

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 8 Apr 1997 20:51:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Ideology

Gabriel Egan offers a hypothesis about the ideological content of my
aesthetic response, but leaves untouched the last two of the three
questions I had asked (and the questions had been put in order of
increasing importance):  what is the statement's force or authority, and
what its usefulness?  These questions translate into something entirely
personal:  why should I want to acknowledge my responses to literature
(and the responses of others) as inescapably ideological?  And what is
it going to do for me as a reader and as a person (or as a gay white
Canadian male, if "person" needs to be explained)?

Since I'm relatively simple-minded, when I wrote "imaginative richness
of its [the scene's] conception" I didn't consciously intend much more
than "it's a good idea"-bringing a statue to life is a neat idea, and
Shakespeare pulls it off.  Further, by distinguishing between the idea
of the scene and its execution as recorded in the printed text of the
play, I meant principally to acknowledge that the "idea" was not
original to Shakespeare.  So rather than implying a "Romantic notion of
creativity-private, cerebral, and Platonic" potentially at odds with
"the creativity of early modern drama," my informal description seems to
coincide with the known facts of Shakespeare's dramaturgy.

So to the extent that Gabriel has said something about the "nature" of a
claim that my response is ideological, such a claim would seem to be
based on a falsification of my experience.  But even if I thought and
had intended by my description that Shakespeare had had "an idea" of the
scene (whether his own or an idea largely derived from one or more of
his sources) at some point prior to his "execution" of the scene in
drafting his play-such a general sequence of events does not seem
improbable-to say that such a hypothesis (which might very likely be
correct) is present to a reader simply because of the ideological work
done in this century by "English Studies" is surely reductive.

I would be happy to agree with other contributors to this discussion
(notably Peter Herman and my good friend Greg McSweeney) that an
awareness of ideological considerations can "inform" and "illuminate"
our responses and our understanding of each other's responses; the
problem is that whenever ideological accounts are offered, they seem to
reduce, which to me seriously compromises their authority and
usefulness.

(I don't always mean to participate in making this forum an aggressive
exchange in which we constantly seek simply to find holes in the latest
opposing post.  I am interested in being persuaded that I "should" think
in terms of ideology, and that it has "use."  So in addition to hearing
an answer to the two questions at the top of this post, I would also be
interested in how Gabriel would counter the charge that ideological
accounts-and specifically his latest one-tend to "reduce").

Paul Hawkins

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Schalkwyk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Apr 1997 10:33:39 SAST-2
Subject: 8.0427  Re: The Aesthetics of WT
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0427  Re: The Aesthetics of WT

In reply to Paul Hawkins's response to the final act of _The Winter's
Tale_:  I wrote an analysis of this scene that reads the elements he
mentions very differently, certainly in political or ideological terms.

To save myself from having to repeat that analysis here could I invite
Paul to look at the piece, and perhaps we could take the discussion
further?

It is: "`A woman's "Verily" is as potent as a lord's': Women, Word and
Witchcraft in _The Winter's Tale_", _ELR_ 22.2 (Spring 1992), 242-72.

David Schalkwyk
English Department
University of Cape Town
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.