1997

And Another Lodging Question: Scotland

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0615.  Friday, 30 May 1997.

From:           Rebecca C Totaro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 30 May 1997 07:12:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        And Another Lodging Question: Scotland

I'll be heading for Scotland next year. I'd like to be able to stay in
bed and breakfast places but without spending a great deal on lodging so
I have more to spend on touring, etc..  Edinborough is the designated
home base.

I'd sure appreaciate recommendations on B & Bs in Edinborough,
Inverness, and York.

Thank you in advance.

Re: Neutral Sh; Bruno; Locrine

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0614.  Friday, 30 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 1997 17:17:44 +0000
        Subj:   Neutral Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Graham Paul <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 1997 21:46:35 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0605  Re: Giordano Bruno and Occult Neoplatonism

[3]     From:   Jonathan Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 30 May 1997 11:24:44 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0610  Re: Locrine


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 17:17:44 +0000
Subject:        Neutral Shakespeare

Dear John McWilliams,

I'm sorry I confused things by using the term "neutral Shakespeare" as
an identifying feature of "postmodern" criticism, which you rightly
describe as anything but neutral.

You say, to the contrary, that

     the notion of 'Great Artists' being neutral and above making
     political and moral choices is one which was very popular in
     literary criticism during the 50s and 60s, at the height of
     New Criticism.

1.      Isn't it the CRITIC who claims to be neutral under the protocols of
New Criticism?  Actually I was there in the 50s and 60s, and I happen to
be a full-blooded New Critic.  As such I claim that I am neutral in the
sense of "objective," unless proved otherwise.  I also claim that an
author has an intention, and that the intention is necessarily moral.

2.  On the other hand, the neutrality of the AUTHOR as opposed to that
of the critic would seem to be a feature of the postmodern school.  I
speak of the common use of such words as "plurality of meaning,"
"ambiguity," "contradictory," "problematic."  Far from the author's
having AN intention, his position is considered "equivocal," or
"undecidable," extraneous in any argument about the meaning of his
work.  If you are going to deconstruct (and thus politicize) an author's
work, this is where you usually start.  For a recent and
up-to-the-minute example, see how Katharine Eisaman Maus begins her
introduction to MV in the new Norton anthology:

     The play has generated controversy for centuries.  Is it
     anti-Semitic?  Does it criticize anti-Semitism?  Does it
     merely represent anti-Semitism without either endorsement or
     condemnation?  Are the Christians right to call Shylock, the
     Jewish moneylender, a "devil," an "inexorable dog"; or is he
     merely the understandably resentful victim of their bigotry?
     Does Portia, Shylock's antagonist in the courtroom,
     exemplify the best in womanly virtue, or is she a
     manipulative virago?

     [paragraph on early modern anti-Semitism deleted]

     Of course, the existence of anti-Semitism in sixteenth-
     century England says little about Shakespeare's own
     attitudes.  He could have written The Merchant of Venice
     either to capitalize on or to criticize the prejudices of
     his society."

Having established Shakespeare's ambivalence toward Shylock's Christian
opponents, Professor Maus, with typical postmodern gusto, proceeds to do
a brilliant job of deconstructing (destructing, destroying,
assassinating) their characters.

3. Now we have a really knotty problem on our hands.  Is this
Shakespeare's deconstruction or Professor Eisaman's?  Certainly
Shakespeare put all the data for her deconstruction in the text, but did
he mean for her to use it this way?  Professor Eisaman seems to assume
without explicitly stating that Shakespeare deconstructs his own play,
and the assumption grows on you until you have no quarrel with her
penultimate sentence:  "Shakespeare stresses the artifice involved in
his resolution," in which his agency is clear.

4. If Shakespeare deconstructs his own play, as Professor Maus seems to
say, then he DOES criticize anti-semitism; he thinks that the Christians
are WRONG to call Shylock a dog and that for this treatment Shylock is
an understandably resentful VICTIM; and it is his opinion that Portia is
a manipulative VIRAGO.  Now look where we have come out!  We have
established that same "authorial intention" that we started out by
denying.

Please understand that I am not singling out Professor Maus for special
treatment.  She just happens to have provided the first example that
came to mind of the part played by "authorial neutrality" in postmodern
criticism.  Her essay on MV is actually the best I have read, and the
fairest, since postmodernism took over.  If only she would stand it on
its head.

John, I do not think this undecidability factor derives from the myth of
the universal/essential Shakespeare.  The myth is just what you come up
with when someone asks, "What's so great about Shakespeare?" and it's a
cop-out.  But the ease with which postmodern critics impose postmodern
values (hatred of exclusivity in the case of MV) on early modern authors
leads me to believe that the postmoderns are the true essentialists.
When someone asks them, "How did Shakespeare know all about our culture
wars?" the easy answer is "That's why he's great."  Maybe that's why
there's so much bardolatry in postmodern criticism.

Yours ever to command
BEN SCHNEIDER

 [2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Paul <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 21:46:35 -0400
Subject: 8.0605  Re: Giordano Bruno and Occult Neoplatonism
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0605  Re: Giordano Bruno and Occult Neoplatonism

Dear Valentin Gerlier:

Check out the introduction to Ted Hughes' "Shakespeare and the Goddess
of Complete Being" (1992, Faber & Faber) for a discussion of Shakespeare
as possibly influenced by Bruno and Occult Neoplatonism.

Cheers,
Graham Paul
Warren Wilson College

 [3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 30 May 1997 11:24:44 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 8.0610  Re: Locrine
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0610  Re: Locrine

Gabriel Wasserman recently wrote

> Well, doesn't Jonathan Hope have a Marlowe-Shakespeare-Dekker ---
> doesn't-sound-like-Marlowe position on *Locrine*, thus leaving
> Shakespeare and Dekker?

which is not quite what I wrote, and certainly not what I meant to
imply.  I said that *of the playwrights I sampled*, only M, S and D
could be candidates for authorship on the grounds of auxiliary 'do'
evidence - and that relative marker evidence then tends to rule all of
them out too.  So *Locrine* is probably by someone I didn't sample.

Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University

Re: Identifying Plagiarism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0612.  Friday, 30 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 1997 16:34:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0607  Re: Identifying Plagiarism

[2]     From:   David Dyal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 1997 20:19:27 -0700
        Subj:   Plagiarism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 16:34:16 -0400
Subject: 8.0607  Re: Identifying Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0607  Re: Identifying Plagiarism

Norm Holland wrote:

This is only tangentially related, but ... It's serendipitous that this
subject came up just now. I recently began reading a series of mystery
novels by Edith Skom, whose amateur detective is a literature professor
at a university near Chicago. Her detective has a strong reaction to any
hint of plagiarism by students; she is mercilessly teased by her
colleagues for the amount of time she's willing to put in tracking down
sources. I recommend this series (two novels so far, a third in the
works) if you need a break from the Bard. If you've ever wished one of
your colleagues an early trip to regions of thick-ribbed ice, you'll
especially enjoy the first one ("The Mark Twain Murders").

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Dyal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 20:19:27 -0700
Subject:        Plagiarism

>From the netherworld of god terms:

Let's see if I've got this right:  A student lies, cheats, and
steals-all essential elements of plagiarism-and something's wrong with
the teacher or subject.  Just another of the many wonderful fruits our
brave new world, I guess.  I figured out that concepts like honor and
integrity were cultural constructions when I was in high school, long
before the current critical jargon co-opted the obvious and acted as if
they had discovered something new, which in itself is a form of
plagiarism.  But that doesn't change the fact that concepts like honor
and integrity are essential.  We have to act as if honor is an absolute,
even it's not.  My student evaluations consistently tell me that I am an
engaged, fair teacher.  But woe be it to the student who gets caught
plagiarizing in my class.

David Dyal

Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0613.  Friday, 30 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Chris Clark <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 1997 21:08:23 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Themes in King Lear

[2]     From:   Jocelyn Emerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:    Thursday, 29 May 1997 17:08:36 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0608  Re: Themes in King Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Clark <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 21:08:23 GMT
Subject:        Re: Themes in King Lear

One theme I managed to totally miss is the religious connotation or
debate that is encapsulated within the play:

Cordelia is a bit of a Jesus figure really - mistreated but returning to
provide redemption (hints of prodigal son too)

Albany - turning the other cheek

Edmund - Judas

The pagan/other religion sides to the argument are presented by Edgar,
Albany and Gloucester with their occult-type views (Albany believing in
Justicers, Gloucester in Gods and that the planets can be used to
determine our fate, and Edgar also believing in the astrology stuff).

Gloucester at one point says 'And that's true too,' illustrating the
manner in which this play shows different sides to the same arguments,
leaving us to make the final decision.
Thanks for all the helpful replies I've received to my previous
submission...

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jocelyn Emerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 17:08:36 -0600
Subject: 8.0608  Re: Themes in King Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0608  Re: Themes in King Lear

>One theme of Lear is that of old age, and the horror of Lear's
>self-discovery:  His shallow vanity has poisoned his family
>relationships and left him destitute in his old age, with no time left
>to make things right.  Life is perhaps a race between self-knowledge and
>death, and death always wins; but it matters, sometimes a lot, how soon
>we learn what we DO manage to learn...by the way, an interesting take on
>the Lear story, re-set in the American heartland, is Jane Smiley's A
>Thousand Acres.  Imagine the story told from Goneril's point of view,
>with Cordelia as a bitch lawyer and Edmond as a Vietnam deserter and
>organic farmer, and the old man...well, he's evil in ways that Lear
>never was.

In response to Alan Pierpoint's discussion of Smiley's A Thousand Acres
and her novel's recontextualization of the Lear stories/myths
(Shakespeare's foremost among them), there are several points to
consider which Pierpoint misses.  Smiley's novel brings to the fore the
issues of Lear's "love contest" in the play's opening as a
socially/politically sanctioned rhetoric of incest, full of all the
abuses of power which characterize incest.  Although we don't encounter
physical incest/rape as such, as we currently define it in our social
discourses, it's implications are everywhere, especially in that early
scene.  In fact the love contest does discoursively represent/embody the
evil of incest, and subsequently Lear's position in that discourse of
power.  This is not to conflate rhetoric with the actuality of sexual
abuse and assault, but  Smiley's novel enables us to see the political
and familial dynamics/roots of patriarchy in which incest is prevalent
as a *structured* form of power, and to see those characteristics as
socially as well as individually situated-and indeed, that the social
and the "personal" are not, in fact, separate as embodied in the body of
the king.  Larry acts on that power in A Thousand Acres in physical
ways, but Lear's discoursive incest tropes remind us that such abusive
power is always an option for Lear, as a man and as a king, and is
embedded in social/political structures and that both the physical and
the verbal are deeply related aspects of that abuse of power.

I also wonder what is so "bitchy" about Caroline and how that clearly
the use of that gendered term reminds us, again, of both the play's
overwhelming anxiety about women in positions of power-i.e.,. they're
unrelentingly evil or like Cordelia, unrelentingly silent and virtuous
beyond compare-and our own culture's parallel fears.  In the play, it's
clearly a polemic portrait stemming from larger cultural assumptions
about women as having an essential and irrefutable nature that's evil or
virginal.  Smiley's novel clearly complicates that polemic by showing it
as constructed rather than "natural".  In Caroline we have a character
who is strong-willed, independent, devoted to her father because her
experience (based on female-centered nurturing) is radically different
from that of Rose or Ginny.  That she doesn't live with the trauma of
incest and that her self-determination was protected and nurtured by her
older sisters makes her, in great measure., what she is-not an "evil"
nature.  How then, does that make her a "bitch"?

Re: Metaphor

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0611.  Friday, 30 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 97 16:53:21 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0609  Q: Metaphor

[2]     From:   Alan Pierpoint <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 29 May 1997 23:18:53 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0609 Q: Metaphor


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 97 16:53:21 EDT
Subject: 8.0609  Q: Metaphor
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0609  Q: Metaphor

I'm glad someone mentioned Jakobson's essay on aphasia.  It gives me the
chance to sound an alert.  Jakobson's view of aphasias as mirrored in
metonymy and metaphor (rather oddly defined) is quite out of date.  More
modern accounts of the aphasias point us toward a far more complex
linguistics than Saussure's (also quite out of date).  See Steven
Pinker's _The Language Instinct_ for a quite readable account of both
the aphasias and post-Saussurean, post-Bloomfieldian, post-Whorfian
linguistics. Those earlier versions pass current among literary critics,
but not linguists.

--Best, Norm Holland

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan Pierpoint <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 May 1997 23:18:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0609 Q: Metaphor
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0609 Q: Metaphor

Regarding metaphor, simile and Shakespeare:  You might find something in
"The Four Master Tropes," Kenneth Burke's nearly inscrutable essay
appended to the back of A Grammar of Motive.   He discusses, if memory
serves, metaphor, simile, (or was it irony?),metonymy, and synecdoche in
terms of four different rhetorical strategies.  I don't remember if
Burke brought the fog of his intellect to bear on Shakespeare, but I do
recall using the metonymy-reduction idea in a paper on Adrienne Rich
back in grad school, and getting away with it.  Good luck.

Alan Pierpoint   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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