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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Polish Hamlet; A. L. Rowse
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1040.  Wednesday, 15 October 1997.

[1]     From:   David Skeele <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 12:54:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1036  Polish Hamlet

[2]     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 14:24:40 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1018  Re: A. L. Rowse


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Skeele <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 12:54:54 -0400
Subject: 8.1036  Polish Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1036  Polish Hamlet

>For a lecture on *Hamlet* in an international context, I am desperately
>looking for the article (or possibly, chapter in a book) that I once
>seem to have read on *Hamlet* in Poland. The gist of the argument was,
>if I remember correctly, that in a Polish production Hamlet was made out
>to be an over-scrupulous fool, who broke the essential national unity,
>leaving a state in disarray, so that Fortinbras, the foreign power,
>could come and pick up the pieces.

To Paul Franssen:

I remember a that a fellow Ph.D. student at the University Pittsburgh
wrote an article entitled "Fortinbras, Our Contemporary," dealing with
the same subject matter you describe, which he presented at a conference
or two (definitely ASTR, but perhaps MLA as well).  His name is Gregg
Dion, and you can reach him through the University of Pittsburgh Theatre
Department at (412) 624-6568.  Hope this is the one you are looking for.

David Skeele

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 14:24:40 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.1018  Re: A. L. Rowse
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1018  Re: A. L. Rowse

John McWilliams asked several days ago if anyone wished to defend A. L.
Rowse.  I've been waiting for those more qualified than I to do so, but
since the silence has been deafening, I offer the following
observations:

First off, I have read little of Rowse's work on Shakespeare and have
been less than overwhelmed by what I have read.  And the man did not
lack for ego (at least in his public persona).

That said, I must say that his _Elizabethan Renaissance_ was invaluable
to me in preparing my MA thesis on Lyly, and the mere fact that a
trained historian chose to write about Shakespeare and other writers
helped to counter-balance the intellectual isolationism of New
Criticism.  [N.B. I do not wish to suggest that NC had no good points or
that reactions to it necessarily constitute improvements: I suggest only
that linking literature to its historical setting is a legitimate
approach, and that Rowse did so (even? especially?) when the prevailing
critical theory was otherwise.

Finally, if we were to eliminate from consideration everyone whose
self-regard exceeded his/her real importance, the libraries would be
much smaller, the art galleries and theatres empty, and this list very
quiet indeed...

Rick Jones

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