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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: September ::
Re: Criticism on the Web
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0910.  Thursday, 11 September 1997.

[1]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Sep 1997 21:44:55 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web

[2]     From:   Peter C. Herman" <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Sep 1997 14:33:25 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web

[3]     From:   Norm Holland <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Sep 97 17:47:59 EDT
        Subj:   Article online

[4]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Sep 1997 00:54:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Sep 1997 21:44:55 +0100
Subject: 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web

>I'm sorry, but the thought of amplifying the volume of material on
>Shakespeare yet further by having unmoderated, unrefereed essays simply
>'available' on the internet fills me with horror.
>
>Having spent five years trying desperately to keep up with published
>material for the annual review in *Shakespeare Survey* I'm only too
>aware of the fact that even with the barriers to print that exist a good
>deal that is pretty pointless already troubles the data-bases.
>
>Between a list such as this, which valuably allows people to shoot from
>the hip, and 'publication' which it is expected that any serious scholar
>should consult there ought, in my view, to be some sort of fire-screen.
>No doubt this is, Canute-like, to wish the waves away but.....
>
>David Lindley
>University of Leeds

May I fully endorse David Lindley's stand?

I teach in a UK boarding school (Sedebrgh School in North of England)
with avid, impressionable 16-18 year old Sixth Form students. Generally,
they are up for any short cut to completion of assignments. The Internet
is NOT, for them, a place of infinite speculation and enquiry, but a
resource, a library. They simply have not grasped that what appears here
is , as David said, 'un-refereed', and they certainly have no notion of
how criticism is policed and validated before it gets into print. The
small scale expert publication like Shakespeare Survey', or 'Medium
Aevum' etc., etc. would surely die in quick time if the internet became
the chosen method of academic argument? These excellent magazines give
the opportunity for small scale articles on particular areas to be
thoughtfully and thoroughly researched, and provides the young don
making his way with an ideal forum for piece by piece thinking that can
be tested by considered, rather than MAD style reaction!? reaction.

While I realise uncomfortably that along this road lies censorship, I
also feel that the academic community has a responsibility to engage the
hearts and minds of the younger generation WITH WELL THOUGHT OUT
HYPOTHESES. If I was sure that students trapezing  the internet were
sophisticated enough to realise the temporary nature of what actually
happens here, then I would be thrilled to indulge in spleen, bile, wild
flights of happenstance and maybe. It is one thing to fly kites in one's
own garden, and quite another to do so in a ten acre field and claim
expertise and a role in the community at large. Now, if there were a
properly refereed, properly registered site into which academics would
feed, then OK. But realistically, which academic would do so, when
publication is the secret of extension / acquisition of tenure? One of
David Lindley's erstwhile colleagues at Leeds - Tom Shippey, whom may
the Gods bless for variety - and I had exactly this debate about five
years ago before he went off to St. Louis Univ.

What I personally truly value here is that academics of serious eminence
deploy expertise to educate others, and make cautious, informed,
intelligent notions strut and fret their hour upon the stage. Having
Messrs. Hawkes, Lindley, Dutton on the internet for me in UK, gives me
the chance to consult, listen to snatches of lectures, peep over
shoulders at book drafts, and perhaps even make suggestions. The
internet is surely a massive Common Room, in which ideas are seriously
discussed. If they once become formalised into 'critical verb sap', are
we not in grave danger of losing spontaneity, informality, and the fresh
whiff of danger and excitement? Fewer would chance their arms with big
stuff if they thought that a rival could download and print? You can't
copyright the internet? I think there is a major problem here, don't
you? That it may one day be solved I do not doubt, but the internet
'law' ebing what it currently is, I feel we need to be just a tad
reticent in rushing into cybercrit.

Stuart Manger

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter C. Herman" <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Sep 1997 14:33:25 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web

Concerning the issue of posting our work on the Web, the New York Times
recently had an article on Virginia Tech's mandating that Master and
Ph.D theses (mainly in engineering) have to be posted. This new policy
created an uproar and had to be amended because, as students at Tech
pointed out, once their work gets posted, no journal will touch it. And
with no peer-reviewed articles, there are no job offers or grants. The
situation for us literary types is, I think, the same, and posting our
work without first getting it peer-reviewed might be very well for the
well-established members of the profession (i.e. those at the Full
Professor rank), but for the rest of us, it portends professional
disaster.

Peter C. Herman

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Sep 97 17:47:59 EDT
Subject:        Article online

In response to the request for articles online I offer one:

"`The Barge She Sat In': Psychoanalysis and Syntactic Choice."

It reads WS' changes from North's text for clues to the psychology of
the author.  The URL is:

http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/barge.htm

and there is an abstract of the essay at

http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/online.htm

Enjoy!                                             --Best, Norm

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Sep 1997 00:54:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0906  Re: Criticism on the Web

One of my articles, non-scholarly to be sure, was picked up from the web
by a theatre magazine and published (after contacting me, of course.)  I
was delighted.  I'm sure it will depend on the publication as to whether
they want such soiled goods as web-published critical works.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company
 

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