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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: June ::
Re: Bad Writing; Howlers
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0641.  Thursday, 5 June 1997.

[1]     From:   Patrick Gillespie <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Jun 1997 11:22:10 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0632  Re: Bad Writing

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Jun 1997 13:09:51 GMT
        Subj:   Howlers


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Gillespie <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 Jun 1997 11:22:10 -0400
Subject: 8.0632  Re: Bad Writing
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0632  Re: Bad Writing

>...One is aware of it as a signaling and hinting of verbal heads and
>tails both above and below precision, and by this weirdly expressive
>underswell of a musical near gibberish, like a jostling of spirits, a
>bustling pressure of shapes inside every syllable. Shakespeare holds it
>all in dodgy focus by the audial compass course that his aerobatic
>syntax plots through it. When Joyce takes this sonar amplification of
>the word's pun possibilities to the limit in Finnigans Wake, the blazing
>crackle of radio interference and writhing wave-bands, somewhat smothers
>the instrument panel, for the reader and co-pilot, in a sort of white
>out...

G.L.Horton writes: "But this is delicious!  Hughes illustrates as well
as describes the effect. Surely you are teasing us?"

As always, such matters are a question of taste. I don't find it
delicious Comical, silly, convoluted? Yes. Every Shakespeare
"lay-person" I've ever shown the passage to finds it, well... bad.
Interesting that you should like it. I was going to remark on the fact
that Hughes tries to illustrate as well as describe the effect.
Unfortunately, I find this sort of thing a silly indulgence prevalent
among Shakespeare critics. (I know I say this in the lion's den.) It's
just too cute and nerdy and they never do it as well as Shakespeare. His
analogies and metaphor are a mess. Who the heck is the co-pilot? And if
there is a verbal heads and tails both above and below precision, what
on earth is above and below precision? And is it the heads that is above
and the tales below or are there heads and tales above and below
precision? What's above precision? Ur-precision? Then we suddenly have
an underswell? I suppose that's coming from below precision and about to
"overswell" it? Of course, we now need the audial compass course and
sonar amplifications or we'll get *really* lost. First its Shakespeare
navigating, then with Joyce its me and who the heck is the co-pilot? The
annotations? Give me a break.

Patrick

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Jun 1997 13:09:51 GMT
Subject:        Howlers

It's exam season, and I thought just one comment from a student might be
worth sharing, so far does it transcend in implication the basic error
of vocabulary it contains.

He wrote: 'the tradgedy of King Lear can be situated on a timeless
platitude'.

David Lindley
School of English
University of Leeds
 

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