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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: April ::
Re: TGV; Literary and Scientific Theory; Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0294  Wednesday, 1 April 1998.

[1]     From:   David M Richman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 11:37:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0286  Re: TGV Question

[2]     From:   Dana Spradley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 08:48:40 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0290  Re: Literary and Scientific Theory

[3]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 11:43:12 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 9.0291  Re: Falstaff's Death


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 11:37:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0286  Re: TGV Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0286  Re: TGV Question

Only in *As You Like It* does the audience see a theatrically
spectacular transformation from man to woman.  Rosalind, out of
disguise, enters with Hymen (whether Corin or a supernatural presence is
left to the actors, directors, designers, or readers-I think.)  I do not
know of hard evidence that fixes Hymen to a single theatrical shape.  I
would argue that the endings of all Shakespeare's comedies are probed
and questioned by many means.  Among these means, in several cases, is
the "heroine's" retaining of the male disguise.  In each case, the
nature of the conventionally happy ending is probed by the onstage
presence of a disguised character.  Silence (Silvia's or Isabella's) is
another source of questioning or probing.  David Richman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Spradley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 08:48:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 9.0290  Re: Literary and Scientific Theory
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0290  Re: Literary and Scientific Theory

"How do literary theories develop and how are they superceded, or
refined?" Michael Cohen poses an interesting question. But I think the
answer might be - not all that differently from scientific theories.

What drives "observation" in either endeavor? I suppose the attempt to
pin a little slice of reality down. As I recall from my particle physics
days, an ever-expanding galaxy of new subatomic particles was
discovered  when researchers tried to find one that could be labeled a
fundamental building block of matter, after they found that electrons,
protons, and neutrons could be split. Maybe they've now decided quarks
fit the bill, but they're so strange that the entire project looks
pretty different.

Similarly literary observation tries to pin down meaning of textual
atoms, and use them as building blocks in discussing the overall
significance of a work. Problem is, the more interpreters try to pin
those meanings down, the more new ones they discover. And why not?  Like
the particle physicists, their livelihoods depend on it.

Literary theorists step back, then, and try to account for this
phenomenon, and end up proposing such concepts as the arbitrariness of
the sign, differance, historical relativism, discursive regimes,
allegories of reading, yadda yadda yadda. Historians of science reach
similar conclusions, proposing uncertainty principles and paradigm
shifts than only partly result from changing observations, and partly
enable them.

But maybe you're on to something here, Michael - maybe at the level of
gross, palpable literary observation of Shakespeare, all our modern
progress hasn't taken us beyond, say, Dr. Johnson - at least in terms of
what the general run of humanity needs to care about. The rest is an
acquired taste.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 11:43:12 -0800
Subject: Re: Falstaff's Death
Comment:        SHK 9.0291  Re: Falstaff's Death

Ed Taft, comparing Socrates and Falstaff wrote:

> Both are falsely charged with the crime of "misleading youth."

In Falstaff's case I ask, "Falsely?"

Please help me understand in what way this Hal's statement is untrue.

Best,
Mike Jensen
 

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