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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: December ::
Re: Tillyard
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1329  Tuesday, 22 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Penelope Rixon <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Dec 1998 16:35:22 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1326  Re: Tillyard

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Dec 1998 11:59:32 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Tillyard

[3]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Dec 1998 06:08:57 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 9.1326  Re: Tillyard


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Penelope Rixon <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Dec 1998 16:35:22 -0000
Subject: 9.1326  Re: Tillyard
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1326  Re: Tillyard

Perhaps part of the reason for claiming that Tillyard had great
influence is the way in which his ideas were disseminated to a much
wider public than his challengers reached.  I took my English A level in
1967 in a small Welsh town, and, following my teacher's advice, read
Tillyard till I knew him practically by heart, not to mention revering
pretty well every word he'd written.  It was quite a shock to get to
University & realise that the academic world had moved on.  Yet even
now, working for the Open University whose students tend to be older
than those in most conventional institutions I frequently meet people
who have somehow absorbed Tillyard's ideas to such an extent that they
are very reluctant to embrace any approach which undermines him, and I
have been accused of loony-leftism on more than one occasion for
attempting to persuade people to think differently.  Maybe things are
different in other countries, but I suspect that Tillyard has had a
major influence on the British public, not least because his views were
favoured by a conservative establishment.

Penny Rixon

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Dec 1998 11:59:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Tillyard

Both Robin Wells and Hugh Grady are right. By the mid-sixties, at least,
academic criticism had moved well beyond Tillyard, and it is simply
wrong to assert that only in recent years, with the advent of
postmodernist criticism, have we done so. In fact, often critics of the
80's and 90's reinvent the wheel by taking on Tillyard without knowing
that it already has been done by Goddard, Rossiter, et al.-all critics
that undeservedly get short shrift today.

But Grady is also right. The ghost of Tillyard haunted all the critics
of the 60's and beyond, as this ghost continues to haunt the most recent
critics, and that's because Tillyard was not wrong, only one-sided, and
his writing, especially about the histories, was powerfully persuasive
and coherent, even though it was one-sided. Rossiter recognized this and
implicitly gave homage to Tillyard when he (Rossiter) wrote that we must
use a "two-eyed View" of Shakespeare's histories. (One eye is
Tillyard's, the other is, well, Falstaff's, I guess.)

I think it is fair to say that Rabkin, Burckhard, Sanders, Sen Gupta,
and others believed that they were right, but were equally afraid that
maybe Tillyard was right. So, we did move on, but also, we were stuck or
were afraid that we were stuck.  That's common enough in criticism when
a
counter-movement begins to take hold, and recent critics really need to
re-read the critics of the 50's, 60's, and 70's so that they pay their
historical debts. (Here, I am NOT including you, Hugh; I know that you
HAVE read these critics.)

Finally, there is nothing extraordinary about what I have just
described.  When the theory of light as a particle/beam began to replace
the theory of light as transmitted through an invisible "ether," for
years scientists believed that the former was true but feared that maybe
the latter was.  It took lots of good math to convince scientists of the
new theory, and even today, people are uncomfortable with the new
theory, and it still seems like a stop-gap to many until an even newer,
better theory of light comes along.

Historically,
Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Dec 1998 06:08:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Tillyard
Comment:        SHK 9.1326  Re: Tillyard

To Robin Headlam-Wells:

Dear Robin: Thank you for a spirited rendition of 'We Know This
Already.' As ever, it moved me almost to tears. Your 'Surely This Is All
In Coleridge's Biographia Literaria' cannot now be long delayed.  We are
agog.

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
T. Hawkes
 

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