Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Presentism and Maps
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1154  Tuesday, 17 November 1998.

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 16 Nov 1998 12:23:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1141  Re: Maps

[2]     From:   Hugh Grady <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 16 Nov 1998 15:03:01 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1141  Re: Maps

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 16 Nov 1998 10:02:06 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1141  Re: Maps


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 16 Nov 1998 12:23:14 -0500
Subject: 9.1141  Re: Maps
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1141  Re: Maps

Mary Ann Fitzwilson, Department of History, University of Missouri sends
me the following information regarding "presentism":

'My understanding of "presentism" (and yes, it's considered bad form
among historians) comes from David Hackett Fischer's book,
<italic>Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical
Thought</italic> (1970). He writes that the "fallacy of presentism is a
complex anachronism, in which the antecedent in a narrative series is
falsified by being defined or interpreted in terms of the
consequent"(135). Or, in other words, it's the "backward projections of
present phenomena" which "so grossly distort the past that the reader
receives an utterly erroneous idea of events in earlier periods, and of
tendencies in his own as well"(136)     'Historians usually use this term
to chastise colleagues who run amuck casting judgments on historical
events or individuals using the present (morals, ethics, values, etc.)
as the whipping yardstick. Thus to say that Jefferson was "racist"
invites clarification: "racism" in the 18th century was very different
than our present understanding of the term.'


Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 16 Nov 1998 15:03:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.1141  Re: Maps
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1141  Re: Maps

Re: Terence Hawkes and presentism

Prof. Hawkes, I have it on good authority, borrowed the term
"presentism" from the introduction to my book 'Shakespeare's Universal
Wolf.' where it means the opposite of "historicism," that is, referring
to readings of texts which emphasize their meanings for us in our
present, as opposed to their meanings in the historical past. I in turn
had borrowed the term, if my memory isn't failing me, from one of Howard
Felperin's essays in his collection 'The Uses of the Canon.' The term
may have originated in German hermeneutic debates of the 19th century,
but I never researched this possibility; it is used by Habermas as a
pejorative, meaning something like "not taking historical difference
into account," but the times seem to call for using it in a descriptive
sense, as a way of talking about how "un-presentist" Shakespeare studies
suddenly became in the last 15 years or so. I understand Prof. Hawkes
has further wisdom for us about this term and promises a paper on the
subject at the next Shakespeare Assn. of America annual meeting, at the
seminar "Shakespeare and the Boundaries of Modernity" which I am
co-chairing with Lars Engle. All are welcome!

Best wishes,
Hugh Grady

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 16 Nov 1998 10:02:06 -0800
Subject: 9.1141  Re: Maps
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1141  Re: Maps

Michael Ullyot writes:

> On this subject of Shakespeare's 'warping' of time and space, Robin
> Hamilton writes that his dislocations of time (as in characters
> referring to things with which they clearly should not be familiar)
> universalises the dramatic present in a kind of trans-temporal Everytime
> (I paraphrase).

Instead of making the fictive world universally imminent, might it not
underline the alterity, even transcendence, of it?

Cheers,
Sean.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.