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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Presentism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1181  Friday, 20 November 1998.

[1]     From:   R. D. H. Wells <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Nov 1998 14:47:08 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Presentism

[2]     From:   Karen E Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Friday, 20 Nov 1998 10:39:57 +1000 (GMT+1000)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1173  Re: Clocks; Maps; Presentism

[3]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Nov 1998 21:54:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1173  Re: Clocks; Maps; Presentism

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. D. H. Wells <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Nov 1998 14:47:08 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Presentism

Hugh Grady writes: 'I understand Prof. Hawkes has further wisdom for us
about this term'. I'm intrigued. Could Terry give those of us who won't
be able to get to the next SAA the benefit of that wisdom? Just a couple
of sentences? It's unlike him to be so reticent.

Robin Headlam Wells

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen E Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Friday, 20 Nov 1998 10:39:57 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: 9.1173  Re: Clocks; Maps; Presentism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1173  Re: Clocks; Maps; Presentism

With regard to Bill Godshalk's latest comment on Terry Hawkes and
Presentism: does "for it" and "agin it" work when one is referring to a
description of a conceptual system?  (I'm honestly asking, rather than
trying to be clever)  I thought that the term "presentist" was being
used descriptively rather than as a statement of position.  If the term
is used discriptively, and if the term has been defined (and here, I
think, is where the problem in the current argument occurs) then one can
debate the definition, or whether the definition properly describes
something or someone.  But you can't be "for" or "against" any more than
you can be "for" or "against" the redness (redism?) of a particular
rose.  I also thought that Terry Hawkes was speaking ironically
(sarcastically?) in his earlier posting about the historians huddled
together for warmth in the wilds of Missouri.  Perhaps I was
mistaken...Mr. Godshalk seems to be getting rather tense about the whole
conversation.

Thank you, David Lindley, for a graceful and well-reasoned comment about
our approaches to the past.  Can I borrow it for use with my students?
Yours from the tropics...

Karen Peterson-Kranz
Department of English & Applied Linguistics
University of Guam

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Nov 1998 21:54:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.1173  Re: Clocks; Maps; Presentism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1173  Re: Clocks; Maps; Presentism

Presentism, re: David Lindley

But why assume that we're talking about a "simple-minded presentism" of
the sort that is an undergraduate's first take? Far from engaging in a
truism, raising consciousness about the role of the present in our
constructions of the past strikes me as very badly needed in an era in
Shakespeare studies now given over almost completely to historicist
assumptions. And while Stephen Greenblatt, Louis Montrose et al. are
hardly doing simple-minded historicism, their very success has resulted
in a widespread forgetting of the present's role in historical criticism
and an often simple-minded historicism!

I agree completely that one of the reasons to study Shakespeare and
other "old texts" is that they can challenge our own assumptions and
provide a reference to a world different from our own. But we can only
perform such a comparison by bringing a consciousness of the present
into our work of interpretation.

Best,
Hugh Grady
 

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