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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: September ::
Re: Titus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0906  Monday, 28 September 1998.

[1]     From:   Robert Lloyd Neblett <
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        Date:   Sunday, 27 Sep 1998 09:45:11 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   BBC Titus

[2]     From:   Naomi Liebler <
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        Date:   Sunday, 27 Sep 1998 11:09:13 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0904  Re: Titus: The Movie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Lloyd Neblett <
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Date:           Sunday, 27 Sep 1998 09:45:11 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        BBC Titus

In a recent post, someone referred to the BBC Titus Andronicus as being
able to reach the present generation of students, despite the fact that
its gore is not splatter-film gory.  My response to this:  TOO TRUE!!!
When I was 11 or 12, I saw the BBC Titus on KERA, Dallas's PBS station,
but I had missed the very beginning, so I didn't know what it was.  I
didn't even know it was Shakespeare.  All I knew was that I thought it
was great.  Yes, the story is simplistic.  Yes, it is no HAMLET.  Yes,
it is incredibly gratuitous as far as sex and violence are concerned,
but I loved it!  Although most of my literary buddies cringe when I say
this, the BBC Titus was the first full-length Shakespeare I ever saw,
and I knew I wanted more afterwards.  I can honestly say that Titus
turned me on to the Bard, and the BBC production is entirely to
credit/blame.  Yes, the joys I felt over the devilish plots and gory
maimings and rapes was the adolescent fascination with the taboo, but
the horror I felt when Lavinia appeared as a mutilated creature without
even a tongue to speak seems to me to be the first time I ever came
close (and perhaps even the last time) to Aristotle's catharsis.

When will we let the plays speak for themselves and live and breathe on
their own rather than become depositories for our own
critical/theoretical agendas?  Is Titus bad literature?

Robert L. Neblett
PhD Student in Dramatic/Comparative Literature, Washington University

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Naomi Liebler <
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Date:           Sunday, 27 Sep 1998 11:09:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0904  Re: Titus: The Movie
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0904  Re: Titus: The Movie

Inter alia, Roy Flannagan refers to an unspecified "book-length study of
Shakespeare's Roman plays" that "dismisses" _Titus Andronicus_ as "not
really historical and therefore not really Roman." There are, of course,
competing arguments for its Roman historicity. I made one of them,
emphatically, in "Getting It All Right: _Titus Andronicus_ and Roman
History," _SQ_ 45:3 (1994): 263-78, and made it again, in an expanded
chapter (accommodating the "mythic" and ritualistic dimensions of the
play), in _Shakespeare's Festive Tragedy_ (Routledge, 1995). The _Titus_
chapter in that book was also reprinted in the Gale Publications series,
_Shakespearean Criticism_.

Cheers,
Naomi Liebler
 

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