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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Mushroom; Merchant; Nietzsche; KJ; Bloom;
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0210  Monday, 8 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Helen Ostovich <
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        Date:   Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 11:26:23 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0203 Mushroom

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 13:15:55 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0157 Is The Merchant a psychodrama?

[3]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 13:43:24 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0183 's Critique of Hamlet: A Query

[4]     From:   Michael Ullyot <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 21:52:32 +0000
        Subj:   In Defence of _King John_

[5]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 16:20:16 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0199 Re: Bloom

[6]     From:   Richard A Burt <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 18:01:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard

[7]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Feb 1999 12:07:14 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0181 Bona Bard

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <
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Date:           Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 11:26:23 -0500
Subject: 10.0203 Mushroom
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0203 Mushroom

See Jonson's Every Man Out of his Humour, act 1 scene 2 for a
description of  "mushroom gentlemen".  Fungoso, one of the young
gentlemen of the play, is defined in the opening Characters as a
mushroom gentleman, as his name indicates.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 13:15:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0157 Is The Merchant a psychodrama?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0157 Is The Merchant a psychodrama?

In my paper on the Merchant, I argue that the play is loosely
constructed according to the four levels of traditional exegesis, so
that "psychodrama" would constitute only the tropological level of the
meaning of the characters.  The "allegorical" level, representing forces
of history figure the Protestant Reformation in England (think about the
theme of bond breaking), which would account for the concern for the
soul of the capitalist.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY

>Psychodrama brings with it literary dilemmas (or intriguing complexity)
>as it tries to reconcile the dual role of the 'psychic' characters; and
>this is certainly so in The Merchant. <snip>

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 13:43:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0183 Nietzsche's Critique of Hamlet: A Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0183 Nietzsche's Critique of Hamlet: A Query

I think that it is a mistake to read Nietzsche in the literal terms of a
literary critic.  A German critic once said: "Hamlet is Germany," and it
seems to me that it is in this type of grandiose symbolism that
Nietzsche would interpret the play, in which case we need not look for a
representation of Hamlet's erstwhile Dionysian state in the text.
Perhaps Wittenberg is taken by Nietzsche to symbolize this state?

Similarly the "essence of things" and the "horrible truth" may be
Nietzsche's interpretation of Hamlet's confrontation with the unnatural
situation in his mother's bed, or with the knowledge bestowed by his
father's Ghost.

As I am currently writing on Nietzsche and The Winter's Tale, I am
familiar with the temptation to apply his proclamations to concrete
historical moments, but as he is himself, like Zarathustra, speaking in
the mode of Dionysus rather than Apollo, this temptation should be
resisted.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY

>N. says that Hamlet has "once looked truly into the essence of things"
>and the resulting nausea has rendered him unable of committing any
>action. In his own words "an insight into the horrible truth outweighs
>any motive for action".
>
>But in the paragraph before, he says it is the return to "everyday
>reality " from the "raptures of the Dionysian state" which creates
>"nausea: an ascetic, will-negating mood", which Hamlet suffers from.
>
<snip>

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Ullyot <
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Date:           Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 21:52:32 +0000
Subject:        In Defence of _King John_

David Maier's impassioned and lengthy defence of King John (the play, he
hastens to add), seems to have been prompted by the implicit assumption
among reviewers of the Washington production that the play's text is
something to be overcome, rather than appreciated, in performance. His
catalogue of the play's merits is an admirable defence of a work few
people are willing even to examine in such depth. It also opposes the
tendency to accept prevailing opinions about a text rather than
bothering to engage with its actual properties-a tendency largely
responsible for the low canonical status of works of this kind (and,
perhaps, the elevated positions of others).

What must be remembered when looking at this play is that it is like any
other history: Shakespeare is struggling to present in 2 hours
everything the chronicles tell him about his main character's life and
reign. It's an interesting congruency, actually, that David's comments
on the current distaste for King John's literary merits recalls
Holinshed's commentary on the man (rather than the play, I needn't add)
in his Chronicles:

But such was the malice of writers in times past, which they bore
towards King John, that whatsoever was done in prejudice of him or his
subjects, it was still interpreted to chance through his default, so as
the blame was imputed to him, [...] yet to think that he deserved the
tenth part of the blame wherewith writers charge him, it might seem a
great lack of advised consideration in them that so should take it.

All of this is not to say that the play's poor reputation is entirely
unmerited: King John really is a play with narrative gaps in all the
wrong places, but it must be added that it offers wonderfully rich
language at the most unexpected moments.  Take Hubert's address to the
assembled combatants before Angers: King John of England faces King
Philip of France, each with their coterie of soldiers, attendants, and
various hangers-on.  Among the assembled throng are two characters,
Louis the Dauphin and Blanche of Castile, John's Spanish niece.
Throughout most of this massive scene (2.1), they are both conspicuous
in their silence, following their respective commanders as they enact
the absurd conflict that culminates in a mutual resolution to raze the
city both want to capture. Faulconbridge's proposal has just been
ratified when Hubert, a concerned citizen, fronts his modest proposal:

That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanche,
Is near to England.  Look upon the years
Of Louis the Dauphin and that lovely maid...
He is the half part of a bless

 

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