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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: January ::
Re: Tillyard and Presentism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0010  Monday, 4 January 1999.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Sunday, 03 Jan 1999 18:11:17 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Tillyard

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 3 Jan 1999 23:56:10 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0005 Re: Tillyard and Presentism

[3]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Jan 1999 11:04:00 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0005  Re: Tillyard and Presentism

[4]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Jan 1999 12:09:52 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.0005  Re: Presentism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Sunday, 03 Jan 1999 18:11:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Tillyard

I don't want to comment on Graham Bradshaw's view of Hugh Grady's book;
Hugh can handle that one himself. But I do want to say that, if memory
serves, some of Tillyard's contemporaries clearly saw his limitations.
For example, one critic (whose name escapes me; maybe it was D.C.
Allen?) noted that The Elizabethan World Picture was a vastily
oversimplified rendition of Lovejoy's Great Chain of Being, and, a bit
later, both F.J. Levy and H. A. Kelly demonstrated that Shakespeare was
anything but a Tudor propagandist-a point that both Rossiter and Goddard
has made in a less scholarly way at least ten years earlier. Indeed, it
is often not noticed that while Angel with Horns was not published until
1961 (I think?), the book contains lectures given YEARS earlier by
Rossiter but never published. The point is that plenty of folks
questioned Tillyard's "hegemony," though I agree with Hugh that in far
too many classrooms, his views were hegemonic.

Gee, I wish I had all these tests in front of me. Hope my memory is not
too faulty on these authors/dates.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Sunday, 3 Jan 1999 23:56:10 -0000
Subject: 10.0005 Re: Tillyard and Presentism
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0005 Re: Tillyard and Presentism

Am I the only person who is utterly baffled by the current debate over
The Importance (Or Otherwise) of Tillyard?  I'd always assumed (well,
ever since I was an undergraduate in Glasgow in the Sixties) that
Tillyard was characterised by (a) noticing the connections between
Shakespeare and the Homily on Obedience and (b) managing to draw exactly
the wrong conclusions from this observation.  As for The Elizabethan
World Picture, anything worthwhile there is said with a deal more
panache (and scholarship) by C. S. Lewis in The Discarded Image.

Unlike Graham Bradshaw, I find nothing at all surprising in the
marginalisation of Sanders' The Dramatist and the Received Idea.  Given
that it is written with lucidity, intelligence, and coherence, the
surprising thing is that it managed to get published at all, and as,
further, it dealt with More Than One Author, it's even more surprising
that having been published, +anyone+ paid any attention to it.  A
similar fate overtook his John Donne's Poetry.  But then again, as that
book fails to trap itself out in the obligatory dress of footnotes, what
can he expect?  That having something important to say, and saying it
well, is enough?  How naive ...

Tangentially, I am becoming increasingly concerned over the obsession
which Professors Wells and Hawkes share with Coleridge's Biographia
Literaria.  When I was a younger man, the court of appeal was to
Aristotle's Poetics and (in linguistics) Plato's Cratylus.  Does the
nature of the discussion on this Thread signal The End of Classical
Scholarship As We Know It?

I (less than) eagerly await a re-run of the Nominalist/Realist debate in
the context of Post-Structuralism.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Jan 1999 11:04:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0005  Re: Tillyard and Presentism
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0005  Re: Tillyard and Presentism

I remember thinking when I originally read the passages on my "Modernist
Shakespeare" from Graham's "Misrepresentations" (quoted in Graham
Bradshaw's recent post) that there really wasn't an appropriate forum in
which to reply. However, thanks to the magic of SHAKSPER, it all comes
round again, and so why not have at it, even at the risk of legitimating
the bad precedent of verbatim recyclings of an author's previously
published works?

First, to the ad hominems. Graham Bradshaw was gracious enough in his
original work to specify that "To accuse Dollimore or Grady of strategic
omissions or deliberate misrepresentations is as unfair and unclarifying
as Stephen Greenblatt's description of the soliloquizing Henry IV and
Henry V as : hypocrites"; there is no good reason, and no need to
suppose that Dollimore and Grady do not believe what they say, like the
Shakespeare monarchs. Whether WE should believe it is another matter"
(7).  In the interim, things have somehow degenerated; I now read that
"In other words, Grady was suppressing the relevant evidence. Since this
suppression is easily documented, in a demonstrable matter of fact,
Robin Headlam-Wells' complaint was entirely to the point..."

And what is the nature of this supposed repression? A failure to
mention, in a survey of criticism that included hundreds of examples,
A.  P. Rossiter, Norm Rabkin, and "Don Cameron Allen's devastating 1945
review of 'The Elizabethan World Picture.' Guilty as charged on this
last one, but I can live with it; Allen's review didn't show up in the
literature-search I conducted editing the history of '1 and 2 Henry IV'
criticism that was the basis for the historical narrative of criticism
presented in the book. I did, however, in passages I can only think
Bradshaw somehow missed (182-89), call attention to what I took to be a
similarly devastating critique of the old historicism epitomized by
Tillyard, Leonard Dean's 1944 "Shakespeare's Treatment of Conventional
Ideas" in the New Critical 'Sewanee Review,' and as I noted in an
earlier post, in that section I tried to trace (without trying to be
exhaustive, because it is a subsidiary point in a longer argument) the
counter-point to Tillyard that accompanied his long march through the
institutions. Before it gets completely lost in the discussion, let me
repeat an acknowledgement of another worthy work which has escaped
previous discussion of Tillyard on this thread, Robert Ornstein's 1972
'A Kingdom for a Stage," which as I mentioned in Mod Sh, anticipated
many of the key points of the critique of Tillyard of later cultural
materialists.

Rabkin's book is an interesting case; probably the major reason it
didn't get more attention in my narrative is that it discusses 'Henry V'
and so lay outside my main body of material for examples constituted by
the Henry IV pays. I am discussing it in a work in progress which
includes a chapter on Henry V, and I believe it can be classified with
several of the "pre-paradigm shift" works I discussed in connection with
'Timon of Athens (197-204)': it shows the impact of new Postmodernist
aesthetics (its embrace of a radical, no longer strictly New Critical
aesthetics of disjunction), but within the terms and categories of the
older critical paradigms.

Now what of A. P. Rossiter? I should think someone throwing stones like
Graham Bradshaw would be more careful in his reading before building the
glass house constituted by his claim that Rossiter's work is completely
ignored in my book. In fact it appears on p. 193, note 4, in a list of
"essentially repetitive, New Critically influenced readings of the Henry
IV plays in the post-war period." And of course that judgement explains
why I did not think Rossiter's work merited the attention which Bradshaw
claims for it. But of course I wasn't at Cambridge, where, according to
his own earlier account, "Rossiter's lectures in Cambridge and Stratford
were widely influential in the fifties, even before they were
posthumously collected...in 1961." I wrote as one whose acquaintance
with this work depended on the printed media, and I invite anyone to
repeat the procedure I used in editing the critical history of '1 and 2
Henry IV' for Gale Press back in the early 80s: read the critical works
from both sides of the Atlantic in chronological order, and see how
original Rossiter sounds if you had been reading works not on everyone's
lips in the Cambridge of the 50s, notably Brooks and Warren's classic
New Critical analysis of 1 Henry IV in their textbook 'Understanding
Drama' (1945). But alas, those of us not there when truth was dispensed
for all time seem always somehow to have gotten everything wrong.

Yours,
Hugh Grady

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Jan 1999 12:09:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Presentism
Comment:        SHK 10.0005  Re: Presentism

To Robin Headlam Wells:

Dear Robin,

I'm sorry to hear that you are depressed. It may come from poring over
Orwell, that guilt-racked imperialist and, it now appears, copper's
nark.  The self-congratulatory inaccuracies of '1984' can only be
lowering to radicals such as yourself. Why not try the true Prince of
Presentism, Pierre Menard?

Eadem Semper (as we presentists say),
T. Hawkes
 

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