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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: November ::
Re: Fops
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2069  Friday, 10 November 2000.

From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Nov 2000 15:08:17 -0500
Subject: 11.2055 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2055 Re: Fops

Sean Lawrence writes:

>We won't, in other words, ever be able to find much in common with a
>Sartrean cogito in literary characters.  We might, however, find that
>they have something in common with "others", with people approached in
>the second person.  The phenomenology of the literary character--like
>that of the Other--is not properly addressed using an egological
>phenomenology.

I'm a bit confused here: "as people approached in the second person"?
Does this mean that "I" have to call myself "he"?  Or, does this mean
that I -- "I" the one thing I am sure of -- have to approach other
people as if they aren't me?  If the second, I agree.  Sean Lawrence is
not Bill Godshalk -- lucky for Sean Lawrence!

And the way I understand or try to understand Sean Lawrence is the same
way I try to make sense of literary characters or historical figures.
But that does not mean that people, literary characters, and historical
figures should be lumped willy-nilly into the same ontological
category.  Let me quote Melville, Herman, that is: "Why, bless me, . .
.  how you fly out against this unfortunate Polonius --a being that
never was, nor will be."

Of course, it's not really Herman Melville.  It's really or perhaps
fictionally Frank Goodman (although even that's apparently a fiction
within the fiction).  But if historical figures and literary characters
have the same ontological status, how do we -- to crib from Yeats --
know the writer from the written?  How do we distinguish between going
to Paris and reading Henry James' The Ambassadors?  I'm pretty sure
there's a difference.

Yours,
Bill Godshalk
 

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