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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: October ::
Re: Fops
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1939  Friday, 13 October 2000.

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Oct 2000 11:40:07 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1927 Re: Fops

[2]     From:   Florence Amit <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Oct 2000 16:44:41 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1927 Re: Fops


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Oct 2000 11:40:07 -0500
Subject: 11.1927 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1927 Re: Fops

I will try one more time and then the heck with it.

Mr Godshalk writes:

>Well, actually, words on a page are not at all like human beings. We
>make believe that these words are human-like, and replicate human
>experience, but really they are marks on a page or on a screen. These
>marks are concrete only in the sense that they exist on the page or on
>the screen.  Furthermore, a painting of a dead duck is NOT a dead duck.

I am still baffled . Aside from the fact that I never said a still-life
of dead duck IS a dead duck, I wonder what he thinks the words on paper
(or spoken aloud) do. As I see it they create images in our minds, some
of them more or less concrete, others more abstract or relational.

Now I can't vouch for what happens in Mr. Godshalk's mind when he reads
literature, but in mine I see people doing and saying things. The words
on paper stimulate my imaginative faculty to create a picture (with
audio), just as daubs of paint on canvas do in a slightly different way
(without audio). You can, of course, get so close to a painting that you
see only the daubs of paint (and it's quite interesting to do so), but
it is evident that the artist's intent was for you to see the dead duck
not the daubs.

I know this because other people see the same dead duck or Madonna and
Child or vase of flowers that I do. They see them, and many of them love
them the way I do. And some of these people are moved to talk about a
given painting -- the color, line, technique, whatever -- much as if
they were talking about a real thing. Now they know and I know that
they're talking about a painting, not the real Virgin Mary or vase of
flowers. They know that the painting consists of daubs of paint, but
they also see the picture that the paint -- almost miraculously --
creates in the mind, especially when it is supplied by an artist of
genius

The reason, I take it, for the existence of this list is that a large
number of people are impelled to talk about what a bunch of words on
paper, penned by Elizabethan actor, does to their imaginations. The
words themselves are of considerable interest, no question. But it is
the effect they have on the imagination that drags us back to them over
and over -- in our discussions, our writing, our teaching, whatever.

I don't know of a better description of the process than Johnson's, in
defending Shakespeare from the condemnations of French Neo-Classical
critics: "It will be asked, how the drama moves, if it is not credited.
It is credited with all the credit due to a drama. It is credited,
whenever it moves, as a just picture of a real original; as representing
to the auditor what he would himself feel, if he were to do or suffer
what is there feigned to be suffered or to be done. The reflection that
strikes the heart is not, that the evils before us are real evils, but
that they are evils to which we ourselves may be exposed. If there be
any fallacy, it is not that we fancy the players, but that we fancy
ourselves unhappy for a moment; but we rather lament the possibility
than suppose the presence of misery, as a mother weeps over her babe,
when she remembers that death may take it from her. The delight of
tragedy proceeds from our consciousness of fiction; if we thought
murders and treasons real, they would please no more."

(Wouldn't it be nice to write that well?)

Regards,
don bloom

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Florence Amit <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Oct 2000 16:44:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 11.1927 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1927 Re: Fops

I hope you will excuse me for intruding into this interesting
discussion.

Prof. Godshalk's reservations are understandable. A student of
literature, especially if young and impressionable like, say, Emma
Bovary may escape into fantastic Shangri-Las, if not adequately warned
about the "words".  But having been warned many times, I still feel more
in agreement with Don Bloom's view of art and though spell bound I may
sometimes become, it is out of respect for the artist's craftsmanship
and vision that I believe that he can transcend his medium. Art is more
purposeful and enduring than the accidental events of life. It is not by
chance that the great religions, psychology and all that deepens the
thoughts of our species have largely been first discovered in art.

So although it seems silly to carry on the fictional life of a character
beyond what has been laid out for him, yet if the character is well
wrought one can suppose how he may behave even without words.

By the way I did try to send a posting to this thread before. I wrote
among other things that Osrick in Hebrew is Os -bravery and rick- empty.

Florence Amit
 

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