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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: August ::
Re: Marx and Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1511  Tuesday, 15 August 2000.

[1]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Monday, 14 Aug 2000 09:46:38 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare

[2]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Monday, 14 Aug 2000 16:16:17 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Sophie Masson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Aug 2000 09:04:30 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Monday, 14 Aug 2000 09:46:38 -0400
Subject: 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare

Re: Marx and Shakespeare

Isn't some of the confusion based on different meanings of the
multivalent term "ideology"? John Drakakis is using it in the
post-Althusserian sense nearer in meaning to anthropological "culture"
than more traditional usages of the term. In this set of meanings
ideology encompasses unspoken or unconscious assumptions linked with
material practices, whereas Ed Taft and Bill Gottshalk are using it in
the American social-science sense (e. g.  Daniel Bell's "The End of
Ideology") as a set of ideas functioning as a (secular) philosophy,
worldview, etc., often "opposed" to art--and I think rightly so, since
ideology in that sense is a development of the Enlightenment which was
the dialectic Other of the ideas of art and the aesthetic that came
about in the same epochal differentiations--see Raymond Williams and
Adorno on this.

One issue is whether art can be "extra"-ideological--that is,
independent of the various material interests influencing
consciousness--something Althusser originally asserted but which has
been a problem for the various post-Althusserian developments.  I'm
wondering what John Drakakis's thinking is on this issue now. David
Hawkes primer "Ideology," among several others, works through much of
this material on the many meanings and problems of notions of ideology.

Is art ideology? Depends on what you mean by ideology.

Best,
Hugh Grady

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Monday, 14 Aug 2000 16:16:17 +0100
Subject: 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare

I think, Jeff Myers, that you'll be banished to the Gulag with Godshalk
and myself if you're not careful!

May I, however, be allowed to express my bafflement at Ed Taft's
comments. If I understand him correctly he is saying that
(a) art 'contains' ideology
(b) art can take up a point of view
(c) ideology is a point of view
(d) therefore ideology is art.

It's one way of reasoning, I suppose, but it doesn't make very much
sense to me, I'm afraid. Ideology is not an object but a 'practice'.
You can either think of it as a set of consciously held ideas ( a
conservative and reactionary interpretation that inscribes intention
into the process and reinforces the notion of a transcendent
individualism) or it is what mediates 'reality' and is therefore active
in its construction and in the process of self-recognition. In this
second interpretation ideology is cognitive and cannot easily be reduced
to the classical Marxist notion of 'false consciousness'. I needn't
rehearse what all this means by way of application to a writer such as
Shakespeare.

2. If Ed Taft thinks that 'biology' can encode the capacity for 'free
will' then he really doesn't understand how 'culture' works. He'll be
telling us next (what Francis Fukuyama attempted to do) that liberal
humanism is the terminus ad quem of the human species, and that the
entire universe longs for the 'freedoms' enshrined in the American
constitution!  Biological determinism means that the organism is
involuntarily subject to its own physical impulses. Once you have got
over the 'biological' capacity for language, where do you go from there?
Can we explain meanings, readings, interpretations by simple reference
to biology? I think not.

3. I'm not a beaver (in any sense of the word) so I have no idea of what
goes on when a beaver builds a dam!  Like Congreve, however, I have
never been able to look at a monkey without feeling some degree of
mortification!

From the Gulag,
John Drakakis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Aug 2000 09:04:30 +1000
Subject: 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1500 Re: Marx and Shakespeare

From Ed Taft:

>Sophie Masson may offer a clue in her last e-mail on this subject.
>If I remember right, she espouses a position similar to that of T.S.
>Eliot, who argued that the artistic process "is a continual extinction
>of personality."  If so, then art is both impersonal and even-handed;
>thus, it is somehow BEYOND ideology. At least, that what I understood
>Sophie to say.

From Sophie Masson:

Yes, that's right: I didn't know that quote of Eliot's, but it fits the
bill perfectly, if we take personality to mean ego. I think that
Shakespeare's work is a perfect example of this.

Sophie
 

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