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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Re: Shakespeare as Bible
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1359  Thursday, 6 July 2000.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 09:11:53 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare as Bible

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 11:51:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1335 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

[3]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 09:33:53 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 11.1351 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

[4]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Jul 2000 14:10:02 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1351 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 11:26:51 PDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1335 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

[6]     From:   Philip Tomposki <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Jul 2000 16:16:10 EDT
        Subj:   Shakespeare As Bible


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 09:11:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare as Bible

Cliff:

Ian Munro is innocent (again!)!  The statement about the Bible to which
you refer was written by Terence Hawkes!  As scholars, we must get our
attributions right!

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 11:51:23 -0400
Subject: 11.1335 Re: Shakespeare as Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1335 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

> Shakespeare seems to transcend such topical concerns: as productions
> like _West Side Story_ and _Kiss Me Kate_ and Ellis Rabb's _Hamlet_ (et
> al.) demonstrate

Could you tell me about Rabb's Hamlet?  Or refer me to sources where it
or other work of Rabb's is discussed?  I saw Rabb perform with Yellow
Springs Shakespeare when I was a kid: an indelible experience.  I would
enjoy the opportunity to see more of his artistry, if only with my
mind's eye.

Geralyn Horton, Playwright
Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 09:33:53 -0700
Subject: Re: Shakespeare as Bible
Comment:        SHK 11.1351 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

Re: Professor Egan's assertion that there is wife beating in
Shakespeare's Shrew, I'll stake my reputation that no blow to Kate is
mentioned in the stage directions or implied in the dialogue.  Of
course, I ought to stake something of value...

There are, however, references to Petruchio as a notorious beater of
Kate in Fletcher's gawdawful sequel.  In light of that, I can't swear
Petruchio didn't strike Kate when Shakespeare's play was staged, only
that it is not in the script.

Kate does hit Petruchio once.  He does deprive her of food and sleep,
but interestingly deprives himself of both as well.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Wednesday, 5 Jul 2000 14:10:02 EDT
Subject: 11.1351 Re: Shakespeare as Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1351 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the thread of this argument but isn't any
novel/poem/narrative of any more depth than can be simply explained (I
mean a text of some exegetical /hermeneutic complexity) going to rival
all the kinds of things you say about Shakespeare (or I have I veered
back to the Shakespeare for all ages argument vs. the Milton the snob
argument)?

Having just gone through a phase of reading what I consider to be the
'big' 'new' American authors (Pynchon, Gaddis, Bellow, Mailer(?)) I just
wonder whether for the modern age of the supererogated info-highway
there's not more in those authors than you'll ever find in the bard? The
size of ambition and learning in Pynchon's first novel alone could keep
critical arguments about race, narrative, truth, religion and sexuality
going for a thousand years.

Of course if we add the other 'big' European authors to the list (as
Bloom tried to avoid) you'll be reading to the end of your lives and
still never be either convinced by or convincing to the younger
generation of readers. (And here I dare not mention the catalogue of new
African / Asian writing which also engages with the idea of diachronic
and cross-behavioural textual analysis.

Just a thought.

Marcus.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 11:26:51 PDT
Subject: 11.1335 Re: Shakespeare as Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1335 Re: Shakespeare as Bible

Carol Barton makes what she thinks is a "risky statement"

>If Shakespeare had not written _Lear_, _Hamlet_, _Macbeth_, and
>_Merchant of Venice_ and _R&J_ and _Taming of THE Shrew_, we might not
>pay as much attention to _The Tempest_ and _MSN_ and _As You Like It_
>and _Troilus_ and _Coriolanus_  and _Timon_

I think this is a rather obvious point -- but not without interest --
and not at all risky.  I have long pondered the question of when in his
career Shakespeare became *SHAKESPEARE* the Olympian figure towering
like a colossus over the whole of world literature.

It seems likely that if WS had died after 1-3HVI, RIII, C/E, TGV, T/S,
LLL and Titus, he would have been noted in undergraduate courses as a
promising disciple of the great Marlowe and a possible forerunner of
Jonson.  At the other end, WS's place in the firmament would be just as
sure if he had not collaborated with Fletcher on HVIII and TNK.  Where
in between can we say that we can safely lose the rest of the plays
without diminishing the Bard?  Do we need the final romances?  Surely we
can so without Timon; but what about Coriolanus?  Or A&C for that
matter?  If WS stopped after Lear and didn't write Macbeth, would it
matter?
[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Tomposki <
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Date:           Wednesday, 5 Jul 2000 16:16:10 EDT
Subject:        Shakespeare As Bible

Brevity may be the sole of wit, but apparently it can also be the source
of much confusion.  In my effort to be succinct, I seemed to have
confused some of the people who read my posting.

Clifford Stetner was so confused that he misidentified its author.  It
wasn't Ian Munro pontificating, Clifford, it was me.  And yes, I do
accept that the Bible has many authors and points of view.  This was
what I meant when I said the Bible was more complex and contradictory
than most readers understand.  My point was that the authors all share
the same fundamental beliefs and the Bible's "editors" tried to present
a consistent dogma, whether or not they succeeded.  Therefore, a person
of faith, even one who appreciates these inconsistencies can use
Scripture as a foundation to his or her belief system and way of life.

I perhaps could have avoided misleading Florence Amit had I clarified
that by education I meant more than schooling.  Rather I was referring
to such factors as life experience, the influence of friends and
associates, conventional wisdom, schooling, etc.   I don't think it is
too much to suggest that this "education" has an effect on one's outlook
and understanding.  Homer wrote powerful poetry despite his lack of an
academic degree, but that poetry glorified war and accepted the
treatment of women as sexual chattel.  Shakespeare didn't need a PHD in
drama to create great plays, but those plays contain racist, sexist and
bigoted viewpoints.  Viewpoints which 'by today's standards' are
regarded as abhorrent.

Shakespeare was a professional actor and playwright who wrote to provide
himself and his family with a reasonable affluent lifestyle.  He did not
assume the moral authority of scripture, and probably would have
rejected, with a hearty laugh, any such pretensions.  He puts words into
the mouths of his characters that express their beliefs and motivations,
not his own.  Conflict being the soul of drama, these beliefs and
motivations are inconsistent and contradictory.  His genius was
describing, with great beauty, how humans DO behave.  This is called
art.  Religion tries to explain how we SHOULD behave, and why.  We do a
great disservice to both when we confuse them.
 

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