2000

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0098  Monday, 17 January 2000.

[1]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 15 Jan 2000 18:38:17 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[2]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 15 Jan 2000 19:38:59 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[3]     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 16 Jan 2000 12:20:08 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[4]     From:   Abdulla Al-Dabbagh <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 16 Jan 2000 23:49:23 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 15 Jan 2000 18:38:17 -0600
Subject: 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Karen Peterson Kranz writes:

>Returning to Marx, we need not "like" all of his ideas, but >we had
>better understand them...if for no other reason than >because
>Marxist-inspired critical models remain highly influential in >literary
>studies.  We may not want to live in a Marxist society, >but we can use
>Marx's analytical methods to produce remarkably >interesting criticism
>(see Dollimore, Belsey, Sinfield, and the rest of the >cultural
>materialists).

Thank you for your rejoinder, Karen; I didn't mean to imply a
simple-minded or "know-nothing" approach to scholarship.  I simply meant
to say that I did not follow the current trend in scholarship of using
Marxist approaches to literature as the basis for studying 16th century
literature.  Frankly, as a graduate student in the 70's, I was sickened
by the falsity of such intellectual "games" as Marx was not a factor in
Shakespeare's time or life, and, having some personal background in
using the Scriptures as a guide for life, took Hamlet's intolerance of
"equivocation" as a guide for life and left Marx out of my intellectual
life altogether.  This approach certainly has not earned me tenure or
academic friends, but I think it has given me a depth of understanding
of Shakespeare and his problems that a study of Marx would have denied
me.

I don't know why I "better understand" Marx to have an understanding of
Shakespeare.  Maybe Marxist criticism does illumine some of Shakespeare,
but I have not been very convinced by what I have read.  If I like an
insight from a Marxist critic, fine.  I'll just put in my intellectual
scenario and still leave Marx out.  My weltanschauung is Biblical and
religious and not likely to change.

Judy Craig

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 15 Jan 2000 19:38:59 -0600
Subject: 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Clifford Stetner writes:

<Why do you assume that her use of biblical terms is any <less expedient
<or propagandistic than her description in terms of pagan <Athena?

Her spirit in inspiring men to fight a superior force was not derived
from reading Classical literature.  She does not refer to the Trojan War
or to herself as Pallas Athena.  The comparison to Pallas Athena was
made by an observer.  After all the English were terrified by the
threatened invasion and expected to be wiped out.   All they had for a
ruler was a woman and no one knew what to expect.

The whole spirit of the Bible is antithetical to tyranny and injustice;
as you say, the reference to the Psalms in the passage I quoted on the
internet is inexact, but her other writings are permeated with such
references.  In the passage I quoted, she is putting herself on the line
not as an ornament for "disport," to be carried in progresses to castles
for pleasure, but as a warrior prepared to fight for her beliefs, her
country and her subjects.

Apparently she was inspiring, not because she had used techniques of
propaganda which usually result in cynicism and lethargy in the
auditors, but because she actually effected in the real world a spirit
of resistance and courage in the face of approaching threat.  After all,
she is still remembered as one of the greatest English monarchs-largely
because of this kind of "spunk."

Frankly, I do not understand where you are coming from in quoting the
passage from The Jew of Malta as evidence "that the pursuit of wealth
was despised by Marlowe and his audience as fit only for evil Jews"  You
are putting words in my mouth.  How could a passage written by Marlowe
surely, but put in the mouth of a character he creates be "evidence that
Marlowe saw his own time as one in which not one was honored 'but for
his wealth?'" Surely you are not ascribing Marlowe's thoughts to a
character he creates-he may have thought it momentarily to put it in the
mouth of a character he creates, but is it his whole thought or his
final thought?

I don't doubt that Shakespeare or Marlowe saw evils in Christian
society; however, I really don't understand why you should think that I
think that "Barabas opposes the valorization of capitalist wealth to
that of Christian poverty."  I don't understand this sentence at all.  I
think what Barabas is saying is that in this society men are honored for
their wealth solely and that in such a sick society, he would rather be
hated as a happy, wealthy man that be pitied as a poor Christian, whom
he, as a Jew hates for their "malice, falsehood, and excessive pride."
These are faults in any man, surely, and adopting the Christian religion
does not make them go away.

My view of Shakespeare is that his family situation-forced out of
Stratford as a cuckold to make his living with his own talent-gave him a
insight into the hardness of life that many contented, self-satisfied,
and hypocritical Christians did not have. These are the Christians who
are full of "malice, falsehood, and excessive pride."  He, I think, did
not abandon his Christian ethics:  he just got shrewder about them.  I
agree with you that he did not "aspire to be one of Wycliff's poor
priests" but as Christ says, "in my Father's house, there are many
mansions."  Not everyone is alike, and I think Shakespeare's ambition
led him to aspire to be a great poet.  He was certainly not born with
money, and monetary success came his way because of his talent,
industry, and shrewdness.  Again I do not understand, how "money was the
means available" to make "Elizabethan literati," as you say, successful.

Judy Craig

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 16 Jan 2000 12:20:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Karen Peterson-Kranz is right. Jan Kott has pointed out that whilst the
influence of Shakespeare on Marx is clear, the influence of Marx on
Shakespeare is crucial.

T. Hawkes

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abdulla Al-Dabbagh <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 16 Jan 2000 23:49:23 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0084 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

>Actually, Marx's famous dictum explains religion away-
>which is to say, fails to explain it.  Or rather, it explains religion
>in the strictly materialist terms with which Marx liked to explain
>everything.  This is fundamentally to remove religion, in its ordinary,
>anti-materialist sense, from the picture altogether

I hate to interfere here, but I wouldn't agree that Marx, or his famous
dictum, "explains religion away".  The debate brought back to mind
immediately that one to two hundred page volume of essays, entitled ON
RELIGION, which I read back in my undergraduate years when I had my dip
into Marx. It contains such classics as the well-known essay "On the
Jewish Question". I never thought that Marx's remarks on Religion were
unduly "materialistic". On the contrary, they seemd to me to veer more
on the psychological side. Of course, here, as in most other places,
Marx himself was never a "vulgar marxist" or a one-sided reductionist.
That famous passage that ends with the 'famous dictum', "it is the opium
of the people", as I recall, strongly emphasized the subjective role of
religion as a kind of alleviation for pain and suffering (brought about
most prominently perhaps by the misery of human social conditions). In
that same passage, Marx describes religion as "the sigh of the
oppressed". For one who devoted his life, presumably, to understanding
those conditions of misery and oppression, religion would not be
something to be explained away.

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