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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Black Rosalind
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0994  Tuesday, 1 May 2001

[1]     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Apr 2001 14:48:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0979 Re: Black Rosalind

[2]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Apr 2001 12:52:33 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0979 Re: Black Rosalind


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Apr 2001 14:48:23 -0400
Subject: 12.0979 Re: Black Rosalind
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0979 Re: Black Rosalind

The tone of this discussion is starting to produce more heat than light.
Ease up, colleagues and let's stay collegial.

Mary Jane

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Apr 2001 12:52:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.0979 Re: Black Rosalind
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0979 Re: Black Rosalind

To Judith Craig:

In the context of your most recent posting to SHAKSPER, perhaps it would
be useful to consider Foucault's essay, "What Is An Author?" (1969),
which -- together with Barthes's essay, "The Death of the Author" (1977)
-- ushered in the recent phase in English studies in which we can no
longer unproblematically assume that we know an author's intent.

As I understand the implications of Foucault for our particular racket
-- and I realize that this is a vast simplification -- he is saying that
it is impossible for us to know what was in Shakespeare's mind 400 years
ago.  I do not understand why that is such a difficult concept to wrap
our minds around.  He is attempting to address a contradiction inherent
in New Criticism: on the one hand, the author disappears from
significance; on the other, the authority of the author is invoked by
the critic to validate the critic's readings.  The implications of his
deliberations regarding the "author-function" would seem to be that we
must own up to our responsibility for and complicity in the
Shakespeare(s) which we construct -- whether racist, postcolonial,
sexist, feminist, homophobic, GLBT, etc. -- rather than invoking the
authority of the author to validate our own ideologies.  That does mean
that there are multiple, valid readings of a particular text which are
possible, but that does not mean that "anything goes."

While I do not wish to perpetuate binary oppositions, I do not
understand why, even among academics, it is "the left" that is always
constructed as "ideological," as John Drakakis recently noted in another
context, while "the right" is never constructed in this way.

Regards,
Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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