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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: Othello
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1711  Sunday, 8 July 2001

[1]     From:   Graham Bradshaw <
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        Date:   Saturday, 7 Jul 2001 00:58:51 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1703 Othello

[2]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Jul 2001 12:50:01 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1703 Othello


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Bradshaw <
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Date:           Saturday, 7 Jul 2001 00:58:51 +0900
Subject: 12.1703 Othello
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1703 Othello

Eleni Pilla writes, inviting help:

"I am writing a survey of Othello Criticism and I am unsure as to
whether to classify Virginia Mason Vaughan's invaluable Othello: A
Contextual History under New Historicist readings of Othello or to
categorize it under a different heading, that of Contextual Criticism of
Othello."

Good question. It made me wonder what on earth "New Historicist"
criticism is, or could be, if it isn't "Contextual". I'm sorry I can't
help.

Maybe some other, less taxonomic kind of distinction would help. For
example, most of what we call criticism is interpretation, but isn't
there a difference? If there is a difference, is it critical or
interpretative?

And

which would be less "invaluable"?

Since I can't help, let me compensate by quoting the Best Sentence I
know on Contextual Criticism, while inviting fellow-SHAKSPERIANS to
remember or guess which critic wrote it, and when. (As God says to
sinners: Scroll Down for the Answer.)

    'Context', as something determinate, is, and can be, nothing but
    [the literary historian's] postulate; the wider he goes in his
ambition
    to construct it from his reading in the period, the more it is his
    construction (in so far as he produces anything more than a mass of
    heterogeneous information alleged to be relevant).

Collegially, terminally,
Graham Bradshaw

F.R. Leavis, "The Responsible Critic: Or the Function of Criticism at
Any Time", 1953.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Jul 2001 12:50:01 -0400
Subject: 12.1703 Othello
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1703 Othello

Why don't you email her and ask her?

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