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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Why Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1316  Friday, 1 June 2001

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 18:08:12 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1272 Re: Why Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 19:20:46 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1292 Re: Why Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 18:08:12 +0100
Subject: 12.1272 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1272 Re: Why Shakespeare

Sam Small wrote

> My point is general rather than particular, and, being no expert
> on miss Greer's career writing I would obviously get details
> about her wrong.

Details such as her title. If you're going to use one, 'Professor' Greer
would be correct. (To clarify because it isn't the case everywhere:
where Greer works only the most senior academics have this title.)

> My general thrust, which I believe to be sound, is that an
> adherent of any particular political credo or religious
> philosophy would not write a play where the cherished
> school of thought is proved wrong/bad/indefensible/
> immoral/stupid.

A 'credo' is a position of faith and thus should be associated with
religion (not politics as you have it) and likewise philosophy's
dependence on hard thinking makes it more properly connected with
politics than religion.

As to Sam's thrust: Dostoyevsky, surely, gives the anti-Christians the
better arguments despite his adherence to that religion. Witness the
debate between Alyosha (a would-be priest) and his brother Ivan (a
soldier) in chapter 4 of The Brothers Karamazov. A crucial moment is
Ivan's question:

"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object
of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but
that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny
creature-that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance- and
to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be
the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."

"No, I wouldn't consent," said Alyosha softly.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 19:20:46 -0700
Subject: 12.1292 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1292 Re: Why Shakespeare

>As a student of literature
>himself, he knew the power of obscurity of meaning to attract close
>reading, and he took every opportunity to exploit that power.
>
>I don't buy the Toaist Shakespeare for a minute.  He makes it quite
>clear in the sonnets how highly he values the eternal fame that only
>literature can provide, and nowhere as in the sonnets does he exploit
>the instrument of obscurity so thoroughly.  The uninterest in
>publication of one's works was a conventional pose of the literary
>culture of the period.  While the disclaimers of some: (I didn't intend
>to publish this, but the double dealings of unscrupulous printers forced
>my hand) are transparent, Shakespeare the master dramatist played his
>part so convincingly that it is commonly accepted today that the author
>who wrote Not marble, nor the gilded monuments of princes shall oulive
>this powerful rhyme, couldn't care less if his sonnets or Hamlet was
>ever published.

I don't think Clifford intended it this way, but this is probably the
best argument I've heard for the notion that WS didn't actually write
the plays himself...someone more educated who didn't want to be found
publishing his own stuff had it done under Will's name!

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