Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Why Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1480  Wednesday, 13 June 2001

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 12 Aug 2001 12:51:00 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1452 Re: Why Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 09:22:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 23:28:28 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 12 Aug 2001 12:51:00 +0100
Subject: 12.1452 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1452 Re: Why Shakespeare

Sam Small wrote

> As every writer knows there is no such thing
> as a fictional character. All characters penned
> by such writers as Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare
> were amalgums of people they had met.

The charge of reductionism is often laid against cultural/textual
theories ending in "-ist" (especially feminist, Marxist, and
poststructuralist), which in the past Small has impugned in this forum.
However, it would be difficult to find an example of even the most
vulgar criticism from one of the "-ist" schools which could compete with
the childlike simplicity of the above model of artistic creation. But
we've already had this debate on SHAKSPER, and those possessing such an
attenuated sense of invention are extraordinarily difficult to disabuse.
It must suffice to point out a contradiction.

> Shakespeare was a more profound writer than Dostoyevsky
> because he saw the universal human conflict that operates in
> all ages, creeds, races, religions, classes and all manner of petty
> philosophies.

Since, as you claim, Shakespeare was able only to make amalgams of
people he had met (which theory we might dub 'neo-syncretism'), and
since his experience of "all . . . credes, races, [and] petty
philosophies" was impoverished by the absence of Scientologists,
Eskimos, and Fascists in early modern England, this leap from the
particular to the universal will take some explaining. The characters,
you assert, cannot be imaginative constructions ("there is no such thing
as a fictional character"), only versions of actual Elizabethans, yet
from their interaction arises a depiction of "the universal human
conflict". Are we understand that the persons Shakespeare met in early
modern England embodied all the conflicts which have ever, and could
ever, take place?

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 09:22:31 -0500
Subject: 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare

  Takashi Kozuka  writes,

>Is even Ariel an "amalgum (sic) of PEOPLE" Shakespeare "MET"? (emphasis
>added) Isn't an "amalgum" (sic) a "fictional character" by definition,
>if we mean "invented" by "fictional"?

Takashi: I have enjoyed many of your postings. But please don't assume
that typos in the texts of other postings are mistakes by their authors.
Strange things happen in the process of sending, receiving, and
re-sending. I have been startled at some of the things that have turned
up in my own postings when I am generally extremely cautious in editing
and proof-reading them.  (The problem, though, may not be in that but in
the simple lack of spell-checkers.)

Both the (sic) and the ironical quotation marks are likely to be taken
ill by the writer. I realize that when the misspelled word is central to
the point, one has a problem, but I still feel that the best policy is
to make the change to the correct form and assume that the incorrect one
was just a quirk of the transmission process.

Regards,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 23:28:28 +0100
Subject: 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare

I thank Karen Peterson-Kranz for her encouragement and hope that Wales
being nice to her.

Karen Peterson-Kranz writes:

If you find just one obscure writer who can demonstrate that s/he does
NOT build characters from life sources, and the argument collapses.

Refutation of my argument therefore, would be to cite this obscure
writer.  I suggest he cannot be found.  I suggest that even the
characters in Alice on Wonderland were based upon some of Carrol's
university chums and their children - and probably a lot of himself.
However, writers of a political persuasion, like Dostoyevsky create
characters to be the personified mouthpieces of a pet philosophy.  These
are not characters, merely talking tomes.

Takashi Kozuka writes:

I never thought that I would hear in Shakespeare/literary studies again
the phrase "the UNIVERSAL human conflict that operates in ALL ages,
creeds, races, religions, classes..." (emphasis added)

You heard it again, as you will not doubt hear it again in the future,
because it is true.  Shakespeare's work is about love, hate, betrayal,
sexual longing, jealousy, pride, life, death, power, corruption, revenge
- these are the things that curse and bless every culture and race on
earth.  Petty philosophies, on the other hand, flutter around like
autumn leaves; are admired briefly and then become the compost of the
year to come.

SAM

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.