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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Critics Who Hate Adaptations
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1050  Tuesday, 16 April 2002

[1]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 2002 14:15:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1041 Critics Who Hate Adaptations

[2]     From:   Erica Hateley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Apr 2002 10:47:03 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1041 Critics Who Hate Adaptations


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 2002 14:15:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 13.1041 Critics Who Hate Adaptations?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1041 Critics Who Hate Adaptations?

If you can wait a week or two, check out the response to my paper
on-line, entitled, "Hamlet, Thou art Translated!  An Argument for
Shakespeare in Modern Poetic English" -- that ought to draw out the
swords, rest assured.

Andy White

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Erica Hateley <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Apr 2002 10:47:03 +1000
Subject: 13.1041 Critics Who Hate Adaptations?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1041 Critics Who Hate Adaptations?

> I've been asked a question, via my website, that perhaps SHAKSPEReans
> will be able to help with.
>
> Can anybody give me the names of one or more "living Shakespeare
> scholar[s] of a conservative nature, ... not totally in favour of
> adapting Shakespeare's work"?  I have a feeling

At the risk of taking us off into a side-track, I would tentatively
suggest Harold Bloom. In "Invention of the Human" he comments:

"What does not work, pragmatically, is any critical or theoretical
fashion that attempts to assimilate Shakespeare to contexts, whether
historical or here-and-now. Demystification is a weak technique to
exercise upon the one writer who truly seems to become himself only by
representing other selves." 10/11

It seems to me that this assessment could easily be applied to the act
of updating or adaptation. There are also critics like Marianne Novy,
who ostensibly value appropriations of Shakespeare, but demand an overt
and specific political goal to perform 'legitimate' appropriations,
which strikes me as an alternate form of conservatism. Her introduction
to "Transforming Shakespeare: Contemporary Women's Re-Visions in
Literature and Performance" included the following:

"Not every allusion to Shakespeare, of course, is significant enough to
make a work a rewriting; nor is every rewriting a significant enough
variant of Shakespeare's perspective to be considered a transformation.
The comparison of a female suspect to Lady Macbeth for example...simply
enlists Shakespeare as "authority on motivation." This practice is the
opposite to the way most of the works in [Transforming Shakespeare]
question received interpretations of Shakespeare and challenge his
authority."

I suspect some may disagree with me on what I am arguing as Novy's
covert conservatism, but I believe Richard Burt alludes to a similar
trend in recent criticisms of appropriation in the introduction to
"Shakespeare After Mass-Media":

"What critics implicitly tend to cordon off from legitimate academic
study is a field of Shakespeare citations and replays that threatens the
coherence of their critical practice. That coherence depends on a firm
boundary being in a place between Shakespeare adaptations and citations
that can be regarded as dialogical or hermeneutic and those that are
postdialogical and posthermeneutic. Whereas the former can be assigned a
meaning and hence be read as political or protopolitical, the latter do
n

I have probably completely failed to answer the initial query, but there
are many interesting aspects to the initial question which I believe
move far beyond "name the critic".

Cheers,
Erica

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