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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: December ::
Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2424  Tuesday, 17 December 2002

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Dec 2002 13:52:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play

[2]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Dec 2002 11:00:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play

[3]     From:   Tom Hodges <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Dec 2002 13:38:42 -0600
        Subj:   SHK 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play

[4]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Dec 2002 17:04:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play

[5]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Dec 2002 21:19:50 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2412  Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play

[6]     From:   Matthew Baynham <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Dec 2002 10:19:57 -0000
        Subj:   Cordelia

[7]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Dec 2002 11:48:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Dec 2002 13:52:09 -0400
Subject: 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2412 Re: Cordelia and Listening to the Play

Terence offers the following as a counter-example to character
criticism:

>But in so far as division, the deliberate subversion of 'nationhood' by
>the regular imposition of crass partitions crudely sketched on maps, has
>become a central aspect of the alienating politics of our time, then the
>play addresses our world in deeply discomfortable terms each time the
>character called Lear utters those lines.

But he *does* utter those lines.  Their importance, indeed their very
meaning, can be read only within the context of a certain character and
his needs or aspirations.  Why does the character Lear see the state as
divisible, especially when other characters, products of the same
historical society and inhabitants of the same fictional world, do not?
What makes him determined to see the state as a personal possession?
Could this be related to his determination to treat love also as a
possession? Could whatever insight an answer might provide into property
and possession, into how even the most abstract function of knowledge
and appropriation starts in the grasp, also have importance for current
political events?  Could it have importance even without being granted
meaning by a more or less liturgical gesture towards current political
events?  Could it even say something about our being-in-the-world, or
our responsibility to one another, which would be true regardless of
political context?

Moreover, it is not in the least bit clear what the "play" is saying
which is so discomfiting.  That all divisions are arbitrary (in which
case, there's no reason not to draw new ones wherever we fancy)?  That
nations are indivisible (in which case, all separatist movements must be
ruthlessly stamped out)?  Your reading seems to reduce the play to
something trotted out as a false analogy on a political talk-show, which
is, I suppose, better than Jerry Springer.  Or, I suppose, it just
peters out in vagueness and clich

 

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