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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Desdemona
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2156  Wednesday, 30 October 2002

[1]     From:   Haddon Judson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 10:24:06 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2146 Re: Desdemona

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 14:46:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2137 Re: Desdemona


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Haddon Judson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 10:24:06 -0500
Subject: 13.2146 Re: Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2146 Re: Desdemona

Dear Frank Whigham,

I apologize for not being more clear.  Regardless of how parents
personally felt about their children, with the exception of the
privileged, children were the property of others not themselves.  The
child's feelings, wishes and wants generally were not taken into account
with the wants of their elders or others in power.  Equating Desdemona's
childhood with our so called modern experience is not as simple as
equating college to marriage for power or wealth, etc.

Thank you,
Haddon Judson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 14:46:30 -0400
Subject: 13.2137 Re: Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2137 Re: Desdemona

Dear Stuart Manger,

You could start by discouraging your 16-year-olds from reducing one form
of discourse to another. Indeed, you could ask them to consider why, in
matters like this, they are usually urged, often by Cultural
Materialists, to reach so confidently for the wrong end of the stick.
'Othello' is not much concerned with political discussions.  As with
most of Shakespeare's plays, if you impose that sort of requirement, you
risk turning it into the sort of Oprah episode that our society seems
anxious to endorse. In truth, the play operates far more effectively in
an ethical, existential, or, to use Cavell's term, 'philosophical' mode.
Tell them, since no-one else will, that art isn't inevitably, nor has it
always been, concerned with chatter about 'politics', 'race' and (dread
word) 'subversion', however much 60 year-olds would like it (and
everything else) to be. Othello is about much more important matters
such as ethical and existential dilemmas, the construction and
dissolution, at times of intense pressure, of notions of self,
personhood, and character.  You might even ask them to ponder why their
education wants to inhibit their thinking about such things. Then duck.

Yours,
Sean Lawrence.

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