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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1992  Friday, 27 September 2002

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 23:26:11 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1978 Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism

[2]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 17:12:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1978 Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 23:26:11 +0800
Subject: 13.1978 Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1978 Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism

Brian Willis concludes a very even-handed post by writing that

>What we should do is what Anna suggests Isabella does: pierce through
>seeming and appearances to get to the truth that lies underneath. Every
>critical approach offers interesting perspectives underneath their
>rhetoric, if we can be receptive enough to their viewpoints and see
>through their -and our - built-in filters. That approach is neither
>reductive nor irrelevant; it is expansive and exhilarating.

I think that most of us would wish to do this.  The objection to the
type of feminism which Swilley is objecting to (materialist feminism,
perhaps), and which Anna does not really personify, is that it insists
upon the ubiquity, even inescapability of our "built-in filters" and the
inaccessibility of universals of any kind.  It is impossible to "pierce
through seeming and appearances", while denying that there are higher
truths, refusing to regard the abstract language of philosophy as
anything but ideology, or insisting that there is nothing but "seeming
and appearances"; at least, it is impossible to do so in good faith.
Similarly, it is illogical to wish to appreciate women as human, while
abolishing the category of the human.  At least, to do so would be
hypocritical.

Yours,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 17:12:26 -0400
Subject: 13.1978 Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1978 Re: Isabella - and Feminist Criticism

From:           Anna Kamaralli 
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>Analysis of Isabella's position is a case in point. The many writers >who seem to think that it's a sign of sexual repression to refuse to be
>sexually blackmailed by a vicious lecher have obviously no experience >or understanding of the realities of sexual coercion.

While this is true enough (and these many writers generally make me feel
an intense desire to throw their books across the room), my mind yet
immediately leaps to:

   A distinguished modern scholar, writing of Perceval's association
   with some young woman in a castle, speaks of his 'asceticism'
   in not going to bed with her.  'Asceticism' is a grand word to
   use for a mere refusal of fornication.
        -- Charles Williams, "The Figure of Arthur"

Falsification and chastity alike are issues of some importance to both
sexes.  (And, if I have never been put in Isabella's position, I have at
least been cornered and avidly propositioned by a woman in whom I had no
interest whatever -- no life at stake, but at least considerable
embarrassment.)

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