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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0138  Tuesday, 28 January 2003

[1]     From:   Karyn White <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 2003 22:08:23 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 2003 08:32:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[3]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 2003 20:16:12 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karyn White <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 2003 22:08:23 +0900
Subject: 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

The top five critical texts for me would have to be (in no particular
order):

"Northrop Frye on Shakespeare" by Frye

"The Meaning of Shakespeare" by Harold Goddard

"Comic Women, Tragic Men" by Linda Bamber

"Shakespeare's Early Tragedies" edited by Mark Rose

"Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human" by Harold Bloom (my guilty
pleasure; I know well he is not considered a Shakespearean, but he is
fun nonetheless)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 2003 08:32:45 -0500
Subject: 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

John-Paul Spiro <
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 > writes,

>Bill Arnold may want to get discussion going so that some
>Anti-Stratfordians read it and think, "Hmm, maybe I'm wrong about my
>crackpot theory--maybe this Stratford guy just read a few books and
>that's how he knew the same things that we think the Earl of Oxford
>knew," but I sincerely doubt it.

Well, he can take it to news:humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare, where
the anti-Strats come from, but I agree that it won't be of much help.

>That said, on to something more fun and productive.  I'd like to know
>everyone's personal Top 5 Works of Shakespeare Criticism/Scholarship.
>I'm not asking for what you think is "essential" or "the best"--I want
>to know what secondary texts have been most helpful and meaningful to
>you personally.  Be as idiosyncratic as you can--the idea here is to
>inspire other people on the list to check out a work of
>criticism/scholarship that maybe they've ignored or haven't heard of.

Charles Williams' "The English Poetic Mind" and, frankly, "Asimov's
Guide to Shakespeare" come first.  Behind them, I should put three works
not specifically addressing Shakespeare, but more general aesthetic
theory:  Dorothy L. Sayers' "The Mind of the Maker", C. S. Lewis's "An
Experiment in Criticism" (his "The Discarded Image" is also useful), and
Walter Kerr's "How Not to Write a Play".

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 2003 08:32:45 -0500
Subject: 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

John-Paul Spiro writes, "Shakespeare's use of source material and
reference works is a major area of Shakespeare studies and has been for
a long time.  Any Anti-Stratfordian who argues that Shakespeare couldn't
have written his own plays because he didn't have the requisite
knowledge and experience obviously doesn't understand the value of a
library."  Then he supplies a couple qualifiers, noted, but not quoted.

In the same mode, I would add that this thread is, as I said, quite far
beyond the Marlovians, Oxfordians and the Baconians.  I did actually
raise the mystical specter of "Truth."  Now, truth in scholarship has
gotten a bad rap of late because of many reasons, most of which I will
not entertain in my remarks.  But I will conclude on the notion, that
reasonable dialogue about the truth of facts, and then reasonable
conclusions based on those facts can add to our store of knowledge.  I
do believe that logic is a reasonable part of scholarship, and
conclusions can be as sound as facts, if logically derived.

If the list recalls, this thread came about because of a FRONTLINE TV
show about Will Shakespeare and the world of readers who get their views
from such fare, and who do not read the scholarly texts.  So I find that
reasonable dialogue about Shakespeare and Research is always in order to
the broad based membership of SHAKSPER who then filter the knowledge out
to the masses.  I have no hopes whatsoever of changing the minds of
Marlovians, Oxfordians and Baconians; after all, they are into their
flag-waving theories and they ignore known facts and trump up minor
details into major statements.  We also call such tactics the creation
of half-truths, and we all know or should know that half-truths never
make up Truth.  And as nebulous as Truth is, in the abstract, we all
seek it in scholarship.  At least I do.

Therefore, I appreciate input to SHAKSPER on Will Shakespeare and
Research as enlightening, informative, and relevant to the goals of the
message board as I understand it.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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