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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0518  Monday, 17 March 2003

From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Sunday, 16 Mar 2003 12:31:10 -0800
Subject:        Models

David Lindley and other listmembers offer a specific model for thinking
about Professors of Literature.  We are not to conceive of them as
people who seek out, assess and expound the best that has been known and
created, but rather as pseudo-archaeologists devoid of such concerns who
write up any cultural "material" they happen to find.  These issues
deserve a thread of their own.  I would like to inaugurate it by noting
that Professor Lindley did not, in fact, write a book about any
theatrical productions that swam into his ken:  he wrote a book about
productions of Shakespeare.  For all their professed freedom from
aesthetic and canonical standards, these would-be cultural neutrons are
often terribly anxious to hitch their wagons to work of established
excellence and authority.  Perhaps they fear that without such a nexus
their projects could lay no claim to legitimacy and value.  (And perhaps
they need to justify themselves before a public that expects its
children to receive a decent education from credible scholars).  My
point, of course, is that the same standards which lead them to
Shakespeare should be carried through to all of their procedures and
methodologies, and that in the realm of artistic achievement the
archaeological model is not only worthless but pernicious.  "The study
of mediocrity, whatever its origins, breeds mediocrity."

--Charles Weinstein

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Hardy M. Cook, 
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