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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0928  Tuesday, 13 May 2003

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opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

[1]     From:   Claude Casper <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 10:21:02 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 10:18:19 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

[3]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 14:28:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 16:00:22 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

[5]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 May 2003 08:28:11 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Casper <
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Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 10:21:02 -0400
Subject: 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

Cliff Stetner writes:

>>To quote Claude Caspar quoting Santayana on another thread: "The
>>emotions most movingly portrayed are ones no one has ever felt."
>
>Since this is the second time this aphorism has appeared, I have to ask:
>what the hell is an emotion that "no one has ever felt"? Is there
>something you can do with emotions besides feel them?

I am already working on a "response," so this will only spur me on.
Since Santayana wrote famously on Shakespeare I am assuming it is of
more than personal interest.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 10:18:19 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

Quoted from Stanley Wells's excellent new book Shakespeare: For All
Time, which includes an incisive examination of the sonnet sequence and
arguments both for and against its biographical authenticity:

"'With these poems Shakespeare unlocked his heart', wrote Wordsworth.

'If so, the less Shakespeare he', responded Browning."     p. 87

   Brian Willis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 14:28:00 -0400
Subject: 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

Carol Barton <
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 > writes,

>However, WE DON'T KNOW, and as a scholar,
>I do not make declarations of certainty where no certainty is possible.

We have uncontradicted eyewitness testimony, supporting documents, and
no hint whatever that any contemporary or near contemporary had the
least suspicion of anything being non-kosher.  To say, under the
circumstances, that we "do not know" is tantamount to discarding all
historical knowledge whatsoever, from the Code of Hammurabi to
yesterday's box scores.  You may do so, if you like, but you must expect
historians to demur.

Don Bloom <
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 > writes,

>>Cliff Stetner writes:
>
>>To quote Claude Caspar quoting Santayana on another thread: "The
>>emotions most movingly portrayed are ones no one has ever felt."
>
>Since this is the second time this aphorism has appeared, I have to ask:
>what the hell is an emotion that "no one has ever felt"? Is there
>something you can do with emotions besides feel them?

Alas, one can also imagine that one is feeling them.  Such is human
life.

Robin Hamilton <
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 > writes,

>Oh dear, oh dear dear dear -- a line torn from its larger context, with
>no attempt to even sketch the original context or even acknowledge that
>there +was+ a context for the remark?  Naughty, that, Mr Kennedy, and
>also a little obvious in the bias you're already importing, in order to
>ride your hobby-horse.

The only thing I'm biased against is lies.

>As for Kennedy's confident assertion, "Yes we do."

>No we don't.

>What we +do+ have is a fair mass of documentary material connecting
>William Shakespeare of Stratford with the author of The Plays.  (This is
>amply laid out in Samuel Schoenbaum, a name which singularly fails to
>appear in Kennedy's venomous diatribe.  Far be it from me to suggest
>that Kennedy is ignorant of this obvious resource.  But then, why omit
>to mention it in favour of a torrent of generalised abuse?  Frankly, I
>really don't know ... )

Because one grows tired of arguing the facts with irrational fanatics
who keep on repeating the same old lies and nonsense no matter how many
times they have been proved wrong.  Far better scholars than I, such as
David Kathman and Terry Ross, have argued the facts ad nauseam, but the
same old drivel keeps spewing from the same old mouths, changing only to
become more and more fantastical, until it finally ends in bogs of
acrostics, incest, and the Knights Templar.

>There are two absolutely stunning flaws in the above statement.  One is
>its dependence on and adherence to Aristotelian logic and binary
>polaries (All Anti-Stratfordians are insane /You are an
>Anti-Stratfordian / You are insane) which was superceded long ago in
>philosophical circles by Venn Diagrams and Set Theory.

This is merest sloganeering.  I could waste a good deal of time here
with ASCII art, but suffice it to say that Venn diagrams and Set Theory
yield the same results as Aristotelian logic for all syllogisms of type
"Barbara".  Indeed, they do so for all classical syllogisms, once
questions of existential import and universes of discourse are settled.

In any case, being a child of Sputnik, I learned Venn diagrams, Set
Theory, Predicate Calculus, and Boolean Algebra as a child, whereas it
was only in the last few months that I learned more of classical
syllogistic than was necessary to get the jokes in Lewis Carroll's "The
New Belfry".

>One at relative random.  While Mark Twain isn't my favourite American
>novelist (Melville is) I'm grateful to Mr. Kennedy for providing the
>priviledged information that he is "a textbook case of paranoid
>schizophrenia."  Or perhaps he was an uninformed dupe?

An uninformed dupe, of course.  The cardinality of the intersection of
the set of all novelists and the set of all qualified literary
historians, though not zero, is very small, and Mark Twain is not to be
found in that intersection.  He read a biased and selective summary of a
subject of which he knew almost nothing, and thought it seemed clever.
A pity, but there you are.  When I was a teenager, I thought Velikovsky
very clever, too.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 16:00:22 -0300
Subject: 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

Dori Koogler asks,

>In _Impersonations_, Stephen Orgel says, "The rhetoric of patronage,
>gratitude and male friendship in the period is precisely the language of
>love."  (Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 42)
>
>So...how was one supposed to tell the difference?  Was the difference
>somehow coded into the text?

Couldn't it have just been in the context?  That's true of a lot of
things:  tears of joy look very much like tears of grief.

We still use language associated with one type of love to describe
another.  Lovers might talk about "cuddling", but it hardly follows that
what they have in mind is as sexually innocent as holding a baby.  Nor,
for that matter, would someone using the word to talk about comforting a
child be confessing to pedophilia.

Cheers,
Sean.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 08:28:11 +0100
Subject: 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0898 Re: A Problem Like the Sonnets

>To quote Claude Caspar quoting Santayana on another thread: "The
>emotions most movingly portrayed are ones no one has ever felt."

"Since this is the second time this aphorism has appeared, I have to
ask: what the hell is an emotion that 'no one has ever felt'? Is there
something you can do with emotions besides feel them?"

Yes. One can "portray" them.

m

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