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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Emotions Not Felt
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0984  Tuesday, 20 May 2003

[1]     From:   Claude Casper <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 2003 12:03:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0971 Emotions Not Felt

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 2003 12:26:10 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0971 Emotions Not Felt


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Casper <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 2003 12:03:57 -0400
Subject: 14.0971 Emotions Not Felt
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0971 Emotions Not Felt

>So as yet non felt emotions make perfect sense to me.  How I will feel
>when my children do this or that is as yet unfelt.

This discussion has taken me by surprise, but I know the thought
directly from Santayana's context throughout his works, at least my own
understanding. Truth is that by seeing it from differing understandings
has fleshed it out in my mind in new ways.  Thank you.  But, just to
ground this regarding any remaining attachment to Santayana, let me
quickly observe that he was illustrating a "paradox" that we experience
aesthetically especially on stage, dramatically.  I'm sure everyone
'knows that famous book "The Paradox of Acting," inspired by Diderot, by
William Archer, "Masks or Faces."  When we see an actor portray any
emotion, say Love, Jealousy, Fear, Hate, Courage, simply any discreet
emotion however contextual, the ones that affect us in the audience most
movingly, Santayana opines, derive their power (he uses a Shakespearean
reference I will find later) from their purity, their most essential
nature, so that they become larger than life, i.e., ones no one actually
has felt.  So, what has been created by artistry (mostly literary but
acted out in cases of theatre, but including music, even painting &
sculpture, all Art) are too pure to be actual, since real emotions are
never pure, but mixed, combined, confused, conflicted. This is
wonderfully deep & wide, and I only suggest its surface, in passing.
Certainly, what we feel in the presence of Art, or Life, is real, at
least to ourselves- they become ours, often adding to our emotional
repertoire.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 2003 12:26:10 -0400
Subject: 14.0971 Emotions Not Felt
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0971 Emotions Not Felt

I hadn't read Claude Caspar's post carefully before quoting it, but what
I thought I was saying was that lyric poetry in general attempts to
raise normal mundane emotions in normal mundane relationships to a pitch
of passion and beauty that is poetic precisely because it isn't what we
encounter in real life. Some of us have been blessed with the experience
of losing sleep and weight over a never to be requited love, but I don't
think most of us have. I don't, however, think anyone has ever felt a
passionate desire to see such a love marry another and have children in
which his or her beauty might be preserved for future generations to
enjoy and to remind them of the difference between natural and
artificial beauty. This strikes me as a poetic conceit and part of the
large discourse of fame and immortality that largely unifies the cycle;
if it's love, it's not the love that real people feel. The strangeness
of the emotions and the obscurity of the situation being indirectly
narrated (like the tantalizing WH) draw us into a close reading that a
mere versification of familiar feelings within clearly defined
situations would not, and help to ensure that the power of the sonnets
will not be exhausted while men can breathe and eyes can see.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY

>I wonder if emotions not felt are related to Platonic ideas of things
>that exist, but are not yet discovered or noted by man.  For instance,
>there is a world of mathematics, FAR more vast than what we already
>have, of theorems and truths that nobody has ever thought of and
>possibly never will.  And proofs that have not yet been devised, but in
>a Platonic sense exist.
>
>More concrete, what about layers of physical truth not yet noted?  What
>if Einstein had not explained Brownian motion, the mechanisms would
>still exist, even if nobody knew it, even today.  We spend a lot of
>effort looking for the missing matter of the universe. Nobody knows what
>it is, or if it is really there.
>
>So as yet non felt emotions make perfect sense to me.  How I will feel
>when my children do this or that is as yet unfelt.
>
>Michael B. Luskin

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