Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Re: Tillyard (Again)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1738  Friday, 5 September 2003

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 4 Sep 2003 14:30:10 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 4 Sep 2003 09:57:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 04 Sep 2003 16:24:43 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 4 Sep 2003 11:24:54 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 4 Sep 2003 14:30:10 +0100
Subject: 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

Dear Clifford and others,

This discussion I fear has become too broad and too unwieldy to be
called philosophical - comparisons between 'Marxists' and 'Capitalists'
and the naming of various different poets / authors as if that were
argument (e.g. Sir Phillip Sidney of course explicitly argued against
Plato's exclusion of poets from the Republic and the implication of the
division between mimesis and diegesis etc) does not yield useful
results.

However while 'argument ad hominem' is not the same as a 'reductio ad
absurdum' or a 'false duality' (whatever that is) I had no intention to
slight you as person - the change occurred in the editing of Hardy I
think - I wrote the word 'philosphe' not 'philosopher' hence my
intention was rather to imply lightly that the argument of aesthetics
and the import of art in argument was rather the field of sophists than
philosophers (as Aristotle and Plato thought).

I am thus of the 'capitalist' opinion with Hume et al. that art though
it can be banned (as I think your examples are meant to show) for being
offensive to certain sensibilities is not (as Wilde of course argued to
his cost) didactic (and is not either the proper subject of
philosophical debate as to 'argument' or 'quality' - it being a matter
of 'taste').

As we all should know on SHAKSPER, every quote from a Shakespeare text
in which 'Shakespeare' is interpreted to offer his opinion is taken from
the mouth of a character (the plays) or a persona (the poetry) which can
never be satisfactorily aligned to express belief (unlike the spurious
Catholic 'Testament' of John Shakespeare for example) of 'the man' from
Stratford - unlike (and this is my point) the writings of Marx or any
other 'author' who wishes to express his personal opinion about the
nature of things in direct prose.

Had Milton (et al.) wanted to directly 'argue' for something or other in
Paradise Lost (as undergraduates invariably and annoyingly argue), he
would not *surely* have written a poem - a work of art? He would (as for
example did Ezra Pound 'ABC of Reading', D.H. Lawrence 'Apocalypse' etc)
have written an essay or pamphlet to that purpose which would more
easily have fulfilled its didactic purpose (e.g. the 'Communist
Manifesto' - the clue is in the title).

Anyway enough - this is the oldest most brow beaten and stagnated
argument of all time.

Cheers,
Marcus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 4 Sep 2003 09:57:45 -0500
Subject: 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

Clifford Stetner, in his rather furious posting on the evils of
capitalism, offers this

>This is another capitalist lie:
>the free market expresses natural laws of economic relations; capitalism
>is therefore not an ideology, and art is merely aesthetic.

But I am puzzled about this on several grounds. For example, what does
"capitalist lie" mean? I am accustomed to thinking that lying is done by
people, but I don't know who the people are that are propounding this
lie.  Are they capitalists themselves? Or economic philosophers writing
on behalf of capitalism? Or even both?

Secondarily, where is this lie being promulgated? Learned journals?
Op-ed pages? TV talk shows of the shouted-insult variety? The Petroleum
Club of Houston? That is, where can I find it stated by some one who
qualifies as an economic philosopher and who has been alive within the
past century? (I don't doubt that such people exist but I dislike
generic terms like "capitalist," especially when human activities like
lying are concerned.  Some persons must be doing the lying -- who are
they?)

Another ground of puzzlement: do they really claim that capitalism is
not an ideology? I thought (innocent that I am) that any -ism was by
definition something that people believed in? Are there any
non-ideological -isms? (Or are we using a philosophical term like
capitalist where a more sound, descriptive term -- such as merchant,
industrial tycoon, robber baron, thug or President -- might better
serve?)

Finally, I think I understand what he means by "art is merely
aesthetic," that is, it produces delight but no real instruction -- what
Gradgrind would say. But that's Gradgrind. To what extent do a few, or
even many, wealthy bozos represent an economic philosophy?

To drag this back to the subject at hand, if we're going to consider
Shakespeare in the light of economic theory (don't ask me to, but some
people love it), we have to keep our terms clear. I got the feeling that
Clifford was using "capitalist" as a straw man, but that probably isn't
really the case.

Cheers,
 Don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 04 Sep 2003 16:24:43 GMT
Subject: 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

>Shakespeare told us many times what to do: don't have your
>brother drowned in a butt of malmsey; don't trick your
>boss into killing his wife; don't drip poison in your
>brother's ear.

You forgot one: Don't attempt to overthrow the established political and
economic order.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 4 Sep 2003 11:24:54 -0700
Subject: 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1734 Re: Tillyard (Again)

Clifford Stetner writes,

Ok you caught me. I was not *really* blaming Shakespeare. But Smith,
like Marx, was an ideologue and not a war criminal and neither is to
blame directly or indirectly for war crimes perpetrated in his name. I
am not "blaming" history either for anything beyond establishing the
dialectical terms of class struggle. It is still individuals who choose
sides and tactics.

It is capitalists who absolve themselves of responsibility for the
consequences of "free" market forces. "We only buy and sell stock in
poverty, oppression, and exploitation; we don't impoverish, oppress, or
exploit anyone. We would make everyone rich, but those corrupt local
politicians screw everything up." Only, unlike Marx, capitalist
imperialists finance, directly or "indirectly," those corrupt
politicians and sabotage any popular movement to oust them that
threatens to nationalize their private property, and in increasing
disregard for the consequences that fall on anyone else, no matter how
horrific.

[End of quote]

This is to speak rather broadly of "capitalist imperialists". Even my
wife's ethical fund found, to its embarrassment, that it held
participation units in the TSE, which included shares in Nabisco, which
owns tobacco concerns, which give people cancer. Should we include
everyone with a bank account (since banks have investments)? or everyone
who has ever handled money? Would we include charities or international
development agencies that hold investments? What about third-world
micro-credit schemes, since they raise some of their capital on the
international bond market?

More importantly, if historical forces are used as excuses by
"capitalist imperialists" as well as war criminals, then this is all the
more reason to refocus attention on the actions of individuals, rather
than the historical and economic forces by reference to which they
attempt to excuse themselves but also within which they attempt to
achieve their goals for good or ill. And an emphasis upon impersonal
historical forces over individual choices is, I would suggest, one of
the larger influences of Marxist thought on literary criticism and the
social sciences generally.

Yours sincerely,
Sean.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.