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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Re: Tillyard (Again)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1617  Friday, 15 August 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 13:24:43 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 14:16:27 -0400
        Subj:   Tillyard

[3]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Aug 2003 11:07:20 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[4]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Aug 2003 11:08:15 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[5]     From:   Matthew Baynham <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Aug 2003 12:06:37 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Tillyard again


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 13:24:43 -0700
Subject: Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        SHK 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[Editor's Note: With the antiquated mailer I use for SHAKSPER, I
sometimes have problems with the text files I save from some mailer such
as Outlook that word wrap. Most of the time I catch the problem and can
fix it; others I do not. I will try to be even more vigilant in the
future. -Hardy]

My message in response to Ed's response to Carol was strangely
truncated, something which Ed was nice enough to point out off-list.

By the way, do others who use the Outlook web interface have the same
problem sending messages to SHAKSPER?  Perhaps I'm doing something
wrong.  In any case, this is now sent from my wife's Eudora account.
The full message follows below:

Ed Taft accuses Carol Barton of subscribing to "an 18th-Century view of
art: we recognize greatness when we encounter what has oft been thought
but never so well expressed." He then goes on to argue that "It implies
that we are all -- or should all be -- exclusively concerned with
beautiful craftsmanship and how it reflects long-standing, universal,
unchanging truths."

I might have the temerity to say that no theory of art has a monopoly on
excluding other theories, and aesthetics is as valid an approach to an
artwork as any other.  Secondly, we need not feel that standards of art
have been fixed for all time in order to subscribe to a theory of beauty
as something that we recognize. Finally, you seem to be confusing two
ideas of 'knowing':  there are things that we know only retrospectively,
in a rush of recognition (as when we suddenly "get" a joke, or reach the
end of a detective novel and realize what's been happening all along),
rather than confirming what we consciously believed in advance. I would
suggest that when 18th-century art critics talk about encountering "what
has oft been thought but never so well expressed", they're alluding to
this sense of recognition, not to some sort of process of checking what
we experience against a set of prejudices before approving of it.

Yours,
Sean Lawrence,
Okanagan University College.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 14:16:27 -0400
Subject:        Tillyard

Roger Parisious observes:

"I further suspect that Tillyard would be astonished to find himself
cast in the role of propagandist for a world view which he had ,on the
whole, very accurately summarized without professing to be in entire
sympathy."

Probably so. But I don't think anyone has said that Tillyard believed in
Ptolemy's model of the universe, or in ether, the four elements, etc.
It's doubtful that he consulted Aristotle as the ultimate authority, or
Galen, for that matter. To use your own terms, he's a propagandist for a
particular view of the essence of this age and of literature in general.

I've argued that he really presents half the age. Sure, commonplaces
were commonplace back then. But the Elizabethan age was full of ferment
and change too. It was NOT just the middle ages all over again.
Similarly, its literature is not universally valued to the extent it
contains commonplaces.  Lots of readers before and after Tillyard value
other things too, like the intellectual daring of More's _Utopia_, the
surprising sympathy in _Mirror_ for Jane Shore, the political acumen of
Marlowe, Kyd's views on class and power, and on and on.

If "the greatest things in literature are the most commonplace," (108),
it follows that _Orchestra_ is the best art the age can offer. But is
that true? Or is it special pleading?

Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Aug 2003 11:07:20 +0100
Subject: 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)

This Tillyard strand seems to have run its course since what started off
as an interesting debate is now descending into the usual morass of
misunderstanding. Perhaps a timely reminder of Tillard's parting comment
on pp.101-102 of The Elizabethan World Picture would be worth pondering:

...we shall err grievously if we do not take that         seriousness
into account or if we imagine that the      Elizabethan habit of mind is
done with once and for all.  If we are sincere with ourselves we must
know that we have that habit in our own bosoms somewhere, queer as it
may seem. And if we reflect on that habit, we may see that (in queerness
though not in viciousness) it resembles certain trends of thought in
central Europe, the ignoring of which by our scientifically minded
intellectuals has helped not a    little to bring the world into its
present conflicts and distresses.

With hindsight we can see that Tillyard has a specific cultural project
in mind, and he wasn't the only one.  Alfred Harbage's account of
Shakespeare's Audience is also shot through with a set of cultural
assumptions that tell us as much about the milieu of the critic as they
do about the object of their enquiry. Tillyard, like Eliot and Leavis,
was trying to reconstruct a culture fragmented by modernism, and this
wasn't a covert activity but one in which he evidently believed. At
times of social crisis commentators search for something that will
provide a solid foundation. What Tillyard could not distinguish was
statement from ideology ( a point made by Sinfiled and Dollimore some 20
years ago), hence some of his quotations (especially Ulysses' speech
from T & C) are wrenched out of context. I'm sure that did not arise
from an intention to deceive, just that Tillyard did not ponder - as we
now have to- the assumptions upon which we base our perceptions.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Aug 2003 11:08:15 +0100
Subject: 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1608 Re: Tillyard (Again)

Marcus Dahl asked me

>But what exactly do you mean here:
>
>>We will mistake ideology for a set of "prevailing ideas" rather than
>>a confluence of conscious ideas, feelings, unconscious impulses, and
>>habits of behaviour.
>
>Sounds like waffle to me.

Well, yes, it is a bit, isn't it? Have you a better way of expressing
what 'ideology' is?

As for what I meant, I hope this helps:

At times Marx appears to have meant by ideology a set of untrue or
distracting beliefs which prevent workers from seeing their exploitation
(false consciousness, as Engels put it) and at other times he appears to
use it to mean the collective beliefs of the ruling class which dominate
society's intellectual life just as the ruling class's purposes hold
sway in practice.

These two models are incompatible since, if (as Marx famously claimed)
consciousness arises out of social being then it is in a sense true to
that social being (and hence not a false consciousness), whereas if it
is false it is difficult to see why the ruling class--whom no-one is
trying to dupe--would believe it.

To add confusion Marx and Engels appear to also use the word ideology in
the sense of a scientific, or pseudo-scientific, study of
superstructural processes, so that we may speak of a Marxist ideology
just as easily as a Fascist one. The later works of Marx provided a not
entirely satisfying explanation for their contradictory uses of the word
ideology by arguing that misrepresentation and distortion are structural
effects of capitalism, so that the contradiction originates in the
economic base and is projected onto the superstructure which thus
exhibits self-contradiction.

For us to get a good-enough working definition of 'ideology' we need to
include at least the following:

"conscious  ideas", the actual things that one believes accurately
represent the world and one's view of it;

"feelings", since we none of us are foolish enough to think that Reason
explains all that we do;

"unconscious impulses", as previously, and also because we are
post-Freudians;

and

"habits of behaviour", because it's fairly clear that in some regard we
are what we do. (Althusser's performative model of ideology isn't the
last word, but I'm sure you accept, Marcus, that there's something to
his idea that society, as it were, 'cast' you in the role(s) that you
taken up.)

>And Marx, thank our lucky souls, is dead.

And he was so quite some time before his ideas had any substantial
impact on the world. The power is in the ideas, not the man.

Gabriel Egan

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Baynham <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Aug 2003 12:06:37 +0100
Subject:        Re: Tillyard again

I was a bit surprised by Roger Parisious' description of A.O. Lovejoy as
a 'secularist, Unitarian'. I don't know much about the writer, and it
may be that Roger is describing some particular aspect of his critical
opinion, but certainly most Unitarians are not and have not been
secularists. More or less by definition, they're theists (sometimes
Deists) but just not, as the name implies, trinitarian theists. A
secularist Unitiarian would be as odd a creature as a secularist
Methodist.

Apologies if this is too obvious to have needed saying; but I find my
students, even my Religious Studies students, increasingly easily
confused by uncertain use of these descriptors.

Matthew Baynham

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