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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Re: Tillyard (Again)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1695  Thursday, 28 August 2003

From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Aug 2003 12:19:39 -0400
Subject: 14.1687 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1687 Re: Tillyard (Again)

At the risk of terminology fetishism: wouldn't a) erasure of human
energy = alienation and b) perception of object as independent existence
= fetishism?

Marx was a Shakespearean ahead of his time, but Shakespeare, although he
held the bourgeoisie in contempt, spent too much time sucking up to the
aristos to be called a Marxist. Marx would never have accepted, let
alone sought, a coat of arms. Shakespeare only became a revolutionary
when the monarchy became bourgeois. And while Marx shares Shakespeare's
nostalgia for the Middle Ages, that same groan put this in Shakespeare's
mind: his grief lay onward, and his joy behind.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY
http://phoenixandturtle.net

>>Hugh Grady wrote
>>
>>I've always thought Marx learned a lot from Shakespeare.
>>Look at the famous speech on gold in "Timon of Athens."
>>It's a fair summary of Marx on the power of money and
>>commodity fetishism. Marx certainly thought so. He quoted
>>it repeatedly. In that sense, Marx was a Shakespearean,
>>and Shakespeare a Marxist. But we all knew that, no?
>
>The rightness of what Hugh is saying is often resisted by
>Shakespearians, and one of the main reasons is that 'commodity
>fetishism' is widely misunderstood.
>
>One can see a Shakespearian getting it wrong in Dympna Callaghan's
>"Looking well to linens: Women and cultural production in _Othello_ and
>Shakespeare's England" _Marxist Shakespeares_ edited by Jean E. Howard
>and Scott Cutler Shershow, Accents on Shakespeare, General Editor
>Terence Hawkes (London: Routledge, 2001) pp. 53-81. Callaghan thinks
>commodity fetishism means "the erasure of the human energy that has
>wrought an object so that it seems to have an entirely independent
>existence" (p. 77). This is, of course, actually Marx's notion of
>alienation (entfremdung).
>
>One can see a Shakespearian getting it right in Peter Stallybrass's
>brilliant essay "Marx's coat" _Border fetishisms: Material objects in
>unstable spaces_ Ed. Patricia Spyer (New York: Routledge) pp. 183-207.
>Stallybrass gives a moving account of Marx's precarious relationship
>with his own clothes and the pawnbrokers, and in the process puts right
>some common terminological misunderstandings.
>
>If I might be allowed a little self-promotion: those who find Hugh's
>claim interesting and would like to hear more about the afterlife (and
>future) of Marx's ideas in relation to Shakespeare might be interested
>in my monograph _Shakespeare and Marx_ in the Oxford Shakespeare Topics
>series from Oxford University Press that will be out in spring 2004.
>
>Gabriel Egan

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