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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Mea Culpa (Maybe)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1123  Monday, 9 June 2003

From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Jun 2003 08:49:41 -0500
Subject:        Mea Culpa (Maybe)

Gabriel Egan wrote,

>The misrepresentation of Carroll has already be noted on this list
>(wrong book, wrong character) but I am more concerned with the willful
>misrepresentation of deconstruction. If a first-year English
>undergraduate wrote the above nonsense in an examination it would score
>no points at all for it betrays utter ignorance. I waited to see if
>anyone else would jump in and point out this fact and am dismayed that
>no-one did.
>One does not have to be an advocate of deconstruction to want it to be
>described fairly so that its merits and weaknesses may be properly
>judged. If Swilley understood deconstruction he or she could doubtless
>offer a proper critique of it--it has well-known problems--so one must
>conclude that he/she doesn't understand it.  Such ignorance is not
>shameful (Luskin doesn't understand it either) but one shouldn't then
>leap in and offer a summary dismissal of the topic to another who simply
>asked for help understanding it.  We can only assume that this "L.
>Swilley" is not the same person as the teacher who regularly posts under
>that title on "", for no professional educator could be so
> crass.
>Michael Luskin could get a much better view of deconstruction from any
>number of university-hosted websites. A search on for
>'deconstruction' throws up a few worth looking at, including:
>Many sites begin with too much detail or peripheral matters, whereas the
>above actually gives a sense of what a deconstructionist reading of a
>text might do. The next one gives an idea of where deconstruction came
>and it also has a link to an excerpt from Richard Rorty's entry on
>deconstruction in The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism.  If
>Michael Luskin is looking for a small book on the subject, my personal
>recommendation would be Christopher Norris's _Deconstruction: Theory and
>Practice_ in the New Accents series.
>Finally, shame on the philistinism of L. Swilley.
>Gabriel Egan

First, thanks to Mr. Egan for this general come-uppance and sharp
correction - if either is warranted. (But may I suggest that ad hominem
remarks are always too easy and always dodging any point under
discussion?).  Thanks to him also for the references to Deconstruction.

Will Mr. Egan help us to clarify this matter of Deconstruction by giving
us a Deconstructionist's analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73?  That, I
believe, would be very helpful.

With patient expectation, and ready to make  the Tiber tremble with
celebratory shouts in Mr. Egan's honor,

L. Swilley

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Hardy M. Cook, 
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