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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Deconstruction
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1236  Friday, 20 June 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Jun 2003 16:05:21 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1208 Re: Deconstruction

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Jun 2003 17:26:28 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1208 Re: Deconstruction


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Jun 2003 16:05:21 -0300
Subject: 14.1208 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1208 Re: Deconstruction

Terence Hawkes's revelation that some CIA men were trained in New
Criticism is interesting, but doesn't amount to showing a politics to
New Criticism.  Surely there were many New Critics who did not become
spies, just as there are many intelligence officers who didn't study New
Criticism; Anthony Blunt was a famous art historian and notorious
traitor, for instance.  The relationship seems merely happenstantial, a
result of the early OSS men being recruited from a particular school.
If they'd been recruited elsewhere, the CIA would probably still exist,
probably still have eventually developed all of the same problems, and
you'd just be decrying them as the product of the unstated politics of
something else.

Insofar as there is any ideological content to New Criticism, Terence's
example would seem to indicate that it inspires anti-Nazism, which I
shouldn't think we would object to, and which would be quite in keeping
with Cleanth Brooks's commitment to empowering the downtrodden against
"those trying to put something over on them."

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Jun 2003 17:26:28 -0500
Subject: 14.1208 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1208 Re: Deconstruction

Terence Hawkes writes:

"I'm inclined to be less sanguine than Gabrel Egan concerning the
a-political nature of New Criticism, nor would I take Cleanth Brooks's
account of its populist commitment to be necessarily the last word in
the matter."

Now here is something I would whole-heartedly agree with. I don't see
any connection between New Criticism and Populism, as least as I
understand the terms.

But I would go further on the question. Where is there anything that is
apolitical? The very concept deconstructs itself as soon as it's
uttered. It's almost like the famous (and lovely): "This statement is
false." Anything that is labeled "apolitical" is simultaneously labeled
"political." Including, of course, deconstruction.

As to the participation of the New Critics in World War II, that rather
large political event swept up nearly everybody in the Anglo-American
world to some degree, no matter what their party affiliation.

Cheers,
don

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