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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Deconstruction
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1293  Thursday, 26 June 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Jun 2003 08:29:24 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction [Will S?]

[2]     From:   John McLaughlin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Jun 2003 10:55:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction

[3]     From:   Sally Drumm <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Jun 2003 07:51:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Jun 2003 08:29:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction [Will S?]
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction [Will S?]

Martin Steward writes, "Deconstruction is only about language and not
about 'reality', except insofar as its practitioners generally hold the
epistemological position that the world is experienced exclusively
through language."

Well, if you ask me, which you didn't, but I will weigh in anyway, it
seems like a roadmap to the stars!  An interesting idea, but not
applicable to any planned journey by any pragmatic SHAKSPEReans who I
have read, lately.

After all, how can deconstruction as a theory have any application to
the works of Will S?  And I have not met a deconstructionist yet who
didn't apply the theory to an author's biography at some point in their
house of cards.  When all is said and done, it's a nice little theory
with, as you say, no empirical application: not even to the works of
Will S, which, last I noticed, were in the REAL world.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John McLaughlin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Jun 2003 10:55:34 -0400
Subject: 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction

Dunno if this is any help, but here goes:

"Deconstruction: Acting upon the belief that interpretations of texts
are 'constructions,' while recognizing that this also is a 'constructed'
belief, deconstruction works to undermine those constructions in order
to get back to the earliest reading of those texts by their author,
while of course denial of the author follows from recognizing that
belief in the author is at least probably wrong, as for example in the
quarrel of the quartos on the SHAKSPER list." There. Happy? I'm sure
there's somebody here who isn't - watch this space for happy
deconstructors getting to work now. (Anyway, for me the most interesting
part of Derrida's work is his discussion of the Other and the need to
switch focus from the center to the margins, thus from men to women, the
colonializing to the colonized, the comfortable to the afflicted,
periodically, as an obvious act of "turn about is fair -play.".  This of
course pisses off those who have labored long and hard to get among the
comfortable and now find themselves by necessity defending the rightwing
against their working-class origins, so of course nobody loves Derrida
except those who are amused at the spectacle of it all.  I hear Jacques
was on the barricades at the Sorbonne in 1968, so that should indicate
his influence on the professoriate who came thro the Chicago police riot
of that year- on either side. Read *Of Grammatology.* Lots to argue
about and to listen to for us dumbos - John)

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sally Drumm <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Jun 2003 07:51:54 -0400
Subject: 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1285 Re: Deconstruction

In response to the request for a one sentence definition of
deconstruction:

For Barbara Johnson (as cited in Peter Barry's "Beginning Theory," p.
66) deconstruction is not a hedonistic abandonment of all restraint, but
a disciplined identification and dismantling of the sources of textual
power.

And

The universe we live in is 'decentered' or inherently relativistic, so
essentially, the deconstructive reading of literary texts tends to make
them emblems of this decentered universe ("Beginning Theory," pp.
68-69).

And

"Deconstruction is not synonymous with 'destruction.'  It is in fact
much closer to the original meaning of the word 'analysis,' which
etymologically means 'to undo'...The deconstruction of a text does not
proceed by random doubt or arbitrary subversion, buy by careful teasing
out of warring forces of signification within the text."  (Barbara
Johnson, "The Critical Difference," p. 5 cited in Barry, p. 71)

So, Deconstruction is a method of critical analysis focused on revealing
textual contradictions or inconsistencies in the text relative to the
disunity that underlies apparent unity--a text can be read as saying
something different from what appearances suggest.  (From Barry, pp.
71-72)

Barry  (p. 75) identifies three stages in the deconstructive process:
the verbal, the textual, and the linguistic.

Barry's book helped me to understand deconstruction better than I did
before reading him.  Hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Sally Drumm

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