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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Goddard & Bradley and Wherefore Preise Thou Claudius
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0668  Friday, 12 March 2004

From:           Roger Gross <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 11 Mar 2004 11:38:13 -0600
Subject: 15.0656 Goddard & Bradley and Wherefore Preise Thou
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0656 Goddard & Bradley and Wherefore Preise Thou
Claudius

 >Since I have read a few posts extolling Bradley, can I ask whether
 >Goddard ranks above or below in your opinions?

No contest.

As a director of Shakespeare, I find Goddard invaluable and wouldn't
think of beginning my stage work without re-reading Goddard.  The thing
about Goddard is that he is so articulate and so wildly wrong-headed on
every script that he puts me in a furor, which is good for me.  It
forces me to reconsider my own arguments.  In the process of demolishing
Goddard (which is good fun), I clarify and re-think my own perception of
the evidence.  He keeps me from complacence.

Goddard is one of the brilliant ones for whom the text is not a source
of evidence but a generator of sparks which inflame his own
psychologists imagination.  Like most psychoanalytic critics, he
confuses real life with the world of the play and treats character
behavior as if it were a set of patient symptoms subject to the laws of
the real psychological world rather than laws laid down by the
playwright.  The Ernest Jones syndrome.

Bradley sometimes strayed outside the limits of tolerance, making the
same mistake, but he was much more aware than Goddard that he was
reading a dramatic document, the work of a playwright working upon an
audience.

A production based on a Bradley reading stands a good chance of making
sense and seeming like Shakespeare's work.  One based on Goddard's
readings is likely to produce a disjuncture between text and
performance, to be another "bright idea" performance.

...in my humble opinion.

Roger Gross

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