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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0846  Wednesday, 7 April 2004

[1]     From:   Bruce W. Richmam <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Apr 2004 09:33:48 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0837 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

[2]     From:   Bruce Fenton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Apr 2004 10:54:45 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0837 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce W. Richmam <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 6 Apr 2004 09:33:48 -0500
Subject: 15.0837 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0837 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

I'm puzzled by the claim that references to contemporary politics and
political figures are irrelevant to the work of this study group.
Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays about politicians, most of whom
behaved either corruptly, incompetently, or venally. Even his
contemporaries saw reflections of their own political situations in the
plays-think of the tiff over Richard II. If references or comparisons to
the imperfections of people in current positions of leadership help us
to understand the plays, or if the plays illuminate the current
leadership, for good or for bad, that application seems entirely
relevant to scholarly discussion. I, among many, find myself stunned by
the many similarities between Hal/Henry V and the current American
president, including the depth and distribution of adoration and
contempt both generate. I don't think anyone participating in this
discussion group needs to be told that our playwright did not intend the
implications of his work to be forgotten at the playhouse exits; the
fact that we can see contemporary people and events effectively
identical to those Shakespeare wrote about 400 years ago should tell us
a lot about Shakespeare, and a lot about people and events. And I don't
see any responsibility for "even-handedness". This group does not
operate under public licensure, and, refreshingly, is responsible for
nothing except general civility toward one another and high quality
scholarship.

Bruce Richman
Department of Psychiatry
University of Missouri

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Fenton <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 6 Apr 2004 10:54:45 EDT
Subject: 15.0837 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0837 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

 >I am concerned that barbs against our current Command-in-Chief get
 >released here but any attempt to defend are generally squashed.

Alan has a good point - I am sorry for bringing personal politics into
the group - I couldn't resist.  I do not however think that we should go
so far as to not discuss politics of today at all if it is relevant to
another on-topic discussion.  Great art draws on universal truths and by
its nature we will see similarities in what is going on in the world
today - this I think is relevant to the purpose of the group.

Dan Smith also has a good point - would we have encouraged Shakespeare
or any other artist to avoid political discourse because it can offend
others?

-Bruce Fenton

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