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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Interpretation of History Plays...
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0985  Friday, 30 April 2004

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 09:04:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0975 Interpretation of History Plays...

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 13:39:05 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0966 Interpretation of History Plays...

[3]     From:   David Friedberg <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 17:28:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0975 Interpretation of History Plays...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 09:04:03 -0500
Subject: 15.0975 Interpretation of History Plays...
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0975 Interpretation of History Plays...

 >unconscious, aesthetic Postmodernists.

There's a lot in that little.

Bravo to Marcus Dahl's post on this subject.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 13:39:05 -0400
Subject: 15.0966 Interpretation of History Plays...
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0966 Interpretation of History Plays...

Someone should explain to Marcus Dahl that what he calls "the considered
humanist scholarship represented by writers like Tillyard" is exactly
the source of the problem. Whatever else it may have been, 'The
Elizabethan World Picture' was neither an objective nor innocent work
and it is better seen as a series of shots fired in two related
conflicts. The first was World War 11, in which the need to validate a
glorious British  heritage of harmony and unity was of paramount
importance in  terms of boosting morale on the home front. The second
was the continuing war over the nature of the academic subject known as
'English' and the way the 'Englishness' it promoted should be
transmitted, not just in Britain, but  in India, Australia, New Zealand,
Canada, Iraq, Iran, the West Indies, and large parts of Africa. In the
latter conflict, Tillyard's main adversary at Cambridge was F. R.
Leavis.  For his part, Leavis responded by nominating Tillyard 'my
enemy'  and 'the arch ward-boss' (Ian MacKillop, 'F. R.  Leavis: a Life
in Criticism', London: Penguin Books, 1997, p. 178) It's important to
recognize that some of what Tillyard's considered humanist scholarship
presents as the 'general deductions' to be drawn from his survey of the
Elizabethan World Picture are in fact carefully designed refutations of
the re-drawn map of English literature fostered by Leavis, Leavis's
journal 'Scrutiny', and-God help us all-the American T. S.  Eliot.
Thus, Tillyard's supposedly 'commonplace' conclusion that  '. .  .the
'real' Elizabethan age -the quarter-century from 1580 to 1605- was after
all the great age', is carefully linked to a specific agenda by the
sentences that immediately follow it: 'Recent attempts to shift the
centre of new creative energy to the Metaphysical poets, though
intelligible, will not really do . . . etc.' (EWP, London: Chatto, 1943,
p. 100). Leavis's and Eliot's doubtful capacities as bearers of
'Englishness' are thus, I suspect, at the heart of Tillyard's anxieties.
As I recall pointing out on SHAKSPER over a year ago, they lurk, in
company with Adolf Hitler, importunate and formative shades, beneath the
pages of his book.

Terence Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Friedberg <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 17:28:00 -0400
Subject: 15.0975 Interpretation of History Plays...
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0975 Interpretation of History Plays...

On Apr 28, 2004, at 11:00 PM, Al Margary wrote

  >Monarchs of dubious legality?  Why, so then Henry VIII, as the
  >son of a usurper.  And Edward VI and Mary and Elizabeth were of really
  >dubious legality, like poor Jane.

Margary's post is refreshingly accurate. You see, the post of King of
England [leaving Scotland out of this] is only apparently controlled by
primogeniture,  and is deeply elective in its nature.  Ask the Ghost of
James II Stuart.

The throne of Denmark was the same {I have told you before that Hamlet
is an English play, heehee.]   Claudius having been elected by the Thing
[with Polonius' help] is NOT a usurper but the legitimate King.

Those who don't agree can form a line over there.

David Friedberg

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