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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: July ::
CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1462  Wednesday, 21 July 2004

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 13:10:05 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[2]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 08:05:59 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[3]     From:   Jack Hettinger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 13:44:37 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[4]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 18:04:49 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[5]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 14:39:27 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1455 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[6]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 15:00:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1455 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[7]     From:   Scott Sharplin <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 13:43:57 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

[8]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Jul 2004 00:47:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 13:10:05 +0100
Subject: 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

I suspect what Gabriel has done here is a sleight of hand:

 >I would like it noted, however, that those who've pursued objections to
 >the original CFP that we're discussing have not been able to show that
 >it made no sense. Rather, we've seen the familiar reaction of students
 >to something new and challenging: first rejection that it makes no
 >sense, then intelligent probing to test the power of the new idea to
 >explain known phenomena, and finally a declaration of 'well, we knew
 >that already under a different name'.

By which he claims to have both revealed and not revealed something new.
  E.g. you cannot imagine the notions of Freud compared with those of
say Copernicus as insights into the nature of things 'known previously
under another name' can we? Either the earth goes round the sun or it
does not etc.

Additionally the reading of Freudian 'insights' into Shakespeare is fine
- so long as it is not supposed that the text itself had the notions of
Freud within it. We may see Freudian notions in a Shakespeare text but
Shakespeare could not have put them there. We may of course observe that
there are parallels between certain key concepts across historical
divides. I.e. the notion of the discontinuity of the ego may found in
both the ascribed sayings of Buddha and the works of David Hume but
these are common ideas to be found in the works of both men. We may
still argue however about whether the idea itself is true. Thus if Freud
(or anyone else) believes (as I take it does Gabriel) that castration
complexes exist in MV he must still demonstrate (as was contested by
David Bishop) that they are in fact there in the text (not just in his
own mind). Just because Freud thinks Hamlet wants to make love to his
mother does not mean that the evidence for this belief is in the text.
He must demonstrate it. Just because I think the Earth is the centre of
the Universe... (and so on)

Anon,
Marcus meddling Dahl

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 08:05:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

Gabriel Egan writes, "I exclude Bill Arnold from this generous
characterization of education for obvious reasons."

OK: they might be "obvious" to Gabriel, but not to all. And to *rapt*
things up for Hardy, I must admit Gabriel lives up to his horn-blowing
name.  It might behoove him to blow another tune in another direction,
however. Shakespeare seeks his admiration and edification, not I!

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

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Hettinger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 13:44:37 -0400
Subject: 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

I happen to be sorry that our theory thread is winding down, since every
observation we make about artists (and anything) is based on some
assumption or other, especially my own plain-language theory: I
inadvertently started the thread by asking if someone could translate
the call for Kristevan papers on Shakespeare in Canada into plain
English. Our turn toward matters Freudian, and jargon in general,
interested me most. My contribution to this theme is a commonplace:
there is jargon and there is jargon. I certainly would not want a
surgeon or aeronautical engineer to use a jargon as gooey and, I think,
goofy as Freudspeak.

Allow me to cite a representative passage from Richard Thomson's Aug 1,
2003 TLS review of Margaret Werth, The Joy of Life: The idyllic in
French Art, Circa 1900 (University of California Press), on certain
Anarchic paintings by Puvis, Signac, and Matisse. Thomson's remarks
about Werth's patronizing use of Freud express my concerns nicely: Werth's

<<final case study is Matisse's "Le Bonheur de Vivre". The painting
struck critics as odd in 1906, Werth demonstrates, and it is still
difficult to arrive at a satisfying account of its audaciously stained
fields of yellow and green, orange and violet, against which are pitched
Arcadian figures, curtly delineated in contours that echo the rhythms of
their sylvan surroundings. We would all agree that this is a painting
about sexual desire, though for Werth it is more. For her, not only do
the figures evoke primal fantasies, but Matisse's radical pictorial
rejection of his "sources" -- from Titian to Puvis, Signac, or Gauguin
-- amounts to a "symbolic castration". However muted, this trajectory
carries a modernist message: the further from establishment
comprehension, the rasher the painterly rule-breaking, the better the art.

<<Werth's dense but energetic book is multi-layered in its methods....
She is particularly evocative on the strange juggling with innocence,
irony and idiocy in "Le Bonheur de Vivre", and witty on the painting's
fusion of linearity and desire: "pure candy for the scopic drive's sweet
tooth". However, the gourmand prose includes some vinegary neologisms --
machinic, rememorative, nurturance among the least digestible.... Werth
also scrutinizes the pictures' critical reception. Her parsing of
Vicomte Melchior de Vogue's essay on Puvis's "L'Ete" and the parallels
she draws between Signac's "Au Temps d'Harmonie" and the poetry of his
friend Emile Verhaeren are stimulating. Her insistent Freudianism is,
however, less convincing.

<<The Freudian readings are difficult to credit, whether in terms of the
detailed reading of forms or the more sweeping conceptualizations. I
find it hard to see Puvis's draped figures as bound in ways that suggest
sadistic coercion, rather than merely modest convention elegantly
phrased. For Puvis, a reclining nude sunning herself on a river bank or
another female figure lowering her tunic over her bare torso were surely
motifs of memory and desire. But how surely can we read them as "phallic
monuments", as "elaborate fantasies of the maternal phallus and ...
representations of lack"? At what point does heterosexual instinct based
on experience mutate into theorizing based on no clinical study? After
all, Puvis underwent no psychoanalysis, no therapy. What seems to be
happening here is that theory becomes the driver.

<<In the foreground of "Le Bonheur de Vivre" is a pair of embracing
lovers, schematically drawn. Werth tells us that they "condense
fantasies of intrauterine experience, maternal seduction, castration,
and primal scene". Such an account is interesting in that it serves as a
test case for how one might apply Freud to this painting. But one cannot
help asking, how far does it help us to understand the picture? The
insistence on the application of Freudian theory as a given rather than
a suggestive approach also undercuts Werth's useful, thorough assessment
of earlier critical reactions to these paintings. Contemporaries are
allowed to have their say, but their opinions -- it is implied -- have
only limited value, because they did not know Freud. There is something
patronizing about this, and it places theory ahead of historical evidence.>

Doesn't Kristeva herself warn against a theory's morphing into a rigid
or lifeless form? And doesn't she get her Freud from Lacan anyway?

Jack

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 18:04:49 +0000
Subject: 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1460 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

 >Ed Taft writes" "Surely it is revealing that no two people in this
 >thread seem quite to agree about the precise meaning of
 >"intertextuality." Would that happen in other disciplines which use a
 >specialized vocabulary? For the most part, I think the answer is "No."

At least it is in Classics as it is as in English. By a very
serendipitous process, I came across on article precisely on the
original topic of this thread, "Intertextuality Today," by Prof. Lowell
Edmunds in the Italian journal of Classical poetry, rhetoric, and
communications called Lexis 13 (1995). According to Edmunds, the term
"intertextual" (in various modern language versions) has been in use in
Classics since at least 1882, but especially since the work by G.
Pasquali in 1942, L'Arte allusiva. He cites traditional uses of the term
from this older tradition in works from 1986 and 1994. G. B. Conte, in
his Latin Literature: A History (1994) defines the term thusly:  "
Phenomenoon by which, in literature, each new text enters into a network
of relations with other, already written texts (recalling them,
imitating them, parodying them, in short, presupposing them)." This
sounds like the way most of the commentators on this thread have defined
the term.

Edmunds goes on to argue that this if quite different from Kristeva's
usage (I am reporting this without being able to confirm or deny it;
I've never studied Kristeva more than casually). First Edmunds very
relevantly points out that Kristeva was engaged in the 1960s project of
trying to create a brand-new set of terminology for the emerging field
of semiotics, out of terms that would be more scientific, less
value-laden than traditional ones. The term "text" itself was one such,
meant to replace "work" or "poem" and not pre-supposing completeness,
unity, or autonomy, as those traditional terms did. "Intertextuality"
follows up on this distinction, according to Edmunds, and is thus meant
to wipe the slate clean, rather than, as has been suggested here, just
be show-offy and obscurantist.

Second, Edmunds claims, for Kristeva the interaction of texts in a
single text that she terms "intertexuality" does not presuppose, Harold
Bloom-like, one text refunctioning an older one. Rather he claims, for
Kristeva the intermingled texts are in principle of the present moment
of the text's being-read-now, and can include allusions (presumably like
Shakespeare's to Freud or Marx) to authors not yet alive when the
intertexual text was composed. As Edmunds puts it, the traditional
meaning of intertextuality "is a matter of a poem's realtion to the
past, to its particular literary past, whereas, for Kristeva,
intertexuality is a matter of a poem's relation to its present" (20). I
knew it would end up being about presentism.

Best,
Hugh Grady

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 14:39:27 -0400
Subject: 15.1455 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1455 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

 >This discussion gets curiouser and curiouser.
 >I just wish to throw in a rather simplistic 2 cents worth:
 >Shakespeare is dramatic poetry.   Poetry organizes words by sound
pattern, and that sound pattern >is as important as the "content".  One
can enjoy poetry in an unfamiliar language simply as sound >patterns
that induce the sorts of emotional response that music induces.  (what
that response is and >means is another discussion)    Drama is organized
by character and intention, and the words of >drama convey a vivid sense
of individual voices
 >vying to have an effect on one another, and on an audience.

The paragraph that roused such ire did so because it was written for the
eye and de-coding part of the brain, not for the ear and the emotions.
It sounds voiceless, as if it were written by a committee or a computer,
and as if it were intended to convey meaning only to a select group of
code-savvy savants.  There are some people (alas, I must include myself
among them) whose instant emotional reaction to such out-of-tune and
harsh writing is "How dare that tin eared obfuscator presume to talk
about dramatic poetry!"

 >I think this is from Ed Taft ...?    though the way my computer
indicates quotation, it might be David Evitts....
 >. The general public grants the latter
 >disciplines their jargon and specialized vocabularies because the public
 >accepts the idea that, for these disciplines, jargon and technical terms
 >are necessary. Why? Because the results of these disciplines justify the
 >specialized speech modes used. Doctors cure disease; physics explains
 >the universe; chemistry is DOW writ large, and mathematics is the
 >indispensable tool of all sciences.
 >
 >But from us the public expects essays that are entertaining to read and
 >that offer insight into Shakespeare and his plays. .....  Isn't the
public right?  After all, whatever side you take, Harold Bloom
 >and Stanley Fish have one thing in common: they write vigorously,
 >entertainingly, and generally without jargon.

Horton, playwright
<www.stagepage.info>

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jul 2004 15:00:06 -0400
Subject: 15.1455 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1455 CFP - Shakespearean Intertexts in Canada

Edmund Taft <
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 > writes,

 >The answer is revealing. The general public grants the latter
 >disciplines their jargon and specialized vocabularies because the public
 >accepts the idea that, for these disciplines, jargon and technical terms
 >are necessary. Why? Because the results of these disciplines justify the
 >specialized speech modes used. Doctors cure disease; physics explains
 >the universe; chemistry is DOW writ large, and mathematics is the
 >indispensable tool of all sciences.

Speaking as a member of the public and pretty much an autodidact in
these matters, I fear the problem is greater.  I find myself seriously
wondering at times whether much of what is being taught today in English
is anything but arrant nonsense, created for purposes of, /inter alia/,

   1) being in with the in-crowd (rather like membership in a club of
      Pig-Latin speakers),
   2) publishing at all costs, to avoid perishing (the proverb speaketh
      not to the quality of what is to be published), or
   3) attempting to catch all the world in the web of an /id

 

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