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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: June ::
Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1225  Wednesday, 9 June 2004

[1]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jun 2004 12:28:01 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jun 2004 14:51:24 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

[3]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jun 2004 18:06:23 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jun 2004 12:28:01 -0500
Subject: 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

Perhaps I am missing something (as usual), but what could history
possibly be but the history of the present? The history of the future is
so abstruse an idea as to make me smile, or even snicker. The history of
the past strikes me as tautological.

Is there anything out there except the present for there to be a history of?

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jun 2004 14:51:24 -0400
Subject: 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

I simply want to testify that I saw LLL as a child, and loved it.  I
liked it much better than "Errors" and "Shrew" "Midsummer" and "R & J",
which I saw about the same time.  It remains a favorite-- not in spite
of the verbal flourishes, but because of them, then and now.

I will admit that my delight in it was probably made possible by a
childhood that included the King James Bible and children's books that
included tales of King Arthur and stories and myths from Greece and
Rome.   Most of these books were hand-me-downs from my father's
childhood, in the 1920's, and were read aloud to me by my grandmother
until I could read them myself.

Geralyn Horton, playwright
Newton, MA

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jun 2004 18:06:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1214 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

It is predictable, I suppose, that initial responses to any new
theoretical/critical paradigm should be dismissive, ridiculing, or even
hostile.  I still remember the shock of reading in a reputable scholarly
journal not all that many years ago the use of the phrase "like flies to
shit" to describe the attraction of certain Shakespeareans to feminist
theory/criticism.

The Benedetto Croce reference regarding the contemporaneity of all
history aside, I wonder whether the time has arrived for more measured
responses to presentism than knee-jerk dismissals of it for its alleged
solipsism.  Concerned as it is with intervening on the past with a
heightened awareness of the ways that the present influences the very
questions we pose, it is inaccurate to imply that presentism simply
collapses distinctions between the present and the past.  Inviting us as
it does to own up to our "situatedness" in the present and base our
critical practice on an active engagement with that "situatedness," it
does not view the present as a prison to be escaped or an obstacle to be
overcome.

A growing body of theoretical work -- published and in progress -- is
coming into existence that is attempting to define and explain
presentism, notably Hugh Grady's *The Modernist Shakespeare: Critical
Texts in a Material World* and *Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Montaigne:
Power and Subjectivity from* Richard II *to* Hamlet and Terry Hawkes's
*Shakespeare in the Present*.  Grady resituates history in the present,
arguing that it is within its discourses that our views of the past are
formed.  Hawkes emphasizes the presence of the critical act, arguing
that it is *we* who construct meanings in texts.

Perhaps reading around a bit in books such as these would make possible
some degree of comprehension of presentism and a substantive discussion
of the present theoretical moment.

Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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