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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Dead Horses and Closing Threads
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1941  Wednesday, 23 November 2005

[Editor's Note: I believe the parameters of the issues raised in this 
thread have been clearly drawn. I will still welcome private 
correspondences, but the thread itself is over.]

[1] 	From: 	Bill Arnold <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 20:31:10 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1930 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[2] 	From: 	Arnie Perlstein <
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 >
	Date: 	Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 05:51:26 -0500
	Subj: 	Re Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[3] 	From: 	Sally Drumm <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 09:16:41 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1930 Dead Horses and Closing Threads


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Arnold <
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 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 20:31:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.1930 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1930 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Hardy wants to hear from us, so after some darn careful thinking and 
mulling it over, here goes.  I have no problem with the way it is, as 
long as Hardy runs it.  We have a sense of who Hardy is, and unless he 
caves into some bias of some select group among us who post and read, he 
is doing just fine.  I would hate to see him cave in, and suspect he 
will not.  What do I mean?  Well, I am a scholar, a former college 
professor, and teacher from K through 12 starting back in 1964.  What's 
that?

Yep, four decades.  And I am a member of the MLA, and for those not in 
the know, that is the Modern Language Association.  They have 
conventions and create those scary arcane publications and meetings with 
erudite words and largely scholarly talk between scholars.  So, who 
needs that here?  This is not an MLA forum, and Hardy would be 
hatracking Shakespeare to turn it into that.  Of course, that is my 
opinion.  And yes, noses are like opinions, we all got 'em.  Now, I went 
to grad school and spent my 60-grad hours in English courses.  So, I 
have had the highly disciplined approach to Shakespeare, et al.  And I 
have taught at all levels.

But, folks, this is a worldwide internet forum with a worldwide internet 
membership, and we can all get along.  I am bored to tears by people who 
write in once every other century to tell us he or she would have 
written more often if only we were not here and everything was his or 
her way, and because it ain't, well, they are going to not play ball 
with us: Shakespeareans.

Bill Arnold

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arnie Perlstein <
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 >
Date: 		Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 05:51:26 -0500
Subject: 	Re Dead Horses and Closing Threads

 >"Okay, I've kept out of this attempt to turn the list into a graduate 
school
 >bulletin board, but this from Stuart Manger simply horrified me, and I'm
 >trying ever so hard not to take it as a personal insult:
 >
 >"Like Holger Syme, one of my major aversions is for those who write as if
 >the characters in plays were real, with back stories or forward stories.
 >That seems to suggest so fundamental a misunderstanding of how drama /
 >theatre is made as to render most of what they then go on to say as
 >worthless, for they are reducing Shakespeare to an interactive soap opera.
 >That has to be seriously worrying in a forum which was intended to be an
 >exchange of scholarly or near scholarly opinion, hasn't it?"
 >
 >Clearly, poets and playwrights need not apply.
 >
 >Would Mr. Manger really teach a young writer that dramatic characters are
 >not meant to have any reality and therefore imagining backstory or future
 >life or current life for them is irrelevant?
 >
 >I apologize for having intruded my worthless opinions on a serious 
scholarly
 >exchange."

All that can be said to that besides "Bravo!" is that there is a grey 
area in which one person's valid subtextual speculation is another's 
wild over reaching, and that while I am one who prefers to err on the 
side of going too far rather than playing too safe, I have the 
impression that Hardy prefers that we not roam too far too long. Because 
this is his show, I must temper my roaming.

Arnie Perlstein

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sally Drumm <
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 >
Date: 		Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 09:16:41 -0500
Subject: 16.1930 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1930 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

I was allowed to join this list as an undergraduate participating in a 
Renaissance English course.  I have been enjoying Shakespeare's work 
since I was a child.  I spent twenty years in the military and attended 
college late in life.  Following graduation, I attended graduate school 
to study writing (Yes, I am one of those MFAs).   An essay of mine was 
named a notable essay in Best American Essays 2005 - so I must have 
learned something valuable during the past four years I was attending 
college.  Now I am a writer and an adjunct professor (Yes, it's true; 
the pay is terrible).  The writers of Shaksper continue to inspire me. I 
read the Shaksper posts every time I receive them, and always find a new 
way to look at something Shakespeare or to think of a symbol or to put 
words together.  As an undergraduate, I found reading this listserv 
inspiring and informative.  I wonder how many high school and 
undergraduate students who visit this site and find their first 
experience of academic discourse on Shaksper will be inspired to enter 
academia?  Oh, perhaps zero; but maybe, even one is worth the effort. 
We are not all possessed of the genius of an Aristotle or a Shakespeare, 
but listservs like this one can certainly have a hand in creating a 
genius of that caliber if ever one is again produced by civilization.

Like all relationships, this listserv has taken on a life of its own. 
Perhaps it can no longer be the beautiful small private thing it began 
as because of its very importance and its maturing, its natural process 
evolution, its rites of passage.   And perhaps one reason it creates so 
much controversy is because it is so important to so many important 
people with important ideas.   But perhaps if one thought back upon 
one's own beginnings, and recalled why a career in academia was chosen, 
one might understand at least one reason why Shaksper matters so much to 
such diverse people.

Personally, not that it matters to anyone, I think Hardy should put 
together a book of all the important scholarly posts from Shaksper, 
publish it, and use the money earned to hire an assistant.  Perhaps an 
encyclopedia of sorts is called for.   Of course, authors of posts would 
be credited, but receive no pay except inclusion having gladly given 
such recompense to the betterment of Shaksper.  Such a book would prove 
essential not just to scholars, but to writers, theater and film artists 
researching Shakespeare's works.  I realize this is a controversial 
topic, but I cannot seem to stop myself from thinking in terms of books 
(it is true - I am obsessed with writing and all things writing, and 
particularly with the work of great writers of whom some might say 
Shakespeare was and still is the greatest).

On closing my last post, I attached the letters "NSLP" to my name.  I 
believe I will add a "W" to my credentials, so that I might now be known 
as: Sally Drumm Non-scholarly Layperson Writer...or NLW; or perhaps, LW 
would do (Perhaps this is silly , but sometimes it feels quite 
frightening to post on Shaksper and maybe the simple solution is for 
those of us who are not academic Shakespeare experts is to identify 
ourselves as who we are.  And if you like, or if I am considered too 
ignorant to continue reading and occasionally responding to posts, I 
will understand why I must be exorcised from list membership though I 
will sorely miss the Shaksper discourse.).

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