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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: July ::
Shakespeare and Islam
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0675  Wednesday, 18 July 2006

[1] 	From: 	V. K. Inman <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 18 Jul 2006 15:38:01 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam

[2] 	From: 	Cary DiPietro <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 06:13:33 +0900
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam

[3] 	From: 	Alan Horn <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 02:21:48 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. K. Inman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 18 Jul 2006 15:38:01 -0400
Subject: 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam

Quoting Thomas Le:

 >>Cary DiPietro's post raises the question of the origin of the conflict
 >>with Islam.  It must be found in history dating back to the 11th century
 >>with the first Crusade of 1095 led by the French.

V. K.: Much earlier. Try the eight century when Amazight and Arab 
warriors overran Spain and invaded France. Or the seventh century when 
they overran much of the middle East.

 >Other countries of Europe were not participants: England was still 
reorganizing after the Norman >Conquest of 1066; Spain was taken up with 
the invasion of Muslims from North Africa;

V. K.: No. Spain did not exist as a country at this time. The Amazight 
and Arabs conquered the country earlier. At the time of the first 
crusade, the petty Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsular were 
engaged in the reconquest of Iberia from the petty Arab kingdoms of the 
Iberian Peninsular.  Toledo fell to Christians in 1085.

 >and Germany was torn in internecine war.
 >
 >Only France, more or less stable under feudalism, had achieved enough
 >economic progress, commerce, and confidence to muster resources for a
 >foreign adventure.  There is not a single cause for the crusade, though
 >economic and religious motives underpin the undertaking.

V. K. : A very sweeping generalization and rush to judgment.

 >Population
 >growth exerted pressure on an economic system ill-suited for expansion.
 >Young men under feudalism, and particularly young noblemen, unless
 >married advantageously or entered into religious life, had few outlets
 >for their energy, and thus were predisposed for adventure.

V. K. : A very sweeping generalization and rush to judgment.

 >On the
 >religious front, French-born Pope Urban II called the Council of
 >Clermont in 1095, in which he exhorted the French knights of the area to
 >rescue the Holy Land from the encroachments of the Seljuq Turks, who had
 >pushed Islamic influence south and east against the border of Eastern
 >Christianity.

V. K. : That would be west and north.

 >Setting aside their deep difference, the Byzantine Emperor
 >Alexius I Comnenus appealed to their Western brethren,

V. K. : But he did not ask for a crusade against the Seljuk Turks.

 >just at the time when France was bursting with energy for foreign 
adventure.

V. K. : A very sweeping generalization and rush to judgment.

 >Now the Crusade is continuing, with a different twist.

V. K. : Absolutely wrong!!! What is taking place now has nothing to do 
with THAT
crusade, and what is happening now is certainly NOT A CRUSADE!!!

 >Isn't it ironic
 >that God has given oil to Islamic lands and rabid oil consumption to the
 >West? Once oil is exhausted, would anyone care about the Middle East and
 >what's going on there?

V. K. : Some on the list don't believe in God!

Post such as yours are a waste of time. It would never have flown as an 
undergraduate paper or even High School paper in any of my English 
classes. I believe that post should be historically accurate and 
logically coherent. I don't mind a few spelling and grammatical 
inconsistencies, but they should be of the same quality teacher and 
professors expect, otherwise we are getting nowhere with this discussion 
list.

V. K. Inman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Cary DiPietro <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 06:13:33 +0900
Subject: 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam

Larry Weiss makes the very reasonable point that Shakespeare contains 
very few instances of religious anachronism and he very reasonably lays 
the onus on scholarship to find evidential proof for the claim that 
Aaron represents Shakespeare's possible cultural bias against Islam. 
I'm compelled to answer these intelligent counter claims to reiterate my 
argument that, though Shakespeare's possible awareness of Islamic 
cultures from North Africa and the Levant is not conspicuous, certainly 
not in Titus Andronicus, Aaron, by virtue of being a Moor, is 
necessarily an Orientalized other and therefore potentially anticipates 
in a proto-colonial context similar contemporary constructions of an 
Orient in the same or related geographical regions (well, this is 
another crux).  Such constructions, Elizabethan or contemporary, serve 
in addition to narrative and theatrical ends, necessarily political 
ends, choose to interpret or ignore them how you will.

However, Weiss very unreasonably takes aim at what he calls my 
'rehearsing of hackneyed left-wing polemic' and suggests that SHAKSPER 
is not the forum for such discussion.  What a disappointing and 
irresponsible belittling of perfectly valid critical enquiry.  Perhaps 
Weiss is retaliating for the admitted sarcasm of my earlier post, itself 
irresponsible and unbecoming of scholarly debate, for which I apologize. 
  But to suggest that a line of enquiry which, however ignorantly, pays 
heed to the well-established schools of poststructuralist, Marxist and 
postcolonial criticism is nothing more than 'left-wing polemic', 
'hackneyed' no less, and has no place on SHAKSPER - well, I think we can 
see where this is heading.  SHAKSPER does not need such another damaging 
marginalization.  The only point I'll make in my defence is that I hold 
the view that open critical enquiry is or should be possible on 
SHAKSPER, enquiry which crosses the boundaries between professional 
scholarship, theatrical practice and personal interpretation and which 
is not incriminatory, insulting or close-minded.  I'm still holding out 
for this view, and I hope I'm not alone.

Cary DiPietro
Department of English and Drama
University of Toronto at Mississauga

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Alan Horn <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 02:21:48 -0400
Subject: 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0669 Shakespeare and Islam

 >How about because it makes a ripping good yarn.  What evil capitalistic
 >imperialistic ends are served by movies such as "Friday the 13th,"
 >beyond making a neat profit?

Larry Weiss would have us believe that stories have no social content. 
In support of which he produces the movie "Friday the 13th"-surely the 
furthest thing from a "ripping yarn" you can find (unless of course he 
intends a pun). Could he have pointed to a more monotonous and 
predictable film, or one more ideologically charged? The single, 
obsessive function of this horror-fantasy is to work out the guilt that 
arises from the sexual repression of youth within the bourgeois family. 
The film removes this guilt in fantasy by transferring it to the slasher 
antagonist, but only at the cost of his victims' graphically violent 
deaths. It's this simultaneous escape from and reaffirmation of the 
social code that accounts for the film's appeal.

Alan H.

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