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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: February ::
A Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0134  Monday, 12 February 2007

[1] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Feb 2007 20:05:32 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0103 & 18.0114 A Question

[2] 	From: 	David Frankel <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Feb 2007 20:24:37 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0127 A Question

[3] 	From: 	John Drakakis <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 11 Feb 2007 17:53:57 -0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0127 A Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Feb 2007 20:05:32 +0000
Subject: 18.0103 & 18.0114 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0103 & 18.0114 A Question

John Drakakis writes:

  >I am very sorry that Joseph Egert thought that I was attacking him,
  >and from the barricades no less!

Could it be that our Master of Analysis John Drakakis did not recognize 
the jesting tone in which my remarks were couched? Has his long 
engagement with Theory rendered him humorless as well as unresponsive? 
Let not your roar be muffled, John. We've come to expect the passionate 
full-throated polemicist from postings past, and nothing less will suffice.

JD goes on:

  >The trouble with
  >all of these labels is that they get in the way of serious enquiry.

But John, was it not you who labeled this humble correspondent 
"reactionary", not progressive? We have yet to hear how you, John 
Drakakis, distinguish the two (presently).

JD again:

  >I'm afraid that to define what 'modernity', 'Enlightenment' and
  >'Renaissance' are would try the patience of us all,...

Once more, we have yet to hear how JD categorically defines the 
"Enlightenment" in relation to its neighbors in time. Please try, John. 
Maybe it's time to pin down some of those floating signifiers, before 
instructive communication becomes impossible. Thank you, in any case, 
for the references.

JD continues on the "self-critical tradition" within Marxism:

  >Simply to assume that this will lead inevitably to a
  >slippery relativism is to forsake the rigour of intellectual enquiry
  >for fashion.

I believe that a radical presentism, that sweeps all before it, will 
inexorably lead to the relativist nihilism that John says he wishes to 
avoid. JD has yet to tell us how he agrees or disagrees with Wright's, 
"it should come as a relief not to aim at an impossible objectivity." Or 
this, from our distinguished List jester: abandoning the quest for 
permanent historical truth "constituted the great American contribution 
to philosophy..." No need for despair here?

Let us rather listen to Larry Weiss in his illuminating analogy of legal 
praxis:

  >must [we] throw up our
  >hands and concede that the past is unknowable in a Heisenbergian
  >way?  I submit not....  We might not be able to achieve a perfect
  >understanding of the events, but that doesn't mean it is useless to
  >try.

Hear! Hear! OTHELLO, of course, explores these issues of knowledge and 
judgment with their attendant frailties in remarkable depth. I'd go 
further and argue that Weiss' program should remain, above all, the 
central task of scholarship.  One nit to pick, however. When I insist, 
Brother Weiss, that History Itself is a Fact, I'm arguing it is 
completely and concretely True, and not merely an ideal Platonic 
abstraction. Larry Weiss' language seems to confuse the interpretations 
or translations (what "men may construe[] after their fashion") with the 
Real Facts or True Texts ("the things themselves").

Presentism's distinguished founder has now weighed in, quoting from 
Marcus Aurelius:

"Facts stand wholly outside our gates; they are what they are, and no 
more; they know nothing about themselves, and they pass no judgment upon 
themselves. What is, then, that pronounces the judgment? Our own guide 
and ruler, Reason."

Many thanks to Terence Hawkes for making my case. I could not have said 
it any better. The Facts and Texts speak perfectly for themselves, only 
we hear them imperfectly in translation. My position approaches that of 
Levinas, as refracted through Sean Lawrence: that the Other exists prior 
to the self and that the past exists absolutely whether we experience 
and recreate it or not. I cannot accept, however, that "[t]o integrate 
the past into our categories kills it" and that "[i]t ceases to be 
Other." Instead, our translations, valuations, and re-presentations, 
while necessarily incomplete and distorted, nonetheless in their real 
impact and influence become part of the evolving Other itself.  Without 
in any way sacrificing agency, this dynamic evolving unity goes even 
beyond what JD calls the "dialogue" gap. It is the Other re-fashioning 
itself.

Regards from the living past,
Joe Egert

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Frankel <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Feb 2007 20:24:37 -0500
Subject: 18.0127 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0127 A Question

Larry Weiss said, in reference to my notion that the idea of "late
capitalism" expressed a kind of nostalgia for a time
that has not yet come, when capitalism has vanished (or itself been
transformed) from the workings of the world, that:

 >I am trying to wrap my mind around the concept of "nostalgia
 >for a time that has not come"; I suppose it is something akin
 >to imagination.

I meant "nostalagia" in the sense of definition 2a from the Oxford 
English Dictionary,:

Sentimental longing for or regretful memory of a period of the past, 
esp. one in an individual's own lifetime; (also) sentimental imagining 
or evocation of a period of the past.

My ironic intent was to suggest more than imagination; rather, the 
phrase, and idea of, late capitalism (and, unlike Mr. Weiss, I take the 
"late" to mean something akin to "in the last throes", although John 
Drakakis could certainly tell us how he meant it) constitutes what 
Kenneth Burke might call a secular prayer, i.e., a kind of wish-fulfillment.

Mr. Weiss also comments that:

 >Capitalism, like any system that does not carry the seeds of
 >its own destruction. . . .

I'd say it's a little early to make that claim, as well.  Again, like 
Burke, I'm much more inclined to believe that all systems carry the 
seeds of their own destruction-some seeds take longer to grow, however, 
and only the future, when dwelling on the past, can come close to 
gauging accurately at what point early passed through middle to become 
late-and then became, well, whatever happens after late.

C. David Frankel
Assistant Director of Theatre
University of South Florida

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Drakakis <
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Date: 		Sunday, 11 Feb 2007 17:53:57 -0000
Subject: 18.0127 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0127 A Question

Dear Larry Weiss,

Go back to Ernest Mandel's book Late Capitalism that precedes Jameson's. 
  Not nostalgia at all but just a handy descriptive term.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

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