The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0143 Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Date: Monday, 12 Feb 2007 21:54:37 -0500
Subject: 18.0134 A Question
Comment: Re: SHK 18.0134 A Question
As I continue with this thread, which I guess I started with my simple
(many would probably say "simple-minded") question, "What is
'presentism?' ", I find my head spinning. I am struck by a quote form
Larry Weiss, by way of Hardy Cook on Feb. 9:
"The debate seems really among a handful of academics at the top of the
ivory tower who debate with each other about semantic subtleties which
have more to do with describing what they do than what Renaissance
authors did. It is caviar to the general."
Perhaps I haven't acquired a sufficient taste for caviar.
When I advised dissertations I played a game with my advisees as I tried
to get them to succinctly define/describe what they were proposing to
do. You are at the hands of terrorists, the Mafia, evil-doers. They
tell you that you must define your terms in twenty-five words maximum,
including articles and prepositions, or suffer dire consequences. Want
to play? In TWENTY FIVE WORDS OR LESS, what is presentism? Perhaps I
should add that no single word may contain more than three syllables.
I'm also amazed (and amused) to see that, so far, none of the
contributors has mentioned the implications of all this for PRODUCTION
AND PERFORMANCE. After all, wasn't Shakespeare (excluding the sonnets
and narrative poems) first and foremost a maker of plays? It seems to
me that production at any given time, including the very first
performances, would be the ultimate in "presentism."
(Please forgive the use of all capitals for emphasis, but my system
won't let me do italics or underlining."
Bowling Green State University
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