2007

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0149  Thursday, 15 February 2007

From: 		Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 12:56:20 -0500
Subject: 18.0140 Renaissance Tragedy
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0140 Renaissance Tragedy

Not at all, Hannibal . . . not at all! Even the term "Puritan" (writ 
large or small) is a vexed one, as any historian of the period will 
readily tell you-and especially as a Miltonist, one grows sensitive to 
the kind of (mis)labeling that destroys a man's career (as, for example, 
the label "antimonarchist" has done from the 18th century until very 
recently, in terms of Milton's prose). Electronic communication is a 
wonderful thing, but the 'Net does have a way of turning casual 
utterances (or statements out of context) into "fact" (such as one 
academic talk show participant's recent silly comment that "Shakespeare 
stole everything he wrote"-serious Shakespeare scholars would know 
immediately that she was revealing her own ignorance of standard 
practice from the classical period through the Enlightenment, but how 
many students heard that remark, and now point out the Bard's 
"plagiarism"-her term, too-to their professors when they get caught 
doing "the same"?)

Like you, I was trying to convey the real magnitude of the question: one 
can no more pronounce "tragedy" dead (in either the literal or the 
literary sense) than he or she can pronounce "Shakespeare" dead, without 
extensive qualification. The original query wasn't specific enough to 
invite a sensible response, for that reason.

Thank you for your kind reply!

Carol Barton

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