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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: February ::
A Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0151  Thursday, 15 February 2007

[1] 	From: 	Gabriel Egan <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 17:06:11 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0143 A Question

[2] 	From: 	Jeffrey Jordan <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 13:29:41 -0600
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0143 A Question

[3] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 22:30:30 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0143 A Question

[4] 	From: 	Terence Hawkes <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 14 Feb 2007 11:52:31 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0134 A Question

[5] 	From: 	John Drakakis <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 14 Feb 2007 15:57:30 -0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0134 A Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gabriel Egan <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 17:06:11 -0000
Subject: 18.0143 A Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0143 A Question

Norman Myers asks

 >In TWENTY FIVE WORDS OR LESS,
 >what is presentism?

To judge from what has been written on this list, I would offer:

Presentism is incredulity towards historiography's capacity to apprehend 
the past in the past's own terms and celebration of inevitably 
apprehending the past in today's terms.

 >Perhaps I should add that no single
 >word may contain more than three
 >syllables.

Don't be a philistine.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jeffrey Jordan <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 13:29:41 -0600
Subject: 18.0143 A Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0143 A Question

Replying to Norman Myers:

 >In TWENTY FIVE WORDS OR LESS, what is presentism?

If an article has a colon in the title, it's presentism.

 >Perhaps I should add that no single word may contain more
 >than three syllables.

Hey, no fair.  PRES - ENT - IS - M.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 22:30:30 -0000
Subject: 18.0143 A Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0143 A Question

Norman Myers writes ...

 >In TWENTY FIVE WORDS OR LESS, what is presentism?

I gather it is the opposite of historicism. In which case it would mean 
studying old texts only with reference to their present day meaning.

25 exactly.

 >should add that no single word may contain more than three syllables.

Oops.  I had historicism and ridiculous.

Peter Bridgman

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Terence Hawkes <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 14 Feb 2007 11:52:31 -0000
Subject: 18.0134 A Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0134 A Question

Professor Norman Myers is rightfully scathing in his denunciation of 
presentism:

'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."'

I apologise for my oversight. To meet the point I have arranged, by 
magical means, that the following passage will immediately appear in all 
past, current and future editions of my Shakespeare in the Present.

'Placing emphasis on the present can't help but connect fruitfully with 
the current realignment of critical responses that stresses the 
performance of a play as much as its 'reference': that looks at what the 
play does, here and now in the theatre, as well as -or even against- 
what it says in terms of the world to which its written text refers. 
Presentism thus highlights what has been termed drama's 'performative' 
function: a feature that always operates concurrently with, and perhaps 
as a modification of, its referential function.'

It is on page 5.

T. Hawkes

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Drakakis <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 14 Feb 2007 15:57:30 -0000
Subject: 18.0134 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0134 A Question

I see that this is another example of 2 cultures separated by a 
language.  The irony from this side of the pond is that we don't do 
barricades anymore!

Anyway, to more serious matters since the issue is a serious one. It 
really does matter that we have some sense of what the Enlightenment is 
and which thinkers it includes.  This was the burden of my original set 
of questions to Joe Egert that he didn't answer. I'm still puzzling over 
how you designate yourself as a 'reactionary' Joe.  If you are reacting 
to 'theory' then tell us which 'theory' and we can take the debate further.

Because 'presentism' is a relatively new concept surely we need to 
understand the intellectual undergrowth that it has emerged from. There 
is a debate to be had here between a Heideggerian understanding of the 
present and 'dasein' and the more classic Marxist understanding that 
seeks to locate 'dasein' in a much larger social context. We need also 
to consider this debate within the larger debate within and about the 
state of Marxism simply because this is the critical discourse that is 
most easily shaped to addressing in the most efficient way, these 
issues.  And here I emphasise MarxISM (that is to say the ongoing debate 
around dialectics, materialist thinking, the critiques of liberalism 
etc.) That gives us a conceptual framework within which to situate the 
practice of reading in general, and of reading Shakespeare in 
particular. Old style untheorised liberal thinking doesn't have very 
much to offer here by way of conceptual advancement and it doesn't take 
us very far, and conservative retrenchment simply won't do. Revisionist 
currents within Marxisante thinking are another matter altogether, and 
I'm not sure where Egert stands in relation to this. In other words, 
where is his reactionary stance coming from?  Joe, let's have an answer 
to the first set of questions first and then we can move on.

As to Professor Myers' more recent posting on performance and 
presentism, may I respectfully suggest that he actually reads Hawkes' 
collection AND Hawkes' monograph a little more closely. The time for 
passing books under one's nose, sampling the air, and (as Tristram 
Shandy would say) riding one's tit with more sobriety, is long gone.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

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