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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: January ::
A Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0038  Wednesday, 17 January 2007

[1] 	From: 	John D. Cox <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007 14:19:35 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0030 A Question

[2] 	From: 	Clay Shevlin <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007 11:30:37 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0030 A Question

[3] 	From: 	Hugh Grady <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007 20:58:36 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0030 A Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John D. Cox <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007 14:19:35 -0500
Subject: 18.0030 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0030 A Question

If the questions about presentism are not really challenges disguised as 
questions, then I hope the reply to them is not just an attack on 
obscurantism, as too often happens in SHAKSPER exchanges.

Terence Hawkes and Hugh Grady are not willfully embracing a fallacy. 
They are insisting that we cannot fully shed our identity when we try to 
explain the past, and since we cannot shed our identity, we might learn 
something by trying to explain where and how our identity shapes what we 
try to say about the accounts we write of what happened in the past.

Those who are suspicious of this enterprise can help the discussion by 
acknowledging presentism's first point: that we indeed cannot entirely 
shed our own identity when trying to understand the past.

At the same time, presentists would help the discussion, I think, by 
acknowledging that archival research is absolutely necessary as a way of 
making the past less unfamiliar, even though the past can never be as 
familiar as the present, if only because researchers and readers remain 
themselves.

I also think presentists could help the discussion by resorting less 
unreflexively to in-words such as "ideology." "Ideology" is a 
nineteenth-century coinage that has acquired a hopelessly complex 
assortment of meanings. Resorting to it clarifies very little except the 
user's inability to put the point in simpler terms.

I guess I'm trying to suggest some guidelines for Hugh Grady's 
roundtable, in the hope that it can be genuinely illuminating and not 
just a heated restatement of entrenched beliefs.

Best,
John Cox
Hope College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Clay Shevlin <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007 11:30:37 -0800
Subject: 18.0030 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0030 A Question

 >Presentism is a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas
 >and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or
 >interpretations of the past.

Just a thought...

If the adverb "anachronistically" were removed from the foregoing 
definition, would there be any change in meaning?

Yours in redundancies and pleonasms,
Clay Shevlin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hugh Grady <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007 20:58:36 -0500
Subject: 18.0030 A Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0030 A Question

I hope that listserv members are not under the impression that when 
current day Shakespearean "presentists" do our critical work, we are 
advocating the fallaciousness described in the Wikopedia article quoted 
in yesterday's responses to "A Question"! We are instead trying to 
re-define and trans-valuate the old pejorative meaning of the term into 
something different and positive. More anon.

Best,
Hugh Grady

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