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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
SHAKSPER Roundtable
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0527  Wednesday, 15 August 2007

From: 		Will Sharpe <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 14 Aug 2007 13:14:06 +0100
Subject: 	SHAKSPER Roundtable

I distinctly remember, a few months ago, Hugh Grady, in his commendable 
work as moderator for the apparently - and disappointingly - failed 
experiment that was the Roundtable forum on presentism, asking if anyone 
had anything more to add, or to forever hold their peace. As his request 
was met with a conspicuous silence, it seemed as if we'd either a) got 
to the bottom of the problem (unlikely) or b) nobody fancied a pop at it 
as the Roundtable stipulated a reading list and lots of effort/knowledge 
of what's been published in order to participate. It now seems as if it 
was a) after all. Presentism seems to be a topic of endless fascination 
for our list, as long as it can be expressed in the form of abstract, 
half-digested philosophical questions, which are more often than not 
solely intended to knock Terence Hawkes down from what most people 
wrongly believe to be his high horse. The man's got a point, and more 
than that, he's published extensively on it. If we really do have 
anything worthwhile to say, let's get the Roundtable going again, and 
respond to Hawkes's books (and the books of others), and not his emails: 
all that amounts to is undisciplined bickering, and is against the grain 
of what Hardy was trying to achieve with the Roundtable in the first place.

With respect,
Will Sharpe

[Editor's Note:

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

Thank you, Will, for your incisive post.

The late 1970s and 1980s were my formative years as a Shakespearean. 
During that time, I read <I>Alternative Shakespeares</I> and a number of 
other works that informed the way I read and think about Shakespeare to 
this day. During that time, I found the writing of Terry Hawkes 
especially enlightening, so much so that I consider him one of my 
intellectual heroes. I find Will's suggestion for holding a Roundtable 
discussion on "Meaning by Shakespeare" an appealing one and Will's 
statements about my intentions for the Roundtable in particular and the 
list in general to be accurate.

As many long-time members of this list may have noticed, my editing of 
the list has become somewhat irregular over the past few years.

By way of a brief explanation, almost three years ago, Kathy, my wife of 
thirty years, lost her adult long struggle with schizophrenia and took 
her life during a psychotic episode. I had been having health problem 
and had undergone a procedure two days before her death, which resulted 
in my ending up in the hospital the day after her memorial service with 
septicemia from an e-coli infection, resulting in a fever that came 
close to killing me. Several months later, I slipped on the ice in my 
driveway, resulting in a tib-fib fracture. The ambulance was required to 
take me to the nearest hospital that was open, one that I had little 
confidence in and not the one where the doctors saved my life from the 
blood infection. The orthopedist on duty operated and put me in a long 
cast that I believe was too tight. Months later, after losing confidence 
in the doctor, I began seeing a physiatrist, who with a neurologist and 
a pain management specialist, diagnosed me as having Chronic Regional 
Pain Syndrome, Type II (formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy 
Syndrome), a neurological disorder characterized by chronic, severe pain 
in my right leg and foot, pain that I will suffer from for the rest of 
my life.

After a physically difficult semester, I decided to dedicate this summer 
to taking care of myself, seeing weekly two to four different doctors 
and spending hours and hours in physical therapy. A few weeks ago, my 
efforts and those of my doctors paid off - I was diagnosed with severe 
sleep apnea and put on a CPAP machine. The CPAP machine has 
substantially given me back my life. For the first time in years and 
years, I am rested and have energy. My pain has not diminished, but I am 
in a much better condition to deal with it.

The bottom-line is that I am ready to take on the additional tasks of 
hosting another SHAKSPER Roundtable and having one on the work and 
theories of Terry Hawkes is to me an exciting prospect.

What I need is a Guest Moderator to conduct the Roundtable with me. The 
Guest Moderator is responsible for initiating, moderating, directing, 
and concluding the discussions. To begin, the Guest Moderator suggests a 
Reading List of three to five items that are announced at least two 
weeks before discussion starts. Anyone participating is expected to be 
thoroughly familiar with these readings. The Guest Moderator initiates 
the discussion with a question or a statement. Members who wish to 
participate send responses that are clearly identified as belonging to 
the Roundtable thread to me, and I forward them to the Guest Moderator, 
who organizes and comments on the entire week's submissions before 
suggesting directions that discussions might take the following week. 
After calling an end to the Roundtable, the Guest Moderator provides a 
summary statement, and then the entire course of the Roundtable 
discussions is given its own page on the SHAKSPER website for public 
review.

So if there is interest in having a Roundtable on "Meaning by 
Shakespeare" or any other topic for that matter and if there is a 
volunteer to host that discussion, please let me know. Please 
distinguish between private messages to me and public messages intended 
for the membership should you choose to respond to my invitation.

Hardy M. Cook
Editor of SHAKSPER]


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