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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0571  Friday, 31 August 2007

From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Saturday, 25 Aug 2007 13:09:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 18.0543 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0543 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

John Drakakis, unclear as to what I mean by 'fact', asks how he would 
recognize it. The answer, which JD himself provides later in the "Gobbo" 
example, is simply to gather, weigh, and judge the available evidence, 
perhaps in conference with fellow jurors, then decide what most likely 
happened in fact.

Think of actual history as a reel of 3D film unspooling in time. Each 
cel then constitutes an objective universal permanent record of each 
instant. Different scholars may wish to study different parts of a given 
cel, or different segments of the reel over time (say, a particular year 
or decade), then reason together as to what probably occurred in fact. 
Naturally, like sand-blind Hindus examining different parts of the 
elephant, they bring their own interests, perceptions, and judgments to 
the process, all conditioned by society and history (There's that truism 
again.). The actual facts, while prior to and independent of their 
valuations, nonetheless form the basis for them.

Some may recognize that the "Gobbo" example and attendant quotes were 
taken directly from Dr D's own "Present Text" piece in PRESENTIST 
SHAKESPEARES---in the (vain?) hope JD would respond to the problems 
posed. Let's try one more time:

1. Does JD agree that past and present form one evolving continuum and 
therefore cannot be in overall "dialectical relation" to each other?

2. Must we wait to learn what name he would advise his fellow editor to 
use in the stage direction example, and why?

3. Does Dr D still believe "speculating about authorial intention" to be 
a "trap" or "guilty" endeavor? JD himself suggests he would accept which 
name to use, had he Shakespeare's own manuscript. Even here I'd argue: 
the fundamental question is not what he wrote but what he intended to 
write. We'd still have to try to construct a perfectly proofread 
manuscript from what was handed to us.

4. What then would Dr D choose as the model for his edition of a play 
"by William Shakespeare"? -- a perfectly proofread final draft? a 
perfectly proofread opening night script or promptbook?

5. Does Dr D truly believe all scholarship should be sieved through a 
"current social value" filter? I still don't know how John distinguishes 
between "progress" and "reaction". Does he agree with Cary DiPetro that 
"our priority must be to consider how and why these texts mean for us 
now"? Or is this more noncense?

Finally, I wish to thank Dr Drakakis for his valuable lesson in textual 
analysis both here at SHAKSPER and in "Present Text".

Regards,
Joe Egert

"When people stop believing in reason, they don't just believe in 
nothing---they believe in anything!" (Apostle of Darkness, 2007)

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