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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
WS & GWB
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0065  Monday, 4 February 2008

From:		Margaret Litvin <
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Date:		Friday, 01 Feb 2008 14:45:05 -0500
Subject: 19.0053 WS & GWB
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0053 WS & GWB

Have you seen Scott Newstok's witty and still surprisingly relevant 2003 
analysis of the "W as Hal" phenomenon (with nice links) at 
http://www.poppolitics.com/articles/2003/05/01/George-W-as-Henry-V ? 
Another interesting moment: the 2004 debate "about Henry V" at the 
Shakespeare Theatre in Washington (this was where David Brooks coined 
the term "theocons"):
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34918-2004May17.html And 
Greenblatt on Clinton on Macbeth on ambition:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20073

The striking fact about Shakespeare references in American and British 
political rhetoric is their individualism. Almost invariably, the 
comparisons are between a colorful politician and a character in 
Shakespeare (e.g., W=V, Tony Blair = Hamlet, Mario Cuomo = Hamlet). 
Rarely in US/UK journalistic/polemical usage is a whole nation or 
community compared to a Shakespeare character (e.g., Germany is Hamlet, 
Russia is Hamlet, modern Arabs are Hamlet (e.g. 
http://www.isim.nl/files/newsl_5.pdf , scroll down to page 11)) or a 
Shakespearean situation (I think we tend to use Hobbes' Leviathan for 
this).  The one exception I can think of is the book Reviving Ophelia 
(1995) -- our victims are still lumpable, I guess.

Also-if someone can generalize about performance patterns-would you say 
Shakespeare's "political" plays (histories, Macbeth, JC, Coriolanus...) 
have enjoyed more US productions since 9/11 or since the Iraq war began 
than in the years previous?

Cheers,
Margaret Litvin

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