Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: July ::
SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0378  Wednesday, 2 July 2008

[1] From:   Kenneth Chan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
     Date:   Monday, 30 Jun 2008 10:33:26 +0800
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0364 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

[2] From:   Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
     Date:   Monday, 30 Jun 2008 03:42:43 +0100
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0371 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Kenneth Chan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:       Monday, 30 Jun 2008 10:33:26 +0800
Subject: 19.0364 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0364 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

Hugh Grady writes:

  >The discussion on intention in this Roundtable has been a very full one,
  >but I have one more topic to add to the mix:  the issue of aesthetic meaning
  >in the discussion of the interpretation of Shakespeare's works. I want to
  >emphasize the difference between a conventional message, delivered in
  >a concrete social context from a known speaker to a known audience -- and
  >the communications situation of an artwork -- let us take the drama as an
  >example -- in which language is put to fictional, emotive purposes outside of
  >normal social contexts, by an author or authors whose words are formed
  >within generic and theatrical traditions not invented by the author and mediated
  >by actors, directors, and others, to an audience of persons not personally
  >known and representing a multitude of personal biases, intellectual frameworks,
  >and familiarities with the story, language, and conventions of the drama.

Hugh Grady's point with regards to aesthetic meaning is an important one. 
Concerning authorial intention, let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that a 
playwright did carefully craft an entire play as a cohesive unit for the purpose 
of conveying a specific meaning through the emotive medium of drama, a process 
of reaching the audience by having them live through the experience. Certainly, 
we must concede the possibility that a playwright may have this intention.

The playwright, however, has to contend with the fact that language has its 
limitations. The meaning of any isolated sentence or passage may always be 
deemed ambiguous to a certain extent because of the limitations of language. 
Nonetheless, is it not an over-generalization to then conclude that it is not 
even a legitimate or useful exercise to attempt understanding the meaning of an 
entire play (as a whole unit) as the author intended? Are the limitations of our 
language so severe that even the intended aesthetic meaning of an entire play - 
carefully crafted to convey a specific meaning - rendered completely irretrievable?

Kenneth Chan

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:       Monday, 30 Jun 2008 03:42:43 +0100
Subject: 19.0371 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0371 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

How to escape the regress of intention?

How do we know what the intention of the author of Hamlet/"Hamlet"/_Hamlet_ *is?

We know it because he writes_here_, that this is what he "means".

He says it (except he doesn't) *here, in a set of words:

        "This is what I meant in Amleth."

Comes down to it, it's text(s) all the way down.

I 'believe' in Hamlet in the same way that I believe in god.

        "Intention" is literary criticism's equivalent to intelligent design.

{Somewhere, some person, it might have been Derrida, but I think it was earlier 
with Kierkegaard in _The Concept of Irony With Constant Reference To Socrates_, 
  points out that Socrates refused to write anything down due to his distrust of 
the written word, with the result that Plato promptly transmogrified him into a 
figure created in orthography.

Angels weep!}

Robin Hamilton

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the opinions 
expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the editor assumes no 
responsibility for them.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.