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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: July ::
SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0382  Tuesday, 8 July 2008

[1] From:   Kenneth Chan <
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     Date:   Thursday, 03 Jul 2008 12:56:14 +0800
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0378 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

[2] From:   Hugh Grady <
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     Date:   Monday, 7 Jul 2008 11:41:57 -0400
     Subt:   RE: SHK 19.0364 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Kenneth Chan <
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Date:       Thursday, 03 Jul 2008 12:56:14 +0800
Subject: 19.0378 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0378 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

Robin Hamilton writes:

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

I am afraid this analogy is inappropriate. There is a significant difference 
between the two.

It is because of the fact that the presence of a creator God cannot be proved 
scientifically that intelligent design is heavily disputed. That, however, is 
not the case with regards to a work of literature. Every work of literature has 
a creator, the author, and an author can certainly have intentions. Whether or 
not we can discern the author's intentions correctly is, of course, the problem.

Kenneth Chan

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Hugh Grady <
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Date:       Monday, 7 Jul 2008 11:41:57 -0400
Subject: 19.0364 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
Comment:    RE: SHK 19.0364 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

In regard to Kenneth Chan's question, " 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?

We don't have to simply speculate about such an experiment. The archives of 
Shakespearean criticism, and especially those dating from c. 1900 on, represent 
a huge array of such attempts, following the widely influential canons of 
positivist historical scholarship. The results: such readings for Shakespeare's 
intentions are never conclusive and continually change as history progresses.

An additional point:  the purpose of my calling attention to the issue of 
aesthetic meaning was to highlight the point of the non-conceptual (but 
rational) nature of aesthetic knowledge. If we think of "intention" as a set of 
clearly expressible concepts, I believe we will be continually frustrated in our 
attempts to agree on such concepts in interpreting artworks like Shakespeare's.

Best,
Hugh Grady


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