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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: July ::
SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0394  Saturday, 12 July 2008

[1] From:   Larry Weiss <
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     Date:   Thursday, 10 Jul 2008 23:26:14 -0400
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0385 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

[2] From:   Robin Hamilton <
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     Date:   Friday, 11 Jul 2008 09:21:00 +0100
     Subt:   Intentionlism

[3] From:   Robin Hamilton <
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     Date:   Friday, 11 Jul 2008 10:00:50 +0100
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0385 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Larry Weiss <
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Date:       Thursday, 10 Jul 2008 23:26:14 -0400
Subject: 19.0385 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0385 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

Duncan Salkeld concludes his latest contribution with a comment he expresses as 
an aside:

 >On a separate note, I'm not convinced by arguments that take the form:
 >(a) Shakespeare might have had a single intention by a single and entire
 >play/poem; (b) We can't know what that intention is; therefore (c) Shakespeare's
 >intentions remain unknowable/not worth discussing. At such a naively holistic
 >level, intentionality is entirely vapid. But when examining particular textual 
details
 >and their relationships, intention becomes not only a question worth raising but
 >sometimes essential.

This is very similar to the point I made about the difference between what an 
author intended by his words (critical analysis) and what words the author 
intended to use (textual analysis). I regret that this Roundtable is about to 
end without anyone addressing the matter explicitly, not even to offer a 
refutation, despite Cary's request for a discussion of the point.

[Editor's Note: Conversation on issues that are related to the Roundtable 
discussion do not necessarily have to end with the formal end of the Roundtable. 
Related subjects can become new threads and goes on as long as I can take them. 
Cary is finishing his concluding guest editor's essay and then will begin 
preparing for the Special Edition of STYLE he will also be guest editing -- you 
all will be hearing more about this special issue in the coming weeks. -Hardy]

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Robin Hamilton <
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Date:       Friday, 11 Jul 2008 09:21:00 +0100
Subject:    Intentionlism

I still fail to be convinced of the utility of the concept of authorial intention.

For one thing, "authorial intention" is simply one of several modes of defining 
the meaning of a written text.

There are better examples to chose than Shakespeare.

Is the text of Thomas Wyatt's "Farewell Love, and all thy laws forever ..." that 
of the Egerton MS, the closest we have to what the "historical author" wrote, or 
does it involve the version found in the Devonshire MS (text as process) or 
should we hew to the Tottel version which was read by every major English poet 
between 1550 and 1900?

Leave aside the notorious fact that authors lie, and even if one could drag the 
ghost of Shakespeare kicking and screaming from his or her unquiet grave, who'd 
believe?

Especially as the report would be mediated.

It's orthoglyphs all the way down, as Jane probably said to Cassandra.

        Robin Hamilton

{In scribing these glyphs in pixels on your screen, I violate my own integrity, 
but who the frelk cares, mon sembabble, ma soeur?}

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Robin Hamilton <
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 >
Date:       Friday, 11 Jul 2008 10:00:50 +0100
Subject: 19.0385 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0385 SHAKSPER Roundtable: Shakespeare's Intentions

 >Consider, for instance, how an awareness of the contemporary competing
 >sectarian conceptions of the afterlife complicates our reading of Hamlet.

Oddly, that's easily answered.

Why does Hamlet's daddy's ghost return from a catholic purgatorial afterlife?

Because if he didn't, there'd be no play.

Doesn't matter diddly squat whether or not Shakespeare was a believing catholic, 
but the play needs Purgatory.

RH

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