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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: July ::
RT: Shakespeare's Intentions Reactions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0434  Thursday, 24 July 2008

From:       Felix de Villiers <
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Date:       Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 15:07:19 +0200
Subject:    RT: Shakespeare's Intentions Reactions

Themes for the Next Roundtable

I am not an expert, but I'm here because I love Shakespeare, and expect to be 
helped by you. If I'm not mistaken, Hardy, you hinted at a possible theme -- 
Style --. I think this could prove to be very stimulating, although I would 
suggest the title Style and Content, as the two are often confused. Style is 
something relatively external: the Elizabethan style, the Sonnet style; 
Classicism -- more light, airy, graceful after the Baroque - and Romanticism, as 
products of specific socio-economic circumstances. If we go from Shakespeare to 
Spenser, it is evident that Spenser's style is more, sweet, soft and 
light-footed, creamy, if you like. But then we still have to understand how 
Spenser's style communicates with his content. The greater the artist, I think, 
the more the content will consume the style. I have had some intuitions which 
still have to be tested. My feeling, for example, tells me that Shakespeare has 
an inimitable way of blending images into reflections; I think also of a 
concentration of language which, while remaining fluid and unforced, cancels 
everything that is superfluous, as in his Sonnets compared with those of Sydney.

Although Jason Rhode was the first to pose this question of style, his queries 
have not been satisfactorily answered (Jason Rhode <
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 > Date: 
Monday, 18 Feb 2008 18:16:21 -0600).

He writes that he is not interested in genius but in craftsmanship. I'm afraid 
the two are inseparable, but we can replace the word 'genius' with 'artistic 
instinct.' He wants very specific linguistic techniques that work. I feel quite 
frustrated, because if he had asked me about music and certain composers, I 
could give him exactly the reply he requires: that Schubert was THE genius of 
3rd relationships and the contrast between major and minor; that Schumann was 
the genius of singularity and had a special way of using dominant sevenths. But 
maybe these formal and grammatical traits are, perforce, easier to distinguish 
in music. I have read and reread favorite passages in Shakespeare and I can't 
find such linguistic tricks.

This is an open-ended letter asking for help from the Olympian heights of 
scholarship. In the meanwhile, I will try to continue to crawl like an ant up 
Shakespeare's mountain peak and see what I find out.

Yours, Felix

[Editor's Note: Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meetings have set a 
standard for ways to approach academic discussions: workshops, seminars, panels, 
keynote speakers. I see Roundtables as being situated on this continuum (if I 
may order these approaches on a continuum from workshops to keynote speakers) 
somewhere between the seminar and the panel format. If someone who would 
volunteer as guest moderator in the pattern set by Hugh Grady and Cary DiPietro, 
I will consider the above suggestion if it were recast as less along the lines 
of the workshop and more toward the seminar/panel format. -Hardy]

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