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Home :: Archive :: 2013 :: January ::
Pale Fire

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0030  Sunday, 27 January 2013

 

[1] From:        Evelyn Gajowski < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 18, 2013 3:53:43 PM EST

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[2] From:        David Bishop < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 18, 2013 4:10:03 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[3] From:        Charles Weinstein < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 18, 2013 8:46:52 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[4] From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 18, 2013 11:16:10 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[5] From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 18, 2013 11:22:31 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[6] From:        Peter Hyland < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 19, 2013 1:06:56 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Evelyn Gajowski < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 18, 2013 3:53:43 PM EST

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

For what it’s worth, I saw the production of Timon at the National last Aug. and loved it. However, I have not read the review in question. 

 

All the best,

Evelyn Gajowski

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        David Bishop < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 18, 2013 4:10:03 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

Congratulations to Charles Weinstein for striking a few sparks—though I must say I’ve also enjoyed some of the Urkowitz-Downs debate.

 

Gabriel Egan typically writes much better than the author I will call the Jargonist, whose words appeared on this list. But his defense of the Old Order is a bit breathtaking. It seems to me that he calls bad writing good, good bad, and confusion clear. As for his particular criticisms of Weinstein, one could argue that “sybaritic” did not rightly apply to junk-bond selling, but when it comes to snorting coke and hitting on nubile women I think it fits perfectly. As for co-optation, maybe British usage differs, but in American Weinstein’s is fine.

 

Back to the Jargonist, who wants to avoid “passive analysis”, presumably in favor of “active”, which is apparently synonymous with “ideological”. Since the “interpretation” will not be done, but “taken account of”, I’m not sure whose interpretation, or active analysis is involved. The “presence of the Italian world” in England will be seen not as an influence but as a generator of “processes” like appropriation and transformation—which would seem to resemble influence. This “presence” will also generate “ideological opposition”. How would one oppose the “presence of the Italian world”—ideologically or otherwise? This generation of opposition is accomplished through “a continuous dialectical interchange of compliance and subversion”. Compliance and subversion of the presence? This is the passage Egan believes is perfectly clear, at least to the properly educated.

 

Perhaps one could rephrase it: Italian stereotypes, tropes, plots, characters, etc., turn up in Elizabethan writing. The writers adapt these to suit their own purposes.

 

Best wishes,

David Bishop

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Charles Weinstein < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 18, 2013 8:46:52 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

“Sybaritic:...characterized by or loving luxury or sensuous pleasure: to wallow in sybaritic splendor.”—Dictionary.com 

 

“Co-optation:...To neutralize or win over (an independent minority, for example) through assimilation into an established group or culture: co-opt rebels by giving them positions of authority.”  --Free Online Dictionary 

 

“Free-floating veneer” was paradoxical. 

 

I don’t know Simon Russell Beale and therefore have no “personal dislike” of him. I simply think he’s a bad actor.

 

--Charles Weinstein

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 18, 2013 11:16:10 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

Gabriel Egan finds the passage quoted by David Bishop as an example of turgid tenurespeak to be a model of lucidity, but he offers a paraphrase which I assume is intended to lampoon the original:

 

“Granted, at 104 words it’s a bit long to be one sentence. But it’s pretty clear in its meaning, surely. I understand it to say that previous studies have been dull collections of facts and phenomena, while this one is informed by high French theory of the late 1960s, specifically Kristevan notions about intertextuality that go beyond simple source spotting and engage the concept of a dialectic interaction rather than merely observing that ‘A is found in B’. The only bit of jargon it uses that perhaps falls outside what any English Literature graduate should be expected to know is “positivistic-deterministic hermeneutics”, and it’s not unreasonable to use a dash of undergraduate-level epistemology in this context.”

 

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 18, 2013 11:22:31 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

>I assume Larry Weiss, David Bishop and Bruce Young are aware 

>that the production of Timon that Charles is reviewing with his 

>usual hauteur has been running since last July and has been 

>extensively reviewed in the British press, not to mention the 

>NYT and the New Yorker. Numerous descriptions are thus 

>available online. To Charles’s customary distress, virtually all 

>reviewers have praised Beale’s performance.

 

That doesn't mean that the emperor isn't naked.  

 

In any event, even Charles praised Russell Beale’s performance; he said “given his peculiar harmony with the role, and despite his rhetorical mediocrity and emotional constipation, this is the most adequate work that I have seen Beale do. He is a tolerable actor for a second-rate Shakespeare play.” High praise indeed, weighing all the factors.

 

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Peter Hyland < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 19, 2013 1:06:56 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

Larry Weiss thinks that Charles Weinstein’s review of Timon of Athens is well-written and that if it is “even half accurate” (much virtue in if) most of us would dislike the production. Bruce Young is also impressed by it and asks for a thoughtful response to it. David Bishop provides an example of bad writing to show that Weinstein’s is “a breath of fresh air.” It’s not possible to tell about Bishop, but neither of the other two saw the production. Duncan Salkeld has provided the kind of response Young asks for, but as Arthur Lindley points out, there are many reviews available online, not all of them badly written, and hardly any of them concurring with Weinstein’s position. What is worrying about these responses (and I would add Harry Berger Jr’s that Weinstein’s review is “outstanding” and Ros Barber’s that it is “well-written”; at least she saw it, though it’s a little sad that because she didn’t like the production either she is not interested in any response to Weinstein), is the assumption that because it is well written it must be valid. But anyone who deals extensively with literature is well aware that something can be “brilliantly written” and still be pernicious nonsense: reread the account of Beale’s Timon in the penultimate paragraph, which elides the distinction between Beale’s personality and his performance. Perhaps those with shorter memories than mine should search the SHAKSPER archives. They’ll find that some years ago Weinstein frequently submitted reviews to this forum, almost all of them as relentlessly reductive as this one, and many of them apparently with the main function of performing this kind of hatchet job on Simon Russell Beale.

 

Peter Hyland

 
 

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