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Interpretation versus Reading

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.027  Wednesday, 21 January 2015

 

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

Date:         January 21, 2015 at 5:29:55 AM EST

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Interpretation versus Reading

 

David Bishop’s insisting on an absolute ‘truth’ raises a number of problems, and while issues of ‘reason’ and ‘plausibility’ drive our narratives, we do need from time to time to question them.  Also I take Larry Weiss’s point that what I have labelled ‘caricature’ are the utterances of actual Shakespeare scholars; my response to that is to express no surprise since scholars sometimes say the daftest of things. Robert Appelbaum’s ‘worries’ however should concern us all since they get to the heart of ‘research’ especially in the form of what does and does not get publicly funded. Unfortunately the model for funding seems to be borrowed from the sciences, and privileges empiricism as a method. We need a much more complex model for ‘interpretation’ and ‘reading’ that can substantially challenge the limited historicist (or should I say ‘historical’) mode, since the two are not the same thing and should not be conflated. While some may find this endless definition of terms tedious, I’m afraid that it matters and in areas that take us well beyond the business of trying to understand what we read.

 

Cheers

John Drakakis

 
 
The Seventeenth British Graduate Shakespeare Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.026  Wednesday, 21 January 2015

 

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

Date:         January 20, 2015 at 10:09:56 AM EST

Subject:    The Seventeenth British Graduate Shakespeare Conference

 

The Seventeenth British Graduate Shakespeare Conference

4-6 June 2015

The Shakespeare Institute

Mason Croft, Church Street

Stratford-Upon-Avon

CV37 6HP

UK

 

BritGrad 2015 CFP 

4-6 June 2015 

The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham 

 

We invite graduate students with interests in Shakespeare, Renaissance, and Early Modern Studies to join us in June for the Seventeenth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference. 

 

This interdisciplinary conference, celebrating its seventeenth anniversary in 2015, provides a friendly and stimulating academic forum in which graduate students from all over the world can present their research on Shakespeare, the Early Modern period, or the Renaissance. In accordance with the Shakespeare Institute’s emerging reputation as a place for creative criticism, we also encourage creative responses. The conference takes place in an active centre of Shakespeare and Early Modern scholarship in Shakespeare’s home town, Stratford-upon-Avon. Undergraduate students in their final two years of study are also invited to attend the conference as auditors. 

 

Plenary speakers include Chris Laoutaris (University of Birmingham), Laurie Maguire (University of Oxford), and Andy Kesson (University of Roehampton). See our blog for information on plenary speakers as they are confirmed. Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend the RSC production of Othello, directed by Iqbal Khan (Much Ado ’12), and starring Hugh Quarshie (Faust, Julius Caesar ’96) and Lucian Msamati (Pericles ’06) at a group-booking price. Lunch will be provided on each day, and we will be hosting a party and a reception for the delegates. 

 

We invite abstracts of up to 200 words for papers twenty minutes in length on subjects relating to Shakespeare, Early Modern, and/or Renaissance studies. More creative forms of criticism, including original writing, may be submitted, also requiring a 200 word abstract. We welcome papers from a wide variety of disciplines, from literature to art history and beyond. Delegates wishing to give papers must register by 23 April 2015. (Abstracts cannot be considered until the delegate has registered.) Auditors are encouraged to register by 21 May 2015 for early-bird pricing. Due to the growing success of this annual conference, we strongly encourage early registration to ensure a place on the conference programme. 

 

For more information, find us on Facebook, on Twitter, and at britgrad.wordpress.com, or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

E:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

F: https://www.facebook.com/pages/BritGrad-2014/107650962644721

T: @britgrad   https://twitter.com/britgrad

W: www.britgrad.wordpress.com

 

 

Announcement pdf: icon BritGrad

 
 
Setup, Cite, Comment and Connect

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.025  Monday, 19 January 2015

 

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

Date:         Monday, January 19, 2015

Subject:    Setup, Cite, Comment and Connect

 

When I taught “Senior Seminar” to undergraduates and “Research Methods and Humanities Computing” to graduate students, I encouraged them to follow a formula that I had found useful to make arguments most forcefully:

 

Setup, Cite, Comment and Connect.

 

Setup: Explain the point you are attempting to make.

 

Cite: Cite the source or quote from it to support your assertions in the setup.

 

Comment and Connect: Comment on how the citation does indeed support the assertion you are making and then connect the assertion to the overall thesis you are advocating.

 

It is not enough to simply assert that “X” supports your assertion “Y” without “Z,” an explanation of how the support demonstrates your assertion. What is self-evident to one is not necessarily self-evident to another.

 

I believe that an informed use of this formula in arguments put forth on SHAKSPER would raise the level of discourse significantly.

 

Hardy

 
 
Gay Bard

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.023  Monday, 19 January 2015

 

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

     Date:         January 16, 2015 at 3:52:01 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2015 at 12:47:09 PM EST

     Subject:    Gay Bard 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 16, 2015 at 3:52:01 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard

 

I appreciate the commentary I am getting from individuals on the list who are assaying my interpretation of the Sonnets.

 

Gary Kosinsky points out that it seems to him that Sonnets 41 and 42, following 40, appear to suggest that all too mortal loves are what these sonnets are about. I am happy to give my take on them.

 

Sonnet 40, it seems to me is special in addressing the theme of theodicy, which is the science of justifying God’s ways to man. The sonnet’s very number 40, to my mind, is especially fit to address this subject. Why? For the very reason that in many traditions, forty is the age of Wisdom and Understanding. How fitting it is for the poet to tell that the wisdom of his 40th year, his mature understanding, tells him (and he us) that despite the “spights” that God, via life, inflicts on man, man and God must not be foes.

 

Turning to Sonnets 41 and 42, the poet returns to addressing the inner struggle between man’s two loves, love of his higher soul, allegorized as a beauteous, idealized form of himself, and his lower soul, allegorized as the female, who draws him downward toward his human passions.

 

In Sonnet 41, the poet is addressing his higher soul. The poet tells how his friend’s beauty is a temptation to seduction for his lower soul. (What woman can resist...) The poet tells that she, his lower soul, cannot resist making a play for the handsome, beauteous young man, the higher soul, and so being false to the poet who wants to continue to be angelic. And he, by his beauty that attracts the lower soul becomes false to the poet. This is all an inner struggle.

 

Sonnet 42 continues to describe this struggle between the two spiritual natures. The poet actually gives away the game in the last two lines of this poem, when in line 13 he tells us that he and his friend, his higher soul, “are one.” Hence it follows that “she loves but me alone.” It is all about the inner romance featuring the poet’s two spiritual aspects in interaction. They are all one and the poet poetizes the interactions.

 

Dan Decker and Ian Speere proceed to tell us of their views of the poet, how the facts available supposedly identify him as the person Ian describes and who could have had the interactions with Henry Wriothesley conjectured. But these conjectures are, in detail, built on houses of cards since, in this wide world, “dots” connecting “dots” can come up with a virtual infinity of scenarios. And when historians will discover additional “dots” to be added to our sparse histories, then even more scenarios will be possible.

 

Ian highlights the poet as leaving the trail of a business person and “acquisitive social climber.” But he could not have been just that, as are witnessed by his wonderful plays with exalted, momentous themes, such as King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth? This is hardly the kind of subjects a money grubbing materialist passes his time with.

 

Furthermore, Sonnet 40, as applied to an obsession with a hedonistic young man, would show the poet as a prisoner of his passion, a masochistic disposition. This kind of personality smacks of emotional illness. At least that is what it looks like to me and to others like, Robert Browning, who, writing of Wordsworth’s assertion that “with this key [the Sonnets] Shakespeare unlocked his heart”, famously replied in his poem House, “If so, the less Shakespeare he!”

 

Again, these deep, personal profiles of Shakespeare are based on conjecture. And so may mine be, except that I try to hang closely with the texts of the Sonnets, from which I draw my interpretations.

 

David Basch

 

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

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

Date:         January 17, 2015 at 12:47:09 PM EST

Subject:    Gay Bard

 

(Mr Basch, it is not you to whom we direct our commentary; this is still an open listserve.) By wishing so hard that the words of the sonnets are themselves a priori, Mr Basch confuses, as Hegel pointed out, the history of achievements with the achievements themselves. Hardy is trying to teach us that history unites the objective with the subjective and always in a context. The sonnets did not. My last comment presents some possible historical forensic work. I will always follow the evidence, all those brilliantly incomprehensible theories notwithstanding. The evidence suggests that Henry was not the original patron of the sonnets, his mother Lady Mary was. Will S wrote 17 sonnets encouraging Henry to procreate for Lady Mary to give to Henry between the time Lady Mary engaged Will S up to the time Henry refused the betrothal. Facing the end of his employment, Will S wrote sonnet 18, which, in that light, reads as an advertisement to sell his continued services to the Southamptons. My extended essay on this is in the SHAKSPER archives.

 

Many thanks for your continued kindnesses,

Dan Decker

 
 
Stern Noting Q1 Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.022  Monday, 19 January 2015

 

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

Date:         January 19, 2015 at 5:12:39 AM EST

Subject:    SHAKSPER Stern Noting Q1 Hamlet

 

Whilst reading Gerald E. Downs’s latest contribution on this subject, I couldn’t help observing an ambiguity in Professor Holland’s account of how Professor Stern’s article came to be selected for inclusion in Shakespeare Survey:

 

>As usual, Survey’s Board met during the

>conference to decide which of the papers would be

>selected for Survey. No, this is not anonymous

>peer-review but it is review by a large number of the

>world’s most distinguished Shakespeare scholars,

>many more than the two who would normally read

>submissions to journals.

 

It is unclear from this account whether each of these distinguished scholars read the text (computer print or electronic – possibly pirated!) of the authorial unrevised first version of Professor Stern’s article, or whether instead they relied on a collective memorial reconstruction, supplemented by multiple shorthand reports, of the actual public performance by Professor Stern (possibly shortened for the occasion) of that version (or of a related text.)

 

If the latter, the ironies are startling.

 

John Briggs

 
 
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