Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 14. Thursday, 2 Aug 1990.
Date:         Thu, 02 Aug 90 16:20:34 EDT
From:         Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      New Papers on SHAKSPER Fileserver
Two scholarly papers have been submitted to the SHAKSPER Fileserver
since the initial description of the server's contents was made in
SHAKSPER 1.0002.  Both authors have expressed a desire for comments
and feedback from other members of this conference.  The papers are
the following:
     Gary Waller, "Teaching the Late Plays as Family Romance."
     [FAMILY ROMANCE on the Fileserver.]
     Stanley D. McKenzie, "The Prudence and Kinship of Prince Hal
     and John of Lancaster in 2 Henry IV."  [PRUDENCE KINSHIP]
I have included below the initial paragraphs of Gary Waller's draft,
and the abstract from Stanley McKenzie's paper.  For more information
on using the SHAKSPER Fileserver, please consult the SHAKSPER GUIDE,
or the editor.
All SHAKSPEReans are reminded that they are welcome to submit any
relevant items for storage on the Fileserver, and any relevant
announcements for distribution to the conference.
Gary Waller
Teaching the Late Plays as Family Romance
[Please do NOT distribute.]
To teach the late plays as what Freud called the 'family romance" may, I
believe, get us as close to the continually decentered centers of these
plays as we and our students can. Indeed, I confess that when reading
and teaching them, I find myself, openly or shamefacedly, recuperated by
a humanistic valorization of the text which I sometimes thought to have
expunged from my critical practices. While that is a separate issue of
theory (and teaching), it is not irrelevant to the ways these plays may
help us understand the "tempest. . . birth, and death" (Per 5.3.33-34)
of our lives. Nor to the extent to which Freud's concept of the "family
romance" also focuses on crucial, perhaps permanent, parts of our
individual and collective lives.
Specifically, reading these remarkable plays can produce in their
readers and spectators  an uncanny mixture of what The Winter's Tale
calls "joy" and "terror" (IV.i.1). It thus provides what some
psychoanalysts term a "safe haven" for the acknowledgement and
therapeutic release of pent-up primitive anxieties (Eagle, 212). In
teaching them, however, I do not simplistically suggest that these plays
'reflect' some universal, dehistoricized pattern (although I certainly
point out to students how a Freudian reading can fall into that trap)
but rather try to find ways by which the patterns Freud gestured to in
his concept of the "family romance" are  enacted within different
historical formations and, therefore, different readers' experiences
(see Poster). As a starting point for reading the late plays as family
romances,I usually have my students read Freud's short essay, "Family
Romances" As with most of Freud's essays, it is surprisingly
straightforward as well as highly suggestive and so is appropriate even
for an introductory Shakespeare class. With advanced classes, I
introduce some more recent rewritings of the Freudian reading of the
family, notably the work by Margaret Mahler on separation and
individuation and the psychological birth of the human infant, the
feminist account of the family by Juliet Mitchell, Deleuze and
Guattari's reworking of the oedipal myth, and some extracts from
Theweleit's Male Fantasies. But the Freud essay in itself gives us an
agenda that is uncannily powerful for reading the late plays. . . .
Stanley D. McKenzie
The Prudence and Kinship of Prince Hal and John of Lancaster
     in 2 Henry IV.
          Attached is a paper of mine on 2HenryIV that is currently in
          press at Ohio University Press as part of a two volume
          festschrift in honor of George Anastaplo (eds. William T.
          Braithwaite, Robert L. Stone, and John A. Murley); the theme of
          the festschrift is "The Practice of Theory," and it contains
          articles from the fields of philosophy, law, political science,
          and literature (in all of which Anastaplo has published).  The
          festschrift is of course copyrighted and will have a December
          1990 publication date.
          In Henry IV, Part II, Shakespeare establishes a close
          structural relationship between Prince Hal and Prince John
          of Lancaster.  The plot, imagery, and thematic motifs of the
          play create a functional ethic of personal and political
          prudence within which Henry V's rejection of Falstaff and
          John's betrayal of the rebels at Gaultree are commendable
          and akin.  Although John and the rebels are of secondary
          importance to Hal and Falstaff, the play dramatically
          foreshadows the outcome of both plots.  Several minor images
          in the play link Falstaff with the rebels and Hal with John,
          while the major images of disease, time, and unfulfilled
          expectations form larger structural patterns among the major
          characters.  Henry IV, Falstaff, and the rebels are all old,
          guilty gluttons whose opportunistic appetites bring only
          sickness and death rather than fulfillment.  Hal and John
          defeat the expectations of their elders, passively curb the
          voracity of their adversaries, and impose a new code of
          moral justice upon the ravished land.

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