The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1150  Friday, 26 April 2002

From:           Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 25 Apr 2002 14:32:51 -0400
Subject: 13.1132 Re: It's Only a Movie
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1132 Re: It's Only a Movie

>Behind the somewhat loaded terminology of this statement lie some
>interesting implicit questions. Was Shakespeare a genius or not? If not,
>was he then merely a hack who was clever at adapting stories for popular
>consumption? Do the works contain profound truths about the human
>condition or not? If not, are those who find them there self-deluded
>fools? If they do embody truths, is it still a waste of time to
>discover, preserve and discuss them? Are, in fact, great works of the
>past (if any such exist) worth preserving? Finally, is it an either/or
>situation -- do you either deny the concepts (genius, truths, culture)
>and remain "open to the enjoyment of all forms of adaptation and
>appropriation of the plays," or accept them and stay closed-minded?

I'm a bit worried about opening up a debate that this list has already
seen - to the boiling point - several times, but I'll try.

In Gilman's "Herland" 3 men find a completely isolated society of women.
With no men, conflict or violence, the art the women have created is
incredibly dull to the men, while the women find the men's taste in
literature equally inexplicable. My point here is that the very terms
"genius, truths, culture" are culturally and socially created. But I
don't believe that realization should lead to throwing out the terms or
the works formally designated as truthful or genius. We are, after all,
social creatures who want to comfortably interact with each other and
have common bonds. Just because there is no absolutely universal truth
doesn't mean that more local truths aren't worthwhile. Shakespeare has
been judged highly valuable by a great number of societies for a very
long time. To me, that matters, even if I recognize that there are some
societies that don't value him at all.

Annalisa Castaldo

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