The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2205  Tuesday, 5 November 2002

From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Nov 2002 21:04:15 -0500
Subject:        Anything Goes or Whatever Is, Is Right

"The study of mediocrity, whatever its origins, breeds mediocrity."
                                                     --Harold Bloom

Bloom's epigram applies pointedly to Shakespeare in Performance.  In any
given period, most Shakespearean productions are mediocre, and of no
lasting significance.  This is no less true of productions emanating
from London, New York, Hollywood, Ashland and both Stratfords than it is
of those from other venues.  Most theatrical productions are justly
forgotten on closing night, and the factitious permanence of celluloid
does not instill lasting value in everything printed upon it.  Yet it is
precisely these undistinguished productions that form the pseudo-canon
of this pseudo-discipline.  Unlike other canons, the constituent works
are not required to pass the test of time, or any test other than that
of existence.  In their desperate inclusiveness, the
pseudo-disciplinarians draw no distinction between a production mounted
fifty years ago and one which appeared last week, or between the small
number of landmark productions and the rank-and-file of bad or
pedestrian stuff.  All is grist to these indiscriminate millers, vainly
grinding away at the barriers between scholarship and journalism,
between criticism and reviewing, between works that deserve intensive
study and those which do not.  It is this that makes their labors so
trivial and so dull.  Even worse:  by privileging these unimportant
productions, they necessarily foster more of the same.  The study of
mediocrity breeds mediocrity.

--Charles Weinstein

S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.