The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1517  Friday, 25 July 2003

From:           William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 25 Jul 2003 04:16:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1506 Re: Bloom on Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1506 Re: Bloom on Hamlet

>"However my point was that the passionate HB does
>leave room for intangibles such as magic, myth and
>mystery as components in the authorial process."
>A theory of the authorial process, no?
>That was my point.
>The Keynes quote was something along the lines of:
>"He who says he does not believe in theory is just
>in the grip of an older theory."
> m

Well, yes and no.

Theory defined by the Concise Oxford dictionary: n. supposition
explaining something, esp. one based on principles independent of the
phenomena etc. to be explained, opp. to hypothesis; speculative view;
the sphere of speculative thought. Gk. theoria f. theoros spectator f.
theoreo behold.

Since I must now admit that Terence Hawkes was right from this
definition (and what else can we hold with Shakespeare but a speculative
viewpoint) I am intellectually humbled. Your quote though seems to imply
only one older theory and believe me I will pick up crumbs from any
theory as long as I feel it is relevant to the issue at hand.

Where Shakespeare is concerned, I prefer to research the theories that
were widely held in his time and speculate from there, because those
theories held relevance for him and his contemporaries. Critical theory
was not then in practice. That is perhaps where our viewpoints differ. I
do not believe theories of any kind are omniscient or are intended to
be. And Theories that are retroactive in their working offer me little
or no illumination.

Of course I am a 20th/21stC dude so I must also be an amalgam of the
theories of my education. That I cannot deny. The thing we share is
humanity and that is not only reason and intelligence, but also my
physical, emotional, and spiritual being. And those three bring with
them a whole slew of theories. I truly believe the literary Theories of
the 20thC from structuralism onwards have offered little in the way of
adding to Shakespeare scholarship, except for new ways of describing the
same old things.

'so all my best is dressing old words new, spending
again what is already spent'. Sonnet 76.

Speculatively and speciously yours,
William S.

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