The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0259  Friday, 30 January 2004

From:           Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Jan 2004 10:09:21 -0500
Subject: 15.0250 The Shrew and British Feminism
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0250 The Shrew and British Feminism

A short, on the fly answer to a very good (if much discussed) question:
when we interpret literary texts, we are helping to make culture in a
complex social process.

--Hugh Grady

 > >"It is a great illusion of literary analysis that we are writing about
 > >the work more than about ourselves," writes Don Bloom. One might add -
 > >"... or our cultural and economic contexts, etc, etc." But he continues,
 > >"This is so grotesquely apparent in certain cranks, who feel obliged to
 > >cram every work into the box of their own obsession, that we normal ones
 > >(well, more or less) feel a spurious smugness. But the difference is
 > >only one of degree."
 > >
 > >If the difference is only one of degree (and I wholeheartedly agree with
 > >him on this), then surely the "cranks" are the ones who are
 > >acknowledging most honestly that their literary-critical readings can be
 > >little more than articulations of their own psychological/ sexual/
 > >gender/ economic/ cultural/ racial predilections, inasmuch as they don't
 > >pretend to achieve the kind of universal judgements that "normal"
 > >critics reflexively yearn for?
 >Who on earth among those "normal critics" would deny - could deny - that
 >their literary-critical readings are *other than* "articulations of
 >their own psychological/ etc. predilections"?  On the other hand, if the
 >evidence is there to show that a reading - from whatever inspiration -
 >is indeed present in the work, who can say these critics nay? In our
 >isolation from on another because of our individual calculus of unique
 >experiences, we yet attempt to communicate with one another, bring
 >ourselves to one mind with them, by "arguing our case" before our
 >neighbors, about everything.  Each of us is like a prophet determined to
 >convince his countrymen of his "view" of all things.
 >Is this not what each of us is doing on this Shakespeare.net?
 >L. Swilley

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