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13254Re: [mythsoc] A Tale of Two Professors

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  • Debra Murphy
    Dec 1, 2004
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      I think the Shakespeare-is-toO-profound-to-be-staged school of lit crit went out of favor there for a while, thank God, though it has been replaced in some circles by far worse (Deconstruction, New Historicism); but it does have at least one famous contemporary exponent, and that is Harold Bloom, who has claimed he has never seen a LEAR that did anything but grieve him, or words to that defect, as Dogberry might say.

      Now I have a whole website devoted to Shax-on-film, so I guess that puts me squarely in the opposing camp, much as I otherwise appreciate the eccentric Dr. Bloom, who shows himself in this, as in so much else, to be something of a cranky Gnostic. Give me Shakespeare in performance any day, including even the "impossible to stage" LEAR. (James Earl Jones, Olivier...) Indeed, I fell in love with the Bard all over again as an adult after seeing Jacobi's HAMLET and Branagh's HENRY V.

      I daresay it's ultimately a matter of taste, but it strikes me that those who cannot bear Shakespeare-in-performance are probably the sorts of people who either don't care much for theatre anyway, or who live primarily inside their heads, as it were; who have so specific a construct in their minds for what the play's about that they cannot stand to see it done otherwise.

      Debra Murphy


      ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
      From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>

      >At 09:55 AM 12/1/2004 -0500, dianejoy@... wrote:
      >>Shakespeare must be *seen* to be appreciated fully.
      >You might be amazed at the number of critics who believe, or believed, that
      >literature is for the armchair only, and that to see a play staged is to
      >dilute the literary experience. Tolkien had the answer to that in their
      >own terms: he held that drama is not, in that sense, literature, but a
      >different art.
      >I agree with you and Tolkien: drama is best staged. If not, read it aloud.
      > (Poetry should also usually be read aloud.) I have even seen plays that I
      >believe should NOT, under any circumstances, be read on the page for any
      >sort of appreciation. Shakespeare, at least, CAN work that way, but some
      >excellent modern dramatists can't.

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