Looking for an Argument: Critical Encounters with the New Approaches to the Criticism of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2003 - 309 էջ
This book collects a number of Richard Levin's essays, beginning with his well-known PMLA article of 1988 on Feminist Thematics and Shakespearean Tragedy and continuing through the 1990s, that examine and evaluate some of the most important aspects of the new critical approaches to the interpretations of the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries- principally the New Historicism, feminism, and revisionist versions of Marxism and Freudianism. In these essays he is looking not only for rational arguments in these approaches, but also for a rational argument with their practitioners, and therefore he reprints several of the responses that these essays have elicited (including th PMLA Forum letter signed by twenty-four people who objected to Feminist Thematics) along with his answers to them, which contribute to this critique of the present state of the discourse in this field.

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Introduction
9
Concerning the Text
25
Feminist Thematics and Shakespearean Tragedy
29
A LETTER TO THE PMLA FORUM
49
The Poetics and Politics of Bardicide
55
A LETTER TO THE PMLA FORUM
73
ANOTHER LETTER TO THE PMLA FORUM
77
Unthinkable Thoughts in the New Historicizing of English Renaissance Drama
82
Negative Evidence
131
The New Interdisciplinarity in Literary Criticism
152
The New and the Old Historicizing of Shakespeare
177
The Cultural Materialist Attack on Artistic Unity
195
Silence Is Consent or Curse Ye Meroz
210
The Politicized Language of Literary Criticism
227
The Current Polarization of Literary Studies
244
Notes
259

MAKING SENSE
94
ReThinking Unthinkable Thoughts
104
Bashing the Bourgeois Subject
114
ITS A PANIC
122
Son of Bashing the Bourgeois Subject
124
Texts Formerly Works Cited
281
Index of Plays
300
General Index
302
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Էջ 126 - The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation...
Էջ 36 - I shall do so; But I must also feel it as a man: I cannot but remember such things were, That were most precious to me.
Էջ 126 - All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.
Էջ 87 - So, when this loose behaviour I throw off, And pay the debt I never promised, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men's hopes ; And, like bright metal on a sullen ground, My reformation, glittering o'er my fault, Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
Էջ 173 - ... a single great collective story; only if, in however disguised and symbolic a form, they are seen as sharing a single fundamental theme - for Marxism, the collective struggle to wrest a realm of Freedom from a realm of Necessity; only if they are grasped as vital episodes in a single vast unfinished plot.
Էջ 131 - I had, also, during many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favourable ones.
Էջ 88 - How would it have joyed brave Talbot, the terror of the French, to think that after he had lain two hundred years in his tomb, he should triumph again on the stage and have his bones new embalmed with the tears of ten thousand spectators at least (at several times), who, in the tragedian that represents his person, imagine they behold him fresh bleeding...
Էջ 105 - If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Էջ 23 - And that which should accompany old age, As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud, but deep, mouth-honor, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.

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