Exhortation

When John first talks about sin, he connects it to fellowship and walking in the light. He does not say, “If we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us, and as a result we have fellowship with one another.” He says, “If we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one . . . . Continue Reading »

Bakhtin the capitalist

Stallybrass and White critize Bakhtin for conceptualizing the fair purely as a place of communal celebration, ignoring the commercial activities of the fair: “In developing this concept, Bakhtin succumbs to that separation of the festive and the commercial which is distinctive of capitalist . . . . Continue Reading »

Classical bodies and modernity

Stallybrass and White again: The classical form “was far more than an aesthetic standard or model.” It might be better to say that there was a classicist aesthetic at work in other areas besides art. In any case, the classical body “structured, from the inside as it were, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Classical and other bodies

Peter Stallybrass and Allon White ( The Politics and Poetics of Transgression ) summarize a point from Bakhtin: “Bakhtin was struck by the compelling difference between the human body as represented in popular festivity and the body as represented in classical statuary in the Renaissance. He . . . . Continue Reading »

Humilation and Exaltation

Theologians normally treat the incarnation-to-burial of Jesus as the humiliation of the Son; resurrection-to-ascension exaltation. That’s correct, but there are other angles too. God hid His face behind a veil from the time of Moses to the incarnation. This is His humiliation - we might . . . . Continue Reading »

Metaphysical Hamlet

Andre Gide wrote: “Has anyone, in explaining Hamlet’s character, made full use of the fact that he has returned from a German university? He brings back to his native country the germs of a foreign philosophy; he has plunged int a metaphysics whose remarkable fruit seems to me ‘To . . . . Continue Reading »

The Politics of Playing

Plays might be promoted as a kind of opiate of the masses: Mass entertainment that keeps them from more violent entertainments like rioting and pillaging. This could be problematic, if the entertainments were too heady for most people to follow. Thomas Heywood (1612) suggested that playwrights . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare regulated

How regulated was Shakespeare’s own theater? And for what reasons? Patterson highlights various reasons for closing or permitting theaters: audience composition, including the fear that a large collection of workers might be distruptive; public health; economic concerns; religious and moral . . . . Continue Reading »

American Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s fortunes in the US were, understandably, different from in England. Initially, Shakespeare was America’s most popular playwright, appealing to a wide sector of the American populace. Patterson notes that “by the end of the nineteenth century ‘Shakespeare’ . . . . Continue Reading »

Popular Shakespeare

Annabel Patterson notes ( Shakespeare and the Popular Voice ) that contemporary critics, whatever their own political outlook, assume that Shakespeare was an advocate of Elizabethan hierarchy. This view, however, is a product of the 19th century. Dryden, Johnson, and others criticize Shakespeare . . . . Continue Reading »