From 1954 to 1956, at the height of the McCarthy Era and at the time the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education launched the modern Civil Rights movement, Jacob Lawrence painted thirty history paintings encompassing the period from the American Revolution to early westward expansion. Thirteen of the resulting panels from the series, Struggle…from the History of the American People, are at UVA’s Fralin Museum of Art (September 3 –June 5, 2016).
According to Alan Bray’s book, Homosexuality in Renaissance England, “the modern image of ‘the homosexual’ cannot be applied to the early modern period, when homosexual behavior was viewed in terms of the sexual act and not an individual's broader identity.” (Columbia University Press)....
The poem's linguistic and thematic strategy consistently opposes active verbs to thepassive voice which causes things to be spread out, etherized, smoothed, and stretched. Itsets these infinitives against present participles, which are constantly muttering,sprawling, rubbing, scuttling, and settling. Finally, it opposes these transitive verbs tointransitive verbs which lie, linger, malinger, lean, curl, trail, wrap, slip, and sleep.A relative lack of modifiers and the absence of plural forms further distinguishes thepassage cited above. By contrast the language of disordered experience, of imprecision andaimlessness, abounds in modifiers and plurals: restless nights, one-night cheap hotels,visions and revisions, the sunsets and the dooryards, and the sprinkled streets.
Genres have a role to play in translation as well. The tragedies and some comedies are more frequently translated, staged, and filmed around the world, because of their capacity to be more easily detached from their native cultural settings and the self-reinforcing cycle of familiarity. In India, for example, Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice have been translated more than fifty times and The Comedy of Errors has over thirty versions in different languages in India, but the only history plays to have been translated into Hindi are Henry V and Richard II, and only one version each. While Shakespeare’s global reputation may seem to be driven by translations of his tragedies, comedies, and the sonnets because of the sheer number of performances and translations since the seventeenth century, the history plays have their own histories of global reception beginning with a 1591 Polish performance of Philip Waimer’s stage version of Edward III in Gdansk. Laurence Olivier’s wartime film version of Henry V in 1944 is far from the only or the earliest translations—interlingual, intralingual, or intersemiotic—of the history plays, though each instance of translation focuses on different articulations of national histories.
And if Prufrock's problem coincides with the dynamics of Eliot's particularmedium of dramatic monologue, Eliot's problem coincides with the dynamics of thepoetic medium itself; just as Prufrock is paralyzed by his consciousness of theother, his author is paralyzed by his consciousness of the tradition. In theline "It is impossible to say just what I mean!" the dramaticcharacter and his author meet, "uttering the words in unison, thoughperhaps with somewhat different meaning," and displaying the rhetoricaladvantage a dramatic poet holds. And Eliot's imprisoning his speaker in the verymedium of expressive or even confessional speech may register his ownintertextual interment in a medium inscribed with prototypes of original orcentral speechwhether prophetic, like John the Baptist's, or epic, likeDante's, or dramatic, like Shakespeare'swhich are codified in and reinforcedby conventions precluding the possibility of saying "just what Imean." Eliot's ironic use of rhyme and meter in "Prufrock"acknowledges the complicity of the poet's conventions with his persona's"de-meaning" language. On the one hand, the "comic" meter oflines like "In the room the women come and go / Talking ofMichelangelo" equates poetic forms that channel force and the social formsof keeping conversation light. On the other hand, dreams of escape from thepre-formulating formulae are them- selves recounted in formulaic lines, for thesolution to Prufrock's problem would be a "solution" for Eliot aswell-forgetting the present and the separate self, surrendering to the oblivionof an unconscious nature and the "natural" meter of English poetry:
She goes on to question
whether these omissions are “the inevitable fact that critical arguments are
selective” or that readings concerned with class and economics may in fact,
ignore gender(Thompson 120).
Thompson's essay does in fact note this inequality on the part of prior
An argument Thompson brings up is that
while feminist critics acknowledge the value of history in regards to criticism,
historicist critics are accused of ignoring gender in their studies(Thompson
In the second part of Thompson's essay she asks the question, “Have
Women Been Erased?” She focuses on whether it is in fact critics who have
erased the women from studies of the text or if it was Shakespeare who did not
want the women to be visible in Lear.
makes a point of mentioning that the critics most intent on analyzing the
polarization of these forms of criticism are women and that male new historicist
critics have been reluctant to respond.
First, she begins with “The Family Quarrel Revisited”
which is an analysis of the relationship between feminist criticism and various
forms of historical and materialist criticism of late.
Thompson makes a point of questioning whether it is the critics
who have attempted to erase the women from Lear or if in fact, Shakespeare
wanted a study of Lear to be so obviously focused on the male characters.
He presents quite an insightful essay
on regeneration and rebirth--a commonly feminine ideal but has left out the
female experience of that ideal.
Ann Thompson's essay, “Are There any Women in King Lear?,” is centered
around the debate of the relationship between various forms of historical and
materialist and feminist criticism of Shakespeare texts.
Ribner primarily focuses his attention on the
traditionally visible ideas when criticizing Shakespeare--the patriarchal values
Thompson is careful
not directly criticize ‘cult-historicism' but makes clear that her understanding
of early class-conscious readings of Lear “focus attention on male power
relationships, class and property and give due weight to the fact that
Shakespeare actually chose to represent generational conflict most intensely in
the father-daughter relationship”(Thompson 120-121).
An extraordinary drama of flight and rescue arising from women's resistance to marriage, The Suppliants is surprising both for its exotic color and for its forceful enactment of the primal struggle between male and female, lust and terror, brutality and cunning. In his translation of this ancient Greek drama, Peter Burian introduces a new generation of readers to a powerful work of Aeschylus' later years. He conveys the strength and daring of Aeschylus' language in the idiom of our own time, while respecting what is essentially classical in this dramatist's art: the rigor of the formal constraint with which he compresses high emotion to the bursting point. The Suppliants, which is the first and only surviving part of a trilogy, does not conform to our expectations of Greek drama in that it has neither hero, nor downfall, nor tragic conclusion. Instead the play portrays unresolved conflicts of sexuality, love, and emotional maturity. These distinctly modern themes come alive in a translation that re-creates the psychological immediacy as well as the dramatic tension of this ancient work.