chapter  19
Commentary: “In the Destructive Element Immersed”
ByLawrence Danson
Pages 7

Graham Holderness makes a brave gesture in undertaking what he calls 'a feminist reading', attempting to solve as it were by fiat the still-vexed theoretical issue of the male critic's status in feminism. Katharine Eisaman Maus also asks the reader to engage in acts of inclusiveness, bringing linguistic concerns which have previously been useful in criticism of Love's Labors Lost more closely in touch with gender-issues. Compare Richard Levin's agonistic title, New Readings vs. Old Plays, with that of a fine collection of essays edited in 1954 by John Garrett, Talking of Shakespeare; they were such good essays that they summoned a companion volume, More Talking of Shakespeare. Pluralism is the privilege of the already-empowered; it discovers its own limitations when it's confronted by once-empowered or not-yet-empowered forces both on the Right and Left. As was said to a Marlow later than Christopher, 'in the destructive element immerse', which in this case means keep the critiques coming.