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Entertaining the Idea: Shakespeare, Philosophy, Performance Conference 1: Key Words
—organized by Julia Reinhard Lupton, University of California, Irvine; Lowell Gallagher, University of California, Los Angeles; and James Kearney, University of California, Santa Barbara
UCLA Office of Interdisciplinary & Cross Campus Affairs
UCLA Department of English
UCI Shakespeare Center
To entertain is to delight and amuse but also to receive guests and hence to court risk, from the real dangers of rape, murder, or jealousy to the more intangible exhilaration of self-disclosure and captivation in response to another. To entertain an idea is to welcome a compelling thought or beckoning fiction into the disinhibited zone of speculative play. “I’ll entertain the offer’d fallacy,” says Antipholus of Syracuse as he abandons himself to the comedy of errors. Like Antipholus, readers of fictions and viewers of plays entertain “themes” and “dreams” on their way to recognition and new knowledge as a mode of testing the significance and reach of the thought-things and person-problems, encountered in a world co-created by their imaginative participation.
Entertaining the Idea: Shakespeare, Philosophy, Performance will stage a series of encounters between performance and philosophy in Shakespearean drama, encounters designed both to illumine the plays in their poetic and theatrical amplitude and to explore what philosophy and performance might offer each other in 21st-century literary studies. The aim is to take up drama’s capacity to enhance experience, extend attention, exercise judgment, test existential limits, and assert common bonds. Key words in this enterprise include entertainment, acting, acknowledgement, hospitality, and ways of life, concepts explored in the opening conference.