LAW214-LAWS805_TBa_45-86.pdf

That is is complex and structured different aspects

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that is, is complex and structured: different aspects or levels of intention may conflict in the following way. Fidelity to Shakespeare s more discrete and concrete opinions about Shylock, ignoring the effect his vision of that character would have on contemporary audiences, might be treachery to his more abstract artistic purpose.® And applying that abstract purpose to our situation is very far from a neutral, historical exercise in reconstructing a past mental state. It in - evitably engages the interpreter s own artistic opinions in just the way the constructive account of creative interpreta - tion suggests, because it seeks to find the best means to express, given the text in hand, large artistic ambitions that Shakespeare never stated or perhaps even consciously de - fined but that are produced for us by our asking how the play he wrote would have been most illuminating or power- ful to his age. Stanley Cavell adds further complexity by showing how even the concrete, detailed intentions of an artist can be problematic.® He notices that a character in Fellini s film La Strada can be seen as a reference to the Philomel legend, and he asks what we need to know about Fellini in order to say that the reference was intentional (or, what is different, not unintentional). He imagines a conversation with Fellini in which the filmmaker says that although he has never heard of the story before, it captures the feeling he had about his character while filming, that is, that he now accepts it as part of the film he made. Cavell says that he is inclined in these circumstances to treat the reference as intended. Cavell s
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INTERPRETIVE CONCEPTS 57 analysis is important for us, not because anything now turns on whether it is right in detail, but because it suggests a con - ception of intention quite different from the crude con - scious-mental-state conception. An insight belongs to an artist s intention, on this view, when it fits and illuminates his artistic purposes in a way he would recognize and en- ^ dorse even though he has not already done so. (So ti^ imag- ined-conversation test can be applied to authors long dead, as it must be if it is to be of general critical use.) This brings the interpreter s sense of artistic value into his reconstruc - tion of the artist s intention in at least an evidential way, for the interpreter s judgment of what an author would have accepted will be guided by his sense of what the author should have accepted, that is, his sense of which read - ings would make the work better and which would make it worse. Cavell s imagined conversation with Fellini begins in Ca - vell s finding the film better if it is read as including a refer- ence to Philomel and in his supposing that Fellini could be brought to share that view, to want the film read that way, to see his ambitions better realized by embracing that inten - tion. Most of the reasons Cavell is likely to have for suppos - ing this are his reasons for preferring his own reading. I do not mean that this
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