Monday, 13 September 2004

Will to Power

Wow, suddenly I feel inundated by Shakespeare. Just read the excerpt from Stephen Greenblatt's new book Will in the World, on how the trial of Ruy Lopez may have inspired Shakespeare to make the creative leap that was The Merchant of Venice. Greenblatt (an excellent prof, incidentally) makes an observation I've heard before, but never expressed so well:
In each of these mature tragedies [Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth respectively], Shakespeare's characters reiterate certain words -- ''remember,'' ''nothing,'' ''tomorrow'' -- whose uncanny echoing enables the audience to enter a dark interior space.
Then on the way back from work I read Adam Gopnik's glowing review of Greenblatt's work in the New Yorker, although Gopnik's not too convinced by Greenblatt's arguments about the Lopez trial, saying essentially that Shakespeare was more bourgeois than Greenblatt sometimes gives credit for. Gopnik's review is highly recommended, and I can't wait to read the Greenblatt.

And finally, I stumbled onto Shakespeare in Quatro, the British Library's online resource on the 93 Shakespearean quatros in its collection. Amazing stuff. Rough magic indeed.




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