Shakespeare biographies.

This is mostly how I felt about Shakespeare and Co. as well.

22 June 2009 ~ St. Catharines

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2 thoughts on “Shakespeare biographies.

  1. The urge among researchers and scholars to write the life of Shakespeare, revealing the day-to-day activity and the character and temperament of the man himself, cannot be stopped. But the more biographies of Shakespeare we are given, the more irrelevant they seem to our experience, as readers and theatergoers, of his writings.

    This makes me think of biographies or literary figures that we know too much about and how when this happens, we end up back in the text. Some people have left us so much information and their lives are so well researched that it seems like overkill. When this occurs I find myself thinking: “what matters most is the text itself and the value derived from it, not the author or his so called intention”.

    I think we turn to biographies because we all want to have this “intention” explained. “Why this scene? Why this character? Who were you reading at the time?”

    These are certainly interesting questions but they do not necessarily add to the reading or enjoyment of a work.

  2. I was struck by the realization, 2 or 3 years ago, that I’ve always thought of Shakespeare as more of an idea than an actual person. First, I read a book offering a (convincing, but immaterial, to me) “Who Shakespeare Really Was” theory – this one said Henry Neville. Then I was marking 1st year papers…when students would elide any other poet and the speaker of the poem, I would comment. When they did it with one of Shakespeare’s sonnets…I didn’t mind, so much. To me the important thing is the existence of that sort of genius, and the wonderful gifts he’s given all of us.

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