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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Shakespeare the Taoist
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1160  Friday, 18 May 2001

From:           Robert Peters <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 May 2001 18:12:57 +0200
Subject:        Shakespeare the Taoist

I have often wondered why Shakespeare obviously didn't care about his
plays after he had written them. Wasn't he proud of his genius, wasn't
he proud of his "children"? Why didn't he keep his manuscripts, why
didn't he care himself for a proper publication? We could do without a
lot of this wearisome esoteric scholarly lore about publication, foul
papers, prompt-books, Q1s and Q2s and F1s and F2s.

I just happened to read a book by Smullyan about Taoism. The Tao masters
don't have too high an opinion of works of art. It is much more
important to paint a picture than to have it. Smullyan cites a story
about a Zen master who burns a statue of Buddha because it was cold and
who is shown as having understood Buddha better than all the worshippers
praying to statues (don't tell the Taliban this story). So was
Shakespeare actually a Taoist? Was there so little vanity in him that he
didn't care about fame?

Robert Peters

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