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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Why Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1184  Wednesday, 23 May 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 May 2001 09:53:59 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1180 Why Shakespeare?

[2]     From:   Laura Blankenship <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 May 2001 13:21:46 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1180 Why Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:16:26 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 12.1180 Why Shakespeare

[4]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 May 2001 22:40:02
        Subj:   Re: Why Shakespeare?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 May 2001 09:53:59 -0700
Subject: 12.1180 Why Shakespeare?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1180 Why Shakespeare?

Robert,

One answer will be found, expounded at great length, in Gary Taylor's
book, *Reinventing Shakespeare.*

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laura Blankenship <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 May 2001 13:21:46 -0500
Subject: 12.1180 Why Shakespeare?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1180 Why Shakespeare?

I don't have the very specific answer to your question--only
speculation.  Perhaps others with specific historical information could
chime in.  Anyway, in researching a paper on James Joyce and
Shakespeare, I discovered that in the 19th and early 20th centuries,
Shakespeare was often used as a political tool--to "Englishize" various
colonies.  Thus, Shakespeare was mandatory in grammar and upper level
schools, particularly in Ireland and India.  So, to some extent, the
reason for his pre-eminence is political.  To some extent, too, this
mandatory exposure to Shakespeare makes him more accessible or more
approachable, so that if someone happens upon him again, he or she might
be more likely to watch or read his work than if he or she hadn't read
him in grade school.

On an artistic level, it is the critics who put Shakespeare on a
pedestal, not without reason, certainly, but there are, as you point
out, many other likely candidates.  I am a bit cynical about the
formation of the canon, but it's hard to argue that there aren't good
reasons for Shakespeare to be at or near the top.

Yours,
Laura Blankenship

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:16:26 +0100
Subject: Why Shakespeare?
Comment:        SHK 12.1180 Why Shakespeare?

Suggestion: because he wrote in what was becoming a world language
augmented in its reach and effect by grand designs for empire,
aggressive and acquisitive war and the domination of the public school
culture imperative.

How's that for starters?

Stuart Manger

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 May 2001 22:40:02
Subject:        Re: Why Shakespeare?

Dear Robert:

The following books among others deal with the same question (and
provide some answers):

- Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare (1997?)
- Michael D. Bristol, Big-time Shakespeare (1996)
- Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare (1989; 1990)

Happy reading!

Takashi Kozuka

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