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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Keats, Reading Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1447  Wednesday, 29 May 2002

From:           Anthony Burton <
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Date:           Monday, 27 May 2002 20:11:04 -0400
Subject:        Keats, Reading Shakespeare

From The Chronicle of Higher Education

MAGAZINES & JOURNALS

A glance at the spring issue of "The Kenyon Review":  Keats, Reading
Shakespeare

Theodore B. Leinwand, a professor of English at the University of
Maryland at College Park, examines the process of reading Shakespeare,
using John Keats's well-documented studies of the Bard as a model of the
experience.

For example, Mr. Leinwand opines that "reading is at one moment
languorous and passive, at another, oppressive and combative." He then
cites two remarks from Keats's correspondence: The first murmurs that "I
have great reason to be content, for thank God I can read and perhaps
understand Shakespeare to his depths"; a second complains that
Shakespeare "overwhelms a genuine Lover of Poesy with all manner of
abuse." Mr. Leinwand then concludes that "reading Shakespeare [was] for
Keats both consoling and vexing."

 The rest of the article continues in such a manner, reflecting upon the
"galvanizing" effect of reading Shakespeare, the requirement of some
readers to be in a certain setting when studying the plays, the
irresistible need to underline words and passages, and so forth. Mr.
Leinwand cites a bit of Virginia Woolf and Roland Barthes on their
Shakespeare-reading practices, as well, concluding that some of these
seemingly universal experiences "afford us a kind of kinship with
Shakespeare, the wright, with a vast cadre of readers now centuries
old."

 The article is not available online, but information about the  journal
may be found at http://www.kenyonreview.org/

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