The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1785 Monday, 15 September 2003
From: Steve Roth <
Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2003 06:03:08 -0700
Subject: 14.1766 Wood Controversy
Comment: Re: SHK 14.1766 Wood Controversy
The distinction between cheating the artist and cheating the publisher
is certainly a propos on this side of the pond, where legislatures and
courts who believe that a corporation can "speak" (though it has no
mouth) have steadily extended the duration of copyrights, to absurd
lengths. All to protect Mickey Mouse, and at risk of missing out on a
Clearly, Shakespeare and many of his coevals could not have written what
they wrote under our laws and strictures.
As T. S. Eliot said, "Immature poets imitate. Mature poets steal."
(Trilling stole this, one hopes unconsciously: "Immature artists
imitate. Mature artists steal.")
And Samuel Clemens: "Adam was the only man who, when he said a good
thing, knew that nobody had said it before him." Shakespeare (especially
Hamlet) critics can certainly commiserate. It sometimes seems as if
Adam--the first to bear arms against a sea of quibbles (my apologies to
the gravedigger and his interlocutor)--was the last one who could say
anything on the subject that was certain to be original. And he probably
got it from Eve.
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