Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Lincoln / Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0794  Wednesday, 31 March 2004

[1]     From:   Chris Coffman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004 05:03:06 +1000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 12:05:11 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth

[3]     From:   Marcia Eppich-Harris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 19:54:12 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Coffman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004 05:03:06 +1000
Subject: 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth

Harry V. Jaffa shrewdly observes in Shakespeare's Politics (The
University of Chicago Press), 1964, pages 4 - 5 "On the face of it, the
man who could write Macbeth so convincingly that a Lincoln believed it
to be the perfect illustration of the problem of tyranny and murder must
have known about politics; otherwise, the play could not have attracted
a man who admittedly did know."

 From memory, the David Herbert Donald biography of Lincoln also
contains good information on Lincoln's love for Shakespeare.

Regards,
Chris Coffman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 12:05:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth

I also heard from somewhere I can't remember or substantiate that his
favorite speech in all of the plays is actually Claudius's soliloquy in
III. iii. of Hamlet. A bit surprising to me actually but there you go.
And all this from a basically self-educated man.

Brian Willis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcia Eppich-Harris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 19:54:12 -0600
Subject: 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0778 Lincoln / Macbeth

Allan Axelrod wrote:

 >I was told recently that Abraham Lincoln was a Shakespeare enthusiast,
 >with Macbeth his favorite play--but my informant remembered this from
 >some forgotten source
 >
 >Does anyone know of some treatment of this?  They're a fine combination:
 >WS himself would have been proud to have written the Second Inaugural.

I actually have a file on Lincoln and Shakespeare. In March of 1863,
actor and writer James Henry Hackett sent Lincoln a copy of his newly
published book entitled _Notes and Comments upon Certain Plays and
Actors of Shakespeare_. On August 17, 1863 -- in the midst of the Civil
War, mind-Lincoln replied to Hackett's gift via a letter. Hackett had
the letter published as a broadside, and it was reprinted in several
newspapers. I found a copy of the letter printed in the September 20,
1863, edition of the New York Times. Part of the letter reads: "Some of
Shakespeare's plays I have never read, whilst others I have gone over
perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader. Among the latter are
Lear, Richard III, Henry VIII, Hamlet, and especially Macbeth. It is
wonderful." Lincoln goes on to say of Hamlet that he believes the
soliloquy "Oh my offense is rank" surpasses "To be or not to be." Makes
me wonder if Lincoln were having guilty feelings about the war...

There has been a good amount of treatment on Lincoln's love of
Shakespeare. I read that Lincoln was  rereading Macbeth just before his
assassination-I think I may have read that in Shakespeare Quarterly (?).
Esther Cloudman Dunn wrote a book (1939) called _Shakespeare in America_
and Chapter XIII is entitled "Shakespeare in the Thought of Some 19th
Century Figures: Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Whitman, Lincoln." It has
been some time since I read it, so I can't remember how much she treats
Lincoln specifically. Also, I have an article by James A. Stevenson
entitled "Abraham Lincoln's Affinity for Macbeth," but I must have
misplaced the publication information. You should be able to find it in
the MLA bibliography though. Lastly, there is an article from April 1904
in _Overland Monthly_ called "Abraham Lincoln's Knowledge of
Shakespeare" by Robert N. Reeves. These titles will give you a place to
start searching. There is much more out there.

It may be helpful also to note that Shakespeare's tercentenary of his
birth happened during the Civil War. A ceremony was held in New York and
a statue erected in Central Park. There's an article about it in the New
York Times-April 24, 1864, page 4.

I hope all this helps. Happy hunting,
Marcia Eppich-Harris

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.