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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: July ::
Less said the better, it seems
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1203  Friday, 15 July 2005

[1]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jul 2005 13:50:58 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1198 Less said the better, it seems

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 14 Jul 2005 12:06:52 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1198 Less said the better, it seems


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jul 2005 13:50:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 16.1198 Less said the better, it seems
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1198 Less said the better, it seems

Two things to say about this:

1) There is more Shakespeare to be seen this year than there are movies
of Clancy novels.

2) Shakespeare may still be #26 decades from now when Clancy becomes
known as "Whatshisname."

Heller

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 14 Jul 2005 12:06:52 -0500
Subject: 16.1198 Less said the better, it seems
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1198 Less said the better, it seems

Colin Cox, in response to Al Magary's ("Shakespeare was No. 26, one
notch below Tom Clancy.") writes:

"Not bad for a guy who's been around for four hundred years."

Well, that is the point. Except for Tolkien and Seuss, these people are
all still alive. Most of them will be forgotten not only within 400
years, but within the lifespan of many of the people on this list.

Have you ever looked at the best-seller lists of, say, 1905, or 1930, or
even 1955?

Not all best-sellers are necessarily junk, of course. There is always an
overlap of classics and immediate popular success (including, it would
seem, some of the work of WS). And a few of those listed authors have
real talent. But little of their work has the depth to keep drawing
readers back once the gimmick has worn thin. (I think, my knowledge of
them is limited.)

The question remains open as to the lasting value and importance of the
two who are dead, but still widely read. Both were geniuses, of courses,
but neither followed the accepted methods of modern/post-modern
literature. Writing for children, Seuss had to leave out the kind of
character/theme development that (I assume) is needed for lasting
importance. But, my God, did he have a way with words.

But Tolkien, now, there's a bit of a puzzle. Plenty of literate people
of the modern/post-modern ilk simply hate him-hate his romanticism, his
hero-worship, his avoidance of sexuality, his moral absolutism, and, of
course, his immense popularity, even among people who are just as
literate as they are.

Nevertheless, LOR has lasted a half a century. It remains to be seen
whether it will last another. (Most of us will not be around to check on
it.) As JRRT's friend, Lewis, noted, the key is how a work is read- and
re-read. The gimmick of having invented the contemporary fantasy world
(nor the impact of some dramatic but rather poorly done movie versions)
will probably not help him stay that high. But will it keep him from
being completely forgotten?

WS has lasted through the centuries because there remain plenty of us
who simply love reading and watching and talking about and teaching his
work. There won't be any such for those others, I expect, except maybe
Tolkien.

Cheers,
don

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