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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: September ::
A Shakespearean Portrait of Bad Public Reason
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0814  Wednesday, 20 September 2006

From: 		Douglas Galbi <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 19 Sep 2006 12:30:44 -0400
Subject: 	A Shakespearean Portrait of Bad Public Reason

Purported portraits of Shakespeare have attracted considerable public 
interest. A scholar recently explained:

"If Shakespeare study today is a lively mix of wishfulness, mythology 
and scholarship, this may simply be because we don't know what he looked 
like, and what we do know about him is unsatisfactory. ... How did this 
money-worried little capitalist, who conducted his life in a flurry of 
land deeds and small business ventures, write Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet?"

An authentic portrait of Shakespeare could not answer this question. It 
would provide only an easier way to understand what everyone already 
knows: irrespective of the facts of his biography and despite his 
inexhaustible creativity, Shakespeare could be recognized as a human 
being with a human face.

A separate motivation for interest in Shakespeare is the thrill of 
publicly recognized discovery. Just a few months ago:

"ALEC COBBE was strolling around the Searching for Shakespeare 
exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery when he was stopped in his 
tracks by a painting that was the spitting image of one he had on his 
wall at home. ... Scholars have confirmed that Mr Cobbe's painting is 
the original of the famous portrait in the Folger Shakespeare Library in 
Washington that was on loan at the National Portrait Gallery 
exhibition....[The Times]"

This is a modern enchantment: the possibility of a true, material 
discovery, made solely by chance.

...continued at http://purplemotes.net

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