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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: October ::
The Book of William by Paul Collins
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0515  Friday, 16 October 2009

From:       Larry Weiss <
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Date:       Thursday, 15 Oct 2009 14:10:32 -0400
Subject: 20.0513 The Book of William by Paul Collins
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0513 The Book of William by Paul Collins

 >If the Folio hadn't appeared we'd still have nearly half the canon in
 >editions printed before 1623.

Gabriel Egan's observations lead me to pose a question which I have used 
as an icebreaker at dinner parties and which List Members might find 
interesting to pursue:

We agree, I suppose, that Shakespeare is qualitatively unique ("in a 
category by himself") or perhaps just vastly superior to other poets 
("light years ahead") or maybe just "ahead of the pack" (with Thomas 
Middleton running a close second), and that the name "Shakespeare" 
evokes an awed respect shared by no one else (not even Middleton). My 
question is at what point in the Canon did William Shakespeare become 
SHAKESPEARE. Presumably, WS's shares of Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII 
don't add much to his aura. What about Tempest?  Would Shakespeare be 
SHAKESPEARE if he hadn't written any of the late romances?  Surely Timon 
isn't needed. What about the rest of the mature tragedies -- suppose he 
stopped after the Scottish Play?

At the other end, would we remember Shakespeare as anything other than a 
potentially interesting contemporary of Marlowe if he died after the 
first tetralogy, Errors, Shrew, Two Gents, etc.?


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