The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.353 Thursday, 20 October 2016
Date: October 19, 2016 at 5:03:55 PM EDT
Subject: Re: High Art
Scott Newstok wrote:
“I discuss Dylan briefly at the close of my recent essay on Shakespeare in Duluth: https://www.perfectduluthday.com/2016/10/14/truth-shakespeare-duluth/”
I have to ask: when did the myth of “the myth of self-born genius” begin, and who dreamed it up? Someone like G.B. Shaw perhaps, or Samuel Clemens, envious of Shakespeare? Quite obviously, no one in this world is completely isolated, and every thinker has had influences: Einstein had Lorentz, Mach and Boltzmann, among others; Faulkner had many influences, including the French 19th century poets and Sherwood Anderson, but I don’t think anyone can argue that he was not alone or “self-born” when he wrote “As I Lay Dying” while working as a security guard at a power plant. I think the same must be said for every great thinker while he or she is creating: the combination of a unique intellect and a unique personality.
Dylan says he was influenced by Shakespeare, but so what? No doubt he was also influenced by Dylan Thomas, from whom he took his pseudonym. The original “Star Trek” was also influenced by Shakespeare, not just in the titles of some episodes and other quotes (and an entire episode: “The Conscience of the King”), but in the realization by at least some of the writers that great drama proceeds from conflict and argument between characters, and great literary art proceeds in part from the taught dialogue depicting such arguments. I personally would rather watch the old ST episodes than listen to Dylan, and the crew of actors, writers and the series creator, Gene Roddenberry, certainly deserve a Nobel peace prize for their portrayal of a unified humanity, if not the Nobel for literature... that is, if you think Dylan deserves one.