The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1447  Wednesday, 29 May 2002

From:           Anthony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 27 May 2002 20:11:04 -0400
Subject:        Keats, Reading Shakespeare

From The Chronicle of Higher Education


A glance at the spring issue of "The Kenyon Review":  Keats, Reading

Theodore B. Leinwand, a professor of English at the University of
Maryland at College Park, examines the process of reading Shakespeare,
using John Keats's well-documented studies of the Bard as a model of the

For example, Mr. Leinwand opines that "reading is at one moment
languorous and passive, at another, oppressive and combative." He then
cites two remarks from Keats's correspondence: The first murmurs that "I
have great reason to be content, for thank God I can read and perhaps
understand Shakespeare to his depths"; a second complains that
Shakespeare "overwhelms a genuine Lover of Poesy with all manner of
abuse." Mr. Leinwand then concludes that "reading Shakespeare [was] for
Keats both consoling and vexing."

 The rest of the article continues in such a manner, reflecting upon the
"galvanizing" effect of reading Shakespeare, the requirement of some
readers to be in a certain setting when studying the plays, the
irresistible need to underline words and passages, and so forth. Mr.
Leinwand cites a bit of Virginia Woolf and Roland Barthes on their
Shakespeare-reading practices, as well, concluding that some of these
seemingly universal experiences "afford us a kind of kinship with
Shakespeare, the wright, with a vast cadre of readers now centuries

 The article is not available online, but information about the  journal
may be found at http://www.kenyonreview.org/

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