The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0814 Wednesday, 20 September 2006
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
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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