The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0203  Thursday, 25 April 2013


From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 25, 2013 12:55:41 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Greenblatt


>In Shakespeare’s Freedom (42) Stephen Greenblatt quotes these 


>O me, what eyes hath love put in my head,

>Which have no correspondence with true sight!

>Or if they have, where is my judgement fled,

>That censures falsely what they see aright? (Sonnet 148)

>Greenblatt explains: “To censure falsely is to regard as beautiful 

>what ‘true sight’ knows is ugly, and therefore to contradict the 

>testimony of the eyes”.

>I think Greenblatt is mistaken. The last two lines could be 

>paraphrased: Or if the eyes of love have correspondence with 

>true sight, my judgment falsely censures my love for being 

>unbeautiful. The oddness of saying that “censure falsely” 

>means “regard as beautiful” might warn us off this interpretation, 

>though perhaps an attraction to the esoteric can override the 


>I wonder if others agree. 


I agree that David Bishop’s alternative reading is possible, but I don’t agree that it is the most likely meaning. Greenblatt’s gloss is not original with him, and it seems to be the one suggested by the sonnet’s language. Stephen Booth and Katherine Duncan-Jones, for example, provide similar glosses.  


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