Two studies, both published in the same year, may help to elucidate the rather complex argument adumbrated in these pages. One is an essay by L. C. Knights, published in O. Johnson (ed.), The Hidden Harmony: Essays in Honor of Philip Wheelwright (New York, 1967), called ‘The Thought of Shakespeare’, in which he argues that the concept ‘thought’ needs to be redefined in order to comprehend Shakespeare's way of developing ideas in the theatre. The other is Norman Rabkin's Shakespeare and the Common Understanding (New York, 1967), which makes a related point at greater length. However, it should be obvious that the best further reading is Shakespeare's work itself, preferably in a fully annotated version, such as in the Methuen New Arden editions of the individual plays, which offer the possibility of comparing Shakespeare's treatment with his sources, so that the nature of the controlling imagination can be recognized at first hand. The quality of the individual editions is not uniform, however, and readers may find that they must consult other editions, such as the Oxford Shakespeare or even the earlier Arden ones.
Reading Shakespeare in the study can be misleading, for it encourages the picking out of a single strand of his complex mimetic arguments at the cost of the whole. The answer is not simply to attend performances of the plays, which are nowadays highly ‘interpretative’, full of distracting stage business and elaborate and irrelevant characterization,
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Publication information: Book title: Shakespeare:A Very Short Introduction. Contributors: Germaine Greer - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford, England. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 145.
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