The Approach to Shakespeare

The Approach to Shakespeare

The Approach to Shakespeare

The Approach to Shakespeare

Excerpt

THIS lectureship is expressly described as a lectureship in literature. It may seem sufficiently obvious that the subject I have chosen falls within this sphere, is indeed central in it. Yet if one thinks a little more closely, it becomes clear that a large part of the modern study of Shakespeare does not deal with the body of his work as literature. There is a real danger that concentration on origins, on textual criticism, on details of political and social history, on the mechanism and conditions of the Elizabethan stage, and on the problems of modern stage-production, may confuse or even partially sterilize appreciation of Shakespeare as a creative artist, of his supremacy as a master of prose and verse. It may insensibly lead to treating Shakespearian drama as a manufactured article and not as a live organism. It was both; but the latter is what gives it its value. The approach to Shakespeare may be made in many ways. What is essential is that it should be a vital approach, not an exploration of side issues, and not a centrifugal movement through a maze of multiplying bypaths. Its object is to know Shakespeare.

Shakespeare was an artist; his work is art. One first principle towards true appreciation of any work of art or any body of such work is, that what matters is not what the artist made it out of, but what he made it into. ' Poems ', Professor Grierson observes . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.