Shakespeare as a Dramatic Thinker: A Popular Illustration of Fiction as the Experimental Side of Philosophy

Shakespeare as a Dramatic Thinker: A Popular Illustration of Fiction as the Experimental Side of Philosophy

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Shakespeare as a Dramatic Thinker: A Popular Illustration of Fiction as the Experimental Side of Philosophy

Shakespeare as a Dramatic Thinker: A Popular Illustration of Fiction as the Experimental Side of Philosophy

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Shakespeare is supreme as a dramatist: what is he as a thinker? and what is his philosophy of life and the universe? This is the inquiry proposed in the present work.

The inquiry is in no way affected by the questions which modern analysis has raised in reference to the authorship of the plays. In the earlier dramas collaboration has been shown to obtain to a large extent; Shakespeare's part in the collaboration in some cases seems to have been small; and in some cases he seems to have worked over a previous play. Even a later play, the masterpiece of Henry the Eighth, has been traced to joint authorship; with the curious result that the famous passages of that poem, which we learned by heart at school, and recited as among the choicest Shakespearean gems, must all be attributed to Fletcher. Besides these results of orthodox Shakespearean scholarship, a certain type of mind, more sensitive to paradox than to evidence, is fascinated with the conviction that the dramas in question were the work of Bacon. But the authorship with which we are here concerned is the authorship actually at the back of the plays, whether that authorship be proved eventually to be individual or collective, and whether the individuality hails from Stratford on Avon or from the Inns of Court. 'Shakespeare' is simply a convenient name for a well-known collection of plays: the thinking implied in the content of these plays, however it may have got there, is here credited to Shakespeare.

No doubt there is to be found, more among men of affairs than among literary students, a certain scepticism as to the value of such inquiry as is here proposed. Plays, it is urged, are a form . . .

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