Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From My Commonplace: On Shakespeare

So...we're back to 'normal' at our house this week, whatever that means.  I guess it means not sitting around eating more sugar and chocolate than is good for one and reading....anyhow.  One book that I read over the Christmas/New Year's break was Marchette Chute's Shakespeare of London.  This was an interesting look into his life and times.  The author apparently only used period documents for her research.   A couple of interesting thoughts I gleaned:
"…Shakespeare never concerned himself about being in the forefront of any literary movement.  He was no innovator, and to the end of his career he was willing to take decrepit, old-fashioned stories as the basis for his plays while his colleagues dealt in glossy new inventions of their own."
"Less and less as he continued his career was he able to simplify – to look through half-closed eyes and record only a few effective characteristics.  Even in his folk-portraits he was unable to prevent himself from seeing real human beings…"
"…he did not read Plutarch with respect, but with delight."
~Marchette Chute, Shakespeare of London
The theatre was a huge deal in England in Shakespeare's time.  New plays were being written and produced all the time.  Shakespeare was one actor-playwright among many, many others.   And yet his plays are the ones that we still have – most of the others from his era are relatively obscure or lost completely.  I can't help but wonder if the secret to his genius lay in these distinctive characteristics of his. 
Click Here for more Words


  1. Wow! I love that you pulled out and put those ideas together. I'm excited about changes - like Plutarch- AO will bring to our days and thought lives. Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  2. Very interesting ideas there. Stopping by from Dawn's.