Shakespearing #40: A Reflection

A marvelous reflection on Shakespeare and indirectly, on writing

The Drunken Odyssey

Shakespearing #40 by David Foley

A Reflection

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I’m supposed to come up with some final thoughts about Shakespeare after my long trek through the plays, but I keep thinking about his books. I recently stumbled on a Times article from 2005 in which the author flogs the old idea that Shakespeare couldn’t have written his plays because he left no books in his will. There are several things wrong with this assumption, beginning with the question of whether Shakespeare actually owned the books he used; but it suddenly occurred to me that all the anti-Shakespearean arguments based on what’s in the plays—he must have owned tons of books; he must have been trained in law; he must have been a nobleman; he must have gone to sea—evade the central mystery of the work, which is a mind so preternaturally absorptive that it saw, heard, sensed all; everything was material to…

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