Tuesday, 24 April 2007

23rd April

Should have posted yesterday on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of literary giants, but was kept busy by the death of one of drinking’s giants. So farewell Boris, one of the hairy Russian leaders. (They alternate, hairy and baldy. See other blog on the right for full details.)
Back to the writers. We all now know, of course, that Pierre Menard was the author of the Quixote, but Cervantes died on the same day as Shakespeare. I’d like to make the case, controversial I know, that Shakespeare’s plays were written by someone called William Shakespeare.
The trouble is that there’s nothing to say about him except everything. He beat everybody else to everything; which may be why people are so suspicious of his identity. But I don’t see how making him Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford or Marlowe or Jonson solves the problem. He was still supernaturally better than all of them rolled together anyway.
As Harold Bloom points out, he encapsulates and anticipates just about every possible human position on just about every human problem. Yesterday I read Chesterton’s essay on reading, in which he shows that Shakespeare had summed up Nietzsche’s philosophy. He gave it to Richard III; a deformed, half-crazed murderer on the eve of his destruction. He thought of the doctrine of the Superman; he just didn’t think much of it. He saw the view that ordinary morality was now more than a bourgeois construction; but he saw through it, too.

sf: Worlds, Joe Haldeman
crime: Swag, Elmore Leonard
unfairly neglected work of total genius: Major Major: Memories of an Older Brother, Terry Major-Ball

about to eat: lasagne.