Sunday, November 26, 2006

Malouf and Shakespeare

I liked the echo that reading Malouf's article produce from my reading Wood's biography "In Search of Shakespeare". Malouf is lucid and insightful, as always. Having been taught Shakespeare as great literature, and not enjoyed it, it is a pleasure to learn that Shakespeare didn't treat it as such. Jonosn was laughed at for publishing his plays — as "works"; Shakespeare's poetry was what he thought worth publishing. To quote Malouf: "Playgoing in the 1590s was like cinemagoing in the 1930s, cheap popular entertainment with no pretensions to being more. Hollywood in the '30s, with its studio and star system, might be as good a model as we can light on for the Shakespeare worked in. Plays rapidly produced week in, week out, to serve a regular audience; most of them got together by groups working in collaboration; most dispensable and soon lost."

The article is from David Malouf's speech to the World Shakespeare 2006 Congress and is rich reef of literary insights and it is reprinted in full in "Best Australian Essays 2006", edited by Drusilla Modjeska, Black Inc, $27.95

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