i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Blooming Shakespeare

March 02, 2005

Okay - did anyone else notice: Harold Bloom is such a diva! I'm not, of course, saying that there is anything at all wrong with this - I happen to be quite a fan of divas... I'm just saying... anyway...

Again, the language is leading, but this time around it's hilarious so I don't mind it as much! Quite a character, this Bloom fellow! We just read an excerpt of his "Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human" for Intro to Literary Study.

Bloom does make a good point when he writes:

"Marxists, multiculturalists, feminists, nouveau historicists - the usual suspects - know their causes but not Shakespeare's plays."

Again, this illustrates how easily anything can be adapted to fit anyone's opinions - a few words here, a phrase there or here, perhaps ignoring a few choice statements there and bam - literature can be anything you want it to be. This is, of course, one of the things I love about literature but also one of the things that drives me batty.

Bloom also confirms something I had suspected about The Tempest - that's it's basically pointless. Bloom writes, "The play is fundamentally plotless." I knew it! I mean, I'm not saying this isn't a worthwhile play - it must be if so many people can find so many different meanings to it! This play perfectly illustrates the power of literature - 100 different people reading this play could come to 100 different interpretations about the meanings contained within. That's pretty cool.

Can you imagine writing something, anything, that 400 years later people are forced to read gleefully read and analyze in literature classes world wide? -That- my friends is awe-inspiring! That is the true beauty of Shakespeare - still his works touch us and move us to create by interpreting and ripping apart his original works in order to create something new.

My question is: When does a work stop being Shakespeare's and start being public domain? We only have so many stories, right? (Foster tells us there is but one) When so many things are altered about a play doesn't that make it a different play?

Some of the lines in this article just made me giggle:

The part where Bloom discusses Goethe: "... for his Faust's soul is borne off to heaven by little boy angels whose chubby buttocks so intoxicate Mephistopheles with homoerotic lust..." teehee!

and, oh, this part:

"... Shakespeare managed this so brilliantly that ... we still cannot apprehend fully the comic achievement."

hah! it's so funny that no one gets it? beautiful.

finally, I like this phrase

"... our current ideological jamborees..."

Oh, Harry, you surely can turn a phrase! :c)

Moira at 10:17 AM :: Comments (4) :: ::

Plotless does not equal pointless... while plot is certainly important to drama, it's not the only thing. Plot is more important to prose than it is to verse, and theater is probably somewhere in between. Comparatively speaking, of course, Shakespeare's other plays are much more plot-heavy.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 01:01 PM

Ah, but I can't turn a phrase as well as either Bloom or Shakespeare - I was not trying, of course, to offend - I just meant that all of the action seemed to move around in circles and lead nowhere (tho, ultimately, all the roads lead to Prospero, right?)

Posted by: moira at March 2, 2005 01:36 PM

...And all plot lines lead to Shakespeare. I read this essay by Bloom and totally lose the interest in The Tempest. I think it's sad that some people try to put words in Shakespeare's mouth via academic articles. Let Shakespeare speak for himself!

Posted by: Evan at March 2, 2005 03:55 PM

I LOVED the Bloom article! I love that Bloom's personality shines through - and I think what he's saying makes a good point. I'll definitely be consulting Bloom next time I read something by Shakespeare (oooh! like the Shakespeare class I gotta take next term?) And, um, Shakespeare can't really speak for himself since he's all dead and shit! ;c)

Posted by: moira at March 2, 2005 04:37 PM
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