You know, I just got back from Europe a couple of days ago, and am still fighting jet lag, and so am about to head to bed (at what continues to feel like 4:30 am), but just the briefest response: yes, there is something Shakespearean about Shakespeare, something in way the words sound together, the way the characters speak, that distances "his" works from those of his contemporaries. I remember reading Dr. Faustus for the first time a few years ago and being struck by how stilted much of the language sounded. I hadn't expected to be so struck. But the difference was unmistakable.
Claim 2: That said, I don't think we'll get anywhere, ever, by attempting to atomize the writing and explicate the origin of that difference. And I think that's what people in this situation are tempted to do -- to LOCATE and describe the source of the problem. But just in the way that an obviously brown desk will lose all its brownness as we peer into its atomic structure, so will that which makes Shakespeare's writing so particular to him vanish as we try to train our eyes upon it.
I mean, we can try. I just think that we won't succeed.
Book Note: Year of the King
1 day ago