"With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his. . . . To read Cymbeline and to think of Goethe, of Wagner, of Ibsen, is, for me, to imperil the habit of studied moderation of statement which years of public responsibility as a journalist have made almost second nature in me."1 Bernard Shaw is so famous for his flippant denunciations of Shakespeare that it might seem perverse to ask Shakespeare scholars to take him seriously as a critic of his perennial target, but I propose to do exactly that and indeed to defend him as one of the most important Shakespearean critics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, one who can still teach us much in the twenty-first century. My object is to explore his qualities as a major critic of Shakespeare, not to show how he uses allusion to Shakespeare in his own plays, nor to work out the psychology of his perception of Shakespeare as a progenitor and rival.2 Carrying out my project necessitates getting past several barriers, perhaps the
SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Sep 11, 2011
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