April 10, 2014

Shakespeare Invented Britain -- He Can Save It

Dan Hannan, The Spectator


Shakespeare regularly tops the polls as the greatest symbol of both Englishness and Britishness. No surprise there. What is surprising, perhaps, is to see how many Spaniards, Dutchmen, Japanese and others have claimed to detect in him the peculiar sensibilities of their own nations. Germans, unsurprisingly, took the tendency furthest. Tieck, Novalis and Schlegel adopted ‘Unser Shakespeare’ as a kind of spiritual Teuton. Goethe, who built a theatre to stage the plays, before eventually deciding that Shakespeare’s words were too numinous to be acted, and should only be read as poetry, wondered how the greatest of all German writers had come to be born in the wrong place.

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TAGGED: William Shakespeare, Scotland, UK


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