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12:03 AM
I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I expected to receive a powerful esthetic pleasure, but having read, one after the other, works regarded as his best: "King Lear," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," not only did I feel no delight, but I felt an irresistible repulsion and tedium, and doubted as to whether I was senseless in feeling works regarded as the summit of perfection by the whole of the civilized world to be trivial and positively bad,
or whether the significance which this civilized world attributes to the works of Shakespeare was itself senseless. My consternation was increased by the fact that I always keenly felt the beauties of poetry in every form; then why should artistic works recognized by the whole world as those of a genius,—the works of Shakespeare,—not only fail to please me, but be disagreeable to me?
For a long time I could not believe in myself, and during fifty years, in order to test myself, I several times recommenced reading Shakespeare in every possible form, in Russian, in English, in German and in Schlegel's translation, as I was advised. Several times I read the dramas and the comedies and historical plays, and I invariably underwent the same feelings: repulsion, weariness, and bewilderment.
At the present time, before writing this preface, being desirous once more to test myself, I have, as an old man of seventy-five, again read the whole of Shakespeare, including the historical plays, the "Henrys," "Troilus and Cressida," the "Tempest," "Cymbeline," and I have felt, with even greater force, the same feelings,—this time, however, not of bewilderment, but of firm, indubitable conviction that the unquestionable glory
of a great genius which Shakespeare enjoys, and which compels writers of our time to imitate him and readers and spectators to discover in him non-existent merits,—thereby distorting their esthetic and ethical understanding,—is a great evil, as is every untruth.
4 hours later…
4:14 AM
Q: Does Thomas the Tank Engine have free will?

BatpersonIn the story Thomas Comes to Breakfast, from Branch Line Engines by the Rev. W Awdry, Thomas's driver tells him: "You know just where to stop, Thomas! You could almost manage without me!" Thomas, conceited, thinks this is literally true and that he does not need his driver anymore. So he decide...

3 hours later…
3 hours later…
10:27 AM
Q: What does " a stoke a hole" refers to in "The thirty-nine steps"?

vtrubnikovI have a question about a passage in The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In Chapter 10, "Various Parties Converging on the Sea", Richard Hannay watches two people playing tennis, after which one of them says to the third one, who is carrying golf clubs: “I’ve got into a proper lather,... this w...

11:24 AM
@Alex Are you familiar with Orwell's response to Tolstoy? ("Lear, Tolstoy, and the Fool") "Tolstoy was perhaps the most admired literary man of his age, and he was certainly not its least able pamphleteer. He turned all his powers of denunciation against Shakespeare, like all the guns of a battleship roaring simultaneously. And with what result?"
@GarethRees Yes.
2 hours later…
12:56 PM
Q: What does "Joggleberry", "celestial limit" and "pink penultimate" mean in "The Power-house"?

vtrubnikovI have a question about a passage in "The Power-House" by John Buchan. In Chapter 1, "Beginning of the Wild-Goose Chase", Tommy Deloraine says to Leithen, the narrator: “This about finishes me,” he groaned. “What a juggins I am to be mouldering here! Joggleberry is the celestial limit, what th...

1 hour later…
2:16 PM
@Alex More likely Tolkien ;-)
2:42 PM
Congrats @Spagirl on 10k reputation!
3:40 PM
@Randal'Thor In celebration I've had a bash at one of your unanswereds.
6 hours later…
9:59 PM
@Spagirl Hehe, don't stop celebrating:-)

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