other literary greats

  • Me, in the glorious transhumanist post-scarcity future: wow I'm so glad i don't have to worry about earning money to buy food and pay rent and can instead spend all my time being True To Myself and Creating Art and Contributing To Culture. Anyway hello and welcome to the release party for my newest book, Hot Girls Torturing People Part 18,543.
Shakespeare

The dispute over authorship - mere snobbery. Fools, thick-souled aristocrats and - sometimes - those who wish to impose a certain mystic design upon Shakespeare’s very earthly works try to argue that a humble son of a glove-maker could not be so sophisticated as to write such complex works. This is gibberish. If we consider the other great literary geniuses of the English literary tradition, Joyce and Dickens, we find that they come from almost exactly the same circumstances - lower middle class, a unreliable father dragging his family through poverty and shame. Shakespeare got Virgil and Ovid at his grammar school; he saw Marlowe; saw the Mystery plays; read the bible. That would be enough. Because Shakespeare writes not as a scholar or a sage. He takes up any fragment of knowledge makes it his own. He adapts. He uses. He reshapes. He seems to have been one who could make much of a mere hint, a conversational aside, a page or two glanced at in a library. He was fecund. His work is not pedantic, neat, tidy. It is a baggy monster of excess and precision blended. It is incisive but wild and raw also. He was no college wit. He was a man of the forest, a man of the earth. He was also a man with a mind of great capacity, great and swift apprehension. He took in with total absorption everything he encountered, and then he made use of it, each influence, each thought. He was big, and he made everything bigger. He loved words. He grabbed them, shook them, made them his own. It all stirred in there, and out came wonders. He was humble enough, and out of that humility came the extraordinary. No-one but he could blend all the elements of influence with such rich brilliance. He was a mess, perhaps. He was unique. There is no template for him. And no learning leads to Shakespeare, only that strange soul and its weird combination of varied influences. He drank in Marlowe, combined him with all the other fragments he had lived with, and out came the greatest of all literature. Any other candidate is a fool besides this man of real England.