As we make our way through the Kitchen calendar, why keep poking at the aesthetic corpus instead of full on enjoying its gifts? Why another Bloom? Why Shakespeare?
I read and reread Harold Bloom’s treatment of a particular Shakespeare play before attending any performance. Bloom is frequently right, usually insightful, and often disagreeable. My eyes light up wherever I find his inevitable treatment of a character’s (moral) “rancidity.” In much the way Alan Bloom wants the ancient Greeks to have invented Friendship, Harold Bloom insists that Shakespeare, in some important cultural-psychological sense, “invented the (modern) human.”
“Life itself has become a naturalistic unreality, partly, because of Shakespeare’s prevalence. To have invented our feelings is to have gone beyond psychologizing us: Shakespeare made us theatrical, even if we never attend a performance or read a play. After Hamlet literally has stopped the play—to joke about the War of the Theaters, to command the Player King to enact the absurd scene in which Aeneas recounts Priam’s slaughter, to admonish the players to a little discipline—we more than ever regard Hamlet as one of us, somehow dropped into a role in a play, and the wrong play at that. The prince alone is real, the others, and all the action, constitute theater.
I look forward to joining you for an evening’s discussion of Shakespeare and what he creates in us through Othello, Wednesday, March 27, 6:30 p.m.