Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for February 5th, 2012

Arnold Hauser on Shakespeare’s pragmatism

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[Shakespeare] deliberately and systematically takes over some of the methods which he finds ready to hand, but more often than not quite uncritically and thoughtlessly. The worst error of the older Shakespeare criticism consisted in regarding all the poet’s means of expression as well-considered, carefully pondered, artistically conditioned solutions and, above all, in trying to explain all the qualities of his characters on the basis of inner psychological motives, whereas, in reality, they have remained very much as Shakespeare found them in his sources, or were chosen only because they represented the most simple, convenient, and quickest solution of a difficulty to which the dramatist did not find it worth his while to devote any further trouble.

Arnold Hauser, The Social History of Art

Written by nevalalee

February 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

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