Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for September 8th, 2013

“The largest and most comprehensive soul…”

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The Sanders portrait of William Shakespeare

To begin then with Shakespeare. He was the man who of all modern and perhaps ancient poets had the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously but luckily: when he describes anything you more than see it, you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, give him the greater commendation: he was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of books to read nature; he looked inwards, and found her there. I cannot say he is everywhere alike; were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of mankind. He is many times flat, insipid; his comic wit degenerating into clenches, his serious swelling into bombast. But he is always great, when some great occasion is presented to him…

John Dryden, Essay of Dramatic Poesy

Written by nevalalee

September 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

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