Shakespeare the Pragmatist

atkins-bookshelf-quotationsHowever great Shakespeare’s genius is, it doesn’t help to treat him as a sort of holy fool or a Messianic seer. He was a playwright, and an actor, and a theatre manager. He was utterly pragmatic; his plays wouldn’t and couldn’t have worked if they had been shrouded in obscurity and abstract conceits. And remember that in spite of the play being in verse, each line is characterized. No two characters speak the same.

From National Service: Diary of a Decade in the National Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2003) by  Sir Richard Charles Hastings Eyre CBE, British theatre and opera director, and winner of five Olivier Awards.

The Legacy of Shakespeare

atkins-bookshelf-quotationsEvery day, somewhere in the world, a book is published on the work and life of William Shakespeare. His influence is ubiquitous and pervasive. The phrases and aphorisms of his plays and poems have entered the general fabric of the English language. That is why, in 2000, he was named as the most significant human being in the previous thousand years of British history. Those who have never read a line of his work have considered him to be a token of the national conscientiousness, an image of the culture that has transcended time. He is quoted endlessly… Yet he still remains largely unknown and unknowable.

Peter Ackroyd, British literary critic, biographer, prolific novelist, and authority on London’s history, in his introduction to “William Shakespeare Without the Boring Bits,” Running Press (2010)