Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Bloom and Shakespeare

Date: 02 Mar 2009

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    Yes you said it is Bloom who is anglocentric and I apologise for my oversight. I don't think that changes my point, however, which is that it is the range and power of the British (and now the American) empire that has led to Shakespeare's literary dominance, and that it is likely that culture, specifically Shakespeare's status in the anglo culture, that influenced Britain's political success, and hence our ideas of success literary and otherwise.

    That success is not absolute, of course, and Britain's competitors were mainly other European nations, but I am old enough to remember sitting in school and being told, like Miss Jean Brodie's students, to count the pink bits on the world map, though I am young enough that those pale-red splotches designated members of the Commonwealth of Nations, as the Brits liked to redefine their declining influence in the empire after WWII. The now-American empire is looking a touch wobbly at the moment, but you may rest assured that, except for a brief spell around 1967 and something called Trudeaumania, I've had few illlusions about my colonial status, whatever Canada's colour on the map. It will be a few years yet before Cervantes, worthy as he is, replaces Shakespeare in school curricula.

    Best, Kerry

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Gonzalo Baeza
      Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2009 11:28 PM
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Bloom and Shakespeare

      --- In, "gsp.schoo@..." <gsp.schoo@...> wrote:

    > Gonzalo: Of course Shakespeare is Anglo-centric. He is the writer
      most credited with inspiring and influencing the English view of the
      world, which in no small part led them to create the biggest empire in
      the history of the world, spreading their cultural influence around
      the world thereby making Shakespeare the most influential writer in
      the world. That's not a knock against any non-Anglo writer. But the
      title of "best" is always arbitrary, and the powerful get to make the
      arbitrary decisions. If they make decisions that work for them they
      get to stay powerful and make more such determinations.

      Kerry: I wasn't accusing Shakespeare of being Anglo-centric. That
      would be absurd. What I was saying is that Bloom could be considered
      Anglo-centric if he in fact said that Shakespeare was "the" writer
      that defined what a person was for Europeans. This, because there were
      other writers at the time such as Cervantes who were just as
      influential. I don't know whether the British empire was larger than
      the Spanish empire either demographically or economically (I sincerely
      don't know, pardon my ignorance) but Cervantes' influence in both
      Europe and the Spanish-speaking world is of a magnitude that makes me
      question the validity of Bloom's assertion. Having said that, I don't
      consider it a knock on non-Anglo writers but just an exaggerated
      judgment on his part.



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