RARA-AVIS: Re: Bloom and Shakespeare

From: Gonzalo Baeza (gbaeza@gmail.com)
Date: 02 Mar 2009

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    I agree, although your observations about school curricula probably apply only to educational institutions in the English-speaking world. I went to school in Chile and while we read Hamlet, Macbeth and Midsummer's Night Dream in English, we also read Don Quixote and other Cervantes works. The latter were given much more importance than Shakespeare's. I guess it's all a matter of which culture you happen to live in, a point you raised in a previous post.


    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "gsp.schoo@..." <gsp.schoo@...> wrote:
    > Gonzalo:
    > 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
    > To: rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com
    > Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2009 11:28 PM
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Bloom and Shakespeare
    > --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "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.
    > -Gonzalo.
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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