The best literature is always a take: there is an implicit risk in its execution, a margin of danger that is the pleasure of the flight, of the love, carrying with it a tangible loss but also a total engagement that, on another level, lends the theater its unparalleled imperfection faced with the perfection of film.
Here’s a cover image of The Tempest from a 1707 ed of Shakespeare’s Works that I used in the opening case of the Folger show last summer. If you look at the terror on the faces of the mariners, the demonic glee of Ariel in the clouds, & the bemused unconcern of Prospero on shore (hard to see on the left hand side), it’s a pretty good image of grad school in English.
Please comment below & read this image back for me: do you see a different allegory, of teaching or learning or something else?
(This’ll give me a chance to test the comments, & to approve each of you as a commentor for the blog going forward.)
Going tonight to see “The Changling” at Brown. The arrival of Middleton has been building for a while; I saw “The Revenger’s Tragedy” by Red Bull in NYC in 2006 and in London by the RSC last winter. Red Bull is also doing “Women Beware Women” next month. The other Shakespeare is coming…