The writer for all time: the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death - Life: how did Shakespeare become Shakespeare Cover Image

Shekspiri në 400 vjetorin e vdekjes - Jeta: si u bë Shekspiri Shekspir
The writer for all time: the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death - Life: how did Shakespeare become Shakespeare

Author(s): Muhamet Hamiti
Subject(s): Studies of Literature, Sociology of Culture, Sociology of the arts, business, education, Theory of Literature
Published by: Univeristeti i Prishtinës, Fakulteti i Filologjisë
Keywords: Shakespeare; genius; originality; humanity; universal writer;

Summary/Abstract: “He was not of an age, but for all time!” wrote poet and playwright Ben Johnson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, in his poem “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare” in 1623, on the occasion of the publication of the great author’s plays (The First Folio), edited by two members of his “The King’s Men”. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was buried in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, his hometown, and not in the ‘Poets’ Corner’ at Westminster Abbey in London, where Chaucer and Spenser had been buried earlier, whereas Ben Johnson later, arguably because the society of the time had not recognized the Bard’s greatness.Data about Shakespeare’s life are scant. Shakespeare is his literature, his poetry and plays; his comedies, historical dramas, tragedies. Shakespeare is the writer who produced the largest gallery of characters in English literature. He wrote for the aristocracy and the commons; he satisfied the elite and entertained the uneducated. Four hundred years on, Shakespeare is viewed as the first universal writer, the writer who invented the human, whereas Hamlet, his pre-eminent literary character, one of the great modern myths, ‘the most quoted figure of Western consciousness after Jesus Christ’, according to American scholar Harold Bloom.The lecture dwells on the universality and originality of Shakespeare’s oeuvre beyond the tendency of the recent decades (Marxist, Structuralist, Historicist, Feminist) which see it not the result of his genius, but rather of prevailing social circumstances and the relations between word (language, discourse) and power. Likewise, discarding patriotic English ideas that his work was subversive to power. Shakespeare had patrons, and lived and worked close to the royal circles during the reins of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. Censorship of the theatre was vigorous at the time.The lecture shall outline the history of the rise of William Shakespeare to the pedestal in the last couple of centuries, but also the geography of the outreach of his works. It was the French who resisted most of all in Europe the rise of the ‘barbaric genius’, as they branded him in the age of Classicism. With Goethe, the Germans co-opted him in their culture. This is what many nations have done. This is true for the Albanians too, except for the era of Enver Hoxha’s dictatorship, which looked suspiciously towards literature that was at odds with the dogma of Socialist Realism. The dictatorship could not ban him outright, though, and Albanian translations of Shakespeare lived abundantly in both Albania and Kosovo. Albanian writer Fan Noli is as identifiable (as translator) with Shakespeare, as he is with his own poetry and “The History of Scanderbeg”. The rendering of Shakespeare in our mother tongue has demonstrated the power of Albanian language.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 35
  • Page Range: 519 - 529
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Albanian