Monday, January 30, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 9 - Tolstoy on Shakespeare

by Leo Tolstoy

Started: January 30
Finished: February 4

Notes: I've long read that Tolstoy had a strong detestation for Shakespeare and his works. In this little book Tolstoy laid out his reasoning, so I thought I'd check it out.

Mini review: Well, there's not doubt Tolstoy hated Shakespeare. In my opinion, I feel Tolstoy falls short on some of his basis for this dislike. For one, I think Tolstoy lacked a good sense of the absurd, which can be found quite often in Shakespeare. And while I understand and even agree with Tolstoy's vision of art, that true high art is a representation of man's search for or connection with spirituality (Tolstoy would have outright said "God"), I again fault Tolstoy for not finding any elements of this in Shakespeare's writing. I find it, but perhaps I'm blinded, as Tolstoy would most likely suggest I am, though I have no particular love or hate for Shakespeare's works as a whole. I quite enjoy some of Willy's works, but others don't do much for me. Also included in this little book are notes and letters from others concerning their dislike of Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw being the most known name of those, though still, Tolstoy's essay takes up about 75 percent of the writing overall in this book.

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