The essay reminds me of many reviews of serious, particularly non-realist literature I have read on Amazon. In the same way, this essay basically assumes that because Tolstoy does not see what is great about Shakespeare, there must be a conspiracy in this case a conspiracy of German critics initiated by Goethe to convince people that he was a great author, which people then follow by "suggestion" because they are incapable of making their own judgements otherwise they would of course agree with Tolstoy.
It's actually easy, of course, to see why Tolstoy does not appreciate Shakespeare. Tolstoy was among the greatest writers of realistic fiction, and it is understandable that a great artist as he was should consider his own way of writing to be the only true kind of art. An ordinary person can enjoy say the music of both Brahms and Wagner, but they can't possibly accept each other's music as worthwhile art. Throughout the essay, Tolstoy simply makes fun of Shakespeare's King Lear because the plot is not realistic, the language is not the way people would naturally speak, etc.
However, despite what some critics write about his "truth to nature", Shakespeare is not a realist writer in that sense; his plays are all conventional. Not in the sense of being unoriginal, but in the literal sense of based on conventions. His drama is a drama of ideas, not simple mimesis, and presents ideas and character through a kind of symbolic representation that requires the spectator or reader to interpret through those conventions.
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This is what Tolstoy does not understand or appreciate. As for Shaw, I think he agrees with Tolstoy if he does agree, given that he hadn't actually read Tolstoy's essay when he wrote agreeing with it out of contrarianism which is his leading character and in reaction to the Shakespeare-olatry of many of the critics of the time. View 1 comment. Shelves: dnf.
Tolstoy on Shakespeare - Wikisource, the free online library
The authorship recommends itself and the topic is nicely controversial, more so for the respective gravitas of those in question. How shallow of me. I plead an appetite for pleasant prose. Tolstoy here is so intransigent, that this reads like a diary entry. I believe that educated people would be able to find both fault and value with Shakespeare, were they not outraged, as Tolstoy seems to be, from being banned in sharing the pleasure of his Consequently, t The authorship recommends itself and the topic is nicely controversial, more so for the respective gravitas of those in question.
Consequently, the eponymous essay, the first of the book, is uncompromising. The introduction is weak. The author's first arguments seldom stray from introspection and bewilderment at his differing feelings. He does not so much as attempt to introduce or explain the spectrum of reactions to Shakespeare and his position on it. He then goes on to prove his There are a few choice words for this type of perseverence. If he still cared to bow to public pressure enough to test something that didn't appeal to him, he could have attempted a minimum of literary analysis, which is still conspicuously absent from this essay in general.
Furthermore, despite his claims to reveal Shakespeare as a below-average author, he decides to focus "King Lear", regardless of the change in style in the comedies, the poems or the sonnets. Nonetheless, he takes issue with the style of the language, which is fairly distinctive. Jul 25, Al Maki rated it did not like it. I went to the book because I had found the word play in Love's Labour's Lost tedious and annoying and hoped that Tolstoy could articulate what I did not like.
He does very well, pointing out how often Shakespeare digresses from the plot and the expression of feeling to frolic in word play. There are some other points in the book with which I agree. His attack on the many improbabilities of Lear, his assessment of Homer's virtues, his attack on the exalting of Shakespeare as the greatest of all a I went to the book because I had found the word play in Love's Labour's Lost tedious and annoying and hoped that Tolstoy could articulate what I did not like.
His attack on the many improbabilities of Lear, his assessment of Homer's virtues, his attack on the exalting of Shakespeare as the greatest of all artists. But I found his arguments of a lack of artistry in Shakespeare quite unconvincing. It seemed to me that he was using Shakespeare as a straw dog to beat for the fact that Western European art, at least after the Middle Ages, did not come up to his standard of religious sincerity and depth.
I found it quite odd to say that Shakespeare lacked a religious sense. Whenever I see a performance of one of his plays with some exceptions, including LLL I am struck by the love he shows for mercy and forgiveness, surely two key Christian values. George Orwell wrote two essays on this essay of Tolstoy's and I can't help ending with a quote from one of them: " It appears, therefore, that though Tolstoy can explain away nearly everything about Shakespeare, there is one thing that he cannot explain away, and that is his popularity.
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View all 4 comments. Oct 16, Kay rated it it was ok. It is amazing to me that an author as great as Tolstoy is so filled with envy that he cannot tolerate the accolade given to one greater than he. He gives the most ludicrous and superficial summary of King Lear thinking this will demonstrate Shakespeare's inferiority. Instead it shows Tolstoy's lack of cr It is amazing to me that an author as great as Tolstoy is so filled with envy that he cannot tolerate the accolade given to one greater than he.
Instead it shows Tolstoy's lack of critical reading skills. I must admit I was laughing through his whole diatribe, hence the two stars the extra star for the entertainment value, after all it is Tolstoy and he can write. And yet I would recommend this essay because it shows how even the greatest writers can be so filled with jealousy that they can write something that makes absolutely no sense at all.
Dec 09, Aasem Bakhshi rated it liked it Shelves: english-literature. Of course, one can't always force himself to agree with subjective opinions of Tolstoy on Shakespeare but nevertheless, it was an interesting line of argument for us imbeciles who have always struggled while making sense of Shakespeare's greateness while interacting with the text at least. Experiencing Shakespeare on screen or theatre is perhaps an altogether different experience.
Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool
But in my view, Tolstoy's essay on Shakespeare must be read in conjunction with Orwell's essay Lear, Tolstoy and the Of course, one can't always force himself to agree with subjective opinions of Tolstoy on Shakespeare but nevertheless, it was an interesting line of argument for us imbeciles who have always struggled while making sense of Shakespeare's greateness while interacting with the text at least.
But in my view, Tolstoy's essay on Shakespeare must be read in conjunction with Orwell's essay Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool. Completely new oplnion Although I have read the complete works of Shakespeare, I have never thought of them critically. I have been impressed by the word flows and I have enjoyed the straightforward plots. Reading Tolstoy's criticism has opened a new channel of thought about these plays. He makes very strong arguments for his views even if one does not agree with all of his basic premises.
In total, this is an excellent essay. Jan 09, Kiof added it. As for the truth of it, who knows. Amir Hassan firoozi rated it it was ok Mar 22, Narmin Baghirova rated it liked it Sep 18, Richard rated it really liked it Jan 16, Aazir rated it liked it Apr 04, Lisajean rated it it was ok Jan 27, Robert rated it it was ok Mar 08, Nicole rated it liked it Jul 14, Aathira Kamal rated it liked it Sep 20, Michael Bee rated it really liked it Oct 24, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
About Leo Tolstoy. Leo Tolstoy.
Tolstoy on Shakespeare: A Crucial Essay on Shakespeare
Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy typically referred to in english-as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer — novelist, essayist, dramatist and philosopher — along with pacifist Religious anarchist and academic reformer. He was one of the most significant person in the Tolstoy family. His first journals were three autobiographical novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth Like a fiction author Tolstoy is commonly considered to be among the finest of all novelists, notably noted for his designs Battle and Peace and Anna Karenina Within their range, width and realistic interpretation of 19th-century European living, the two publications stay in the peak of realist fiction.
Being a meaningful philosopher Tolstoy was noteworthy for his tips on nonviolent opposition through works such as The Kingdom of God Is At You To the final outcome, Tolstoy came during his existence that Shakespeare is really not and a negative dramatist a real musician at all. Tolstoy described his landscapes on Shakespeare in a vital dissertation. Tolstoy believes that superior artwork must design morality of the general public. And by meaningful, after all it is the means that is Christian. Great examine for anybody enthusiastic about Shakespeare or criticism generally.
George Orwell essay and reponse was more unforgettable however, and this type of limited item too. On the heath, a gentleman tells Kent that Lear, banished by his daughters from their homes, is running about the heath alone, tearing his hair and throwing it to the wind, and that none but the fool is with him. In return Kent tells the gentleman that the dukes have quarrelled, and that the French army has landed at Dover, and, having communicated this intelligence, he dispatches the gentleman to Dover to meet Cordelia. The second scene of the third act also takes place on the heath, but in another part of it.
Lear walks about the heath and says words which are meant to express his despair: he desires that the winds should blow so hard that they should crack their cheeks and that the rain should flood everything, that lightning should singe his white head, and the thunder flatten the world and destroy all germens "that make ungrateful man! Enter Kent. Lear says that for some reason during this storm all criminals shall be found out and convicted. Kent, still unrecognized by Lear, endeavors to persuade him to take refuge in a hovel.
At this point the fool pronounces a prophecy in no wise related to the situation and they all depart. The third scene is again transferred to Gloucester's castle. Gloucester tells Edmund that the French King has already landed with his troops, and intends to help Lear.
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Learning this, Edmund decides to accuse his father of treason in order that he may get his heritage. The fourth scene is again on the heath in front of the hovel. Kent invites Lear into the hovel, but Lear answers that he has no reason to shelter himself from the tempest, that he does not feel it, having a tempest in his mind, called forth by the ingratitude of his daughters, which extinguishes all else.
This true feeling, expressed in simple words, might elicit sympathy, but amidst the incessant, pompous raving it escapes one and loses its significance. The hovel into which Lear is led, turns out to be the same which Edgar has entered, disguised as a madman, i. In the middle of this scene, enter Gloucester, who also does not recognize either Kent or his son Edgar, and tells them how his son Edgar wanted to kill him.
This scene is again cut short by another in Gloucester's castle, during which Edmund betrays his father and the Duke promises to avenge himself on Gloucester. Then the scene shifts back to Lear. Kent, Edgar, Gloucester, Lear, and the fool are at a farm and talking. Edgar says: "Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness…" The fool says: "Tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman?
The fool says no, the madman is the yeoman who has allowed his son to become a gentleman. Lear screams: "To have a thousand with red burning spirits. Come hissing in upon 'em," — while Edgar shrieks that the foul fiend bites his back. At this the fool remarks that one can not believe "in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
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