After Shakespeare – John Gross


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No writer has served as such a powerful source of inspiration for other writers as Shakespeare. No writer has attracted such widespread and varied comment. This unique anthology draws on the vast literature that plays little part in formal Shakespeare criticism and scholarship, but that shows with immediacy and passion the enormous impact Shakespeare has had on our cultural life. Novelists, poets, and playwrights are all represented. So are philosophers, historians, composers, film-makers, politicians. Shakespearean characters and motifs are shown fuelling the genius of Goethe and Dostoevsky, Aldous Huxley and Emily Dickinson, John Updike and Duke Ellington, Nabokov and Proust. Shakespeare the man fires the imagination of Kipling and Joyce, Borges and Anthony Burgess. Herman Melville writes a poem about Falstaff. D. H. Lawrence anatomizes Hamlet. R. K. Narayan describes a Shakespeare lesson in an Indian classroom. John Osborne adapts Coriolanus. Ionescu reworks Macbeth. The choice of critical responses is equally wide-ranging. Jean-Paul Sartre proves an unexpectedly expert commentator on King Lear. Alfred Dreyfus and Nelson Mandela console themselves with Shakespeare during their imprisonment. And curiosities abound – parodies, burlesques, strange echoes and eccentricities. Throughout the book we can see Shakespeare changing lives, opening up fresh horizons and reaching out to ‘the great globe itself’.




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