12 oct. 2010

Speaking of the Shakespeare authorship controversy, I attended a lecture recently by James Shapiro, who's written the ultimate book about this, Contested Will. His point was the the problem was an ahistorical tendency to read autobiographically in way foreign to the early modern period. It was a very good talk and he dealt with questions adroitly. Ken Irby was there and we both enjoyed the lecture.

I'm thinking of writing about Lorca in relation to this problem. Not authorship, because nobody doubts Lorca wrote Lorca. My idea is to dethrone biographical approaches even more radically than I did in Apocryphal Lorca. Romantic readings really read the work through the life. What is interesting is that some authors have lives of this sort and others don't. In other words, nobody even attempts romantic readings of certain writers, whereas with others there almost seems no other choice.

3 comentarios:

Thomas dijo...

One of the few ideas for a study of comparative bodies of work where I've considered biography as interesting dimension is Henry Miller and Jorge Luis Borges. Miller as actively asserts his life in his writing as Borges renounces his. Both are, of course, poses, literary personae. Still, it would be interesting to compare these personae with the "real" personalities that biographers have written. Or, at least, I suspect it would be interesting.

For example, both bodies of work begin when the authors are around forty years old. And both begin with a radically new point of departure. (Miller moves to Paris, alone. Borges hits his head.)

Also, Miller begins with "high" literary ambitions of a sort and ends just being himself (a simplification).

Borges begins with a romantization of "the street".

Both are, in a sense, apolitical. But one is radical, the other conservative.

Anyway, it's another project that I'm going to be waiting for awhile to find time for. (Too much reading to do.) If one of your students wants it, they can have it for free.

Jordan dijo...

I notice that the Foucault-Nietzsche argument against the life-and-times approach to literature is resurfacing at the exact same time as a call for "naive reading" is being sung from Chicago to New York.

Lawrence LaRiviere White dijo...

I heard Stephen Booth argue that people like Gatsby because they wish they could live like Fitzgerald, but no one reads Vanity Fair because they wish they could live like Thackery.