Monday, September 18, 2017


I finally got around to reading Titus Andronicus, and finished it last night. Not that I was saying to myself these years, "You know, you really need to read Titus Andronicus".

Because whenever I would read about the play, the consensus was always 1. it's Shakespeare's least good play - flat as a board, and 2. it's so very violent and did we mention the violence?

The second point would only help to redound the first point. And then I would say to the consensus, "Surely it's not that violent, and because you are looking at it in light of Shakespeare's other plays, perhaps you people are rather exaggerating what is quantitatively only a few more corpses?"

Having now read the play, I take that back.

And certainly it is flat, but yet there are inspired passages that crackle out here and there with that cap gun smell you knew as a kid after you shot off the entire round in two seconds.


Belfry Bat said...

but yet, redounding, eh?

Paul Stilwell said...

I counted it at least twice in old Titus.

Belfry Bat said...

it's fun having a Complete Shakespeare in ascii... (there is ONE "redound" in the whole thing)

MESSENGER. Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.
CLEOPATRA. Make thee a fortune from me.
MESSENGER. But yet, madam-
CLEOPATRA. I do not like 'but yet.' It does allay
The good precedence; fie upon 'but yet'!
'But yet' is as a gaoler to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
The good and bad together. He's friends with Caesar;
In state of health, thou say'st; and, thou say'st, free.
MESSENGER. Free, madam! No; I made no such report.
He's bound unto Octavia.

Paul Stilwell said...

One "redound" in all of Shakespeare's plays?

I still have to read Antony and Cleopatra.

Fie upon 'but yet'!

Belfry Bat said...

All plays and sonnets (Project Gutenberg text 100); and yes, it's in a play.

Paul Stilwell said...

One 'redound', and like a thousand 'but yets'.

Case in point why Shakespeare is the greatest poet. He was never anywhere close to being a decadent obsessed with form. He is all matter, behind which the form is like the surge of the ocean. That's why people read him.

The so-called return to form today in the new formalist school is pretty much empty decadence. Of course I say "decadence" in its classic sense, not in the sense as when someone says, "That chocolate cake was just decadent", or "Those pasties were just decadent". Funny how the word has its roots in deca - ten. Completeness. Decadence is preemptive empty formalism.

Belfry Bat said...

Hmmm... deca- (ten-ness) or de-cadens (falling-off)?

Could be both. Both worth considering.

Belfry Bat said...

Also, YES. Form stuffed with content. He is no less than a stuffed poet!