Friday, 19 July 2013

Why Shakespeare is the greatest writer of English - Quotable AND Smooth (Prosy and Poetic)


Most of the most quotable writers of English were prosy writers (even if not actually writing prose) - e.g. Bacon, Sam Johnson, Wilde, Shaw - and most of the most poetic writers are not very quotable - Sidney, Spenser, Tennyson...

I think it is distinctive to Shakespeare - and perhaps that which sets him above all others - that he is both: as smooth and musical as Spenser, as pithy and gnomic as Bacon.

(Other writers who combine poeticism and prosiness in this way stand next in line to Shakespeare - for example Chaucer.)