My father owned this edition of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and it passed down to me. I don’t recall the circumstances under which I came to own this book but I do know that it has glistened with its gold-leaf lettering and rustic brown binding on my bookshelf providing me a sort of peace.
As a literature major at Saint John’s University, I chose to study Shakespeare for a semester but, like other times when natural passions suffer submersion under official tutelage, I squandered the opportunity to apply myself fully into Shakespeare’s genius. Even now, I have trouble referring to his “genius”. I should say I have an inherent disinclination toward all things one ought to glorify. If the world crowns Babe Ruth as the greatest in baseball history, I argue for Ted Williams.
However, like so many other things, I have reluctantly disengaged myself from my own pompous rebellion to discover the man, as I dabble here and there, as one deserving of the affections. Call me hard-headed or obstinate, thick-skinned, a late bloomer, one who won’t acknowledge how that official tutelage has finally emerged from my subconscious into my waking mind, but I grow because of that emergence in my own perfect timing.
Therefore, I begin. Through this year, and carrying into future ones, I pledge to study one play in between novels. I will read plays I have already read, delve into plays which have intimidated me and endure the plays which I had found ridiculous. I entitle this series of study “My Time of Shakespeare” and it will include essays of my own thoughts and reactions after reading, watching or discussing the plays. I have included my most recent reading of King Lear into this series even though I finished it prior to its conception. Unfortunately, I have yet to disengage myself from my pompous rebellion against the sonnets, or poetry in general for that matter, so the plays shall remain my sole focus. I have outgrown my bias against him, my excuses to avoid taking him seriously because so many others already do. After all, such an attitude coupled with a literary passion void of Shakespeare’s influence only serves to hinder my intellectual growth and bolster my arrogant pride.