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(Salon)   The greatest literary takedowns of all time. Shakespeare had it coming, the stuffy frilly-collared playwright   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Amusing, John Updike, Harold Bloom, Dostoyevsky, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Mark Twain, The Great Gatsby, C.S. Lewis  
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3081 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 04 Jul 2013 at 2:50 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



21 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2013-07-04 02:20:11 PM  
On Kafka, "Epstein has no comparable excuse for moaning that Kafka's stories are "distinctly not a jolly way to start the day," as well as too uniformly Freudian and "hopeless." It should be noted that when Kafka read his stories to his friend (Max Brot,IIRC), they laughed quite a bit. Some people just don't get German bureaucratic humor.

On Shakespeare, check out the "Reduced Shakespeare Acting Company".
 
2013-07-04 02:54:13 PM  
This would've been better as a list
 
2013-07-04 03:13:28 PM  
Nothing beats Matt Taibbi's relentless pursuit of nearly every destructive, nonsensical thing that Thomas Friedman writes.
 
2013-07-04 03:19:54 PM  
Shakespeare isn't meant to be read, it's meant to be performed.
 
2013-07-04 03:52:45 PM  

Tyrone Slothrop: Shakespeare isn't meant to be read, it's meant to be performed.


And the audience needs an ample supply of ham sandwiches.
 
2013-07-04 03:58:46 PM  
Hemingway spent a lot of time telling William Saroyan to go get his shinebox.  Surprised that wasn't in there.
 
2013-07-04 04:01:06 PM  
Mencken on Ralph Waldo Emerson: "It is one of the mysteries of American life that Rotary has never discovered Emerson. His so-called philosophy seems to be made precisely for the luncheon-table idealist. There is in it an almost incomparable sweep of soothing generalities, a vast marshaling of sugary and not too specific words, a wholesale assurance of soaring optimism. I can imagine nothing better suited to the spiritual needs of used-car dealers, insurance underwriters, trust company vice presidents, bath-fixture magnates, and the like gathered together in the sight of God to take cheer from one another and hoist the Republic along its rocky road."
 
2013-07-04 04:22:43 PM  

simplicimus: On Kafka, "Epstein has no comparable excuse for moaning that Kafka's stories are "distinctly not a jolly way to start the day," as well as too uniformly Freudian and "hopeless." It should be noted that when Kafka read his stories to his friend (Max Brot,IIRC), they laughed quite a bit. Some people just don't get German bureaucratic humor.

On Shakespeare, check out the "Reduced Shakespeare Acting Company".


RSAC is the most efficient way I know to tolerate a dose of Shakespeare.
 
2013-07-04 04:38:56 PM  

fustanella: simplicimus: On Kafka, "Epstein has no comparable excuse for moaning that Kafka's stories are "distinctly not a jolly way to start the day," as well as too uniformly Freudian and "hopeless." It should be noted that when Kafka read his stories to his friend (Max Brot,IIRC), they laughed quite a bit. Some people just don't get German bureaucratic humor.

On Shakespeare, check out the "Reduced Shakespeare Acting Company".

RSAC is the most efficient way I know to tolerate a dose of Shakespeare.


Especially the comedies.
 
2013-07-04 04:52:38 PM  
No one could destroy like Twain. My favorites are Cooper, Edward Bok and Jay Gould, not to mention several of his lesser targets.
 
2013-07-04 07:41:50 PM  

simplicimus: On Kafka, "Epstein has no comparable excuse for moaning that Kafka's stories are "distinctly not a jolly way to start the day," as well as too uniformly Freudian and "hopeless." It should be noted that when Kafka read his stories to his friend (Max Brot,IIRC), they laughed quite a bit. Some people just don't get German bureaucratic humor.

On Shakespeare, check out the "Reduced Shakespeare Acting Company".


The Reduced Shakespeare Company DVD is fantastic. it's one of the few things I've shown in school that has nearly unanimous student approval. In case anyone's curious, the Doctor Who episode "Blink" is another.
 
2013-07-04 07:51:37 PM  

The Fourth Karamazov: simplicimus: On Kafka, "Epstein has no comparable excuse for moaning that Kafka's stories are "distinctly not a jolly way to start the day," as well as too uniformly Freudian and "hopeless." It should be noted that when Kafka read his stories to his friend (Max Brot,IIRC), they laughed quite a bit. Some people just don't get German bureaucratic humor.

On Shakespeare, check out the "Reduced Shakespeare Acting Company".

The Reduced Shakespeare Company DVD is fantastic. it's one of the few things I've shown in school that has nearly unanimous student approval. In case anyone's curious, the Doctor Who episode "Blink" is another.


I  saw it live in London and have the DVD. It just doesn't grow old if you had to read / perform Shakespeare.
 
2013-07-04 08:12:57 PM  
 

Dear Jerk: No one could destroy like Twain. My favorites are Cooper, Edward Bok and Jay Gould, not to mention several of his lesser targets.


My favorite has always been what he sai about Jane Austen. " Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone. "
 
2013-07-05 02:10:26 AM  

simplicimus: On Kafka, "Epstein has no comparable excuse for moaning that Kafka's stories are "distinctly not a jolly way to start the day," as well as too uniformly Freudian and "hopeless." It should be noted that when Kafka read his stories to his friend (Max Brot,IIRC), they laughed quite a bit. Some people just don't get German bureaucratic humor.

On Shakespeare, check out the "Reduced Shakespeare Acting Company".


Love Reduced Shakespeare.  I worked many years at the Renaissance Faire and everyone looked forward to the night show they would put on for the Faire cast and crew.  And I read Shakespeare for fun.

Hated Kafka.  Boring as hell.  Hated Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.  It was boring and pointless.  The story didn't have a proper ending.  It just sort of faded away.  Was always bored by the "great" russian literature, especially Tolstoy.  An acquaintance told me his work was even more pondering in the original Russian.  To be honest, I only read War and Peace.  I couldn't bring myself to read any of his other work after struggling through that thing.

Mark Twain is a literary god.
 
2013-07-05 02:16:28 AM  
You have not properly experienced Hamlet until you've seen it performed BACKWARDS!

Jump to the 3:00 mark.  Or watch the whole thing, it's funny.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Jzkop04P4
 
2013-07-05 03:35:14 AM  
I'm going to come right out and say it - I can't stand Somerset Maughm.
 
2013-07-05 08:01:39 AM  
There was some truth in what Shaw said about Shakespeare.  On the other hand, Shakespeare forgot more about what actually works on stage than Shaw ever knew.  Some of Shaw's plays actually work on stage.  Some come off as polemic only.
 
2013-07-05 08:37:54 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: Shakespeare isn't meant to be read, it's meant to be performed.


Shakespeare was a political propagandist for the Tudors and aristo-power generally. The big reason we remember him instead of the other poets and playwrights of his day isn't because he was necessarily better(though he was very good), but because sustaining his work served the interests of the powerful and wealthy. That, btw, is one of the big reasons why the "Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare" arguments fall flat, since many of them rely on painting him as a political radical rather than the proto-Cavalier that his work clearly shows he was.
 
2013-07-05 10:44:13 AM  

Heron: Tyrone Slothrop: Shakespeare isn't meant to be read, it's meant to be performed.

Shakespeare was a political propagandist for the Tudors and aristo-power generally. The big reason we remember him instead of the other poets and playwrights of his day isn't because he was necessarily better(though he was very good), but because sustaining his work served the interests of the powerful and wealthy. That, btw, is one of the big reasons why the "Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare" arguments fall flat, since many of them rely on painting him as a political radical rather than the proto-Cavalier that his work clearly shows he was.


That shows up in the ending of Hamlet. Fortinbras? Who the heck is he in the overall plot? Well,can't have a country without a king, can we?
 
2013-07-05 12:40:49 PM  

Kibbler: There was some truth in what Shaw said about Shakespeare.  On the other hand, Shakespeare forgot more about what actually works on stage than Shaw ever knew.  Some of Shaw's plays actually work on stage.  Some come off as polemic only.


↑ ↑ ↑  A thousand times this.

Also, part of Shaw's diabtribe against Shakespeare ("his pretentious reduction of the subtlest problems of life to commonplaces against which a Polytechnic debating club would revolt") is pretty rich coming from a guy who turns nearly every protagonist into a Mary Sue spouting his preferred brand of agitprop, and reduces every antagonist to a bumbling one-dimensional strawman.
 
2013-07-05 01:02:43 PM  
My one positive comment on Shakespeare is that he had to balance telling a story while also appealing to the cheap seats. But he was still no Marlowe.
 
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