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«I hated Shakespeare!»

Shakespeare-Forscher James Shapiro im exklusiven englischen Interview.

Phoebe Pryce as Jessica, Jonathan Pryce as her father Shylock in Shakespeare's «The Merchant of Venice». Photo: Manual Harlan (AP, Keystone)
Phoebe Pryce as Jessica, Jonathan Pryce as her father Shylock in Shakespeare's «The Merchant of Venice». Photo: Manual Harlan (AP, Keystone)

Reading your books one comes to the conclusion that one of the attractions about Shakespeare is you have to become a sleuth.

All literary scholarship is, in a way, detective work. And that makes literary scholars detectives, although they might not think of themselves in that way. Anyone working on the late 16 century, whether you would be working in England, Germany, in Iceland or in Africa, has to deal with the fact that the traces of life and of cities are almost gone. And you have to work hard finding the scattered clues to the lives, to the work, to the theatres, to culture in order to recreate not a crime scene, but a literary scene. A cultural scene that might explain that culture a little better. That might in turn explain how we are who we are as a culture today. So I'm very conscious that I am constantly picking up clues. Unlike most scholars the clues that I attend to are not only books, they are physical clues to the extent that those clues survive. Whether it is an archaeological dig or coins from the period, something that puts me physically in touch with that age. I'm about to give a talk at the British Museum Library. And I'm going to share with the people in the front row this (he hands over a coin) which is a hammered sixpence from 1606. It has King James's partly obliterated face is on one side.

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