Shakespeare is one of the most popular poet in Russia. Every Russian knows Shakespearean plays from early age. Many Russian writers were influenced by Shakespeare's genius. Alexander Pushkin wished to imitate Shakespeare's historian plays when he wrote his drama "Boris Godunov". «Please, read Shakespeare — that is my refrain», — he often said. Ivan Turgenev in his anniversary speech on Shakespeare in 1864 noted: «For all of us Shakespeare is not only a great, bright name, which we worship from time to time from the long distance. He became our property, he entered in to our flesh and blood».
This book deals with Shakespeare's works, with his personality and his interpretation in Russia. It is no doubt, that Shakespeare was a national poet. J. B. Priestley noted about this: «The Germans may turn him into the nest of philosophical problems; the French may turn him into so much sonorous stage rhetoric; the Italians may turn him into tearing passion and grand opera; the Americans — most whimsical of all — may turn him into Bacon; but he remains English».
At the same time, Shakespeare has a world influence. Today this influence is constantly growing up. Shakespeare is known not only in Europe and America, but also in China, India, Japan, Africa and many other countries. It seems, that every nation has its own image of Shakespeare. This book is focused on Russian view on great British poet and his interpretation in Russian theatre, poetry, cinema, visual art and aesthetics.
It is a great discussion in Russian literature about personality of William Shakespeare. Some authors with a great energy try to show that William Shakespeare from Stratford on Avon never wrote his plays. The name Shakespeare was a mask for another authors, who had a better education or better knowledge.
My point is quite different to this opinions. I believe, that William Shakespeare even with his «small Latin and less Greek», as Ben Jonson said, was a great writer, an authors of his world known plays.
Shakespeare is hard to categorise. As a Renaissance man, he had many interests and professions: a poet, dramatist, an actor, and a man of theatre. One could also call him a historian and humanist; his knowledge about world history, geography, science and art is astonishing.
This book is focused on connection of Shakespeare's works with humanist's ideas, their view on nature and man, their interpretation of education, love, music and art. Shakespeare showed the great possibilities of humanism, which was a base of the new Renaissance culture, and at the same time he demonstrated its limits and weaknesses.
We try to show Shakespeare as a British national writer who make a great impact on world culture. Alexander Dumas shows his role and influence in one short sentence: «After God, Shakespeare has created most».
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