Friday, May 4, 2012
Lispenard Shawl & Rose Red III.
"That woman, then, who was born with a gift of poetry in the sixteenth century, was an unhappy woman, a woman at strife against herself. All the conditions of her life, all her own instincts, were hostile to the state of mind which is needed to set free whatever is in the brain. But what is the state of mind that is most propitious to the act of creation, I asked ? Can one come by any notion of the state that furthers and makes possible that strange activity ? Here I opened the volume containing the Tragedies of Shakespeare. What was Shakespeare's state of mind , for instance , when he wrote LEAR and ANTONY and CLEOPATRA ? It was certainly the state of mind most favourable to poetry that there has ever existed . But Shakespeare himself said nothing about it. We only know casually and by chance that he 'never blotted a line'. Nothing indeed was ever said by the artist himself about his state of mind until the 18th century perhaps. Rousseau perhaps began it. At any rate, by the 19th century self 0 consciousness had developed so far that it was the habit for men of letters to describe their minds in confessions and autobiographies. Their lives also were written, and their letters were printed after their deaths. Thus, though we do not know what Shakespeare went through when he wrote LEAR, we do know what Carlyle went through when he wrote the FRENCH REVOLUTION ; what Flaubert went through when he wrote MADAME BOVARY ; what Keats was going through when he tried to write poetry against the coming of death and the indifference of the world."
-- p. 52 A Room of One's Own. Virginia Woolf