Quotation by Gary Taylor

If Shakespeare has a singularity, it is because he has become a black hole. Light, insight, intelligence, matter—all pour ceaselessly into him, as critics are drawn into the densening vortex of his reputation; they add their own weight to his increasing mass. The light from other stars—other poets, other dramatists—is wrenched and bent as it passes by him on its way to us. He warps cultural space-time; he distorts our view of the universe around him. As Emerson said, "Now, literature, philosophy, and thought are Shakespearized. His mind is the horizon beyond which at present we do not see." But Shakespeare himself no longer transmits visible light; his stellar energies have been trapped within the gravity well of his own reputation. We find in Shakespeare only what we bring to him or what others have left behind; he gives us back our own values.
Gary Taylor (b. 1953), U.S. educator, critic. "Singularity," Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present, Oxford University Press (1989).
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