Monday, April 25, 2016
Reader's Diary #1303- Isaac Asimov: The Immortal Bard
Among all of the articles written to reflect upon the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death last week was Linda Rodriguez McRobbie's compelling Smithsonian article "Is There Any Such Thing as a 'Bad' Shakespeare Play?" Not to give away anything that the article's tagline doesn't, but having finally finished his complete works last year, I am in agreement with her that yes, there probably is.
It would not be unreasonable after reading Isaac Asimov's "The Immortal Bard" that he felt the same way. Telling of a time-traveling Shakespeare, Asimov goes one further and even suggests that the bard himself would likely admit that all of his works were not created equal.
Asimov's story is, for the most part, just a humourous tale (complete with punchline), but it does raise some important questions about the way we tend to infuse meaning (and subsequently, value) into literary works that weren't necessarily an author's intent.