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»It is never to be forgotten that we are in the presence of the human character the most magnificently endowed, in all time . . . so that of him, inevitably, it goes hardest with us to be told that we have nothing, or next to nothing.» (introduction to The Tempest)

»No one was as many men as this man,» Jorge Luis Borges wrote. Shakespeare was »everything and nothing.» For any biographer approaching the life of Shakespeare, this is almost literally true. The plays and poems represent everything: a complex worldview, an astonishingly varied sense of character and tone, a command of poetic form and rhetoric and dramatic structure.

Det er et paradoks at en kultur som er nærmest sykelig opptatt av å vite alt om kunstneren, nesten ikke vet noe om den største av dem alle, og det lille vi vet, kaster ikke lys over verkene. Mest inntrykksfullt: sønnen Hamnet, som dør i 1596, 11 år gammel.

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