Shaw was not alone…

Remember a couple of weeks back when I talked about how George Bernard Shaw wasn’t exactly the greatest fan of Cymbeline?

Well, seems he wasn’t alone.

None other than Samuel Johnson–who, it can be argued, is the father of Shakespearean criticism and scholarship–wasn’t much of a fan, either. In fact, you could say he hated it:

To remark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation.

 

Ouch.

Of course, Harold Bloom, noted Bardolator, while not a fan of the play, does see its charms, particularly in the form of the character Imogen. And for all the rest–the stagey trash, the folly, the absurdity, the confusion and the impossibility–Bloom has an interesting take:

Cymbeline is self-parody.

So, here we are, midway through our time with this play…what do YOU think? Trash? Folly? Self-parody? Genius?

I’m not sure yet, but I’m coming around to see Bloom’s point.

Comment?