Bard medicine 1

January 21, 2005

Kate McLuskie makes clear her disagreement with Tom McAlindon's gloomy assessment of the current state of Shakespeare studies, something that he attributed to the dominance of politicised modes of criticism of the kind exemplified by McLuskie's 1985 essay on "The Patriarchal Bard".

She speaks instead of the "remarkable intellectual and creative energy" within the field (Letters, January 7).

Coincidentally, on the same day that the original pieces by McLuskie and McAlindon appeared in The Times Higher ("Battle of Will for the Bard's soul", December 24/31), a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement remarked that, on the evidence of the new volumes of Shakespeare criticism that he had read during the year, he thought that the subject was in "a parlous state". However, he made an exception to this generalisation for the book he was reviewing - McAlindon's Shakespeare Minus "Theory" . In this, he found a "force, clarity and rigour" that "hold the attention and clear the mind".

Rowland Wymer
Department of English and drama
Anglia Polytechnic University

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