Essay: The Naked Shakespeare

Essay: The Naked Shakespeare

DALL·E doesn’t like it when you ask for nude, naked, or topless Shakespeares. So, here’s “a renaissance-style portrait of William Shakespeare lounging in a swimsuit on a bench”.

University was supposed to be Grecian columns, erudite instructors, and keen peers. When it wasn’t, and especially when my Introduction to English Literature course instructors’ interpretations of poetry seemed shamelessly, tortuously, and exclusively lock-step with their anachronistic politics (radical!) — leading them to eviscerate beauty and demand that we do it too — I became belligerent, satirical, and even more florid (!) than usual. This was my first significant essay at the university, and I flunked it good.

The assignment was to choose from a list of supplied poems (“Sonnet 18”) and a list of supplied interpretive seeds (“violence” and “women’s rights”), and to make a point. After internal consultation among the four course instructors, it transpired that my interpretation was wrong. Honestly, this was a terribly-defended essay and could’ve failed fairly on those grounds, but I’ve never been so righteously inspired to strike out at the man, man.

… Anyway, British Literature the following year introduced the requirement of historical context and rigour to our interpretive framework, and I settled right down again.

The Naked Shakespeare (PDF)