Two from Arts & Letters Daily

One on Thoreau and his view of life:
Thoreau is less an ecologist than a thinker obsessed with the problem of life in a properly ontological sense. By this I mean not only that everything in his world—from stones to humans—is alive, but also that in his philosophy life is afforded the status of a force that precedes and generates all individuations and into which individual forms dissolve. Consequently, death is considered a process of deformation but not of cessation. Differently put, in Thoreau’s world death does not have the power to interrupt life but instead functions as the force of its transformation, enabling us to experience finitude while ushering us into what remains animated.
And one on Shakespeare and his evolution as a writer, as seen through a (disputed) earlier edition of Hamlet:
[T]he Bad Quarto moves more swiftly to its bloody climax, so that it could be said to lose — or never have had — the very quality that gave birth to the phrase "Hamlet-like."

Most people don’t realize the Hamlets they read are not the Hamlets Shakespeare wrote. They’re, more often than not, a cut-and-paste, conflated version that mixes and matches some of the best bits from the Good Quarto and the Folio. "The pales and forts of reason," "the mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye," and "nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so" are each in either the Quarto or the Folio but not in both.

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