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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 68
SHAKESPEARE AS ARTIST

Shakespeare were a conscious artist, and not rather a writer who constructed in obedience to an extraordinary dramatic instinct, as he composed mainly by inspiration. And a brief explanation on this head will enable me to allude to a few more points, chiefly of construction, which are not too technical for a lecture.

     In speaking, for convenience, of devices and expedients, I did not intend to imply that Shakespeare always deliberately aimed at the effects which he produced. But no artist always does this, and I see no reason to doubt that Shakespeare often did it, or to suppose that his method of constructing and composing differed, except in degree, from that of the most 'conscious' of artists. The antithesis of art and inspiration, though not meaningless, is often most misleading. Inspiration is surely not incompatible with considerate workmanship. The two may be severed, but they need not be so, and where a genuinely poetic result is being produced they cannot be so. The glow of a first conception must in some measure survive or rekindle itself in the work of planning and executing; and what is called a technical expedient may 'come' to a man with as sudden a glory as a splendid image. Verse may be easy and unpremeditated, as Milton says his was, and yet many a word in it may be changed many a time, and the last change be more 'inspired' than the original. The difference between poets in these matters is no doubt considerable, and sometimes important, but, it can only be a difference of less and more. It is probable that Shakespeare often wrote fluently, for Jonson ( a better authority than Heminge and Condell ) says so; and for anything we can tell he may also have constructed with unusual readiness. But we know that he revised and re-wrote (for instance in Love's Labour's Lost and Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet); it is almost impossible that he can have worked

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