Harbage Hits Lack of Proper Attitude Towards Shakespeare
Alfred B. Harbage, professor of English, sharply criticized those "eccentrics" who stir up controversy over the authorship of Shakespeare's plays as being symbolic of the uninformed and unappreciative attitude which exists in this country towards the Bard's work.
In this month's Atlantic, Harbage, who teaches one of the College's two Shakespeare courses, English 124, pointed to the overly analytic approach which does not allow the reader to "experience" the plays.
He also questioned the validity of a "Shakespeare boom" in this country. The fact that there were only 286,000 spectators at 22 Shakespearian plays offered in 1955 all over the country could hardly be termed a "boom", Harbage said.
"Our society lacks the kind of moral enthusiasm that Shakespeare's kind of drama assumes," he wrote.
Harbage added however, that he saw a ray of hope for the future. He said that last year's production of five Shakespeare plays at Harvard, which were well attended by student audiences, augured well for the future when "the young in years become again the young in heart."