Excellent article today in the Wall Street Journal by my great friend and HC colleague, Stephen W. Smith.
Ignorance of “Cymbeline” is ignorance of Shakespeare—of his art and his wonder, of his mind and heart, and most revealingly, of his great desire for peace. While “The Tempest” and the “The Winter’s Tale” often win more acclaim among the late plays, “Cymbeline” is their equal, and may be the most comprehensive drama that Shakespeare ever wrote. The play is indeed “tragical-comical-historical-pastoral,” if one may dare quote Polonius. It is Shakespeare’s “poem unlimited,” well worth the serious attention and fresh production the Public Theater is giving it in Central Park this month.
And yet not all have judged “Cymbeline” so important or solemn. Samuel Johnson lamented the “folly of the fiction” and its “unresisting imbecility,” while George Bernard Shaw skewered it as “stagey trash” and wondered if so great an artist could really mean to talk to readers “like their grandmothers.” How could a drama of Shakespeare’s maturity provoke such responses?
To keep reading and you should, go here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-play-outlines-the-long-painful-drama-of-self-knowledge-1438979789