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William Shakespeare was a towering genius. But his works do not constitute a secular Bible

By AC Grayling   April 1999

Some among us who last saw a Shakespeare play many years ago, and who last read him even more years ago—probably in school—are inclined to wonder whether the exalted place he holds in mankind’s esteem is justified. After all, they say, he was really just an adapter and editor, cobbling his work from older plays or Holinshed’s chronicles. And they admit to finding his plays hard work to sit through; to being bored by long speeches in what seems to them practically a foreign language, perplexed by the unintelligible badinage, and embarrassed by the singing of “hey nonny no.” To…

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