Nancy Huntting, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
What was the largest matter in the life of Nelson Mandela? And what does it have to do with Shakespeare’s Eighth Sonnet—and the importance of that poem for every person now? You can read the thrilling answers to these questions, and more, in “Shakespeare and Mandela,” the current issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We are honored to publish “Shakespeare’s Eighth Sonnet & Self,” an essay by Eli Siegel. It is mightily important as literary criticism—and for everyone’s understanding of our own lives.
I could write lengthily about Mr. Siegel’s love for and explanation of the work of Shakespeare. For instance, there are his lectures on Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and more. These talks, with vivid presentation of scenes, are part of the dramatic repertory of the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company. His Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Revisited is simply one of the great works of world literature. And he discussed, line by line, all the Sonnets, explaining them definitively.
He enabled people really to love Shakespeare, and understand him. Through what he said about Shakespeare’s plays, people can feel at last that the play is about them, their immediate lives, their inner tumults, and can feel inextricably too its true, full grandeur.
At the basis of Eli Siegel’s Shakespeare criticism is this Aesthetic Realism principle: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”
In the essay on Sonnet 8, he shows Shakespeare dealing in a particular way with the biggest opposites in the life of everyone: self and world. The sonnet, Mr. Siegel makes clear, is about the fight between care for our own cherished self and our desire to be richly just to outside reality. And it’s about that thing which Aesthetic Realism shows is the most hurtful desire in everyone: contempt, the desire to make ourselves big through looking down on what’s not us.
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
Here I make a relation to something that seems very different from a Shakespeare sonnet. Less than a month ago, one of the most important people of the last century died: Nelson Mandela. And there were the memorial service and so many adulatory statements by press and government leaders about him. From what I know of those statements, at least those in the western media, there has been a tremendous inaccuracy in the placing of his life and meaning. That inaccuracy and who Mandela really was, concern the same opposites as those in Shakespeare’s sonnet: self and world. They are opposites central to how a nation should be owned… Read more