I love to listen to thoughtful and intelligent conversations. I enjoy discovering questions that deepen understanding and discussion as they are asked and hearing the differing points of view they encourage that help me to realize and better understand my own.
That’s something I miss more and more in journalism and in life these days: coming away from an article, a story, a conversation feeling more interested in the world around me, pondering and considering, being more human and humane, finding myself better-informed than I was a few minutes before.
These types of discussions I once had greater access to via the older adults in my life, a generation mostly passed on. These people didn’t discuss Shakespeare with me but they did discuss life in its fullness: the beautiful, the humorous, the tragic, the lessons, the mistakes, the joys, the things that matter, the things they gave up for something more. The stories were a blend of shallow and deep, happy and sad, good and evil, loved ones lost and found. Sometimes just regrets and loss. Looking back they often sounded in substance the way Shakespeare wrote, at least to me. I miss those conversations.
It is for that reason that stumbling upon a discussion like this one about Shakespeare with Melvyn Bragg, Professor Sir Frank Kermode, Michael Bogdanov, and Germaine Greer is a particular treat. I hope you savor it and consider it. I think you will have a richer, more fulfilling experience with Shakespeare’s works if you do. At the very least, it is an opportunity to experience what thoughtful and intelligent conversation can be like; an example that may lead to higher quality conversations of your own.