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I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex

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I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 21 Oct 2019, 08:30
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 404, Date: 21-Oct-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I expected to receive a powerful aesthetic pleasure, but having read, one after the other, works regarded as his best: "King Lear," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," not only did I feel no delight, but I also felt an irresistible repulsion and tedium, and doubted as to whether I was senseless in feeling works regarded as the summit of perfection by the whole of the civilized world to be trivial and positively bad, or whether the significance which this civilized world attributes to the works of Shakespeare was itself senseless. My consternation was increased by the fact that I always keenly felt the beauties of poetry in every form; then why should artistic works recognized by the whole world as those of a genius not just fail to please me, but in fact be disagreeable to me?

For a long time I could not believe in myself, and during fifty years, in order to test myself, I several times recommenced reading Shakespeare in every possible form, in Russian, in English, in German and in Schlegel's translation, as I was advised. Several times I read the dramas and the comedies and historical plays, and I invariably underwent the same feelings: repulsion, weariness, and bewilderment. At the present time, before writing this preface, being desirous once more to test myself, I have, as an old man of seventy-five, again read the whole of Shakespeare, including the historical plays, the "Henrys," "Troilus and Cressida," the "Tempest," "Cymbeline," and I have felt, with even greater force, the same feelings, this time, however, not of bewilderment, but of firm, indubitable conviction that the unquestionable glory of a great genius which Shakespeare enjoys, and which compels writers of our time to imitate him and readers and spectators to discover in him non-existent merits,—thereby distorting their aesthetic and ethical understanding,—is a great evil, as is every untruth.

Although I know that the majority of people so firmly believe in the greatness of Shakespeare that in reading this judgment of mine they will not admit even to the possibility of its justice, and will not give it the slightest attention, nevertheless I will endeavour, as well as I can, to show why I believe that Shakespeare cannot be recognized either as a great genius, or even as an average author.


Q1) In context of the passage, what does "artistic works recognized by the whole world as those of a genius" (Highlighted) refers to?

A. The poetry that was read and appreciated by the author
B. Those few works of Shakespeare that the author actually liked
C. The translations of Shakespeare‘s popular works
D. The writings of the author of the passage
E. The majority of Shakespeare‘s works



Q2) From the information in the passage, which of the following can most reasonably be inferred about the author of the passage?

A. The author probably knew several languages
B. The author was most likely biased against Shakespeare
C. The author was scared of publicly criticising Shakespeare‘s works
D. The author believed that Shakespeare‘s works were actually evil
E. As the author read more of Shakespeare‘s works, his dislike of the same somewhat diminished



Q3) Each of the following can be inferred about Shakespeare from the passage EXCEPT:

A. There are some people who do not consider him a genius
B. His works are considered the best in the field by a lot of people
C. He is regarded as a great writer by a large number of people around the world
D. He did not limit himself to only one type of writing
E. He wrote in more than one language



Q4) What is the meaning of the word "consternation" (Highlighted) in context of the passage?

A. Unhappiness
B. Sorrow
C. Disappointment
D. Confusion
E. Dejection


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Originally posted by GmatWizard on 12 Nov 2018, 08:20.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 21 Oct 2019, 08:30, edited 2 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (1087).
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Re: I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 00:50

Topic and Scope


The passage states that Shakespeare‘s works have no great merit, unlike popular perception, and concludes that Shakespeare does not deserve to be called a genius.

Passage Map


Para 1 states that the author has read all the popular works of Shakespeare but found them unimpressive which makes him unsure of whether something is wrong with his or people‘s perception of Shakespeare
Para 2 further emphasises this point and the author finally concludes that he is convinced that Shakespeare is not the genius that he is made out to be
Para 3 provides a caveat that people are so firm in their belief of Shakespeare‘s genius that they probably will not pay any attention to the author‘s negative views of him
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Re: I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 00:52
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Official Answers and Explanations

Q1) In context of the passage, what does the line - ‘artistic works recognized by the whole world as those of a genius’ - refer to?
A. The poetry that was read and appreciated by the author
B. Those few works of Shakespeare that the author actually liked
C. The translations of Shakespeare‘s popular works
D. The writings of the author of the passage
E. The majority of Shakespeare’s works
The quoted phrase clearly refers to the works of Shakespeare in general that the author found repulsive. Hence (E) should be the best answer.
A – The lines are clearly referring to Shakespeare‘s works and not to the poetry mentioned in the passage
B – The author states that he did not like any of Shakespeare‘s works
C – This comes later in the passage
D – The passage never mentions the writings of the author of the passage or that the author is actually a writer.

Q2) From the information in the passage, which of the following can most reasonably be inferred about the author of the passage?
A. The author probably knew several languages
B. The author was most likely biased against Shakespeare
C. The author was scared of publicly criticising Shakespeare‘s works
D. The author believed that Shakespeare‘s works were actually evil
E. As the author read more of Shakespeare‘s works, his dislike of the same somewhat diminished
The author states that he has read Shakespeare‘s works in several languages including English, Russian, and German so it can be reasonably inferred that the author knew several languages i.e. (A) should be the correct answer.
B – The passage never implies that the author was biased
C – The author eventually does publicly criticize Shakespeare even though he believes most people will not even read his views
D – Distortion. The author states that it is evil to try to find non-existent merits in Shakespeare‘s works
E – Opposite. As the author read more of Shakespeare‘s works his dislike for Shakespeare actually increased

Q3) Each of the following can be inferred about Shakespeare from the passage EXCEPT:
A. There are some people who do not consider him a genius
B. His works are considered the best in the field by a lot of people
C. He is regarded as a great writer by a large number of people around the world
D. He did not limit himself to only one type of writing
E. He wrote in more than one language
The passage states that Shakespeare‘s works were translated in more than one language.
However, this does not necessarily mean that he wrote in several languages since the
translation could very well have been done by someone else. Hence (E) should be the
correct answer.
A – The author of the passage is one such person
B – Clearly suggested in the first para
C – The author says this several times in the passage
D – This can be implied from the fact that his works included comedies, dramas, historical plays, etc.

Q4) What is the meaning of the word ‗consternation‘ in context of the passage?
A. Unhappiness
B. Sorrow
C. Disappointment
D. Confusion
E. Dejection
In earlier lines in the 1st para, the author states that he was not sure whether the people who consider Shakespeare were wrong in their judgement or whether he was wrong in his. He further goes on to say that this doubt was further aggravated by the fact that he was normally easily able to appreciate the beauty in every type of writing, so he was confused as to why couldn‘t he find the same in Shakespeare‘s works.
(D) follows best from this as the correct answer.
A – The author was unhappy eventually after 50 years when he was convinced that Shakespeare was a mediocre writer. At this point he was merely confused.
B – The author never really feels sorrowful anywhere in the passage
C – Same as A
E – The author never feels dejected or heartbroken anywhere in the passage

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Re: I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2020, 23:06
SajjadAhmad
Could you please provide an explanation.
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Re: I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2020, 09:34
Billionaire123 wrote:
SajjadAhmad
Could you please provide an explanation.


Official Explanation


Q1) In context of the passage, what does "artistic works recognized by the whole world as those of a genius" (Highlighted) refers to?

Difficulty Level: 500

Explanation

The quoted phrase clearly refers to the works of Shakespeare in general that the author found repulsive. Hence (E) should be the best answer.

A – The lines are clearly referring to Shakespeare‘s works and not to the poetry mentioned in the passage

B – The author states that he did not like any of Shakespeare‘s works

C – This comes later in the passage

D – The passage never mentions the writings of the author of the passage or that the author is actually a writer.

Answer: E


Q2) From the information in the passage, which of the following can most reasonably be inferred about the author of the passage?

Difficulty Level: 600

Explanation

The author states that he has read Shakespeare‘s works in several languages including English, Russian, and German so it can be reasonably inferred that the author knew several languages i.e. (A) should be the correct answer.

B – The passage never implies that the author was biased

C – The author eventually does publicly criticize Shakespeare even though he believes most people will not even read his views

D – Distortion. The author states that it is evil to try to find non-existent merits in Shakespeare‘s works

E – Opposite. As the author read more of Shakespeare‘s works his dislike for Shakespeare actually increased

Answer: A


Q3) Each of the following can be inferred about Shakespeare from the passage EXCEPT:

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

The passage states that Shakespeare‘s works were translated in more than one language. However, this does not necessarily mean that he wrote in several languages since the translation could very well have been done by someone else. Hence (E) should be the correct answer.

A – The author of the passage is one such person

B – Clearly suggested in the first para

C – The author says this several times in the passage

D – This can be implied from the fact that his works included comedies, dramas, historical plays, etc.

Answer: E


Q4) What is the meaning of the word "consternation" (Highlighted) in context of the passage?

Difficulty Level: 600

Explanation

In earlier lines in the 1st para, the author states that he was not sure whether the people who consider Shakespeare were wrong in their judgement or whether he was wrong in his. He further goes on to say that this doubt was further aggravated by the fact that he was normally easily able to appreciate the beauty in every type of writing, so he was confused as to why couldn't he find the same in Shakespeare‘s works. (D) follows best from this as the correct answer.

A – The author was unhappy eventually after 50 years when he was convinced that Shakespeare was a mediocre writer. At this point he was merely confused.

B – The author never really feels sorrowful anywhere in the passage

C – Same as A

E – The author never feels dejected or heartbroken anywhere in the passage

Answer: D


Hope it helps
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Re: I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex   [#permalink] 07 Jan 2020, 09:34

I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I ex

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