So yesterday I’m looking at one of my books (an old Arden edition of The Tempest), and a thought comes to mind that often prevents me from posting stuff. It goes a little something like this: “If I flip through that and learn something, and I post it, then most of the people who read that are going to say, ‘Yup. Knew that. Now we can discuss our opinions on the relative value of that information and what it might mean to a bigger picture.'” In other words, I tend to think that when *I* learn something, everybody else already knew that thing, and I’m just catching up. I convince myself that if you study Shakespeare at all, then you basically “know” everything there is to know, and spend the rest of your time discussing what it means, if that makes sense.
Hence my question. When’s the last time you actually *learned* a *fact* about Shakespeare or his works? Not new interpretations or angles for looking at a scene. I mean things like, “Until just now I didn’t really realize that Hamlet’s final O groans are in the Folio text. I thought they were in the bad quarto.” (This is a true example.)
Convince me that you all haven’t memorized every spelling and punctuation choice made in every version of every play. When’s the last time you got to do have that moment that I clearly have regularly where you get to learn a new thing?