*’the fold of the artist’ – by way of context…


the fold of the artist.
—artistic inspiration and the artist in Nietzsche and Modernism
Dr. M.D. Bolsover

Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a clear idea of what poets of strong ages have called inspiration? […T]he idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely a medium of overpowering forces. The concept of revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down—that merely describes the facts. One hears, one does not seek; one accepts, one does not ask who gives; like lightning, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form—I never had any choice.
*(Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ in Ecce Homo, 295-307; §3, 300-301.—300).

*indeed. …

PART FIRST – in which (by way of introduction)
the author apologises, falters, begins…


all this will appear fragmentary—disjointed, structureless, abrupt, and arbitrary—for which, I suppose, I owe an apology…

*(—I need to crave the indulgence, and the patience, of any and all of my would-be readers…

—I need to crave your indulgence…).

*—I want to use this as a sort of an experiment. …

about which I am genuinely anxious.
—to present a single work (of sorts) as (in. through.) a series (—ongoing.—indefinite) of posts. …

—to play on the ‘blog’ form…
*—what I want to do is to try to set down a complete account—a complete theory—of artistic inspiration: of what I’ll define as an intensely undergone aesthetic experience, in which a change in the disposition of an observer (—of the eventual artist), coincides with a change in the disposition of the thing observed, revealing (—rendering sensible/knowable/apparent) a *quality—in the thing,—in the observer, which had always been (implicitly) present, and yet which had remained hidden, veiled, or somehow repressed, up until the moment of its revelation.

…in essence,—the experience of an *ironic inversion, in which a shape of consciousness—the thing as-had-taken it to be (—the ‘self’ as-had-taken it to be)—is undone and is revealed to be the very opposite of that which it had been taken to be; this revelation then going on to form the foundation for a new shape of consciousness, liberated from the former self-misapprehension.

—and this revelation, undoing, inversion and reformation are what inspires, and what are captured in, the work of art. …

and it is this process—in its entirety—that I’ll seek to define in what follows as—
*the fold in the self-creation of the artist. …

*before I begin with all of that, though, I want to (try to) explain myself, at least a little…

*(and this means, at times, I’m aware, that I’ll be obliged to take myself too seriously, and that my writing will remain, despite any of what might be my best intentions, I fear, far too self-indulgent.—precious and purple…).

this will have been, in part, an autobiography (—of sorts). …

and I want to lay out the context of all of this:… —all of the (pertinent) details, as it seems to me,—as coldly, cleanly and precisely as I can.—and why it constitutes, for me, precisely an experiment…

*—I will focus on a comparison of the accounts of artistic inspiration in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and some of the most famous and influential, self-styled, neo-classical Modernist writers and critics,—in particular, James Joyce, T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound.



—in essence, because (in the more distilled form of a comparison of Nietzsche and Joyce) this formed the focus of my doctoral thesis, which I completed at the University of Edinburgh,—a couple of years ago now…

—in part, I’m simply too lazy and far too anxious to start, from scratch (as is said.—for want), with an entirely new work. but, mostly, I feel, I’m just not really finished with all of this quite yet…

and so, (and hell,—why not?)… —I‘m going to use the mass of that thesis material here, in what will be a substantially re-arranged and (heavily) edited form, with some restored excised material, some further explicatory and exploratory notes and asides, and what I hope will represent a further and deeper development of my thesis, couched in language that actual human beings and readers (it is fervently hoped) might actually stand a chance of being able to follow…

*to begin,—by way of some sort of an introduction—it seems important (—vital?) to me to try to offer an explanation as to why. … —as to what I was originally attempting in my thesis (both personally and intellectually) and of all that led up to it.

and why it failed. …

and why it is that now I want, or feel drawn, to take advantage of the… (what?)—the space and/or the opportunity that this forum provides to conduct this experiment…

most of all, I want to write, I think, to the person who was always at the centre of all this,—of everything to(-for) me, and for whom it was intended. (—for you…).

*(I remember reading Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to writer’s, in his author’s ‘Introduction’ to the collection of his early fiction, Bagombo Snuffbox, to always write for one person.

Vonnegutt always wrote to his sister…

—my ‘ideal reader’ (?), I suppose, is always partly me, but mostly you, I think…

—I write to be recognised and to be understood (and pardoned)—by you…).

…—to redeem (—to retrieve) all of my failed (disappointed,—frustrated) ambition.—to turn all of this… material (? for want) to account, and to make it, now, here, accomplish (in some as yet undefined, unqualified, measure) all that I still seem to feel I need to accomplish. (still feel that dull, persistent aching in the chest for…).

The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 5: Titus Andronicus

*the (Roughly) chronological #Shakespeare read-through, wk. 5—the disturbing oddity that is Titus Andronicus. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  Some time between 1588 and 1593.

First read: 2007? Though I wonder whether I skipped this one, because it was mostly unfamiliar.


Productions seen: None at all. But I know the RSC are broadcasting this season’s production in August, so that will probably change shortly.


Productions worked on: As above.


Edition I’m using: Dover Thrift. Loving this cover.

Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?




  • Reading this while working on a script in which Franck’s Panis Angelicus is mentioned leads to some odd mental mashups.
  • Well, I can see why this play was so popular in the craziness that was the 17th century. Blood and guts flying everywhere, more revenge than you can shake a stick at. The level of violence feels like it ought to be cathartic, a purgative theatrical experience… but actually it felt kind of pornographic instead. I can see why it provoked a considerable amount…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 4: Henry VI, Part 3

*week 4 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of #Shakespeare’s plays: Henry VI, Part 3. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  1591-ish.

First read: 2005-ish.


Productions seen: No full productions, just scenes at drama school.


Productions worked on: As above.


Edition I’m using: Signet Classics. Same book, different week.

Cheating by having one book for all three plays. Don't tell anyone. 



  • I will not get over-excited and make this all about Richard III. I will not get over-excited and make this all about Richard III. I will not get over-excited and make this all about Richard III.
  • Earlier on today I was replying to comments on the last post and something that Bee Dice said prompted me to start thinking about where this play comes not only in the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays, but also of Elizabeth I’s reign. By the time this play was written Elizabeth was well into her 50s and it would have been very clear that she wasn’t going to produce an heir. She also hadn’t named one, nor would she. The…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 3: Henry VI (Part 2)

*to part/no. 3 of the Roughly Chronological read-through of the ‘complete’ #Shakespeare plays… —Henry VI (Part II). …

The Scenic Route

Date: Probably 1591.

First read: 2005-ish.


Productions seen: No full productions, just scenes at drama school.


Productions worked on: As above.


Edition I’m using: Signet Classics. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Signet before.

Cheating by having one book for all three plays. Don't tell anyone.




  • There are people who believe that this is Shakespeare’s very first play. While it’s clearly an early work, I find it hard to believe that it could be the first. The language and characterisation are much better developed than Comedy of Errors or Two Gents.
  • It was suggested to me when I started this project that the Henry VIs should be read in story order, but in light of the argument mentioned above I preferred to go 2-3-1. I’ve tried to put Part 1 out of my mind for the purposes of the Re-read.
  • Back when I first started reading Shakespeare I assumed that as I grew more…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 2: The Comedy of Errors

*Wk. 2 of The (Roughly) Chronological #Shakespeare read-through 2017: The Comedy of Errors…

The Scenic Route

Date: Around 1594.


First read: In 2007. I don’t think I ever re-read it.


Productions seen: One at the Edinburgh Fringe, some time around 2003/4 (I think). I’m fairly sure it was a student production.


Productions worked on: None.


Edition I’m using: An elderly Arden.





Couplets. COUPLETS. Good god, Shakespeare, what are you doing to me? Why must everything rhyme? (All right, not everything. Not quite. Just most of the first three acts.) Why do you hate me, Shakespeare?

I’m not inherently anti-couplet. Used sparingly and judiciously they can be effective. Great at the end of sonnets, for instance. Useful for comic purposes, in their right place. But there’s such a thing as excess, and I think we hit that point about three pages into The Comedy of Errors.

I remember not being mad keen on this play when I first saw…

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Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 1: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

*Jen McGregor’s thoughts-reponses on play no. I: The Two Gentlemen of Verona. …

The Scenic Route

Date: Between 1589 and 1592.


First read: In 200…5, I think? At some point in my early 20s I read my Arden Complete Works cover to cover. Then I re-read it in 2011 when I worked on a couple of scenes from it at Mountview.


Productions seen: None – just that couple of scenes at drama school.


Productions worked on: As above.


Edition I’m using: Good old Dover Thrift.

She's just not that into you, Pro




  • I read the play aloud with Mark and Flavia. We noticed that the locations weren’t consistent across the editions – sometimes one of us had Milano and another Verona, sometimes one had Mantua and another Padua. I wish we’d actually noted the differences, but we didn’t… What I can tell you is that I was using the Dover Thrift pictured above, Mark had the Arden Complete Works and Flavia was using the text from…

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The Roughly Chronological Reread: The Chronology

*part I of new project… —the (roughly chronological) order in which Shakespeare’s plays will be read…

The Scenic Route

As I launch into my first big personal project for 2017, the Roughly Chronological Re-read, I’d like to acknowledge the amount of guesswork that’s going into this. There is no clear chronology for Shakespeare’s plays. I don’t claim to have discovered one. What I have done is read a lot of other people’s suggestions and drawn up a reading order. I don’t claim that my decisions are anything other than arbitrary. You’re welcome to argue the toss with me. I’ll probably argue it with myself as I go.

So here’s the order I’m planning to use:

Week 1: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Week 2: The Comedy of Errors

Week 3: Henry VI Part II

Week 4: Henry VI Part III

Week 5: Titus Andronicus

Week 6: Richard III

Week 7: The Taming of the Shrew

Week 8: Henry VI Part 1

Week 9: Love’s Labours Lost

Week 10: Romeo & Juliet

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A Project for 2017

*interesting project for 2017… —a (roughly) chronological read-through of Shakespeare’s plays. …

The Scenic Route

Hello again, internet. 2016 wasn’t one of my more talkative years online, and much of my blogging was devoted to the mental health side of things. While I plan to continue that, I want to get back into writing a bit more about the arts.

Ermagherd Sherksper Gotta catch ’em all!

One of my projects for 2017 will be a complete chronological re-read of all of Shakespeare’s plays. While I’ve read them all at some point or other, there are several that I haven’t revisited for over ten years and the order of reading was quite haphazard. I’m interested to see whether there are any insights to be gained from a chronological read. So here’s the plan:

  • I’ll be using a rough chronology based on the RSC’s timeline. Want to talk about disputed chronology? Be my guest!
  • Each week I’ll read one play and post whatever thoughts I have about it.
  • By…

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