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ERIC Number: ED326898
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Genius of Shakespeare: A Case History in Content Analysis.
Shakespeare's genius as a creative playwright can be judged both subjectively and objectively. Cognitive psychology uses specific behavioral measures to assess performance. A product is marked by latency, quantity, and quality. When college students engage in tests of originality, these measures support many theories of creativity. A similar analysis applied to the plays of Shakespeare shows little support for any of the models. A closer look at the content of these plays gives some information about other aspects of creativity, such as novelty and relevance. For example, research has yielded some information on Shakespeare's mixing of emotions to enhance impact. Increased word-play relates to some increased popularity in the tragedies and a tendency toward decreased popularity in the comedies. A still more empirical analysis of content has been developed by C. Martindale. A preliminary application of his procedure has suggested some changes in content with time and some changes in popularity with content. For example, in all the plays the use of words that carry "primary process" connotations of sex, aggression, and the darker side of the human psyche decreased with date of publication. On the other hand, secondary process or cognitive material increased as Shakespeare matured. This content does not, however, relate directly to the contemporary popularity of the plays. Still, with these objective measures subjective hypotheses can be tested for a more complete picture of both Shakespeare and genius. (Three figures are included and 35 references are attached.) (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Shakespeare (William)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).