More on Magid

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun May 11 06:28:37 EDT 2003


Kate wrote informatively:

>*snip*

[more snip, of anecdotage]

>I remember Isaac Asimov telling this anecdote in one of his numerous
>introductions
>to either one of his stories or someone else's.  Jon references that
>Shakespeare
>story that Asimov wrote.  It's called "The Immortal Bard" and can be
>found in
>_Earth is Room Enough_ and _The Complete Stories, Vol. 1_.  It's
>probable that
>he recounts the anecdote in the introduction to this story.  I think
>the quote is:
>"Just because you wrote a story, why does that make you think you know
>anything
>about it?"

Bless you, Kate.  It's been so long since I read these that I had it as
a verbal rather than a written anecdote.  Or it is possible that I was
actually told it by someone else who also forgot where it came from.
It's good to be told a reliable source.

The idea that Shakespeare might not understand what Shakespeare meant in
the plays reputed to have been written by someone of that name (perish
forbid that any flame war about who actually wrote them should get
started, but my favourite theory so far is that it was not Shakespeare
but *another man of the same name*) was I think first put forward in
a short poem about having had a dream in which Shakespeare had to sit
some exams on Shakespeare's plays: it ends
"Which Shakespeare failed, rather badly,
Because he hadn't studied Bradley",

I hesitate to suggest that this is relevant to the short story, unless
Asimov himself has written that it was (in an introduction I haven't
read, or haven't read recently enough to remember it, possibly).  :-)

>I'll also note that it appears that Isaac Asimov was touchy about
>people pronouncing
>and spelling his name correctly.

As far as I am concerned he, and Heinlein, and Tolkien, were entitled
absolutely to say how their names should be spelt and said, and it's
not a matter that is open to 'interpretation' by anyone else.  This
is one of the very few cases in language where I will say "that is
wrong" if someone mis-spells or pronounces, rather than saying 'I have
always heard that as X' or 'I think that word is...'

Minnow


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