Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Living With Shakespeare (Rest in Peace, Adam Cohen)


I didn’t know much about Adam Cohen before he died this week at age 38, but I wish I had.

Love Shakespeare?  Of course you do, that’s why you hang out here.  So did Adam.  Now imagine somebody tells you that you’ve got a brain tumor, and while maybe they can successfully remove it, the medication afterwards is going to *prevent you from being able to read*.

What does he do?  Freak out?  Maybe a little, sure. But does he give up?  Wallow?  Oh, F no.

The technologies and techniques on which I usually relied were unusable, my standard place in the world lost. Like so many of Shakespeare's characters I had been yanked out of a life in which my place was certain and thrown into a maelstrom, an Arden Wood of the mind and spirit, a Prospero's island where I had no idea who I was or where I belonged.

I love this guy just for that sentence.  I’ve often tried to explain to people, in answer to the “Why read Shakespeare?” question, that “Your life will be better.”  This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about.  Talk about living the Shakespeare life.

It’s unclear whether this unpublished memoir will be published, but if so I think I want to get in line for it.  Wow.


JM said...

Strange, the inter-weaving our lives can have even when we don't know it's happening. My brother was diagnosed with cancer at 38--spinal chord tumor--where?--Univ of VA medical center. He was operated on there. Six months later, after much the same regimen of chemical bombardment, he was dead. Emerson & Thoreau were my heroes before I knew anything much about Shakespeare. We grew up in VA.--don't live there anymore, but I know someone who teaches at UVA. I didn't know Adam Cohen. Wish I had. Somehow, I feel as though I do know him--a little at least. May Flights of Angels sing him to his rest.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cohen was my professor. He was an amazing professor - the best I've had. I'm still at a loss for words. If you think about the best qualities in every professor you've had, he had them. He was a mentor and role model.

I feel saddest for his girls Hailey and Lauren. They are too young to have truly appreciated their Dad. What a terrible loss.....