Share this page

Experiential Writing and Shakespeare

With Jay Halio

Do you agree with Mark Twain that you have to experience something in order to write about it?


Halio: Twain may be right, but only up to a point. Surprisingly, he obviously fails to account for the autonomy of the imagination. How did Swift experience Gulliver’s travels to Lilliput, for example, or the voyage to the Hounyhms, but through the imagination, the most powerful attribute of the human intellect? Consider also Shakespeare’s contemporaries: Edmund Spenser and The Faerie Queen, Marlowe’s Faustus and Tamburlaine. How else could they have been experienced but through the imagination? Shakespeare’s imagination carried him everywhere, through time as well as place, and has never been surpassed.

Jay Halio

Jay Halio

Jay Halio has published widely on Shakespeare and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware.

Discover Shakespeare's family homes

Find out more

Learn about the man from Stratford

William Shakespeare
Where Shakespeare's story started Relive Shakespeare's love story Walk in Shakespeare's footsteps