Introducing Shakespeare: A Graphic Guide - Nick Groom, Piero 2013
A Gothic and Sublime Genius
He was Gothic and sublime. Joseph Addison (1672-1719) in Spectator 419 declared …
Among the English, Shakespear has incomparably excelled all others. That noble Extravagance of Fancy which he had in so great Perfection, thoroughly qualified him to touch this weak superstitious Part of his Reader’s Imagination; and made him capable of succeeding, where he had nothing to support him besides the Strength of his own Genius.
THE WORD “GENIUS” EFFECTIVELY BEGAN TO MEAN SHAKESPEAREAN - AND ENGLISH … RICH AND FERTILE AND FREE - BUT NOT SO FOR MR RYMER! IN THE NEIGHING OF AN HORSE, OR IN THE GROWLING OF A MASTIFF, THERE IS A MEANING, THERE IS AS LIVELY EXPRESSION, AND, MAY I SAY, MORE HUMANITY, THAN MANY TIMES IN THE TRAGICAL FLIGHTS OF SHAKESPEAR.
Thomas Rymer (1641-1713), the first professional English critic, attacked Shakespeare for his linguistic copiousness and abundance.