I think that Johnson was a far more English writer than Shakespeare. Because if there’s one thing typical of Englishmen, it’s their habit of understatement. Well, in the case of Shakespeare, there are no understatements. On the contrary, he is piling on the agonies, as I think the American said. I think Johnson, who wrote a Latin kind of English, and Wordsworth, who wrote more Saxon words, and there is a third writer whose name I can’t recall—well—let’s say Johnson, Wordsworth, and Kipling also, I think they’re far more typically English than Shakespeare. I don’t know why, but I always feel something Italian, something Jewish about Shakespeare, and perhaps Englishmen admire him because of that, because it’s so unlike them.
From an interview. Here.