Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 70. Wednesday, 3 Oct 1990.
Date: 02 Oct 90 23:51:03 EST
From: James O'Donnell    <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Collected Works of Shakespeare
Comment: SHK 1.0068  Collected Works of Shakespeare
Some of the issues raised in the one v. many discussion have wide academic
application. I would just call attention to the fact that there is an implicit
power principle at work. As teachers, we have the right to teach Shakespeare;
but not only that, we have implicitly the additional and remarkable power to
specify which of various economic choices our students will make in the
pursuit of the study of Shakespeare. If we say Riverside, it is understood
that our students will jump and buy Riverside. Are there really no students
resourceful enough and clever enough to rummage up paperback editions (or even
library copies?) of individual plays, and then to supply themselves with some
cheap and serviceable complete edition (perhaps one brought from home, perhaps
one picked up at a second-hand store, or something cheap and new like a
reprint of the old Oxford Standard Authors edition)? Would any student buy the
Oxford Complete Works instead of Riverside? And how would we as teachers
react? Curious that in our libertarian times, we not only insist on the canon,
but we even insist on the outward form of the canon. (And implicitly, insist
on determining to whom the royalties from the students' purchases will go.) Is
*that* necessary? Desirable?

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