Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 79. Monday, 11 Mar 1991.
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1991 20:14:40 -0500
From: Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Subject: 2.0057 Etext of Cornmarket *Comedy of Errors*
Comment: Re: SHK 2.0057 Etext of Cornmarket *Comedy of Errors*
This is a delayed response to the Cornmarket appearance CE in Etext:
Every once in a while I have students who prefer not to buy their own
texts show up in class with one of the Cornmarket facsimiles. Wow!
Talk about learning differences. But as with any variant reading or
misreading, the alternatives offer opportunities to understand text,
transmission, interpretation, and theatrical "relativity of values."
Do you know the technique of "comparative videotapes" that Mike Mullin
uses? He'll take a two minute chunk of one KING LEAR tape, f'rinstance,
show it, ask students to write everything they "notice." Then they all
read out their list. Then he shows the same passage again, and he asks
what they see this time through, re-viewing and sensitized by
classmates' observations. THEN he jumps (pops into the vcr) to the
next equivalent passage from a different videoparoduction. And he
repeats the viewing and reviewing.
The only real technical demand on the teacher is to find juicy
equivalent moments. Now to you and the Cornmarket facsimiles. Find a
variant that tickles you; then reproduce the 18th-century text and
alternative Quarto, folio, and modern versions of the equivalent
passage. Hand them out one by one. Try staging or straight discussing
or maybe do prosodic analysis or cultural materialism or whatever's
your pleasure. But do it several times and do it on several texts.
Now, this isn't a way to run a whole course, but it does introduce
students to the delights and terrors of textual relativity. (Come to
think of it, last Tuesday I did the same kind of thing with the opening
speeches of each of the plays we've studied thus far this term. But I
did it as a professorial display of ingenuity rather than as an
exercise for the class. Damn, I keep forgetting that the big flaw in
lecturing and in Socratic questioning is that the lecturer or Socrates
is the one who experiences real learning. The note taker and the
responder-to-questions stays passive. Hmmm. So that's my agenda for
next week . . . . Thanks for offering that ETEXT.