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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: December ::
Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 906.  Tuesday, 7 December 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Balz Engler <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Dec 1993 16:19:00 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 4.0901 Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 6 December 93, 10:53:56 EST
        Subj:   Reformatting Shakespeare
 
(3)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Monday, 06 Dec 1993 21:28:54 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0901  Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
 
(4)     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Tuesday, Dec. 7, 1993
        Subj:   Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Balz Engler <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Dec 1993 16:19:00 +0100
Subject: Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
Comment:        SHK 4.0901 Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
 
I see the basic problem in reading and teaching Shakespeare in the following:
The text acquires an importance as the source of everything else that it does
not have in the theatre. Because Shakespeare's text has become difficult to
understand it gains even more weight in students' first encoiunter with
Shakespeare than it would otherwise. I have tried to counteract this tendency
by first asking students to invent a scene (in groups of two or three), which
is about a thematic similar to what we find in a Shakespearean one (e.g., a
young fellow rejecting his friend without really being able to tell her why).
Ideally students are not aware of a similar scene in Shakespeare. We then look
at the results and discuss them. Some would be in mime, others would have fully
developed dialogue, etc. Only then I would introduce the Shakespearean scene
(e.g., the one from *Hamlet*), and the words of the figures would have quite a
different status from simple reading. Because of the varieties tried out
students would also be open for different interpretations of Shakespeare's
lines. This has worked quite well in the past, and I have made it a regular
feature of the early meetings of a Shakespeare course.
 
Balz Engler
Basel University
Switzerland

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 6 December 93, 10:53:56 EST
Subject:        Reformatting Shakespeare
 
I like paraphrasing as a pedagogical device, and I don't mind
translations of Homer or Dante or Ariosto printed as prose, but using an
edition that reformatted lines of poetry as prose seems to me misleading
to the students.
 
Don't even undergraduates need to know that Shakespeare was a master
of blank verse, among other poetic forms?  Would it be better to have
the sonnets printed as prose?  I think I would rather teach students how
to count and pronounce the verse, showing them how Shakespeare used
enjambment and end-stopped lines and elision, than I would have students
be subjected to a watered-down version.  If necessary, a teacher might
print, say, a Bob Dylan lyric next to lines of Shakespeare, to show how
both are subscribing to the demands of musical structure and regular
rhythm, but to print Shakespeare's poetry as prose would do it a
disservice.
 
Roy Flannagan, Ohio University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Dec 1993 21:28:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0901  Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0901  Re: Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
 
Thanks to all of you who gave me hints about teaching my students how to read
Shakespeare's sentences. I have downloaded your words of wisdom, and I have
begun my fight against Early Modern illiteracy. My first strategy is breaking
down blank verse into heavily punctuated prose.
 
Thanks again, Bill Godshalk
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Tuesday, Dec. 7, 1993
Subject:        Reading, Teaching, and Seeing Shakespeare
 
One of my early lectures is on John Barton's *Playing Shakespeare*.  I give
my students a fairly comprehensive summary of the book and encourage them to
read as an actor preparing for a role would read, looking for directions within
the text itself.  I also require a critical play review of a local production,
video, or film every semester.
 

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