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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: Teaching *Ant.*; Discussion Groups
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0475.  Monday, 30 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Saturday, 28 May 94 23:08:00 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0468  Teaching *Ant.*
 
(2)     From:   J F Knight <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 May 1994 06:08:44
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0463 Re: The Nature of Discussion Groups
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Saturday, 28 May 94 23:08:00 EDT
Subject: 5.0468  Teaching *Ant.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0468  Teaching *Ant.*
 
 
The question of how one might teach a particular play, in this case A&C,
seems too often to be divorced from what one is attempting to do with the
course in which it's being taught.  I realize that most people on this list
teach Shakespeare's plays in courses called "Shakespeare" or variations on
that theme.  I, however, have never taught a "Shakespeare" course and
probably never will: I have, though, taught several of the plays in courses
called Introduction to Theatre, Neo-Classical Theatre, and History of Western
Theatre.
 
Were I teaching A&C in a "Shakespeare" course, I'd probably adopt a strategy
not unlike the one Karla Walters articulates.  But in a theatre history
course, the play is far more interesting in juxtaposition to 1) contemporary
continental theatre (and theory) and 2) subsequent English theatre (e.g. _All
for Love_).  No other play of the period (unless we want to go all the way
back to _Cambyses_, the subject of my current work) trods more unheedingly on
the neo-classical concepts of the unities, decorum, purity of form, etc.  As
such, it becomes a very valuable tool for assessing the English attitude
toward neo-classical ideals and the developing conception of tragedy.
 
In an intro to theatre course, I'd center on contrasting Egypt and Rome, but
would talk more about how to make those distinctions palpable without being
bludgeoning in terms of sets, costumes, and lighting.  And so it goes.
 
This probably doesn't advance the discussion very much, but it is perhaps a
gentle reminder that Shakespeare wrote plays for the stage, not simply
literature.  Yeats's plays are wonderful until you have to stage them;
Boucicault's are great fun unless you try to read them; Shakespeare's offer
great joys both on stage and in the library -- that's what sets him apart
from all but the greatest of his fellow dramatists.
 
Not (I hope) *too* crabbily yours,
 
Rick Jones

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J F Knight <
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Date:           Monday, 30 May 1994 06:08:44 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 5.0463 Re: The Nature of Discussion Groups
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0463 Re: The Nature of Discussion Groups
 
To return to a previous comment - yes, the whole of the last five years
of Shaksper is retrievable, but (absurdly for electronic information) it
is not searchable.  I've gopher'd across to the archive site - that's
easy - but the gopher and veronica only search on the titles of the
files, and the titles of our files refer to date not to content.  I've
looked at the ListServ database command manual, but its author had been
reading too much Derrida and was way into hermeneutics (at least I assume
that was what the problem was).  So if I want to retrieve all references
to King John in discussions within this group over the last five years,
guys, what do I do?
 
John Knight
 
[NB: A noble SHAKSPERean has volunteered to research the Database Function.
I hope in a week or two to have a set of instructions as to how to do the
searches John Knight requests.  "So much to do; so little time." --HMC]
 

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