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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: September ::
Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0667.  Tuesday, 5 September 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Sep 1995 14:30:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0663  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(2)     From:   Bob Roth <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Sep 1995 15:57:07 -0400
        Subj:   Shakespeare for Generation X Students
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 4 Sep 1995 14:30:21 -0400
Subject: 6.0663  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0663  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
I think that  the purpose of the first class is like a first rehearsal, a way
to get to the second on e.  After the opening administrivia and a get aquainted
exercise that gets them to supply a little personal information [in pairs, each
one is introduced by her neighbour] I start the first class with a story. The
narrative is that my husband and I have just returned from a weekend at the
cottage and are eating in a local restaurant. I take them through the
countryside - from horse back to gibbets, to the resturant as in " fish yes
chips no [potatoes not known], music perhaps " etc then sometimes into our
house and always to our professions as university teachers. The point there is
that I could not teach or attend Oxford or Cambridge being a woman and neither
could Jack as a Jew. Takes about 20 minutes. It introduces them to me and to
the context of what we are studying as a place/time strange to us yet
accessible in some ways. Then we start a little bit on more formal things like
education, social structures etc - and onto the theatre. This year that part
will be enriched by materials and photographs from a visit to Globe a-building
on the Thames.
 
This year will be my thirtieth to heaven teaching Shakespeare and as Bloom said
it's still food for the spirit. Even  in the middle of the chaos of first week
of classes - Aren't we lucky?
 
Mary Jane Miller
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Roth <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 4 Sep 1995 15:57:07 -0400
Subject:        Shakespeare for Generation X Students
 
I tell my students that Bill Shakespeare has just been waiting for them to come
along.
 
For those who fancy themselves as existential thinkers I offer them Hamlet and
King Lear. I inform them that Shakespeare wrote about sex, love, sex, death,
sex, torture, sex and more sex.  By now they are starting to pay attention. I
assign them various scenes from Macbeth, Lear and Hamlet to read in front of
the class. Some students get into costume, bring Elizabethan foods to class and
do entire stage productions. Bottom line- it WORKS!
 
Bob Roth
English Department
Los Angeles Valley College
 

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