1995

Re: Teaching Shakespeare (Part 2)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0681. Thursday, 14 September 1995
 
(1)     From:   Joseph M Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 8 Sep1995 11:06:45 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0677  R: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(2)     From:   C.C. Warley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 8 Sep 95 15:35:19 EDT
        Subj:   Shak & Undergrads
 
(3)     From:   Roger D. Gross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 8 Sep 1995 18:00:30 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   condescension by teachers
 
(4)     From:   Kathleen Kendrick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Sep 1995 11:10:56 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0672 Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(5)     From:   Christine Couche <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Sep 1995 14:33:29 +0800 (WST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0677 Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph M Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Sep 1995 11:06:45 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
I haven't taught a Shakespeare class but have been in many and have to report
that if, on the first day, I was treated to a film clip from Star Trek and
required to speculate on a television writer's belief that Shakespeare would be
perfomed by an android, I would want to dig a little, little grave and creep
in.  I would be taking the course hoping that, at least here, I could avoid
Star Trek and its ilk and that, at least here, I could escape from the third
rate.  I would feel patronized and become sullen and walk in dread lest one day
I arrive in class and find that I am required to view "My Own Private Idaho."
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C.C. Warley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Sep 95 15:35:19 EDT
Subject:        Shak & Undergrads
 
I'm surprised to see Robert Applebaum, who has made such eloquent pleas for
Marxist criticism of Shakespeare, make a distinction between a "commodified"
Shakespeare and a "substantial" Shakespeare.  The opposition that seems lurking
in his reply is between a "commodified" teacher and a "substantial" student, as
if the experience of students was somehow more "authentic": as if the
groundlings knew something that everyone trapped in their position "on high"
didn't.  If we (correctly, of course) critique teachers for essentializing
themselves, let's not do it by essentializing students; if we critique older
criticism for essentializing "humanism," let's not do it by essentializing
"subversion."
 
Christopher Warley
Rutgers
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger D. Gross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Sep 1995 18:00:30 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        condescension by teachers
 
Warnings from Fiona Quick, Robert Appelbaum, and John Boni about the dangers of
condescension are well taken.  There is plenty of condescension by teachers out
there.  I've come across   much more of it than I expected.  Most of my
experience of it has come in secondary schools.
 
For five years, Patricia Relph and I have toured our two-actor show,
SHAKESPEARE'S GREATEST HITS to the secondary schools and junior highs of
Arkansas and surrounding states.  It's a fifty minute show of monologues and
dialogues linked by talk about what it is in Shakespeare that moves so many
people to call him the greatest of all English writers.
 
Many Arkansas schools (no, most of them) are some distance off the beaten path
and, we often find ourselves playing to students who have never seen a live
dramatic performance of any kind.  Very few of them have read or heard any
Shakespeare.
 
Typically, the English teacher will come to us just before we begin and, with
our best interests at heart, warn us that, sadly, the students will not
understand us or be interested.  The teacher always promises to try to keep
them quiet; that's the most that can be hoped for.
 
Then we do our turn and, to the amazement of the teachers, the students get it
and they like it.  I don't think we condescend in any way.  We take it for
granted that Shakespeare IS interesting and that a good actor can make it clear
to anyone, despite the "language barrier".  We find the students completely
willing and eager and able to grasp the conventions and connect with the drama.
 
Interestingly, the student favorite is usually a sonnet ("Being your slave,
what should I do but tend/Upon the hours and times of your desire?) I do that
sonnet as one of the sequence which makes up "the four stages of love".  I go
into the audience and deliver it very personally to a female student, which may
account somewhat for its impact.  When the sonnet isn't the favorite, the
nunnery scene from HAMLET usually is.
 
I'm very sad to see so much condescension (in the form of low expectations)
from these teachers but I don't think it is because they are pompous or because
they don't care.  I think they have been beaten down so thoroughly by the awful
conditions in most junior and senior highs that they are simply unable to
believe any longer that wonderful things can be done.  Patricia and I can
return to our more nurturing situations where optimism and high expectations
come easily; then we can once again sortie to the awesomely difficult world of
the lower schools. It's relatively easy for us.  I wish I knew how to revive
these good but overwhelmed teachers.
 
The teachers give us written feedback.  They say that students are eager to
talk about the experience of Shakespeare our show provides.  It never occurs to
them to discuss dramatic technique, of course.  To them, the characters are
people and they want to talk about what those people did, and why, and what
they themselves would do in such situations.
 
In earlier posts, SHAKSPEReans advised us to trust Shakespeare and the
audience.  Oh, yes!  All my experience in the theatre and the schools tells me
that when we commit all our energy to understanding Shakespeare and
communicating him directly and honestly, ALL audiences are open and eager.
 
Roger Gross
U. of Arkansas
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathleen Kendrick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Sep 1995 11:10:56 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 6.0672 Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0672 Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
As an old undergrad taking a second Shakes. Class from Dr. John Boni at NEIU, I
can only say his enthusiam and sparkle re WS sell it all.  Even those hard core
cynics leave his classes exuberant.  He uncovers layer after layer of the
mystique and most of his students are now addicts.
 
On another note, I am doing a research paper on Richard III's villany, the
psychology of it, of which I feel there is plenty.  From his birth throughout
his life multiple misfortunes = evil.  Can any good sources be recommended.
Thanks in advance.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Couche <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Sep 1995 14:33:29 +0800 (WST)
Subject: 6.0677 Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0677 Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
I would like to humbly back up the other SHAKSPERians who have decried the use
of gimmicks to enthuse students about WS. My first exposure to Shakespeare was
in year 9, when we were all sat down to the BBC Romeo and Juliet. Although I
now look somewhat askance at that version from my lofty postrgrad position, at
the time it was incredibly moving - half of us (not just the females) were in
tears for a good half hour afterwards (much to the chagrin of our teacher). I
guess the real thing in performance just can't be beat.
 
Regards,
Chris Couche

Re: Teaching Shakespeare (Part 1)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0680. Thursday, 14 September 1995
 
 
(1)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 08 Sep 1995 11:10:05 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(2)     From:   Piers Lewis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 08 Sep 1995 09:30:59 -0600
        Subj:   teaching Shakespeare
 
(3)     From:   Hilary S Zunin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 08 Sep 1995 10:14:27 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(4)     From:   Robert Dennis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 8 Sep 95 11:49:05 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 08 Sep 1995 11:10:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
Thanks Michael Swanson for pointing out the Disney reference of Thom Ellis--
One thing I'd like to raise about this pedagogy thread is the rather chroric
chiming against Ellis seemed unfair--like an army of "decentered" classroom
typs seemed fit to presume to know what is condescending and what is not-- and
thus  claimed a "superiority" over someone who claims "superiority-- (sounds
like a play within a play to me) I am interested in sharing my classroom
experiences with others and hearing others--but i don't know how helpful a kind
of smug superiority is-- I mean we probably all have our on and off days, and I
am not necessarily proud of myself (but nor ashamed) for some of the things I
said today-- (For instance, one student kept on harping on the authorship
question---and asked why it was important or even in question whether
Shakespeare wrote his plays--- and I said something like "i think a lot of
people have a hard time believing that one man could have done all that and
after all Shakespeare did die pretty young-- in fact he was about the same age
of Jerry Garcia---maybe of exhaustion" Now, OF COURSE, I could be jumped on (a
la Bloom like a rabbit) for claiming that in a paper, etc---but in a classroom
it at least made some students laugh--and though I also undercut the idea of
the "author behind the text" at times---I found that coming up
improvisationally----I think we must allow ourselves the license of the fool
sometimes when teaching Shakespeare---If that's condescending, it's no more
condescending than the plays themselves (which many critics and scholars
historically have had a hard time with the "fool" and "low-comedy" passages
therein....) Chris s.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Piers Lewis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 08 Sep 1995 09:30:59 -0600
Subject:        teaching Shakespeare
 
I read with great interest about the different gambits people use the first day
in teaching Shakespeare to undergraduates but also surprise that not a word has
been said so far about the most serious difficulty our students encounter:
Shakespeare's poetry.  It's like learning a new language they say; worse than
Chinese--a language they know nothing about except that it's exceptionally
tough.  Not only do our students not understand poetry, any poetry--for of
course few of them read poetry of any kind--but they are reading a poetry
written in a form of english that might as well be a different language from
the one they are accustomed to:  journalistic prose and journalistic
prose-fiction.  Where Shakespeare uses metaphor to pack complex meanings into
small syntactical units within the sentence, journalistic prose is diffuse,
spreading simple meanings through several sentences, even entire paragraphs.
Where Shakespeare's distinctions are indirect and subtle, the modern
journalists' are for the most part simple and banal.  How can people who have
had virtually no experience with semantic indirection--metaphorical,
metonymical, ironic--make sense of Shakespeare at first go?  So the most
important thing to do with beginning students, it seems to me, is teach them
how to read, which means teaching them how to understand and disentangle
metaphorical expressions.  Try it. See how many of your students can explain
much less understand the poetry of:
 
But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
 
Piers Lewis
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hilary S Zunin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 08 Sep 1995 10:14:27 EDT
Subject: 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
Many thanks to Robert Appelbaum who brought an eloquent voice to many issues
that had been troublesome to me in recent postings. I teach not undergraduates,
but public high school juniors and seniors in a semester long Shakespeare
elective.  They are bright and excited. They're also a little anxious.  It's
Shakespeare, after all. And while they need some guidance and enthusiasm and
structure from me, they certainly don't need condescension.
 
The key to the course?  Shakespeare wrote scripts, not books.  So often the
standard pedagogical approaches used for novels are applied to plays.  In doing
so, I feel strongly that we short change our students. It is the production
choices of directors, actors, and design staff that flesh out these scripts.
So do our own choices, insights, and "takes" in and out of class.
 
How does this manifest itself in the course?  We read aloud or listen to audio
cassettes; we see multiple versions of scenes on video. Perhaps most
importantly, we engage in a variety of performanced-based activities so that
students not only explore the text (in the privacy of their "closets"), but
also examine sub-text through performance with/for their peers.  We challenge
each other to posit new approaches and rigorously debate their merits, in
discussion and on paper.
 
One need not be trained in drama to get students up and working through
portions of scenes, soliloquies, or readers' theatre.  I certainly am not.
What's needed is appreciation for the genre.  Techniques are well- documented.
The remarkable Ashland, Oregon NEH Summer Institute and the Folger Library's
rich education offerings are both focused on teaching Shakespeare through
performance.  Folger's new *Shakespeare Set Free* three volume series
(Washington Square Press) is devoted to transmitting strategies that easily
apply to university undergraduate programs.
 
Happily, high school teachers are not the only ones interested in employing
these approaches.  But many university instructors seem to equate
performance-based activities with gimmicks and fluff.  It ain't so.  At the end
of each semester the vast majority of students in my classes genuinely seem to
appreciate these works.  Most want to read more and many are hooked for life.
I know.  I regularly run into them at professional and community Shakespeare
productions long after class is over, when no one is giving a grade.  Isn't
that the point?
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Dennis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Sep 95 11:49:05 -0400
Subject: 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0677  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
I would like to thank Michael Swanson for his gentle suggestion that I missed
Tom Ellis' point.  If you read my original response, I think you will see that
I actually mentioned the Eisner/Disney expansion as one of the interpretations,
so I did not miss that much of it.  On the other hand, in case anyone besides
Michael Swanson missed it, my own point is that while one can find always
situations in contemporary life which are analogous to various subplots,
addresses, characters, and situations in the plays of WS, such comparisons are
misleading.  My objection was not in Ellis' finding an analogy, but in trying
to make the value of Shakespeare dependent upon analogy.
 
Regarding that particular analogy/interpretation, I feel the description of
power placed in Ulysses mouth by WS is speaking to the internal personal drive
to power, while the Eisner strategy is based in late 20th century economics and
commercial law.  Unless you personally know Michael Eisner and can assure me
that his personality flaw is identical with that of the power-driven person of
classical literature,  I will continue to assume that Eisner is a very shrewd
analyst of the contemporary legal and financial world, who also has had a
phenomenal run of luck.  I think the power analogy would have been more
relevant if applied to Senator Bob Dole's remarks following the election of
Bill Clinton to the Presidency, or Newt Gingrich's description of how powerful
he is as Speaker of the House.  Michael Eisner has never proclaimed his
personal power, and, in fact, keeps a relatively low profile.  The press it is
that have lionized him.
 
More to the point, we should read/teach Shakespeare to find out what he has to
say about what _we_ know.  The substance of his plays should be real, insofar
as the metaphors are comprehensible to us.  Comparing Shakespearean situations
to Eisner/Disney is relegating Shakespearean drama to as remote a sphere as the
Michael Eisners are to most of the students (would you believe 99.9% ??)
Trying to relate Shakespeare to objects which we read about in the newspapers
(or possible hear on TV/RADIO, but let's assume most of the students also read)
will very shortly toll the bell on his works entirely. Most of what we read in
the papers is biased, frequently incorrect, only partially told, extremely
ephemeral, and usually quite remote from any of our daily lives.  This is not a
good model upon which to teach literature, whether Shakespeare or other author.
 
Shakespeare (_et alia_), on the other hand, is good for the personal daily
experience of every one of us.  But each student has to arrive at this herself
or himself.
 
Let Shakespeare live and breathe on his own.  The analogies are always invalid
because they are not what he was writing about.  IMHO the values to be gained
from Shakespeare come from the metaphors he uses to describe those features we
all find within ourselves and within our own existential situations.  Let the
students find the metaphors within their own lives.  Then the drama will remain
with them throughout their lives, and the dramatist will remain a living
treasure.  Remember Ben Jonson said, "He was Not of an Age but for All Time."
He did not say, "His works are for all time..."  I believe he meant the person
embodied in the ideas, observations, and discoveries.
 
Probably a pretty good title for an introductory course, "Not of an Age"?
 
And to Chris Gordon, as they say in almost every movie since Macauley Culkin
got left in Chicago at Christmas, "YES!"  Sounds like an exciting way to get
started.  I shall add the clip to my collection of HV Agincourt.  Not being a
trekkie in any way, I would never have stumbled upon that one alone.
 
If it is appropriate to thank outstanding high school English teachers or
college Shakespeare professors on this list, then I have some names.  I am not
voicing any objection here; in, fact have enjoyed seeing indviduals name their
favorite teacher.  I simply thought the list might be flooded if we all named
our favorite teachers.  On the other hand it would be an interesting experience
and lots of fun since we might discover a lot of commonality.  What do you
think: a thread of Favorite Teachers of Shakespeare...?
 
Sincerely and reflectively,
Bob D.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Resumption of SHAKSPER

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0678. Thursday, 14 September 1995
 
 
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, September 14, 1995
Subject:        Resumption of SHAKSPER
 
Dear SHAKSPEReans,
 
I've been sick for the past few week.  I have gotten better and will start
sending digests thoughout the day as I catch up.
 
--Hardy

Comment: SHK 6.0679

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0679. Thursday, 14 September 1995
 
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 September 1995
Subject:        Problems at My End
 
SHAKSPEReans:
 
There apprears to be technical problems at my end; please bear me
for a bit longer.
 
--Hardy

Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0677.  Friday, 8 September 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Michael Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Sep 1995 17:06:33 -0600
        Subj:   SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 8 Sep 1995 01:13:42 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(3)     From:   Chris Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Sep 95 19:35:23 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 0672: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(4)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Sep 1995 18:17:00 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
(5)     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 07 Sep 95 21:03 CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Sep 1995 17:06:33 -0600
Subject: Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
On Sept. 6, Tom Ellis wrote:
 
"But then, having emphasized the strangeness of Shakespeare's conceptual
universe, I showed how paradoxically *relevant* Shakespeare could be to the
world of 1995 by emphasizing the climactic lines of Ulysses' oration:
 
"Then everything include itself in power/Power into will, will into
appetite/And Appetite--a universal wolf--so doubly seconded with will and
power/Must make perforce a universal prey/And last eat up itself".
 
Then I just said "Disney."
 
On Sept. 7, Robert Dennis wrote:
 
"I must have misunderstood, but I read that Ellis compares Shakespeare to
current Disney productions or Michael Eisner's pronouncements and plans, or
something like that???  And this is supposed to make WS appeal to young
persons?  What about those who never liked Disney stuff, thought it was
childish or silly?  You have sent the wrong message to every single
student."
 
I think that Robert has really missed the point of Tom's quote of Ulysses. I
think that Tom suggests that Ulysses's description of power fits Disney's
recent power grab nicely.  I don't think Tom was comparing Shakespeare to
Disney or Eisner at all -- simply pointing out Shakespeare's relevance to our
age by showing how his view of power transcends power in 16th-century England
and can relate to 20th-century corporate / entertainment power. Far from
sending a wrong message, it seems to me to be a perfectly appropriate message
-- about both WS and Disney, actually.
 
Incidentally, while Tom's teaching approach might not be for everyone, it
seems, IMHO, that some of his techniques might be used well by others of us
teaching Shakespeare.  I especially like the use of the Fludd map, and the
suggestion that, while Shakespeare might well have believed in the equality of
all men, most poilitical and philosophical systems of the time would have found
this unlikely at best.
 
Michael Swanson
Franklin College of Indiana
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Sep 1995 01:13:42 +0100
Subject: 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
On teaching undergraduates I hear
 
...free associate...make it sexy...demystify...don't scare them...dispel
bardolatory...
 
Are the students in question fulfilling the terms of a court order by attending
these classes, or did they sign up of their own free will? If they aren't
self-motivated and interested, why bother? If they don't want to read the damn
things, what are they in your classroom for?
 
Shakespeare's plays are not, of themselves, good for you. I hear them being
discussed like they are unpleasant medicine which we have to find ways of
administering.
 
Gabriel Egan
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Sep 95 19:35:23 -0500
Subject: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        SHK 0672: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
I've been enjoying everyone's posts on this topic, so thought I might as well
add my two cents. I've traditionally begun the first class with a video clip
from an episode of *Star Trek: The Next Generation* called *The Traitor.* It
begins in near darkness, and at first we hear only voices: the voices of
Court/Bates/Williams from the pre-Agincourt scene of *Henry V.* Next we hear
the disguised Henry, and when he finally comes into the light, we discover that
it's Data playing Henry in a holodeck rehearsal. Shortly thereafter, he's
interrupted by his director, Captain Picard, who utters a line something like:
"Splendid, Data, splendid. There's no better way to understand what it means to
be human than to embrace Shakespeare." That's where I stop the tape, and we
launch into a short discussion of why it is that we're still interested in
Shakespeare in the late twentieth century and why a television writer is
willing to hypothesize that we'll still be interested four centuries hence. I
also try to get everyone to read a line or two during the first class, usually
by selecting a speech from one of the plays we'll be reading and just moving
through the circle of desks with each person reading two lines. I'd like to
tender my thanks to my high school English teacher (sophomore year), Donald
Przybylowski, who really brought Shakespeare to life for me. I'm just trying to
do him (and the other fine teachers I've had since) justice.
 
Chris Gordon
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Sep 1995 18:17:00 -0700
Subject: 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
THIS FROM A FRIEND TEACHING HIGH SCHOOL THEATER:  "Can you remember what small
scene turned you on to Shakespeare when you were just a monster freshman or
sophomore?  That's what I need, those scenes that exited you and will still
excite the kids.  Or, if you could share a web page which speaks particularly
to this interest, I'd appreciate that as well.  But I look forward to your own
memories. I'll report back, and thanks.  Tom Robinson"
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 07 Sep 95 21:03 CDT
Subject: 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0672  Re: Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates
 
I find much of this discussion either pointless or egotistical. You just get
the text in your hand, walk into the classroom, and do it!  I find much of this
discussion a bit like Method Acting.  Method teachers may do such things as
have been described, those of us who are but teachers "for the working day"
just get on with it.  1995 may be quite different from 1985 or 1975, and that,
I think, is a good thing.
 
Throw old WS out there and see what they do with him.-- "they", of course,
being the students.

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