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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: January ::
Re: Beginner and Order
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0122  Friday, 22 January 1999.

[1]     From:   Tiffany Rasovic <
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 >
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jan 1999 08:58:03 -0500
        Subj:   Beginner in Shakes.

[2]     From:   
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  (Kirk
Hendershott-Kraetzer)
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jan 1999 10:27:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0109 Order of plays?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tiffany Rasovic <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Jan 1999 08:58:03 -0500
Subject:        Beginner in Shakes.

 Heather,

1- For literary terms and help with things like prose, poetry, iambic
pentameter, etc., I would get a book called A Glossary of Literary
Terms, by M.H. Abrahms.  It is very helpful and once you understand
iambic pentameter you will know when you are reading verse and when you
are reading prose.  Of course, then you have to decide what it means
when a character uses one or the other...that's the fun part.

2-I would avoid reading critical essays for the time being.  What will
be good is to find editions of the plays in your local bookstore which
have long introductions and lots of good notes.  The editions that you
have in the school bookstore might not be as good as some others.  Here
are the editions I think would be good for "intro" level studies:  the
very best are the Oxford School Shakespeare editions-great format, easy
to read, space for your margin notes, (the "regular" Oxford are good
too, but much more "advanced"-scholarly speaking); and I also like the
Folger Library editions, but they are not easy to write in.

3- Most likely, you are going to be reading a few scenes or acts for
each class, so you should try your best to read the scenes more than
once.  This way, you can read the first time without feeling like you
have to catch it all. Then the second time you will be amazed at what
you see once you have the plot and characters down!  This really
works-remember, most of the people on this list have read play over more
times than we can count, and as for particular scenes and passages-most
of us have probably memorized some of them just by virtue of repetition.

4-Try to approach Shakespeare the way you approach any other literature,
and trust yourself!  There aren't any tricks here-have fun...the more
you read, the better it will get.

Keep us posted,
Yours,
TR

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  (Kirk
Hendershott-Kraetzer)
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jan 1999 10:27:26 -0500
Subject: 10.0109 Order of plays?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0109 Order of plays?

Theresa Ramsayer writes,

>1) If you were advising me, what plays would
>you suggest I read, and in what order;

The list you have seems fine.  I'm sure you'll get as many suggestions
about content and sequence as there are atoms in the air, so I won't add
to the confusion.  Stick at least with the play you've started on.

>2) someone to take me under their
>wing & work with me on whatever play I'm on [which is King Lear at the
>moment]

If you have questions, feel free to address them to me at the email
address below.  I don't have all the answers, God knows, but I'm happy
to try to help.  I assume others will be as well.   At least, I hope
they will be.

Ask around your circle of friends, acquaintances, coworkers, peers.  You
may find that there are others you enjoy or are curious about
Shakespeare.  There may even be readers' or discussion groups in your
community that would enjoy a go at a play you yourself are curious
about.  Usually, all you need to do is suggest it.

>3) everybody's patience when I post simple questions! [No
>question is stupid, if you really want to know].

You'll find that members of the list like to argue; they also like to
tease.  To their credit, I find it difficult to remember times when they
have rubbished a sincere question, no matter how "simple."  They react
more negatively to puffed-up, bellicose or dogmatic positions, as I'm
sure you've seen.  As an example, more than a year ago, in SHK 8.0837,
Professor Hawkes, who can be withering, offered a response to a broad
assertion about the Globe (which he could have savaged) which was both
stern and friendly; had it been to me, it would have encouraged me to
think further, which I'm sure was how it was intended.

So:  ask your questions.  You may take some hits, but you'll more than
likely get well-intended and helpful advice.  Maybe even more than you
want.

k

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