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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: How to . . .
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2009  Tuesday, 16 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Marti Markus <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 17:27:47 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . .

[2]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 13:34:11 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . .

[3]     From:   Nikolay Nikiforov <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 21:27:18 +0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1972 Who is William Shakespeare and how do I start
reading him?

[4]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:56 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . .

[5]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Wed, 17 Nov 1999 07:54:46 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . . and SHK 10.1997 Age of
Awareness


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marti Markus <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 17:27:47 +0100
Subject: 10.1996 Re: How to . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . .

I am so sorry, dear Robert and Alexander!

No, I was not really ironical - and not elitist either - my proposal was
just meant as a very cheap pedagogical trick to make your pupil read
whatever he (or she) wanted to read - without parental guidance -
because: a) what you discover yourself is more interesting, and b) what
is almost "forbidden" is what you are certainly going to read first, or
as soon as possible, and c) what you have to read at school is
boring...  (=that might be ironical after all), and d) if all this
should not have worked, and your pupil still has not read all the plays,
all the better - it is still the best thing to see a play  on the stage
first.

>Is Shakespeare only for the intelligent, grown-up, well-read and
>educated?

Not at all - that was exactly the point I was trying to make. (a, b, c)

>Shakespeare's plays are theatre, live action, entertainment first and
>everything else second.

And that was the other one (d)!

You, Alexander, seem to be the very proof of my "theory". I am quite
sure that you will enjoy Ulysses and that you will have even more fun
with Finnegan's Wake!

Sorry to have upset you so much,
Markus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 13:34:11 -0000
Subject: 10.1996 Re: How to . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . .

Hmmm... I read M. Markus' comment about telling kids to keep their
hands off Shakespeare very  much in the light of that wonderful song
from _The Fantastiks_ where the fathers sing, "Why did the kids put
beans in their ears?  No one can hear with beans in their ears!  After a
while the reason appears: They did it 'cause we said No!"  The song goes
on to enumerate other absurdities, including "My son was once afraid to
swim; the water made him wince; until I said you MUSTN'T swim-been
swimmin' ever since!"

Forbidden fruit is always sweeter... forbid Shakespeare and his
attractiveness (and worthiness of the effort to translate and grok him)
multiplies geometrically.

I tell my kids R&J is the filthiest play Shakespeare ever wrote, but I
won't tell them what lines are filthy; they'll need to winkle them out
on their own.  Boy, do they pay attention when we read aloud!  Same
theory :)

Marilyn Bonomi

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nikolay Nikiforov <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 21:27:18 +0300
Subject: 10.1972 Who is William Shakespeare and how do I start
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1972 Who is William Shakespeare and how do I start
reading him?

>Is there a play by Shakespeare which would be a great starter so to
>assure the pupil will read the whole canon?

Well, are you sure that there is a big use of having read whole canon?
I mean that Shakespeare is a big writer, and what a big writer writes
concerns reader and his real life. Shakespeare can make you think why
and for what do you live and I'm not sure that the answer will be: to
read whole Shakespearean canon. So let's say if someone needs to read
canon, he will, if he doesn't-he will not. 'words, words, words'.

But to speak about the starter for reading: I would recommend
Midsummer's Night  Dream  or  As  You Like It. That's just my own
experience. It's been year or more since I've bought complete
Shakespeare. I've almost never tried to read him in Russian (well, I had
read Hamlet, Lear and Othello when I was 12 or 13, it made quite a big
impression, but not a wish to continue reading him).  It seems to me
that here in Russia nobody really likes Shakespeare. That's why I never
had anyone to talk about him with.  I read Shakespeare just for my own
fun and although it's good in some ways, but still poet has to exist in
spoken language and I think I lose quite a lot, because for me he only
exists in letters-a small letters indeed.

That was Charles Lamb whose Elia's Essays made me wish to know something
about Shakespeare.  If Lamb is so impossible great, what would greatest
Shakespeare look like? I understand that for you it sounds funny, but I
know only pair of people knowing who Charles Lamb is and I'm not sure
they have read him.

The first play I've read was Julius Caesar, the second Tempest. And it
took me quite a lot of time to read them, and it seems to me I've lost a
lot of meaning, just skipping some complicated metaphors. Julius Caesar
seemed to me just a kind of boring historical play written in "high
language".   Impression of Tempest was even worse. Of course it was good
in some places, but most of all I was just 'getting through'
difficulties of language, and 'getting through' is the way of reading
books I hate.  That's why I've read first 2 pages of almost all the
plays and no more.

But then I began Midsummer... and that was a work in which every word
seemed to be on it's right place. First-it made me crazy, second- it
made me understand the way he deals with words. From that time I read
about 3 plays a month and I'm sure I'll never stop reading and
re-reading Shakespeare.  When you know that Shakespeare is the writer
who wrote that magnificent play you'll always know that he can't be
boring-there is always something hidden in his words. And I think that
if I would start with As You Like It, the result would be the same.
These are probably not the best plays, but the have a enormous amount of
"visible power".

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:56 EST
Subject: 10.1996 Re: How to . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . .

Robert Peters can be forgiven for his mistranslation of Marty Markus'
ironic comment (a la Swift's Modest Proposal) that what is verboten will
be desirable; there is a language barrier in the way.  But Alexander
Houck should read-and know-better, especially if he plans on growing up
to be a scholar someday.

(Yes, Robert, Marty was simply suggesting that whatever you tell
children is off limits to them will immediately be desirable -- as all
of us know is true, in any language.)

Best,
Carol Barton

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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 >
Date:           Wed, 17 Nov 1999 07:54:46 +1000
Subject: 10.1996 Re: How to . . . and SHK 10.1997 Age of
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1996 Re: How to . . . and SHK 10.1997 Age of
Awareness

Robert Peters wrote:

>Talking about a Shakespeare for the happy few, I just couldn

 

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