Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Bard Bade Goodbye
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0560  Friday, 9 March 2001

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Mar 2001 13:26:29 -0600
        Subj:   HK 12.0439 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

[2]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Mar 2001 13:25:24 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

[3]     From:   Marilyn A. Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Mar 2001 17:59:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Mar 2001 17:20:02 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

[5]     From:   Todokoro Hiroyuki <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Fri, 09 Mar 2001 10:40:26 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

[6]     From:   Marti Markus <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 09 Mar 2001 04:38:49 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye / Shakespeare and the
Bible


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 8 Mar 2001 13:26:29 -0600
Subject:        HK 12.0439 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

Well said Mr. Small.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 08 Mar 2001 13:25:24 -0800
Subject: 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > wrote:

> As an ex-teacher, and more recently, experience as
>a drama teacher, I can say that the absence of Shakespeare from schools
>would be a blessing that most young students would thank us heartily
>for.  Poetic metaphor is the language of mature adults with a
>substantial emotional memory.  Shakespeare, like many other marvellous
>artists, was older and far wiser than his years.  Absorbing poetry is an
>act of reflection; of taking a deep breath to look at the world
>differently than yesterday; of rightly positioning ourselves in this
>terrifying universe.  Children, as with most teenagers, have neither the
>emotional ability nor the inclination to do any of this.  They live for
>the material moment; death is impossible; things and people are either
>right or wrong.
>
>But English teachers will forever arm themselves with a Shakespeare
>playbook in the subconscious Puritan desire to immunize their charges
>against soaps, websites, action movies and all other horrible
>configurations of English words.  In their frantic desire to propagate
>their life's desire they swing from plot studies to analogies to
>re-writes to choreography to stage brawling - even painting and
>drawing.  And all the time the poetry - the simple, staggering poetry -
>goes wanting.
>
>We don't need Shakespeare in schools.  He is in and around us
>everywhere.  He changed western thinking.  Through his poetry we found
>ourselves - the poor, be-trodden individual struggling to make sense of
>this wicked world - as all children will one day become.

Haven't we had this thread before?  Am I experiencing deja vu?  Haven't
we had this thread before?

Of course, having discussed something previously never dismays a
SHAKSPERIAN.

However, I assume we will now have the replies agreeing with Sam Small
and any number of replies saying "I read Shakespeare when I was ______
years old and loved it" or "my ______ year old daughter/son loved seeing
a Shakespeare play" etc.  So I don't need to say any of that.

I do worry about the tone here, which seems to place Shakespeare at the
center of the known universe and--may I say this?  is incredibly
condescending to young people.  Many teenagers know that death is very
possible and horribly, that they may risk death by going to school to
study, among other things, Shakespeare.

On a less somber note, I agree with Jack Heller who has eloquently
argued for the value of other Early Modern dramatists.  There's no need
to deify Shakespeare or use his plays as preventative medicine against
supposedly corrupt modern culture.  But it's a good idea to use some of
the money and time poured into public schooling to plunk Shakespeare
down in front of people who may never have a chance to see or read it
otherwise and might enjoy it.  What they do with it later is up to them;
but many people simply don't know that libraries, museums, etc. are even
open to them or what's in there.  If they aren't told, then we're back
to the days that Dickens and Wilkie Collins complained about, in which
no working person can ever go to a public art place, because they're all
closed on Sundays, and in which art becomes the property of an elite by
default.

Probably I have not expressed this adequately, but I have done my best.

Melissa D. Aaron
California Polytechnic State University at Pomona

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn A. Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 8 Mar 2001 17:59:31 -0500
Subject: 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

In response to S. Small's diatribe against English teachers I have only
one thing to say:

As a high school teacher of 35 years' experience, I DEEPLY resent your
insulting description of my motivation for teaching Shakespeare and the
denigrating implications of what it is I do in my classroom.

Until you have sat in my classroom, and in the classrooms of thousands
of my colleagues in the United States and in Canada and in England and
in Australia and in New Zealand and every other nation that is an
English-speaking nation DON'T  YOU DARE CHARACTERIZE OUR TEACHING IN
THIS MANNER!

I'll keep the explanations of how we make the language come alive and
the students come to love Shakespeare for someone not so close-minded.

Hardy, I counted to 10, and to 100, and edited out most of what I really
wanted to say. What's left can't be left unsaid.

Marilyn A. Bonomi
teacher of literature and composition, 35 years; PTSA Teacher of the
Year

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 08 Mar 2001 17:20:02 -0800
Subject: 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0551 Re: Bard Bade Goodbye

Sam Small writes:

>substantial emotional memory.  Shakespeare, like many other marvellous
>artists, was older and far wiser than his years.  Absorbing poetry is an
>act of reflection; of taking a deep breath to look at the world
>differently than yesterday; of rightly positioning ourselves in this
>terrifying universe.  Children, as with most teenagers, have neither the
>emotional ability nor the inclination to do any of this.  They live for
>the material moment; death is impossible; things and people are either
>right or wrong.

On the other hand, lots of people seem to just harden in all their
bigotries as they grow older, and take to complaining full-time about
the government, minority groups, kids these days, or any other available
whipping-post.

To "position oneself in the universe" is, at least to most
existentialists, to act; it might be precisely to "live for the material
moment".

Cheers,
Se

 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.