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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Parallel Texts
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1103  Friday, 11 May 2001

From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Thursday, 10 May 2001 09:05:33 -0700
Subject: 12.1053 Re: Parallel Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1053 Re: Parallel Texts

>From: Geralyn Horton

>The King James Bible, Mother Goose, A Child's
>Garden of Verses, Robin Hood and King Arthur, and snippets of
>Shakespeare, were all read aloud at school and church and over the
>radio, and bits were memorized to be recited to the applause of doting
>adults. If you read and hear a word used in its now obsolete meaning 100
>times in varying contexts, you will learn that old meaning just as you
>learn the modern one --- you won't have to look it up in a dictionary.
>Elizabethan English isn't difficult for people who have had some use of
>it.

Poetry was king at the dawn of the print culture because it was the best
way to keep a text in memory. The best poetry, the most alliterative,
the best use of rhyme and meter, the more likely to be remembered. Not
only poets, but philosophers and mathematicians put their works into
verse so they would be REMEMBERED by people who could not read (but who
COULD listen while someone else read or recited).

My love of English literature comes directly from the nursery rhymes my
mother read to me at night before I went to sleep (also the wonderful
poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson). Nursery rhymes are novels condensed
into a handful of lines. Instinctively a child knows they are about
something, which, indeed, they are. Many of them were jingles passed
around as commentaries on the doings of celebrities, kings and queens.
Others are left over from old song lyrics.

Those of you with small children, if you want them to love English
literature, read them nursery rhymes at night before they sleep.

Stephanie Hughes

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