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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0982  Tuesday, 9 April 2002

[1]     From:   Peter Hyland <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 10:57:48 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0969 Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter

[2]     From:   Alan J. Sanders <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 11:28:51 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0969 Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hyland <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 10:57:48 -0700
Subject: 13.0969 Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0969 Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter

>In objecting to my critique of the Harry Potter film Alan J. Sanders
>brings up a very important point when defining the differences between
>Shakespeare and most of the rest - as well as the darling of the
>chattering class, J K Rowling.  Let me get this straight.  Alan is
>saying that Shakespeare is great literature and Rowling is not - so let
>the kids have the rubbish?  He probably does not, but it is almost
>inferred.  What exactly do we mean by "something to spur the minds of
>the college-aged student or astute citizens of higher learning."  What
>exactly is that? Spur the mind from what to what? Why should children be
>denied the opportunity to have their minds "spurred" in a similar
>fashion?  In short why is Shakespeare better than the rest?

Is the Sam Small who wrote this the same Sam Small who keeps telling us
that schoolchildren are incapable of understanding Shakespeare? Or is he
too a creation of T. Hawkes's imagination?

Peter Hyland

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan J. Sanders <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 11:28:51 -0400
Subject: 13.0969 Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0969 Re: Shakespeare Burned with Harry Potter

In response to Mr. Smalls, I will quote from my previous e-mail first:

"So, if you liken the literature of youth fiction to important classical
works, I think you would naturally be disappointed.  What's troublesome
here are people who can't seem to make a distinction between the two."

I never called the work by J.K. Rowling 'rubbish.'  My exact words were
'literature for youth' v. 'classical works.'  Being a father of 2 I
really want to believe that when my 5 year old comes to see a production
of "Romeo and Juliet" next week (a show I am directing) that she will
understand the significance of the underlying theme of fate and the
concept of 'star-crossed lovers.'  But, then that would be absurd.
Mental stimulation varies from person to person, but it is still on a
continuum.  You cannot fully appreciate complex works until you know how
to digest simpler works.  (Please don't read 'simple' as meaning for
'simpletons.'  There is a difference and I wouldn't want to 'infer'
anything contrary to my argument.)

Literature for youth is exactly like it sounds -- well written works
designed for a specific target audience.  By instilling an interest in
reading, those children are less likely to resist works later in life
that are meant to spur the developing mind to reach for more and more
abstract concepts.  Therein lies the answer to your second question
"Spur the mind from what to what?"

Lastly, I do find it somewhat interesting that an educated person would
be able to decry the works of an author whom they've admitted they have
never actually read.  It's a lot like the kids I meet in High School who
tell me that Shakespeare sucks.  When asked if they ever actually read
him, they admit "No, but he still sucks."

Maybe if they had been given access to a smaller world to start they
wouldn't fear jumping into a bigger one.  But, that's just one thought
from one person.

Alan J. Sanders

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