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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Banned Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0299  Tuesday, 3 February 2004

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Feb 2004 14:08:40 -0000
        Subj:   SHK 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Philip Eagle <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Feb 2004 13:05:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare

[3]     From:   David Schalkwyk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2004 11:34:06 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Feb 2004 14:08:40 -0000
Subject: Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        SHK 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare

"I recall a controversy a few years ago when school authorities in
the London borough of Islington attempted to ban _Romeo and Juliet_
from the curriculum on the grounds of 'heterosexism'.  Members in
the UK may have a clearer memory than I of the details."

The borough had nothing to do with it - the decision, and its
justification, was an individual teacher's. She objected to taking
her class of seven (?) year-olds to a performance of Prokofiev's
ballet (rather than Shakespeare's play).

The then Prime Minister, John Major, denounced this as "political
correctness" in the Commons. I thought it was just common sense.

Will anyone counter the soppy liberal bias that has so far informed
contributions to this strand?

m

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Eagle <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Feb 2004 13:05:13 -0500
Subject: 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare

This considerably exaggerates the significance of the event.  What
actually occurred was that the headteacher (principal for US
readers) of a single school rejected an offer of free or cheap
tickets to a production of the Prokofiev R&J ballet on the grounds
that is would not be of interest to her working class pupils and was
excessively heterosexual.  She was then violently attacked by the
right wing press as an example of the evils of Political Correctness.

Wasn't there a production of "Coriolanus" in Paris in the 1930s
which was deliberately put on as a conservative attack on the then
Popular Front government and shut down on public order grounds?

Phil

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Schalkwyk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Feb 2004 11:34:06 +0200
Subject: 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0285 Banned Shakespeare

I have heard this story only anecdotally, and haven't checked it.
It appears that after seeing Olivier's film of Othello in England,
Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, one of the major architects of apartheid,
insisted that the film should not be seen by South Africans.  I've
always wondered whether he was responding to a particular
interpretation of the whole play, or simply could not bear to see
miscegenation depicted on the screen.  Verwoerd was a Professor of
Sociology before he entered politics (if I recall correctly) and was
born in the Netherlands (for what that's worth).

David Schalkwyk

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