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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Family Shakespeare Redux
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0226  Wednesday, 28 January 2004

From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Jan 2004 10:50:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 15.0209 Family Shakespeare Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0209 Family Shakespeare Redux

Don Bloom's parodies the fears the Christian right have of intellectuals
as including "church-goers [who] don't deserve the title of
'Christian.'" I suppose that from the point of view of the
fundamentalists, I would fit that description. Sort of on a lark, I once
took a "Christian worldview" test, and my score was -43, socialist.

This problem of the republication of Bowdler's Hamlet interests me
because I teach at a midwestern Christian college, and coincidentally,
this is my first semester teaching a full-fledged Shakespeare course.
The suspicions that Bloom and Pressler have about the publisher of the
Bowdlerized Hamlet are bourn out by a Google search showing the
publisher has also released "George W. Bush on God and Country." It
looks like the Hamlet is going to be marketed for use by home-schooling
families.

Most of my students have been raised in families embracing the
religious/political agenda of the Christian right. Many have been home
schooled. Some are true believers in the political agenda, but I find
many feel cheated by the limited/limiting rhetoric of their own faith
backgrounds. This doesn't mean they give up having a Christian faith,
but that they come to see a consistency between their faith and
participation in Amnesty International, their faith and gun control,
their faith and respect for sexual difference. From my observation, the
efforts at Bowdlerizing life itself is failing on the upcoming
generation of those raised in "Christian" homes. They won't be embracing
a safe Hamlet.

Jack Heller

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