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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0599  Thursday, 4 March 2004

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Mar 2004 19:25:21 -0000
        Subj:   SHK 15.0592 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Mar 2004 14:35:36 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0592 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Mar 2004 19:25:21 -0000
Subject: Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer
Comment:        SHK 15.0592 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer

"I am shocked, shocked to see your opinions on the inabilities of 16 or
17 yr olds to read Shakespeare other than in easily-digestible chunks!"
laments John Knapp.

I, for one, never questioned the ability of most 16 or 17 yr olds to
read entire Shakespeare plays, or even the entire Shakespeare corpus,
should they fee inclined to do so.

I simply wished to defend the logic of offering Shakespeare to them in
time- and resource-efficient chunks, backed up with relevant context and
staged/filmed performance. There's nothing to stop those with a penchant
for 17thC drama from reading the entire First Folio, but there are many
others who would like to spend their time on a football field, or
training their telescopes on the stars, or tending their collection of
tropical fish, or poring over their Atlas of the World, or reading about
the Black Death, or playing drums in a scholl rock band, etc., etc., etc.

We must not simply assume that reading Shakespeare offers to everyone or
anyone some kind of mysterious key into a transcendent knowledge,
understanding, humanity, happiness, sophistication, or whatever. It
strikes me as vaguely comical that there are those out there who seem to
believe that it does. However, it would scare me to death if our
educational system started to operate according to the same premise.

m

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 03 Mar 2004 14:35:36 -0500
Subject: 15.0592 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0592 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer

John Knapp says that he is "shocked" that I and other would express

 >opinions on the inabilities of 16 or
 >17 yr olds to read Shakespeare other than in easily-digestible chunks!
 >These are the very same 17 yr olds who can out-program any of us, some
 >of whom make games of trying to outwit Microsoft.  Yet, if I read your
 >opinions correctly, the poor dears can't be expected to read for basic
 >understanding some of the world's best theater.

I, at least, said nothing of the sort.  What I said was that it might be
preferable to use scarce pedagogical time to give the poor dears a broad
rather than deep exposure.  It would seem that 17 year olds have no
monopoly on poor reading comprehension.

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