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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0655  Thursday, 11 March 2004

From:           W Lin <
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Date:           10 Mar 2004 15:53:26 +0000
Subject: 15.0628 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0628 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer

I think whether teaching chunks or selected whole plays, what is being
taught is still just an extract from Shakespeare's complete works.
Anyway, I believe most Shakespeare teachers teach both a/a couple of
complete play(s) with several passages from other plays. It seems to me
what a Shakespeare teacher can do in class is limited, compared to what
he/she wishes to. As long as the teacher makes it lucid to students that
the set texts in class is not all that there is, and as long as students
are aroused the desire to read more or willingness to learn more about
Shakespeare, I guess the classroom hours are not spent in vain. Even if
the teacher tends to teach to the test, it is still possible to remain
inspiring and intriguing at the same time.

Some teachers appear to be 'preachers of Shakespeare' who force students
to read/learn Shakespeare plays and who believe those who don't are
doomed to stay in the category of the ignorant or the uncultured, but
like Martin Steward mentioned, '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.' I don't think Martin Steward provides a
reason not to study Shakespeare at all (according to Sean Lawrence), but
rather, it sounds to me like a starting point where we, students of
literature, can ever read Shakespeare as it is, instead of learning it
simply for cultural heritage's sake. Shakespeare does not need such
sacred reputation to be passed on. Like Larry Weiss asked 'do we want to
teach students to truly read (and perhaps enjoy) Shakespeare or do we
simply want to acquire some vague "appreciation" for a cultural icon?'
it is worth revaluating why teach Shakespeare and what students in fact
learn from it.

I'm working on a similar research topic so please send me any comments
or more advice. Many thanks. Wan-yu Lin, MPhil/PhD student in the
University of York 
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