Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
"Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0712  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

[1]     From:   D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 09:32:12 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0693 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Norman Hinton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 16:02:18 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0693 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 09:32:12 -0600
Subject: 15.0693 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0693 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

I agree (I think -- they may not feel so) with Messrs Steele and Groves.

There are varying degrees of difficulty in comprehending any language.
If you want to understand the Iliad as our classically-educated
ancestors did, you must learn Homeric Greek. Even so, they did not
understand it as Plato did. But Plato did not understand it exactly as
his cultural ancestors did.

Without any Greek, you can get much of the plot and some of the
characterization of the Iliad, but almost none of poetry. By poetry I
mean what (I think) they meant: powerful, resonant language, witty turns
of phrase, illuminating comparisons, ironies, sound repetitions, and so
forth, that are (if you like that sort of thing) a pure joy to savor.

This command of the sense, the nonsense and the music of language cannot
really be replicated in translation, and so all that is lost. Of course,
not everything is lost, especially in the greatest works -- but that
much is. Because Shakespeare used an older form of English his language
is much easier to understand than Chaucer's, say, which is much easier
than the Beowulf poet's, and so on. They are not equally hard, but none
is really easy for the typical American college-bound student.

The question is whether you regard Elizabethan English as sufficiently
foreign to your students that it becomes too fatiguing to get them to
read it comfortably. No one can answer that question except the
individual teacher, since it is affected by the language skills and
backgrounds of the student, as well as the interests and pedagogical
skills of the teacher. You define your students and yourself by the way
you answer the question.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norman Hinton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 16:02:18 -0600
Subject: 15.0693 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0693 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

I have always refused to teach any work I could not read in the
original, whether it was taught in translation or not.

 >...linguistic purists.  I'd be interested to know whether they all
either read and teach Homer and Dostoevsky in Greek and Russian or not

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.