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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: June ::
Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1164  Tuesday, 1 June 2004

[1]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Monday, 31 May 2004 16:39:18 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1151 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

[2]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Monday, 31 May 2004 21:16:20 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1151 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Monday, 31 May 2004 16:39:18 +0100
Subject: 15.1151 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1151 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

You only have to walk round London looking at the architecture, or to
search the National Gallery for the homegrown works, to realise that the
visual arts in England have been impoverished for centuries.  Nature of
course abhors a vacuum.  The greatness of English literature is a direct
result of the cultural vandalism of the sixteenth and early seventeenth
centuries.  If the pendulum is now swinging the other way - away from
the word and towards the image - this is long overdue.

Peter Bridgman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 31 May 2004 21:16:20 -0700
Subject: 15.1151 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1151 Shifting of Cultural Tectonic Plates

 >traditional literary education has all but disappeared...
 >we live in a visual age..our visual sophistication has
 >grown as our literary sophistication has declined.

This is an interesting claim, and ties into a question I was going to
ask before I even read that post:

I've been reading "Teaching Shakespeare Into the Twenty-First Century"
edited by Ronald E. Salomone and James E. Davis.  I have been greatly
enjoying this collection of essays, taking notes at a fast and furious
rate to prepare for my classes in the fall.  Chapter 8 is by Michael
Flachman of Califormia State U, Bakersfield, who also serves as
dramaturg for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  His essay is titled
"Professional Theatre People and English Teachers: Working Together to
Teach Shakespeare."

His ideas agree mostly with mine, that Shakespeare was meant to be
performed, not read; the plays are  meant to be theatre, not literature.
  But that argument aside, at the end of the article, Flachman states,
"After all, theater people have been studying, watching, and producing
Shakespeare's plays for nearly four hundred years - much longer than we
English teachers have been teaching them."

I was wondering just exactly WHEN and WHY anyone started studying and
teaching Shakespeare's plays as literature.  How and when did
Shakespeare become a 'de riguer' part of every English Dept. curriculum?

I'd appreciate any thoughts and ideas on the subject,
Susan.

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