Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: May ::
Shakespeare Not
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0328  Tuesday, 8 May 2007

[1] 	From: 	Ike Rodman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
 	Date: 	Thursday, 3 May 2007 12:12:32 -0700
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0317 Shakespeare Not

[2] 	From: 	Ike Rodman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
 	Date: 	Thursday, 3 May 2007 12:12:32 -0700
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0317 Shakespeare Not


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ike Rodman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Thursday, 3 May 2007 12:12:32 -0700
Subject: 18.0317 Shakespeare Not
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0317 Shakespeare Not

"The Vanishing Shakespeare: a report from the American Council of Trustees 
and Alumni," documents the lack of a curriculum requirement at many 
colleges and universities for English majors to take a course on 
Shakespeare, "one of the preeminent representatives of English language 
and literature."

The report asks, "If reading Shakespeare is not central to a liberal 
education, what is?"

Toward the end of the document, just before the Credits page, we find

 	Be not afraid of greatness:
 	some are born great, some achieve
 	greatness and some have greatness
 	thrust upon them
 		--Twelfth Night

Can there be any doubt that this quotation was placed there as an 
admonition to educators to require Shakespeare?

Use of this often-abused quotation in this place would seem to demonstrate 
that the people who put together this report do not know Shakespeare 
themselves and are unaware of the irony implicit in their use of the 
quotation.

The lines are used in the play, of course, to fool an obnoxious ideologue 
into making an ass of himself.

These lines were once used (also, one would guess, by well-meaning people 
who had found the quotation in Bartlett's or somewhere and had no idea 
about the context in the play) to introduce Lyndon B. Johnson.

Does anyone on this list remember the place and the speaker of that 
introduction of Johnson?

Ike Rodman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		L. Swilley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 4 May 2007 08:51:53 -0500
Subject: 18.0317 Shakespeare Not
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0317 Shakespeare Not

As Matthew Arnold instructed us, we should be teaching the best of our 
culture's past. With that as our guide, it is impossible to allow that 
anyone presuming to be educated should not have studied the works of 
Shakespeare.

But such a position would require us to prescribe a hierarchy of content 
in every subject and a hierarchy of subjects in every school, every 
university, a grading we are loathe to make, since we have no common 
agreement on what is more or less important to know, on we are and what we 
should be because of what we are.

In his essay, "The Crisis of Liberal Education," Allan Bloom makes this 
related point:

"The problem of liberal education is a result of a fantastic growth of 
specialization...because, in order to admit all these specialities into 
the curriculum and give them equal status as they demand, all sense of 
unity and hierarchy has had to be abandoned. The only principle visible in 
this system is that of tolerance, each field respecting the rights and 
dignity of the other. The only criterion for what should be admitted to or 
excluded from the university is tradition, and the pressures of public 
demand and foundation support can easily overcome that."

Each university subject/department has become a college unto itself, with 
no need to acknowledge its greater or lesser place among the other 
subjects/departments. And this principle redowns to the offerings in each 
department: if there is no hierarchy among the disciplines, neither is 
there reason for one among the courses to be offered by the department; 
Shakespeare is no more than Judith Krantz.

       L. Swilley

_______________________________________________________________
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.