Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0906.  Tuesday, 3 December 1996.

From:           Bob Dennis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 02 Dec 96 08:55:32 -0500
Subject:        Re: Teaching:  Video, Stage Performance, and Reading

A general question, or two:

Over the holiday I talked with my twin nephews who are each taking Shakespeare
courses this semester (different courses, same university).  One is reading a
selection of the plays from Bevington's edition, apparently with a lot of
sniping and corrections offered by the professor in class.  The other, however,
shocked me with the comment that they were only watching videos of the plays.
They do not use the printed texts.  I wonder what the different experiences
will bring each of them.  And I wondered just what percentage of students
experienced the different teaching options.

Has anyone compiled (actually taken data!) on the distribution of methods for
teaching Shakespeare, i.e., how many professors teach a certain method and how
many students are exposed to a given method?  How much teaching is done using
the texts only; texts mixed with a selection of video and/or live performance;
text mixed with student performances; video only; etc.?  If no one has looked
into this, I would be interested and willing to undertake such a study.  But I
do not feel any need to reinvent the wheel.

I would also like to mention another shocker to me.  The nephew taking the
video-Shakespeare talked about his course in the American novel.  Among other
works they are "reading" Moby Dick, The Sun Also Rises, and Absalom, Absalom.
I put the "reading" in quotes because when I was enthusiastic about the
Faulkner and mentioned the beginning word, Ikkemotube, and the subsequent
stream of consciousness derivation of the Sutphen clan, my nephew said
apologetically that he had not read that part: they were told to begin at
Chapter 7 because the beginning parts were too difficult.  Pardon my naivete,
but I thought that was why the professor was there.  Any comments???  I ask
only in relation to teaching the "difficult" stuff, since such occurs in
Shakespeare as well as the American Novel.  I do not mean to pull us away from

Humbly curious,
Bob Dennis
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