The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1767  Wednesday, 20 September 2000.

From:           Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Sep 2000 21:42:49 +0100
Subject:        Shakespeare in Schools

I was 25 when I eventually got to college and took English Literature as
a main subject.  At almost the first class the English lecturer said
that Shakespeare should not be taught to anyone until they are 30.  In
the intervening years I have pondered this statement and now believe it
to be a truism.  Shakespeare's preoccupations were certainly
middle-aged; even Romeo and Juliet are idealized beings of a much older
mind.  But teachers continue to hammer out the Bard in schools
everywhere in the hope that some of it might just stick.  I too have
tried, actually quite recently, and was shocked at how the language
missed its mark with their young minds.  Young people tend not to think
or speak in metaphor like adults.  Neither do they spend inordinate
hours reflecting on the personal aberrations of this cruel and wicked
world.  The sexuality is also glossed over by teachers for obvious
reasons, but sex was such a central theme in all Shakespeare's works
that to cleanse it of that weakens it beyond reason.   Parson Bouldler
started this process around 100 years ago and it never seems to have
died.  As enthusiasts we must all realise that not all beings on this
planet are potential Shakespeare lovers.  The enthusiast can sometimes
be just a plain bore.


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