[Milton-L] Memorized poetry

Nancy Rosenfeld rosenfeld.n at gmail.com
Sat Jun 16 02:19:47 EDT 2012


Dear all,

In high school (this is back in the 1960s) we had to memorize and recite
short selections from Shakespeare plays, as well as some sonnets by later
poets, including Milton. In freshman college English we had to memorize the
first 35-or-so lines of the General Prologue of Canterbury Tales. I
remember enjoying all of this, and have more or less retained the texts.

Not connected with English, but maybe relevant: when I first studied Hebrew
(in high school in New York) we memorized short chunks of poetic texts from
the Tanakh - the Hebrew Bible. (The school was not religious, and there was
no religious "statement" in this: it was meant to give us a sense of the
sound of the language.)

So personally I'm all for having students memorize chunks of literary
texts. It does help, though, to make sure that they understand the purpose
of the memorization.

Best,
Nancy Rosenfeld

Nancy Rosenfeld, PhD
Max Stern College of Jezreel Valley, Israel
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