[Milton-L] Greenblatt on Teaching Shakespeare

Matthew Jordan matthewjorda at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 12:17:54 EDT 2015

Dear All

I recall a description, in the LRB or somewhere, of a Teaching Assistant
taking a whole session on King Lear without referring to a verbal detail
or, indeed, opening the book.

Best, Matt

On 16 September 2015 at 15:25, David Urban <dvu2 at calvin.edu> wrote:

> Yes, I also second (third?) Richard's point.  Amazingly, I just yesterday
> in a core literature course I taught that very passage from *King Lear* act
> III  that Greenblatt quotes, and I had another nice session in a
> different core literature course yesterday with students who were
> honest/humble enough to admit they were lacking in ability to do close
> textual analysis, but wanted to do it better, and, I believe, learned well
> as we did it together in class.  I agree that most students aren't doing
> these things as a matter of course, but some (many? I sure hope so . . .)
> want to, and I think/hope if we can model enthusiasm, humility,  patience,
> and, at the same time, high standards, there is hope for this enterprise.
> Carter--yes, definitely having Stella around to discuss it helped your
> daughter understand *Sense & Sensibility*[image: 😊]!
> I sure wish I could have been in on those discussions myself, and I'm sure
> everyone else here agrees.   Just this past week I was making profitable
> use of Stella's 1973 PMLA piece on PL, ''Eve and the Doctrine of
> Responsibility in *Paradise Lost*,'' a bittersweet experience for me.  So
> glad you are contributing to Milton-L, Carter, as your email reads, "on
> behalf of Stella Revard."
> Best,
> David
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of Stella Revard <
> srevard at siue.edu>
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 16, 2015 3:19 AM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Greenblatt on Teaching Shakespeare
> Well and truly said, Richard.  A related case:  I lately watched "Sense
> and Sensibility" with Emma Thompson et al., then went back and reread
> Austen's novel. The movie is surely easier for high-school and
> undergraduate students to take in, and younger readers (unless unusually
> able) would very likely miss a great many sly and brilliant satiric
> touches--but our daughter Vanessa tells me she read S&S with much enjoyment
> and pretty fair comprehension in high school, though later she found lots
> more as an undergraduate reader.  But she had the benefit of talking about
> it with Stella, which I'm sure made a difference.
> Movies of course can distort, simplify, and so on; but I suspect they can
> also be useful to young readers--as might recorded versions of Austen or
> Shakespeare.  I can imagine a long drive, say, for a teen-ager about to
> start college classes, with a well-performed e-book version of S&S, or The
> Winter's Tale, or for that matter Paradise Lost.  Probably an academician's
> fantasy, of course.
> Carter
> On 09/15/15, * "Richard A. Strier" *<rastrier at uchicago.edu> wrote:
> Yes, interesting article, but I think it gives up too quickly on
> traditional verbal analysis.  Our students CAN do this, and can be led to
> enjoy it.  I think he exaggerates the distance between "us" and "them."
> RS
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Diana [
> dianabenet at aol.com]
> *Sent:* Monday, September 14, 2015 9:10 AM
> *To:* milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> *Subject:* [Milton-L] Not Willingly Let it Die
> I wd like to recommend "Teaching Shakespeare," a v short article by
> Stephen Greenblatt (NY Times Sunday Magazine, 9/13/15) that with some
> relevance to Milton studies.
> Greenblatt writes about the challenges of teaching a student population
> without the "verbal acuity" with which earlier students approached
> early-modern authors.   The essay is thought-provoking and could trigger
> some ideas and discussion on the list.
> Incidentally, apropos of  the interest in "They Who Fell" and "Chaos
> Umpire  Sits": I hope people will remember Steven Brust's "To Reign in
> Hell"  (1984).  This novel was a consistent post-PL favorite of students in
> my Milton classes.
> Regards to all,  Diana Benet
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