[Milton-L] response to Richard Strier, et al, on Greenblatt

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Sep 17 09:32:55 EDT 2015


Discussion of student reading practices, need, etc., will vary greatly with
student population, which isn't uniform across the US, much less the
English-speaking world.

But, right now, I can say that I teach classes largely populated by
students with slightly below-national-average academic skills, and I've
found them responsive to Paradise Lost when given some direction: I provide
context and then read the first forty lines or so out loud, providing
explanations phrase by phrase. I draw the three mounts on the whiteboard,
etc. After that, they tend to get it on their own and find the poem
engaging.

I think the same would transfer to Shakespeare, which I don't think works
well at all with my Freshman classes, but could work with upper division
courses with similar guidance. Half of the point of reading Shakespeare is
the language itself. Plot and character can be remarkable at times, but
that's conveyed through his language, and at times it's only melodrama.
Shakespeare is still writing for Hollywood.

Jim R
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