ERIC Number: ED370101
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Silencing the Vulgar and Voicing the Other Shakespeare.
Andreas, James R.
Bread Loaf News, V4 n3 p30-32 Fall-Win 1991
From the very first, textbook editions of Shakespeare have been, "badly edited, ineptly glossed, and inexcusably bowdlerized" (Levin, 1976). What is studied in schools is a version, or rather a "perversion" of Shakespeare controlled by narrow religious, sexual, racial, and social interests. A fear of laughter and cultural elitism, among other things, informs the choice of "Romeo and Juliet,""Julius Caesar,""Macbeth," and "Hamlet" for inclusion in the current high school curricula. An alternative curriculum, which might be called "The Other Shakespeare," could represent the balance of tragedy, history, comedy, and romance that readers and viewers have come to expect since the publication of the first folio. The purpose of such a curriculum would be to stimulate discussion about feminism, drugs, war, racism, human sexuality, religious and political persecution, terrorism and other issues. Choices such as "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (for freshmen); "The Merchant of Venice" (for sophomores); "Othello" (for juniors); "The Winter's Tale" or "The Tempest" (for seniors) would raise these issues. Ideally, the curriculum should remain open, and plays should be taught on a rotating basis in accordance with the expertise and scholarly interests of the teacher and the capacities of the students. Teachers and students must be aware of the pressures to sanitize and standardize the curriculum and exert the necessary counterforce (such as smuggling in Xeroxed copies of plays or personal copies of videotaped productions) to reform the teaching of Shakespeare in high school classrooms. (SAM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A