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In Shakespeare's tragedies, everybody dies!

In Shakespeare's tragedies, everybody dies! | AdLit | Scoop.it

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'Stay, Illusion!': Re-reading Hamlet | KQED

'Stay, Illusion!': Re-reading Hamlet | KQED | AdLit | Scoop.it
In their re-reading of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet,' philosophy professor Simon Critchley and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster examine the play alongside writers and philosophers such as Lacan, Freud and Melville.

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, August 20, 2013 8:03 PM

An interesting radio interview by one of my favorite NPR hosts, broadcast yesterday. It's almost an hour long, but takes a look at Hamlet through the perspective of Karasney's guests Dr. Jamieson Webster a psychoanalyst and Dr. Simon Critchley a philosophy professor.

 

Quite worth considering by any literary reading educator and potentially of value for more academic students. 

 

The premise is that by looking at Hamlet through the filters of both physchoanalysis and philosophy we can see why the play endures as a relevant exploration of the human condition.

 

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"Google Lit Trips" is the fictious business name for GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit.

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Shakespeare Is Hot Again

Shakespeare Is Hot Again | AdLit | Scoop.it
A slew of current projects -- ranging from young adult novels to television to a rumored Anne Hathaway film -- aim to make Shakespeare accessible to a contemporary audience.

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 23, 2013 10:53 AM

There is a lot of money being bet on the attractiveness of Shakespearean storylines! Perhaps that is an indication that we who love Shakespeare might have hope.

 

I remember well the English department meeting after the release of the Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet was released. There was a great divide between those who loved it and those who did not. Yet the department division between the purists and the rest of the department was ironically completely different from the department diviision between those who showed Westside Story as part of their Romeo and Juliet unit and those who did not.

 

I was one of those who loved the DiCaprio film yet despised the Westside Story film, though I did like the music and recently had the opportunity to see Rita Moreno's tour de force "Life Without Makeup" which gave me a new appreciation of Westside Story's place in its time particularly as her own Hollywood experiences as a young Puetro Rican actress mirrored in many ways the Montegue vs Capulet foolishness.

 

The question of whether Shakespeare should only be taught in its purest form is almost laughable for so many reasons...

First and foremost is that Shakespeare's "purest form" is not text; it is performance. Though, I was still too immature, intellectually and otherwise, to harvest a wealth of benefits from the Franco Zefferelli film, I did find myself actually paying attention to the plotline particularly so after the scene where Juliet leans over the balcony! But, really, the story was told in stunning visual and audio enhanced splendor. It was actually a breakthrough moment for me in appreciation of not only great storytelling, but also in a newfound appreciation for a glorious soundtrack.

 

Secondly, Shakespeare, as any scholar knows, relied heavily upon updating old stories for his contemporary audiences.

 

Thirdly, he knew well the downside of catering to the high brow only crowd. He certainly was quite aware of the value of playing to his audience whether they were mostly entertained by the low-brow raunchy humor of the nurse or by the tragic deaths of both Romeo and Juliet.

 

And if anyone has seen Shakespeare performed recently on stage at one of the many, many prestigious Shakespeare festivals, it is quite likely that the staging was purposely adapted to blend elements of the pure with elements of other very different times and places settings.

 

I realize that there may be results of this tsunami of Shakespeare-inspired work that are disappointing. But, I also suspect that many of the results might bring a fresh interest in the bard's themes and works to another generation. And, that might not be a bad idea.

 

But, don't let me cram my opinions down anyone's throats. 

 

Here's what Shakespeare, himself had to say on the subject...

 

 

Sonnet 59

If there be nothing new, but that which is 

Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled,
Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss 
The second burden of a former child. 
O, that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun, 
Show me your image in some antique book, 
Since mind at first in character was done! 
That I might see what the old world could say 
To this composed wonder of your frame; 
Whether we are mended, or whe'er better they,
Or whether revolution be the same. 
O, sure I am, the wits of former days 
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

 

PARAPHRASE

If there is nothing new under the sun, but that which
Has been before, how are our brains cheated,
Which, toiling to create something new, mistakenly
Brings forth something that already exists
O, that history could go back
Even five hundred years
To show me your picture in some old book,
At any time since thought was first put down in writing!
That I might see what an earlier time would say
To this wonderful beauty of your frame (mind, body, and soul);
Whether we are improved or they were better,
Or whether the cycle of years has yielded no better results.
O, I am sure of this, the wits [talented men] of former times
Have given praise to much worse subjects than this. 


original and paraphrase from...Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 59. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (January 23, 2013) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/59.html >.

But of course, Shakespeare too was simply refreshing Ecclesiastes 1:9
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 


Perhaps there is nothing wrong with reminding each generation in ways they can find relevant, of the great "universal truths" that can be found in the great stories.

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Iam Raj's comment, January 25, 2013 2:14 AM
Good Article about Shakespeare Stories.. He is god gift to English Language.. Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
-William Shakespeare ~ Read More Quotes @ http://thequotes.net/2012/05/william-shakespeare-quotes/
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The Bard Isn't Hard: 10 Resources For Teaching Shakespeare

The Bard Isn't Hard: 10 Resources For Teaching Shakespeare | AdLit | Scoop.it
Teaching Shakespeare’s intrigues are not on the serving platter for today, there will be no Titus Andronicus’ baking boys into meat pies. We’re discussing love. Love is hard enough for a fifteen-year old to swallow.

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Beth Dichter's curator insight, November 12, 2013 10:43 PM

There are many great resources available on Shakespeare and this post provides a wide range of sites that may be of interest. The areas covered include:

* Best Shakespeare Sites including a Shakespeare search engine

* Shakespeare's Insults

* Knowmia demystifies MacBeth

* Introducing Younger Students to Shakespeare

* Shakespeare's Poems

* 10 Unique Shakespeare Adaptations

* The Shakespeare Prison Project

* Shakespeare for Teens

* A PBS Documentary - In Search of Shakespeare

You might also want to take a virtual tour of Globe Theater at http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/about-us/virtual-tour

Melissa Jenkins 's curator insight, November 16, 2013 8:31 AM

Nerd Alert!! :-)

Scott Nicholson's curator insight, April 10, 2014 2:51 AM

Q1) Even though this website is geared towards teaching Shakespeare, do you think it could be adapted to facilitate your own learning and understanding of him and his works? Why/why not and how?

 

Q2) Shakespeare is known to be notoriously difficult to learn and is abhorred by students the world over. As such, would you argue that Shakespeare is still relevant in an English curriculum context? This question extends to not only how important his works are but also how engaging or interesting you might find them.

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10 Everyday Phrases That Originated From Poetry

10 Everyday Phrases That Originated From Poetry | AdLit | Scoop.it
By Max Minckler for Riffle: Think poetry has nothing to do with you?

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, August 13, 2013 2:33 PM

I can't help but wonder how many of these "everyday phrases" actually are still everyday phrases. That is, are they too just something "old people" say? 

 

"Chickens coming home to roost"?

"Method to his madness"?

"Bite the dust"?

 

Really? Are these stiil everyday phrases? 

 

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that these phrases are not phrases that today's students can learn and come to understand. I'm simply suggesting that if the point is that they might be interesting to students because they ARE everyday phrases, as in they hear them frequently, and therefore might be potential engagement bridges between their own lives and the classics from which they originated, that this might not be a valid conclusion to draw or rely upon when designing an engaging learning experience for many 21st century learners.

 

I kind of felt a similar question when I first showed West Side Story to my students a few decades ago. When it came out it was a modern day adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. And, supposedly generated engaged traction with young people who were young THEN. But, that bridge is pretty aged now. 

 

Don't get me wrong, there are still fans of West Side Story, even among today's youth. But, for many the fact that it is a modern day adaptation just doesn't hold. Gangsters wearing neckties?

 

That's funnier than it is bridging for many.

 

There is a surge of modern day Shakespeare (and other classic literature) adaptations coming from Hollywood today. They may well be perceived and thus more welcomed as "modern day" bridges to the classics. And, they will succeed in ways that West Side Story succeeded when it actually looked at least a little bit like what Hollywood teenagers looked like to teenage audiences in 1961. Teen age audiences in 2013 are not seeing a Hollywood version of contemporary teens in West Side Story.

 

And, I'm all for recognizing that best practices change or evolve in order to create more successful connections for students and educators of the day. The Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet, though clearly "Hollywoodized" had a much closer similarity to its contemporary teen audiences in 1996.

 

But, that very recognition is also at the heart of my realization that best practices, like #1 songs, fads, fashions, box office blockbuster movies, like video games, like so much that we know can move massive numbers of people to engage enthusiastically in that particular area of interest, has a shelf life. 

 

Remember Gangham Style? CDs? Neighborhood video rental stores?

 

Connecting to the contemporary is a great practice while that connection is in fact contemporary.

 

Some things never quite die, but their attractiveness as a means of generating engaging "contemporary" connections begins to fade for at least a very large proportion of those who once were captivated by those contemporary connections. And, I'd suggest that we amplify the problem by also considering those students who really are too young to have ever been a contemporary beneficiary of the powerful connections as likely to "appreciate the contemporary connections" for resources that never were contemporary in their own lifetimes.

 

Perhaps the shelf life of contemporary connectivity ought to be considered.  And, best practice regarding the use of "aging" resources, might require the moving those resources from the required learning experience shelf to the optional learning experience shelf.

 

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 "Google Lit Trips" is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.