[LMB] OT: Shakespeare in schools

John Lennard john.c.lennard at gmail.com
Wed Apr 28 13:24:22 BST 2010


Tel makes a good point about popular redactions of Shax in cartoons &c.. I
could add the *Moonlighting* episode redacting *Taming of the Shrew*, the
*Hamlet* vignette in *Last Action Hero* and so on. But part of the problem
is that if you don't already know Shax and the play in question, what do
these versions really convey? I don't deny that some dissemination happens
like that, maybe a lot - but I've had students who have seen *Kiss Me, Kate*
and/or *Ten Things I Hate About You* without realising or even suspecting
that both adapt *Taming of the Shrew*. I don't think many people who enjoy
*Forbidden Planet* clock it as *The Tempest*, and while those seeing or
reading *A Thousand Acres* more probably know there's a connection with
*King Lear*, that datum may mean very little. Certainly subtler points go
AWOL - the fact that the schoolteacher introducing *Hamlet* in *Last Action
Hero* was played by Olivier's widow, frex : a jest by the director that very
few viewers clock.

i'm also not suprised, among various comments, that small, rural schools do
well by Shakespeare ; it's more often the big, urban ones in poorer areas
that can find little place for older lit., which progressive educators call
an irrelevance. And I think I'd be willing to bet that knowledge of Shax has
become statistically less common over recent decades, though it might well
depend on what exactly one tried to measure.

-- 
John Lennard, MA DPhil. (Oxon.), MA (WU)
General editor, Humanities-E-Books Genre Fiction Sightlines and Monographs
www.humanities-ebooks.co.uk

AVAILABLE NOW FROM HEB
Ralph Thompson, View from Mount Diablo: An Annotated Edition



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