Saturday, May 23, 2009

Minority report ...

... Will Shakespeare's Come and Gone: Does the Bard's Poetry Reach Us Like August Wilson's? Come On--Really? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There is a simpler solution: Teach Shakespeare better. I have no trouble with Polonius's speech to Laertes, or with the passage from Chaucer (I have lately been re-reading The Canterbury Tales - and yes, in Middle English, which really isn't hard).

1 comment:

  1. All languages evolve. Witness the obscurity of Old English (a bit of misnomer calling it "English"), the musical unfamiliarity of Middle English, the difficulties of Elizabethan-Jacobean English (witness the objections of undergraduates who complain that Shakespeare's plays and poetry are not written in English), and--finally--witness the ways in which the English language has been shifting (acquiring new words and eliminating old one; and tolerance for grammatical aberrations that would have been unthinkable half a century ago). Well, with all of that having been said, are we at the point where we need "modern" Shakespeare so that audiences and readers can "get it"? I hope that we will not arrive there in my lifetime, and I press onward in my literature classrooms with the Quixotic hope as I expose students to "old" works--Chaucer, Donne, Shakespeare, and even Milton (whose work is also too hard for new students). Eventually, though, Shakespeare will be "translated". And that is too bad.