Teaching with Shakespeare: Critics in the Classroom
"Today the number and nature of interpretive strategies developed by contemporary theorists for reading Shakespeare's texts may not only delight but also disconcert the scholars, critics, teachers, and students who study them. In this work, six leading Shakespearean scholar-critics, in a series of clear and elegant lectures delivered to undergraduate English majors, explain distinctive procedures that they and other influential, contemporary critics use for interpreting Shakespeare's poems and plays. Workshops, which illustrate with Shakespearean texts the practice of specific methods, follow the lectures." "Helen Vendler (Harvard) guides readers to Shakespeare's poetry by explaining and illustrating how to hear the unexpected and unobtrusive but crucial questions that sonnets pose, and by tracing the increasingly powerful perceptions that precise, informed aesthetic responses to these questions evoke. R. A. Foakes (UCLA) identifies basic cultural issues underlying traditional approaches to teaching Shakespeare's plays, especially the tragedies, and explains how poststructuralist responses to these issues lead to a reevaluation of the "Bard." Leah Marcus (U. Texas, Austin) also explains cultural issues, particularly about the "construct" that has become "Shakespeare," and introduces editorial questions about the actual textual versions offered to students, notably of Hamlet and King Lear. With emphasis on the plays in performance, John Wilders (Oxford, Middlebury) delivers a structure-oriented, acting-centered analysis of Julius Caesar and then directs, in similar fashion, a production of the first scene of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Patricia Parker (Stanford), on the other hand, follows intricate lines of wordplay through a series of deconstructions and reconstructions in The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Bringing the series to a close, Annabel Patterson (Duke) presents an explicitly issue-oriented analysis of editorial, critical, scholarly, dramatic, and cinematic interpretations of Henry V; and she offers a concluding commentary on the workshops of her colleagues."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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