For reasons unknown, the Authorship Controversy seems to have been rearing its hideous head on the Internet this week, along with more connections to Shakespeare sprouting out of the Huck Finn controversy, and the continuing debate over the worth of teaching literature.
- To start with, from last weekend’s Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference, our managing director, Amy Wratchford, blogged about Shakespeare’s relevance and about the value of discussing Shakespeare on Twitter.
- This blogger equates being a Stratfordian to being a stroke victim. Cass says: If you’re not quite sure what to do with that (or can’t decide to whom that’s most insensitively offensive), you’re not alone.
- The I Love Shakespeare blog defends the Stratfordian cause rather sassily, noting that the only way other theories make sense is if you “fudge the historical record with airy fiction.”
- And then this article refutes the anti-Stratfordians, but then overshoots and goes into the “Shakespeare as a secret Catholic” theory.
- An op-ed in the Washington Post theorizes that educators can’t be reformers.
- The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is putting Hamlet on trial, with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy presiding. Sarah says: We did that!
- A writer for NPR uses the Huck Finn censorship controversy to expound his thoughts on why Shakespeare needs translation. Sarah says: Oh, no. Interesting that he uses the word “bowdlerized” in his discussion, since that man is roundly criticized for doing exactly what this author proposes. The quote he uses from Measure for Measure: “Of government the properties to unfold / Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse / Since I am put to know that your own science / Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice / My strength can give you,” is, as in most of Shakespeare’s “hard language,” offering a tremendous number of clues to the actor and reader about what kind of character this is. When we look at Shakespeare as performance-based literature, the “hard stuff” becomes a tool for discovering insights about characters and playable moments. It becomes its own translation when staged.
- Gilbert, Arizona is cutting literature from its high school curriculum. Sarah says: This came across my Google Alerts just moments after Cass posted our “book wish list.” A very scary tenet is working in Arizona, apparently. It seems they think kids need to read more non-fiction (and less Shakespeare) in order to become better prepared for the business world. Wonder if they realize how much business theatres generate, or how hungry people are for innovative, creative, and critical thinkers. They are doing their students a deep disservice. Cass says: And not just stage theatres — movies, books, and musicals generate how many billions of dollars in revenue each year? Not to mention how important it is to examine the stories a culture tells about itself and what they say about who who we are, who we’ve been, and who we want to become.
- Finally, check out this review of James Shapiro’s Contested Will. Sarah says: And then come see us discuss the book at the Charlottesville Public Library on April 15th.
Here at OCS Education, we’re finishing the week on a rather busy note — a pair of workshops this afternoon, and then a board meeting tomorrow. Hope you all have had a good week and have a great weekend!
Amusing that the rabid anti-Stratfordian calls skeptics of his conspiracy theory "descendants of Holofernes," given that a prominent early Baconian, Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, interpreted Costard's comedic nonce word, "honorificabilitudinitatibus," as a Latin anagram confirming Bacon's authorship. It takes a particularly Holofernian mind not to realize that Costard, and probably Shakespeare, are using the silly word to mock the intellectual pretensions of academics, not convey a coded message to posterity.