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17664Re: [mythsoc] old favorites and sagging canon

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  • David Bratman
    Dec 24, 2006
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      >At 08:45 PM 12/23/2006 -0700, jane Bigelow wrote:

      >My objection is to the idea
      >that a beginning college student should have read all of them,
      >especially in those cases where there's just an author listing. All
      >of Dickens? All of Shakespeare?

      And to have them force-fed. Tom Stoppard recently wrote a play featuring
      some famous 19th century Russian intellectuals as characters, and was
      surprised by a lack of interest in staging it in Russia. It turned out
      that the Russians had had these guys stuffed down their throats in high
      school, and were sick of them.

      >This is being referred to as the canon. Even in the case of
      >Shakespeare, there are some plays that are now done only by groups
      >determined to do the entire canon of his works--and if you attend
      >one, you can usually see why they're done so seldom!

      Some, yes, but even bad Shakespeare is better than a lot of other people,
      and there are some hidden gems, especially if they're performed well. The
      Henry VI plays are dynamite on stage, especially Part III, which introduces
      the evil Richard of Gloucester and is actually a much better play than its
      better-known successor with his name on it. I also like Coriolanus, the
      tragedy of an exasperated man surrounded by a sea of cluelessness. Somehow
      I empathize.

      David Bratman
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