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Desdemona BS: 400 year old joke: revivable, or dust? (46) RE: BS: 400 year old joke: revivable, or dust? 02 Sep 07

The plays were a mix, both in terms of chronology and theme, and included:

~ Richard III

~ Romeo and Juliet

~ A Midsummer Night's Dream

~ Much Ado About Nothing

~ As You Like It

~ Henry V

~ Macbeth

~ The Tempest

The class was developed within the context of a museum exhibit of early modern arms and armor as mentioned in Shakespeare, but eventually became a separate programme, as well as an outreach to local schools. I felt it was important to place the plays within as broad a cultural context as possible, so we talked a lot about the Elizabethan/Jacobean world: food, clothes, housing, music, childhood, games & pastimes, health care, cosmetics (a very popular topic), etc. There's such an embarassment of contemporary images available that it was easy to put together slideshows and handouts, as well as good secondary reading for those who were interested in learning more (and there have been several).

There were obviously many (29 or 30, to be precise!) others I might easily have chosen, but those eight both reflected the passages excerpted for the exhibit, and constituted a relatively broad overview of the canon without straying into "Titus Andronicus" or "Timon of Athens" territory. In any case, I absolutely loved developing it, since any opportunity to revisit these texts closely is a privilege devoutly to be wished(!). They never cease to change, just as the reader never does, and so there's always something fresh, new, illuminating and moving to be found.


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