Marjolein

Great classics

53 posts in this topic

It would be great to hear people's stories of what "the classics" mean to them now -- and how they were introduced to them duirng their earlier education. For some of us this process began long ago. For others, it's been more recent. I wonder how much things have changed.

Canbelto's remarks made me think of my own experience back in the Dark Ages. We worked our way "up" to Hamlet, which was done only in the 4th year. (I say "done," because it was analysed to death. Fortunately, I'd already seen a production in NYC. I don't know what young people thought who had only the printed page(s) to go by.)

Your suggestions, canbelto, come close to what we had in school long ago. As I recall it was:

1st year and 2nd years: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, but I don't know in what order. I remember being much assisted by the Classic Comics version at the time.

3rd year: Julius Caesar (put on by the drama department) and scenes from Much Ado about Nothing

4th year: Hamlet, scenes from The Tempest, and a selection of sonnets and things

Othello I knew from Limon's The Moor's Pavane and (for some reason) frequent replays of the Orson Welles film on local television.

Each year we were required to memorize several soliloquies or dialogues. Mine included Polonius's advise to Laertes ("And these few precepts in thy memory look thou character.") and Prospero's epilogue ("Now my charms are all o'erthrown.") Even then I seemed to be type cast as an old man.

And this was just an ordinary suburban high school. It seems like another universe. Are such things still presented in this way nowadays?

Sounds similar to what I went through in high school.

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I was reading the "required" Shakespeares when I was in 6th grade, only I didn't know that they were required. We were fortunate in our School Store (run by the Business Ed. department) that the teacher supervising it had his own ideas about what to stock, and would also do special orders!

I must say, though, that I have much sympathy for George III:

"Is there not much sad stuff in Shakespeare? Sad stuff. Sad stuff! Yes, yes. Only one must not say so, what, what?"

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I was reading the "required" Shakespeares when I was in 6th grade,

Lucky you, Mel !...the only required book, (obligatory, actually ), that i had to go through all my school years was Karl Marx's "The Capital". :) ..Thank God that i had my grandfather's library at home...!

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