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Great classics


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#46 bart

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 07:20 AM

Also, by the end of the novel, I think you kind of start to realize that the Don's dreamy, idealistic nature is at times laughable, but overall it's a balm and respite from the cynicism and ugliness of the "real world." That's an idea that still resonates today, as does the idea that everyone can learn from each other. The Dons of the world can learn from the Sanchos, and vice versa. The plea for people not to be judgmental of each other is also a very modern idea.

What a wonderful way of looking at it, canbelto. You've given me something new to think about. Thanks. :clapping:

#47 canbelto

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 10:38 AM

On another note, I want to grab all the English teachers in the world and tell them that Hamlet is not a good intro to the Bard. Yes it's a masterpiece, but it's a difficult, disturbing, at times confusing masterpiece, and it's also very loooooooong. I think they do this with the idea that Hamlet is young, sensitive, moody, and has an identity crisis, just like many ... teens. But I still remember the blank stares of my English class and we were "honors" students, so it wasn't as if we were unmotivated. Just out of our depth. And after all these years, I admit that I still. Don't. Really. Get. Hamlet.
Best intros to Shakespeare are, in my opinion, Midsummer's Night Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and, for tragedies, Macbeth.

#48 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:25 AM

Best intros to Shakespeare are, in my opinion, Midsummer's Night Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and, for tragedies, Macbeth.


Agree that these are good. I don't think 'Othello' was a good intro either, which was mine.

#49 bart

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:29 AM

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?

#50 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:01 PM

In my own collection of classical plays, I must include Racine's 'Phedre', 'Athalie', 'Brittanicus', as I agree with the French that Racine is as great as Shakespeare. He does something else.

#51 Old Fashioned

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 08:27 AM

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.

#52 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 09:36 AM

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?"

#53 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:41 AM

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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