Shakespeare

List of titles of works based on Shakespearean...
List of titles of works based on Shakespearean phrases (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

William Shakespeare is simply the best playwright in the world. Ever. His works have inspired millions and have been translated into multiple languages and multiple media. I was lucky to have studied him at the University of California with Professor Homer (Murph) Swander, who brought the pages of the texts to life in brilliant lecture/performances. I took Swander’s Shakespeare class as an undergraduate and was hooked. On the first day of class he came into the room, closed and locked the door, and introduced himself.

Then he said “There is only one person who can come late to this class. I am that person.  If the door is closed and locked then you are not to knock or try to enter.”

He sounded a bit like a US Marine Corps drill sergeant.

But soon I realized that once he started his lecture/performance interruptions were intolerable. He was that good. And he challenged me. And I responded.

Later as a graduate student I returned to study with Swander again: Shakespeare and Elizabethan drama. In those few years between undergrad and grad school Swander had converted to Catholicism. That gave him an approach that insisted on a single correct reading of the plays – a reading that was backed up with argument, close analysis of the text, and not mere authority. He listened to counter arguments and again I was challenged. He taught me and many others a great deal. I went on to teach Shakespeare and took several classes of students to see their first plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

And now MIT has made all of the works available in HTML. “The original electronic source for this server was the Complete

Moby(tm) Shakespeare. The HTML versions of the plays provided here are placed in the public domain.”

“The playwright’s religion is as hard to pin down as the man himself, as this pithy, elegant and eminently sensible overview makes clear” – read the review  here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Shakespeare

  1. From the review of Kastan’s book: “Kastan suggests that Shakespeare, whichever side of the divide [Catholic/Protestant] he favoured, valued community at least as much as personal belief. He lived in a time when religion was a communal act, something shared by a group of believers with a common purpose and so part of the stuff of everyday life, not a private belief cut off from the world. What is notable about his plays is their easy acceptance of religious difference.”

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  2. […] This is Murph’s daughter, Susan, writing to tell you that Dad passed away at 3:40 a.m. the morning of February 15, 2018. He died peacefully at 96 years of age.   You may know that his beloved wife, Laura, died a little over a year ago at the age 0f 93. They had been married for 73 years.   Neither of them wanted memorial services or any big fanfare. They didn’t even want obits published. I may ignore that one and submit obits anyway. Their ashes will be laid to rest together at Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara.   If you wish to honor them in some way, donations can be made in their names to a non-profit organization that they supported over the years and that they deeply believed in. It is Project Aurora, P.O. Box 193, Cottage Grove, OR 97424 (501C3 corporation). They had a very personal connection to this group.     If you have any questions or want more information, please let me know. Feel free to pass this email & news on to whomever would want the info.   Thanks,   Susan Swander An earlier post here. […]

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