Monthly Archives: May 2016

Teaching Shakespeare in the Screen Age

Shakespeare is hard

Reading Shakespeare is hard, especially if it’s your first time. It’s hard because Shakespeare writes plays and poems in unfamiliar language, making unfamiliar cultural references – and because his meanings are buried beneath two layers, of historical distance and of poetic style. So readers in 2016 need to excavate Shakespeare’s meaning from beneath his idiom and his syntax.

But reading Shakespeare in 2016 is hard for a third reason: because reading anything in print in 2016 is hard. It’s hard even for seasoned academics, but it’s particularly hard for each new generation of our students. I mean the difficulty of focusing on one thing in the era of distraction, of concentrating our mental resources to read books in the era of screens.

This is the paper I delivered on Monday June 30th at Congress 2016, so there are references to the particularities of that conference. It describes some of the design principles behind “Shakespeare and the Screen,” a course that I’m teaching.
Read More

Model Close-Reading Essay

This is a Model Close-Reading Essay (~500-600 words) for students in my English 311: Shakespeare. For details, see the course homepage. 

Henry V, 1.2.260-98: A Close Reading

This passage consists of thirty-eight pentameter lines, unrhymed except for two couplets (ll.288-89 and 296-97). King Henry addresses an ambassador from the Dauphin, who has sent a gift of tennis-balls and a rebuke of Henry’s claim to the French crown.

Read More

Student Projects in the Digital Humanities

This is a brief post, to highlight the work of my students this past term in a directed-study course in the digital humanities. Aaron Ellsworth and Will Best have each undertaken research projects, and have published a series of blog posts on their processes and their results. (Click on each name for each series.)

Read More