papers sought for a book to be titled How We Teach Shakespeare: Teachers and Directors Reflect on Approaching the Playwright with Their Students
My colleague Brian Rhinehart and I have a book coming out in February from Bloomsbury/Methuen, Comedy Acting for Theatre: The Art and Craft of Performing in Comedies. I have now proposed a second book to the press, with a tentative title of How We Teach Shakespeare: Teachers and Directors Reflect on Approaching the Playwright with Their Students
I would like to collect some twenty essays from faculty who give courses in Shakespeare’s plays in English departments and from faculty in Theatre departments who direct his plays. Contributors will come from the United States, Great Britain, and other countries, the length of the essays varying from 2000 to 3000 words. This would be a project, I suspect, not requiring “research” in the usual sense of that term, but rather one based on your own experience with undergraduate or graduate students, or with student actors.
The “How” in the main title implies describing strategies of teaching Shakespeare (lecture, discussion, performance), the dynamics in this interaction between teacher and student, how students are tested or judged. Contributors will be encouraged to draw on specific experiences: a scene in the plays that invoked a particularly fertile discussion, one of those moments when the students made real discoveries about the text, an incident where the interaction with a student (whether in class or onstage) was especially memorable, those wonderful moments when the student became the teacher.
In sharing actual experiences with fellow teachers, students, and the general reader, the essayists will surely raise issues such as: their philosophy of teaching, the consequences of a particular approach, notions of the “role” of the student whether in class or the theater, the relation between academic study and performance, and how in this age we understand the playwright of the Western theatre.
I envision a highly personal account by each of the writers as they share with colleagues, students, and the general reader “stories” of their experience as a teacher or director, those moments that were especially moving, exciting, memorable.
Would this proposal be of interest to you? I would like to get proposals or abstracts or the papers (or even the full essay) by December 1, or earlier. By all means, please tell me if I can clarify the project further or be of particular help.
Professor of English
University of Florida
Member, Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars
University of Florida