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TOPIC: Teaching Shakespeare Against the Grain

Teaching Shakespeare Against the Grain 10 years 2 months ago #7

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Note: This essay was originally published, in a slightly
shorter version, in _Teaching Shakespeare Today: Practical
Approaches and Productive Strategies_. James Davis and Ronald
Salomone, editors. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of
English, 1993.

At the present moment, college literary study is caught
between two conflicting, though essentially conservative,
agendas: the nostalgic demand for the preservation of trad-
itional values, on the one hand, and the insistent urgency of the
quasi-vocational and pre-professional mission of the modern
university on the other hand. On the face of it, the
Shakespeare course seems well-suited to the former goal, and
ill-suited to the latter. Traditionalist scholars and
neoconservative politicians have rushed to defend Shakespeare
against a perceived onslaught of "lesser" writers--particularly
women and people of color--who, they argue, would displace
Shakespeare from the canon and the curriculum. At the same
time, many vocationally-oriented students question the value of
required humanities courses, such as Shakespeare, which seem to
have little relation to their career goals.

I don't think teachers of Shakespeare should cater to either
of these positions, but, on the other hand, we shouldn't ignore
them. Instead, we should focus our courses at least partly on
an analysis of the ways "Shakespeare" (as an icon of cultural
literacy) gets defined or represented in relation to different
sets of values. By identifying the socio-cultural coordinates
from which Shakespeare is variously appropriated or resisted by
groups within the academy and the society at large we can begin
to produce what Jerry Herron has described as a sort of "crit-
ical" literacy: a contingent set of terms and rhetorical prac-
tices which will enable us to openly and self-consciously engage
in the (often masked or suppressed) ideological conflicts
through which social values are established (117-29).

As an exploratory effort toward developing a "critical liter-
acy" approach to Shakespeare, I will briefly critique what I see
as the two most pernicious ideological functions of Shakespeare
study in the academy: the use of Shakespeare as an ideological
underpinning for a quietist, apolitical individualism; and the
production of Shakespeare as a class talisman or commodity fet-
ish of upper middle class taste. Then I will discuss several
strategies for engaging students in a critical analysis of
"Shakespeare" as a social phenomen.

Shakespeare and Individualism
As Marxist critics have demonstrated, conventional literary
studies has been more complicitous than any other academic dis-
cipline in the (re)production of the dominant ideology of indiv-
idualism. According to this critique, the traditional literature
course operates as what Terry Eagleton has called a "moral tech-
nology," maintaining a vaguely elitist standard of sensitivity
which functions more than anything else to produce individual
students as liberal humanist subjects. The liberal humanist
conception of subjectivity is that of a unitary, constant
entity, originating from a rational individual consciousness
which is relatively unconstrained by socio-historic forces.
Literary studies helps to maintain liberal humanist individu-
alism through its emphasis on authorial genius (focusing on
"great men," such as Shakespeare, to the neglect, for example,
of the socio-political determinants of textual production and
reception) and through its cultivation of "original," "individ-
ual" response to literature in students. By representing in-
dividual genius as the essence of literature, and by granting
literature a privileged role as the prime repository of human
experience, the traditional curriculum represents liberal
humanist individualism as the "natural" and "universal" mode of
human subjectivity. But this particular construction of the
"human" is itself the product of a specific socio-historic
framework. Postmodern critical theory has radically
problematized the idealist-humanist conception of consciousness
as prelinguistic and of the individual subject as an originator
of language rather than as an effect of language.

The "common sense" readings of texts favored by traditional
literary studies are revealed, then, as unselfconsciously biased
ideological effects. They take for granted an unproblematized
relationship between author and reader as two autonomous,
individual, self-present consciousnesses in communication.
There is a specific political imperative to resist the
privileging of individualism in this practice, for, as Terry
Eagleton has demonstrated, it amounts to a form of ideological
coercion in the interests of a conservative, elitist politics
(102-4). Yet, notwithstanding the current prominence of
critical theory, the study of English literature remains deeply
implicated in perpetuating liberal humanist individualism.
Precisely on this point the discipline of English most strongly
resists criticism and change: it is almost unthinkable to
suggest an anti-individualist approach to literature because
individual genius is seen as the fundamental ground of

From a Marxist perspective, the main problems with the sort
of individualism promoted by traditional literary study are
two-fold. First, students are discouraged from thinking in
terms of collective political action (hence, participation in
the political process is imagined mainly at the level of the
individual vote between extremely banal choices). Second,
students are discouraged from identifying systemic and
structural problems with the social order (hence, inequities in
social justice and distribution of resources are seen as the
results of the different efforts of "hard-working" or "lazy"
individuals rather than as, at least partly, the results of
social priviliges enjoyed and obstacles encountered by different
social groups).

The consequences of a narrowly individualistic framework can
be seen, for example, by considering different emphases in
teaching a play such as Shakespeare's _Macbeth_. A traditional
approach, attending to Aristotle's prescriptions for great
tragedy, or following the influential model of A. C. Bradley's
_Shakespearean Tragedy_, might focus on the character of
Macbeth. Macbeth's personal struggle with ambition might be
emphasized, or the discussion might turn on his susceptibility
to Lady Macbeth's influence. This sort of reading makes a
certain kind of sense for us, and some version of it would, no
doubt, have been available for Shakespeare's original audience
as well. But there are other operative frameworks of meaning
for _Macbeth_. An historicized perspective would note that the
play also served an ideological function in legitimating the
Stuart accession. As Richard III had embodied all the evils of
the Yorks in one person against whose villainy Queen Elizabeth
and her Tudor predecessors could appear in heroic glory, Macbeth
did the same for King James. Recognizing this ideological
function enables a certain kind of critique of individualism to
emerge; we can see how political propagandists may
simplistically "demonize" a particular individual in order to
mobilize public opinion in favor of some particular program or
cause or to divert public attention from some pressing crisis.

As students may notice, this is essentially what happened on
American television during the recent Persian Gulf War. Saddam
Hussein was demonized; President Bush was apotheosized. The
United States' less than altruistic interests in the Persian
Gulf were forgotten, as were domestic problems such as the
recession and the savings and loan crisis. We are not
accustomed, perhaps, to thinking either of Shakespeare or of our
television news media as propagandists. Nonetheless, each of
these discourses--Shakespeare and the nightly news--have at
times performed propagandistic functions. Teaching our students
how to "read" such functions across different discourses and in
various contexts is, in my view, one of the most urgent missions
of a college education.

Shakespeare as Cultural Capital

A pedagogy focused on critical literacy would reveal
"Shakespeare" as a body of knowledge shaped and constructed by
critical and pedagogical apparatuses, rather than a distinct and
substantial subject which exists independently of our work as
scholars, teachers and students. As Gerald Graff has reminded
us, the familiar subjects and methodologies of our curricula are
themselves products of historical conflicts which have been
systematically forgotten (247-62). What the teacher can do, in
this situation, is to acknowledge his or her implication in the
institutional assumptions and conceptual frames which produce
our particular constructions of "knowledge." This acknowledg-
ent in turn calls for a questioning of those intellectual boun-
daries and opens up the possibility for alternative knowledges
produced in other cultural sites to contest the social values
implicit in the institutionally supported curriculum.

In fact, I would suggest, such a critical strategy is the
only way to achieve an intellectually responsible pedagogy. Any
"knowledge" (even an aesthetic appreciation of Shakespeare as
"knowledge") which is not self-conscious about its enabling
assumptions and conceptual frames can only reproduce itself, can
only adduce new data and win new converts to support what it
already knows. Such teaching is inherently limited to the
passive transmission of known information as "knowledge" and can
only stumble upon new ways of understanding by accident, when
the system breaks down, when someone misunderstands and others
happen to recognize the misunderstanding as a viable alterna-
tive. Much is to be gained, therefore, from a pedagogy which
systematically focuses on misunderstanding.

The "indoctrination" model of literary study--like what Paolo
Freire has called the "banking" model of education--assumes that
students come into the university as blank slates waiting to be
stamped with a set of values. In fact, of course, students
enter our classrooms as subjects situated within complex
networks of sociopolitical power. Students, that is, are always
already indoctrinated; they are "organic intellectuals," in the
Gramscian sense, who already have a stake in the political
struggles that shape our society. In this context, literary
study presents itself to the progressive intellectual as one of
several important sites of ideology production available for
political struggle, including the entertainment industry
(especially popular music and cinema), news media (ostensibly
"objective" newspaper and broadcast journalism as well as the
subjective discourse of television pundits, newspaper
columnists, etc.), and the radio and television call-in programs
which blur the lines between entertainment, education, and
journalism. These various discursive arenas each present
different opportunities and obstacles for critical analysis, but
the literature classroom, I would argue, offers the greatest
potential for a sustained, articulate debate on sociocultural
values. We simply have more time and space and shared
commitment to devote to the project of critical literacy than do
the editorial writers, movie makers, and talk-show hosts.

Classroom Strategies
In an oppositional classroom Shakespearean texts can become
the subject of ideology critique--a practice which reconstructs
the historical conditions in which the texts were and are
(re)produced, and places the Shakespearean text in relation to
other contextual and "counter-textual" texts. I introduce the
issue of the ideological effects of literary study with one or
more assigned readings--usually Louis Althusser's essay
"Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" and Terry
Eagleton's essay "The Subject of Literature"--at the beginning
of each semester. These essays--particularly Althusser's--are
difficult for students. Students find them difficult not so
much because they are written in high academic style, or because
the ideas set forth are particular complex, but because the
arguments made are relatively unfamiliar to students. Both
Althusser and Eagleton argue that education often serves to
limit one's personal freedom as much as to expand it. This
thought makes some students uncomfortable, but their discomfort
can lead to productive discussion and debate.

In the core curriculum or general education Shakespeare
course, for example, we often teach students--business majors,
science majors, and other students pursuing technical and
explicitly vocational degrees--who are merely fulfilling a
graduation requirement and who have no particular interest in
Shakespeare. As teachers we may fall into the uncomfortable
habit of trying to cajole such students into enjoying
Shakespeare's plays. A much better strategy, however, is to
acknowledge and critique this discomfort as a symptom of the
conflicting agendas I mentioned earlier--the concern that
students be indoctrinated with traditional values, on the one
hand, and the need for a streamlined technical training,
unencumbered by a critical encounter with culture, on the other
hand. One implication of Althusser's and Eagleton's view is
that the general eduation Shakespeare course may function as a
sort of values-indoctrination for vocationally-oriented
students. If this implication is considered, students'
resistance to Shakespeare takes on more urgent significance, and
can become an important issue for class discussion.

After addressing the general problem of the place of literary
study and "Shakespeare" in the academy and in the larger social
formation, I next raise the question "who is Shakespeare"?
Students find this question both surprising and fascinating. I
usually assign a general theoretical reading on the problem of
authorship and intention such as Michel Foucault's essay "What
is an Author?" in conjunction with other readings specifically
focused on the Shakespeare authorship question. The first
chapter of Marjorie Garber's book, _Shakespeare's Ghost Writers_
gives a colorfully-written account of the principal nineteenth-
and twentieth-century debates over whether William Shakespeare
of Stratford or some other mysterious person or persons actually
wrote the plays. These debates are often quite entertaining in
their own right, but they also open up opportunities to raise
key theoretical questions concerning the plays. Does the
meaning of _King Lear_ change, for example, if the play was
actually written by the aristocratic Earl of Oxford, as Charlton
Ogburn thinks, instead of the middle-class Shakespeare? I often
use a transcript of a program entitled _The Shakespeare Mystery_
from the Public Broadcasting System's _Frontline_ series. In
the statements of scholars and interested partisans interviewed
for this program, students can identify several distinctively
different "Shakespeares": Charles Burford, a descendent of the
Earl of Oxford, observes that only a cultivated, educated
aristocrat such as his ancestor could have written the plays;
Enoch Powell, a retired cabinet minister, argues that the author
of the works known as Shakespeare's must have been someone with
a first-hand experience of governing; Charlton Ogburn is moved
to tears as he spins a sentimental, romantic tale of Oxford as a
great man tragically unrecognized; and scholars such as A. L.
Rowse and Samuel Shoenbaum haughtily dismiss the Shakespeare-
Oxford authorship controversy as a tempest in a teapot cooked up
by "ignorant" and presumptuous amateurs.
What the authorship controversy illustrates most clearly is
that there is real cultural power at stake in the Shakespeare
"industry." If students gain an understanding of how and why
"Shakespeare" can be claimed as a "member" of one group or
another--liberals or conservatives, pragmatists or idealists--
then the function of "Shakespeare" as a sort of cultural capital
produced and disseminated in the university can be explored.
Perhaps the most famous modern instance of this sort of
appropriation of "Shakespeare" for a propagandistic use is
Laurence Olivier's 1945 film version of _Henry V_. But Margo
Heinemann gives an interesting account of a more recent instance
in an essay entitled "How Brecht Read Shakespeare." Heinemann
analyzes an interview with Nigel Lawson, then Chancellor of the
Exchequer, in which the conversation turns on Ulysses' speech on
chaos and social hierarchy from _Troilus and Cressida_: "Take
but degree away, untune that string,/ And hark what discord
follows." To the interviewer's query why he likes those lines,
Lawson responds:

The fact of differences, and the need for some kind of
hierarchy, both these facts, are expressed more powerfully
there than anywhere I know in literature.

"So," the interviewer asks, "Shakespeare was a good Tory?"
And Lawson replies "Shakespeare was a Tory, without any

There is an especial irony involved in this particular
appropriation of "Shakespeare," because it flouts the
conventional ironic interpretation of that passage from _Troilus
and Cressida_. "It's interesting," as Heinemann goes on to
observe, that

to make his point Mr Lawson has to remember his examples so
wholly out of dramatic context, disregarding entirely the
conflicts of values and actions that surround them in the
plays. Ulysses may talk about the sacredness of hierarchy
and order, but the setting shows him as a cunning
politician whose behaviour undercuts what he says here, as
indeed does the whole play. (203)

One sometimes hears the criticism that introducing historical
or political contexts into the study of Shakespeare results in
"reductive" readings of the plays. Perhaps this may occur if
the teacher focuses on a single issue. But an emphasis on
poetic excellence or plot structure can be just as reductive,
and such issues are more likely to seem merely irrelevant. In
using texts and strategies such as those I have described above
I aim to make visible the social, institutional, and historical
contexts in which the class is reading Shakespeare. Having
begun to develop these kinds of contextual frames for reading
the plays, students can make connections and critical
comparisons between the knowledge and values produced in the
Shakespeare course and in other areas of their social and
academic experience.

In addition to introducing supplementary texts which raise
larger institutional questions about literary study,
Shakespeare's plays can be "expanded" in ways which enable
larger political and philosophical questions to be raised around
them. In this way, we can engage our students in issues that
are more important to them (and to us, perhaps, more often than
not) than esoteric and unconnected questions of history and
aesthetics. With the goals of critical engagement and
significance in mind, I never teach a play as an isolated text.
Instead, I teach Shakespeare's plays as parts of ensembles or
clusters of texts which implicitly or explicitly problematize
some reading of the play, or vice versa. For example, I often
teach the _Cliff's Notes_ or _Monarch Notes_ for a play
alongside the play itself. This produces several interesting
effects. Since many students see these study guides as aids for
cheating, they are surprised to find them on my syllabus, and
this can lead to productive considerations of what it means to
"read" or to "know" literature. As condensed (often reductive
and formulaic) readings of literary texts packaged for the
student/consumer who is "too busy" to read for him/herself, the
study guides promote the most pernicious aspects of the
"cultural literacy" approach to education; they encourage
readers to memorize disjointed facts at the expense of critical
thinking, and they present a body of mostly centrist-to-
onservative values and opinions as the authoritative interpreta-
ions of literary texts. But they are useful as teaching tools
precisely because of these shortcomings. By reading various
study guides in conjunction with the plays themselves students
can gain an understanding of how meanings of social texts (such
as the plays) are mediated and negotiated through other texts,
and of the transformations in meaning which may result from this

Along with the commercial study guides, I use film adapta-
tions and parodies of the plays, advertisements, music videos,
newspaper reviews, scholarly journal articles, and introductions
to literary textbooks, as "contextual" texts available for criti
cal and oppositional readings by students. Often I introduce
accounts of provocative modern productions of the plays. When
teaching _Romeo and Juliet_, for instance, I have students read a
_New York Times_ article in which reporter Nita Lelyveld des-
cribes the Cornerstone Theatre Company's 1989 production of the
play in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The Cornerstone Theatre Com-
pany is a traveling troupe which goes into small rural com
munities, putting on classic plays with the help of local resi-
dents. In this way Cornerstone brings art into some out-of-the-
way places, and, more often than not, they bring out unrecognized
individual talents and unexpected displays of community spirit
among the local residents. In the Port Gibson production the
play was adapted slightly, with some of the language updated, and
the cast featured a black Romeo and a white Juliet. According to
the Times article,

the resulting script for Romeo and Juliet was both very much
in the spirit of the original play and a critique of Southern
society and racism. Lord Capulet, for example, became Mamaw,
Juliet's grandmother and a harsh and unbending Southern
matriarch. Tybalt, played by a company actor, Ashby Semple,
was a racist young woman full of hatred for blacks. Friar
Lawrence, played by a company actor, Peter Howard, became
Father Lawrence, a Catholic priest forced by Romeo to put
into action the liberal beliefs he espouses.(5)

This scenario, and the passionate scenes between the two leading
characters, at first caused some apprehension among local members
of the cast. But the end result seems to have been worth the
risk. In a forum held after the production closed townspeople
and Cornerstone staff had an open and enlightening discussion on
such issues as "the de facto segregation in area schools."(5)

This article raises several interesting theoretical ques
tions. To begin with, is this Shakespeare? At what point does
an adaptation of a Shakespeare play cease to be the "real thing."
Is this adaptation better, or worse, in some way, than a tradi-
tional production? By what critical standards can such a judg-
ment be made? Does the aesthetic value of Shakespeare's play
suffer from Cornerstone's politicized production? How is the
issue of racism altered when it presented through an adaptation
of _Romeo and Juliet_? How students answer these questions is
less important to me than it is for them to develop the habits
and skills to engage in thoughtful, critical discussions of such

In another critical textual juxtaposition which is
particularly popular among my students I provide brief excerpts
from a version of _Romeo and Juliet_ in a high school textbook
for comparison with the play as we read it. For many students
who have studied _Romeo and Juliet_ in high school, this com-
parison produces a startling revelation. They often remark that
they didn't like the play in high school; that it seemed boring,
or didn't make much sense. Now they understand why. The editors
of the high school textbook version have silently "bowdlerized"
the play, cutting out most of the language containing sexual puns
and innuendo. Students are amazed to see how much difference it
makes to read an uncut version of the play. More importantly,
introducing the bowdlerized text raises a variety of crucial
issues such as censorship, aesthetic integrity, the question of
how aesthetic appreciation is produced, and the role of litera-
ture in education.

A similar instance in which we discuss the teaching of
Shakespeare in high schools focuses on an incident reported in
the Winter, 1987 issue of _The Shakespeare Newsletter_. The
teaching of _The Merchant of Venice_ was prohibited in a Water-
loo, Ontario high school after parents became concerned that the
play was fostering anti-semitism among students. When I teach
the _Merchant of Venice_ I devote a considerable body of time at
the beginning to a lecture on the history of anti-semitism in
Europe and America, and to the characteristics of Christian-
Jewish relations in various historical contexts accessed by the
play as we will encounter it: Renaissance Venice and London;
modern England, America and Canada. After developing these con-
texts at some length, I give students copies of _The Shakespeare
Newsletter_ article, describing incidents of anti-semitism among
students and reporting arguments in school board meetings from
parents and teachers on both sides of the controversy. I ask my
students to take up positions on the question of whether _The
Merchant of Venice_ should be taught in high school, and we
debate the issue.

Often it is precisely the peripheral material associated with
a literary text that provides the loose thread which will unravel
an ideologically oppressive construction of the work. For exam-
ple, when the British Broadcasting Company Shakespeare plays were
aired on the Public Broadcasting Company several of the plays
were accompanied by short introductions and closing interviews
featuring executive producer Jonathan Miller and, occasionally,
one of the actors from the production (John Cleese, who played
Petruchio in _Taming of the Shrew_, and Warren Mitchell, who
played Shylock in _The Merchant of Venice_). Miller's comments
on the controversial plays reveal a concern to forestall
criticism of Shakespeare as sexist, racist, or anti-semitic.
Miller acknowledges, for example, that modern viewers may be
offended by the apparent sexism of _Taming of the Shrew_, but he
urges us to bear in mind the historical context of the play. In
the case of _Othello_, Miller opines that the key element of the
tragedy is Othello's jealousy, not his race, and that the play
could be produced with a white actor portraying a white character
with no loss of tragic power. In an interview with Warren
Mitchell, who played Shylock in the BBC's _The Merchant of
Venice_, Miller fends off an anticipated charge of antisemitism
with a pre-emptive reversal, noting that the production is unique
in that it had a Jewish producer (Miller) a Jewish director (Jack
Gold), and Mitchell as a Jewish actor playing Shylock, and
expressing a passing concern that the play may be taken as anti-
Christian. I provide transcripts of these introductions and
interviews for students to respond to in position papers, and I
focus paper topics and class discussions on the issues of sexism,
racism, and antisemitism in relation to the BBC productions and
to Miller's comments.

I require students in my classes to produce several one to
two-page critical response/position papers on key issues which
are raised in the course. Each week I reproduce a packet of
eight or ten of these student-generated texts, along with posi-
tion papers that I write against some of them, for distribution
to the entire class. In this manner a considerably larger
proportion of the class discourse is textualized than would be
the case in a traditional lecture/discussion course. The posi-
tion papers produced in the class become part of the general text
to be studied, decentering the institutionally-authorized content
of the course and producing alternative centers of meaning (on
the margins of the discipline) where readers situated differently
in relation to class, race, gender, and other culturally sig-
nificant discursive categories engage the "official" texts of a
Shakespeare course. Through this practice of publishing the
texts of students and teacher, positions are occupied in a way
that makes them much more accessible for critique than in the
traditional classroom discussion.

Increased textualization also produces some welcome practical
side effects. For one thing, it encourages students to give more
carefully considered thought to their responses to the issues
raised in the course. Though many teachers use reading journals
to achieve this purpose, I think the response/position paper has
considerable advantages over the journal. As an ostensibly "pri-
vate" mode of writing, the journal is unavailable as a source of
knowledge and as a target of criticism for other participants in
the class. Thus, the journal cannot contribute directly to the
productive conflict that I seek. Another useful side effect
results from the attention focused on students whose papers are
circulated to the entire class. This attention, I have observed,
is inevitably perceived as a mark of distinction, even when the
students' positions are subjected to the critical attacks of the
teacher and other students. Thus, the response/position paper
functions as a sort of reward, allowing a relatively large
proportion of the work produced in the course to remain outside
the institutional sphere of the grading system.

I can imagine several kinds of objections to the somewhat
unorthodox approach to teaching Shakespeare that I have described
in this essay; I have felt some of them myself. For example, it
does take some extra effort to assemble the extra-canonical
materials I use to produce contextual clusters around the various
plays. For several years now I've been collecting these items;
saving newspaper reviews of the plays, haunting garage sales and
second-hand bookstores for _Monarch Notes_ and _Cliff's Notes_,
keeping track of controversial scholarly articles, and noting
instances of Shakespeareana in popular culture. It does take
some time, but the extra-canonical material is extremely useful
as a way of bridging the gap between students' reference frame-
works and the reference framework of Shakespearean scholarship.
Further, in the juxtaposition of these different frameworks, or
discourses, each of the knowledge and value system may be prob-
lematized, or thrown in relief in ways which enable students to
see the values and limitations of different discursive positions
with increased clarity.

It may be objected that the kind of critical pedagogy I have
described for the general education Shakespeare course does a
disservice to the plays themselves. With all of this extra read-
ing and discussion going on, the reader may wonder, when does one
have time to read the plays themselves? It's certainly true that
we spend less time on close, line by line readings of the plays
in my classes than on other projects, and it's also true that we
read fewer plays (usually only five or six per semester) than we
might if I merely focused on close reading of the plays. But I
would argue that it's more important for students to gain a
critical, contextual understanding of "Shakespeare" as a social
and ideological phenomenon than to read several plays with the
goal of merely developing an understanding and appreciation of
Shakespeare. This appreciation may not happen, at any rate, if
students are not able to see any way in which the plays relate to
their lives. And, while I don't think the inculcation of taste
and "appreciation" should be primary goals of any university lit-
erature course, nonetheless, in my experience, students are just
as likely to develop a fondness and appreciation for Shakespeare
after reading the works in relation to problematic contexts as
they are after reading the works as isolated aesthetic master-

Finally, some may ask, "what is wrong with the goal of
producing students as members of a cultivated audience who can
appreciate Shakespeare?" The very fact that such an audience
has to be produced--that it will not just be found--begs the
question: Why produce it? What interests are served by its pro-
duction? As this mission is generally understood, I think, it
means producing an audience who will acquiesce in subjection to a
conservative historical reverence which supports an oppressive
status quo. It is not surprising that students resist this kind
of subjection. Producing this sort of faithful "appreciation" of
literature is not a proper goal for a college course.


Althusser, Louis. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,"
in _Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays_. Trans. Ben Brewster.
London: Monthly Review Press, 1971, 127-86.

Eagleton, Terry. "The Subject of Literature." _Cultural
Critique_ 2 (Winter, 1985-6): 95-104.

Freire, Paolo. _Pedagogy of the Oppressed_. New York: Seabury
Press, 1973.

Graff, Gerald. _Professing Literature_. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1987.

Garber, Marjorie. _Shakespeare's Ghost Writers: Literature as
Uncanny Causality_. New York: Methuen, 1987.

Gramsci, Antonio. _Selections from the Prison Notebooks_. New
York: International Publishers, 1971.

Heinemann, Margot. "How Brecht Read Shakespeare." In _Political
Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism_, ed. Jonathan
Dollimore and Alan Sinfield. Ithaca: Cornell University Press,
1985, 202-30.

Herron, Jerry. _Universities and the Myth of Cultural Decline_.
Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1988.

Lelyveld, Nita. "In Cornerstone's Shakespeare, Romeo Raps."
_New York Times_, May 7 1989, Section 2, pp. 5-6.

"The Merchant of Venice Banned in 9th and 10th Grades in Water-
loo, Canada." _The Shakespeare Newsletter_. Winter, 1987, 47-8.

Miller, Jonathan. "Introduction and Interview with Warren
Mitchell." _The Merchant of Venice_ (BBC), PBS, February 23,

. "Introduction and Interview with John Cleese."
_The Taming of the Shrew_ (BBC), PBS, January 16, 1980.

. "Introduction." _Othello_ (BBC), PBS, October
12, 1981.

"The Shakespeare Mystery." _Frontline_, Public Broadcasting
System, February 14, 1989.

Ron Strickland ph. 309 438 7998
English Dept. fax 309 438 5414
Illinois State University Normal, IL 61761
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