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Title:The reception and teaching of Shakespeare in nineteenth and early twentieth century America
Author(s):Lauck, John Hampton, II
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shapiro, Michael
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, History of
Literature, English
Abstract:Historically, Shakespeare's function in the American school curriculum has changed from being a vehicle of moral instruction to being an agent for deepening students' emotional response to life in general. He entered American culture through the familiar stage tradition and fragments of his work were used in the early schoolbooks. Recognizing the educational limitations of brief excerpts from his plays, high schools in the era of Henry Hudson and William Rolfe approached Shakespeare through editions of whole plays, justifying such study within the frameworks of orthodox Christianity and Unitarianism, respectively, and utilizing an aesthetic emphasis made possible by Romantic critical theory. The aesthetic approach to the texts competed for a time with the German-inspired philological approach, but a non-dogmatic aesthetic criticism eventually triumphed, with its appeals to emotion and to the validity of personal experience.
As the schools and colleges gradually took control over the dissemination of Shakespeare in American culture, the lively Shakespeare of the stage tradition receded and was replaced by the misty figure created by literary historians in their struggle to mold the data of scholarship into a coherent whole. The complex vision of Shakespeare we have thus obtained is alienating students from further contact with Shakespeare because it is largely divorced from the stage tradition.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Lauck, John Hampton, II
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210883
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210883

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