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Wednesday, March 16

March 16, 2016

Poetry Workshop: Today: McKinzie and Denny. I gave out two final poems from Round Two: Thellman and Swogger. Comments and annotations for these will both be due the Monday we return from break — March 28.

I pushed back the deadline for your Round Three poem to 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

Fiction Workshop: Today we workshopped Emmett and Andi. Victoria and Danielle’s stories were handed out, and are due to be workshopped on Monday, March 28. Have a nice spring break.

Cultural Lit: We talked about your Shakespeare prompts and had a lively (can I say that?) discussion about conspiracy theories and how they apply to Shakespeare, about whom it must be said that we know surprisingly little.

We traced the root of these theories back to the buildup of the cult of Shakespeare, which occurred well after his death, in the beginning of the 19th century. But the publication of this book in 1864 —

that is, translated, David Strauss’s The Life of Jesus — opened up a whole field of skepticism about whether historical fact about famous figures should be accepted uncritcally. That the “debunking” of Shakespeare began around the same time is most likely not a coincidence. (But it’s also not a conspiracy.)

Here is a Ted Talk on this subject (courtesy of Miss Bain) which we didn’t get to in class, but which is worth watching:

Remember: the main takeaway here is this. We did this lesson because it’s fun to talk about conspiracy theories. However, only a minute percentage of serious Shakespearean scholars attach any credence to this stuff. The vast majority of people — including folks who have spent their lives studying the evidence — believe that Shakespeare was a real person who did in fact write was is attributed to him. (Similarly, the Shakespeare-was-gay rumor, while also provocative, has no serious basis; sorry to disappoint. The first prominent individual to raise the issue appears to have been Oscar Wilde, who was a wonderful writer but a suspect scholar, and who loved to provoke people first and foremost. “The Portrait of Mr. W.H.”, which after all, was essentially a work of fiction, is to be read for entertainment purposes only.)

For Friday: please read this poem by William Wordsworth: “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” or this poem by John Clare: “I Am.”

Then write a short (a graf or two is sufficient in this instance) response about why the poem you choose seems to embody Romantic literature, which we will define thus:

A type of literature which prizes emotion over rational thought as the source of truth, and speaks in particular to intense emotion — fear, wonder, joy. It also reacted against the growing industrialization of the world, and placed great value on nature and childhood as sources of  the “unspoiled” and “authentic.” It was most popular in the first half of the 19th century, and a number of its major practitioners supported radical political movements, such as the French Revolution.

BatCat: We got a lot done today, but there is still a ton to do! Please stay tuned for updates: those of you who are available, we will be coming in one day during spring break to knock some of this stuff out.

Survey: CNF: Today we talked about attributive verbs and how they affect punctuation in quotations. You’ll need to know this when you write your biographical sketch.

We also talked about kinds of questions not to ask in an interview (yes/no questions; “feeling” questions; and random questions). I’ll have the final list of interview questions to give you on Friday.

Remember: your assignment for Friday is to bring in the stuff you’ve written this year! Just as it is; no revising or cleaning up required (yet). We’re going to start talking about portfolios and how to assemble them.

Survey: Screenwriting: 

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