Trefoil 26.1.10


Trefoil 26.1.10

26 Jan ’20 Teaching 0

Everyone can see in Shakespeare the mirror of their own predicament.

The week my Trefoil is definitely dedicated to Shakespeare, closely followed by my teaching colleagues in the English and History Departments. It started with a conversation about Venice and so the dominoes tumbled and spiralled.

Firstly – talking about the Shakespeare’s Elizabethan context, I was discussing the importance of Venice in Othello. Working out the details the day ended with the kind gesture of the loan of Neil MacGregor First ‘Shakespeare’s Restless World.’ Accessible, informative, fascinating. Whilst there was only a few factual curiosities specifically for Othello, it was a brilliant – 4.7/5.

The book is twenty “whats-in-the-box” lessons or and how these apply or influence Elizabethan society, Shakespeare himself or theatre goers. Shakespeare’s Restless World uncovers the extraordinary stories behind twenty objects from the Elizabethan period to re-create an age, so distant from that of our students and yet at times, so similar! 4.7/5

Second, below the blurb was a Radio 4 logo and a note to The British Museum… which led me to the BBC Series orated by the author plus clips, galleries and transcripts. Chapter or Episode 12, Sex in the City connects a delicate glass goblet with the twin seductions of “Venice – its sought-after luxuries and its equally sought-after lecherous women”, offered an additional perspective for the “Portrayal of Women” lessons this week.

And it was this very widespread uncertainty about the true nature of Venetian women that unsettled and finally undid Othello.

Interestingly, Shakespeare makes Venice even more tolerant than it actually was – a place where Christians and Jews could mingle in a way unimaginable in any other part of Europe. For Shakespeare Venice is not just a rich Italian city, it’s a laboratory of new social possibilities.

New learning: A good dose of monarch history, religious perspectives, reformation, circumnavigating the world (the Globe Theatre name is not a coincidence), disguise, witchcraft, the worries around uncertainty, trade, time, apprentices and a good deal of insight regarding the in-house, or Elizabethan referenced jokes.

It is, a treasure trove of Shakespearean professional development – and the podcasts are downloadable.

Finally, there is a dormant FutureLearn course – Shakespeare and his World. One to watch.

Lastly, this morning I enjoyed a gruesome conversation with the History team before briefing. More tip bits for Year 9, the truth behind beheading, hung, drawn and quartered, tips for the headsman, dipping one’s hanky in beheaded Kings blood…


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