Monday, September 01, 2008

Easier, but more Frustrating

Not so long ago, I was having a short conversation with someone (who has a graduate degree, but isn't in academics) and she asked me who chose the books for my classes. It sort of startled me, because I think most college graduates realize we have a lot of autonomy in our courses (though maybe not as much in some fields?).

I'm working on my last syllabus for the semester, trying to balance the work load of writing and reading, and the sorts of reading (plays, theory, crit, period texts that aren't plays).

Right now, it would really help if someone said, just teach these two plays from that book, and the others you've already decided on, and yeah, do these period texts, and these theory readings, and here's the exact criticism you should use. But it would also be really frustrating, wouldn't it?

I'm trying to decide which one or two plays from the following we'll do. The plays under consideration are Selimus, A Christian Turned Turk, an The Renegado. (They're all in the same text, so I've put off choosing.)

We're also reading The Jew of Malta, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, The Fair Maid of the West and The White Devil in the play department. I also ordered Oroonoko for the last reading for the semester, since I'm that kind of wild rebel. (One of these things is not like the other things.)

I wonder if it's too late to run off and join a circus?


  1. [delurks]

    Selimus! Read Selimus!

    (in case you're deciding by vote)

    Never has a play, among the wide variety of choices available in Renaissance drama, so insistently mixed body and metaphor. How could anyone not love that?!


  2. Should I be embarrassed by the fact that I haven't read any of the plays you listed? Granted, I was a German major as an undergrad, but I suddenly feel inadequate.

  3. Are you using Oroonoko the play or the novel? I think the play would be terrific to teach. . . Don't know the others you're thinking about, though. . .

  4. Liza, Thanks for the suggestion :) I chose Selimus and the Renegado. PIRATES!!

    K8, Unless you're on the market as an early modernist writing a dissertation on this sort of thing, I think you're in good company. But, gosh, Othello! Read Othello for a really good time!

    Susan, We're reading Behn's prose fiction. I never know what to call prose fiction other than prose fiction because I can't figure out what a novel is that so many other things aren't, if that makes sense? It's prose! It's Behn! It's a treat!

  5. I think A Christian Turned Turk has the coolest title, but I guess PIRATES!! trump everything.

  6. While it wasn't Othello, I have read Shakespeare in German! I took a theatre course while I was studying in Vienna and Twelfth Night was one of the plays we read and saw since it was being done that season. I've read Euripides, Moliere, Ibsen, and Sartre in German too. Soooo wrong.

    I will have to pull out my Riverside and read Othello one of these days.

  7. I just had a total flashback and unfortunately had to Wiki Oroonoko to jog my memory. I remembered after reading the plot summary that I read it in 11th grade English and was really moved by the work, one of few that year. I'm not sure if it was me or the curriculum.