A Bard In Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush or There’s No Bardness Like Slow Bardness
Shocking. The tremors from the announcement that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will be futzing with the Bard are rippling through out various literary communities. It’s one thing to sneak No Fear Shakespeare into the classroom when teaching Hamlet and company to students, it’s quite another to go to the theater and pay good money to hear modernity instead of Bardinator verse. If you haven’t heard the news, hear it here: Shakespeare is undergoing translation, and yes, I do believe something will be lost along the way.
“I suspect that Shakespeare himself, in his eagerness to reach audiences, would be perplexed by the idea that our job today is to settle for only half understanding his work. Let’s embrace Shakespeare for real and let him speak to us.”
So says Dr. McWhorter who teaches linguistics, American studies, philosophy and music at Columbia University.
Just because we haven’t kept up with Old English doesn’t mean it should be changed to meet our needs. There are plenty of analysis experts who have provided handy translations of Shakespeare’s works. We just need to take the time to read them. Or better yet, figure it out on our own. It’s called learning.
What really concerns me is if this could be a trend towards other changes. Sophocles? That old dead writer of Mediterranean vintage who wrote about the son who inadvertently married his mother? Yeah, it’s Greek to me too–better change it up so we can understand his plays. Then there is Emily Dickinson. Dash it all, she really doesn’t understand how to properly use punctuation, better to get grammar check suggestions for her. She’s still in public domain, so she won’t mind. Honestly, if we quietly allow Shakespeare to be mucked about with and don’t fuss about how *presto chango* his beautiful verse and prose gets shazzamed into everyday slings and arrows, then we will surely watch all the old classics become literature lite. Less calories, less filling.
How do you feel about those Oregon Shakespeare folk messing about with Shakespeare?
Here’s the article. Let me know what you think. *grumble grr*
Me thinks it’s piteous to mess with the muse.