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Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Editor(s): Maurice Hunt

Pages: xi & 219 pp.
Published: 2000
ISBN: 9780873527583 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873527576 (hardcover)

"Romeo and Juliet is obviously hospitable to pedagogic discussion: everybody has taught it, everybody has problems teaching it, and yet everybody finds that on some level it is still a satisfying play to teach. This Approaches volume is very smart about its audience, offering practical suggestions for confronting the familiar obstacles that students perennially raise and also providing fresh commentary from recent scholarship and performance."
Russ McDonald, author of The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare


Taught widely in high school and college, Romeo and Juliet may be Shakespeare's most accessible work. Teenagers and young adults identify with the play's interfamilial conflict, the love story, and the defiance of parental authority. Nevertheless, readers of all ages are often perplexed by the Bard's poetic language, the "unrealism" of the characters' eloquence, and the embedded sonnets. Essays in this book address these challenges and others and offer instructors imaginative strategies for dealing with them.

The first part, "Materials," reviews the most widely used anthologies of Shakespeare's plays and the many available editions of Romeo and Juliet, as well as background materials for the instructor and recommendations for student reading. The second part, "Approaches," presents practical ideas for the classroom. A final section describes scenarios for teaching the play through dramatic technique and for using Romeo and Juliet's many adaptations, including the popular Zeffirelli and Luhrmann films.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Shakepeare's Romeo and Juliet

PART 1: MATERIALS
Maurice Hunt

Editions
Complete Editions of Shakespeare
Single Editions
The Instructor's Library
Reference Works
Critical and Pedagogical Studies
Background Studies
Textual and Source Studies
Performance and Theater Studies
Visual Materials and Other Artistic Media

Required and Recommended Student Readings

PART 2: APPROACHES

Introduction

Reading Strategies

Authority in Romeo and Juliet
Arthur F. Kinney

"I Love You Madly, I Love You to Death": Erotomania and Liebestod in Romeo and Juliet
Ivo Kamps

"Now Art Thou What Thou Art"; or, Being Sociable in Verona: Teaching Gender and Desire in Romeo and Juliet
Thomas Moisan

Teaching the Tragi-comedy of Romeo and Juliet
Douglas Bruster

Literary and Contemporary Contexts

Teaching Romeo and Juliet in an Introduction to Drama Course
Jennifer Low

Teaching Romeo and Juliet Historically
Dorothea Kehler

Teaching Romeo and Juliet with Troilus and Cressida and Antony and Cleopatra
Thomas H. Blackburn

Queer Romeo and Juliet: Teaching Early Modern "Sexuality" in Shakespeare's "Heterosexual" Tragedy
Nicholas F. Radel

Modern Contexts

"Who Wrote the Book of Love?": Teaching Romeo and Juliet with Early Rock Music
Cynthia Marshall

Teaching Romeo and Juliet as a Tragedy of the Generation Gap and of Teenage Suicide
Sara Munson Deats

Teaching Shakespeare’s Bawdry: Orality, Literacy, and Censorship in Romeo and Juliet
James R. Andreas, Sr.

Character

Teaching Mothers in Romeo and Juliet: Lady Capulet, from Brooke to Luhrmann
Michael Basile

"My Ghostly Father": Teaching the Friar in Romeo and Juliet
Paul J. Voss

Loving Shakespeare’s Lovers: Character Growth in Romeo and Juliet
Karl F. Zender

Language and Text

The Wild Goose Chase: Teaching Metaphor in Romeo and Juliet
Joseph A. Porter

Teaching the Books of the Play
Jill L. Levenson

Dramatic Technique and Performance Art

Provoking Thought: Teaching Romeo and Juliet through Dramatic Technique
James Hirsh

Textual License and Restraint: (Re)Enacting Stage History
Stephen M. Buhler

Other Artistic Media

Star-Crossed Generations: Three Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet
Robert F. Willson, Jr.

Teaching Musical and Balletic Adaptations of Romeo and Juliet; or Romeo and Juliet, Thou Art Translated!
R. Alan Kimbrough

Works Cited

Index




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© 2014 Modern Language Association. Last updated 06/01/2010.