Friday, November 7, 2008

Shakespeare Scholar

I was this close to going straight into graduate school after attaining my AB in English.* The cause for the change, of course, was that I married (such a diversion has happened to better men than myself; I have no regrets).

Had I gone into the graduate program that was my first love, it would have been to pursue Shakespeare studies. Though I was reckless enough to try to pull it off, I did have at least enough sense to ask the advice of a trusted professor.

"There are too many Shakespeare scholars already," I said.

"Yes, but there are not too many good Shakespeare scholars," Professor Stewart replied.

She was a marvelous professor.

King Lear with Ophelia the truth-speaker was and remains my favorite play by the Bard; MacBeth is a close second. I came upon Hal and Falstaff afterwards; years later I had a youngster I was tutoring learn and recite the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V.

A few years back I got into an argument with a military history buff who claimed that the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets was a historical personage and not a mere literary construct (which is the interpretation I'd been taught). The chap left in a huff at my recalcitrance; after his hors de combat I declared victory, which was a relief to the on-lookers who were still awake because it marked the cessation of the conflict. I'll take my victories where I can get them.

* Several years later I did get an MS in Tech Writing.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought of going back to school and taking up a graduate program, Sean? Understanding and love of Shakespeare is being lost and the same is true of the truly classical writers. You could do your part in keeping the love for them alive as an educator. You would be excellent in this profession, you know. Just a little food for thought... Patti

Sean said...

I'm sure I'd love teaching. And having been laid off three times and fired once, I've given thought to all sorts of career options. But I have no plans at the moment to take up something different.