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Shakespeare in Civic Life & Education

Shakespeare in Civic Life & Education Clip


Shakespeare in Civic Life and Education will explore the ways in which Shakespeare’s work has saturated American history.  After the Revolution, there were serious questions about whether America should adopt British culture and literature or create its own.  Enjoyed by avid theater fan George Washington, revered by Jefferson and Adams, Shakespeare becomes part of that transformation.  Looking back much farther to America's beginnings, the documentary also explores a surprising colonial connection: the 1609 shipwreck (on the way to Jamestown) that may have inspired Shakespeare's play The Tempest.  Listen to the sample clip to learn more. 


As we move to the late 19th century, we will look at how Shakespeare finally appears in college lecture halls and high school classes, while making an unexpected appearance in the early annals of American psychiatry.    During the first generation of American psychiatry, no figure was cited as an authority on insanity and mental functioning more frequently than William Shakespeare.    We will look at how outdoor Shakespeare became acceptable on the strait-laced Chautauqua Circuit.  We will look at how Shakespeare influenced Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his role in the experiences of immigrants and in major movements like the push West, the establishment of cities, and the Civil War.


Above all, we will discover how Shakespeare has come to be everywhere in America, from Gold Rush mining camps to modern open-air performances from Oregon to Central Park...and from the "Shakespearean" actors of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn (two con-men called the Duke and the King) to the final frontiers of Star Trek and the latest teen movies.


Shakespeare in Civic Life & Education Clip


Visit the Shakespeare in American Life website at www.shakespeareinamericanlife.org.

Bill's Buddies

Shakespeare jigsaw puzzle, Titania

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Shakespeare in American Life Website

Shakespeare in Civic Life & Education Clip

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