Monday, March 31, 2014

Final Point 7

Our edition has experienced great progress and incorporated many of the fantastic ideas that our fellow classmates are using in their own editions.  We have realized more than anything that our edition must compare itself not to editions in general of As You Like It, but editions specifically targeted at high school students. Whereas we were once trying hard to create an edition with an emphasis on the unique women of the play, we have since decided that it was better to create an overall easily accessible edition.   We have since decided to add a section at the start of the edition entitled "Who was William Shakespeare?" for the purpose of introducing the author to the students--a little background can always help illuminate the nature of the work.  We have also decided to add a section on themes, so students know what themes exist in the play and what to be looking for while they read.  We will include a character list and a timeline/sequence of events for easy reference should the students find themselves confused about the characters or events of the play. As for the play itself, each act will be preceded with a small vocab section of new words students will encounter.  The play's annotations have shifted to better assist the readability of the play.  They will highlight hard to understand phrases and clarify any potentially confusing situations.  We are thinking about adding small "Did you know?" sections alongside the play, just to keep things fun and engaging (but we don't want our edition to be too busy, so we'll see).  Each act will be followed with critical thinking questions pertaining to that act, and finally, post-reading questions once the entire play has been completed. Each act will also close with visuals pertaining to important moments or scenes within the act. Many editions competing for our audience have taken care to ensure they are engaging and encourage critical thinking.  We want to be positive that we are meeting that standard.

A few things are still being revised, but here is a look at what we have now:
PDF of Edition

Monday, March 17, 2014

Final Point 5

Our group is still compiling resources and additional content to include in our essay, but what we have so far are the following:

The Introduction


The Table of Contents
PDF file

PDF file

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Final Point 4

Our group reviewed several articles in order to research for Final Point 4, which was assigned as follows:

"As a group, survey as much secondary scholarship on your play as possible. Write a post that, after giving an overview of the sorts of questions people are asking of the text, discusses how these questions will inform your edition. Include a bibliography of the secondary works you read or consulted."
As we stated previously, our edition will be aimed at high school students and will present the opportunity for students to think critically about feminism and its role in As You Like It. This led us to the following articles and ideas:

In the article "As We Like It: How a Girl Can Be Smart and Still Popular"by Clara Claiborne Park, Park explores the women of Shakespeare's plays. She explains that Rosalind is the best of all of Shakespeare's ladies as she is the one that culminates the best attributes of each of them. This article and a couple of others in this Norton edition give praise to Rosalind and her "spunky" spirit. They do not find fault with her and find her to be the most interesting character. 

I wanted to read this article because the title caught my attention as a topic teenagers (mostly teenage girls) would be interested in. It goes along the lines of identity within the play and that warm, fuzzy feeling that teenagers need to feel when they are trying to understand themselves and how they fit within the world around them. Park praises Rosalind overall because she is being complete self without care for social norms, and I feel that's a message that can really resonate with our high school audience. 

The main questions that are posed in "A Fair Youth in the Forest of Arden: Reading Gender and Desire in As You Like It and Shakespeare's Sonnets," by Amanda Rudd, are as follows: What role does gender play in the sexual undertones of "As You Like It?" On the flipside, what role do sexual tensions play in the portrayal of gender in "As You Like It?" Is there any relation between these portrayals in "As You Like It" to the portrayals of gender and desire in Shakespeare's famous love sonnets?

The article/essay touches on the sexual undercurrents of the play, (both hetero- and homo- erotic) as well as how such undercurrents may have been viewed by Shakespeare's audience at the time of its release. It also touches on the idea that "female sexuality is seen as threatening, dark, and horrifying" and the occurrence of homoerotic desire being resolved into heterosexual love. Many of these thoughts are related back to similar ideas expressed in a multitude of Shakespeare's sonnets. 

Because our edition will be focusing somewhat on a gender-based reading (feminism in "As You Like It," the underlying thoughts and ideas behind all that cross-dressing, etc.) these questions/ideas may be helpful in establishing and encouraging questions about the place of sexuality in the play. Readers would, at the very least, be invited to think and determine for themselves the purpose and then the effectiveness of such portrayals of desire, lust, and love in "As You Like It."

Jessica Tvordi's article, “Female Alliance and the Construction of Homoeroticism in “As You Like It and Twelfth Night” explains that while dramatic literature of early modern England frequently showed female characters forming alliances with one another, these alliances were almost always dissolved to bring about heterosexual pairings. She argues that it is rare for any members of these female alliaces to make an effort to resist heterosexual pairings in favor in maintaining their alliance. As You Like It (and Twelfth Night) stands out for doing just that, in that Celia and Rosalind form an alliance, Rosalind turns away from it in moving toward relationships with men, and Celia openly opposes Rosalind's interest in heterosexual involvements, revealing her investment in the friendship and willingness to take extreme measures to maintain it (for socioeconomic, emotional, and as Tvordi argues, even erotic attachments). Celia challenges the plays' heterosexual imperatives.
This is highly applicable research for our group as we are interested in looking at the theme of feminism within As You Like It. It would really help provide us with a more well-rounded discussion because there is so much focus on Rosalind in criticism of the play. This offers excellent perspective on Celia, who claims far less of the play's spotlight, and the ideas expressed in the article give us more to work with in developing our ideas of teaching As You Like It with a feminist emphasis.

In her article, "Wrestling as play and game in As You Like i]It," Cynthia Marshall acknowledges the the ever-prevalent undercurrents of social and sexual tension as themes central to psycho-sexual and feminist readings of the play.  However, in her work Marshall advocates a different reading and argues that the underlying conflict in the narrative serves as an illustration in effective conflict management.  Quoting scholar C.L. Barber, Marshall attempts to place her analysis within the context of Shakespearian literature by stating that the play exemplifies, "power to express conflict and order it in art."  She then points to the strained and then repaired relationship between brothers Orlando and Oliver as the archetype for conflict management and resolution in Shakespearian literature and poses questions of the realities of physical versus emotional presence, and it's relationship to conflict management in the aforementioned duo's wrestling match early on in the work.

As Marshall mentions, much of the contemporary criticism surrounding As You Like It has become increasingly dark, as various readings of the play have focused on social and sexual tension.  What separates Cynthia Marshall's analysis apart from her contemporaries is her refreshing take on the conflict in the play and the lessons we can learn from it if viewed as an example of conflict resolution.  As our edition will be geared towards high-school students, it will be of paramount importance to explore themes from various angles and perspectives, analyzing the work for the betterment of ourselves and society.  Marshall certainly does this, as her criticism brings to light new and useful viewpoints for the modern student of Shakespeare.


Marshall, Cynthia.  "Wrestling as play and game in As You Like It." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Spring, 1993, Vol. 33, p265(23), 1993.

Park, Clara Clairborne. "As We Like It: How a Girl Can Be Smart and Still Popular" As You Like It. W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print.  277-281.

Rudd, Amanda. "A Fair Youth in the Forest of Arden: Reading Gender and Desire in As You Like It and Shakespeare's Sonnets." Journal of the Wooden O Symposium , 2009, Vol. 9, p106-117, 12p, Database: Humanities Source.

Tvordi, Jessica. “Female Alliance and the Construction of Homoeroticism in As You Like It and Twelfth Night.” Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women's Alliances in Early Modern EnglandOxford University Press, 1999. Print. 114-130.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Final Point 3

Play: As You Like It
Audience: High school students

This play dabbles in romance, humor, and identity, which are all subjects that high school students deal with on a regular basis.  This is conducive to our goal to get the students interested and interacting on a more personal level with Shakespeare.  We want to make reading Shakespeare a more fun and less daunting class for the next rising generation.
  • We do not think it would be productive to overwhelm students with scholarly articles.  We think it would be counter-productive in relation to our goal to create an environment that fills the gap between Shakespeare and the students.
  • That being said, we do want to open their minds slightly to the idea that the text can be more than just a text.  We are interested in the idea of bringing a feminist lens to the surface in regards to Rosalind's identity throughout the play.  We feel this would be an interesting point to bring up for high school students as they themselves are molding their own identities.  We feel it would, once again, diminish the gap between the students and Shakespeare.
  • With the goal of interaction in mind, we think it would be helpful to give a [very] brief explanation of the history of performances of Shakespeare's time and the different techniques one can use to perform this play today.  The history of men playing women's roles in a cross-dressing play could be humorously engaging to a high school audience and discussing the different techniques one could use today in performing the play would promote the students interpreting and performing the play themselves.
  • With high school students being active in their use of technology, we like the idea of creating an online/e-book version with hyperlink annotations.  It would be less distracting to an audience that can be a  little attention-deficient and more easily accessible.  It would add to the text rather than detracting from it.  We would annotate words that are not familiar to your average high school students and "translate" them in a way that they specifically would understand.
For our edition, ultimately what we hope to accomplish is a way to grab the attention of students; a way to help them, at the very least, find enjoyment from reading Shakespeare, because enjoyment of a subject/thing cultivates a love for learning more about that subject/thing.  We think that it is a lot to ask young students to dive deeply into Shakespeare and really "get it," but to learn how to enjoy it is a terrific and an important starting point.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Final Point 2 - Annotations

Scene Selection: When the three witches tell Macbeth that he is going to be king (Act 1 Scene 3)

For the purposes of our group's intended audience, we will annotate according to a high school audience.  The Pelican edition already does this, but there are a number of minor changes to format that would greatly improve the annotations already given.  First, any annotated word in the play should contain a symbol directly next to it indicating that is has been annotated. Our edition of The Tempest does this, preparing the reader to focus on that selection.  Second, for visual's sake, it is also good to make bold the words/phrases being annotated (Pelican italicizes the words but bold is a lot more visually helpful).  Third, it would be ideal to line annotations one below the other the way our Richard III text does as opposed to just writing them across.  With the Richard III annotations it is easy to quickly reach the next annotation sought after and identify which ones have already been looked over.  Writing them across, as Tempest and Macbeth do, makes them a lot harder to follow.  With the scene we've selected, the information Pelican includes in its annotations is still highly applicable to our chosen audience, but the format would need some serious adjusting.

Another approach is to do an online annotated version of Macbeth in which a symbol or number is set next to the word/phrase being annotated.  The symbol could be a hyperlink to some sort of pop-up tab (like a sticky note looking pop-up or a hovering box) that contains the annotation.  What this would do is eliminate the frustration of having to move back and forth between the text up top and the annotations down below.

Of course cross-referencing between texts and between other parts of the play, as seen is As You Like It, is another great way to annotate and offers terrific context.  However, for the purposes of a high school audience, doing so might be overkill and ruin the clarity that a simple defining of terms would offer for students at that level.

Macbeth: Very definition oriented, plus it describes some of the stage setting.  Ideal for high school audience as it clarifies potentially troublesome diction.  Offers little context, but for the target audience (probably high school) context probably isn't that necessary.

Tempest: Like Macbeth, it gives little historical/literary context and a lot of definitions, but almost to a fault in that at times it seems to ques
tion the reader's intelligence.  For instance, clarifying the word "like" in Act 3.3.66 as meaning "similarly" seems almost an unnecessary clarification, because the connection is so obvious.  This sort of thing gets distracting.  The lack of context leaves depth to be desired for students of criticism at the university level.

As You Like It: Gives contextual definitions.  Places definitions of difficult-to-understand words/phrases within the context they appear, as if explaining the reason for their use.  Includes cross-referencing and external sourcing (such-and-such phrase originates from such-and-such Bible verse).  Offers plenty of clarification and information; risks detracting from the actual play itself as some of the lengthy explanations tend to run long and occupy the majority of the page. There is such a thing as too much explanation.

Measure for Measure: Defines words/phrases, offers some contextual explanations (such as why such-and-such character is saying what they are saying). Some annotations seem to overdo it in trying to explain simple terms or phrases whose meanings would be obvious to undergrads like ourselves (which seems to also be the audience of this edition).

Richard III: Annotations focus mainly only on definitions of words/phrase, but unlike Macbeth and The Tempest this edition explains more about references to people or places that anyone unfamiliar with history of the time period may not understand. There are notes on the names of different dwellings, for example, and if any name-dropping occurs (such as kings/queens/royalty of the day) it notes exactly who that person is. Helpful for those looking to understand and grasp the historical feel and time period during which Richard III takes place, less helpful in understanding characters and context.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Final Point 1

In reviewing the several editions of Shakespeare's plays that we will be studying this semester in English 382, it seems consistently true that the target audience is inclusive of a college-level student and above; that is, those who are already Shakespeare scholars and those who are working towards becoming Shakespeare scholars. This is immediately evidenced by the language used in the included material--it would be tedious to get through for those with only a fundamental knowledge of Shakespeare and/or the English language. When we examine the content of the extra materials we also find that much of it is highly detailed and specific in nature, which is significantly less likely to appeal to the average student--high school or college aged--who is not studying Shakespeare or similar subjects. If, for example, you were reading Shakespeare because it was required for you to gain an English credit on your way to a non-English-related degree, you may find some of the extra materials vaguely interesting but most likely you would not think to read them at all. The background/contextual materials in these editions are very much catered to the type of student who would read these extra materials whether they were assigned readings or not.

Although we reserve the right to change our minds, we as a group are considering the possibility of catering our Shakespeare edition to a high-school audience. High-school students focus more broadly on multiple areas of study rather than in detail on one area of study. In compiling an edition for this audience we could pull material more widely that related to multiple different subjects and contexts rather than being confined to the more in-depth specifics of only one area of study.