Today marks the beginning of one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the school year … the final summer half-term. The countdown’s on, for teachers at least: 7 weeks; 35 working days; a maximum of 28 lessons with each of those classes.
Past a certain stage in studying literature, you begin to understand, perhaps better appreciate, the fact that texts are crafted entities.
(I choose ‘entities‘ deliberately, firmly believing texts have their own independent post-publication existences: a subject for another time, perhaps)
PTS read-through: The Merchant of Venice, Act IV
Sooner or later, it’s perhaps inevitable that readers of The Merchant of Venice confront one question: is this an anti-Semitic play? In fact, lots of people seem to have a view without having seen or read the play.
The answer is yes – and no.
When you teach Richard III you almost inevitably touch on the idea that ‘history is written by the winners’, as Orwell said in 1944 (and again, of course, so horrifically in Nineteen Eighty-Four). [a]
Who were victorious over Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex in the end? Would he have recognised the history they wrote for him?