Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

High-Security Hamlet

Ain't it always the way? You announce a hiatus after weeks of writing nothing, and the very next day, you realize that there's something you just have to post.

I just listened to a This American Life episode called "Act V" for about the fifth time since it was first aired in 2002. If you have not listened to this yet, please go here now and do that.

Why? Because you won't have heard Hamlet discussed this way before, and you ought to. Even if you absolutely, positively hate the play and/or the character; have seen it staged 3,491 times; and have read and/or taught it more times than you can remember. Seriously.

The actors in this version of Hamlet, prisoners who have committed violent crimes, talk candidly about how the play's treatment of murder, revenge, duplicity, and treachery dovetails with their own experiences. They are absolutely brilliant interpreters and literary critics who become involved with the text in a way that happens all too rarely in our classrooms.

One theater critic quoted in this piece says that this production "makes a 400-year-old text fresh again." It does. Despite my usually jaded attitude toward Hamlet, this piece never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It's that good.

I absolutely plan to use it the next time I teach Shakespeare.

And now, back to those articles . . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Trails to You . . .

Hiya, folks.

I apologize to those of you who might've been expecting a post at some point during the past month: things are getting interesting in Wiseass World. I mean "interesting" in ways that are both exciting and crappy. Unfortunately, I can't really blog about a great deal of what's going on--at least for now--which is part of the reason for my long silence.

Suffice it to say that there are major changes afoot, great feats of organization and reconstruction to complete, foes and demons alike to be defeated.

I've promised myself that I will avoid another overly depressive holiday season by meeting a daunting, but do-able, set of writing goals before I head to Old Home Sod in less than a month. Unfortunately, "behind schedule" really doesn't begin to describe my progress, so I'm going to declare a blogging hiatus until after New Year's.

I hope you'll all have a good end to the term and that the holidays will be as stress-free and fun-filled as they were meant to be. See ya in '08.