William Shakespeare: A Life of Drama

Today while running my many (many) errands, I stopped by the local library and picked up A&E’s William Shakespeare: A Life of Drama.  I wanted to see if it would be worth viewing with my students–or purchasing.

The pros:

  • It was a good introduction and overview of Shakespeare.
  • It provided visuals: the plays, Elizabethan England, the new Globe, etc.
  • It was under an hour, meaning that with my double-block classes we could both watch the documentary and do a more active related activity.

The cons:

  • It looks a little dated, which might be a turn off for my students.
  • It’s interesting, but not absolutely captivating.
  • Romeo and Juliet was mentioned maybe twice.

It was interesting to note where the documentary differed from Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare: The World as Stage.  What Bryson presents as supposition or a fact under dispute, the documentary presented as the absolute truth.

I did a quick search on Amazon and found In Search of Shakespeare by PBS.  I’ve requested this from the library as well to see if it would be a better fit for my students.

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2 thoughts on “William Shakespeare: A Life of Drama

  1. I’m really enjoying your blog! The next book on my list is Ovid’s Metamorphoses and then I am diving into the major pieces by Shakespeare. I was wondering which publisher you most recommend for Shakespeare’s works?

  2. Oh thank you so much for the compliment! I’m glad you’re enjoying my ramblings and musings about preparing to teach! You know, for teaching I’m totally loving the version that Donors Choose sent me for my students: Barron’s Simply Shakespeare. I love the information they give before each act in order to focus students on what’s important, and the modern translation to aid them with the reading. The version that I default to for my own reading is The Arden Shakespeare, but that’s only because it’s what I used in college.

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