Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of English: English Studies
Tara L. Lyons
In my graduate thesis, I determine that modern Shakespeare anthologies provide features for an audience with specific learning needs that may not be representative of the students currently enrolled in undergraduate classrooms who are reading these anthologies. On the other hand, scholars of Shakespeare pedagogy also depict readers with certain learning needs their research, the results of which may have been influenced by bias and, therefore, also may not be representative of the “real” reader of Shakespeare. To determine where the two “constructed” readers depicted in modern Shakespeare anthologies and in pedagogical research overlap and where they diverge, I will first analyze the different readers constructed in a selection of five modern Shakespeare anthologies (the Bedford, Pearson’s Complete Works of Shakespeare, the Riverside, the Norton, and the New Oxford Shakespeare). I determine that the readers constructed by these five Shakespeare anthologies require dynamic features that make the challenge of learning Shakespeare an enjoyable experience. The specific features each anthology provides to shape the approach they each believe would be the most beneficial to the learning needs of their audience demonstrates the qualities and learning needs of the readers each anthology constructs. In the second chapter, I analyze the readers of Shakespeare depicted in a selection of pedagogical scholarship, including scholars Rex Gibson, Michael Flachmann, Anthony B. Dawson, and Ann Thompson. I determine that the readers depicted by these scholars have not only the abilities but the need to learn Shakespeare through performance activities. These constructed readers must be persuaded to approach Shakespeare as a literary text in addition to a script made for performance. I ultimately conclude that the variety of approaches available due to the differences between the constructed readers in the anthologies and in pedagogical scholarship may actually be beneficial to “real” readers of Shakespeare. However, if the two constructed readers are not accurately representative of readers currently enrolled in undergraduate courses, these “real” readers may not be receiving the tools they need to effectively study a Shakespeare text.
Berns, Andrea, "The Readers Constructed by Shakespeare Anthologies and Pedagogical Scholarship" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 842.