ALL Course: On the Rialto Once
January 24 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
On the Rialto Once: Ethnic Hatred and the Literary Imagination in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice
With John F. Ford & John H. Miller
Dates: Five sessions on Wednesdays, January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21
Location: Van Lennep Auditorium, CBMM
Mystery, romance, suspense, laughter, and language combine to make The Merchant of Venice one of Shakespeare’s most memorable plays. And there is Shylock, a character so powerfully written that he seemingly overshadows all other aspects of the play and makes us all uncomfortable witnesses of his performance.
Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt wrote, in an essay entitled Shakespeare’s Cure for Xenophobia, “There is something very strange about experiencing The Merchant of Venice when you are somehow imaginatively implicated in the character and actions of its villain. You laugh when Shylock’s servant, the clown Gobbo, contemplates running away from his penny-pinching master. You smile when Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, having escaped from her father’s dark house into the arms of her beloved, declares, “I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made me a Christian.” You shudder when the implacable Shylock sharpens his knife on the sole of his boot. You applaud the resolution of the dilemma, when clever Portia comes up with the legal technicality that confounds Shylock’s murderous plan. The Jew who had insisted upon the letter of the law is undone by the letter of the law; it is what is called poetic justice. But, all the same, you feel uneasy.”
Required Text: Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (any edition of your choosing)
About the Instructors: John Ford majored in literature in college. He currently is Facilities Manager at CBMM and President of the Easton Town Council. John has taught literature courses for ALL for more years than he cares to remember.
John Miller, Ph.D., is former adjunct professor of English at Carnegie-Mellon University and lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh. John received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and his B.A. from Yale University. Recently, John taught literature at Washington College, American University, and the Semester-at- Sea program. John is a long-time course leader for ALL.
Members $30 | Non-Members $45