Friday, March 28, 2014

Final Point 7

We took several things into consideration with this edit of our Macbeth: High School Edition. A lot of it was formatting- we changed the way we did line numbers and annotations for the print version, and also added a prototype of what the e-version would look like. We added a few more annotations for clarity's sake and went through the text with a fine-tooth comb for consistency in terms of font, italicization, bolding, etc. We edited our essay to fit the more specific guidelines and feedback we received. We also shortened the section on iambic pentameter, limiting it to just a page. This version also includes the secondary scholarly essay (full text). The bibliography was also separated into sections for better clarity.

Here is a link to our PDF: click here

Monday, March 17, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Final Point 4

            Type "Macbeth" into any literary database and you will find yourself with a few thousand search results. As one of Shakespeare's most popular plays and as a part of Western literary cannon, there are no shortage of opinions surrounding the play. Critical essays range in focus from Shakespeare's homosexuality to the nature of suicide to exorcisms in the 16th century.  However, do  a little bit of digging and the "big" questions quickly come to the surface. These central issues have a lot of people talking in the scholarly conversation.  

Some of the most frequented subjects surrounding Macbeth are these:

-What role does inheritance and finding an heir play in the power struggle of Macbeth?

-What is the relationship between masculinity, power, and violence?

-How does the presence of Lady Macbeth's children advance her character and influence Macbeth's motives?

-How does the dynamic of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth's relationship inform us about gender roles?

-How does the presence of a female English monarch, Queen Elizabeth, influence the play?

-What role do the witches play in Macbeth? Is their role one that is central to the play?

           For our edition, which we plan to cater to a 9th or 10th grade general English course, it is important to take into consideration the background knowledge, interest levels, and maturity of such an audience. With this in mind, we aim to create an edition that is challenging to students and presents them with adequate exposure to the conversations surrounding the text. And we hope to do this without having students check out at the first sight of a critical essay, and also without having any teachers coming after us with pitchforks. In fact, we think it is even possible to create such an edition that the student body and teachers enjoy together.

            Critical theory is an important part of English study and is beneficial to introduce to students even at the high school level. But as mentioned, our edition is for a lower level high school class so it is important for the articles to present a challenge while still being approachable for the students. For this reason, it would be beneficial to include several critical essays at the back of the text about the "big" questions, including masculinity and power, the witches, and the historical context.

            Another way to include these "big questions" into our edition is to incorporate them into the interactive "Did You Know?" questions as well as into the discussion questions included with the edition. A couple of examples being: "Did you know that several contemporary editions of Macbeth chose to omit the witches from the play?" Or, "Did you know Elizabeth I was one of the first female monarchs?" Discussion questions might ask: "Why does Lady Macbeth repeatedly mention her children? What effect does his have?" Or, "What does violence have to do with Macbeth's masculinity?" Including several critical essays will give the students the proper background knowledge to start thinking about these issues while the "Did You Know?" prompts and the discussion questions  get the students to form their own opinions and really engage with these big questions.  


Alexander, Catherine. "The Dear Witches: Horace Walpole's Macbeth." Ebsco. Review of English Studies,  n.d. Web. 1 May 1998.

Boyd, Catherine Bradshaw. “The Isolation of Antigone and Lady Macbeth.” The Classic Journal 47.5 (Feb 1952): 174-177+203. Print.

Dean, Leanard. "Macbeth and Modern Criticism." The English Journal. Vol. 47.No. 2 (1958): pp. 57-67. Print.

Rosenberg, Marvin. "Lady Macbeth's Indispensable Child ."The Johns Hopkins University Press. Vol. 26.No. 1 (1974): pp. 14-19. Print.

Wilson, Luke. "Macbeth And The Contingency Of Future Persons."Shakespeare Studies 40.(2012): 53 62. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Final Point 3

Audience: High school students, 9-10th grade
Selected text: Macbeth

Ideas for our group's edition:

  • Make it an interactive experience, maybe in an ebook/ online format. This would be perfect for in-class review on a projector screen.
    • Possible in-text video links:
      • Performances of famous monologues
      • Contextual information
      • (Provides variety, keeps interest of students)
  • Include a section at the beginning: "Why Read Shakespeare?" Make it relevant-- this will drive content. Help students understand WHY reading Shakespeare is important or applicable to modern day. 
  • At the beginning of each scene, insert a scene summary (kind of like in Book of Mormon) so students know what to look for and have a little bit of context.
  • Insert "Did you know?" boxes that pop up and teach about historical background. (Ex: did you know that in Shakespeare's time, only male actors were used? or Did you know that Shakespeare invented 2,000 words? This is good because it will be many of the students' first exposure to Shakespeare)
  • Maybe highlight certain famous quotes-- call attention to quotes they'll be familiar with and relate it to modern day; explain why it's famous.
  • At the back of the book, include a chronological timeline of plot/ events
  • Possibly include a page about the basics of iambic pentameter
  • Put a comprehensive character list at the beginning of book-- find some way to distinguish them. 
  • Incorporate a strong visual aspect-- pictures of the globe, of what costumes and sets would have looked like, maybe even infographics! Infographics would probably teach about historical elements much better than just a bunch of text. Break it down, make it clear, simple and EASY for students to understand. 
  • Link words to their footnotes-- instead of making a student look to the side or all the way down to the page and try to find the modern translation for a word, all they have to do is click on the word and the translation will pop up in a bubble.
  • Include discussion questions at the end of book that coordinate with introductory material's focus (see next set of bullet points). 
  • Possibly include an accompanying audio book that the student can listen to while reading to get a better sense of tone and conversation.
  • Include a list of creative "Applying Shakespeare" projects for teachers to assign. (Ex: Re-imagine a scene of your choosing in a different time period. Adjust the language, assign roles and include costumes and props. Perform for the class.) 
  • Obviously, include the regular ebook features: bookmarking, note-making capabilities. 
  • Keep all supplementary writing clear-- avoid very formal, verbose language that could intimidate the student

Potential different focuses:
  • Lessons about human nature to be learned from characters in Shakespeare
  • Plot
  • Interpretations of text by different actors/ directors
  • Themes (gender, politics, etc.) 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Final Point 2

Summary of Editions

Orgel's Pelican Macbeth: A high school or general reader audience
It’s annotated very lightly, mostly defining words and clarifying some turns of phrase.

Advantage: It’s reader friendly and appropriate for the audience in that it doesn’t overwhelm the reader with information or intimidate through lengthy annotation.

Disadvantage: The annotations are at the bottom and high school students are less likely to look up what it actually means. It would be more helpful if the annotations were columned off to the side to make it more reader friendly.

Arden's As You Like It: A Shakespearean scholarly audience
This edition is heavily annotated, oftentimes taking up from half a page to a whole page.

Advantage: It is audience appropriate in that readers of this edition will likely be those seeking detailed information on the text.

Disadvantage: The lengthy annotation can intimidate readers and include tedious detail that detracts from the play

Critical Controversy edition of The Tempest: Graduate students
This edition turns out a consistent paragraph length of annotation at the bottom, mainly focused on definition, rather than in-depth description or history of what’s annotated.

Advantage: It puts Shakespeare in easy to understand, modern-day terms.

Disadvantage: Some of the definitions are elementary and unnecessary, especially for a grad student audience. If this edition is for grad students, more detail could be added.

Norton Critical edition of Richard III: A collegiate audience
The more lengthy annotations are reserved for the context portion of the book—expounding for those who bother to delve deeper into it, while definition-based annotations are confined to the text of the play.

Advantage: This makes reading the play very compact and viewer friendly.

Disadvantage: For a collegiate audience, it doesn’t offer up a lot of annotation within the text of the play.

Kamps and Raber's Measure for Measure: Undergraduate audience
This edition provides an adequate, but not overwhelming, paragraph of annotation that focuses on explaining the differences of Shakespeare’s vernacular with modern day vernacular.

Advantage: The annotations are audience appropriate and helpful.

Disadvantage: The annotations are referenced by line number and sometimes it’s tedious to count lines to see where to find the annotation. It might be better to have them off to the side for an undergrad audience.

A new approach to annotation...

In the Arden Shakespeare Edition of As You Like It, Act 3 Scene 3 is nearly two-thirds annotation. These text-heavy pages essentially invite the high school reader to shut down, close the book, and turn to Spark Notes for a much simpler explanation of the scene. However, with a mere change to the annotations, this scene can come alive for the high school reader in the modern age.

In any given text, when more than half of the page is filled with footnotes, the reader will often be so cowed by the sheer amount of supplementary material that he/she skips the whole page. To correct this, I propose removing much of the annotation so as not to scare the reader away. Rather, provide much less annotation and only provide what is necessary, such as definitions to strange words like “bill” on line 75 or “God’ild you” on line 69.

Many of the annotations are far too long, providing information a high school reader likely would not care about. This includes the origins of words or even interpretations as to contemporary history, such as the annotation on line 53: “Is the single man therefore blessed?” This footnote provides contemporary sources on this statement, which would likely go over the heads of a high school audience. This can be removed entirely.

Another way to engage a high school audience would be to rearrange the footnotes so as to facilitate easy reading, without pausing over and over to scan the bottom of the page. This can be accomplished by setting the annotations in the margins of the book rather than at the bottom, whenever possible due to length.

One final solution would be to provide an explanation of analyses at the end of the scene so students who struggle with Shakespeare can still understand the flow of the story. Instead of commenting on the theme of "poetry versus lies" in the moment and interrupting the flow of reading, such as in lines 15-16, an annotation could be provided at the end of the scene providing an analysis of this theme. If necessary, the editors could select which themes to mention so as to not overwhelm the reader.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Final Point 1

Final Point 1 - 

As our group discussed our possible audience for our edition a high school or junior high audience was quickly agreed upon. Two of us in the group are English Teaching majors and this is partially our motivation but we also feel that it would be enjoyable to create an edition that introduces a fresh and modern audience to the classic brilliance of Shakespeare. We also feel better equipped to create an edition for high school students compared to college students. 

As we went through our editions, we decided the following audiences for the editions and the following reasoning for these decisions. We also came to this conclusion through the way these editions connected to their audience:

Orgel's Pelican Macbeth: A high school or general reader audience

Reasoning- Simple language is used with enough information to inform the audience without overwhelming them. This edition connected to their audience through simple but interesting contexts (for example, gender)

Arden's As You Like It: A Shakespearean scholarly audience

Reasoning- A very heavy and dense language is used which we feel is intended for a scholarly audience. Also, a large amount of detailed information that is not needed for understanding the play is included. There is also an extensive amount of footnotes that would only be considered helpful by Shakespearean experts. 

Critical Controversy edition of The Tempest: Graduate students

Reasoning- Articles included are traditional and historical spanning from post colonial to feminism. We feel that the critical essays would be most helpful for graduate students who are studying at an upper level but are not quite experts on Shakespeare and needs as much information offered in the Arden edition. 

Norton Critical edition of Richard III: A collegiate audience

Reasoning- Critical and contextual scholarly articles are found in the edition. Elevated but not exceptionally difficult language is used. The footnotes are not overwhelming. AP high school students might find this edition helpful, but we would mainly place it in an college 200 or 300 level class. 

Kamps and Raber's Measure for Measure: Undergraduate audience

Reasoning- Historical and critical contexts are provided. The language is too dense for high school students but this edition is not detailed enough for graduate students. We also took into account that some of the historical documents included had the text modernized so they could be read easily therefore, not appealing to graduate students or scholars.