Sunday, September 19, 2004

Henry V, the Gulf War, and Cultural Materialism

Henry V, the Gulf War, and Cultural Materialism. I had never thought about using Shakespeare to teach about the First Persian Gulf War but this author (Kevin Ewert) has and he has done an excellent job of showing how he has done it.

From the site:

This paper is about the difficult relationship between visions of the future and known history in Shakespeare’s Henry V; it is also about finding a way to make cultural materialism comprehensible to undergraduates. Three particular moments of historical/cultural schism are analyzed: between the play and the history it represents, when the final Chorus steps forward and tells us that everything Henry has won will shortly be lost; between the play and its originary moment, where a hopeful vision of the Earl of Essex returning victorious to London from Ireland is dashed only months after the play premiered; and between a modern victor in a modern battle, in a series of articles in Forbes magazine using Shakespeare’s play to “understand” the Gulf War. These three moments are linked, in order to offer a template for using the relationships of texts to historical moments for teaching a cultural materialist perspective to undergraduate students of Shakespeare.

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