Monday, May 21, 2007


To be or not to be? At U.S. colleges, it's increasingly 'not' : "The world loves Shakespeare. But American universities don't.

That is the conclusion of a new study released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The report, 'The Vanishing Shakespeare,' surveyed English curricula at 70 major American colleges and universities. Only 15 require their English majors to take a course on Shakespeare. The rest allow the English teachers of tomorrow to graduate without studying the language's greatest writer in depth.

Only one institution requires Shakespeare in the Ivy League -- Harvard. And a mere three others of U.S. News' top 25 liberal arts colleges -- Middlebury, Smith and Wellesley -- require the study of the Bard.

At most of America's top colleges, Shakespeare is simply an elective -- one among many. That puts him on a par with literature courses on 'Nags, Bitches and Shrews' at Dartmouth; Los Angeles, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Baywatch at Northwestern; baseball at Emory, and 'Cool Theory,' at Duke, where students devote themselves to the study of a single word of American slang."


Robert C. said...

Wow, weird. English majors don't have to study Shakespeare at most schools? Weird and dumb.

At Ohio University, English majors are required to take a Shakespeare course.

Stephen said...

Go Ohio!

Paul said...

So...the average high school graduate has been exposed to the same amount of Shakespeare as some English majors. Wow, indeed. I remember reading 12th Night, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, MacBeth, and many sonnets during my 9th and 12th grade years. Probably some other stuff, too, but I just don't remember it.

Stephen said...

Come to think of it, I read Shakespeare in high school, not college.

Paul said...

I'm taking two of these school sweaters, a bunch pf pennants, a couple of these little fuzzballs you cheer with... and hey, it's on me...Shakes-beer for everyone! Hey, Honey, I'd like to tame your shrew.
Thornton Melon in Back to School

Mark said...

In my 5 years of HS (no I'm not slow, that's just how many we had to do back then), we covered R&J, 12th Night, MacBeth, Othello, and Hamlet. In my u-grad (elective) English class, we covered several sonnets too. But then, I was never an English major.