When Stephen Greenblatt walked into the library of Benson High School, Elisa Wong’s senior AP English class fell into an expectant hush. The students had been studying Hamlet and read a chapter of Greenblatt’s book, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare in advance, so they were prepared with questions for the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Greenblatt’s enthusiasm for Shakespeare was contagious, and students listened raptly as he talked about the time and culture in which Shakespare wrote Hamlet. He noted that the play includes more than a hundred new English words and pointed out how making up language was a risky endeavor, but Hamlet was a smash hit. Greenblatt compared the play’s continuing relevance to a bone stuck in our culture’s throat: we cannot swallow it, nor spit it out.
When a student asked which of Shakespeare’s plays Greenblatt preferred, he listed several, saying that to pick a favorite play is like taking a Rorshach test. “It reveals something about you.”
Students applauded afterward, and approached Greenblatt with more questions. He had to return to Literary Arts for a meeting with local writers, but he and the students chatted all the way to the front door of the high school. Overall, it was a great event. Thanks to everyone who helped us to organize it!
Incite: Queer Writers Read
September 6, 2017
A new curated reading series for Queer writers hosted by Kate Carroll…
Francis Ford Coppola in conversation with Melena Ryzik of The New York Times
October 2, 2017
Tickets start at $15, available at Portland5.com. Francis Ford Coppola is an…
2017/2018 Portland Arts & Lectures
October 12, 2017
The 33rd season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the…
Bookmark: A Benefit for Literary Arts
October 25, 2017
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for our cocktail hour with dinner…
Joe Biden: American Promise Tour
November 30, 2017
Literary Arts will host Joe Biden on Thursday, November 30 in celebration…
The Moth Mainstage
December 11, 2017
The Moth returns to Portland on Monday, December 11. This extraordinary performance…