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William Shakespeare: Resources

by Celia Maddox
Educational Consultant
Norwalk, Connecticut

E-Texts
Web Sites
Multimedia
Electronic Discussion Groups

E-Texts
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Maintained by Jeremy Hylton at MIT. Texts arranged in table format. Includes search engine that links directly to the text, glossary, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, and FAQs. The site also includes a discussion area organized by play.
  The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Internet Public Library Shakespeare Bookshelf
Actually a connection to the MIT site listed above, but with a section on criticism.
  The Internet Public Library Shakespeare Bookshelf

The Works of the Bard
Oldest Shakespeare site, maintained by Matty Farrow in Australia. Has the best search engine, making complex concordance searches possible, plus a glossary.
  The Works of the Bard

The Internet Shakespeare Editions
A highly detailed site from Victoria, Canada, by Michael Best. The site's aim is to make fully annotated texts with supporting critical material available in Internet form. Includes most plays.
  The Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare by Individual Studies
This is a course site by Michael Best (see above) with extensive info and links. For several plays, Best has helpfully added line numbers that are keyed to the Signet Classics editions.
  Shakespeare by Individual Studies

Web Sites
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
Terry Gray's congenial, well-organized site sets the standard. This "annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare sources on the Internet" is probably the best general resource and gateway to Shakespeare materials, both scholarly and not. The site is extensive; see the site map. Links to individual plays, collected works, criticism, and theater as well as a great collection of best sites and oddball "other sites." Don't miss the educational section's links to courses, lesson plans, and teaching materials.
  Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet

Ian Johnston's "Studies in Shakespeare" Lectures
This group of 17 original essays is as fine a collection as I've seen on the Internet. These classroom and public lectures presented at Malaspina University in British Columbia are ideal teaching preparation. Aside from 11 essays on Shakespeare plays, the page includes pieces on the sonnets, the history cycle, an introduction to Shakespeare, and some observations on critical approaches.
  Ian Johnston's "Studies in Shakespeare" Lectures

Folger Shakespeare Institute
A product of the Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institutes. Two or three new lesson plans monthly, plus a large Lesson Plan Archive clearly classified by type: Interactive Media Lessons, Primary Source Materials Lessons, and lessons on individual plays. Also check information on Folger's workshops for teachers. Includes a discussion group.
  Folger Shakespeare Institute

Shakespeare Resource Center
This site from the A&E channel conveniently assembles a lot of pertinent background on the man, the works (links to online editions, criticism, plot synopses, the authorship debate). Particularly interesting are the searchable glossary of Shakespearean English and the terrific links to background on the British monarchy, the educational system, and architecture.
  Shakespeare Resource Center

Surfing with the Bard
"Your Shakespeare classroom on the Internet." A highly respected site friendly to students and teachers. Amy Ulen's Bard Zones include links to the plays, a complete student guide to A Midsummer Night's Dream, articles, and over 40 lively lesson plans, many of them interactive. There's a Shakespeare/Star Trek analogue. See the "Shakespeare 101" section for a useful student's guide to learning about Shakespeare. Includes a discussion group with a fair number of desperate pleas from students.
  Surfing with the Bard

The Shakespeare Classroom
A splendid site with beautiful period music. Just about the best of its kind. An outgrowth of Professor Massi's college courses at Washington State. The sample assignments and study questions for about 25 plays are stimulating and suitable for high school students. This site is so solid but such fun! And good links to interesting oddities.
  The Shakespeare Classroom

Shakespeare Magazine
"A magazine for teachers and enthusiasts," from Georgetown University. Subscribe, order back issues, or check their archive of timed performance-centered classroom exercises. Sample exercises available online.
  Shakespeare Magazine

Community Learning Network Shakespeare Theme Page
(Also Macbeth, Renaissance, and Romeo and Juliet Theme Pages). From Open School, Canada. Concise list of resource links. Most helpful for the focused Theme Pages.
  Community Learning Network Shakespeare Theme Page

The Interactive Shakespeare Project
The aim of this ambitious project out of Worcester, Massachusetts, is to create an active learning environment for secondary school and college students studying Shakespeare. Includes detailed teaching resources and performance-centered methodology for only one play to date: a prototype study of Measure for Measure that combines text, video, and performance activities. A virtual tour of the Globe is featured, but a high-speed server is necessary. Keep an eye on this site as it expands to include other plays.
  The Interactive Shakespeare Project

Social Studies School Service
Select Shakespeare from the many features. The site focuses on products to buy, but also includes teacher-created sample lesson plans, activity books, reproducible Internet activities, and a Cultural Literacy Test (an activity designed to gets students to think about their own cultural assumptions). Also contains teaching-related book reviews. Specify grades 7-12 for a list of books and films of interest to students. Links to teaching-related Web sites not found everywhere else, but of uneven quality.
  Social Studies School Service

English Resources
A UK-based service that offers free teaching and revision resources for high-school English language and literature. Choose age group, then Shakespeare. Includes message board.
  English Resources

Signet Editions Teacher's Guides
Guides based on the Signet Classics editions for nine plays, plus a "Teaching Guide to use with Signet Classics Shakespeare Series."
  Signet Editions Teacher's Guides

Shakespeare Alive!
A large collection of tips, resources, activities, and study and writing materials from Jeff Flygate of the Air Academy High School, USAF Academy, Colorado.
  Shakespeare Alive!

The Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
An example of one of the many sites intended for renaissance faire participants. Besides advertising this Oregon festival, the site provides a lot of good cultural background in a lively, colorful, and easy-to-navigate format, such as a lovely chart of currency values in Elizabethan England. Also invites questions about the period and gives answers to previously asked questions. Links to other renaissance faire sites.
  The Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire

Britannica.com
Easy-to-navigate resource that offers, in addition to the usual links, reviews of recent performances and books, plus recent Shakespeare-related magazine articles and links to specialized areas and topics within the Britannica entry on Shakespeare.
  Britannica.com

Multimedia
Shakespeare on Video: A Brief Overview
There are simply too many filmed versions to discuss in detail here. The more recent ones will probably be more popular with students, but it is often useful to compare scenes of a Hollywood Shakespeare film with the more classic "filmed play" style of the BBC series. (The BBC plays are widely available in public school libraries and in most video stores.)

There seem to be new film adaptations of Shakespeare every day. Among the more recent are Near in Blood (Macbeth on a high school football field), Scotland PA (a fast-food Macbeth), and Let the Devil Wear Black, late of the Sundance Film Festival. Your students will call attention to other adaptations, such as Romeo + Juliet (set in Verona Beach, Florida, to an MTV rhythm), Tromeo and Juliet (violent punk version), and Romeo Must Die (martial arts). 10 Things I Hate about You is The Taming of the Shrew, but then so is the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate (1953). (Compare Franco Zefferelli's 1967 Taming of the Shrew with Burton and Taylor, or his lush Romeo and Juliet of 1968.) My Own Private Idaho (1992, directed by Gus van Sant) is an adaptation of Henry IV, at least in parts -- Prince Hal in Seattle grunge.

Al Pacino's film, Looking for Richard, about mounting a production of Richard III, is a superb introduction to dealing with Shakespeare. Do not pass up the materials offered on the Looking for Richard page by the fascinating Richard III Society and Yorkist History Server. You can also go directly to the Looking for Richard material. A clever and exciting version of Richard III is the 1995 film with Ian McKellen.
  Richard III Society and Yorkist History Server
  Looking for Richard Material

Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films are generally outstanding -- cinematic but still fairly faithful versions of the plays. His Hamlet (1996) is unusual in being a full-text version; the play is almost never performed in its entirety. Other Shakespeare films directed by Branagh:
  • Henry V (1989) (But the Globe Theatre scene at the opening of Laurence Olivier's 1945 version is a must-see. The post-Vietnam Branagh and the 1945 Olivier are not as different in approach as you might expect.)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
  • Love's Labors Lost (2000) (a 1930s-style musical)
The 1995 Laurence Fishburne version of Othello (directed by Stuart Burge) is popular with students. (Branagh plays Iago. Compare Bob Hoskins's Iago in the BBC version starring Anthony Hopkins).

Twelfth Night (1996, directed by Trevor Nunn) is picturesque and helps sort out the play's romantic confusions. Titus (2000, directed by Julie Taymore) captures the black humor of that violent play. No version of The Tempest does the play justice, although the science fiction version, Forbidden Planet (1956) is an interesting oddity.

Filmographies
  Yahoo! Movies Filmography
  University of North Carolina Shakespeare Filmography

Electronic Discussion Groups
Savage Shakespeare
Discussions are easily sortable by play. The site is friendly and easy to negotiate, and the discussion seems pretty high quality. Interesting questions and answers.
  Savage Shakespeare

SHAKSPER
Affiliated with the Shakespeare Society of America (SAA), this is the oldest and liveliest electronic conference on Shakespeare. Over 1,100 members include researchers, instructors, students, and those who share their interests. Offers announcements, scholarly papers, bibliographies, and "the formal exchange of ideas." No particular academic qualifications are required, but subscription requires e-mail communication with the editor and submission of a short biography.
  SHAKSPER

Western Canon University
"Devoted to lighthearted discussion." Ports for discussion and live chat on individual plays, poetry, and Shakespeare history.
  Western Canon University






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