Paula Marantz Cohen DREXEL UNIVERSITY
How can decline in enrollments in the humanities be explained? Nationwide in recent years estimates of the drop in liberal arts majors range from one-fourth to one-third of those in English, history, government, philosophy and other traditional subjects. English departments have been hit especially hard. One study found that faculty members seem to be in denial about the general decline. How in a practical way might interest in humanities majors be revived? One university has tried a blend, for example, of computer science and philosophy. At UT the Plan II program offers such courses as ‘Water and Society’, and ‘Law and Ethics’. Here is a hint about English majors: it has to do with Shakespeare.
Paula Marantz Cohen is Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of the Honors College at Drexel University. She is the author of five nonfiction books and five best-selling novels. She writes frequently for the Times Literary Supplement, The Yale Review, The American Scholar, and The Wall Street Journal. She is a co-editor of the Journal of Modern Literature and the host of the nationally distributed TV show, The Drexel InterView (retitled for next season The Civil Discourse).
[0:00:02 Speaker 2] We’re very glad to see everyone. And I’m especially glad to see Jack Farrell here today because he will be interested to know that a couple of weeks ago, someone stole the Jack thorough Lecter, and after extensive investigation, we caught the thief and we managed to retrieve thistles Jack Farrell’s lecturing that he handmade himself over always grateful for that. The topics afternoon is why humanities are in distress. Uh, and I pointed out in the circular, the at the University of Texas. The humanities are represented by such courses, is water in society, law and ethics and so on. And what I failed to mention is that it’s not only plan to. It’s also Plan one, the honors program in liberal arts that has a comparable number of courses on the humanities that are interdisciplinary. Our speaker Day is Paula Cohen. She is the distinguished professor of English and dean of the Owners program at Drexel University. She is the author of five nonfiction books in five best selling novels. She writes for The Times Literary Supplement, The Yale Review, the American Scholar and The Wall Street Journal. She is the co editor of the Journal of Modern literature and the host of the nationally distributed TV show The Drexel Interview and which will be appearing now as these civil discourse. Paula, we’re very glad to have you with [0:01:50 Speaker 0] Theo. Thank you, Um, and I should say I go by Paula Marantz Cohen. There lots of Paula Cohen’s out there, so it distinguishes May, um so in 1959 c. P. Snow, the British chemist and novelist, delivered a now famous lecture at Cambridge University entitled The Two Cultures. In his talks. No lamented the divide between the sciences and the humanities, accusing those schooled in the humanities of a double standard. They expected scientists to be educated in literature, history, philosophy and the arts, but didn’t feel obligated themselves to be educated in science. One memorable generalisation, which Snow articulated twice in his lecture, was that literary intellectuals were backward turning Luddite. It’s while scientists quote had the future in their bones. A response to Snow’s lecture came from the most eminent British literary critic of the day, f R. Leavis Invite operative attack. Leavis accused Snow of ignorance and philistinism, implying as well that he was a bad novelist. The humanities and the sciences leave US argued were not commensurate sorts of subject matter. The humanities were education in the broadest sense, expanding the mind by encouraging profound and complex thought, while the sciences a snow represented them at least were technical, instrumental, materialistic and reductive. For all that, Snow’s argument received a great deal of attention. At the time. He was not the first to take issue with the balance of science and the humanities in the sphere of higher education. In 19th century Germany, the modern research university had made research curricular focus. In the early 20th century, the mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead championed the formation of business education at it. Around the same time, the pragmatic philosopher John Dewey began advocating for experiential learning learning by doing. Yet it must be emphasized that all of these initiatives were forward, or during a period when the humanities education was still in the ascendancy. Latin and Greek were no longer central to the college curriculum, as they had been up through the 19th century, but English literature works by Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton in particular were still undisputed requirements in British and American universities, alongside philosophical works by Plato and Aristotle, and a study of major historical events and heroic figures lleva sites with some emerging counterparts that I will get to still held. Most of the cards new historicism, deconstruction and multiculturalism had not yet entered the academy. C. P. Snow and his predecessors, of which I would also include T. H. Huxley, who engaged in a similar if more gentle debate on the subject with Matthew Arnold 3/4 of a centuries earlier, were calling for a modest adjustment to the status quo. They wanted to open up and revise with the great Victorian theologian John Henry Newman had argued for in his idea of the university as an ivory tower, ah, place where humanities education existed at a removed critical vantage point on life. But Snow and other critics of the university as Ivory Tower could not have imagined the degree to which the pendulum the pendulum has now swung, where before the effort was to make science research and experiential learning, an adjunct to humanities education. Now the effort is to insert some semblance of the humanities into the college curriculum snows Pronouncement that scientists had the future in their bones has been realized with a vengeance though not, I think, in the way he would have recognized or even desired. Like all cultural change, the shift has happened slowly enough to obscure its full force and meaning. The fear voiced in the past that if the university came gave too much sway to science, technology and applied learning, it would become a trade school on, Lee has meaning. If one has something to compare, a trade school with that measure has been lost. Consider the case of the economics. Major economics has long had a place in the social sciences. It was not until recently, a particularly high profile major, but its students became more focused on careers and monetary gain. Economics graduates began began making fortunes on Wall Street, and it became the number one major at most elite schools. At many universities, it has migrated into business schools my, for example, where finance, accounting and marketing have emerged alongside it as popular undergraduate majors. At the same time, fields once confined to technical institutes like engineering, began to appear in liberal arts institutions. Smith College, for example, where my sister teachers teaches, now, has an engineering major for undergraduates that is becoming more popular than the humanities and social science majors for which it has been traditionally known from here. Other, more dramatically applied majors have followed suit. Entertainment management, entrepreneurship, music industry, sports management and culinary arts are few examples popular at my university. In other words, the divide that would separate higher education from trade education has disappeared. Why waste time reading Emily Dickinson when, when consume you late stock market investments or developed promotional campaigns for an imaginary client? Indeed, the trend now goes well beyond simulation, as students majoring in entrepreneurship are now given riel capital to invest. And those majoring in public relations are assigned riel companies for which to develop campaigns. And again, I’m talking about my university where these things are going on. This is an escalating situation on the level of form as well as content. As students feel financially strapped on a number of fronts, higher education is seen as increasingly necessary to get the kind of job that can pay off the debts that it generates. Contributing to the cost of higher education that is putting students in debt is the fact that laboratories and research equipment are expensive and that engineering and business professors plucked from industry and finance require higher salaries. The results. There was this results in MAWR administrative offices to manage government grants and corporate partnerships and to deal with more complicated legal and HR issues. Ah, large managerial class emerges that handles these things and, by its nature introduces other initiatives to support the institutions. Competitive positioning. This managerial class, trained in business and largely unfamiliar with the humanities, becomes empowered to dictate the curriculum based on optimization rather than academic excellence. Or that more ineffable value, known as wisdom shift that I am discussing ultimately affects teaching style and format. The one simple seminar, the class that sits around a table discussing a book, has come in many institutions to seem backward and unnecessary. A seminar is both too low tech to justify, given the high price of tuition and too expensive in a less than visible way in requiring ah higher faculty per student ratio. It also requires people who can teach in this format, which becomes harder as teaching becomes more standardized and assessment driven. Meanwhile, in a parallel evolution, the humanities has tried to ally itself with these trends, introducing a scientists, um of its own, though this has hardly rendered it more appealing to undergraduates. I associate this scientists and most directly with the stranglehold that French theory exerted on English departments in the 19 eighties and turned humanity study into an exercise in opaque hermeneutics. But when could go really go further back two around the time of f. R. Leavis, when Marxist theories began to penetrate the humanities under the leadership of another British critic, Raymond Williams. By the same token, the formalist approach to text known as the new criticism also took hold in the 19 fifties, which many of us studied into the 19 seventies. For all its respect for the text, new criticism now quite old criticism reflected a kind of scientific scientists, um, in its focus on a typology of ambiguity as the ambiguity could be divvied up and labeled Belacqua the 19th and early 20th century term for the study of literature as a beautiful activity was, by the mid 20th century, already viewed as stodgy, an obsolete Currently, the panacea seems to lie with digital humanities, a surefire way to suck the pleasure out of literary study before students open their books. You can disagree with me about this, all the trends that I have in numerator and have contributed to what I can only refer to as the near death of the humanities in the college curriculum bemoaned at least in some quarters, as an incalculable, incalculable loss to society, though what that lost consists of seems to remain undefined or vague. A recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled Endgame, featured a series of essays addressing this topic. One essay makes the point that everything in the university nowadays is applied and that even pure science has lost support and been replaced by Applied Science. A theoretical physicist finding it is hard to land an academic job as a literary theorist. Another essay in the issue argues that the humanities is following the steps of religion, having lost the kind of power and mystique that it once had as the repository of what Matthew Arnold called the best that has been thought and said in the world. In an official forum, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences issued a 2013 report that suggested ways in which the humanities could be revitalized. It called for the creation of a culture core rather like the Peace Corps and Humanities Master Teacher Corps, like the one that has been formed with stem fields. It also asked for more funding to support humanity’s related endeavors as they connect to global initiatives. But while The Chronicle an atomized the problem with morbid directness and the Academy of Arts and Sciences supplied Earth, that’s solutions none to my knowledge implemented since they were called for seven years ago. Neither go to the heart of the matter first explaining what should be taught in humanities courses, then how this material should be taught. And once these things are established, what role the courses should occupy within the university, when cannot develop ideas like a culture core without having a clear sense of how its practitioners would be trained and what it is that such an entity would actually do, that would be a real value to society. Excuse me? No. So let me raise the question Once taken for granted. What are the humanities? Good for that? No other field of study supplies this good for aspect can’t be trivial. It can’t talk about writing or reading skills and utilitarian terms, or even about critical reasoning, which my best engineering and finance students do very well. None of this lifts the humanities into a precinct that its name suggests a being linked to something larger and more important than the co Teagan or narrowly intellectual. There must be a way of explaining the value of these disciplines in a way that is large, generous and profound. At the same time, the rationale must have tangible meaning in a contemporary context, if not applied in the commercial sense associated with so much of the current university curriculum, then applied in some other way that young people can understand and admire. With this in mind, I would argue that the rationale for humanity study can be reduced toe one element. The cultivation of empathy, putting aside all other benefits related to subtle thinking, linguistic ingenuity, argumentation, poetical uplift and a knowledge of the past as a context for the present. What humanity study does when it draws on the best novels poetry, philosophy, art and history is teach empathy in the broadest and most profound sense of the term. This is not a knee jerk support for social justice causes or for designated downtrodden individuals. It is rather a deep compassion for human beings in all their variety and conditions, on awareness of the tragic nature of human life, on the difficulty attached to finding meaning and in existence that must inevitably end. This brings me to what kind of material can best do this and justice important. What kind of material can be sold to the necessary constituencies of higher education as worthy of investment? The answer I proposed lies with Shakespeare. I put Shakespeare forward as a curricular solution, knowing full well that he is no longer revered as he wants Waas, that he has been maligned in some quarters as a dead white European mail often displaced by authors supposedly more relevant and enlightened. But if Shakespeare may seem a reactionary choice, he remains to use current terminology, a best selling brand still automatically known to students and their parents as great. Despite efforts to diminish or undermine his importance, Shakespeare isn’t short, both marketable and able to critique the market economy as currently understood as I grow older and I hope, wiser. Through a lifelong immersion in literature and culture, Shakespeare’s plays have come to seem the necessary cornerstone for humanities. Education will also delivering in the words of my students, the most bang for their buck. But let me elaborate on my initial point about Shakespeare’s value with respect to that one quality central in my opinion toe What a humanities Education is good for the cultivation of empathy. When we think of the emotional effect of great drama, we think of catharsis, the term used by Aristotle to denote the outpouring of emotion, of pity and fear that an audience is supposed to feel at the end of a tragedy. Watching characters brought low by fate in their own shortcomings is supposed to purge a repressed emotion to cleanse us of the depression and sadness that weighs us down. But emotional release of this kind can also be a way of avoiding responsibility for others suffering in this respect. Cathartic literature can be, though it need not be. And that’s a whole other piece that I won’t be addressing here. It need not be self referential, even self indulgent. It can make us more complacent about who we are more able to function smoothly and efficiently in the world as it exists. Empathetic emotion, by contrast, is disruptive and dislocating. It is an ethical and potentially instrumental variation on catharsis. The late Harold Bloom, that eccentric and erratically brilliant literary critic, asserted that Shakespeare invented the human, referring to the rich interior lives of his characters. But I would take this his statement further and argue that the humanity that characterizes Shakespeare’s characters involves a connection. Tow us as humans. Shakespeare was, if not the first, certainly the most efficient and greatest writer to represent complex individuals whom we, the audience or reader, feel empathy for, even when they fall outside the realm of our own experience and even when they behave in reprehensible ways. Moreover, what makes Shakespeare’s empathetic imagination so useful as a tool in humanities education is that it did not come into being fully formed. I contend that Shakespeare learned empathy for a wide range of human beings. Through the process of writing his place, he grew both more empathetic and better at relaying empathy, as he wrote, using the hints of earlier characters to flush out later ones. This makes his work not only a repository of insight into empathetic responsiveness, but also a kind of how to in developing such responsiveness and studying his place, we can follow the example. He sets in thinking about others in ways that we might otherwise failed to consider or choose to neglect. All writers tend to repeat themselves, to retrace patterning used before and to indulge in compositional habits that make it easier to get from here to there. I know this from my own experience as a fiction writer who returns to certain structures of plot and character for reasons of laziness or convenience and Shakespeare, However, this repetitive patterning seems to have been mawr than a compositional crutch. Far from promoting laziness, it was a spur to conceptual AMP. Lick amplification and the rethinking of established ideas. His imagination was not conventionally fertile. Most of his plots were borrowed from other sources, but it was elaborated and richly Anna Logical. Once he imagined Mawr about a given kind of character. In many cases, a character positioned an opposition to the hero or heroine. He could not go back and indeed was driven to extend that Imagine it, imagining toe other kinds of characters. Similarly placed Shakespeare began. Several of his comedy is very early in his career, but the place in the first tetralogy of the Henry Odd is eight consecutive British history Place are generally believed to be among his first completed works. Of these, the one that I believe marks the ground on which is empathetic imagination would Develop is the fourth play in the first tetralogy, Richard the third. This place importance, in my view, lies not in its strength, but in its limitation. It offers the outline of what subsequent place would fill in. This, as I see it is key to Shakespeare’s method. He begins with a sketch or partial treatment off a character in one play and then, because of seed, has been planted in his imagination. Takes this further in a later one. Following this method, we can say that Richard the third offers us as it did Shakespeare, a kind of negative example of our first encounter with the other, in this case, a person with a disability. It is an object lesson and how we often respond Sterritt stereotypically to someone with characteristics outside our experience and immediate understanding. In the 19 fifties and sixties, when I grew up, people with disabilities were largely kept out of sight and institutions or in their homes, accommodations for the disabled, only began to appear in public spaces in the 19 eighties, and the Americans With Disabilities Act wasn’t passed until 1990. Given this gradual trajectory, it is no wonder that Shakespeare began his writing career with a character like Richard, the third, whose disability ability is merely a prop associated with his villainy, not a locus of empathy. What is surprising is that after the creation of this character, Shakespeare went on to depict the outsider character from a farm or empathetic perspective. But indeed, the hints are present in Richard the third that they would not be realized. So let me explain, and I’ll do a little bit of a close reading here. Of that first passage from Richard, the third Richard were third begins as you prop all problem any if you probably know with a soliloquy from the eventual King Richard refer to throughout the place queues as Gloucester. Gloucester opens by announcing the arrival of peace under the rule of his brother, Edward the fourth. He then goes on to explain that while others welcomed the chance to enjoy this opportunity to concentrate unloved instead of war, he is not so inclined. He then launches into the reason why. Alluding to the deformed state of [0:23:36 Speaker 5] his body that separates him, he asserts from everyone else. But [0:23:43 Speaker 0] I that am not shaped for sportive tricks nor made to court an amorous looking glass [0:23:50 Speaker 8] I [0:23:51 Speaker 0] that am rudely stamped and want Love’s Majesty to struck before a wanton, ambling nymph. I that I’m curtailed of this fair proportion cheated a feature by dissembling nature deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world. Scarce half made up and that so lamely and unfashionable that dogs bark at me as I hold by them. Why I, in this weak piping, piping time of peace, have no delight to pass away the time, unless to see my shadow in the sun and desk can’t on my own deformity. This is an amazing passage, a creed occur of self conscious shame and self loathing. But this heart rending beginning is immediately followed by a vicious repudiation of our empathy Ah, pronouncement of what this character will do as a logical byproduct of his condition, and therefore, since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fare well spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days, Gloucester soliloquy That’s functions as a two part mechanism. It opens him up to us to its reference to a deformity that should arouse our pity. Dogs bark at me as I halt by them. It then closes him off, and it’s concluding resolution, and therefore I am determined to prove a villain. Shakespeare is giving us the blueprint for a character that could arouse our empathy, but that the play will not develop in empathetic terms. Instead, Gloucester becomes an uncomplicated monster. There is never again a moment when we feel for him. It is not a will to power that drives this character. The removal of everyone around him comes to seem gratuitous and eventually counterproductive. Instead, despite his poignant opening, lines were made to feel that he is driven by a will to discord and distrust disruption to prove myself a villain. What in Shakespeare’s lexicon and that of the Elizabethan worldview more generally is associated with the demonic? This Gloucester’s crippled body becomes the outward expression of a fundamentally evil nature, as though he were plucked from a medieval morality play where outward form mirrors moral nature. And yet that opening soliloquy is so powerful that it cannot be entirely erased from our consciousness. And I most certainly have influence Shakespeare after the fact to think further on this character. Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world. Scarce half made up. Perhaps, as my students like to suggest, Gloucester’s mother, who hates him justifiably enough in the present, hated him from birth because he did not look like other Children. Perhaps the fact that dogs bark at him as he holds by them suggests that men ridiculed him as well, turning him against them. But this idea is not developed in the rest of the play. The existential bitterness of the opium opening soliloquy is never returned to. This changes dramatically [0:27:20 Speaker 3] when we raw arrive at another early villain, Shylock in The Merchant of [0:27:24 Speaker 0] Venice, a character whom I see as the playwrights most important breakthrough with regard to empathy. The Merchant of Venice, written at the time about the time of the second tetralogy and before the great comedies and tragedies, introduces the outline that would set Shakespeare’s empath at an empathetic imagination in motion. This play introduces three outsider characters. The Jew, the gay man and the woman and creates empathy for them to various degrees. It is a revolutionary play in this respect, though it is also one whose radical aspects can be glossed over or misinterpreted. Early in my career, I avoided teaching this play as a Jewish professor in a school with mostly Catholic students. I felt the child Lockwood feed the negative stereotypes that my students might have about Jews. Yet when I eventually taught it, I found it contained Thean Creedy INTs needed to defend, defend against anti Semitic thinking, though, in a nuanced rather than a simplistic, finger wagging way. In recent years, I’ve had to deal with a new problem in teaching the play students who refused to see Shylock as a villain. I find this almost is disturbing as an anti Semitic reading. To see Shylock as heroic is as wrong headed as to see him as an uninflected villain. For no sense is the elevation of victimhood consistent with Shakespeare’s empathetic imagination. Despite the abuse, Shylock suffers its a Jew and a Christian society and a lot, and in large part because of what that abuse has done to him. He remains the villain of the piece that he is the villain is what makes our empathy for him so complicated and important. And that paves the way for the complex characterizations of the great tragedies. In one of these in particular, Shakespeare places a figure of dramatic otherness into the primary position. I am referring, of course, to a fellow. There’s my contention that the character of Othello could not have been imagined by Shakespeare had there not been a shylock before him. Or, for that matter, a Gloucester before Shylock. Othello is a play that, like The Merchant of Venice, challenges the close reader to think empathetically about the other. But it places what was a more secondary character in the earlier play into a central position, making that characters murderous jealousy both horrific and comprehensible, arousing empathy for him, even as we are uphold by his [0:30:10 Speaker 9] crime. [0:30:12 Speaker 0] Okay, still, up until the middle of the 20th century, Othello was not always seen in empathetic terms as a black man suffering prejudice. An example of this blindness can be found. This fineness and prejudice can be found in the commentary of the romantic poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who refer to the pairing of Othello and Desdemona as monstrous, a viewpoint supported by the fact that the character was performed up through the middle of the 20th century almost entirely by white. Men in black face a notable exception where the performances by Ira Aldridge, a black American actor who performed mostly in small venues in Europe and in Russia and Pope Poland owing to still his to hostility to his appearance in America and London, it must be acknowledged, therefore, that this character was not fully seen until relatively recently. Indeed, even when I read Othello in high school in the early 19 seventies, the teacher concentrated on the theme of jealousy as the driving force of the play and bypassed the issue of race entirely. But enlightened as we now are with regard to the character of Othello, I would maintain that we still don’t see another character in the play as fully as we should. I’m referring to Iago accrued lower class individual who has been dismissed as a motiveless malignant E to cite cola rich again, who seems to have been decidedly limited in his reading of a fellow. Yet I, ah, go deserves our empathy. And I believe that Shakespeare understood this and giving him an opposition to cola ridges claim ah, motive and entirely valid grievance articulated as the play opens. He has been passed over by a fellow for promotion at what seems to him and should seem to us if we think about it as an unfair preference for someone less worthy. Casio, a Florentine with a pedigree and a refined manner, a good liberal has been favored over the hardscrabble, experienced Viagra, the lack of empathy that audiences and readers have felt and still feel free. Ah, go strikes me as a version of the way they once felt about Shylock. Iago has no speech on a par with Shylocks hath not a Jew eyes. But he does explain his sense of injured merit in the first scene of the play, complaining that in current society preferment goes by letter and affection, and not by old gradation, where each second stood heir to the first. He is lamenting the passing of an old order, no doubt more imagined than riel, when he would have been treated fairly promoted according to a system of seniority and established service. Instead of being bypassed. For someone who never set a squadron in the field, a fellows trust in Iago has generally been seen to reflect his admirably unsuspecting nature. But it also reflects his astonishing obliviousness how little he acknowledges this man who has served beside him for so long as a singular identity with distinct desires and ambitions. Even as a fellow suffers the bigotry of others, he demonstrates his own brand of blindness and prejudice here. What does Iago’s case tell us about what we may be blind to? What prejudices of which we are unaware may be causing us to dismiss others and contribute to the making of villains. It is an exercise that I posed to my students whenever I teach this play on which they often say resonates with some of them when they think of their own parents, who, lacking the benefits of a college education or useful connections, may exist in dead end jobs with no hope of promotion. Iago is, of course, a profoundly malicious character, and that’s a challenge to empathy. But then it is easy to be empathetic to people who are harmless or whom our society has conditioned us to feel for it is harder when the person is not immediately sympathetic and has not been into identified as part of a group worthy of attention. One could argue that a large portion of this country has felt overlooked in the way Iago did and have erupted in resentment and bitterness. Let’s leads me back to my larger point. What is the value of teaching the kind [0:34:51 Speaker 5] of empathy that can be derived from Shakespeare’s plays? [0:34:56 Speaker 0] Many students these days are politically engaged, determined to support good causes and express empathy for the other. But this is often an abstract empathy pre digested according to certain politicized precepts. It is the by product of the superficial aspect of their education. Ah, covert or overt scientists. Um, it’s a derives from a generalized sense of humanity rather than a sense of the individuals who make it up. It leads well meaning students to judge and condemn those who don’t fit a predetermined viewpoint or ideology. Young people need more complex narratives that can help them imagine the source of their opponents position, much as Shakespeare did with Shylock, Lear, Othello and Iago. They also need the resource is to forgive their own weaknesses and failures, something that I also see that they have difficulty doing ah, byproduct of their failure toe learn, complex empathy. This is what the humanities at its most fundamental, is good for. Let me end by giving some suggestions for the college curriculum. In light of my argument, my focus is on the freshman year of college because from my experience, this is the period crucial to creating habits of mind that can be sustained later. Here are five admittedly narrow and somewhat idiosyncratic points for curricular change. Number one. The Shakespeare course should be required during the freshman year. Number two. They should be designed as a seminar for 15 to 18 students. Three. The instructors of these courses should not be Shakespeare scholars, but be chosen from across humanities fields for their skill is teachers and their ability to respond freshly and show enthusiasm for the material. Shakespeare is a gateway into every discipline in the humanities, and thus this course, if well taught, can lead students to take other courses. As a result of the disciplinary slant introduced by the instructor for older people, Ah Lums, community members and retiree should be judiciously included in these classes one or two per seminar toe add a perspective that is based on their wider experience in the world. We sick diversity in undergraduate education, but we often fail to consider the diversity of age. Ah, point that I make central to my teaching of King Lear. Five. The place should be taught through close reading, not rushed and not supplemented by secondary materials or critical theory, not even supplemented by performances or movies until after the course is over. It’s the reading of Shakespeare that I feel is so important for this kind of teaching. They should not be a rigid new critical approach, but a flexible one that keeps the concept of empathy in mind that lets the text speak to students in the context of their lives and that connects inorganic ways to the discipline of the instructor. This may seem to small scale to make a difference while also being too specific with respect to a large, multi focus student body to be implemented. Still, I propose it because it is both specific and small scale, both simple and able to reach all students. Regardless of whether this idea is feasible. The spirit of what I have suggested is important for educators to think about the need for more humanities. Education is entangled with the need to encourage more understanding and students that all individuals are complex and worthy of empathy. Great artists have the ability to relay this idea. Their study is therefore crucial if we are to both revive the humanities and heal our ailing society. Thank you