Tag Archives: Media Ecology

Media. 8 Sept.

cropped-Excavation_of_the_Rose_Theatre_Bankside_London.jpg

Recap:

Act two provides us with a series of rhetorical/figural responses to nature. They include joke work-puns, taking-the-piss, & slapstick; lists, measure, quantification, commodification; and repetition; allusion; and tragedy juxtaposed against comedy.

Building off of both Danny and Kira’s comments towards the end of class on 9/3, we might also ask of The Tempest:

  • What do individuals or smaller groups of people lack that government supplies?
  • How are Shakespeare and his characters readers of a literary historical tradition and/or political the context in which they find themselves?

Sources:

MLA citation

Berensmeyer, Ingo. “Shakespeare and Media Ecology: Beyond Historicism and Presentism.” Poetics Today 35.4 (2015): 515-533.

Before we work on the essay, can we quickly discuss the following:

  • What is a primary source?
  • What is a secondary source?
  • How can we assess the validity of secondary sources?

Berensmeyer, Ingo. “Shakespeare and Media Ecology: Beyond Historicism and Presentism.” Poetics Today 35.4 (2015): 515-533.

Part I. Group Activity

Please get into the groups that follow, introduce yourselves to your peers, and then respond to the prompts below. Write down as much as you will need to participate in discussion and be prepared to cite specific instances from the text.

  1. Ainee, Hannah M., Nicholas, & Robert
  2. Alexandra, Jeffery, Danny, & Angeline
  3. Kelsey, Beau, Caroline, Chan, & Thomas
  4. June, Sun, Isabelle, Patrick, Shamala, & Bailey
  5. Kira, Sarah, Madison, Tony, & Hannah P.
  • What are Berensmeyer’s main claims or goals?
  • Point out 1-2 of conceptual frames he deploys, and describe how he fits those frames to The Tempest. EX: Presentism, Historicism, Media Ecology. 
  • How does Berensmeyer’s essay and/or The Tempest expand or challenge ordinary expectations about human agency? Do you agree?

Part II. Mini Writing Workshop

  • Get into pairs
  • Exchange blog posts–either online or trade hard copies
  • In 3-5 sentences convert your partner’s blog post into a short “paper”

 

RQ: Tempest, Act 2 & Berensmeyer

shakespeare-first-folio

Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Tempest, Act 2 and the second half of Ingo Berensmeyer, “Shakespeare and Media Ecology: Beyond Historicism and Presentism.” The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Tempest Act 2, Reading Questions

  • What does the Island look like? Where is it? Why can’t the nobles cannot agree on what should be object facts?
  • Who’s Dido & what purpose does the classical reference serve?
  • If Gonzalo had a plantation on the island, what would it be like? What assumptions does Gonzalo’s vision of his “plantation” make about “nature”? (2.1.143-59).
  • Is Alonso, the King of Naples, a good leader/administrator? Compare Alonso’s leadership with some of the other characters and their leadership skills: Prospero, Gonzalo, Sebastian, and Trinculo. Who’s kingdom would you most like to live in? Why does Ariel save Alonso from assassination?
  • What does Caliban look like when Trinculo meets him for the first time? How does Trinculo react to his first meeting with Caliban?
  • Compare Caliban’s description of the Island to other descriptions.
  • Where does Trinculo get the “sack” (fortified wine) that he and the rest of the conspirators drink?
  • Do the two scenes in act two suggest that conspiracy to overthrow the king is natural?
  • What sorts of monsters do the Europeans believe inhabit the island? What sorts of monsters actually inhabit the island?
  • Why does Caliban agree to help Trinculo and Stephano? Can he ever really be set free?
  • What key words, phrases, or images that get reptead in this act?

“Shakespeare and Media Ecology” Questions:

  • According to Berensmeyer, how have ideas about Shakespeare as an author shifted over the years & why? Is ‘history’ in The Tempest politically mediated and if so, why and/or how?
  • How does Berensmeyer’s definition of “media ecology” help account for supernatural elements in The Tempest?
  • Berensmeyer cites McLuen definition of media as “extensions of man” (520). When do we see media or technology as an extension of a character in The Tempest?
  • What does Berensmeyer mean when he says “Costumes provide a good example of this multilayered process of medialization” (524)?
  • What does Shakespeare expect from his audiences?
  • What’s a masque? why does it mean different things to early 17th c. audiences than it does to early 21st century audiences according to Berensmeyer? Why does Berensmeyer connect the fourth act nuptial masque with the 2012 London Olympics? Is he successful?

RQ: Tempest, Act 1 & Media Ecology

Giant red eel-like sea serpent on antiquarian maritime map, extended

Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Tempest, Act 1 and the first half of Ingo Berensmeyer, “Shakespeare and Media Ecology: Beyond Historicism and Presentism.” The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Tempest Questions

  • How does Prospero cause the storm? Does he cause it? Why does he cause the tempest that seems, to the nobles and sailors, at least, to wreck their ship?
  • What do Sycorax to Prospero have in common? What do Ariel to Miranda have in common? What do Caliban and Ferdinand have in common?
  • What sorts of transformations have all of the characters on the island undergone by the end of the first act?
  • Does Prospero manipulate Miranda and Ferdinand at the end of act one, or do they really experience “love at first site”? How does the “love a first site” motif compare to the tempest with which the play opens?
  • Feel free to use the a database such as Open Source Shakespeare for these sorts of usage questions: What’s the relationship between the words ‘wrack’ and ‘rack’? What does the lack of aural distinction imply? Does Shakespeare repeat any other words or phrases in the first act? If yes, what are the implications?
  • If you had to stage the magical elements the first act of The Tempest how would you do it? In other words, how would you communicate storm at sea (1.1); Ariel’s invisibility (1.2.374); or Caliban’s supposed strangeness?

“Shakespeare and Media Ecology” Questions:

  • What does it mean to think of a play as a blue print, score, or recipe? What does it mean for text to point out to a performance? Do these sorts of texts demand to be treated differently than say a song or a novel?
  • What does Berensmeyer mean by ‘presentism’ & ‘historicism’? How, according to Berensmeyer, are these two schools of literary criticism/inquiry similar? What alternative critical methods does he suggest?
  • “Can we read Shakespeare’s work as belonging to the early modern period and at the same time consider it in its current relevance, since the present continually revisits and restages the plays in different forms and different media” (517)?
  • What is “media ecology,” and what do we gain from applying the discourse to Shakespeare, generally, and The Tempest, specifically?