Locked down with Shakespeare

Paul Cantor is Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English at the University of Virginia and author of Shakespeare’s Roman Trilogy: The Twilight of the Ancient World. He is also a brilliant student of American popular culture, as documented in three books that compile his essays on the subject. Professor Cantor is the author, most recently, of the Modern Age essay/review “Shakespeare and classical antiquity,” just posted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The review is a model of appreciation, fairness, and eloquent insight. I found it to be inspirational in its own way.

Corresponding with Professor Cantor yesterday, I learned that YouTube preserves a wealth of videos displaying Professor Cantor in action. Professor Cantor’s 25-part course on Shakespeare and Politics, for example, is accessible here. The introductory lecture is below.

First up is Coriolanus. The first of his three lectures on Coriolanus is below. All the rest are accessible at the course link above. This is great stuff.

YouTube also carries Professor Cantor’s one-week seminar course on Shakespeare’s Rome from the Hertog Foundation Program for top college undergrads in 2017. This is a series of five three-hour seminar presentations. The first of these five seminars provides background on Roman history before Professor Cantor takes up Coriolanus. It is posted here. Day 2 is here, day three is here, day four is here, day five is here.

I am embarrassed to confess how much I have learned from listening to these lectures. Professor Cantor is a teacher on the order of Chaucer’s clerk of Oxford: “gladly would he learn and gladly teach.” If you want help spending your time in lockdown constructively, you can’t do much better than Shakespeare and Professor Cantor.

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