Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

More to Fear from "No Fear"

By this point, you know what the Folger Education stance on ‘No Fear’ and Translated editions of Shakespeare’s plays is. Don’t use them – they’re not Shakespeare. (See Here, Here, and Here if you missed that message.)

Pickens County public schools in South Carolina, USA, has given us another good reason not to use them:  Parents will complain. Just maybe not for the same reason as we would.

The linked article up there is about Parents discovering obscene definitions in their student’s “No Fear” translation of Romeo and Juliet – like the image below.

After awhile, we’re all fairly aware of the more bawdy of the bard’s puns (and if you’re not, the book above is a complete outline of every single one). But at the middle school level, it’s probably inadvisable to have this material available as part of middle school English. The ‘No Fear’ editions, however, by “translating” Shakespeare’s creative language and offering fixed definitions for key phrases like “falling backward,” take out the subtlety of those puns and leave relative obscenity in their place.

Now, this isn’t a conversation about what students in middle school should be exposed to regarding sex and violence – but whether or not translating Shakespeare makes his work less usable in a middle school classroom. What do you think?

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