This week the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization is sponsoring a series of events honoring Shakespeare and his legacy. Dr. Stephen Balch, director of the institute, and Dr. Paul Cantor from the University of Virginia are guests on this episode of The Front Row.
Dr. Balch how did you decide that you wanted to take a hard look at Shakespeare?
It’s about Western Civilization, and when one thinks of Western Literature, the first thought that comes to your mind, for very good reason, is William Shakespeare. He is the iconic figure. He’s influenced how we speak. He’s certainly the world’s greatest dramatist by any account. So, he’s one of those big deals that we try to make the center of our program, and we’re devoting a whole week to him. Today, the final day of the week, we have two lectures—one that will occur at ten o’clock and that’s going to be given by one of our resident poets in the English department…and then our Shakespearean scholar will be talking about Romeo and Juliet…
Tell us how you’ve wrapped all of these things into the week of events.
Well with any big subject, there are a variety of ways of looking at it. What we’re trying to do with this whole series of weeks—and there will be two more coming up in the fall—what we’re trying to show is that not only are you getting a lot of angles on these things, but you can get an enlarged vision by looking at it successively from a number of angles and having people from different backgrounds sit in and listen to each other. So, we’re trying to make the university itself the stage upon which we act. That’s rare in universities these days. They tend to be compartmentalized. So, we’re trying to overcome that.
Listen to the full interview at the top of the article.