Given that folks from period 3 and period 4 shared a little bit of inspiration arising from Chinua Achebe’s death late last week, I thought it might be useful to share this link with everyone.
As I think about an email I received this weekend, I am reminded of two important things: 1. Context enriches understanding; and 2. Forced context doesn’t. And the beauty of context is that it doesn’t have to precede text; you can read a book, and it stays with you. Then something happens in the world and it shines a new light on that old experience, and you gain a layer in your authentic understanding of a work. Who knows, maybe even of literature in general.
Achebe’s life may well inspire a different understanding of Things Fall Apart, just as some understanding of Virginia Woolf might illuminate Mrs. Dalloway, if your empathies are in the right place. I had read Hamlet several times before I bought Greenblatt’s Will in the World, but once I read it, I felt like I knew something about the play that I would never be able to put into words.
Tomorrow, I’d like to close discussion about Hamlet with a discussion focused on Greenblatt, which might be especially interesting to those of you who read that excerpt from his inspired, informed imaginings about Shakespeare. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the life of a great man in the link above.