Monday, July 16, 2012

Greedily Devoured Discourse--Day 10 of TSI

We are into our Junior Week of TSI!

Morning Lecture:  Mike Witmore "Othello and Data Mining"

Dr. Witmore is the director of the Folger Library and he is such a mesmerizing speaker.  He discussed two topics I love:  rhetoric, word origins, and Othello (wow, that sounds really nerdy).

He discussed how Othello is a great rhetorician at the beginning of the play, Desdemona is very good at discourse as well.  They both convince the Duke that Othello did not use witchcraft. 

Iago's skill is withholding information from Othello and making him crazy.  The listener (Othello) does all the work.  Iago just sits back and watches his work.

During lunch, Dr. Witmore expanded on the play and discussed the use of Anglo Saxon root words (simple, usually monosyllabic) and Latinate/French root words (used for rhetoric).  It was fascinating--one of the best lectures yet.

We spent a large amount of time in the Reading Room today.  I got quite a few art prints from the 16th century as well as a great map of Venice with the ghetto depicted on it.  My chaotic mess has now been whittled down to some great primary sources.  I am grateful of the help of Georgianna, the librarian in the Reading Room.  She has definitely made my research journey easier.

Curriculum Session:   Louisa Newlin and Donna Denize "Othello and Shakespeare Set Free"

We went through several of the SSF lessons for Othello including the Dumb Show (tracing the handkerchief) and doing a slightly cut script of Othello where we explored "tragic blindness."


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