Tag Archives: Margaret Edson

Can Donne Help Us Cope with Death?

Meditations on Margaret Edson’s “W;t”–with further reflections on whether Donne’s poetry can help us handle death.

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Don’t Underestimate Your Students

Rule #1 for literature teachers should be to listen carefully to your students’ responses. There may be hidden wisdom in even the most unpromising ones.

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The Limitations of Cerebral Teaching

Teaching literature must be more than just a cerebral affair.

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Donne as an Aid to Teenage Angst

Well, the semester is underway.  Yesterday I began teaching one of my favorite classes, the early British Literature survey (Literature in History I).  Along with Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Wife of Bath, Doctor Faustus, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and Paradise Lost, I will be teaching the poetry of John Donne.  I […]

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Don’t Underestimate Students

I begin my two literature classes today and, as always, am filled with trepidation.  Will I be the teacher my students need me to be?  Margaret Edson’s play W;t reminds me that, if I stay true to the literature, all will be well. W;t, functions in part as a criticism of those college literature professors […]

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The Limitations of Cerebral Teaching

The new semester begins today.  Margaret Edson’s play W;t is a useful reminder of where I should put my priorities as I begin teaching. When my career started out, I had a number of things in common with Vivian Bearing, the English professor and Donne scholar in W;t. I too reveled in the complexity of texts, […]

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The Tolling Bell Says You’re Not Alone

I talked yesterday about the poet being like one blundering around in the dark, making utterances that some, in their suffering, find consoling.  The poet doesn’t know which poems will reach which readers.  To make another analogy, he or she is like Queequeg, carefully constructing a coffin that then, after he is dead and in […]

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Doctors, Bad Bedside Manners, and Poetry

Margaret Edson        In Margaret Edson’s W;t there is a doctor, Jason, who has taken her 17th century poetry class as a challenge.  As he puts it, You can’t get into medical school unless you’re well-rounded.  And I made a bet with myself that I could get an A in the three hardest courses on campus. […]

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Wit Won’t Cushion Us against Death

Will John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud” help one handle the fact that one has cancer? It is significant that the cancer victim and Donne scholar in Margaret Edson’s W;t is rejecting her poet by the end of the play. I’m actually not sure whether this particular poem would help any cancer patient. There’s a […]

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Arguing over Life, Death, and a Semicolon

John Donne          Cancer has gone from being a word to being a reality for me as two close friends have been struck.  Alan Paskow, whose progress I’ve been reporting on, had an operation before Christmas that removed three tumors from his right lung (one the size of a grapefruit).  And Beth Reynolds had a tumor […]

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