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The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts$
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Mark Thornton Burnett and Adrian Streete

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635238

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.001.0001

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Shakespeare and Teenagers

Shakespeare and Teenagers

Chapter:
(p.377) 20 Shakespeare and Teenagers
Source:
The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts
Author(s):

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.003.0021

This chapter first addresses the education system as a site where Shakespeare is aimed at teenagers with strategies of making the plays relevant to teenagers. Then it considers the primacy of Romeo and Juliet as the emblematic teen Shakespeare work. It also deals with Shakespeare for teenagers in two key appropriative markets: cinema and young adult novels. Teenagers encounter Shakespeare in the classroom as part of their secondary education. Since the sixties, Romeo and Juliet has achieved primacy in secondary education, presumably because of its teenaged heroine (and often-presented as teenaged hero, though Romeo is most likely in his early twenties and would have been played in the Lord Chamberlain's men by an adult actor). The adolescent's fear of Shakespeare and the concern that the plays might be boring or inaccessible are both removed by ensuring that Shakespeare only engages issues of concern to them.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, teenagers, education, Romeo and Juliet, cinema, young adult novels, classroom

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