Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Beginning King Lear

I was about to teach the first class after a long break. I’d given the students no assignment. So we were going to begin King Lear by reading the play aloud in class. Did the students know that was coming? I don’t think so.

I was in my office before class, with no notes, prepared to tell the class that King Lear is a tragedy and that tragedies are about reversal. I walked to the classroom and got there ten or fifteen minutes late. And then I realized that I did not have a copy of the play. I walked back to my office, grabbed the book, walked back to the classroom, and realized that I had picked up a little paperback history of the New Deal. So I ran back to my office. Along the way, I thought that I should get a key made so that I could use my office after retiring. And then I thought, “What if someone else is using it?” And, “What for anyway?” I picked up my undergrad copy of Hardin Craig and David Bevington’s edition of Shakespeare’s works, ran back to class, and then spent the class time thumbing through the book from beginning to end and from end to beginning trying to find the text of King Lear.

Strange: I dreamed this dream after reading Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time, which collects Vladimir Nabokov’s experiments in dreaming as a form of precognition. And when, out of curiosity, I looked up the Craig and Bevington Complete Works at Amazon (still available for the Kindle), I discovered that the e-book has no table of contents. And when, another day later, I was reading W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants, I came across these words: “Again and again, from front to back and from back to front, I leafed through the album.”

[Insert theremin music here.]

This is the twelfth teaching-related dream I’ve had since retiring. Not one has gone well. The others: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

comments: 0