Not to be

English majors must study Shakespeare at only 15 of 70 colleges surveyed by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in English without the study of Shakespeare “is tantamount to fraud,” says Anne Neal, president of the group.

Harvard is the only Ivy that requires English majors to study Shakespeare.

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  1. The real question (if any) would be how many English majors actually don’t study Shakespeare, not how many are not required to.

    Why wouldn’t a term studying the early English playwrights be sufficient? Shakespeare isn’t unique (though very good), and his cult could use a little undercutting.

    Marlowe, Spenser, Jonson, Middleton? (Heck, I wasn’t an English major, and I read Spenser and Middleton. I’m pretty sure I read Jonson, but it’s been a while…)

    I’m not sure Shakespeare must be given his own dedicated class for an English degree to be “legitimate”, no matter what ACTA says. There is, after all, rather more to the Canon than the Bard.

    (“The study credited an institution with having a Shakespeare requirement if a majority of English majors have to take either a course on Shakespeare or two out of three single-author courses on Chaucer, Shakespeare or Milton.”

    A school can be credited with requiring Shakespeare if it requires Chaucer and Milton and the students don’t take the Shakespeare class! Evidently that somehow isn’t “tantamount to fraud”…)

  2. I guess it’s possible, but I doubt if the average college in the non-Shakespeare category has an English department comprised of dedicated Marlowe and Spenser fans. Just guessing.

  3. BadaBing says:

    Who cares about Shakespeare as long as Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou are studied in depth.

  4. I know somebody with both a BA and an MA in English Lit, who was never asked to read a word of Shakespeare.