Formatively assessing Shakespeare

As a student of writing, this young man was given a chance to revise and republish his work…but where are the results??

This morning I’m finishing up Imagine: How Creativity Works by Johah Lehrer.  After talking about the creative process, the neuroscience of creativity, the importance of divergence and convergence in the creative process, and the relationship between cities and creative behavior, he finishes by talking about Shakespeare.  He argues that, yes, Shakespeare’s work exists “for all time” (quoting Ben Jonson).  However, Shakespeare could have only produced what he produced by living in his own time, that the conditions were ripe for a Shakespeare.  Then he mentions one of the conditions of creativity (freedom of speech) that made me wink directly at my book.  After quoting a passage fromKing Lear, Lehrer writes:

These are the lines of a fearless writer.  Shakespeare knew that even if his plays did manage to offend the queen’s censors, he probably wouldn’t be thrown into a dungeon…Instead, his punishment would be literary; he might be asked to revise the play in the next version, or cut the offending lines from the printed edition.  This forgiving attitude encouraged playwrights to take creative risks…

Shakespeare was a beneficiary of formative assessment.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Shakespeare.jpg

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