Tuesday, February 23

Michael Morpurgo denies ‘censoring’ the merchant of Venice in a children’s book | Michael Morpurgo


Michael Morpurgo has denied a Sunday Times report that he “refused” to include The Merchant of Venice in an upcoming Shakespearean anthology for children due to anti-Semitism.

The newspaper described that the former children’s laureate’s “21st-century sensibility” had prevented the play from being included in Tales from Shakespeare, his retelling of ten Shakespearean plays for children ages six and up. The Merchant of Venice features the famous The Jewish moneylender Shylock, who demands a pound of meat from the merchant Antonio if a loan is not paid before its due date.

Morpurgo was quoted as saying: “ The play may be anti-Semitic … I felt it was a Shakespearean play and couldn’t tell it honestly. It would be offensive. “

But speaking to The Guardian on Monday, the War Horse and Kensuke’s Kingdom author rejected the framing of the decision, denying that it strayed away from difficult topics for children.

“ The idea that I censored this is silly. I chose the 10 works that I love the most, that I felt young children would respond ” she”she said. “To be honest with you, The Merchant of Venice is not a play that amuses me. I did not ‘refuse’ to include the work, nobody told me to do it; I sat quietly and decided the 10 I would do. It’s completely wrong and it’s a knee-jerk reaction. “

Morpurgo said the book, which will be published next year and was only intended to include 10 of Shakespeare’s plays, focused on plays that had “very strong stories and plays that kids would probably see in theSchooler or study in theSchooler. school. ”. Starting January 8, performances of his recounts by the Royal Shakespeare Company will be available to schools across thecharge withf charge for five weeks.

“ There are certain plays, and The Merchant of Venice is one of them, that I didn’t think would resonate with eight-year-olds. Yes, there was some concern that this might be the first time that an eight-year-old has read about a Jew. A story the Nazis used to portray the Jewish people in a bad light; that’s not something you put on an eight-year-old as his first example of an extraordinary group that has contributed so much to the world and suffered so much. “He said.” Now, that is not to say that the play has no merit. But this is not censorship, the children will come to this play later, when they have some idea of ​​what the Jewish people have endured for centuries. “

” The goal of this project is to bring Shakespeare into the eyes, ears and hearts of the children of our time,” said Morpurgo, who grew up reading the stories of Charles and Mary Lamb, also titled Tales from Shakespeare, which was published in 1807 “You have a writer and the RSC trying to encourage kids to go to theSchooler; I don’t see how that is offensive or censorship. “

The Sunday Times quoted Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Royal Education, describing Morpurgo’s decision as an example of “the dead hand of political correctness. It is cowardly not to confront great literature. Of course there will be a lot to be offended in Shakespeare … kids don’t want to be protected from great literature all the time. “

“If I had suggested doing Titus Andronicus for elementary school kids, it would have raised an eyebrow or two. It doesn’t even work for me, and I’m 77 years old. It’s almost as if everything you do around Shakespeare is treated as holy scripture and that’s the problem. He was a man of the people and his works weren’t ” Morpurgothe classroom, ” Morpurgo said.

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www.theguardian.com

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