This post is a bit of a follow-up post to ‘The Right to Be a Shakespeare Fan‘ post I wrote back in the summer because I’ve had some conversations with people, which has prompted me thinking about this.
So, as my friend Ashleigh (AFrolicThroughFiction) has expressed recently (through Twitter and one of her latest videos), the education system (in the U.K.) isn’t necessarily the most inclusive when it comes to representation and to an extent, I agree. Throughout my life, it had been shocking. All the texts I studied at A-Level were written by men, most of whom were white men. That frustrated me immensely, especially as one of the topics was about Social and Political Protest – it just didn’t sit right with me.
Now I’m at uni, I feel although it has marginally improved in some areas. Of course, there is always room for more improvement. Obviously, I can only speak about my experiences and university, but I think my uni is doing alright – nowhere near perfect, but alright. One of my modules this year (which I picked) looks at representations of sex and sexuality in fiction, and later on we’re looking at representations of race within that. So, I think it’s fair to say that the right steps are being made albeit relatively slowly.
But this has gotten me thinking. I have enjoyed a fair few texts that I have looked at so far this year – I intend on doing a blog post in a few weeks looking at the ones which have stuck with me. However, one of these was written by a white man in the 18th century and I have an entire module looking at Shakespeare and I do enjoy his plays, as I have expressed before.
This is where I feel guilty. Yeah, guilty for enjoying – who would have thought it?
I’m not sure how I can explain it and before I go into that, I am aware this is very much my problem to deal with. So, I think I need to remember that I like these works because of the plot, the characters, the writing – there is something there which makes me the enjoy it. I don’t go into books thinking prominently about who the author is … Perhaps I should, perhaps I shouldn’t. Especially when it comes to reading outside of uni, I tend to just pick up books which appeal to me and I can’t wait to get to.
I don’t know what I’m trying to get to with all this really. Maybe it’s just a lot of me beating myself up for being a bit of a “passive” reader. I do think this is something which needs to be discussed however. The education system is somewhat failing in representing so many members of society in what we study in literature. I just hope there aren’t others out there who feel this similar feeling of guilt when it comes to enjoying classics, because we just shouldn’t guilt someone for enjoying something they read.