The tremendous pleasure that comes from reading Shakespeare was spoiled for generations of high school students who were forced to go through Julius Caesar, Hamlet or Macbeth scene by scene, to look up all the new words and to study all the scholarly footnotes. As a result, they never really read the play. By the time they got to the end they had forgotten the beginning and lost sight of the whole. Instead of being forced to take this pedantic approach, they should have been encouraged to read the play in one sitting and discuss what they got out of that first quick reading. Then they would have been ready to study the play carefully, for they would have understood enough of it to be able to learn more.
–excerpted from “How to Read a Hard Book” by Mortimer J. Adler
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