‘I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands.’
‘Thou hast no more brain than I have in my elbows.’
‘You three-inch fool!’
William Shakespeare was, as the students who saw Much Ado About Nothing earlier in the week can testify, one of the great writers of the English language, and perhaps the greatest. His rhetorical skills, however, were not limited to writing on romance, politics, or the other widely-recognised topics of general importance: indeed, as our students yesterday found out, one of his great masteries was over insults.
The students of English yesterday visited Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare and now the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a town almost wholly devoted to the Bard. There, they engaged in a lesson on Shakespearean insults, were given a very interesting talk on Shakespeare’s life and times as well as his works, and had the chance to learn a Shakespearean dance.
Having experienced one part of Britain’s cultural heritage, the English students then headed to Blenheim Palace, where they were reunited with the rest of their friends in Jowett Walk. Blenheim is a sprawling historical site filled with art: part mausoleum, part national monument, and part ancestral home, its grounds contain a lake, a butterfly garden and a maze. The wind, rain and fog swirling round the parks showed Blenheim in all its British splendour: having revelled in Shakespeare earlier in the day, the English students were now given the chance to see the Romantic meat and drink of William Wordsworth, another of Britain’s great writers.
In the evening, after a day spent engaging fully in the cultural and literary history of England, students returned to Jowett Walk for an innovative workshop. Led by a professional sculptor, students had the chance to make their own sculptures— from chickenwire mesh, a most unusual medium! Delighted to be able to switch their minds off slightly and get to work with their hands, students produced a varied range of work: chickens and penguins feature, along with dolphins, E.T the alien, and several efforts at Olaf, the sentient snowman from Disney’s Frozen.
What most stood out, however, was a particularly creative and stylish hat, created by Seb, one of the Fashion and Design students. Inspired by the trip to the Balenciaga exhibition the previous day, in which they were encouraged to give a message in their fashion, Seb crafted a hat for an anti-terrorism line, modelled above by Rebecca, one of our counsellors.