My Myths of Britain class is located in GW's Siberia, a building at the very edge of campus (you know, the place where they draw cynocephali and cannibals on mappaemundi). I don't mind the walk, not even on rainy days like this one, but my students do find it difficult to arrive on time. To quicken their gait, for the first five minutes of class I always show a short clip from a relevant DVD: The Fisher King as we did Marie de France, the Helm's Deep sequence from LotR as we examined crusader mythology in its relation to Mandeville, Sword of the Valiant (!) for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The class is quickly moving towards its close, and that means today's lecture is The Tempest. What better way to foreground the movement from Old World to New than to look at a play set upon an island 'twixt Italy and Africa, but really Bermuda and Virginia?
I realized last night that I had no relevant DVDs. Luckily someone has placed a scene from the nude extravaganza Prospero's Books on YouTube. Perfect: an excellent scene to discuss.
I also found this really weird mash-up there. New Agey chanteuse Loreena McKennitt sings the play's epilogue in a sparse, ethereal arrangement. The song is visually overlaid with footage from an old BBC documentary on Pompeii. Such an odd juxtaposition -- but the frailty, contingency, possibility of sorrow in the Shakespeare portion echo hauntingly in the scenes of ruin and death. I might use it next week as we conclude the course.