Originally Posted by b0ned0me
I agree. I think it would make a lot more sense to teach children using texts which are old enough to have built up a body of analysis and prove themselves more than passing fads, but which are recent enough that the cultural context and language isn't such a huge barrier. There's more than enough post-ww1 literature to full most of a high-school curriculum, maybe with one or two older works to show how things have changed since the 17th century.
An English teacher of mine had us read short passages from the Bible, in public school. In his words, this was not done to indoctrinate us, but to acquaint us with a few of the more often referenced passages in great literature.
Despite the uproar, I see his point. I think Shakespeare serves as a teaching tool less well with every passing year, but literature is rife with references and analogies to the Bard.
Same thing with Dante, even though I don't speak or read Italian (let alone old
Italian), the exposure to a bastardized translation was important to understanding themes in later readings.