Dr. Josh Mayo ’10, chair of Grove City College’s Department of English, is convinced that great texts really can make one wise, and when it comes to those writings, you can’t do much better than the Bard.
“The great poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge called William Shakespeare an ‘inexhaustible mine of…wisdom and intuition.’ That way of putting things seems about right to me. Shakespeare is an indispensable voice in the Christian literary tradition,” Mayo said. “Don’t live life without him.”
That regard for Shakespeare infuses Mayo’s new book “Good in Every Thing: Meditations on Shakespeare,” a collection of essays on some of the Bard of Avon’s greatest plays. Publisher CiRCE Press says Mayo “invites readers into a long-neglected tradition of literary meditation: the art of ‘thinking with Shakespeare.’ Along the way, readers will discover insights into subjects close to the heart of classical education—poetic knowledge, imagination, and the cultivation of virtue.”
Many readers approach the classics as opportunities to be widely read or culturally literate, Mayo said. “When we move beyond a merely academic reading of a classic, when we begin, in a sense, to allow the classic to read us, we have the chance to learn from – and not merely about – important works,” Mayo said. “I wanted to see what Shakespeare would teach me about education, imagination and the good life if I let him.”
“I hope that the book communicates a simple model for learning to like Shakespeare: Look, listen, receive. At the end of the day, I want others to go out and read Shakespeare for themselves. Maybe this book will provide some helpful guidelines and inspiration for doing so,” Mayo said.
Mayo earned his undergraduate degree in English from Grove City College and went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Dallas. He joined the faculty in 2015. As well as Shakespeare, his areas of expertise include rhetoric and composition, poetics and British literature. He teaches literature and writing classes.
“Good in Every Thing: Meditations on Shakespeare” will be published Oct. 15 and is available for pre-order at the publisher’s website www.circeinstitute.org.