Today I will offer a few quotations from writers from earlier eras about creativity, learning, and teaching.
(illustration from Cassell’s History Of England – Century Edition – published circa 1902)
“And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche”
“And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.”
These are the Middle English and the Modern English versions of this quotation from “The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. This idea is of enormous importance to me, because I am both a teacher and a life-long student. All people should try to continue to learn throughout their lives and to teach someone else the wisdom they have amassed.
(Portrait of William Shakespeare, attributed to John Taylor
“Suit the action to the word,
the word to the action, with this special observance,
that you o’erstep not the modesty of of nature. For
anything so over-done is from the purpose of playing,
whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to
hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue
her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age
and body of the time his form and pressure.”
William Shakespeare (Hamlet Act 3. Scene2. lines 16-23)
Shakespeare speaks to the importance of representing life and humanity as it is and to examine the world in its complexities; it can also be an injunction for all creative efforts. I do not mean we should eliminate abstraction, metaphor, or altered forms, but that, at our core, we are creating art about humanity and our world.