A line of students waited before a table where, like a bier, a collection of books had been laid. One was pried open, notes skittering over the margins of a page. However, the visitors paid their respects to a larger, red-backed volume—and after leafing through this facsimile of Shakespeare’s works, they took seats to help resurrect words.
On Monday, April 25 and Tuesday, April 26, students and faculty gathered in the Blue Room of Fore Hall to take part in a celebration of two literary lives: William Shakespeare, and Miguel de Cervantes.
“Shakespeare and Cervantes: a Commemoration of Two Lives” was the product of cooperation between TAMUK’s chapters of Sigma Tau Delta and Sigma Delta Pi, English and Spanish honor societies respectively.
April marks the 400th anniversary of death for both Shakespeare and Cervantes; in remembering their contributions to English and Spanish, TAMUK students and faculty read from and acted out passages of both authors’ works.
It was a testimony that for the pair of writers, words live still.
Alyssabeth Cantu, president of Sigma Tau Delta, opened the event on Monday. In addressing those gathered, Cantu said: “400 years after their deaths, we still recognize William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes as two of the most influential contributors to their respective languages. This says something about the immortality of the written word…it seems only fitting that we celebrate their lives together, using art and language to do so.”
Monday’s half of the event centered on the legacy of Shakespeare, as students enrolled in classes with Dr. Pamela Wright, faculty sponsor for Sigma Tau Delta, and Dr. Ryan Paul shared portions of their favorite passages. In inviting students to step up and lend a voice to the written word, Paul was lighthearted. “I was going to start with the sonnets,” he noted, “and anyone who wants to come up and read one—we’ve got 154 we can get through.”
On Tuesday, attention shifted to Cervantes, the author best-known for the novel “Don Quixote.” Again, students were encouraged to present—this time, in Spanish. Additionally, Sigma Delta Pi’s featured guest, Rabbi Peter Tarlow, was scheduled to present “Las influencias judías en Don Quixote.”
On first welcoming members of the TAMUK community to the celebration, Cantu made a request: “Please join us in helping the works of these writers continue to withstand the test of time.”
By the time the event and book covers had closed, it was clear to those in attendance that this was certain.
Follow Kaitlin Ruiz on Twitter: @kaitlinruiz95