Department of English

University of Toronto

2000 Series Graduate Course Descriptions

ENG2280HS COURSE CANCELLED
Mimesis and Representation in the Renaissance
J. Patrick

 


ENG2288HS
Renaissance Keywords
M. Rubright

Course Description  
What can we learn from a single word? In the Renaissance, what it meant to categorize, historicize, and define words as “English” was changing. For lexicographers, words offered singular entry points into the variety of the English language; for etymologists and antiquarians, words were relics conveying the history of English’s evolution; for poets and playwrights, language invited neologism and grammatical invention. This course explores both how early moderns shaped English’s lexicon through attention to particular words, and how 20th- and 21st-century critics have likewise taken individual words as their entry into Renaissance culture. Organized around keywords (language, world, denizen, kind, virtue, sodomy, and others you select), the seminar provides a background in how histories of English have construed the internal and external pressures that gave rise to the period’s variety of “Englishes.” We’ll consider foundational “keywords” studies by Williams, Lewis, Barthes, and Empson, as well as recent approaches:  Greene’s “critical semantics,” Masten’s “queer philology,” and Parker’s “verbal networks.” We’ll evaluate the interrelation of stories about the evolution of language (in Genesis, Augustine, Erasmus, Montaigne), editorial practice (Shakespeare), theories of the vernacular (Dante; Verstegan; Camden), and critical theory, as well as recent digital projects to encode and index early modern English. 

Course Reading List
Selected plays and sonnets by William Shakespeare; selections from Dante’s De Vulgari Eloquentia, Saint Augustine’s City of God, Erasmus, Montaigne, Verstegan, Camden, Mulcaster. Readings from various early modern biblical translations of Genesis (focusing especially on the story of the Tower of Babel).
Renaissance dictionary prefaces and word entries by Cawdrey, Bullokar, Baret, Florio, Hollyband, Harman, Mulcaster, Berlemont, Cotgrave, Minsheu, Cockeram, Blount, Hexham, Phillips and others. We’ll also explore recent attempts at dictionary making: B. Cassin ed. Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, among others.

Criticism including R.F. Jones, Triumph of the English Language; P. Blank, Broken English; C. Barber, Early Modern English; J. Kerrigan, Archipelagic English; R. Bailey, Images of English; Umberto Eco, The Search for the Perfect Language & Serendipities: Language and Lunacy; R. Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society; C.S. Lewis, Study in Words; R. Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse; W. Empson, The Structure of Complex Words; R. Greene, Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes; J. Masten, Queer Philology; P. Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins; H. Crawforth, Etymology and the Invention of English in Early Modern Literature; J. Derrida, From Des Tours de Babel & Monolingualism of the Other; J. Lezra, “Nationum Origo”; J. Considine, Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe: Lexicography and the Making of Heritage; S. Phillips, “Schoolmasters, seduction, and slavery: Polyglot dictionaries in pre-modern England”

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements
Participation, discussion and online (20%) Short Assignments (40% total): Keyword Analysis (10%) Lexicographic Analysis (10%) Editorial Gloss (10%) Methods Review (10%) Final Research Essay & Annotated Bibliography (40%)

Term: S-Term (Spring Term:  January - April 2017)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 9:00am - 11:00am, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

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ENG2533HF 
Shakespeare’s Language
 
L. Magnusson 

Course Description
If the Muses themselves spoke English, they would speak with “Shakespeare’s fine-filed phrase,” Francis Meres commented in 1598, suggesting that Shakespeare’s linguistic art tapped the emerging potential of the English language and extended its resources. Aiming at methodological advances in close reading attentive to the linguistic texture of cultural and literary texts, this course focuses on Shakespeare’s still-resonant language. As shaping contexts for the linguistic invention of early modern writers, we consider variation and language change in Early Modern English, the arts of language promoted by Renaissance humanist education, and the dynamics of social dialogue. The course draws upon an interdisciplinary collection of readings to test out theories and tools, with attention to history of the language and historical sociolinguistics, rhetoric, discourse analysis and pragmatics, and new digital approaches to text analysis and the “distant reading” of large digital archives. We ask what research questions are productive to ask about the relation of language and literature. While the course models language analysis on Shakespeare’s works, it also encourages graduate student researchers to develop the kind of advanced reading strategies which they can adapt to the cultural and literary texts of their chosen fields.

Course requirements:
The course will be conducted primarily as a seminar. To explore the material as fully as possible, to practice professional skills, and to engage with everyone's ideas, seminar members will spark in-class discussion by posting advance discussion-board responses to selected class readings. Each member will undertake a "try-out seminar" to experiment with new or unfamiliar tools for close analysis and present a short conference-style paper (written version 12-15 pages) in our final colloquium.

Course Readings
If reading ahead, in The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd Edition, gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt (or similar text), choose among Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, Merry Wives of Windsor (especially 4.1), Macbeth, Lear, Othello, Sonnets. Or read any Shakespeare play you might want to focus your seminar work on and consider what stands out and interests you in the language: the Shakespeare texts we focus on in class will be your own choice. For a classic text on "social discourse," you can read M. M. Bakhtin, from The Dialogic Imagination (1981), pp. 250-300. Thinking of language change, try Sylvia Adamson, "Questions of Identity in Renaissance Drama: New Historicism Meets Old Philology," Shakespeare Quarterly 61.1 (Spring 2010): 56-77 [online UTL]. For a basic introduction to early modern schooling in rhetoric, start with Peter Mack, Ch. 1, "Rhetoric in the Grammar School," Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice, pp. 11-47 (UTL online). Or, to get an initial sense of digital text analysis, check out Voyant Tools: < http://voyant-tools.org/ > and use your knowledge and imagination to see what you can discover about some specific feature of Shakespeare's language.
A collection of methodological readings will supplement the Shakespeare text.

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
In-class seminar 25%; course paper (colloquium and written version) 45%; frequent short "issue" sheets 20%; class participation 10%.

Term: F-Term (Fall Term:  September - December 2016)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 3:00pm- 6:00pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

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ENG2535HS
Shakespeare and his Contemporaries: Popular and Classical Traditions on the Renaissance Stage
E. Hanson


Course Description
General calendar course description: A survey of some of the most well-known works of Shakespeare alongside some lesser-known works of his most prolific, successful, and popular contemporaries, including (but not limited to) Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood, George Chapman Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and Anonymous. Topics for research and discussion will include: systems of theatrical and textual production in early modern England; historical and contemporary theories of acting and dramatic form; historical and critical constructions of Shakespeare as a canonical author; the relationship between popular cultural and “literary” forms.


Spring 2017 section of ENG2535HS:
When Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare began their careers as playwrights in the late 1580s and early 1590s the commercial theatre was a new cultural form and the type of play it would traffic in, the secular, five-act drama in English, with its highly developed plots and subplots and psychologically compelling character effects was only beginning to be imagined. Shakespeare and the other playwrights who developed this form did so by borrowing and blending features from both the popular, vernacular religious drama of the late Middle Ages and the classical Latin drama that they encountered at grammar school but which very few people in their audience would have been able to read. These traditions carried very different ideas about representation, theatrical space and cognition. Put another way, they carried different assumptions about the ontological and epistemological implications of acting and theatrical mimesis generally. The course is founded on the proposition that the power and conceptual open-endedness of Renaissance drama stems from the conversation, clashes and slippages between these traditions we can detect in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.


In this course we will read examples from these dramatic traditions that Elizabethan dramatists inherited. Then we will read some of the greatest and possibly most familiar plays these dramatists went on to write, looking at the ways in which they borrowed from, transformed and derived meaning from these earlier traditions. Because the vernacular religious drama, the Latin drama of the schoolroom and the commercial theatre were all known to audiences and playwrights through performance, we will approach all the plays in the course as performance texts, analyzing the way they use space and embodiment as well as language and train ourselves to think diachronically about the artisanal practices of playwrights and the competencies of their audiences. Our goal will be to recognize where elements of Renaissance drama came from and how their meaning persists or alters in new representational contexts, and thereby cultivate an awareness of the diverse forms virtual experience can take.

Course requirements:
The course will be conducted primarily as a seminar. To explore the material as fully as possible, to practice professional skills, and to engage with everyone's ideas, seminar members will spark in-class discussion by posting advance discussion-board responses to selected class readings. Each member will undertake a "try-out seminar" to experiment with new or unfamiliar tools for close analysis and present a short conference-style paper (written version 12-15 pages) in our final colloquium.

Course Readings
Terence, Comedies (Oxford World Classics)
Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, (New Mermaids)
Marlowe, Doctor Faustus and Other Plays (Oxford UP)
Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, (Oxford World Classics)
Twelfth Night, (Oxford World Classics)
King Lear, (Oxford World Classics)
Hamlet, (Oxford World Classics)
A selection of essays and book chapters TBA

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
Seminar Presentation/Write Up (35%); Final Paper, 15-20 pp (50%); Seminar Participation (15%).

Term: S-Term (Spring Term:  January - April 2017)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 1:00pm- 4:00pm, 3 hours (NB: Time change. NO CLASS on January 24. Make-up Class February 16, 3pm - 6pm)
Location: Room JHB 617 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
(NB: Room change.)

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