Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG448H1F L0101

ENG448H1F L0101 MW 10-12
Advanced Seminar Group 4: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries
Professor Jeremy Lopez
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 902

Brief Description of Course: Shakespeare was just one of dozens of dramatists writing for the professional theatre in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Why is his name virtually the only one we know today? What are the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries like and how, if at all, are Shakespeare’s plays different or better? What are the defining characteristics of a “Shakespeare play” and of Shakespeare’s poetic and dramaturgical style? To what extent are these things typical of and to what extent are they extraordinary in relation to early modern drama broadly considered? We will take up these and related questions by reading a few of Shakespeare’s plays and a few by his contemporaries.

Required Reading: TBA. The first play we read will definitely be Othello and we will almost certainly read Ben Jonson’s Volpone. Books will be ordered through the Bob Miller Book Room in mid-April.

First Three Authors/Texts:
 Othello, TBA.

Method of Instruction: This is a seminar, and our work will be entirely focused on detailed, collaborative close readings of the texts. Significant class-participation will be expected.

Method of Evaluation: Class participation (30%); one short writing assignment (20%); two slightly longer writing assignments (25% each).

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