Brief Description of Course: Shakespeare is arguably the most important author in the western literary tradition, and is at the very center of both the English literary canon and the enterprise of English literary studies. We take this for granted, but it is a little strange. What’s so great about Shakespeare? This question will be the starting point for a course in which you will have the opportunity to learn everything you ever wanted to know, and to ask every question you ever wanted to ask, about Shakespeare—as well as to learn things and ask questions that you had never thought of before. You will read a handful of Shakespeare’s plays, and some of his non-dramatic poetry as well, and you will be introduced to a variety of techniques for describing, with clarity and precision and maybe even some personal style, the artistic qualities and effects of these works and the nature and significance of your responses to them. PLEASE NOTE: this is a lecture course with a fairly large enrollment, but regular attendance and a willingness to participate by asking and answering questions will be essential both to your getting a good final mark and to your getting the most out of the course material.
Required Reading: Eight or ten plays by Shakespeare, likely including some or all of the following: The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, part 1, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, All’s Well that Ends Well, and The Winter’s Tale. We will also read a few of the sonnets.
First Three Authors/Texts: TBA
Method of Instruction: Lecture with some discussionMethod of Evaluation: 2 short writing exercises (30% total), 1 essay (30%), attendance and participation (20%), test (20%). Please note that this information is subject to change.