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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2008

E s379M • Shakespeare in Performance--England

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Restricted to participants in the Oxford Summer Program

Shakespeare on Location--
This course examines Shakespeare's achievement by looking at four of his best plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, and King Lear. Because Shakespeare appears to have been thinking about readers and audience members when he composed his dramas, we will focus on these works--two comedies and two tragedies--by examining them both as literary documents (that is, as things to be read) and as performance pieces (things unfolded in production). Through guided discussion in our classroom, we will seek to understand the "rules of the game" for Shakespearean comedy and tragedy. What conventions did he inherit for the writing of each genre? Which rules did he follow? Which did he break? What kind of overlap might we detect between the otherwise diverse "worlds" of these two genres? That is, what remains "Shakespearean" about his plays once we account for their genre? In addition to reading and discussing the play texts, we will travel to Stratford-upon-Avon and to London to see productions of these four plays by professional actors. We will take such productions as interpretations of the texts--arguments, that is, about what and how Shakespeare's words, stories, and characters mean.

Grading Policy

Grading: Students will be required to keep a critical journal while in residence at Oxford. This journal will be the venue for both informal and formal writing--the latter in response to assigned questions and/or exercises. Students are also required to attend class and the featured productions. Grades will be determined as follows: Written work = 50%; Class participation (measured in part on quality of contributions) = 50%.


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