E 321 • Shakespeare: Selected Plays
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
This course provides an introduction to Shakespeare by focusing on plays that span his whole career. Our texts may include Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline. Though we will undoubtedly discuss how the plays we read might be performed on stage, our focus will be on close reading as we consider how Shakespeare tells his stories. We will pay particular attention to the idea of re-telling within these plays, focusing particularly on Shakespeare's imitations of and allusions to other texts. Plays in this course will be paired with short readings from Shakespeare's literary and historical sources. We will address some of the following questions: How are familiar literary or historical stories represented dramatically? How do characters represent their own lives through the stories they tell about them? What happens when re-telling disrupts the experience of what we hear and see as audience members? What can Shakespeare's representations of re-telling throughout his career tell us about his art?
- Both you and your copy of the play are required at every class. Unexcused absences will lower your course grade.
- This class will be discussion-based; engaged, lively participation is essential.
- There will be several unannounced quizzes. No make-ups will be permitted; your lowest quiz score will be dropped.
- You will be required to schedule one conference with me (preferably during office hours) to perform, and briefly discuss, a memorized recitation of approximately 30 lines.
Close-reading exercise (10%)
Midterm exam (30%)
Final exam (35%)
Memorized recitation (5%)
Class participation (10%)