Fall 2015 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
THIS COURSE IS AVAILABLE TO DOCTORAL STUDENTS ONLY.
This course on the "age of Shakespeare" examines the society and culture of late Tudor and early Stuart England--as part of the general attempt today to situate the playwright and his works concretely in time and place. While the seminar will involve group reading and interpretation of only a few of the plays themselves, its larger goals are to enable us as playgoers and readers to locate Shakespeare's works culturally, to appreciate their purposes and agency in his society, and to address the thorny issues of their popular appeal and scholarly interpretation later. Thus readings and discussions will concern the poet's biography, English social and cultural life, the status and working conditions of actors and playwrights, patronage and politics, popular and elite cultures of the period, Shakespeare's audiences and the later reception of his works, as well as various scholarly or critical approaches to studying and teaching Shakespeare historically.
Among the readings under consideration for possible use this term are:
Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Oxford UP: 0-19-537299-9
Peter Thomson, Shakespeare's Professional Career. Cambridge UP: 0-521-66641-4
Andrew Gurr, Playgoing in Shakespeare's London. 3rd ed. Cambridge UP: 0-521-54322-3
Louis Montrose, The Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre. U Chicago: 0-226-53483-9
Alvin Kernan, Shakespeare, the King's Playwright: Theater in the Stuart Court. Yale UP: 0-300-07258-9
Keith Wrightson, English Society 1580-1680. Rutgers UP. 0-8135-3288-4
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, ed. G.K. Paster. Bedford St. Martin's. 0-312-16621-4
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. M. L. Kaplan. Bedford/St. Martin's: 0-312-25624-8
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, ed. F. E. Dolan. . Bedford/St. Martin's: 0-312-10836-2
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Course requirements include active participation in seminar discussions, an oral and short written report on an important book or scholarly debate, and a final paper of roughly twenty pages. Students may choose writing projects that match their interests or places in the graduate program: a research paper or a historiographical review of the kind helpful for preparing qualifying exam fields.