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Connections

A Hypertext Resource for Literature

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English 121, Intro to Shakespeare
Fall 2007

Friday, August 31

First day: Introductions and course outline


Unit One

Shakespeare's Language:
The Sonnets


Monday, September 3

  • Film: segment one of John Barton's Playing Shakespeare

  • Read Connections on The Sonnet

  • Read Connections on Scansion

  • And if you want to brush up on poetic terminology more general, have a look around the Terms section.

Come to class prepared to apply the film and readings to a discussion of one of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Also, please go to the class discussion board and write a solid paragraph or two introducing yourself to the class. Aside from the obvious introductory function of this assignment, it also ensures that we flush out any technical problems before moving farther into the term.

Note: here and throughout this syllabus, the first (less indented) reading or link is required, while the second (more indented) reading or link is supplemental and optional. Here, for example, the film viewing and Connections links are required, whereas exploring the other websites is optional.


Wednesday, September 5

Using the close reading handout as a guide, write a paragraph about something unusual and interesting you find in one of the sonnets. We will discuss some of your paragraphs in class, and I will collect them all.


Friday, September 7

  • Read Marjorie Garber's introduction to Shakespeare After All.

  • Shakespeare's "Young Man" sonnets (selections): 20, 30, 37, 62, 76, 84, 93, 115, 116, and 123

  • And the "Dark Lady" sonnets (selections): 42, 127, 130, 133, 138, 144, 147, 148, and 152

Group 1: Write a response connecting some small issue you find in a close reading of one of these sonnets to one of the broader concerns that Garber raises about interpreting Shakespeare's works. The key to this assignment lies in conveying that connection between a few small details and the big issues or questions of Shakespeare criticism.


Unit Two

Shakespeare Tragicohistorical and Comical:
Richard III and Much Ado about Nothing


Monday, September 10

Group 2: Stage-setting response


Tuesday, September 11

SONNET EXPLICATION DUE UNDER MY
OFFICE DOOR AT 4:00 P.M.


Wednesday, September 12

  • Richard III, Acts II and III

Group 3: Middle acts response


Friday, February 14

  • Richard III, Acts IV and V

Group 4: Final acts response


Monday, September 17

Group 5: Film response


Wednesday, September 19

  • Connections, Polishing an Essay

    • If you want to see more of what I say about writing papers, you are welcome (but not required) to look through the other sections of the Writing section of Connections.

No response required: we will talk about writing in class.


Friday, September 21

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Act I

  • Russ McDonald, "Theater à la Mode: Shakespeare and the Kinds of Drama"

Group 6: Stage-setting response


Monday, September 24

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Acts II and III

Group 7: Middle acts response


Wednesday, September 26

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Acts IV and V

Group 1: Final acts response


Friday, September 28

  • Film: Kenneth Branagh, Much Ado about Nothing (1993)

Group 2: Film response


Unit Three

Extreme Shakespeare:
Titus Andronicus


Monday, October 1

  • Titus Andronicus, Act I

Group 3: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, October 3

  • Titus Andronicus, Acts II and III

Group 4: Middle acts response


Friday, October 5

  • Titus Andronicus, Acts IV and V

Group 5: Final acts response


Monday, October 8

Group 6: Film response


Wednesday, October 10

MIDTERM EXAM IN CLASS


Unit Four

Critical Perspectives on Shakespeare:
The Example of Hamlet


Friday, October 12

  • Hamlet, Act I

    • Hamlet Works is one of the web's truly remarkable literary sites. You'll need to take a few minutes to figure out the interface, but the site will repay your efforts.

Group 7: Scene-setting response


Monday, October 15

  • Hamlet, Acts II and III

Group 1: Middle acts response


Wednesday, October 17

  • Hamlet, Acts IV and V

Group 2: Last acts response


Friday, October 19

  • Readings on feminist criticism and Hamlet

Group 3: The response assignment will be the same for both critical approaches. For the approach we read about each day, discuss a point in the article that you consider especially instructive or, on the contrary, to be a misreading of Hamlet. You can talk about more general applications of the day's theory if you like, but every response should start by discussing a specific moment in the day's article.


FALL BREAK

Monday, October 29

  • Readings on New Historical criticism and Hamlet

Group 4: See the assignment for October 17th.


Wednesday, October 31

No response required: we will talk about writing in class.


Unit Five

Shakespeare in Context:
The Merchant of Venice and Othello


Friday, November 2

  • The Merchant of Venice, Act I

  • Contextual readings by Thomas Coryate, John Leo, and Francis Bacon

    • ERIC (English Renaissance in Context) has a tutorial on The Merchant of Venice

Group 5: Stage-setting response


Monday, November 5

  • The Merchant of Venice, Acts II and III

  • Contextual readings from the Examination of Roderigo Lopez and by William Camden

Group 6: Middle acts response


Wednesday, November 7

  • The Merchant of Venice, Acts IV and V

  • Contextual readings by Alexander Niccholes and Sir Thomas Elyot

Group 7: Last acts response


Friday, November 9

  • Film: Michael Radford, The Merchant of Venice (2004)

Group 1: Film response


Monday, November 12

PAPER PROSPECTUS DUE IN CLASS

  • Othello, Act I

Group 2: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, November 14
  • Othello, Acts II and III

Group 3: Middle acts response


Friday, November 16

  • Othello, Acts IV and V

Group 4: Last acts response


Unit Six

The Shakespearean Text:
King Lear


Monday, November 19

  • King Lear, Act I

Group 5: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, November 21

PAPER DUE
UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR BY NOON

No class today


THANKSGIVING BREAK

Monday, November 26

  • King Lear, Acts II and III

Group 6: Middle acts response


Wednesday, November 28

  • King Lear, Acts IV and V

    • ERIC (English Renaissance in Context) has a tutorial on history and truth in King Lear

Group 7: Last acts response


Unit Seven

Shakespeare on Stage:
Macbeth


Friday, November 30

No readings or responses today: we will talk about writing in class using material from your papers.


Monday, December 3

  • Macbeth, Act I

  • Sourcebooks edition introductory materials, pages 1-20, and CD tracks 1-18 (all material from Act I)

Group 1: Stage-setting response with special attention to the interpretive decisions made by at least one of the actors on the CD


Wednesday, December 5

  • Macbeth, Acts II and III

  • CD tracks 19-29 (all material from Acts II and III)

Group 2: Middle acts response


Friday, December 7

  • Macbeth, Acts IV and V

  • CD tracks 30-40 (all material from Acts IV and V)

Group 3: Last acts response


Unit Eight

Shakespeare's Legacies:
The Tempest


Monday, December 10

  • The Tempest, Act I

Group 4: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, December 12

  • The Tempest, Acts II and III

Group 5: Middle acts response


Friday, December 14

  • The Tempest, Acts IV and V

No responses: we will leave time for end-of-course carnival events and contests of skill.


Thursday, December 20

FINAL EXAM AT 2:00 P.M.
 

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