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English 121, Intro to Shakespeare
Spring 2007

Monday, January 22

First day: Introductions and course outline


Unit One

Shakespeare's Language:
The Sonnets


Wednesday, January 24

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.


Friday, January 26

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.


Monday, January 29

  • 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 Tragic and Comic:
Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado about Nothing


Wednesday, January 31

  • Romeo and Juliet, Act I

Group 2: Stage-setting response


Friday, February 2

  • Romeo and Juliet, Acts II and III

Group 3: Middle acts response


Monday, February 5

  • Romeo and Juliet, Acts IV and V

Group 4: Final acts response


Wednesday, February 7

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, viewing the film is required, whereas exploring the websites is optional.

Group 5: film response


Friday, February 9

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Act I

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

Group 1: Stage-setting response


Monday, February 12

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Acts II and III

Group 2: Middle acts response


Wednesday, February 14

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Acts IV and V

Group 3: Final acts response


Friday, February 16

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

Group 4: Film response


Unit Three

Extreme Shakespeare:
Titus Andronicus


Monday, February 19

  • Titus Andronicus, Act I

Group 5: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, February 21

  • Titus Andronicus, Acts II and III

Group 1: Middle acts response


Friday, February 23

  • Titus Andronicus, Acts IV and V

Group 2: Final acts response


Monday, February 26

Group 3: Film response


Wednesday, February 28

MIDTERM EXAM IN CLASS


Unit Four

Critical Perspectives on Shakespeare:
The Example of Hamlet


Friday, March 2

  • 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 4: Scene-setting response


Monday, March 5

[class canceled]


Wednesday, March 7

  • Hamlet, Acts II and III

Group 5: Middle acts response


Friday, March 9

  • Hamlet, Acts IV and V

Group 1: Last acts response


Monday, March 12

  • Readings on feminist criticism and Hamlet

Group 2: The response assignment will be the same for all three 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.


Wednesday, March 14

  • Readings on New Historical criticism and Hamlet

Group 3: See the assignment for March 12th.


Unit Five

Shakespeare in Context:
The Merchant of Venice and Othello


Friday, March 16

  • 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 4: Stage-setting response


SPRING BREAK

Monday, April 2

  • The Merchant of Venice, Acts II and III

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

Group 5: Middle acts response


Wednesday, April 4

  • The Merchant of Venice, Acts IV and V

  • Contextual readings by Alexander Niccholes and Sir Thomas Elyot

Group 1: Last acts response


Friday, April 6

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

Group 2: Film response


Monday, April 9

  • Othello, Act I

Group 3: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, April 11

  • Othello, Acts II and III

Group 4: Middle acts response


Friday, April 13

  • Othello, Acts IV and V

Group 5: Last acts response


Unit Six

Shakespeare on Stage:
Macbeth


Monday, April 16

  • 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, April 18

PAPER PROSPECTUS DUE IN CLASS

  • Macbeth, Acts II and III

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

Group 2: Middle acts response


Friday, April 20

  • Macbeth, Acts IV and V

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

Group 3: Last acts response


Unit Seven

Tragicomic Shakespeare:
Measure for Measure


Monday, April 23

  • Measure for Measure, Act I

  • Machiavelli, from The Prince

Group 4: Stage-setting response


Tuesday, April 24

PAPER DUE
UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR BY 4:00


Wednesday, April 25

  • Measure for Measure, Acts II and III

  • Contextual readings from "T.E." and Henry Swinburne

Group 5: Middle acts response


Friday, April 27

  • Measure for Measure, Acts IV and V

Group 1: Last acts response


Unit Eight

The Shakespearean Text:
King Lear


Monday, April 30

  • King Lear, Act I

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

Group 2: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, May 2

  • King Lear, Acts II and III

Group 3: Middle acts response


Friday, May 4

  • King Lear, Acts IV and V

Group 4: Last acts response


Unit Nine

Shakespeare's Legacies:
The Tempest


Monday, May 7

  • The Tempest, Act I

Group 5: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, May 9

  • The Tempest, Acts II and III

Group 1: Middle acts response


Friday, May 11

  • The Tempest, Acts IV and V

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


Wednesday, May 16

FINAL EXAM AT 9:00 A.M.


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