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Connections

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English 121, Intro to Shakespeare
Spring 2012

Monday, January 23

First day: Introductions and course outline


Unit One

Shakespeare's Language:
The Sonnets


Wednesday, January 25

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.


Friday, January 27

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 30

  • 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


Wednesday, February 1

Group 2: Stage-setting response


Friday, February 3

  • Richard III, Acts II and III

Group 3: Middle acts response


Monday, February 6

  • Richard III, Acts IV and V

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

    • ERIC (English Renaissance in Context) has a tutorial on Richard III

Group 4: Final acts response


Wednesday, February 8

Group 5: Film response


Thursday, February 9

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


Friday, February 10

  • Connections, Developing a Thesis

    • 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.


Monday, February 13

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Act I

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

Group 6: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, February 15

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Acts II and III

Group 7: Middle acts response


Friday, February 17

  • Much Ado about Nothing, Acts IV and V

Group 1: Final acts response


Monday, February 20

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

Group 2: Film response


Unit Three

Extreme Shakespeare:
Titus Andronicus


Wednesday, February 22

  • Titus Andronicus, Act I

Group 3: Stage-setting response


Friday, February 24

  • Titus Andronicus, Acts II and III

Group 4: Middle acts response


Monday, February 27

Group 5: Final acts response


Wednesday, February 29

Group 6: Film response


Friday, March 2

MIDSEM EXAM IN CLASS


Unit Four

Critical Perspectives on Shakespeare:
The Example of Hamlet


Monday, March 5

  • 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.

    • Facebook Hamlet

Group 7: Scene-setting response


Wednesday, March 7

  • Hamlet, Acts II and III

Group 1: Middle acts response


Friday, March 9

  • Hamlet, Acts IV and V

Group 2: Last acts response


Monday, March 12

Group 3: Write a response that finds some way of tying together the two readings for today. For instance, you might find a point from the critical history that illustrates the power or limitations of a New Critical approach to Hamlet.


Wednesday, March 14

  • Readings on feminist criticism and Hamlet

Group 4: 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.


Friday, March 16

  • Readings on deconstructionist criticism and Hamlet

Group 5: See the assignment for March 14th.


FALL BREAK

Monday, April 2

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


Unit Five

Shakespeare in Context:
The Merchant of Venice and Othello


Wednesday, April 4

  • The Merchant of Venice, Act I

  • Contextual readings on religion

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

Group 6: Stage-setting response


Friday, April 6

  • The Merchant of Venice, Acts II and III

  • Contextual readings on finance

Group 7: Middle acts response


Monday, April 9

  • The Merchant of Venice, Acts IV and V

  • Parker on queer studies

Group 1: Last acts response


Wednesday, April 11

FILMS: 8:00 Tuesday night in ARH 102

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

  • Film: Barton, section 4 of Playing Shakespeare: Exploring a Character (on Shylock)

Group 2: Film response


Friday, April 13

No readings for today: we will talk about writing in class.


Monday, April 16

  • Othello, Act I

Group 3: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, April 18

  • Othello, Acts II and III

Group 4: Middle acts response


Friday, April 20

PAPER PROSPECTUS DUE IN CLASS

Group 5: Last acts response


Unit Six

The Shakespearean Text:
King Lear


Monday, April 23

  • King Lear, Act I

Group 6: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, April 25

  • King Lear, Acts II and III

Group 7: Middle acts response


Friday, April 27

  • King Lear, Acts IV and V

Group 1: Last acts response


Unit Seven

Shakespeare on Stage:
Macbeth


Monday, April 30

PAPER DUE IN CLASS

  • Macbeth, Act I

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

Group 2: Stage-setting response with special attention to the interpretive decisions made by at least one of the actors on the CD


Wednesday, May 2

  • Macbeth, Acts II and III

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

Group 3: Middle acts response


Friday, May 4

  • Macbeth, Acts IV and V

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

Group 4: Last acts response


Unit Eight

Shakespeare's Legacies:
The Tempest


Monday, May 7

  • The Tempest, Act I

  • Parker on Postcolonial and Race Studies

Group 5: Stage-setting response


Wednesday, May 9

  • The Tempest, Acts II and III

Group 6: 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.


Thursday, May 17

FINAL EXAM AT 2:00 P.M.
 

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