Shakespeare, William: [all of the above listed plays from Signet Classics]
This course will be an exercise in unabashed celebration of genius. I will be continually asking what work these plays are doing in order to render dynamically certain basic features of human experience and to raise significant questions about why we perform certain actions and risk various outcomes. I am interested in history and politics only insofar as they affect our understanding of why the plays offer relatively timeless grasps of what goes into human actions, and what can result from disturbances in our psyches. We will probably read twelve plays--and reading here will entail re-reading because I think that is a commitment English majors should make to any text that deserves to be taken seriously. I know there will be a final and at least one paper. Other assignments will depend on enrollment.
Any Shakespeare text will do. I think every English major should have the collected plays but I will order individual paperbacks for the convenience of carrying around. Plays will include Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Richard II, Hamlet, Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Winter's Tale, and The Tempest.
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