English R1A

Reading & Composition: Communication of Poetic Effects in Shakespeare

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2012 Castillo, Carmen
TTh 5-6:30 78 Barrows

Book List

Hacker, D: Rules for Writers; Shakespeare, W: Antony and Cleopatra; Shakespeare, W: As You Like it; Shakespeare, W: Macbeth; Shakespeare, W: Othello; Shakespeare, W: The Winter's Tale; Shakespeare, W: Twelfth Night


We use language to express our thoughts and to be understood: to communicate.  In communication we rely on the shared knowledge and the shared assumptions of our audience in order to ensure as effective communication as possible.  In poetic language there is an additional communication--beyond the communication of accessible content--made up of small fragmentary pieces of incidental material that accumulates and constellates in the audience not as shared knowledge and assumptions, but as shared impressions.  Impressions affect us, “impress” upon us a communication that is not so much understood as it is felt.  In this course we will read six Shakespeare plays and track the experience of impressions that the poetic language communicates versus what the content communicates.  To this end, we will analyze what poetic impressions are saying and doing as a way to generate fresh and compelling assertions and arguments about these plays.

The goals of this course are to have fun, to explore, to learn to read closely, to develop increasing skills in clear writing, thesis and paragraph development, and argumentation.  To this end, we will engage deeply with the texts, discuss them feverishly in class, and write a number of short essays, including revisions, toward the general goal of producing well-shaped and polished critical essays.

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