English 117A

Upper Division Coursework: The Elizabethan Shakespeare

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2008 Altman, Joel B.
Altman, Joel
TTh 2-3:30 390 Hearst Mining

Other Readings and Media

Stephen Greenblatt, ed., The Norton Shakespeare


In this course, we�re going to trace the development of Shakespeare�s dramatic work over the first half of his career, as he became the premier playwright of London�s leading stage company. We�ll also read many of his sonnets, which are related thematically and psychologically to the plays, offering glimpses of the writer as friend, lover, poet, and actor. Shakespeare�s plays were written to be performed, not simply read, so we�ll approach them with their performative aspects ever in sight. Studying the texts closely, we�ll observe diction and speech patterns, theme, character, motive, and movement--imaginatively transferring the words on the page into space, sound, and action. We�ll screen and critique scenes from filmed stage performances and movie versions, and see a live performance at the nearby California Shakespeare Festival. At least one week will be devoted to each play so that we can analyze and discuss different interpretive possibilities. There will be two midterms, two papers, and a final exam.

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