English R1B

Reading & Composition: Worlds Apart in Shakespeare

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
16 Spring 2008 Joseph Ring
TTh 12:30-2 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Plays (tentative): A Midsummer Night�s Dream ; The Merchant of Venice; As You Like It; Othello ; Antony and Cleopatra ; The Tempest



"Shakespeare�s plays often project stereoptic visions of worlds set apart from the geographical center of the dramatic action. These removed places, like Arden forest in As You Like It, the realm of fairies in A Midsummer Night�s Dream, or romantic Belmont in The Merchant of Venice, for example, are, among other things, spaces of exile, fantasy, or promise�sometimes all at once. In later plays, remote geographies frequently appear as non-European locales that represent the exotic, sensual, mysterious, and dangerous, like Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra, Cyprus in Othello, and the south Mediterranean and Caribbean in The Tempest. But these exotic places also offer a doubled perspective on the European worlds from which they are set apart, either as contrasting other or as reflecting mirror. We will explore a few of these peripheral worlds in several Shakespeare plays, and the critical views that their distance from the center affords. More generally, we will pay attention to matters of theme and character, and concentrate on dramatic structures and conventions and on the richness of the plays� language.

This course is primarily designed to teach you how to work with principal modes of academic rhetoric: description, analysis, and argument. You will be required to write, in addition to a diagnostic essay and a number of short writing assignments, at least two formal essays, each of which you will substantially revise, and the last of which will include a research component. As each student will also workshop these essays with a peer-editing group, you must be prepared to write detailed comments on other students� work. "

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