English R1A

Reading and Composition: Hamlet, Lear, Macbeth - Writing about Shakespearean Tragedy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2007 Vitaliy Eyber
T-Th 8-9:30 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"(It is preferable that you use the specified editions, since line numbers and footnotes are different in different editions.)

Hamlet, Norton critical edition

Macbeth, Folger Shakespeare Library, 2004

King Lear, Folger Shakespeare Library, 2004"


"This is a writing course whose main objective is to turn you into competent writers of academic prose. However, since we need a subject to write about, I decided on one I am interested in and which, I hope, will be of interest to you: Shakespeare. I think, I can teach you more about the Shakespeare plays we won?t be reading in this class by looking closely at just three of his works: Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth. We?ll look at these plays so as both to enjoy them (at a reasonably leisurely pace) and try to determine what it is about these plays that has made them so popular with generations of readers and playgoers. In our discussions we?ll try to cover a broad array of subjects, and you will certainly enjoy great latitude in choosing your own topics. However, I will insist that you consider the plays, first and foremost, as works of art, pay particular attention to Shakespeare?s language, think about his stagecraft and your own experiences as readers or spectators. This course is not meant to do the work of a regular Shakespeare class: I?m not concerned with leaving you by the end of the semester with a jumble of facts that one is supposed to know about Shakespeare, although, understandably, in order to facilitate your understanding of the works you?re writing about, their frame of reference, I will from time to time take up certain issues of Shakespearean lore.

Much of our in-class time will be dedicated to discussing your writing, developing your skills of close and analytical reading, and learning how to be effective when sharing your insights with your readers. Other than the three tragedies, I will ask you to read some secondary materials?a few short scholarly essays. You will be also asked to see at least one film or television adaptation of each play. I will ask you for a short essay every week or two and give you a chance to revise some of them. You can expect some specific assignments aimed at polishing your grammar, improving you vocabulary, etc. We will conduct in-class writing assignments and peer-review exercises regularly. The assignments will insure that by the end of the semester you know what a solid academic essay looks like and can produce one of your own. "

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