English N117S


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Summer 2017 Marno, David
Arnold, Oliver
MTTh 12-2 Dwinelle 109

Book List

Shakespeare, William: The Norton Shakespeare (3rd edition; ed. S. Greenblatt)


Shakespeare’s poems and plays are relentlessly unsettling, extravagantly beautiful, deeply moving, rigorously brilliant, and compulsively meaningful: they complicate everything, they simplify nothing, and for 400 years, they have been a touchstone—indeed, something like an obsession—for literary artists from Milton to Goethe to George Eliot to Joyce to Brecht to Zukofsky to Sarah Kane and for philosophers and theorists from Hegel to Marx to Freud to Derrida to Lacan to Žižek.  This class focuses on a selection of works from Shakespeare’s entire career. We'll be reading a limited number of plays and some of the poetry. One of the main issues we will focus on is the oscillation between "regular" and "irregular." What is the rule, and what is the exception in Shakespeare's works? How is a comedy supposed to end? How does it end? What makes a tragic hero?  What are the rules of theater? What are the rules of literature? Who creates them and why? When do they get transgressed, and why? A tentative reading list includes Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Troilus and Cressida, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, The Tempest, and a substantial helping of sonnets.  We will also screen clips from both stage productions and film versions of the plays. 

Course requirements: two short essays and a final exam.

We have ordered The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd edition (ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al).  If you already own another complete Shakespeare (e.g., The Riverside, The Pelican, the first or second edition of The Norton Shakespeare, etc.), you are welcome to use it for this course.  Good single-play editions—Signet, Folger, Arden, Oxford World Classics, Pelican—would also serve you well.  

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 22 to June 29.

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