English N117S


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Summer 2017 Liu, Aileen
Mansky, Joseph
Shelley, Jonathan
MTTh 4-6 Barrows 166

Book List

Shakespeare, William: The Norton Shakespeare

Other Readings and Media

We have ordered the two-volume paperback set of 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), you are welcome to use it for this course. Good single-play editions —Signet, Folger, Arden, Oxford World Classics, Pelican—also work.


Note the change in instructor of this course (as of June 20).

                                                                Methinks I see these things with parted eye,                                                                                                                                                                                              When everything seems double. (A Midsummer Night's Dream, IV.i.187-8)

Michael Barbaro: Why can this story be interpreted to fit so many different political moments? What is it about this play that makes it so malleable?

Michael Cooper: Well, one of the brilliant things about this play is that Shakespeare doesn't tell you what to think exactly. It's never quite clear, to what extent is he sympathizing with the conspirators, or condemning them? To what extent is he condemning Julius Caesar, or sympathizing with him? He puts enough on both sides of every matter, that it's really fertile ground if you're a director who wants to impose a new look on it, and directors have done this brilliantly for almost a century now. (The Daily, Thursday, June 15, 2017)

For 400 years, Shakespeare's plays have been interpreted, reinterpreted, and reinterpreted again by theater companies, movie directors, audiences, readers, and writers. This class focuses on a selection of works from Shakespeare's entire career. One issue we will focus on is the famously, endlessly, bottomlessly open-ended nature of the plays. What makes them so? What's the effect? A tentative reading list includes The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, Henry IV Part 1, Othello, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest. We will also screen clips from stage and film productions of the plays.

Course Requirements: Two short essays and a final exam.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 10.

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