English 217

Shakespeare: Tragedy, etc.

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2020 Arnold, Oliver
TTh 9:30-11 note new location: 122 Wheeler


We will focus on Shakespeare's peculiar approach to tragedy (he broke every rule in the book), but we won't focus obsessively: we will also give sustained attention to Shakespere's representation of citizenship, compassion, artificial persons, poverty, the Roman Republic, false consciousness, and slavery; and I expect that other participants will bring many other interests and concerns to the table.  Secondary readings will include a healthy dose of writings about tragedy (from Aristotle to the present), but we will also take advantage of Shakespeare's unique importance to the evolution of literary criticism and to the philosophy of art. If Shakespeare studies have in recent decades been most closely associated with the new historicism, the plays and sonnets have been a touchstone for almost every kind of literary criticism (Marxist, psychoanalytic, deconstructionist, postcolonial, feminist, and on and on). We will read seminal articles by Cixous, Derrida, Lacan, Greenblatt, C.L.R. James, Pat Parker, and others. 

Book List:  Shakespeare, W.: Titus Andronicus, Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, Othello, Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest

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