Introduces Shakespeare's career as dramatist, with study of representative comedies, tragedies, romances, and history plays.
An introduction to Shakespeare's world and theatre. We will situate a selection of Shakespeare's plays in the historical conditions in Renaissance England, exploring the topicality of the plays in relation to the social, political and cultural conditions in which they were written. Some of our main thematic concerns will be the theatrical conditions at the turn of the seventeenth century, marriage, family, economics, gender relations, and monarchical power. We will pair the plays with various documents from the age such as religious sermons, philosophical writings, political treatises, anti-theatrical tracts, and a blockbuster from one of Shakespeare's theatrical predecessors. While the major objective of the course is to understand Shakespeare historically, students will get ample opportunity to hone in close-reading and analytical skills. As a W course, they can expect to produce approximately 15 pages of revised and polished critical prose on the readings. Plays to be read: Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Hamlet, and Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy. Requirements: Regular attendance, participation, midterm and a final exam, one short papers and a final research paper, and four one page writing assignments (summary, critical response etc).
Kyd, Thomas. The Spanish Tragedy. Revels. [978-0719043444]
Shakespeare. The Taming of the Shrew. Bedford. [978-0312108366]
Shakespeare. Twelfth Night. Bedford. [978-0312202194]
Shakespeare. Richard II. Arden, 3rd Ed. [978-1903436332]
Shakespeare. Hamlet. Bedford. 
A Course Pack.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading