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Fall 2021
Jul 01,2022
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LITR 244 - SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS
This course aims to familiarize students with the works of Shakespeare and his inheritors through an exploration of five plays (Titus Andronicus, Othello, Coriolanus, Midsummer Night ’s Dream, and Richard II) and their varied afterlives. The focus of the course will be “Shakespeare with a Difference," meaning that we will examine l) how cultural difference is represented in these plays and 2) how various cultures have interacted with early modern texts that differ quite radically (historically and geographically) from their own. We will begin the course by reading Titus Andronicus, looking at early modern notions of authorship as they relate to performance and printing practices. Next, we will read Othello as we interrogate how its stage history has variously performed its characters’ national, racial and gendered identities. We will read and discuss the complicated nature of using Shakespeare on pages, stages, and screens in order to “perform identity." Are these performed identities Shakespeare‘s? Are they ours? Are they attempts to represent (and thereby domesticate) selves radically other than ourselves? After surveying some of Shakespeare’s sources, we will consider the play’s afterlife, particularly as it was performed in the minstrel shows of the nineteenth century. After Othello, we will read another tragedy, Coriolanus. In particular, we will examine what it means to approach the play through a Marxist lens. Next we will read A Midsummer Night's Dream as we discuss the cultural uses of comedy as a genre and humor as a vehicle for critique. Finally, we will read one of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays, Richard II. We will examine how Shakespeare stages England’s transition from the feudalism of the Middle Ages into the liberal capitalism of the Enlightenment.
0.000 TO 4.000 Credit hours
0.000 TO 4.000 Lecture hours

Levels: Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Hybrid, Lecture, Online Course

Literature Department

Course Attributes:
Gen Ed 2018, Gen Ed 18-Culture & Creativity, OLD GE-TOPICS ARTS&HUMANATIES, MJ-LITR-Litr Prior To 1800


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