English 310. Shakespeare and the Company He Keeps
Focusing on Shakespeare’s poetry and plays and the sources he used as well as the social and cultural contexts that produced them, this course looks, too, at the dramatic responses the Bard’s work provokes. We’ll read, for instance, Shakespeare’s ‘English’ sonnet and compare it to some of Sidney’s Petrarchan sonnets. We’ll read Hamlet, King Lear, and Henry V, Othello, As You Like It and Twelfth Night, among others, to understand the ideas and conventions of thought and bias among the early modern English literary and play-going culture. Using documents contemporary with Shakespeare’s writing, we’ll see how Shakespeare’s ideas are perhaps unoriginal, and how his inventions, experiments and riffs are extraordinary. There will be a midterm and a final exam in this course.