ENGL 657 (M1) - Shakespeare


Manchester   Liberal Arts :: English
Online Course Delivery Method: Scheduled meeting time, Online (no campus visits), EUNH
Can be taken by students who are remote.
Credits: 4.0
Term: Fall 2021 - UNHM Credit (15 weeks) (08/30/2021 - 12/13/2021)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Class Size:   15  
CRN: 16563
An introduction to the main periods of Shakespeare's playwriting career, addressing representative works from each of the genres in which he wrote (tragedy, comedy, history, romance). We will discuss such matters as a Renaissance theater architecture and performance conventions, Shakespeare's poetic language, the representation of women, commoners and minorities on stage, royal power and court politics, love, sex, religion, and revenge. Live and filmed performances will be included as available. Prereq: ENGL 401.
Department Approval Required. Contact Academic Department for permission then register through Webcat.
Equivalent(s): ENGL 657H
Only listed campus in section: Durham, Manchester
Attributes: Writing Intensive Course
Instructors: STAFF

Times & Locations

Start Date End Date Days Time Location
8/30/2021 12/13/2021 M 6:01pm - 9:00pm ONLINE
Additional Course Details: 

THIS CLASS WILL BE TAUGHT ONLINE (there will be no change in modality).  Students on the Durham as well as the Manchester campus are welcome to enroll. 


This course will offer you the opportunity to get to know some of the plays written by William Shakespeare. Viewing them very much as products of their social, historical, and literary environments, we will focus on nine of his plays. These plays present a diverse picture of Early Modern theatrical production.


The plays have been selected because, when read together, they present the audience with both a sense of continuity and of contradiction. They explore generic boundaries, engaging with the concept of Aristotelian tragedy and producing hybrid tragic forms, such as tragicomedy; they also sometimes offer (to our eyes) a startlingly modern understanding of issues such as gender, as in The Taming of the Shrew. Furthermore, the plays explore and complicate an array of themes which reflect the concerns of the Early Modern period in England, many of which still preoccupy us today: among other things, the position and perception of "outsiders" in contemporary society, how to reconcile a person's appearance with their true identity, the place of women in family life, the ramifications of madness and love.


As we read these plays we will gain a greater understanding not just of dramatic form, but also of aspects of Early Modern British society. To this end, I've supplemented the primary readings with a text which helps you gain a broader picture of the historical moment in which these dramas were written and staged.


David Bevington, ed. The Necessary Shakespeare. 3rd ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2009). ISBN-10: 0205652166; ISBN-13: 978-0205652167

Russ McDonald, ed. The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare, 2nd edition (NY: Bedford St. Martin's, 2001). ISBN-10: 0312248806; ISBN-13: 978-0312248802