Term: Fall 2021 - UNHM Credit (15 weeks) (08/30/2021 - 12/13/2021)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Times & Locations
|Start Date||End Date||Days||Time||Location|
|8/30/2021||12/13/2021||M||6:01pm - 9:00pm||ONLINE|
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