Section 01 [H]
Summer 2005 -- (June 20-July 29)
MTWThF 9:00 - 10:15
If you're taking the Shakespeare plunge for the first time, fear not: this course will be relatively non-threatening and usually merciful. If you're "brushing up your Shakespeare," here is an assortment of mostly greater and some lesser works of the Bard. If you may have to teach some Shakespeare eventually, youčre not alone and we'll keep this in mind. If you are taking this class because you vaguely suspect that, as a human being, you should, you're probably right.
We'll shoot for both some general coverage of Shakespeare, for consideration of the big biographical question and Tudor cover-up, and for close focus on several plays (including several chosen by the class) with emphasis on those traditionally assigned to Shakespeare's earlier period and that you could see performed this season in the Pacific Northwest (Ashland, local campuses, movie theaters, etc.) if you were so inclined.
A recently published book on Shakespeare asserts what has been the consensus for centuries: that Shakespeare essentially created our conception of what a human being is, of human psychology and human relationships. In other words, Shakespeare created us. He shaped the English language more than anyone else too. Therefore, I want some answers from this mini-semester, Billy! Therapy is too expensive.
To gain exposure to Renaissance (or Early Modern) thought, poetic craft, and drama by poring over the works of one rather well-known English author.
To increase intellectual maturation and clarification of our own values through examination of ideas and attitudes in literary/cultural contexts and through articulation of these.
To develop skills in verbal analysis, critical thinking, and detection of subtlety through reading, discussion, and writing about some tricky literature.
The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.
A significant part of your life this semester has to become Shakespeare studies. Studying this stuff can be demanding, but at least we'll be doing it together as a "learning community." Because classroom interaction is essential for this to be a valuable experience, and because frequent quizzes and homework writings will be exchanged and no late assignments of any sort will be accepted, more than a few absences will affect your grade regardless of reason. Here's the math:
I will frequently ask for relatively minor homework assignments to be turned in (or submitted electronically), designed primarily to stimulate subsequent discussion [although it will arise anyway because the readings are so provocative (i.e., cool)] and to practice conventions for writing about literature. At other times I will ask you to answer questions in writing in class, often ad lib responses to the reading before class discussion begins. Homework assignments and quizzes will receive numerical grades (points) and, although these writings cannot be made up (except for a couple optional writings that can take their place), the final semester totals will be curved if necessary. (30%)
You will submit two written projects of manageable length. (30%)
Your presence will be kindly requested at two exams. (30%)
Class participation and other service to the learning community will be expected (occasional group work, for example). (10%)