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Shakespeare and the Book (Not Open to Undergraduates)

ENGL 597.301
instructor(s):

This course introduces students to the methods and theories of the history of the book and print culture through a close study of several of Shakespeare's plays as they were materially instantiated in print. Readings will include the multiple versions of Hamlet (Q1, Q2, F), Henry V (Q1, F), and King Lear (Q1, F), as well as Pericles and Macbeth. What difference does it make to our understanding of the plays and their author if we read them as they were originally printed, published, and read? Among other topics, we will explore the nature of Shakespearean authorship and canonicity; the relationships among performance, script, actor’s part, and printed play;  theories of authorial revision and memorial reconstruction; censorship; and the history of Shakespearean textual scholarship. The course is suitable both for students specializing in early modern studies and for those in other fields who are interested in the material text, or just want to read some great plays. Instead of a typical seminar paper, assignments will include: opening the discussion for one meeting; a review essay of several important books in the field; and a final mini-conference presentation, presenting avenues for further research.