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Intro to Shakespeare

ENGL 335.301
TR 10:30-12:00

We will begin with Shakespeare's Sonnets, move on to his narrative poems ("Venus and Adonis" and "Rape of Lucrece") and end with a play from each dramatic genre: a comedy (Love's Labor's Lost), a history (Richard II), a tragedy (Othello) and a tragi-comedy (The Tempest). Our main concern is to understand the difference between poetry written to be read and drama written to be performed. When do the poems appear "dramatic"? When do the plays become "poetic"? What happens when Shakespeare's verse moves from the page to the stage where it is voiced by actors with bodies, gestures, movements, costumes, props? In order to explore these questions, we will be analyzing the formal elements of lyrical, narrative and dramatic genres, with attention to early modern conventions and contexts as they overlap and diverge from our own. Though the overwhelming focus will be on the poems and plays, we will also be reading some pertinent theory, criticism, and cultural history. Three papers will be assigned, a final will be given, and there will be ample opportunity for class participation.