Shakespeare's Histories and Comedies
Mondays and Wednesdays 4:30 P.M.-5:45 P.M.
Instructor's office: Department of Special
Collections, 6th floor, Van
Phone: 215 898 7088; fax: 215 573
In this course, we will read several
of Shakespeare's English history plays to see how they express Tudor
concerns with the sources of social authority. The plays explore this
issue through their depictions of struggles, primarily for rulership, but
also over personal identity, family history and genealogy, and gender. We
will also read history plays by writers other than Shakespeare--e.g.,
Christopher Marlowe; John Ford--to see how his contemporaries dealt with
such issues. Similar issues are raised by Shakespeare's comedies, a number
of which we will also read, as well as some non-Shakespearean comedies
such as the anonymous Taming of a Shrew and John Fletcher's The
Woman's Prize: or, The Tamer Tam'd. Together, these plays should give
us a sense of how Shakespeare used various dramatic forms to explore some
of the central concerns of his society, with languages and styles
carefully adjusted to the demands of those forms.
Read this section now to avoid surprise or disappointment
The instructor expects students to read, in addition to the plays
themselves, some historical and critical works. A few are among the books
required for this course. Recommended additional readings of this kind
appear in the syllabus below. These are recommendations. They are
not covert requirements. Nonetheless, they are listed here
because the instructor hopes you will read as many of them as you can.
Study of Shakespeare is, in one sense, an ongoing conversation between
people with vastly different points of view, from many different countries
and cultures, and, now, speaking to one another across several centuries.
Even an introductory course offers an opportunity to sample that
conversation, which, in its often odd way, is part of the pleasure of
study of Shakespeare: you might as well begin to taste that pleasure, as
well as the pleasures of Shakespeare, now. The amount of Shakespearian
writings is enormous. The instructor has tried to recommend a few (usually
short) essays he thinks (1) might be useful, instructive, and readable;
(2) reflect both older and more recent approaches to the plays; and (3)
won't harm you.
Your textbook includes a general introduction (assigned), introductions
to each play (assigned), and notes. Use the notes when you find them
necessary. Try not to let them distract you from your
reading when you don't find them necessary. Shakespeare's English is
modern. It is neither the Old English of Beowulf nor the Middle
English of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It is, however, early
modern English. Modern readers meeting it the first few times can find its
differences from our own English confusing. As the semester progresses,
you will find yourself increasingly familiar with Shakespearian English:
its vocabulary, forms of usage, syntax and word order, and its ability
(often masked by modern spellings) to use single words to mean things we
use several words to mean. When in doubt, in addition to using the notes,
read the passage aloud. (It will become less embarrassing
after a while.) Watching a production will also help (see below).
The single best resource for readers of English-language works is
the Oxford English Dictionary, available to Penn students
through the Library's website,
as well as in its various printed forms. You also have access to a special
library within Van Pelt, the Furness Memorial [Shakespeare] Library (6th
floor), with many additional dictionaries, guides, and studies
specifically devoted to study of Shakespeare. Because these materials do
not circulate, they are always there for your use.
Vast numbers of online resources to assist the study of
Shakespeare exist. Some of them are even good. A selection appears below.
Shakespeare wrote his plays to be staged, that is, for actors who would
produce them before an audience where they would be seen and heard. They
were not written down for readers. It will be a source of pleasure
and enhance your understanding of his plays if you watch as many
videotaped versions of them as possible, whether productions originally
made for television or the movies: the more the merrier. If logistical
arrangements can be made, we will make a Friday night or weekend journey
or two to see live productions (for instance, a number of plays are being
produced in Brooklyn this spring; Cymbeline will be presented at
Princeton's McCarter Theater soon).
This class will work through discussion rather than lectures. Your
attendance will make a difference in its success--and your
attendance and participation in your grade. Ground rules: talk;
interrupt; open your mouths. Be polite; do not let politeness get in the
way of making your points.
The course requires two short (about 5 pages) papers, due January 28th
and March 4th; willingness to participate in some classroom presentations
of scenes; and a final paper (about 15 pages) due May 8th. No final
examination will be scheduled. The instructor may occasionally give brief
written quizzes or exams, although his inclination is to do so only if it
appears that people are not keeping up with the reading.
NOTE: Your final paper should consider some aspect of the plays
we have read during the semester and, if you wish, may also deal
with related plays or historical or comedic works not otherwise read in
this class, whether written by Shakespeare or by other writers. The more
recommended critical writing you can read, the better able will you be to
choose a topic for this paper intelligently. DO NOT CHOOSE A TOPIC FOR
OR WRITE THIS PAPER WITHOUT FIRST DISCUSSING YOUR PLANS WITH THE
INSTRUCTOR. Follow MLA format rules (which you can consult at Van Pelt
Library's Reference Desk if you don't already know them) in its
preparation.Death (preferably yours) is the only acceptable
excuse for lateness.
In general, the instructor appreciates
writing. He will look with disfavor upon essays, whether short or
final papers, that are poorly written. Sloppy writing normally means
This course meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30 P.M. till 5:45
P.M. in Bennett Hall 226. We may occasionally reschedule or relocate in
order to accommodate the use of videotapes in class.
As has been noted at the top of this syllabus, the instructor's office
is in the Department of Special Collections on the sixth floor of Van
Pelt-Dietrich Library. You can reach him there by telephone (215 898 7088)
or in person at that location. Call before showing up. You can
communicate with him as well by e-mail.
NOTE: Some material will
be distributed in photocopy ("bulkpack"). Books to be purchased are
available at the Pennsylvania Book Center, 3726 Walnut
- The Norton Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt, general editor
(New York: W. W. Norton, 1997)
Many editions of Shakespeare
are available. This one is distinguished in part by having been printed on
a highly unattractive species of toilet paper. Nonetheless, the instructor
hopes that you will buy and use it for three reasons:
- It represents
as modern a version of the now highly-controversial Shakespearian
TEXT as you can easily obtain. Shakespeare's text is
increasingly unstable, uncertain. Not every decision that
the Norton editors--or the Oxford editors on whom Norton's based their
edition--have made about it is defensible; occasionally, they are
downright wrong. But this textbook version gives you a common as well as a
modern basis for thinking about Shakespeare's text as you read it.
use will also give us a common basis for classroom discussion.
Particularly since texts of Shakespeare nowadays differ in many far more
important ways than used to be true, this is a practical consideration
that the instructor has borne in mind in asking that students buy this
- Between them, general editor Stephen Greenblatt and his
colleagues Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, and Katharine Eisaman Maus
provide a better overview of contemporary trends in Shakespearian
scholarship and criticism than any other text available.
In April of
1998, The Norton Shakespeare figured prominently in an article in
The New York Times on
- C. S. Lewis, The Discarded
Image (1964; rpt. as a Cambridge University Press
The instructor has asked the bookstore to acquire
a few copies of another, more or less similar, book, this one even shorter
than, and just as readable as, Lewis's--E. M. W. Tillyard, The
Elizabethan World Picture (1944; rpt. as a Vintage
paperback)--and just about as out of date. The instructor
recommends both books to you. Lewis is required; Tillyard merely
recommended STRONGLY. If the Penn Book Center runs out but you
still want a copy, it should be easy to find at House of Our Own, the
University Bookstore, Borders, Barnes & Noble, and other area bookstores
or bookstore-like facilities. Used with due caution, both Lewis and
Tillyard provide some sense of the background of ideas and commonplaces on
which Elizabethan and Jacobean writers (such as Shakespeare) could draw.
Readers need to exercise that "due caution" mentioned above in deciding
how much of this background was "believed"; what "belief" in it might
mean; and how widely, throughout early modern societies and social groups,
such background was spread, and for what (and whose) purposes. Zealots and
Christian martyrs-in-training may also want to read the much longer, more
thorough, more modern, more cautious, and (perhaps as an unhappy
consequence of these, its real and significant virtues) somewhat duller
book byJulia Briggs, This Stage-Play World: Texts and Contexts,
2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1997,
paperback).The instructor has not ordered this book but it should
be easy to locate anyway.
- Jean E. Howard, The Stage and Social Struggle in Early Modern
England (New York: Routledge, 1994; paperback)
- Phyllis Rackin, Stages of History: Shakespeare's English
Chronicles (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990;
- Julia Briggs, This Stage-Play World (see above
- John Guy, Tudor England (New York: Oxford University Press,
A basic history of England during the
period when the literature read in this course was written, Guy's book is
readable but long.
- E. M. W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture (see above
If he puts any books on reserve in the Rosengarten Reserve Room (Van Pelt
Library, basement--and, currently, main entrance--level), the instructor
will distribute separately a list of them. The Furness Memorial Library on
the sixth floor of Van Pelt is where the large majority of books for this
course are to be found; circulating copies are found mainly on the third
floor of Van Pelt.
Week 1--12 and 14 January
Introduction; Plautus, The
- FOR WEDNESDAY: Plautus, The
Then, as you can get to them (but certainly by
- Stephen Greenblatt, "General Introduction," The
Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1-76
- Andrew Gurr, "The Shakespearean
Stage," The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 3281-3301
- Erich Segal, "The Menaechmi:
Roman Comedy of Errors," Yale Classical Studies, 21 (1969), 77-93;
chapter 2 ("From Forum to Festival," pp. 42-69) in Segal's Roman
Laughter: The Comedy of Plautus (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 1968), covers some of the same ground.
Most of us have little opportunity to see
Plautus in performance. One alternative way of getting some vague--and, of
course, very modernized--but entertaining sense of how his comedy might
have worked is to watch Richard Lester's 1966 film version, easily rented,
of Stephen Sondheim's musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the
Forum, with Zero Mostel.
Week 2--19 and 21 January
The Comedy of
Errors; Gascoigne, Supposes
- The Comedy of Errors
Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp.
- George Gascoigne, Supposes (bulkpack)
- Ludovico Ariosto, I Suppositi,
translated into modern English as The Pretenders by Edmond M. Beame
and Leonard G. Sbrocchi in The Comedies of Ariosto (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1975), pp. 52-98
- Harold Brooks, "Themes
and Structure in The Comedy of Errors," Early Shakespeare,
ed. John Russell Brown and Bernard Harris (London: Edward Arnold, 1961),
- Louise George Clubb, "Italian Comedy and The Comedy of
Errors," Comparative Literature, 19 (1967), 240-251
Frye, "The Argument of Comedy," English Institute Essays (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1948), pp. 58-73, and often rpt., e.g., in the
1st (1957) and 2nd (1967) editions of Shakespeare: Modern Essays in
Criticism, ed. Leonard F. Dean (New York: Oxford University
- Patricia Parker, "The Bible and the Marketplace: The Comedy
of Errors," Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture,
Context (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp. 56-82
The BBC Comedy of Errors is available at
DRL. Rodgers and Hart's musical, The Boys from Syracuse, can be
seen in a 1940 film version directed by Edward Sutherland.
Week 3--26 and 28 January
The Taming of the
- The Taming of the Shrew
- Jean E.
Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp.
- The Taming of a Shrew (bulkpack)
- STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: John
Fletcher, The Woman's Prize; or, The Tamer Tam'd, a play available
in the edition of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher edited by Fredson
Bowers that unhappily lacks apparatus to help anyone wanting to
read this play
- Lynda Boose, "Scolding Brides and Bridling
Scolds: Taming the Woman's Unruly Member," Shakespeare Quarterly,
42 (1991), 179-213, and often rpt., e.g., in Materialist Shakespeare: A
History, ed. Ivo Kamps (New York: Verso, 1995)
- Lorna Hutson, "Why
Do Shakespeare's Women Have 'Characters'? Error, credit and sex in The
Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew," The Usurer's
Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century
England (New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 188-223
- David Underdown,
"The Taming of the Scold: The Enforcement of Patriarchal Authority in
Early Modern England," Order and Disorder in Early Modern England,
ed. Anthony Fletcher and John Stevenson (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1985), pp. 116-136
The BBC Shrew is available at DRL. Franco
Zeffirelli's 1967 version, with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor,
should be easy to rent. Sam Taylor's 1929 version, with Mary Pickford and
Douglas Fairbanks, may be harder to locate. Cole Porter's Kiss Me
Kate is available in a 1953 film version directed by George Sidney.
Short paper 1 is due at the beginning of class on
Wednedsay, 28 January.
Week 4--2 and 4 February
Topics (choose one):
- If you
were able to read Fletcher's The Woman's Prize, discuss his play's
"critique" of Shakespeare's.
- Is Shakespeare's play in any sense a
critique of The Taming of a Shrew?
- Analyze Act 4,
scene 3, of Shakespeare's play: structure? function?
- What is the impact
on our understanding of Shakespeare's version of this play of his failure
to offer any conclusion to its Induction?--to "close its
A Midsummer Night's
- A Midsummer Night's Dream
Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shaksepeare, pp.
Recommended reading (two long pieces, one short one):
P. Young, Something of Great Constancy: The Art of A Midsummer
Night's Dream (New Haven: Yale University of Press, 1966)
- Louis A.
Montrose, The Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics
of the Elizabethan Theatre (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1996), pp. 109-211
- Terence Hawkes, "Or," Meaning by Shakespeare
(New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 11-41
Recommended viewing: The BBC MND is available at DRL. If you
fancy Jimmy Cagney as Bottom and Mickey Rooney as Puck, then Max
Reinhardt's 1935 film version may be something you will want to find.
Peter Hall's 1968 version (with Diana Rigg, David Warner, Judi Dench, Ian
Richardson, et al.) should be easier to locate.
Week 5--9 and 11 February
- The Tragedy of King Richard the
- Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton
Shakespeare, pp. 507-513
Recommended viewing: The BBC RIII is available in DRL. The
instructor deeply loathes--but there it is anyway: unassailably
so--Laurence Olivier's 1956 film, with Olivier doing his famous imitation
of Peter Lorre dipped in olive oil and baked as a pretzel, John Gielgud,
Ralph Richardson, Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke . . . Yuck.
Week 6--16 and 18 February
- STRONGLY RECOMMENDED (but this
will be a lot of [not always easy] reading!): Read, if you can
possibly manage to do so, the three plays that precede RIII
in the "first tetralogy," traditionally known as 1, 2 and 3 Henry
VI--but called, in The Norton Shakespeare, by other titles; and
also printed in the order 2, 3, 1, which the instructor urges you to
ignore (i.e., follow the order 1, 2, 3)
- Peter Saccio, "History and
History Plays," Shakespeare's English Kings: History, Chronicle, and
Drama (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 3-15 [by the way,
the later chapters of this very clearly-written book will assist you in
understanding some of the historical background out of which Shakespeare's
history plays emerge]
- William Carroll, "'The Form of Law': Ritual and
Succession in Richard III," True Rites and Maimed Rites, ed.
Linda Woodbridge and Edward Berry (Urbana: University of Illinois Press,
1992), pp. 203-219
- Marjorie Garber, "Descanting on Deformity: Richard
III and the Shape of History," The Historical Renaissance: New Essays
on Tudor and Stuart Literature and Culture, ed. Heather Dubrow and
Richard Strier (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp.
- A. P. Rossiter, "Angel with Horns: The Unity of Richard
III," Angel with Horns (London: Longmans, Green, 1961), pp.
1-22, and often rpt., e.g., in Shakespeare: The Histories, ed.
Eugene M. Waith (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1965), pp.
Marlowe, Edward II;
- Christopher Marlowe, Edward II
- The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp.
- [Anon.,] Woodstock, in
Woodstock: A Moral History, ed. A. P. Rossiter (London: Chatto and
- Ernst H. Kantorowicz, "Shakespeare: King Richard II," in
The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Theology
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), pp. 24-41
- David Scott
Kastan, "Proud Majesty Made a Subject: Shakespeare and the Spectacle of
Rule," Shakespeare Quarterly, 37 (1986), 459-475
- M. M. Mahood,
"Richard the Second," Shakespeare's Wordplay (London:
Methuen, 1957), pp. 73-88
- E. M. W. Tillyard, "Richard II, part
2, chapter 4, section 2 of Shakespeare's History Plays (1945),
often rpt., e.g., in Leonard Dean's anthology (above, Week 2)
- Emily C.
Bartels, "The Show of Sodomy: Minions and Dominions in Edward II,"
Spectacles of Strangeness: Imperialism, Alienation, and Marlowe
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp.
- Kate Chedgzoy, "'The past is our mirror': Marlowe, Shakespeare,
Jarman," in Shakespeare's Queer Children: Sexual Politics and
Contemporary Culture (New York: Manchester University Press, 1995),
Recommended viewing: The BBC RII is available at DRL. A film
version directed by Merrill Brockway should be easy to locate and rent;
ditto Derek Jarman's surprising version of Marlowe's EII.
Week 7--23 and 25 February
1 Henry IV
- The History of Henry the
- Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton
Shakespeare, pp. 1147-1156
- Maurice Morgann, "An Essay on the
Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff" (1777; rpt. in Eighteenth
Century Essays on Shakespeare, ed. D. Nichol Smith, 2nd ed. [Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1963], pp. 203-283)
- C. L. Barber, "Rule and Misrule in
Henry IV," Shakespeare's Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic
Form and Its Relation to Social Custom (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1959), pp. 192-221
- Leonard Barkan, "The Human Body
and the Commonwealth," Nature's Work of Art: The Human Body as Image of
the World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), pp. 61-115
Recommended viewing: The BBC 1HIV is available at DRL.
(Note: the 1984 Italian film of Henry IV, directed by Marco
Bellochio, is a play by Pirandello, not Shakespeare.)
Week 8--2 and 4 March
2 Henry IV
- The Second Part of Henry the
- Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton
Shakespeare, pp. 1293-1303
- By this week, you should have
finished reading Phyllis Rackin, Stages of History (and you
should be well into Jean E. Howard, The Stage and Social
- Stephen Greenblatt, "Invisible Bullets,"
Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in
Elizabethan England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988),
- Jean E. Howard and Phyllis Rackin, "Gender and Nation:
Anticipations of Modernity in the Second Tetralogy," Engendering a
Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare's English Histories (New
York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 137-215
- Peter Stallybrass, "'Drunk with the
cup of liberty,'" Semiotica, 54 (1985), 113-145
Recommended viewing: The BBC 2HIV is available in DRL.
Short paper number 2 is due at the start of class on
Wednesday, 4 March.Topics (choose one):
- Analyze 1 Henry
IV, Act 3, scene 1: structure? function?
- Compare and contrast the
depictions of the "tavern world" in Henry IV, parts 1 and
- Discuss the banishment of Falstaff (2 Henry IV, Act 5, scene
- If you read him: does Morgann get Falstaff
Week 9--9 and 11 March
Week 10--16 and 18 March
- The Life of Henry the
- Katharine Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton
Shakespeare, pp. 1445-1453
- John Ford, Perkin Warbeck
- James L. Calderwood, "Henry V:
English, Rhetoric, Theater," Metadrama in Shakespeare's Henriad:
Richard II to Henry V (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1979), pp. 162-181
- Alan Sinfield, with Jonathan Dollimore, "History and
Ideology, Masculinity and Miscegenation: The Instance of Henry V,"
Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident
Reading (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp.
- Barbara H. Traister, "'I will . . . be like a king': Henry V
Plays Richard II," Colby Quarterly, 26 (1990), 112-121
Recommended viewing: if there is any film that might make the
instructor feel warmly disposed towards Olivier's loathesome Richard
III, it is his Henry V. Kenneth Branagh's recent version is
even more wonderful than Olivier's. It would be extremely
interesting--if slightly depressing--to watch both versions back to back,
after having read the play, the better to see how these
auteurs manipulate the sacred Bard. For altogether different
reasons, it might be amusing to have seen the recent Wag the Dog, a
Barry Levinson movie, with Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman, about
American theatrical politics. Screened in movie theaters this
January, it is probably too recent a movie by far to be available
as a rental.
Week 11--23 and 25 March
The Merchant of
- The Comical History of the Merchant of
Venice, or Otherwise Called the Jew of Venice
- Katharine Eisaman
Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1081-1089
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of
Malta (many editions are readily accessible)
- R. Mark Benbow, "The
Merchant Antonio, Elizabethan Hero," Colby Library Quarterly, 12
- Sigurd Burckhardt, "The Merchant of Venice: The
Gentle Bond," Shakespearean Meanings (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1968), pp. 206-289
- Karen Newman, "Portia's Ring:
Unruly Women and the Structure of Exchange in The Merchant of
Venice," Shakespeare Quarterly, 38 (1987), 19-33
Sinfield, "How to read The Merchant of Venice without being
heterosexist," Alternative Shakespeares: Volume 2, ed. Terence
Hawkes (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 122-139
- Arnold Wesker, The
Merchant, rev. ed. (London: Methuen, 1983)
- A. R. Gurney, Jr.,
Overtime: A Modern Sequel to The Merchant of Venice (New York:
Dramatists Play Service, 1996)
Recommended viewing: The BBC Merchant of Venice is available in
Week 12--30 March and 1 April
Much Ado About
Nothing; As You Like It
- For Monday: Much Ado About
- Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton
Shakspeare, pp. 1381-1388
- For Wednesday: As You Like
- Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare,
- Harry Berger, Jr., "Against the
Sink-a-Pace: Sexual and Family Politics in Much Ado About Nothing,"
Shakespeare Quarterly, 33 (1982), 302-313; rpt. in Berger,
Making Trifles of Terrors: Redistributing Complicities in
Shakespeare (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), pp.
- Carol Cook, "'The Sign and Semblance of Her Honor': Reading
Gender Differences in Much Ado About Nothing," PMLA, 101
(1986), 186-202, and rpt., e.g., in Shakespeare and Gender: A
History, ed. Deborah E. Barker and Ivo Kamps (New York: Verso,
- Jean E. Howard, "Renaissance Antitheatricality and the Politics
of Gender and Rank in Much Ado About Nothing," in Shakespeare
Reproduced, ed. Jean E. Howard and Marion F. O'Connor (New York:
Routledge, 1987), pp. pp. 163-187
- Rosalie L. Colie, "Perspectives on
Pastoral: Romance, Comic, and Tragic," Shakespeare's Living Art
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), pp. 243-283
- Louis A.
Montrose, "'The Place of a Brother' in As You Like It: Social
Process and Comic Form," Shakespeare Quarterly, 32 (1981), 28-54,
and rpt., e.g., in Kamps (above, Week 3)
Recommended viewing: In addition to the BBC Much Ado, available
in DRL, a recent version by Kenneth Branagh (easy to find and rent) is
easier for the instructor to recommend than the HV (or the
Hamlet!) to which the current Young Genius of the English Stage and
Screen has also lent his name and his talent. His predecessor as Y. G. o.
t. E. S. & S., Laurence Olivier, starred as Orlando in Paul Czinner's 1936
AYLI, a rendition the instructor has happily missed till now; a BBC
version is available at DRL.
Week 13--6 and 8 April
As You Like It, continued;
- Finish AYLI if you haven't already
- Twelfth Night, or What You Will
- Stephen Greenblatt,
[introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1761-1767
- Clifford Leech, Twelfth Night and
Shakespearian Comedy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965)
[this is really an 80-page essay published as if it were "a book"]
S. Mallin, "'A Twenty Years' Removed Thing': Twelfth Night's
Nostalgia," Inscribing the Time: Shakespeare and the End of
Elizabethan England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995),
- Joseph Perquigney, "The Two Antonios and Same-Sex Love in
Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice," English
Literary Renaissance, 22 (1992), 201-221, and rpt., e.g., in
Shakespeare and Gender: A History (above, Week 12)
- Joseph H.
Summers, "The Masks of Twelfth Night," The University of Kansas City
Review, 22 (Autumn 1955), 25-32, and rpt. in, e.g., Dean (above, Week
Recommended viewing: In addition to the BBC Twelfth Night,
available at DRL, a very recent movie version should be easy to find and
rent, and is well worth watching.
Week 14--13 and 15 April
- Measure for Measure
Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp.
- By this week at the latest you should have finished
reading Jean E. Howard, The Stage and Social Struggle
- R. Mark Benbow, [an unpublished MS on
sexual misdemeanors and their handling by London petty and religious
courts at the end of the sixteenth century, with the author's permission]
- Jonathan Dollimore, "Transgression and Surveillance in
Measure for Measure," in Political Shakespeare: New Essays in
Cultural Materialism, ed. Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985), pp. 72-87
Recommended viewing: The BBC Meas. is available at DRL.
Week 15--20 and 22 April
- Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Cohen, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 2709-1718
[NOTE carefully what Cohen tells you about the Oxford-Norton text
- George Wilkins, The Painful
Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre, ed. Kenneth Muir (Liverpool:
Liverpool University Press, 1967)
- Steven Mullaney, "'All That Monarchs
Do': The Obscured Stages of Authority in Pericles," The Place of
the Stage: Licence, Play, and Power in Renaissance England (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 135-151
Recommended viewing: The BBC Pericles is available at DRL.
Week 16--VOLUNTARY CLASS--27 April
- The Winter's Tale
- Jean E.
Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp.
- Janet Adelman, "Masculine Authority and the Maternal Body:
The Return to Origins in the Romances," Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies
of Maternal Origins in Shakespeare's Plays, Hamlet to The
Tempest (New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 193-238
- C. L. Barber, "'Thou
that beget'st him that did thee beget': Transformation in Pericles
and The Winter's Tale," Shakespeare Survey, 22 (1969),
- Michael D. Bristol, "Social Time in The Winter's Tale,"
Big-Time Shakespeare (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp.
- Northrop Frye, "The Triumph of Time," A Natural Perspective:
The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1965), pp. 72-117
Voluntary viewing: The BBC WT is available at DRL. Frank Dunlop
directed a 1968 film of the Edinburgh Festival 1966 production with
Laurence Harvey, Jane Asher, Diana Churchill, et alii.
A final paper is due on Friday, 8 May: topic
to be chosen IN CONSULTATION WITH THE
APPENDIX: Online resources for the study of
The web provides many points of access to literary texts generally and
to early modern literary texts specifically (see, e.g., the instructor's
own online texts page for such sources),
including a wide variety of sites providing multiple texts of and
information about Shakespeare.
These sites are free. Many
them are worth less than they cost. Others provide useful information but
still must be used with care. By and large, a surprisingly large amount of
un-refereed (unevaluated) material can be found on the web.
Among these are texts scanned from early editions in the Horace Howard
Furness Memorial [Shakespeare] Library of the Department of Special
Collections at the University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt-Dietrich Library.
Now available are:
Although Hamlet and
Lear are not histories or comedies, it will nonetheless be of some
interest to you to see, close up, as it were, what these plays looked
like in these, some of their earliest printed incarnations.
- the 1623 First
- the 1619 Quarto
- the 1623 First
Folio King Lear
- Nahum Tate's
The History of King Lear (1681)
- King Lear
(edited by Alexander Pope, 1723)
Other Shakespearian links are very numerous, as one would expect. The
texts these sites provide are searchable, of course; but as will soon be
obvious, what text you are searching remains an open (and extremely
controversial) question. Among them are:
- MIT's Shakespeare Home Page . . .
and its what's
William Shakespeare and the Internet
on the Internet: Sites of Interest
- Shakespeare and the
Globe: Then and Now (from Britannica Online)
- The Shakespeare Web
- Wiretap's Shakespeare
- Shakespeare and the
Globe Theatre (University of Reading, UK); and Shakespeare Globe USA
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (a
hypertext version) and another Midsummer Night's
- Shakespearian Poetry
- The Folger Shakespeare
Shakespeare Globe Zentrum Deutschland (Universität zu Köln);
this is the English-language
version of this page
Illustrated (NOTE: one of the most interesting
nineteenth-century artists who also illustrated Shakespeare was Richard Dadd
- Michael Best's
- J. M. Massi's
Shakespeare course page; she also has a page for Jacobean
Osborn's home page (with material on writing critically about
Shakespeare in hyperspace)
- James P. Saeger's NEW home page (with
Shakespeare-related syllabi, images, etc.)
- Rebecca Bushnell's Home
Page (relevant to Renaissance literary studies generally as well as to
- Shakespeare Festivals on the
Magazine (web version)
- Selected Resources on
Shakespeare (from the University of Rochester Library)
- EGMA: A page for the study of astrology
in the works of Shakespeare (Peter Nockolds, Richmond, Surrey,
- A commercial site is the Arden Shakespeare (see also ArdenNet: The Critical
Resource for Shakespeare Studies)
- See, too, the site created for the
Norton Shakespeare, to which you might wish to make the occasional
comment (e.g., "How come you used toilet paper for the printing of this
send Traister e-mail concerning this page at
Return to Daniel
Traister's Home Page.