English 036.601
Shakespeare's Histories and Comedies

Instructor: Daniel Traister

Spring 1998

Mondays and Wednesdays 4:30 P.M.-5:45 P.M.
Location: Bennett Hall 226

Instructor's office: Department of Special Collections, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Phone: 215 898 7088; fax: 215 573 9079
E-mail: traister@pobox.upenn.edu



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 later.

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 good writing. He will look with disfavor upon essays, whether short or final papers, that are poorly written. Sloppy writing normally means sloppy thinking.

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 Street.


  1. 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:
    1. 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.
    2. Its 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 text.
    3. 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 "Bardolatry".

  2. C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (1964; rpt. as a Cambridge University Press paperback)

    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 by
    Julia Briggs, This Stage-Play World: Texts and Contexts, 1580-1625,
    2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1997, paperback).
    The instructor has not ordered this book but it should be easy to locate anyway.

  3. Jean E. Howard, The Stage and Social Struggle in Early Modern England (New York: Routledge, 1994; paperback)

  4. Phyllis Rackin, Stages of History: Shakespeare's English Chronicles (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990; paperback)


  1. Julia Briggs, This Stage-Play World (see above for details)

  2. John Guy, Tudor England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988; paperback)

    A basic history of England during the period when the literature read in this course was written, Guy's book is readable but long.

  3. E. M. W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture (see above for details)


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 Menaechmi

Required reading:

  1. FOR WEDNESDAY: Plautus, The Menaechmi (bulkpack)

    Then, as you can get to them (but certainly by next week):

  2. Stephen Greenblatt, "General Introduction," The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1-76
  3. Andrew Gurr, "The Shakespearean Stage," The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 3281-3301

Recommended reading:

  1. 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.

Recommended viewing:

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

Required reading:

  1. The Comedy of Errors
  2. Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 683-689
  3. George Gascoigne, Supposes (bulkpack)

Recommended reading:

  1. 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
  2. Harold Brooks, "Themes and Structure in The Comedy of Errors," Early Shakespeare, ed. John Russell Brown and Bernard Harris (London: Edward Arnold, 1961), pp. 55-71
  3. Louise George Clubb, "Italian Comedy and The Comedy of Errors," Comparative Literature, 19 (1967), 240-251
  4. Northrop 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 Press)
  5. 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

Recommended viewing:

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 Shrew

Required reading:

  1. The Taming of the Shrew
  2. Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 133-141
  3. The Taming of a Shrew (bulkpack)

Recommended reading:

  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. 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

Recommended viewing:

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.

Topics (choose one):

  1. If you were able to read Fletcher's The Woman's Prize, discuss his play's "critique" of Shakespeare's.
  2. Is Shakespeare's play in any sense a critique of The Taming of a Shrew?
  3. Analyze Act 4, scene 3, of Shakespeare's play: structure? function?
  4. 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 frame"?

Week 4--2 and 4 February
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Required reading:

  1. A Midsummer Night's Dream
  2. Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shaksepeare, pp. 805-813

Recommended reading (two long pieces, one short one):

  1. David P. Young, Something of Great Constancy: The Art of A Midsummer Night's Dream (New Haven: Yale University of Press, 1966)
  2. 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
  3. 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
Richard III

Required reading:

  1. The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
  2. Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 507-513

Recommended reading:

  1. 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)
  2. 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]
  3. 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
  4. 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. 79-103
  5. 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. 66-84
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
Marlowe, Edward II; Richard II

Required reading:

  1. Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (bulkpack)
  2. The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
  3. Katharine Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 943-951

Recommended reading:

  1. [Anon.,] Woodstock, in Woodstock: A Moral History, ed. A. P. Rossiter (London: Chatto and Windus, 1946)
  2. 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
  3. David Scott Kastan, "Proud Majesty Made a Subject: Shakespeare and the Spectacle of Rule," Shakespeare Quarterly, 37 (1986), 459-475
  4. M. M. Mahood, "Richard the Second," Shakespeare's Wordplay (London: Methuen, 1957), pp. 73-88
  5. 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)
  6. 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. 143-172
  7. 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), pp. 177-221

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

Required reading:

  1. The History of Henry the Fourth
  2. Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1147-1156

Recommended reading:

  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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

Required reading:

  1. The Second Part of Henry the Fourth
  2. Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1293-1303
  3. 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 Struggle)

Recommended reading:

  1. Stephen Greenblatt, "Invisible Bullets," Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Elizabethan England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 21-65
  2. 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
  3. 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):

  1. Analyze 1 Henry IV, Act 3, scene 1: structure? function?
  2. Compare and contrast the depictions of the "tavern world" in Henry IV, parts 1 and 2.
  3. Discuss the banishment of Falstaff (2 Henry IV, Act 5, scene 5).
  4. If you read him: does Morgann get Falstaff "right"?

Week 9--9 and 11 March


Week 10--16 and 18 March
Henry V

Required reading:

  1. The Life of Henry the Fifth
  2. Katharine Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1445-1453
  3. John Ford, Perkin Warbeck (bulkpack)

Recommended reading:

  1. 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
  2. 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. 109-142
  3. 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 Venice

Required reading:

  1. The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice, or Otherwise Called the Jew of Venice
  2. Katharine Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1081-1089

Recommended reading:

  1. Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (many editions are readily accessible)
  2. R. Mark Benbow, "The Merchant Antonio, Elizabethan Hero," Colby Library Quarterly, 12 (1976), 156-170
  3. Sigurd Burckhardt, "The Merchant of Venice: The Gentle Bond," Shakespearean Meanings (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), pp. 206-289
  4. Karen Newman, "Portia's Ring: Unruly Women and the Structure of Exchange in The Merchant of Venice," Shakespeare Quarterly, 38 (1987), 19-33
  5. Alan 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
  6. Arnold Wesker, The Merchant, rev. ed. (London: Methuen, 1983)
  7. 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 DRL.

Week 12--30 March and 1 April
Much Ado About Nothing; As You Like It

Required reading:

  1. For Monday: Much Ado About Nothing
  2. Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shakspeare, pp. 1381-1388
  3. For Wednesday: As You Like It
  4. Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1591-1599

Recommended reading:

  1. 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. 10-24
  2. 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, 1995)
  3. 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
  4. Rosalie L. Colie, "Perspectives on Pastoral: Romance, Comic, and Tragic," Shakespeare's Living Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), pp. 243-283
  5. 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; Twelfth Night

Required reading:

  1. Finish AYLI if you haven't already done so
  2. Twelfth Night, or What You Will
  3. Stephen Greenblatt, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 1761-1767

Recommended reading:

  1. 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"]
  2. Eric 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), pp. 167-219
  3. 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)
  4. 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 2)

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

Required reading:

  1. Measure for Measure
  2. Katharine Eisaman Maus, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 2021-2028
  3. By this week at the latest you should have finished reading Jean E. Howard, The Stage and Social Struggle

Recommended reading:

  1. 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] (bulkpack)
  2. 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

Required reading:

  1. Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  2. Walter Cohen, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 2709-1718 [NOTE carefully what Cohen tells you about the Oxford-Norton text of Pericles!]

Recommended reading:

  1. George Wilkins, The Painful Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre, ed. Kenneth Muir (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1967)
  2. 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

Voluntary reading:

  1. The Winter's Tale
  2. Jean E. Howard, [introduction], The Norton Shakespeare, pp. 2873-2882

  3. 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
  4. C. L. Barber, "'Thou that beget'st him that did thee beget': Transformation in Pericles and The Winter's Tale," Shakespeare Survey, 22 (1969), 59-67
  5. Michael D. Bristol, "Social Time in The Winter's Tale," Big-Time Shakespeare (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 147-174
  6. 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 INSTRUCTOR.

APPENDIX: Online resources for the study of Shakespeare

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 of 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. Caveat emptor!

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:

  1. the 1623 First Folio Hamlet
  2. the 1619 Quarto King Lear
  3. the 1623 First Folio King Lear
  4. Nahum Tate's The History of King Lear (1681)
  5. King Lear (edited by Alexander Pope, 1723)
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.

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:

  1. MIT's Shakespeare Home Page . . . and its what's new component;
  2. Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
  3. Shakespeare on the Internet: Sites of Interest
  4. Shakespeare and the Globe: Then and Now (from Britannica Online)
  5. The Shakespeare Web
  6. Wiretap's Shakespeare texts
  7. Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre (University of Reading, UK); and Shakespeare Globe USA
  8. A Midsummer Night's Dream (a hypertext version) and another Midsummer Night's Dream site
  9. Internet Shakespeare Editions
  10. Shakespearian Poetry Search
  11. The Folger Shakespeare Library
  12. Internationale Shakespeare Globe Zentrum Deutschland (Universität zu Köln); this is the English-language version of this page
  13. Shakespeare Illustrated (NOTE: one of the most interesting nineteenth-century artists who also illustrated Shakespeare was Richard Dadd (1817-1886))
  14. Michael Best's home page
  15. J. M. Massi's Shakespeare course page; she also has a page for Jacobean drama
  16. Laurie Osborn's home page (with material on writing critically about Shakespeare in hyperspace)
  17. James P. Saeger's NEW home page (with Shakespeare-related syllabi, images, etc.)
  18. Rebecca Bushnell's Home Page (relevant to Renaissance literary studies generally as well as to Shakespeare studies)
  19. Shakespeare Festivals on the WWW.
  20. Shakespeare Magazine (web version)
  21. Selected Resources on Shakespeare (from the University of Rochester Library)
  22. EGMA: A page for the study of astrology in the works of Shakespeare (Peter Nockolds, Richmond, Surrey, UK)
  23. A commercial site is the Arden Shakespeare (see also ArdenNet: The Critical Resource for Shakespeare Studies)
  24. 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 book?")

You can send Traister e-mail concerning this page at traister@pobox.upenn.edu.

Return to Daniel Traister's Home Page.