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Shakespeare: History & Comedies

ENGL 036.001
MWF 12

This course will focus on Shakespeare's English history plays (1, 2, 3 Henry VI, Richard III, King John, Richard II, 1, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VIII) in order to consider the ways in which Shakespeare constructs an English identity. While we will be interested in how issues of gender, class, and nationhood interact in the Renaissance, we will also be looking at the ways in which these plays have been used since then. By considering their performance histories on stage and in film (for example, contrasting Olivier's and Branagh's films of Henry V), we will try to see how these Renaissance plays about medieval history continue to shape English identity today. Students will be required to write one-page reaction papers on each of the texts covered; there will also be a final exam.

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