In this class, we will read intensively several plays by Shakespeare, looking at a few classic commentaries about them from earlier in this century and examining what these earlier approaches did well and what they either did not do well or did not look at all. Examples of more recent approaches, and of the questions upon which these are based, will also be discussed. Among the plays we will considerin this way will be "Hamlet," and "King Lear," among the tragedies, "Love's Labor's Lost," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" among the comedies, "The Winter's Tale" among the romances, and "Richard II" among the histories. The class will require attention to crtitical scholarship as well as to primary (and occasionally multiple) texts.
Students should anticipate heavy emphasis on classroom discussion and will be expected to write two short papers (3-5 pages) and one longer final paper (10-15 pages). If the opportunity presents itself to see any of the plays on which we are concentrating in live production during the summer (as, for example, in New York's Central Park), the instructor will arrange class trip(s) to see it (or them).