This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, an event that has already given rise to memorials and celebrations of the Bard’s work around the globe. In this course, we will use this momentous quadricentennial as both a structuring device for our inquiry and as an opportunity to reflect on the very question of what it means to study “Shakespeare” in the 21st century. We will begin by looking to Shakespeare’s works as they were performed, printed, and read in the seventeenth century. What were the historical circumstances that gave rise to these works? What were the concerns and interests of Shakespeare’s earliest audiences in reading and viewing his work? We will then jump ahead to contemporary engagements with the canon: adaptations in new media, graphic fiction, and other attempts to translate this 400 year-old body of work into a modern idiom.
Textbooks (Required and available at the Campus Bookstore):
The Norton Shakespeare (2nd or 3rd Edition)
The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd Edition)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th Ed.) or Standards & Style
I will also make additional readings and other materials available through our course website.