ENGL 342 - Studies in Shakespeare
Semester Offered: Spring
Advanced study of Shakespeare’s work and its cultural significance in various contexts from his time to today.
Topic for 2020/21b: Shakespeare Today. (Same as DRAM 342 ) This course seeks answers to the question of what Shakespeare means in our contemporary culture. What is “Shakespeare” and, for that matter, what is “culture” today? How dead is the author if he is called Shakespeare? How has Shakespeare been made, rediscovered, and reinvented? The exceeding (and frequently uncritical) appreciation of Genius Shakespeare has been variously described as “Bardolatry,” “Shakespeare cult,” “Shakespeare fetish,” and “Shakespeare myth.” Our aim is to examine the genealogy and the current effects of Shakespeare’s distinguished cultural status. We begin by clarifying a few theoretical issues and exploring how this cultural icon has been constructed from Shakespeare’s time to the present, after which we focus on specific Shakespeare plays contrasting their cultural significance and possible meanings in Shakespeare’s time with their significance and meanings today. Four Shakespeare plays are at the center of our investigations: The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and The Tempest. In this second part of the course, we pay special attention to stage, film, and digital adaptations as well as other cultural appropriations of these plays. Zoltán Márkus.
One 2-hour period.
Course Format: CLS
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