Feb 24, 2024  
Catalogue 2022-2023 
Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ENGL 240 - Shakespeare

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)

Study of some representative comedies, histories, and tragedies. 

Topic for 202/23a: Seeking Shakespeare(s) for Our Time. Why study Shakespeare now?  The traditional answers—that Shakespeare possessed unique insight into human nature (that he even, as one famous critic claimed, “invented the human”), that his stories and characters are universal and timeless—while still potent, are now being questioned. The notion of Shakespeare’s “universality” in particular has a troubled history, as it was so often used to make his work into a symbol and instrument of white European cultural superiority.  Yet Shakespeare continues to be read and performed across our distracted globe, his works acquiring new meanings as they are adapted for new contexts and audiences. This course begins by considering Shakespeare in his own time, exploring the theatrical conditions and historical contexts that informed his plays, and learning how to read the plays closely as both poetry and scripts for performance.  Each play is also be paired with at least one contemporary performance or adaptation that places it in a contemporary context. These juxtapositions open a space for reconsidering Shakespeare’s significance today, particularly as they engage with representations of race, gender, power, war, and love. Leslie Dunn.

Not open to students who have taken ENGL 241 


This course satisfies either the REGS requirement or the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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