Advanced Seminar in Shakespeare

Course NameAdvanced Seminar in Shakespeare
Course CodeLIT320 / LIT520
Description“He was not of an age, but for all time!” – Ben Jonson So far Ben Jonson, Shakespeare’s admiring rival, has been right. That is partly why reading Shakespeare is so challenging and rewarding. How shall we understand his love sonnets, for example? By our understandings of “love”, or by his? How did he – or his culture, many contemporary critics would say instead – understand “love”? Or history, or gender, or nationhood, or religion, or our very concepts of the self and the universe? How do we accomplish an understanding of Shakespeare’s writing within the context of his culture? Is that even possible, or worth trying to do? Are there other ways to read Shakespeare, and what were and are they? If nothing else, we ought to start with a little humility, given all those questions. We’ll start by closely reading select poems and plays from the 1950s, the climactic decade of the Elizabethan era. Then we’ll closely read select tragedies and one romance from the early 17th century, the dawn of the Jacobean era. We’ll pay attention not only to the socio-historic context but also to the long history of Shakespeare criticism.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students will be able to:
– Closely read select poems and plays from the 1590s, in other words during the climactic years of Elizabethan England;
– Closely read some of the tragedies and one of the romances, written at the dawn of the subsequent Jacobean era;
– Understand the main threads of Shakespeare criticism, including modernist and postmodern/postcolonial approaches;
– Understand the socio-historic context of the works.
SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences
LevelBachelor / Master
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS