Shakespearean Receptions (W13)

SCHOOL OF ENGLISH AND THEATRE STUDIES
COLLEGE OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

ENGL 3120: Shakespearean Receptions

 

Andrew Bretz
Office Location: TBA
Office Phone Number: TBA
Office Hours: W: 1:00-2:00
Skype Office Hours: TBA
bretza@uoguelph.ca

Texts:

“The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”

“The Tragedy of Macbeth”

“The Tragedy of King Richard the Second”

“The Tragedy of Richard the Third”

“Measure for Measure”

“The Most Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”

 

All of the above, plus one play to be determined by group consensus, will be studied from:

 

Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition. Gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: WW Norton, 2008.

 

Recommended Texts:

MLA Handbook.(7th Edition)

Arden editions of each of the plays under study.

Crystal, David and Ben.  Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion.  London: Penguin, 2002.

 

Undergraduate Calendar Description:

The course will examine a selection of Shakespeare’s plays and poems in the light of contemporary reassessments of his place in the canon. For purposes of comparison, plays by contemporaries of Shakespeare may also be studied along with adaptations of Shakespeare chosen from a number of different historical contexts. Close readings of these texts will be organized around such topics as Shakespearean adaptations, constructions of gender and subjectivity, Shakespeare and canon-formation, Shakespeare and critical theory, the politics of Shakespearean interpretation, Shakespeare in contemporary media culture, and changing performance practices. Reading-intensive course. (Offered in odd-numbered years.)

Objectives:

Shakespeare’s place at the centre of the canon of English literature remains largely unchallenged, despite attempts in recent decades to include the previously occluded voices of women, persons of non-European descent, and other marginalized groups.  This course does not seek to displace Shakespeare from his central position in the canon – no single course could do that – rather, this course situates the cultural construction of “Shakespeare” through the centuries from his own time to today.  By looking both at the plays and the reception and adaptation of the plays, we will investigate how different periods have created “Shakespeare” in their own image.  Particular attention will be paid to four areas:

  1. Editorial history of the plays and how they have shaped/been shaped by the dominant textual modes of a given historical period
  2. The theatrical/performance history of a given play – when it was produced and when it was not produced, who starred in it and what were the audience’s expectations of the play at that historical moment
  • Critical tradition as regards the play, ranging from New Criticism to New Historicism, Romantic aestheticism to Bowdlerization.
  1. Close readings and textual engagement with the plays.

I want students to start to question the ideological underpinnings of Shakespeare’s early modern texts, which are in some cases misogynist, racist, and tending towards violent chauvinism.  Ultimately, I will be posing the question, if these texts are indeed filled with racism, violence and misogyny, and our contemporary culture repudiates these qualities, then why is Shakespeare still at the centre of the literary canon?

Note: Although we will be dealing with performance and critical history into the 21st century, this course counts as an early modern/medieval credit

Outline of Course:

N.B. – Please have the entire play read by the first day we take up the play in class.

September 9
Introduction: Hamlet: Publication History
September 12 September 14 September 16
Hamlet: CSI Denmark Hamlet: The Bones of Poetry Hamlet: Women Hamlets and Performance History

·         First Five Minute Paper

September 19 September 21 September 23
Titus Andronicus: Rape and Titus Andronicus (pt. 1)

·         Shakespearean Relationships Assignment for Titus Andronicus due

·         Short Writing Assignment for Titus Andronicus due

Titus Andronicus: Rape and Titus Andronicus (pt. 2) Titus Andronicus: Rape and Titus Andronicus (pt. 3)
September 26 September 28 September 30
Titus Andronicus: Allegory and Allegorical Reading Practices Titus Andronicus: Editorial Practices Titus Andronicus: Theatre History

Second Five Minute Paper

October 3 October 5 October 7
Richard II: The Birth of the Nation

·         Shakespearean Relationships Assignment for Richard II due

·         Short Writing Assignment for Richard II due

Richard II: Two Faces of Governance Richard II: Down Court, Down Queen

·         Ballots for final play are due by 12:01 AM, to be announced in class

·         Third Five Minute Paper

October 10 October 12 October 14
Thanksgiving, no classes Midterm Examination Richard III: Plot vs. History (Pt. 1)

·         Shakespearean Relationships Assignment for Richard III due

·         Short Writing Assignment for Richard III due

October 17 October 19 October 21
Richard III: Plot vs. History (Pt. 2) Richard III: Genre, Adaptation and History (Pt. 1) Richard III: Genre, Adaptation and History (Pt. 2)
October 24 October 26 October 28
Richard III and Feminist Criticism

·         Fourth Five Minute Paper

Macbeth: Stitched Together: Macbeth and Editorial History Macbeth: Theatre History

·         Shakespearean Relationships Assignment for Macbeth due

·         Short Writing Assignment for Macbeth due

October 31 November 2 November 4
Macbeth: The Sleeping and the Dead: Visual Art and Lady M (Pt. 1) Macbeth: The Sleeping and the Dead: Visual Art and Lady M (Pt. 2) Macbeth: Historicizing Macbeth (Pt. 1)
November 7 November 9 November 11
Macbeth: Historicizing Macbeth (Pt. 2)

·         Fifth Five Minute Paper

Measure for Measure: Prostitution, Governance and State Violence (Pt. 1)

·         Shakespearean Relationships Assignment for Measure for Measure due

·         Short Writing Assignment for Measure for Measure due

Measure for Measure: Prostitution, Governance and State Violence (Pt. 2)

 

November 14 November 16 November 18
Measure for Measure: Justice and Equity in Measure for Measure (Pt. 1) Measure for Measure: Editorial and Performance History Measure for Measure

·         Sixth Five Minute Paper

November 21 November 23 November 25
TBA

·         Shakespearean Relationships Assignment for TBA due

·         Short Writing Assignment for TBA due

TBA TBA
November 28 November 30 December 1
TBA TBA The Line Up: Identifying Shakespeare

·         Seventh Five Minute Paper

·         Final Paper Due

 

Description of Examinations and Major Assignments:

The final grade will be weighted as follows:

Shakespearean Relationships: 15%

This assignment is inspired by the diagrams created by David and Ben Crystal in Shakespeare’s Words and the Mandala resource created by researchers at the University of Alberta.  In this assignment you are expected to create a graphic representation of the different relationships between characters in one of the plays under study (excluding Hamlet)  This graphic representation should indicate (among other things) mutuality of relationships (eg. spouses) and the directionality of a relationship between characters (eg. servants).  The spheres in which any given character moves must be clearly shown.  You are only required to do this for a single play.  You may choose the same play for both this assignment and the short writing assignment.  These assignments are due the day we begin studying a given play, thus if you wish to hand in your assignment on Richard III, your assignment is due on October 24.  If you choose to do your assignment on Measure for Measure, you will have your assignment due on November 21.  Do not hand in more than one assignment.

Short Writing Assignment: 15%

The short writing assignment should be anywhere from 750-1000 words.  This course has four foci:

  1. Performance History;
  2. Editorial History;
  3. Textual Studies (Close Reading);
  4. Critical History

In this assignment, you will choose a play and focus for your paper.  .  The paper must be presented in accordance to MLA guidelines.  You will be expected to develop a thesis and a short argument with supporting documentation (At least two sources).  For instance, if you choose to look at Performance History for the play Macbeth, you could look at topics like: an individual actor’s relationship with the role over his/her career; the different ways in which different productions have done the sleepwalking scene; the different interpretations of the play in world theatre and/or cinema.  Topics are at your discretion, but you should choose a thesis and a topic that are suitable for a 750-1000 word paper.  You are only required to do this for a single play. You may choose the same play for both this assignment and the Shakespearean Relationships assignment.  These assignments are due the day we begin studying a given play, thus if you wish to hand in your assignment on Richard III, your assignment is due on October 24.  If you choose to do your assignment on Measure for Measure, you will have your assignment due on November 21.  Do not hand in more than one assignment.

Midterm Exam: 30%

The midterm exam will be in class and consist of one (1) essay question, chosen from a bank of ten (10) questions.  You will have one (1) class period to complete the exam.  The question bank will be handed out to students in class at least a week ahead of time.  If a student has not prearranged an alternate time to take the midterm exam and does not attend the exam during the scheduled time, they will receive a 0% on the exam.  “Prearranged” shall here be taken to mean more than 24 hours in advance, but please see “When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement.”

Final Paper: 30%

The final paper should be anywhere between 2000-2250 words.  The paper must be presented in accordance to MLA guidelines.  The due date for the essay is the final day of classes, with papers to be returned to students who wish to recover them during the exam period, no less than two weeks after the last day of classes.  Those who wish their papers returned to them must indicate so on their papers and make arrangements with me to get the paper back to them prior to handing in their paper.

Class Participation: 10%

Participation in group and online discussions, semi weekly one minute papers (see One Minute Papers), and familiarity with the texts under question all will be a part of this grade.  Additionally, participation in the choice of one additional Shakespeare play for study (see Active Learning Assignment) is mandatory. Class participation grade will be completely at the discretion of the instructor.

Participation Part One: Five Minute Papers

Five minute papers will be administered at the end of each play we take up.  They will be short responses, either in point form or whatever form the student chooses, to at least two questions: What have you learned this week?  What are the questions that still need to be asked?  These are designed to be an informal opportunity for students to provide feedback about the course and to improve knowledge retention.

Participation Part Two: Active Learning Assignment

The class will be asked to choose by ballot a final play that is not presently on the syllabus to study in the last few classes of the term.  On the WebCT component for this course are several discussion boards, one for each play that is not already on the syllabus. Leading up to the vote, students will be expected to participate in the discussions both for and against the class studying any given play.

The object of this exercise is to provide a persuasive argument in favour of play that you want us to study in the final week of class.  Some research may be required to make a fully persuasive argument, or to dissuade the class away from someone else’s argument.

The votes will be submitted through electronic ballot (i.e. email) directly to me by October 7, 2011.  Each email must appear with the subject line: ACTIVE LEARNING ASSIGNMENT BALLOT.  I will tabulate the winner and announce the play to be studied in the final week of classes on October 7, 2011.  As I cannot bring in a text to the bookstore for this final play due to logistics, any edition will do. If a student wishes, they may use online editions, of which I recommend:

Internet Shakespeare Editions at U Vic http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/index.html

The British Library’s Quartos http://www.bl.uk/treasures/shakespeare/homepage.html

Students will be expected to maintain classroom civility in the online environment at all times and argue effectively.  Students who do not maintain civility will receive a 0 on this assignment.

Grade Distribution:

Shakespearean Circles:      15%
Short Writing Assignment  15%
Midterm Exam                    30%
Final Paper:                          30%
Class Participation:             10%
Total                                      100%

Lateness:

An assignment is considered “late” if the student and I have not agreed beforehand to an alternate deadline to the one noted above.  Students handing in essays late will be docked 5% per calendar day until the essay is handed in or until 10 calendar days have passed, at which time the assignment will receive 0%.  For further information, see “When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement.”

Instructional Methods:

The University of Guelph is a learner centred institution, which is why this course will appeal to the concepts of learner centredness.  In order to appeal to the widest possible range of learning styles, this course will combine traditional lectures with group work, as well as bringing in video and audio presentations.  Students will be expected to participate in class discussions.  Please note that in this class I will not be showing complete movies, nor will I be auditing complete radio programs.  Each student is expected to come to class having watched the movie or listened to the radio program beforehand, as you would read a novel, poem or play in preparation for a class on that work of literature.  The reasons for this are twofold.  First, I believe it enhances the learning experience to spend time in dialogue about a work rather than (re)viewing the work.  Second, copyright legislation in Canada renders it illegal to show a movie in its entirety, even for academic purposes, in a classroom setting.  We will, however, show clips and liberally reference media in our classroom discussions.

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the Undergraduate Calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-ac.shtml

 

Drop Date

The last date to drop one-semester Fall 2011 courses, without academic penalty, is Thursday November 3. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar:http://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-drop.shtml

 

Copies of out-of-class assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.

 

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Each student at the University of Guelph has rights which carry commensurate responsibilities which, broadly, being a civil and respectful member of the University community. The Rights and Responsibilities are detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar: http://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c14/c14-strightsrespon.shtml

 

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and enjoins all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-amisconduct.shtml

 

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded in any electronic media without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer.

 

Resources

The Undergraduate Calendar is the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies and regulations which apply to undergraduate programs. It can be found at:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/

 

If you find yourself in difficulty, contact the undergraduate advisor in your program, or the BA Counselling Office: http://www.uoguelph.ca/baco/contact.shtml

 

Please see Course Website for a Statement from the College of Arts.

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