ENGL-137-01 Shakespeare in Context
Spring for 2009-2010
We will read very carefully four of Shakespeare’s plays, representing a range of the genres in which he wrote – history, tragedy, comedy, romance. In conjunction with our reading of the plays, we will also read a selection of other texts also written in the early modern period. Our attention will focus on the plays, but we will spend a good deal of time on texts written by other authors. These other texts address central issues raised in the plays – rebellion, kingship, dueling, passion, marriage, jealousy and religion, among others – and help provide an understanding of the variety of opinions available in the period. By familiarizing ourselves with this cultural context, we will develop a historically grounded perspective from which we can view more clearly Shakespeare’s formulation of these issues, and deepen our understanding of both the plays and the culture of early modern England.
Prerequisites: ENGL 040, 041, 042, or 043