"Performing Identity and Culture in Shakespeare" - Special Topics in Shakespeare
- Wendy L Wall
- University Hall 121 - TuTh 2:00PM - 3:20PM
- What did it mean for a person to "act" a part in the world of the Renaissance? In this course we will ask why illusion, theatricality and role-playing take center stage in most Shakespearean plays, making them obsessively self-referential. Is it surprising that Shakespeare's plays associate performance with "unruly" elements in the culture (tavern crowds, the supernatural, racial others, sexual deviants, upstart women) but also with the actions of monarchs and good rulers? How did illusions ¬¬-- dramatic and other --- help to ratify and challenge the social order? What does it mean to perform identity? And finally, what dangers and pleasures did "playing" offer Renaissance audiences? We will tackle these questions by undertaking textually-based analyses of several Shakespearean plays (perhaps A Midsummer Night's Dream; Henry IV, Pts. 1 and 2; Twelfth Night; The Merchant of Venice; and Othello) in the context of literary criticism and historical materials about the early modern period (e.g., attacks on the theater; Queen Elizabeth's speeches, debates about gender and sexuality; political theory, theories of race). Signet editions of the plays are at Norris.
- 30% on a midterm exam; 50% on a final exam held the last day of class; and 20% on class participation and two short written exercises. Both exams will depend on your reading all materials and attending all class meetings.
- Several short papers; one longer final paper; one presentation; required attendance; class participation.
- Literature & Fine Arts Distro Area
Overview of class
Class Materials (Required)
Current as of 05/03/13 01:02:54 PM