ENGL 323 A: Shakespeare to 1603

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 10:50am - 1:00pm
SWS B014
William Streitberger

Syllabus Description:

English 323 A                         Summer 2019 A-term                         Early Shakespeare                            Instructor:   W.R. Streitberger            streitwr@uw.edu 

Schedule: M-Th 10:50-1:00    SWS B014                                 Office: A-510 Padelford                                                                                    


               I have ordered The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 7th edition, ed. David Bevington (Pearson, 2014). I will ask you to read introductions, notes, and parts of the general introduction in this text. Older editions of this text are acceptable; other editions are not acceptable. You are also required to view two films. You may view them in the Media Center in Suzzallo or you may stream them.  

               On occasion, you will want to look up definitions of literary terms. Literary encyclopedias and handbooks are available in the Reference section of the library. The best recent study of Shakespeare's life is Park Honan’s Shakespeare: A Life (Oxford, 1998). Richard Dutton, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre 2nd ed. (Oxford, 2011) provides extensive discussions of theaters and acting companies in cultural context. These books are available from the library or the bookstore. Additional background reading and relevant criticism of the plays will be found in the summaries and bibliographies in our class text and in other standard collected editions of the plays. Research in what has been written since 1921 can be done on line. Go to the UW Library site, click Resources by Subject, then English, then MLA International Bibliography, then search by subject categories, i.e. Shakespeare, [play], [topic]. 


               In his early period Shakespeare primarily wrote poetry, comedies, and histories. We will begin with a selection of his Sonnets. We will read a selection of 2 Henry IV, and all of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, 1 Henry IV, Henry V, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet. Class sessions will be devoted to discussions and lectures. Our focus will be on the artistry in Shakespeare’s texts—the use of language and poetry, the idea of dramatic construction, the understanding of genre, the conception of gender, the idea of theater, the impact of education on his choice and treatment of subjects, the history of his texts, and the criticism of his work. We will also give some attention to modern film adaptations of a comedy and a history.   


Two one hour quizzes which will consist of multiple choice, fill in the blank, passage identification, and short answer questions that test your knowledge of the material in assigned readings, class sessions, and study questions (50%). A short essay (3 pages) on a film adaptations of either Henry V or Twelfth Night (25%). (3) Between three and five times during the quarter I will ask you to write an in class essay on the major topic for that class session. You may use your books, notes, etc. to help write these essays (25%). Your active participation in class discussions is required. If you miss four class sessions you will be required to take a two hour, comprehensive final exam on the last day of class.

Catalog Description: 
Explores Shakespeare's early drama and poetry. May include the sonnets, narrative poems, and selected comedies, histories, or tragedies.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 16, 2019 - 11:00pm