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					                              Suggestions for Hausarbeiten

These are really only some quite general suggestions for possibly interesting topics. You are
welcome to focus on quite different aspects – only please remember that I would like to know
what you intend to write about before I see the finished paper ...
        It is always a good idea when you start thinking about a writing a paper to develop an
argument. First, find something that interests you, even if you think it may be difficult to write
about. Why, after all, are you writing this paper? (Come up with a reason other than 'because I
have to', please, or your paper is likely to be rather boring.) What is it you have to say about
the play? What is it you'd like to prove or disprove? Why are you interested in that particular
aspect rather than another?

NB: Do not start your paper with either a plot summary or the author's biography. You
can safely assume that I know both already.

Introduction to Shakespeare
I should like you to focus on one or two of the four plays we discussed in class. However, you
may choose to work with a different play if you wish (only do tell me first!).

Sources:
    Possible Sources of (any one of the plays we discussed)

Language:
    Imagery and Symbolism in (one or two plays)
    Language and Character (e.g. How does Hamlet's Language Reflect on his Character?)
    The setting in … (weather, landscape, buildings – most of the setting is evoked by
     means of language, after all)
    Erotic word play and the use of obscenity in …

Characters:
    A Comparison of … (two or more characters either within one play or 'across' two
      plays – e.g. Hamlet and King Lear; King Lear's daughters; Cordelia and Ophelia/
      Hero; Richard III and King Claudius …)
    Character Constellations in …
    Family relationships in …
    Kings and their subjects in …
    Hamlet / Lear / Richard III as tragic heroes (or Ophelia / Cordelia as tragic heroines)

History of Ideas / General Historical Background:
    Elizabethan Concepts of Sovereignty / Royal Power in ….
    Elizabethan Concepts of Love in …
    Elizabethan Concepts of Marriage in …
    Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Theatre
    Hamlet / Lear / … as an Elizabethan Play (what makes that play an Elizabethan play?
       – How are e.g. the possibilities of the Elizabethan stage reflected in the play?)
    Hamlet / Lear / … as a Renaissance play (history of ideas: which Renaissance topics
       are discussed – i.e. science, new worlds, the role of man – you may focus on any one
       of these topics)
    Hamlet between Denmark and England
Readings of Shakespeare's Plays: (for brief discussions and examples, see Stanley Wells
(ed.), The Oxford Guide to Shakespeare)
         A Psychoanalytical Reading of Hamlet ("Hamlet's Oedipus Complex"; "Hamlet
            and Freud")
         A Feminist Reading of …
         A New Historicist reading of …
         A Marxist Reading of …
         A Deconstruction of …

Performance History
    The Performance History of …
    Actors and the interpretations of (any one or two characters) in …
    A Discussion of the Theater Vorpommern's Adaptation of Hamlet

Film
    Discussion of Cinema Adaptations of any one of the plays (you may compare different
     versions but focus on one aspect – e.g. the setting, particular characters, historical
     accuracy, Hamlet in 2002 – rather than trying to do all at once. Use – if possible –
     DVDs where extra material is given, and do not forget that you will have to use
     secondary material, too – there is quite a lot about Shakespeare and film available!)

General
          A discussion of any one particular aspect (the depiction of the lower classes/
           magic/ the weather / women in…)
          A Comparison of any one particular aspect in two plays (i.e. ambition, magic,
           ethnic minorities, death, blood and bloodthirstiness, cruelty, comic relief, wit,
           happiness, fancy …)
Tess and Theory

I would like you to focus on Thomas Hardy's works. If you prefer to focus on a theoretical
position in connection with another author, please consult me first.

     Readings of Tess (or any other of Hardy's novels)
Here of course you can develop aspects discussed in class, i.e. with a feminist /
psychoanalytical reading or any other theoretical approach to the book. You would not, in
your paper, have to introduce the approach as such – just use it, apply it to a novel. You could,
for instance, develop the group work on the novels' characters using a 'Jungian'
psychological approach (archetypes). Or you could discuss Hardy's female characters or the
narrator's/ intrusive author's comments on women in that novel from a gender theory /
feminist point of view. Or how about having a look at symbols and imagery (Structuralism)?

     Evaluation of a Literary Theory (in connection with Hardy's novels)
Does that particular literary theory offer any new insights to the reader of Hardy's Tess (or his
other works)? You might find it useful to talk about a particular essay (e.g. one from the
reader) and discuss its advantages and drawbacks. Don't forget to position that text within its
favoured theory.

     Biographical Approaches
Discuss the use of a biographical approach to Hardy's novels or evaluate (some of) the
various biographies of Hardy. Are they useful to students of Hardy's novels, what do they
focus on, which concepts do the authors use in the writing of these biographies?

     Tess-related Topics
You may, of course, come up with an idea for a paper to do with Tess that is not strictly to do
with any literary theory. However, in this case I would wish you to reflect on your kind of
approach in the introduction: there is no such thing as a "neutral" position. If, for instance,
you would like to position Tess in a Victorian historical context, you would have to say a few
words about why you wish to do that ("Erkenntnisgewinn") and what your concept of history
is.
       Tess as a Tragedy (or: Tess/ Angel as a tragic characters)
       Is Tess passive?
       Fate against Tess
       Angel between fastidiousness and fascination
       Tess's Triangle
       Means of Characterisation / Character Constellations in Tess
       Religion in Tess
       Nature and the seasons in Tess
       Tess (or Tess) between Superstition and Science
       Darwin and Tess
       Class conflicts in Tess
       City vs Country in Tess
       The Rural character(s) in Tess
       Victorian ideals of women/ men in Tess
       Hardy's Wessex
WOMEN AND WAR
Generally speaking, I would like you to include literary texts – either those we discussed in
class or others, either poetic/ fictional texts or autobiographical ones. Try and highlight the
differences between official and private/poetic records, historiographical and autobiographical
writings. You are of course welcome to work on aspects/ authors/ texts you are interested in
that I have not mentioned in class.

Women and Work:
   Nurses / Munition Workers / Ambulance Drivers / land workers …
   Women's War Work: Emancipation or Exploitation?
   Did women's war work further the cause of women?

WWI (or WWII)
   The role of Women's Magazines in WWI (or WWII)
   Female Spies in WWI (or WWII)
   Pacifism (and Feminism) in WWI (WWII)
   WWI and the Suffragettes
   Woman's role/ image in the propaganda of WWI (or WWII)

Women's Writings (you may also focus on one particular author)
   War and Peace, Life and Death: Contrast and Paradox in women's writings of WWI
    (WWII)
   The Enemy: Germany and the Germans in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   England and the English in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   The role of the Mother in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Loss and Death in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Imagery and Symbolism in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Ignorance and Experience in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Madness and Sanity in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Making Sense of Reality in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Heroes and Concepts of Heroism in women's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Images of War in the writings of …
   Women in men's writings of WWI (WWII)
   Anti-Semitism in Women's Writings of WWII

				
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posted:4/27/2010
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