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									                                           Shakespeare 2008-9

Aims. The course aims to cover a wide range of Shakespeare's plays and poetry against the intellectual
background of the period. It combines in-depth study of selected texts with a chronological study of
major works.

Structure. The first half of the AUTUMN Term focuses on four set texts, which will be taught in lectures
and seminars. These are The Merchant of Venice, 1 Henry IV, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. The
lectures will address these plays against intellectual and generic backgrounds. The seminars will focus in
detail on the language and dramatic structure of each of these works. All seminar groups in this term deal
with the same four plays. The SPRING Term starts off with lectures on the Sonnets and contemporary
perspectives on Shakespeare and on his language and then covers the rest of the canon in roughly
chronological order.

Preliminary Reading.

(1) You should aim to be familiar with the four set texts. Since the examination for this course is an open-
        book test, you are encouraged to read as widely as possible in Shakespeare.

(2) Editions: The most useful editions for your study of
        Shakespeare are:

(a) The Riverside Complete Shakespeare (the latest version is 1997) has sound introductions to all the
plays, and particularly the comedies and the tragedies. It offers a wide range of ancillary material, from
information about Shakespeare's life to the theatres of the period, other contemporary dramatists, and
recorded eyewitness accounts of contemporary performances of Shakespeare. An expensive volume, and
available in libraries (UCL has multiple copies), but worth owning. Or you may instead want to acquire
the Norton (1997) edition, introduced by Stephen Greenblatt (cheaper than Riverside), or the Oxford
Complete Shakespeare (without notes, but in paperback). The Norton essentially uses the 1986 Oxford
Shakespeare text and has notes as well as introductory essays. You may also want to consult the new
edition of the First Folio, The RSC Shakespeare: The Complete Works, edited J. Bate and E. Rasmussen
(2007), as well as The Shakespeare Collection (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ Library/database/), which is the
Complete Arden Shakespeare online. This latter is an invaluable resource: it contains full texts for all the
plays as well as the classic Arden 2 critical introductions to them and allows you, among other things, to
conduct keyword searches across all of Shakespeare’s works.

(b) The OUP (Oxford), CUP (Cambridge), and Arden 2 and 3 editions of single plays are a bargain, as
are the New Penguins: good texts, up to date introductions and notes, and cheaper than most
paperback novels. Lecturers and seminar leaders will provide guidance about editions where
necessary. The UCL Library has multiple copies of every single play. You should aim to own editions
of texts you want to prepare for seminars and examinations. A good way of getting to grips with the
plays and poetry is to compare different modern editions of them. The introductions and notes to these
editions often provide some of the best commentaries available.

(c) In the Shakespeare 6-hour-open-book examination we use the Alexander text of the Complete Plays.
You should be familiar with its lay-out. There are multiple copies in the UCL library and at least one
copy is always available for consultation in the English Department office.

(3) You should try and acquire as much background for the study of Shakespeare as possible. The Oxford
Companion to Shakespeare (edited Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells: 2001) is useful as are David
Scott Kastan’s Blackwell's A Companion to Shakespeare (1999), Blackwell's four-volume Companion to
Shakespeare's Works (2003) (on tragedy, comedy, history, romance, ed Dutton and Howard), Andrew
Dickson’s Rough Guide to Shakespeare (2005), and David and Ben Crystal’s The Shakespeare
Miscellany (2005). For a valuable survey of Shakespeare’s general presence in the culture, you may want
to consult Stanley Wells’s Shakespeare for all Time (2002). Among biographies of Shakespeare the one
to read is Samuel Schoenbaum’s William Shakespeare: a compact documentary life (rev.ed. 1987). On
the theatres and audiences of the period see Andrew Gurr’s The Shakespearian Stage (3rd ed, 1997). You
may also want to read David Crystal’s short, brilliant account of Romeo and Juliet at the Globe in early
modern English, Pronouncing Shakespeare (2004) and, still on language, Frank Kermode’s
Shakespeare’s Language (2000). On matters textual and editorial as well as on theories about editing
Shakespeare, you should consult Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, William Shakespeare: A Textual
Companion (1987). With regard to all these books on Shakespeare, it is essential that you use them
selectively and judiciously, and always remember that Shakespeare criticism is an ongoing debate. Above
all, read as many of Shakespeare’s plays and poems as you can, and use and compare different
editions of them.

                         Shakespeare Course
                                2008-9

                         Autumn Term 2008
                               Lectures

1. Introduction                                   René Weis
2. *The Merchant of Venice                        Tim Langley
3. *1 Henry IV                                    Peter Swaab
4. *Macbeth                                       Chris Laoutaris
5. *Antony and Cleopatra                          René Weis
                         READING WEEK
6. The Long Poems                                         Henry Woudhuysen
7. Richard II                                             Paul Davis
8. A Midsummer Night's Dream                              Helen Hackett
9. Henry V                                                Henry Woudhuysen
10. Shakespeare’s stagecraft: Richard II, Dream, Henry V John Russell Brown

* = set texts covered in the autumn term seminars

Autumn 2008 seminar leaders (5 groups): EL, PD, CL, RW, SW

                         Spring Term 2009

11. The Sonnets                                     Tim Langley
12. Contemporary Perspectives                       Chris Laoutaris
13. As You Like It                                  Helen Hackett
14. Twelfth Night                                   Paul Davis
15. Measure for Measure                             Rosemary Ashton

                         READING WEEK

16. Hamlet                                          Greg Dart
17. Othello                                         Peter Swaab
18. King Lear                                       Henry Woudhuysen
19. The Winter's Tale                               Sarah Wintle
20. The Tempest                                     Peter Swaab

René Weis: Course convenor autumn 2008
Peter Swaab: Course convenor spring 2009

Spring 2009 seminar leaders (6 groups): GD, HH, CL, TL, PS, EL

								
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