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ENGLISH 115H: Essential Shakespeare, Shakespearean Essence

What do we mean when we call something Shakespearean? It is not uncommon to see the adjective tied to political scandals, prestige television (e.g. Succession), or inventive lyricists. But then again, for the Romantics, Shakespeare also represented the artist who disappeared behind his works?the chameleon poet whose characters become free artists unto themselves. In this course, we will read a selection of poems and plays to explore what, if anything, is Shakespearean about Shakespeare. Is there a tragic vision that is particularly Shakespearean? How has same-sex desire, ubiquitous in the poems and plays, been erased from the mainstream conception of the Shakespearean? Is there a particularly Shakespearean understanding of gender? Is there a Shakespearean politics? A Shakespearean philosophy? While we pursue this essence of Shakespeare, we will also be thinking about what it means for Shakespeare to have become an "essential" author in the canon of English literature. This course should appeal to Shakespearean devotees and skeptics alike, as well as neutral parties, since, as we might conclude, there is nothing more Shakespearean than ambivalence.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5
Instructors: Kidney, J. (PI)
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