Term: Spring 2009
Time: 4-5:20 p.m. MR
Place: Bliss 228
Prof. G. Steinberg
Office: Bliss 216
Office Phone: 771-2106
Office Hours: 2-4 p.m. MR
REQUIRED SHAKESPEARE: I am assuming that you have seen, watched, or read at least a few of the major Shakespeare plays – e.g., A Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar. If you have never read or seen these plays by Shakespeare, I strongly recommend that, before the mid-term exam, you read, see, or watch them. At the very least, you must have read or seen Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar.
COURSE DESCRIPTION. The focus of LIT 321 will be the reconstruction of the literary “horizon of expectations” for Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies at the time of their first performance. The course will not be a course in Shakespeare per se but rather a course in the literary, dramatic, and cultural texts that shaped the literary expectations, perceptions, and tastes of Shakespeare and his audience. We will reconstruct what an Elizabethan audience might have expected when it went to the theater to see a play – reconstructing Elizabethan expectations “from a pre‑understanding of the genre, from the form and themes of already familiar works, and from the opposition between poetic [or, in this case, dramatic] and practical language” (Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, p. 22).
GOALS. By the end of the course, I want you to
REQUIREMENTS. For this course, you must complete the following graded assignments:
Your final grade will be based on the following scale: A = 93-100, A- = 90-92.9, B+ = 87-89.9, B = 83-86.9, B- = 80-82.9, C+ = 77-79.9, C = 73-76.9, C- = 70-72.9, D+ = 67-69.9, D = 60-66.9, and F = below 60.
ATTENDANCE. Regular attendance is a virtual necessity for successful completion of this class. Class discussion constitutes important, useful preparation for your graded work. If you miss a class, you will essentially lose out on that day’s contribution to your preparation, since it is never really possible to reproduce or recapture the dynamics and flow of information for a missed class meeting (even if you get notes from someone). If, however, you positively must miss a class, I expect you to find out what you missed and to come fully prepared – without excuses – to the next class meeting. And please, don’t ask, “Did I miss anything?” Check out Tom Wayman’s poem about that question.
OFFICE HOURS. My office is Bliss 216, and my office hours are 2:00-4:00 p.m. on MR. If you cannot see me during these office hours, feel free as needed to call my office (771-2106) or to talk to me before or after class to arrange an appointment at another time. You may also contact me by email (email@example.com), or you may leave a message for me in my box at the English department offices in Bliss 124. Email is generally the fastest way to contact me in an emergency.
EMAIL. I may, on occasion, want to e-mail everyone in class. I generally only have access to your TCNJ e-mail addresses, however. As a result, if you regularly use an e-mail address other than your TCNJ address, I recommend that you have mail from your TCNJ address forwarded to the address you use more regularly. That way, if I e-mail your TCNJ address, my message will be forwarded to your other address automatically. To forward mail from your TCNJ address, go to http://www.tcnj.edu/~helpdesk/Zimbra.htm and click “Forward Email.” Follow the directions there to set up mail forwarding.
If you would like to send an e-mail message to one or more of your classmates, you can do so through SOCS. To access SOCS, go to http://socs.tcnj.edu and, after you have logged in with your TCNJ e-mail username and password, choose this class from the list of your courses this semester. Then, when our course page comes up, click the “Email” button. From there, you can select individual e-mail addresses or the entire class and send a message to the address(es) you’ve selected.
Accommodations. The College of New Jersey prohibits discrimination against any student on the basis of physical or mental disability or perceived disability. The College will also provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enable students with disabilities to participate in the life of the campus community. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for reporting and supplying documentation verifying their disability, and requests for accommodations must be initiated through the Office of Differing Abilities Services (Eickhoff Hall 159). If you require special assistance, I will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your needs and to create an environment where your special abilities will be respected.
LANGUAGES ACROSS THE CURRICULUM. A one-credit Languages Across the Curriculum (LAC) independent study may be added to this course for those students who have intermediate level proficiency in another language (particularly Latin or Italian) and who wish to complement the work in this course by utilizing their language skills. Please visit the LAC website at http://internationalstudies.intrasun.tcnj.edu or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Students must meet with Dr. Compte to enroll in the LAC independent study by January 27.
RESPONSE PAPERS. In the course of the term, you are required to write 10 short, informal papers (about 2 pages each) on the readings for class. You may choose for which days you want to write a response paper, as long as you have completed ten response papers by the end of the term. For each response paper, choose one of the following topics and analyze the reading assignment for the day with respect to the topic you’ve chosen:
In theory, you should have written on each one of these topics over the course of your 10 response papers for the term. Keep in mind that some topics are more relevant to some readings than others (and some topics aren’t relevant at all to some readings).
Response papers will be graded Pass/Fail. I ask you to type them (so that they are easier for me to read), but they need not be a perfect, polished product. Rather, response papers should be just what their name says – a response. Think about one of the topics that I ask you to consider; then write a response. Don’t worry about typos or comma splices or organization. Don’t worry about answering every question I ask under the particular topic. In fact, focus on the one question that seems most interesting to you, and be as specific as you can, getting down as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Treat response papers more like a journal entry than like a formal paper. I don’t want a five-paragraph theme. Rather, I want an exploration – as detailed and specific as possible – of the reading assignment for the day.
Normally, as long as you submit a response paper of suitable length, detail, and thoughtfulness (and as long as you submit it in hard copy in class on the assigned day), you will receive all the points that the response paper is worth. The purpose of the response papers is
- to help you in your preparation for class discussion,
- to help me see where you’re struggling with the readings for class,
- to help you develop your intellectual independence and your confidence as a reader,
- to help you explore the relationships among the texts we’re reading, and
- to practice comparative literary analysis (in preparation for PAPER 1 and PAPER 2).
You may submit more than 10 response papers in the course of the semester (to make up for any response papers that do not pass), but no matter how many extra response papers you turn in, you will not receive credit for more than 10 total. You may not submit more than one response paper on a single day, nor may you submit a response paper for a day that you are absent from class.
PAPER 1. Choose either Romeo and Juliet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In a paper of 5-7 pages, argue a clear and specific thesis about how Shakespeare’s play reflects or upsets the Elizabethan “horizon of expectations.” Think about which works that we have been reading for class are most relevant to the play that you have chosen and focus on just one reading from class in your paper (in addition to your chosen Shakespeare play). To help you think about what to write, consider the topics listed under “Response Papers” above. How does Shakespeare’s play compare to the material that we have been reading for class in the areas of plot, character, values, conflict, setting, genre, form, language, etc.? What is the most important similarity or difference between Shakespeare’s play and one of the readings for class? How does that most important similarity reinforce (or how does that most important difference challenge) the Elizabethans’ “horizon of expectations” for a play? (NOTE: The answer to this last question should be the thesis of your paper.) Remember that, in addition to your chosen Shakespeare play, you should only use one of the texts that we’ve read for class in order to characterize what the Elizabethan “horizon of expectations” would have been.
You need not use outside sources for this paper. In fact, I would encourage you not to use outside sources (because I’d rather hear what you think than what some published scholar thinks). But if you do use an outside source, be sure to cite and document that source appropriately (see the College’s academic integrity policy at http://www.tcnj.edu/~sa/judaff/academic.html and the TCNJ Writing Program’s webpage on plagiarism at http://www.tcnj.edu/~writing/students/citing/plagiarism.html).
You will submit this paper to me electronically in the “dropbox” of SOCS (not in hard copy or in class).
Your paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
PAPER 2. Read Plutarch’s life of Brutus and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In a paper of 6-8 pages, argue a clear and specific thesis about the relationship between Shakespeare’s play and its source in Plutarch in the context of the “horizon of expectations” that we have been reconstructing in class. To help you think about what to write, consider the following questions:
Do not answer all these questions in your paper. Instead, use these questions to help you think about a clear and specific thesis that you want to argue in your paper. Choose one area (from among plot, character, values, conflict, setting, genre, form, language, etc.) as your focus and consider how Plutarch and Shakespeare handle that element.
You will submit this paper to me electronically in the “dropbox” in SOCS (not in hard copy or in class). Your PAPER 2 will be evaluated according to the same criteria as PAPER 1.
COURSE SCHEDULE. This schedule is subject to revision at the discretion of the professor. Changes in the schedule will be shown in red.
|R Jan 22||Introductions|
|Cycle Plays of Shakespeare’s Youth|
|M Jan 26||The Murder of Abel and Noah and His Sons (in Medieval and Tudor Drama)|
|R Jan 29||the Brome Abraham and Isaac and The Second Shepherds’ Play (in Medieval and Tudor Drama)|
|M Feb 2||Plautus, The Menaechmus Twins (elsewhere known as The Menaechmi)|
|R Feb 5||Plautus, Pseudolus|
|M Feb 9||Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books I, IV, and VI|
|R Feb 12||Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books X-XI and XV|
|M Feb 16||Seneca, Thyestes|
|R Feb 19||Seneca, Phaedra|
|Tudor Plays of Shakespeare’s Youth|
|M Feb 23||Nicholas Udall, Ralph Roister Doister, Act I-Act III, scene 3 (in Medieval and Tudor Drama)|
|R Feb 26||Nicholas Udall, Ralph Roister Doister, Act III, scene 4-Act V (in Medieval and Tudor Drama)|
|M Mar 2||Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, Gorboduc (in Medieval and Tudor Drama)|
|R Mar 5||MID-TERM EXAM|
|M Mar 9||NO CLASS (Spring Break)|
|R Mar 12||NO CLASS (Spring Break)|
|M Mar 16||Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|R Mar 19||John Lyly, Endymion (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|M Mar 23||Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|R Mar 26||Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great, Part I (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|M Mar 30||Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|R Apr 2||PAPER 1 DUE in the dropbox of SOCS before class|
|M Apr 6||Arden of Faversham (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|R Apr 9||Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker’s Holiday (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|M Apr 13||Francis Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|R Apr 16||“The Duchesse of Malfi” from The Palace of Pleasure (available under “Resources” in SOCS)|
|M Apr 20||John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi (in English Renaissance Drama)|
|Sources and Analogues of Shakespeare’s Plays|
|R Apr 23||“Romeo and Iulietta” from The Palace of Pleasure (available under “Resources” in SOCS)|
|M Apr 27||Plutarch, “Mark Antony”|
|R Apr 30||Plutarch, “Mark Antony” (and
Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra)
|Finals Period||FINAL EXAM on Thursday, May
PAPER 2 DUE in the “Dropbox” of SOCS on Friday, May 8
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