Staging the Renaissance: Shakespeare Convenor: Chloe Porter ([email protected]
) On this module we study a range of Shakespeare’s plays (comedies, tragedies, tragi-comedies and romances) from different stages of his career, analysing the playwright’s stagecraft, his use of prose and poetry and his reworking of traditional forms for the commercial stage. Although the module explores some recent adaptations for stage and screen, it is particularly interested in the plays as produced in their original historical and cultural contexts. Assessment: 3500 word essay (please see Sussex Direct for deadlines) Essential purchases:
The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Preferably the Norton Shakespeare or Oxford Compact ) or individual editions (such as Arden or Cambridge)
Shakespeare: an Anthology of Criticism and Theory 1945-2000, ed., Russ McDonald (Blackwell, 2004). **NB. We will take much of our secondary reading from this anthology **
The best way to prepare for the module is to immerse yourself in reading Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. We will read, in the following order: Hamlet A Midsummer Night’s Dream Twelfth Night Richard II The sonnets King Lear Measure for Measure The Taming of the Shrew The Merchant of Venice Othello Titus Andronicus Coriolanus Pericles The Winter’s Tale The Tempest
Secondary reading It would be a good idea to start dipping into the critical essays in Shakespeare: an Anthology of Criticism and Theory 1945-2000. In addition, the following are useful as starting points for reading Shakespeare’s plays in their original historical and cultural contexts: Dutton, Richard (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre (OUP, 2011) Hunter and Adamson (eds), Reading Shakespeare’s Dramatic Language: A Guide (Arden Shakespeare; Thomson Learning, 2001) Kastan and Stallybrass (eds), Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama (Routledge, 1991) Wells, Stanley (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies (CUP) Sullivan, Cheney, Hadfield (eds), Early Modern English Drama: a critical companion (OUP, 2006)
If you can, it’s also a great idea to watch a Shakespeare play in performance. Frantic Assembly’s production of Othello is due to be revived at the Lyric Hammersmith in January / February 2015, and Henry IV parts 1 and 2 is on at the Barbican until January. Please also check the upcoming season for Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, and the Sam Wannamaker playhouse (the indoor theatre at the Globe).