Dr. L. Adam Mekler 
English 418: Shakespeare
Spring 2020

Office:  Holmes Hall 228
Office Phone: (443) 885-4032
Email@Morgan: adam.mekler@morgan.edu
Secondary Class Homepage: http://l-adam-mekler.com/418links.htm
Go To Assigments For:
Jan/Feb Mar Apr May

PURPOSE OF THE COURSE

The Renaissance, or Early Modern Period, was a time of enormous political, economic and social change. Ideas which lay at the heart of the Renaissance marked the true beginning of Modern philosophy. These tenets, based largely on the value of an individualís mind, body and soul, challenged religious and political authority. In this course, we will explore how the major literary artist of the time, William Shakespeare, addressed the many questions which arose in light of these new ways of thinking.

OBJECTIVES 

All papers will follow MLA format: Typed, double-spaced, use parenthetical citations and, when necessary, a list of works cited, including references made to the textbook. (Sample MLA Papers can be found in Canvas)  The main point of the response papers is to allow you the opportunity to explore specific aspects of texts that you find interesting in terms of the major themes and issues we discuss. More specific guidelines will be found in Canvas.

English 418 aims to teach students to:

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
After completing English 418, students should be able to:
  1. evaluate the influence of historical and biographical events on Shakespeare's writings.
  2. analyze the texts discussed in the course in terms of representative themes.
  3. distinguish between different texts in terms of their aesthetic, political, and philosophical viewpoints.
  4. produce effective arguments, in both oral and written forms, regarding Shakespeare's writings, incorporating relevant critical theory.
ASSESSMENT
Student learning will be assessed using the following assignments:


GRADING
  • Class Participation
  • Critical Response Paper
  • Midterm Exam
  • Student Presentation
  • Research Paper
  • Final Exam
  • 20 %
  • 10 %
  • 20 %
  • 10 %
  • 20 %
  • 20 %
A: 90-100
B: 80-89
C: 70-79
D: 60-69
F: 0-59
REQUIRED TEXTS

COURSE POLICIES

Attendance. Students are expected to attend every class. If you are forced to miss class, written verification for the reason for your absence is expected. Because of the importance of regular attendance, excessive (more than three) unexcused class absences will result in the loss of points from the final average. Excessive lates will also lower your grade. The complete attendance policy can be found on the class homepage . Please come speak with me if you have any questions.

Reading Assignments, and Participation.  Students are required to bring all necessary books with them to class.  As all the books for the course are being provided for free, there is literally no excuse for not having the required texts with you every day. Please come speak with me if you have any questions.

All assigned readings must be completed before coming to class. Please keep in mind that students are expected to read the editorial introduction to each work. You are expected to arrive prepared to provide thoughtful discussion of the daily readings, including the editorial introductions, responding to questions from the instructor or your classmates as they arise.  Classroom discussion will involve the open sharing of ideas and interpretations of the literature.  Because every person's opinion is valid, we will demonstrate civility and respect for each other, taking turns to provide our observations and not interrupting each other.  Only raised hands will be acknowledged.

Writing Assignments. There will be one (1) brief (800 word minimum) critical response paper,  in addition to one (1) documented research paper (3000 word minimum), using a minimum of six documented secondary sources.

All papers will follow MLA format: Typed, double-spaced, use parenthetical citations and a list of works cited, including references made to the textbook. (Sample MLA Papers can be found in Canvas)  The main point of the response paper is to allow you the opportunity to explore specific aspects of one of the plays we have discussed up until that point, focusing on the major themes and issues we will have discussed. The specific focus, though, is largely up to you.

Oral presentations. Students will also take part in a presentation of a minimum thirty minutes. These presentations will require the students to discuss the relationship between the published version of a given play and a dramatic production of that play, and must incorporate critical commentary on the play as well. Your ability to provide thoughtful responses to questions from your classmates and/or instructor will also be an important component of your grade.

If you require an accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Office of Student Disability Support Services (SDSS) to register. More information regarding the intake procedure can be found on the SDSS website: http://www.morgan.edu/SDSS. It is your responsibility to request an accommodation from SDSS before or at the beginning of the semester.

Reading List (Subject to Subtle Revision):
Jan 22
Course Introduction

24
Greenblatt, Norton Introduction, 1-41
"Shakespeare's World"
"The Playing Field"

27
Greenblatt, Norton Introduction, 41-72
"Shakespeare's Life and Art"
"The Dream of the Master Text"

29
Greenblatt, Norton Introduction, concl.

31
Sonnets: 1, 3, 18, 20


Histories
Feb
3
I Henry IV, Acts 1-2

5
I Henry IV, Acts 3-5

7
I Henry IV, concl.

10
Henry V, Acts 1-2

12
Henry V, Acts 3-5

14
Henry V, concl.

17
Richard III, Acts 1-2

19
Richard III, Acts 3-5

21
Richard III, concl.


Comedies

24
Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts 1-2

26
Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts 3-5

28
Midsummer Night's Dream, concl.
Mar
2
The Merchant of Venice, Acts 1-2

4
The Merchant of Venice, Acts 3-5

6
** No Class, but complete assignment **

9
The Merchant of Venice, concl.

11
Midterm Review
Critical Response Paper

13
Midterm Examination

16
** SPRING **

18
** BREAK **

20
** NO CLASS **

23
Twelfth Night, Acts 1-2

25
Twelfth Night, Acts 3-5

27
Twelfth Night, concl.


Tragedies

30
Romeo and Juliet, Acts 1-2
Apr 1
Romeo and Juliet, Acts 3-5

3
Romeo and Juliet, concl.
Research Paper Topic Due

6
Hamlet, Acts 1-2

8
Hamlet, Acts 3-5

10
Hamlet, concl.

13
Macbeth, Acts 1-2

15
Macbeth, Acts 3-5

17
Macbeth, concl.
Deadline to Have Research Paper Topic Approved

20
King Lear, Acts 1-2

22
King Lear, Acts 3-5

24
King Lear, concl.


Romance

27
The Tempest, Acts 1-2

29
The Tempest, Acts 3-5
May 1
The Tempest, concl.

4
Sonnets: 73, 116, 130, 144

6
Final Review

7
Research Paper Due on Canvas by End of Business

8
Last Day to Submit Assignments or Excuses for Absences/Lates

TBA
Final Exam

Selected Bibliography

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