Dr. L. Adam Mekler 
English 418: Shakespeare
Spring 2021

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


Any revisions to this syllabus will be posted on Canvas class page. Please check the class page regularly for any announcements, especially if you have missed class.

** Corona Class Update**
Because this class will be meeting on-line, I have made some modifications to the regular syllabus.
Of primary significance is the availability of an electronic version of Shakespeare's works.
I have decided to use the free versions of the plays available from the Folger Shakespeare Library.
You are also welcome to procure a good used copy of his works for your own bookshelves.
More on this will be discussed "in class."

Required Texts Required Technology:

Computer with microphone and camera
Software:

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 primary sources. (Sample MLA-style 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
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.  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 critical response paper will require you to provide an analysis of a critical biography of William Shakespeare. A list of acceptable titles will be provided. The main point of the research 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):
Feb 1
Course Introduction

3
Greenblatt, Norton Introduction, 1-41
"Shakespeare's World"
"The Playing Field"

5
Greenblatt, Norton Introduction, 41-72
"Shakespeare's Life and Art"
"The Dream of the Master Text"

8
Greenblatt, Norton Introduction, concl.

10
Sonnets: 1, 3, 18, 20


Histories

12
I Henry IV, Acts 1-2

15
I Henry IV, Acts 3-5

17
I Henry IV, concl.

19
Henry V, Acts 1-2

22
Henry V, Acts 3-5

24
Henry V, concl.

26
Richard III, Acts 1-2
Mar 1
** NO CLASS **

3
Richard III, Acts 3-5

5
Richard III, concl.


Comedies

8
Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts 1-2

10
Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts 3-5

12
Midsummer Night's Dream, concl.

15
The Merchant of Venice, Acts 1-2

17
The Merchant of Venice, Acts 3-5

19
The Merchant of Venice, concl.

22
Midterm Examination

24
** NO CLASS **
Critical Response Paper Due

26
Twelfth Night, Acts 1-2

29
Twelfth Night, Acts 3-5

31
Twelfth Night, concl.


Tragedies
Apr 2
Romeo and Juliet, Acts 1-2

5
Romeo and Juliet, Acts 3-5

7
Romeo and Juliet, concl.
Research Paper Topic Due

9
** NO CLASS **

12
Hamlet, Acts 1-2

14
Hamlet, Acts 3-5

16
Hamlet, concl.

19
Macbeth, Acts 1-2

21
Macbeth, Acts 3-5

23
Macbeth, concl.
Deadline to Have Research Paper Topic Approved

26
King Lear, Acts 1-2

28
King Lear, Acts 3-5

30
King Lear, concl.


Romance
May 3
The Tempest, Acts 1-2

5
The Tempest, Acts 3-5

7
The Tempest, concl.

10
Sonnets: 73, 116, 130, 144

12
Final Review

14
Research Paper Due on Canvas by End of Business
Last Day to Submit Assignments or Excuses for Absences/Lates

TBA
Final Exam

Selected Bibliography

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