Shakespeare and Company
The core of this course is a generous selection of Shakespeare’s plays, representing the range of genres and styles in which he worked over a lifetime. While Shakespeare was in some ways unique, the world in which he lived, wrote, and acted—the London theatre—was highly collaborative and attracted many gifted and successful playwrights. So we will also read Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and some writers perhaps less well-known today: Kyd, Tourneur, Middleton, Beaumont, and Fletcher. Emphasis will be placed on close examination of language and dramatic construction, with contexts for our work provided by reference to the physical and social organization of playhouses and acting companies and to some cultural and intellectual traditions of the time. Conference work might further explore any of these or other writers of the period or investigate further some piece of cultural or historical context; or it might center on a wholly unrelated topic, depending on the student’s interests and needs.