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Class Announcements

Papers not returned on last day of class will be returned on Thursday, 10 May, 11-12 a.m., 421 Wheeler. (Please check this message for possible update.)

Old Announcements

Third Paper (due Thursday, 26 April)

Compose an essay on a "comic" passage in a tragedy or a "tragic" passage in a comedy. Conclude with a brief comment on the effect - beneficial or otherwise - of this particular mixture of genres.

The "Gravedigger" scene in Hamlet is off-limits unless you disuss this choice with Professor Nelson before submitting your essay.

Limit: 1,000 words

For Thursday 5 April, read Sonnets 127-154, the so-called 'Dark Lady' sonnets.

MT quiz 4 has been postponed (again) to Thursday 12 August.

Second Paper (due Thursday, 22 March)

Compose an essay in which you argue in utramque partem (that is, on each side of the question) on any character or any plot-circumstance in any play which we have read so far this semester subsequent to 1 Henry IV. Identify a character, sentiment, or situation which can be interpreted from two opposing points of view. (Example 1: Hamlet is mad; Hamlet is not mad. Example 2: Hamlet knows that the King and Polonius are hiding behind the arras; Hamlet does not know that the King and Polonius are hiding behind the arras.) Make as strong a case as you can for each position or point of view. Finish by either 1) attempting to reconcile the two points of view; or 2) arguing for the validity of one point of view over the other; or 3) arguing that the two points of view are equally cogent but irreconcilable.

Please check with your Reader in advance if you have any questions, or to clear a topic of which you have doubts. In fairness to the reader, papers may not be longer than 3.5 pages (or 850 words).

Papers should be handed in if possible at the end of the class hour; however, they may be placed under the instructor's office door (421 Wheeler) at any time before 4:00 p.m. on the date due. DO NOT miss class for the sake of completing your paper.

First Paper: Identify a "literary" passage in LLL, MSND (or R3). Transcribe that passage and print it out to be appended to your paper as an attachment. Also, find the passage in the first known editon (quarto or folio); save as a .pdf file and print it out to be appended to your paper as an attachment.

Compose a brief essay - about 750 words - in which you
Analyze the passage for its distinctive metrical and literary qualities.
Compare the edited version to the original.
Explain the essential purpose of the passage, e.g., to set a mood? to establish character? to advance the plot? as sheer entertainment? some combination of these?

Conclude with a summary paragraph.

Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia

Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia

Readings for Thursday, 18 January:

Read the following Sonnets, attending to strucure and detail, and considering which are not technically sonnets: 3, 15, 20, 29, 30, 35, 55, 60, 73, 94, 104, 116, 126, 129, 144, 147

Tentative Reading Schedule and Semester Announcements

English 117S                SHAKESPEARE                Spring 2007
Mr. Nelson                                             105 North Gate Hall
Class website:        TuTh 9:30-11:00

Week 1
Tu Jan 16  Introduction: Contexts, Life, Works
Th     18  Selected Songs and Sonnets

Week 2
Tu     23  Love's Labor's Lost
Th     25

Week 3
Tu     30  A Midsummer Night's Dream
Th Feb 01

Week 4
Tu     06  Richard III
Th     08                          Mini-exam 1

Week 5
Tu     13  Henry IV, Part 1
Th     15                          First Paper Due

Week 6
Tu     20  Merchant of Venice
Th     22                          Mini-exam 2 (postponed)

Week 7
Tu     27  Much Ado About Nothing
Th Mar 01                          Mini-exam 2

Week 8
Tu     06  Hamlet Prince of Denmark
Th     08

Week 9
Tu     13  Twelfth Night
Th     15                           Mini-exam 3

Week 10
Tu     20  Measure for Measure
Th     22                           Mini-exam 4 (postponed)
                           Second Paper Due


Week 11
Tu Apr 03  Shakespeare's Sonnets
Th     05                            Mini-exam 4 (postponed)

Week 12
Tu     10  King Lear
Th     12                           Mini-exam 4

Week 13
Tu     17  Antony and Cleopatra
Th     19

Week 14
Tu     24  The Tempest
Th     26                            Third Paper Due

Week 15
Th     03

Final Examination: Tuesday, 15 May, 8-11 a.m.

Notes on class business

1) You are expected to have read each play to the end before the beginning of class on the Thursday of the week in which that play is discussed.

2) In lieu of a single mid-term examination, four mini-exams (15-20 minutes each) will be given. Each mini-exam will consist of one identification section taken from the reading for that week, plus one essay on a topic discussed in class. Each student must take three and only three mini-exams. No make-up mini-exams except on written medical excuses.

3) You are required to submit a total of four questions in writing concerning plays or poems under discussion - full explanation to be given in class.

4) Play readings will be organized throughout the semester, late-afternoons and evenings. Although you are not required to attend, you are urged to participate in at least one reading.

5) Shakespeare plays are available in the audio-visual facility in Moffit Library. You are urged to watch plays in cinemas or on VCR, but as a supplement and not as a substitute for reading the texts.

6) You are expected to attend class regularly: attendance will be taken most days. Unexcused absences beyond three will result in a reduction in the final grade by one grade-increment (i.e. from B- to C+) for each such absence.

7) Do not miss class on the day a paper is due: missing class is a graver sin and will incur a harsher penalty than submitting a paper a day late.

8) You are reminded of the Department of English policy regarding plagiarism.

9) Final admonition: You are required to read all plays and poems assigned over the semester. Mini-exams and the final exam will be designed to test whether you have done the required reading. Failure to accomplish the required reading will be grounds for a failing final grade regardless of how well you may do in other aspects of this course.

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