45C Lectures [C. Altieri]


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Syllabus for English 117S: Shakespeare

Wk 1: Jan 21: Introd. Begin reading Richard II (In Riverside Shakespeare)

Wk 2: Jan 26-28: complete Rich II. The discussion sections will have various assignments but the play should be read by the first day of the lectures on it. Then the play should be reread, preferably in conjunction with a video from the Media Center in Moffit Library. You want to get used to thinking theatrically about where people will stand on stage and how one can stage interactions that go beyond the words.

Wk 3: Feb2-feb 4: Midsummer Night's Dream.

Feb 4. First short paper due (papers are described below)

Wk 4: Feb 9-11: As You Like It.

Wk 5: Feb 16-18: Hamlet.

Feb 18: Second short paper due.

Wk 6: Feb 23-25. Hamlet cont.

Wk 7: Mar 1-Mar3: Othello

Wk 8: Mar 8-10: King Lear

Wk 9: Mar 15-17 King Lear cont.

" 19: Midterm in sections.

Wk 10 Mar 29-mar 31: Macbeth

Wk 11: April 5-7: All's Well That ends Well

Wk 12: April 12-14: A Winter's Tale

Wk 13: April 19: end Winter’s Tale

“ 21: Performance Day, continuing to April 23 in sections

Wk 14: April 26: Review performances. Each student should bring in a two page review of some aspect of the passages performed.

April 28: Begin The Tempest

Wk 15: May 3: End Tempest

May 5: either no class or catch up day.

Wk 16: May 10 Review.


Assignments. There will be three papers and a mid-term, as well as one or two in-class writing assignments. And there will probably be occasional quizzes, mainly asking you to paraphrase speeches or summarize what choices involve. You should also be warned that you will be asked to perform speeches in class, so when you read think about how you might act the materials. Making yourself memorize fifty lines a week will deepen your pleasure and give you something to keep you occupied while you wait in lines during the rest of your Berkeley career. Paper 1: This will be a maximum of three pages. I want you to pay close attention to one of four passages in Richard II: 1:1: 165-74 (looking back at 152ff); 1:3: 154-67 (looking back at 44-47); 2:1: 79-84; or V:5: 31-41. Give a rough paraphrase of what is being said, then try to say why it matters that what is said is being said in this particular way. Why are the metaphors used; why this syntax perhaps; why the echoes that call up and modify earlier passages; and what do we learn about the character or situation or theme from the way that the speeches are rendered?

Paper 2: Here I want you to think structurally? In no more than three pages take any two characters or consecutive scenes from one of the first three plays we do and ask what relation of contrast or comparison or reinforcement you can develop by considering them together. I will be doing a lot of that in class, so you ought try to develop relations that do not repeat lecture or discussion.

Paper 3: This will be somewhat longer, about five pages, and can be on any aspect of any play up to the date assigned to you. The crucial question is simply how can your thinking make a difference in how we interpret some aspect of a play or how we understand what issues are at stake. You might clarify the nature and role of some minor character, or again show how scenes relate in complex ways, or address some question left open in class or that you think was badly there. Or you might show how a certain speech becomes central to the themes or character relations in a play. Or you could compare how specific scenes are handled in different performances on tape, but if you do this you must be careful to make the comparison develop some idea about what matters in the text of the play. Different units of the class will have this paper due at different times. If your last name begins with a letter from S-Z the paper is due on Fri April 3. Last name from N-R due on March 12. Last name from F-M on April 9. And from A-E on April 23.

On Acting: I want to give you the opportunity to have the fun of being a ham, and incidentally learning a great deal about Shakespeare, so I offer a deal. Those of you who are willing to act out a major scene in section (with minor parts doubled) will be allowed to drop your worst grade and replace it by a duplicate of your other grades averaged. You will have to memorize your speeches and get together to rehearse, then present before the entire class. I need to know who will do this by the end of week 4 of the semester.

General rules for this class:

1. Regular attendance is required, and I may take moves to check on it.

2. The section leaders will give the basic operating rules for grading.