Course Information

Syllabus

Screenings

Shakespeare's Time

Chronology of Plays

Study Questions

Discussion Forum

Reserve List

Resource Links

Sample Essays


Summer 2001

Professor Thomas Luxon
Office: 8 Sanborn
Office Hours: M 2-4, Th 12:30-2:30
thomas.h.luxon@dartmouth.edu



Please read everything on this page carefully. If you have any questions about the information here, please ask them before the end of the second week of term.
[Texts] [Requirements] [Honor Principle] [Disabilities] [Grading]


Texts
I have ordered individual editions from The Pelican Shakespeare for this course. All but three of these are from the new edition, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmiller, general editors. The others are from the older set, Alfred Harbage, general editor. Please find a formal list below. I recommend that you buy and use these editions; lineation varies from edition to edition and if we all have the same text we can save time in discussion.
  • The Comedy of Errors. Edited by Frances E. Dolan. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1999.
  • The Taming of the Shrew. Edited by Richard Hosley. New York: Penguin Books, 1964.
  • Richard III. Edited by Peter Holland. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000.
  • Henry V. Edited by Claire McEachern. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1999.
  • The Merchant of Venice. Edited by A. R. Braunmiller. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000.
  • Twelfth Night. Edited by Jonathan Crewe. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000.
  • Hamlet. Edited by Willard Farnham. New York: Penguin Books, 1957.
  • Othello. Edited by Kenneth Muir. New York: Penguin Books, 1981.
  • Cymbeline. Edited by Peter Holland. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000.
For keyword searches of the plays, I recommend Matty Farrow's Works of the Bard. Also useful is the MIT Shakespeare site that supplies texts of all the plays and a search engine. (The search engine has been down recently, but may return soon.) You will find links to other useful sites, including some with texts, on the Resource Links page of this site.

Requirements

In order to receive a passing grade for this course, you must meet all of the following requirements, including attendance, eight quiz grades, two papers, and a final examination. Only students who complete 8 quizzes, submit the two papers described below, and a final exam may anticipate a passing grade in this course. I reserve the right to refuse to read and evaluate any essay or assignment submitted after the date it is due.

Attendance. I expect everyone enrolled to attend every class as scheduled, having read the play assigned for that week and having a copy of the play with you in class. If you must miss a class, a simple e-mail note is proper etiquette. Missing more than two classes, except for emergencies, will negatively affect your final grade. My attention to your written work is directly proportional to my perception of your commitment to the course.

Quizzes. There will be a quiz each Monday morning (except in week 5 when the quiz will be on Wednesday) at 8:45 o'clock sharp, nine quizzes in all. There will be no make-ups for quizzes. I will average only the 8 best quiz scores for each student.

Paper #1 - Close Reading Exercise. Due Wednesday July 25 by 3 PM in my Sanborn mailbox.
This paper should be no longer than 5 pages, double-spaced including quotations. Your task is to explicate, in as much detail as you can, any speech or passage of of 20-40 lines in length. Please choose you passage from Errors, Shrew, Richard III or Henry V. You will find other useful resources, especially the on-line Oxford English Dictionary, listed on the Resource Links page.
In essay form, address the following questions: What is being said? How is it being said? Why is it being said that way?
The first question is relatively easy and may be satisfied with few summary sentences. "How" invites you to analyse specific formal and rhetorical devices. Is the speech verse or prose, blank or rhymed, regular or irregular, end-stopped or run-on, with or without heavy caesuras, plain or ornate, imperative, deliberative, interrogative? Is there special vocabulary; are there figurative expressions, religious or mythological allusions that require or invite explication? What religious, political, or ideological assumptions are invoked? Does the dramatic situation constrain interpretation? As we pass onto the question, "Why is it being said that way" (a seamless progression) consider the characters' and Shakespeare's intentions. Characters often say more than, and things other than, they intend; so do authors. Try to be precise about who intends whom to understand what.
As you write answers to these questions, a thesis statement will emerge. No one expects that to emerge at the beginning of the process, but in the final version of your essay, please put the thesis statement at the beginning and follow it with the specific analyses that make it persuasive.
When quoting more than two lines from a play, please type it as an indented block quotation (without quote marks) and cite it parenthetically (not with a footnote) by act, scene, and line (5.2.23-26). When quoting smaller bits that cross line breaks, please indicate line breaks with a slash and cite parenthetically. The citation goes outside your quotation marks and before the period that marks the end of your sentence. Other borrowings, whether quoted word-for-word or summarized, should also be cited parenthetically and a properly formatted list of "Works Cited" should appear at the end of your paper. For details of format, see Sources: Their Use and Acknowledgement. See also Peter Saccio's "Standards for Written Work in English 24."

Paper #2 - Critical Analysis. Due Friday August 10 in my Sanborn box by 3 PM.
This essay should be no more than 8 pages in length, double-spaced throughout (including quotations). It should concern itself with one of the plays assigned for the course. The play may not be the same play about which you wrote the first essay.
The topic should attend in detail and with precision to one of the following:
  • some element of form (plot, structure, or genre)
  • some element of characterization
  • some element of ideology (political, gender, religious)
  • some element of language or rhetoric (metaphors, symbols, style, allusions)
  • some aspect of theme or ideas
Of course, once you begin to focus on any one of these features of a play, the others will also come into your consideration. That's okay; the best essays usually consider several of these features together, but their focus is clearly on one. I have listed these features to help get you thinking and writing. As you write a thesis will emerge. When you revise your essay, put that thesis up front and use the rest of the essay to support it by explicating specific passages and making your supporting observations and arguments. You should have studied the passages you cite at least as carefully as you studied the single passage in the first assignment. This essay, then, is like several of the first assignments brought together to form a larger point about a play.
When quoting more than two lines from a play, please type it as an indented block quotation (without quote marks) and cite it parenthetically (not with a footnote) by act, scene, and line (5.2.23-26). When quoting smaller bits that cross line breaks, please indicate line breaks with a slash and cite parenthetically. The citation goes outside your quotation marks and before the period that marks the end of your sentence. Other borrowings, whether quoted word-for-word or summarized, should also be cited parenthetically and a properly formatted list of "Works Cited" should appear at the end of your paper. For details of format, see Sources: Their Use and Acknowledgement. See also Peter Saccio's "Standards for Written Work in English 24."

Final Exam. The final exam will be posted at this link for one day during the exam period. I will announce that specific day well in advance. You will complete this open-book exam on your own sometime that day and submit it at 4 PM to my box in Sanborn.

The Honor Principle
The honor principle applies to all work submitted for this course: students are expected to submit their own work for the assignments and other class activities. Please read the Honor Principle now. Speak to me if you have any concerns about the operation of the honor principle in this course.

Disability Notice
Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak to me by the end of the second week of the term. All discussions will remain confidential, although the Student Disabilities Coordinator may be consulted to verify the documentation of the disability. I also encourage anyone with an undocumented disability to speak to me about it within the first two weeks. I will provide whatever accommodations I can.

Grading Policy
I will apply the following weight to each requirement in assessing your grade for the course: Quizzes - 15%; Papers - 30% each; Final Exam - 25%.