R. L. Knutson
English 4324/5324.01
Spring 2009
 
SYLLABUS: Shakespeare 4324/5324
 
Shakespeare 4324/5324 is an introductory course in the drama of the best known of the Elizabethan playwrights. We have too little time to do much more than read too many plays too hurriedly.  In discussions, I try to compensate by focusing on four features of the plays: genre, cultural issues, commercial appeal, and theatricality. By this choice, I hope to situate the plays in the context of the dramatic traditions, political and social culture, and marketplace of Shakespeare’s time.  In addition, we will give over considerable time to another way of “knowing” the theatricality of Shakespeare’s plays: by performance of speeches, scenes, and larger play-pieces. For students in Secondary Education, there is an assignment in pedagogy offered. At the graduate level (5324), the course goes further.  It provides depth in three areas (see details below): (1) scholarship; (2) contemporary theatrical context; (3) critical writing.
 
Contact Information: Office Hours: Stabler Hall, 501-U; Mon & Wed, 12 noon – 1:30 pm; 3:00 – 4:00 pm; FAX: 569-8185; E-mail: RLKnutson@ualr.edu; Web site: www.ualr.edu/rlknutson
 
Absences, Late Work: Students enrolled in 4324 expected to attend class promptly and regularly (see “Attendance,” below). If you cannot attend class when an assignment is due, you have two choices: (1) fax it to 569-8185 by class time; or (2) e-mail it by class time by attachment in Word or rtf.  
 
 
READINGS for 4324 and 5324 (** relevant to 4324 only; see below, “Talking Points”)
 
Jan 12: Introduction: Dramatic Traditions and Elizabethan Genre; Commerce and the Playhouse in Shakespeare’s Time
Jan 14: More introduction
 
Jan 19: Holiday (no class)
Jan 21: **Richard III
 
Jan 26: Richard III, continued
Jan 28: Richard III, continued
 
Feb 2: ** 1 Henry IV
Feb 4: 1 Henry IV, continued
 
Feb 9: 1 Henry IV, continued
Feb 11: **Titus Andronicus
 
Feb 16: Titus Andronicus, continued (5324: 1st paper due)
Feb 18: Titus Andronicus, continued
 
Feb 23: **Othello
Feb 25: Othello, continued
 
March 2: Othello, continued
March 4: Othello, continued
 
March 9: Mid-term Examination; 4324: Text/Video paper due; 5324: 2nd paper due
March 11: ** A Midsummer Night’s Dream
 
March 16: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, continued
March 18: No class; drop by the Shakespeare Scene Festival
 
                                    Spring Break: March 23-March 27
 
March 30: ** Twelfth Night
April 1: Twelfth Night, continued
 
April 6: **Troilus and Cressida
April 8: Troilus and Cressida, continued
 
April 13: Troilus and Cressida, continued
April 15: **The Tempest
 
April 20: The Tempest, continued
April 22: The Tempest, continued
 
April 27: Quotations Part of the Final; Performance Workshop
April 29: Performance Workshop: creating a text
 
May 4: Performance Workshop: rehearsal, etc
 
 
May 6: Festival Ending (1:30—3:30 slot)
     4324 only: Take-Home Essay, Text/Video #2, or “Teaching Shakespeare” paper due
     5324 only; Paper #3 due
 
TEXTS: For 4324 and 5324: The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997)
 
Required for 5324, recommended for 4324 (esp McDonald, for secondary ed minors):
·       McDonald, Russ. Shakespeare and the Arts of Language (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001)
·       Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World (New York: Norton, 2004) or Park Honan, Shakespeare: A Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998)
·       Kinney, Arthur. Shakespeare By Stages (London: Blackwell, 2003), Roslyn L. Knutson. The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1991), or Henslowe’s Diary, ed. R. A. Foakes. 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
 
 
Course Objectives: (objectives 1-6 are specific to 4324; objectives 7-9 are additionally specific to 5324; objective #9 is specific to secondary ed minors)
 
1.      To acquire an understanding of the drama of Shakespeare within the context of the cultural, dramaturgical, and commercial aspects of the early modern period
2.      To become familiar with the themes, characters, language, and theatricality of a selection of Shakespeare’s plays in three genres: history, tragedy, and comedy
3.      To refine skills in recognizing and evaluating Shakespeare’s plays as poetry
4.      To develop an appreciation for the plays as drama through performance activities
5.      To refine writing skills on the literary and theatrical aspects of Shakespeare’s plays
6.      To become familiar with a selection of recent professional productions of the plays
7.      To become familiar with a few basic scholarly works in the field
8.      To practice approaching the plays through various critical directions (performance, contemporary context, cultural issues, language)
9.      To consider the pedagogical value of reading Shakespeare’s plays from these various critical directions
 
Assignments (read the following carefully to differentiate 4324 from 5324):
 
4324 only: Talking Points:  On the first day of class discussion for each play (marked ** above), I will call for talking points (approx 750 words; see template). The stated purpose of this assignment is to prime you to raise topics for discussion.  I will use these talking points as a way to gauge the care you put into reading the text.  I grade these papers on a pass/fail basis.  Pass all 8 = A (to average in with your other grades); 7 = B; 6-5 = C  (for 4 or fewer, why bother?). I want these papers to show me what interests you, what engages you, what connects with issues that concern you.  You may rely on the categories on the template to focus your thinking. Plot summaries and skimpy thinking = Fail.
 
Because we have less time to explore the language than is ideal, use at least one of these papers to do that exploration yourself: take a passage of 10-16 lines (or thereabouts) and analyze the poetry, its interplay of sound and sense (meter, meaning, linguistic devices, etc.).
 

4324 and 5324: Text/ Video Paper:  As you see on the syllabus, I am gearing the “critical” paper in the class to a consideration of a performance of the play (on video) and the printed text.  The reason for the emphasis on productions is simple: Shakespeare wrote plays, not literary texts.  His work was meant to be seen, not read.  Nonetheless, they have become texts of extraordinary interest and debate to students of early modern culture and politics.  In the classroom today, a play by Shakespeare is both a literary-historical document and a script from which acting companies derive productions.  I want to reinforce the dual nature of drama as text andperformance.  The date on which this paper is due is marked on the calendar above. 
 
The purpose is to address the ways in which the text and the performance work together and/or work against each other in the treatment of an issue (or character, language, etc.) in the play.  The paper is not so much comparisons of the text and performance as considerations of the ways the text and production contribute to certain shared aspects of characterization, genre, and/or cultural issues. 
 
I will give examples in class of topics you might choose, but let me say here that I expect you to narrow the subject to a few scenes (or even to one), to the treatment of a few characters (or even one), or to the treatment of an issue (i.e., politics, morality, sex, violence).  I do not want a "review" of the video production. A balance of 50:50 is ideal in the treatment of text and performance, but 35:65 (if justified) is acceptable.
 
5324 only: Scholarship: Listed above, in addition to the text (Riverside Shakespeare), are books in three important categories: Shakespeare’s language (McDonald), Shakespeare’s biography (Greenblatt and Honan), Shakespeare’s commercial marketplace (Kinney, Knutson, or Henslowe’s Diary).  You are to read one book in each category at some time during the semester, as supplement to the plays themselves.  In at least one of the papers required below, find a way to use what you learn from McDonald’s book.
 
5324 only: Contemporary Theatrical Context: In addition to the plays assigned above (which are the same as the readings for the undergraduates), you are to read two or three plays as generic context for Shakespeare’s plays; choose one of the assigned plays in any two of the clusters below, and read the additional plays suggested as context. For example, if you choose R3, you will read Marlowe’s Ed2 and the anonymous Famous Victories.
 
History: Edward II, by Christopher Marlowe, and the anonymous True Tragedy of Richard III, as context for Richard III; for 1 Henry 4, the anonymous The Famous Victories of Henry V and Shakespeare’s 2 Henry IV and Henry V.
Tragedy: The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd; The Jew of Malta, by Christopher Marlowe, as context for Titus Andronicus and Othello
Comedy: for MND, read Two Gentlemen of Verona and As You Like It; for Twelfth Night, read Merchant of Venice and The Roaring Girl by Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton; for Troilus and Cressida, read All’s Well that Ends Well and Measure for Measure; for The Tempest, read Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale.
 
 
5324 only: Critical Writing: You are to write 3 papers; two are medium length (6-8 pp.); the third is longer (8-10 pp).  Do any three of the following five assignments.  Use scholarship (secondary sources) as appropriate (I repeat: make use of McDonald’s discussion of language in at least one paper).  You can do these topic assignments in any order, but let your last paper (#3) be your longer one. The date on which these papers are due is indicated on the calendar above. If you are in the M.Ed. program, one of your papers must be #5, “Teaching Shakespeare.” (See “Standards,” below.)
 
1.      Text/ Video paper: this assignment duplicates the “text/video” paper done by undergraduates (see above).  In it, discuss ways in which the text of the play you choose works together with or works against choices made by a video production on the treatment of an issue, or character, or set of scenes. I will be happy to give examples of topics you might choose, but let me say here that I expect you to narrow the subject to a few scenes (or even to one), to the treatment of a few characters (or even one), or to the treatment of an issue (i.e., politics, morality, sex, violence).  I do not want a "review" of the video production.
2.      Theatrical context: in this assignment, take one of the play combinations (above) and discuss the ways in which the “extra” or out-of-class plays provide context for the in-class play in genre, cultural issues, language, characterization, theatricality, or some combination of these.
3.     Cultural issues: in this assignment, take any one Shakespearean play, or cluster of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and discuss the ways in which it/they illuminate a specific cultural issue treated in the play/s such as gender, race, patriarchy, marriage, etc.
4.     Language: in this assignment, explore at least three passages of 10 lines or more from one of the in-class plays and discuss Shakespeare’s prosody, illustrating what you have learned from McDonald’s Shakespeare and the Arts of Language.
5.     Teaching Shakespeare: for 5324: in this assignment, take any one of the topics above (text/video, theatrical context, cultural issues, language) and turn it into a two-week lesson plan, plus an essay that provides the class context (what age, what curricular context) and explains the relationship of your methodology to goals and objectives. For 4324: choose the 2nd text/video paper, and turn it into a 3-day set of assignments, with the accompanying essay described above; Standards by which this assignment is assessed  for Chalk & Wire: 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3, and 4.1.
 
 
Performance Activities: 4324 and 5324: Everyone is expected to participate in in-class performance activities as well as the Festival Ending of the class.
 
 
TESTS:
 
4324 only: There will be a Mid-term (March 9) and a Final (April 27 [quotations] & May ??? [final essay]). Both are a combination of quotations (in-class) and essay (outside of class).  At mid-term, the text/video is the essay component; for the final, you have a choice between a take-home essay and a 2nd text/video paper (or the “Teaching Shakespeare” paper, if you are in secondary ed).  
 
5324 only: Graduate students don’t take tests.
 
 
Important Notice to English Majors with a Secondary Education Minor: In keeping with the accreditation requirements of NCATE/NCTE, our English secondary education program’s accrediting agency, we must assess the progress of all students pursuing a B.A. in English with a certification in Secondary Education by providing assignments geared to inclusion in the student’s portfolio for Chalk and Wire.In this class, secondary ed minors and M.Ed. candidates will submit the “Teaching Shakespeare” described above; this paper is a requirement for secondary ed students, not an option. Also, it is your obligation to identify yourself to me as a student in secondary education.
 
 
Grading Scale:
 
4324:
Talking Points: 15 points
Quotations Tests: 15 points each (30 total)
Text/Video Paper & Final Essay: 20 points each (40 total)
Attendance and Participation (including Festival Ending): 15 points (Students will be docked 3 points on their 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, and 15th absences; repeated tardies = absences)
Totals: 90 and above = A; 80-89 = B; 70-79 = C; 60-69 = D; below 60 = F
 
5324:
Medium-length papers: 30 points each
Longer paper: 40 points
(Attendance and Participation: no brownie points for doing the obvious)
Totals: 92 and above = A; 82-91 = B; 75-81 = C; below 75 = F
 
 
Disability Support Services: It is the policy of UALR to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal law and state law. Any student with a disability who needs accommodation, for example in arrangements for seating, examinations, note-taking should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. It is also the policy and practice of UALR to make Web-based information accessible to students with disabilities. If you, as a student with a disability, have difficulty accessing any part of the online course materials for this class, please notify the instructor immediately. The chair of the department offering this course is also available to assist with accommodations. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services, telephone 501-569-3143 (v/tty), and on the Web at http://www.ualr.edu/dssdept/.