Shakespeare’s Ancient World (ENGL 310)

Those of you who are minoring in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies may be interested in Dr. Smith’s English 310 course for the fall.

ENGL 310 – 02 Shakespeare’s Ancient World: Representing Greece and Rome on the English Renaissance Stage (Samuel Smith)

Note: this course also counts as an ENGL 360 Genre (Drama)

“More than one-fourth of Shakespeare’s complete works are devoted to representations (and interrogations) of classical Rome and Greece.  These plays stretch throughout Shakespeare’s twenty plus years in theatre, and so they also offer a trajectory of his playwriting career.  This begins very early in that career, with The Comedy of Errors, which imitates Roman comedy in a Roman setting, and his early revenge tragedy Titus Andronicus, and extends to his late romance about Roman Britain, Cymbeline (the one play where Shakespeare actually puts a god on stage – Jupiter), and a bitter play co-authored with Thomas Middleton, Timon of Athens.  Three of his greatest tragedies—written at the height of his creativity—mark this preoccupation: Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus.  And perhaps his most enigmatic play, Troilus and Cressida stages the epic tragedy of Troy.  In this course we will concern ourselves with how and why Shakespeare joins his early modern English contemporaries in reading and representing the ancient classical past as a way of understanding and representing his own culture’s “form and pressure.”  Requirements: TBD (may be a contract-graded course – contact Professor Smith with any questions regarding this).”

Seniors note: This course counts as ENGL 348 Shakespeare in the old curriculum.

This description and the description for my other CMRS course, ENGL 310 – 01 Survey of British Literature to 1800 can be found at: http://www.messiah.edu/departments/english/classes/fall-2012.html

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