This module examines Shakespeare's development as a dramatic artist and as a writer and will cover a range of his plays in detail. It enables you to move beyond reading the plays and situates his work within the specific historical contexts of stage history and print culture, it also examines the latest developments in Shakespeare criticism. We will consider the ways in which Shakespeare re-worked his source material, examine the dramatic and artistic contexts of the period, and look at the variety of ways in which his texts appeared in both performance and in print. During the second semester we will examine some of the problems involved in the transmission and editing of Shakespeare's texts, and the resulting implications for criticism and performance.
There is no advance preparation required for this module. There are also no set texts. However, please note that you are strongly advised to acquire the Norton Shakespeare 3rd edition (3E), published in 2015. Those who studied ESH101 Shakespeare at Level 4 should have a copy as it was a set text. All the texts studied on the module are in the Norton Shakespeare and it is helpful if we are all looking from the same text during seminars.
If anyone wants to read ahead into the history of Shakespeare's stage and print history, consult Tiffany Stern, Making Shakespeare: From Stage to Page (2004).
The first texts we will read are: Shakespeare's Sonnets; The Comedy of Errors; Macbeth; Taming of the Shrew; Titus Andronicus. You can read these ahead of time if you wish, but there is no requirement to do so.
The first seminar of the module will set up everything for you: delivery, reading, seminars, assessment, etc. No advance reading is required.