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wcu english

English 631: Shakespeare

Thursday 6-9 pm in Coulter 203




  • A complete works. Suggested:

    Greenblatt, Stephen, et al. The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition. 2nd or 3rd Edition. W.W. Norton 2008. (best)


    Another complete works, such as the Riverside or a recent Bevington edition (Longman), Pelican (Orgel and Braunmuller), or the Arden Shakespeare (which has no footnotes).


    single-text editions of each play (most expensive) by Arden, Norton, Cambridge, etc. Try to avoid the older Signet editions, which are based on public-domain texts)
  • Other assigned texts will be online or provided

Class Format

Each class will be divided into two parts. The first part will include business and a discussion lead by me. Generally, that will take an hour. The second part will include four presentations by you.


  • Weekly Imagery/Rhetoric lists from assigned plays (20%). These are due on the day we discuss the play. So, for example, your imagery/Rhetoric list for Hamlet is due on the day we discuss Hamlet, before class time.
  • Weekly 10 to 15-minute oral presentations (with a partner) on an assigned article that pertains to your play. The goal will be to help the class understand the play and the theoretical approach. Rubric here. 30%
  • 30% Abstract and Conference paper: You will submit an abtract for the graduate research conference by February 5 (at midnight) which you will then develop into an eight-page conference paper (not counting works cited) due March 21-22 (for the conference). You should use a theoretical approach to read a Shakespeare play. You must present at the conference (if accepted) to get credit for your assignment.
  • 20% Final exam (a second paper): EITHER
    • bibliographical essay about a issue relevant to Shakespeare's plays (for example boy actors, apprenticeship, animals, diet, fashion, a political event or issue -- war in Ireland, union of England and Scotland, obcenity act of 1607 -- props, proverb lore, suicide, performance, pollution and ecology, sound, cognition, body, properties, disabilities, etc.)
    • or a second conference-length paper on another play
    • or a reworking of the first conference paper into a full-length (16-20 page) research paper (this can be done by adding more detail, or applying your idea to two plays instead of one).


Attendance Policy

This class meets once a week, so I would like you to confne yourself to one missed class. More than than could significantly affect your grade.

Paper Texts and Digital Incivility

Please bring a print version of the complete works (or an individual play) to each class. Use one of the suggested editions.

You may use an ebook reader in my class, but please don't use a computer, phone, or laptop for anything else. Turn your phones off and put them away (not in your lap or on your desk). If I discover that you're on Facebook, email, texting, browsing, or using any digital resources except for assigned works, I will mark you absent and ask you to leave.

If you need to use a computer to take notes or if you have a disability that requires the use of certain tools, please let me know in advance. If you have a physical disability that prevents you from bringing a Complete Works to class, please provide it by the second class.

I reserve the right to check your computer's screen to make sure you're following my policy.

Dr. Mary Adams, instructor
last updated 14-jan-18