The class concentrates on an appreciation of the literary and cultural greatness of Shakespeare and focuses primarily on reading his works—starting with a collection of his sonnets as an introduction to studying eight of his plays. The class also studies the Early Modern period and his relationship to this period and the preceding ones—Medieval and Renaissance. The secondary emphasis is on his literary reputation and impact on later writers and cultures. Besides attending an on-campus performance of one of the plays, we will read short stories, essays, critical studies, poetry, and excerpts from novels—all of which have been influenced by him and his works. Because students will be reading a diversity of genres, they will learn the basic tropes and schemes of literary studies. Students will have an opportunity to perform a soliloquy or short scene from one of the plays.
Professor Brown received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and wrote her dissertation on Shakespeare. She has published articles on his plays in anthologies and such journals as Shakespeare Studies, Studies in English Literature, English Literary Renaissance, Studies in Philology, American Imago, and Literature and Psychology. She is presently revising a book-length manuscript on Shakespeare’s Machiavellian women and beginning a book on psychoanalytic approaches to Shakespeare’s works.