English 124p. Shakespearean Playwriting

Instructor: Stephen Greenblatt
Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30-2:45 pm | Location: TBA

An exploration of Shakespeare at work:  what plot devices was he particularly drawn to, how did he develop characters, how did he characteristically construct scenes, how did he handle dialogue. The course will also -- with the aid of supplementary secondary and critical readings -- examine some of the conditions within which he worked: the structure and economics of his theater, censorship, the resources of his language, training in rhetoric, the assumptions of his audience, the nature of his competition.  Students will try their own hand at “Shakespearean playwriting,” drafting scenes, on the basis of surviving primary materials, from two lost plays, the one a tragedy of political assassination, the other a romantic tragicomedy of love, betrayal, and madness.  Written assignments will include two papers, the two playwriting assignments, and the compiling of a list of Shakespeare’s favorite tricks-of-the-trade.

This course satisfies the English Concentration "Shakespeare" requirement for students on the “Common Ground” curriculum.

This course satisfies the “Pre-1700 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.