Students read, discuss, and critique Shakespeare's early comedies and tragedies. Plays covered generally include (but are not limited to) A Mid-Summer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV (Part One), Richard II, Henry V, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet. Weekly readings and occasional screenings of plays demand a considerable investment of time and effort, in addition to which students will be asked to compose critical essays of varying length, totaling at least 8-10 pages. The course introduces students to central questions in the study of dramatic art, as well as to issues pertaining more broadly to the study of literature in English. Students will leave the course having read extensively from the works of one of the major writers of the western tradition, and they will have acquired interpretive, analytical, and communication skills that will aid them in their future coursework in English and other disciplines.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Shakespeare courses foster understanding of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies. Besides introducing students to central questions in the study of dramatic art and to broader issues pertaining the study of literature in English, they enhance students’ cultural literacy by deepening their comprehension of arguably the best known writings of an English author.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.