THEA 331
Hamlet Fall 2014
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed ENGL 354 / THEA 331
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

As Michel Foucault observed, “the face of madness has haunted the imagination” of Western culture–not just because the loss of rationality is a source of both crisis and intrigue, but because madness “deals not so much with truth and the world as with man and whatever truth about himself he is able to perceive.” Hamlet, the character who feigns madness, and whose rationality and feeling are also tested well beyond that feigning, has likewise haunted the Western literary canon, raising fundamental questions about self-performance and the value of language and rationality. This course will study Shakespeare’s Hamlet and its legacies. We will consider its literary antecedents (including Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy) and the theatrical and historical contexts in which it was written, prior to comprehensive study of the play. We will pay close textual and bibliographic attention to the differences between the two Quarto texts of 1603 of 1604 and the First Folio text of 1623, and to what these can tell us about performance and publication practices during the playwright’s lifetime. Class exchanges with the Theatre Department production of the play will engage with questions of interpretation and performance for their work-in-progress. We will also assess at least two film versions of the play. The latter portion of the course will consider the ways Hamlet has haunted, and inspired, other writers over the past 400 years. Readings will Chekhov’s The Seagull; Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine; Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara; and criticism by T.S.Eliot, Stephen Greenblatt and others.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1781
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: two 7+ page papers; several shorter critical response papers; active class participation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Theatre, English and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 354 Division I THEA 331 Division I
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses
ENGL Literary Histories A

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time