Wiliam Shakespeare

The course will explore works of
Shakespeare that have particular importance for his biography, or which raise
biographical questions as well as dramatic, cultural, and literary issues.
Biographical problems or interpretations will not be the only ideas discussed
about the selected plays and poems assigned, but they will provide a basis for
comparison and a means of exploring the value of biographical approaches to
Shakespeare’s writings. Some of the works to be discussed are the sonnets
(possibly related to his romantic and sexual relationships), THE COMEDY OF
ERRORS (perhaps his first play), JULIUS CAESAR and HENRY IV, PART ONE, (giving
hints of his politics), HAMLET (related to his own father and his son), AS YOU
LIKE IT (defining his poetic art) and THE TEMPEST (thought of as his farewell
to the stage and as a relation of his final thoughts on the theater), among
others. We will also consult a modern biography of Shakespeare. The course will
include three papers, in-class presentations and brief written assignments,
plus a midterm and final exam.