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saylor.org Academy  ●  Online
Many consider William Shakespeare the greatest dramatist—even the greatest writer—of all time. His impact on Western culture and language is unmistakable, but his works have also been continuously read and performed around the world, illustrating his global significance. Over the course of this semester, we will attempt to determine why his works have become so widely revered, or why they seem, to quote Ben Jonson, “not for an age, but for all time.” We will begin by familiarizing ourselves with Elizabethan theatre, language, and culture—the world in which Shakespeare lived and breathed. We will then conduct close readings of a number of Shakespeare’s most acclaimed plays, progressing through his dramatic works by categorizing them in three groups: comedies, tragedies, and histories. Finally, we will turn to some of his poetry, which Shakespeare (perhaps surprisingly) considered superior to his plays. By the end of this course, you will have developed a strong understanding of Shakespeare’s works—their style, their linguistic accomplishments, their hallmarks—as well as a working knowledge of the Elizabethan Period in which he wrote.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Features Assignments (no solutions) Course Description William Shakespeare didn't go to college. If he time-traveled like Dr. Who, he would be stunned to find his words on a university syllabus. However, he would not be surprised at the way we will be using those words in this class, because the study of rhetoric was essential to all education in his day. At Oxford, William Gager argued that drama allowed undergraduates "to try their voices and confirm their memories, and to frame their speech and conform it to convenient action": in other words, drama was useful. Shakespeare's fellow playwright Thomas Heywood similarly recalled: In the time of my residence in Cambridge, I have seen Tragedies, Comedies, Histories, Pastorals and Shows, publicly acted…: this is held necessary for the emboldening of their Junior scholars, to arm them with audacity, against they come to be employed in any public exercise, as in the reading of Dialectic, Rhetoric, Ethic, Mathematic, the Physic, or Metaphysic Lectures. Such practice made a student able to "frame a sufficient argument to prove his questions, or defend any axioma, to distinguish of any Dilemma and be able to moderate in any Argumentation whatsoever" (Apology for Actors, 1612). In this class, we will use Shakespeare's own words to arm you "with audacity" and a similar ability to make logical, compelling arguments, in speech and in writing. Shakespeare used his ears and eyes to learn the craft of telling stories to the public in the popular form of theater. He also published two long narrative poems, which he dedicated to an aristocrat, and wrote sonnets to share "among his private friends" (so wrote Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia, 1598). Varying his style to suit different audiences and occasions, and borrowing copiously from what he read, Shakespeare nevertheless found a voice all his own–so much so that his words are now, as his fellow playwright Ben Jonson foretold, "not of an age, but for all time." Reading, listening, analyzing, appreciating, criticizing, remembering: we will engage with these words in many ways, and will see how words can become ideas, habits of thought, indicators of emotion, and a means to transform the world. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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Alison  ●  Online
This English course looks at the life and work of William Shakespeare, surely the greatest playwright of them all. The course considers his life, plays, poetry and prose and examines the literary devices he employed in his works. Read More
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Description Shakespeare "doth bestride the narrow world" of the English Renaissance "like a colossus," leaving his contemporaries "walk under his large legs and peep about" to find themselves in "dishonourable graves." This course aims in part to correct this grave injustice by surveying the extraordinary output of playwrights whose names have largely been eclipsed by their more luminous compatriot: Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, and Ford, among others. Reading Shakespeare as just one of a group of practitioners -- many of whom were more popular than him during and even after his remarkable career -- will restore, I hope, a sense not just of the richness of English Renaissance drama, but also that of the historical and cultural moment of the English Renaissance itself. This course will examine the relationship between theatre and society through the lens of the drama produced in response to these changes. However, we will not try to map the progress of drama directly onto the social world, as if the former can simply read off the latter. Rather, focusing on discrete issues and problems, we will try to understand the ways in which a particular text not only reflects but responds to and shapes aspects of the culture from which it derives, developing an aesthetic that actively engages its world. The topics addressed over the course of the semester will be wide-ranging but will include: gender and class dynamics in Renaissance society; money, trade, and colonialism; the body as metaphor and theatrical "object"; allegory and aesthetic form; theatricality and meta-theatricality; the private and the public. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Features Image galleries Course Description This class explores the creation (and creativity) of the modern scientific and cultural world through study of western Europe in the 17th century, the age of Descartes and Newton, Shakespeare, Milton and Ford. It compares period thinking to present-day debates about the scientific method, art, religion, and society. This team-taught, interdisciplinary subject draws on a wide range of literary, dramatic, historical, and scientific texts and images, and involves theatrical experimentation as well as reading, writing, researching and conversing. The primary theme of the class is to explore how England in the mid-seventeenth century became "a world turned upside down" by the new ideas and upheavals in religion, politics, and philosophy, ideas that would shape our modern world. Paying special attention to the "theatricality" of the new models and perspectives afforded by scientific experimentation, the class will read plays by Shakespeare, Tate, Brecht, Ford, Churchill, and Kushner, as well as primary and secondary texts from a wide range of disciplines. Students will also compose and perform in scenes based on that material. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Description Explore where the prohibitions and permissions that occur in every day life come from, why they exist, and what gives them force. For example: food—you are only willing and able to eat a subset of the world's edible substances. Marriage—some marriages are prohibited by law or by custom. This course addresses questions of prohibition and permission using psychological sources and literary works from ancient to modern. Texts include works by Shakespeare, Melville, Mary Rowlandson, and Anita Desai. Students give group and individual oral presentations. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Free
Course Features Assignments (no solutions) Course Description This course looks at comedy in drama, novels, and films from Classical Greece to the twentieth century. Focusing on examples from Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Molière, Wilde, Chaplin, and Billy Wilder, along with theoretical contexts, the class examines comedy as a transgressive mode with revolutionary social and political implications. This is a Communications Intensive (CI) class with emphasis on discussion, and frequent, short essays. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Description This course investigates relationships between two media, film and literature, studying works linked across the two media by genre, topic, and style. It aims to sharpen appreciation of major works of cinema and of literary narrative. The course explores how artworks challenge and cross cultural, political and aesthetic boundaries. It includes some attention to theory of narrative. Films to be studied include works by Akira Kurosawa, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppolla, Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and Federico Fellini, among others. Literary works include texts by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Honoré de Balzac, Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Description Our subject is the ethics of leadership, an examination of the principles appealed to by executive authority when questions arise about its sources and its legitimacy. Most treatments of this subject resort to case-studies in order to illustrate the application of ethical principles to business situations, but our primary emphasis will be upon classic works of imaginative literature, which convey more directly than case-studies the ethical pressures of decision-making. Readings will include works by Shakespeare, Sophocles, Shaw, E.M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, George Orwell, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Henrik Ibsen, among others. Topics to be discussed include the sources of authority, the management of consensus, the ideal of vocation, the ethics of deception, the morality of expediency, the requirements of hierarchy, the virtues and vices of loyalty, the relevance of ethical principles in extreme situations. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Description Sometime after 1492, the concept of the New World or America came into being, and this concept appeared differently - as an experience or an idea - for different people and in different places. This semester, we will read three groups of texts: first, participant accounts of contact between native Americans and French or English speaking Europeans, both in North America and in the Caribbean and Brazil; second, transformations of these documents into literary works by contemporaries; third, modern texts which take these earlier materials as a point of departure for rethinking the experience and aftermath of contact. The reading will allow us to compare perspectives across time and space, across the cultural geographies of religion, nation and ethnicity, and finally across a range of genres - reports, captivity narratives, essays, novels, poetry, drama, and film. Some of the earlier authors we will read are Michel Montaigne, William Shakespeare, Jean de Léry, Daniel Defoe and Mary Rowlandson; more recent authors include Derek Walcott, and J. M. Coetzee. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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MIT OpenCourseWare  ●  Online
Course Highlights This course includes a list of related web links, which can be found in the related resources section. Course Description The core of this seminar will be the great sequences of English love sonnets written by William Shakespeare, Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and Mary Wroth. These poems cover an enormous amount of aesthetic and psychological ground: ranging from the utterly subjective to the entirely public or conventional, from licit to forbidden desires, they might also serve as a manual of experimentation with the resources of sound, rhythm, and figuration in poetry. Around these sequences, we will develop several other contexts, using both Renaissance texts and modern accounts: the Petrarchan literary tradition (poems by Francis Petrarch and Sir Thomas Wyatt); the social, political, and ethical uses of love poetry (seduction, getting famous, influencing policy, elevating morals, compensating for failure); other accounts of ideal masculinity and femininity (conduct manuals, theories of gender and anatomy); and the other limits of the late sixteenth century vogue for love poetry: narrative poems, pornographic poems, poems that don't work. MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.
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