English 3123: Playing Dead in Shakespeare

Tanya Pollard

 

207 Whitehead Hall

TR 11:00-12:15

E-mail: Tpollard@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Web: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/tpollard

Office: 3108 Boylan

Phone: 718-951-5000 x 6216

Hours: T 12:15-1:30 & 3:15-4:30, Th 9-9:30, and by appt.

 

All theatrical deaths are staged – played, enacted, artificial, fake – but some are more staged than others. From his earliest to his latest plays, Shakespeare routinely revisited the phenomenon of playing dead, whether intentionally or accidentally, in a range of settings and genres.  In particular, figures who survive apparent deaths tend to be women in positions of peril, whose staged deaths and restorations facilitate experimentation with generic conventions and the resources of the theater.  This course will explore ShakespeareÕs investments in apparent deaths in plays including Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Cymbeline, The WinterÕs Tale, and The Tempest. Assignments will include regular short reading quizzes, four short close reading essays, one final research paper, and midterm and final exams.

 

Week

Date

Assignment

Presenters

1

2-2

Introduction

 

 

2-4

Comedy of Errors, Acts 1-2

 

2

2-9

No class (CUNY runs Friday schedule)

 

 

2-11

Comedy of Errors, Act 3-5

 

3

2-16

Oxford English Dictionary exercise; Library room 383

 

 

2-18

Much Ado About Nothing, Acts 1-2

1

4

2-23

Much Ado About Nothing, Acts 3-4

2

 

2-25

Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5

3

5

3-1

Pericles, Acts 1-2

4

 

3-3

Pericles, Acts 3-4

1

6

3-8

Pericles, Act 5

2

 

3-10

Exam

 

7

3-15

Cymbeline, Acts 1-2

3

 

3-17

Cymbeline, Acts 3-4

4

8

3-22

Cymbeline, Act 5

1

 

3-24

WinterÕs Tale, Acts 1-2

2

9

3-29

WinterÕs Tale, Acts 3-4

3

 

3-31

WinterÕs Tale, Act 5

4

10

4-5

Tempest, Acts 1-2

1

 

4-7

Tempest, Acts 3-4

2

11

4-12

Tempest, Acts 5

3

 

4-14

Review

4

12

4-19

Research workshop

 

 

4-21

Exam

 

 

 

spring break

 

14

5-3

research presentations and responses

 

 

5-5

research presentations and responses

 

15

5-10

research presentations and responses

 

 

5-12

Research paper due; peer-editing workshop

 

16

5-17

Revised research paper due

 

Course Requirements and Expectations:

 

Attendance

Because your contributions to class discussion are a central part of your work for this course, attendance is crucial.  If you miss more than three classes, your overall grade will drop; at six absences, you will fail the class. Missing part of class – whether through arriving after 11:00, leaving before 12:15, or leaving the room during class – will count as one-third of an absence.

 

Texts

I have ordered Signet Editions of the plays on our syllabus at the college bookstore; you may purchase them elsewhere if you prefer, or you may use other editions.  Bringing a hard copy of the play to each class session is a requirement: if cost is an issue, you will find copies in the library, and in an emergency can borrow copies from me.

 

Participation

Learning is a collaborative process, which works best when each of you engages fully with the texts and with each other.  To this end, I will expect you to participate actively in class discussions, and you will be required to present ideas for class discussion on a rotating basis.  Your contributions will determine a significant portion of the semesterÕs grade. In order to build a classroom atmosphere of courtesy and concentration, please avoid behavior that is disrespectful and interferes with othersÕ learning, including rudeness, talking while others are speaking, and ringing from cell-phones, pagers, watches, etc.

 

Writing

Over the course of the semester you will write four short (2 page) papers accompanying in-class presentations, as well as one longer (8-10 page) research paper.  All written work should have a central claim that is well argued, clearly written, and directly supported by close readings of textual passages; the research paper will also incorporate, and respond to, at least three secondary sources.  All papers should be stapled, typed, double-spaced, in a 12-point font, with one-inch margins on all sides.  Written work is due at 11am; lateness will result in lowering of the grade by one-third of a grade per day.  In event of printer problems, you may receive credit for written work e-mailed to me before 11am, as long as you follow it up with a hard copy within 24 hours.  Any use of othersÕ ideas must be fully acknowledged in footnotes; speak to me if you are unsure about what this means.  Plagiarism is a serious offense, and will result in failing the class and being reported to the DeanÕs Office.

 

Coursework and grading:

Regular brief quizzes

15%

4 short (2 pages) essays, 5% each

20%

Presentations and participation

15%

Midterm exam

15%

Final exam

15%

Final research project (5% proposal, 5% draft, 10% final)

20%

 

 

 

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