7204X (51453) Illegitimate Shakespeare

Tanya Pollard

3117 Boylan

T. 4:30-6:10

e-mail: Tpollard@brooklyn.cuny.edu

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

Office: 3108 Boylan

phone: 718-951-5000 x6216

hours: 3:34-4:30, and by appt

As one of the most canonical writers in the English language, Shakespeare is often identified as a figure of authority, establishment, and legitimacy.  His plays, however, are fascinated by questions of illegitimacy, with a particular focus on the problem of illegitimate children.  Many of his plays feature characters described as bastards, and many others feature anxieties about sexual infidelity and its consequences.  This class will explore intersections in Shakespeare’s plays between anxieties about illegitimate children and unauthorized literary production, especially the scandals associated with hybrid literary genres. 

 

Date

Reading

Group

1

1-31

Introduction

2

2-7

Much Ado About Nothing, Acts 1-3

1

3

2-14

Much Ado 4-5, Measure for Measure 1-2

2

4

2-21

Measure for Measure 3-5

3

5

2-28

Troilus and Cressida 1-3

1

6

3-7

Troilus and Cressida 4-5, Pericles 1-2

2

7

3-14

Pericles 3-5

3

8

3-21

Cymbeline 1-3

1

9

3-28

Cymbeline 4-5, The Winter’s Tale 1-2

2

10

4-4

Research workshop, Library Room 383

 

11

4-11

No class: spring break

 

12

4-18

No class: spring break

 

13

4-25

Winter’s Tale 3-5, proposal due for research paper

3

14

5-2

presentations on research papers

 

15

5-9

presentations on research papers

 


16

5-16

draft of research paper due; peer-editing workshop

17

5-23

final research paper due

Course Requirements and Expectations:

Attendance

Because your presentations and contributions to class discussion are a central part of your coursework, attendance is crucial.  If you miss more than two classes, your overall grade will drop; at four absences, you may fail the class. Arriving late, leaving early, or leaving and returning during class, will count as a partial absence.

Texts

I have ordered copies of the plays at the college bookstore, but you are welcome to use other editions if you prefer; if purchasing the books is a problem, you can find texts in the library.  Because this class is based on close reading, it is important that everyone has a hard copy of the play in class (no reading from electronic devices, please).  If you forget your copy, stop by the library on the way to class.  Recommended secondary readings will be available through Blackboard.

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 make frequent presentations.  Because electronic devices are distracting, they should all be put away and turned off in class.  In order to build a classroom atmosphere of courtesy and concentration, please avoid behavior that is disrespectful and interferes with others’ 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 three short (2 page) papers accompanying in-class presentations, as well as one longer (10-12 pages) 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 five secondary sources.  All papers should be typed, double-spaced, in a 12-point font, with one-inch margins on all sides.  Written work is due at the start of class, and lateness will result in lowering of the grade; in event of printer trouble, you can e-mail me papers before class and follow up with a hard copy within 24 hours.  Any use of others’ 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 Dean’s Office.

Coursework and grading:

Presentations and participation

3 short papers (10% each)

Research proposal

Research paper draft

Final research paper

 

20%

30%

10%

10%

30%


 

Selected recommended secondary readings:

 

Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99): Michael Neill, “‘In Everything Illegitimate’: Imagining the Bastard in Renaissance Drama,” The Yearbook of English Studies 23 (1993), 270-292; Carol Cook, “‘The Sign and Semblance of Her Honor’: Reading Gender Difference in Much Ado about Nothing,” PMLA 101:2 (1986), 186-202.

 

 

Measure for Measure (ca. 1604): Natasha Korda, “Singlewomen and the Properties of Poverty in Measure for Measure,” Money and the Age of Shakespeare: Essays in New Economic Criticism, ed. Linda Woodbridge (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 237-250; Frances Dolan, “Shakespeare and Marriage:  An Open Question,” Literature Compass 8.9 (2011), 620-634.

 

Troilus and Cressida (ca. 1602): Matthew A. Greenfield, “Fragments of Nationalism in Troilus and Cressida,” Shakespeare Quarterly 51:2 (2000), 181-200; Heather James, “‘Tricks we play on the dead’: Making History in Troilus and Cressida,” in Shakespeare’s Troy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 85-119.

 

Pericles (ca. 1607-1608): Lori Humphrey Newcomb, “The Sources of Romance, the Generation of story, and the Patterns of Pericles Tales,” Staging Early Modern Romance: Prose Fiction, Dramatic Romance, and Shakespeare (2008), 21-46; Caroline Bicks, “Backsliding at Ephesus: Shakespeare's Diana and the Churching of Women,” Pericles: Critical Essays, ed. David Skeele (Hove: Psychology Press, 2000), 205-27.

 

Cymbeline (ca. 1609-10): Robert S. Miola, “‘Wrying but a little’? Marriage, punishment, and forgiveness in Cymbeline,” Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics (2014), 186-210; J. K. Barret, “The Crowd in Imogen’s Bedroom: Allusion and Ethics in Cymbeline,” Shakespeare Quarterly 66:4 (2015), 440-462.

 

The Winter’s Tale (1610-11): Helen Hackett, “‘Gracious be the issue’: Maternity and Narrative in Shakespeare’s Late Plays,” in Shakespeare’s Late Plays: New Readings, ed. Jennifer Richards and James Knowles (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1999), 25-39; Aaron Kitch, “Bastards and Broadsides in The Winter's Tale,” Renaissance Drama 30 (1999), 43-71.

 

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