English 353: Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories

Tanya Pollard

This course will examine a selection of Shakespeare's history plays and comedies, including Richard III, Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night. Among other topics, we will consider issues of language, theatricality, ambition, desire, gender, and intergenerational conflict. Requirements will include two five-page papers, a midterm and final exam, and occasional short written exercises.
Dickson 181

M-Th 11:30-12:45

my web page: http://chss.montclair.edu/~pollardt/

English department web page: http://english.montclair.edu

Office: Dickson 352

phone: 655-5141

hours: Th 2:30-5:30 and by appointment


Week Date Reading Assignment due
1 9-4 Richard III
2 9-8 Richard III
9-11 Richard III
3 9-15 Richard III, Richard II OED exercise due
9-17 Richard II
4 9-22 Richard II
9-25 Richard II, Henry IV, Part One
5 9-29 Henry IV, Part One
10-2 Henry IV, Part One
6 10-6 No Class: Yom Kippur
10-9 Henry IV, Part Two essay proposal
7 10-13 Henry IV, Part Two
10-16 Henry IV, Part Two 5-6 page essay
8 10-20 Henry IV, Part Two; review
10-23 midterm exam
9 10-27 Midsummer Night's Dream
10-30 Midsummer Night's Dream
10 11-3 Midsummer Night's Dream
11-6 As You Like It
11 11-10 As You Like It
11-13 As You Like It
12 11-17 Much Ado About Nothing
11-20 Much Ado About Nothing
13 11-24 Much Ado About Nothing
11-27 No Class: Thanksgiving
14 12-1 Twelfth Night essay proposal
12-4 Twelfth Night
15 12-8 Twelfth Night 7-8 page essay
12-11 review
Final Exam
Course Requirements and Expectations:

Attendance is required. If you miss more than three classes, your overall grade will drop; after nine absences, you will fail the class. Arriving late to class will also count against your grade, with three latenesses counting as one absence.


Learning is a collaborative process, and it is crucial that each of you engage fully with the texts and with each other. To this end, you will be required to provide and introduce topics for class discussion on a rotating basis, and your contributions will determine a significant portion of the semester's grade. In order to build a classroom atmosphere of courtesy and concentration, behavior that is disrespectful and interferes with others' learning will not be tolerated. Arriving late to class will be counted as one-third of an absence; after a certain point, it may be counted as a half or full absence. Disruptive behavior, including rudeness, talking while others are speaking, and ringing from cell-phones, pagers, watches, etc, may result in your being asked to leave class, and can be counted as an absence against your grade.


Written work should have a thesis that is well argued, clearly written, and supported by analytical close readings of textual passages. Papers should be typed, double-spaced, in a 12-point font, with one-inch margins on all sides. Late papers will be marked down one-third of a grade per day (that is, from B+ to B, B to B-, etc). Any use of others' ideas must be fully acknowledged in footnotes; speak to me if you are unsure about what this means. Plagiarism is extremely serious, and will result in failing the class and being reported to the Dean's Office, with potentially more serious consequences as well.


Make-up exams will not be offered; if you are not present for one of the exams, you will receive a grade of zero.

Specific guidelines for essays and exams will be distributed before each assignment.
Coursework and grading:
Participation in class discussion, contribution of topics, OED exercise, and quizzes 30%
5-6 page paper 15%
7-8 page paper 20%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 20%
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