English 353:

Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories

Tanya Pollard
This course will examine a selection of Shakespeare's history plays and comedies, including The Taming of the Shrew, Henry IV Parts One and Two, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, and All's Well That Ends Well. 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.
Bohn Hall 492

MR 2:30-3:45

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

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

Office: Dickson 352

phone: 655-5141

hours: MR 10:30-11:30, 3:45-4:15, and by appointment


Week Date Reading Assignment
1 1-20 Introduction, Taming of the Shrew
2 1-24 Taming, Induction, I
1-27 Taming, II-III
3 1-31 Taming, IV OED exercise due
2-3 Taming, V
4 2-7 Henry IV, Part One, I-II
2-10 Henry IV, Part One, III
5 2-14 Henry IV, Part One, IV
2-17 Henry IV, Part One, V
6 2-21 Henry IV, Part Two, I-II
2-24 Henry IV, Part Two, III
7 2-28 Henry IV, Part Two, IV
3-3 Henry IV, Part Two, V first essay due
8 3-7 midterm review
3-10 midterm exam exam
9 3-21 As You Like It, I-II
3-24 As You Like It, III-IV
10 3-28 As You Like It, V
3-31 Much Ado About Nothing, I-II
11 4-4 Much Ado About Nothing, III-IV
4-7 Much Ado About Nothing, V
12 4-11 Twelfth Night, I-II
4-14 Twelfth Night, III-IV
13 4-18 Twelfth Night, V
4-21 All's Well That Ends Well, I-II
14 4-25 All's Well That Ends Well, III-IV
4-28 All's Well That Ends Well, IV
15 5-2 review session second essay due
5-5 final exam, 1:00-3:00 exam
Course Requirements and Expectations:

Attendance is required. If you miss more than three classes, no matter what the reason, your overall grade will drop; at six absences, you will fail the class. Arriving late to class will count as one-third of an absence, and may count for more depending on the amount of time missed.


Because this class is based on close reading of Shakespeare's plays, it is very important that everyone has a copy of the play and brings it to class. You may use any edition, and if purchasing the text is a problem, there should be plenty of Shakespeare texts in the library. If you forget your copy you should stop by the library and check out a copy on the way to class. If you come to class without a copy of the play you may be asked to leave class.


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 expected to participate actively in class discussions, and you will be required to provide and introduce topics for class discussion on a rotating basis. 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. 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


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.


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, and OED exercise 30%
first paper 15%
second paper 20%
midterm exam 15%
final exam 20%

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