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Shakespeare and His Contemporaries


Although Shakespeare tends to overshadow all other writers of his age, he was actually but one of many working, accomplished dramatists of the period who influenced and competed with one another.  By exploring a series of pairings between a Shakespeare play and a play by one of his contemporaries (for example, The Merchant of Venice and Marlowe's Jew of Malta), this course surveys not just Shakespearean drama, but, more broadly, early modern drama.  A discussion-based class that explores Shakespeare in his network, the course also attends to original staging conditions of the plays and to some of the most pressing questions about performance.  A guiding principle of the class is that all of the plays, now neatly presented by editors and publishers for study in the classroom, were originally conceived of as living, malleable scripts for actors.

Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.
Fulfills the Historical Approaches requirement for the English major.




First-year students require permission of the instructor.