6AAEC010 Jacobean Shakespeare
Credit value: 15
Module convenor: Professor Gordon McMullan
Assessment: 1 x 4,000 word essay (100%)
Teaching pattern: One lecture and one seminar weekly
Pre-requisites (if applicable): N/A
This module provides an opportunity in your final year to look very closely at the incomparable plays of William Shakespeare – or, more precisely, the plays he wrote in the second half of his career during the reign of King James I. The plays include very well-known ones such as Othello, King Lear and The Tempest alongside less familiar ones such as The Two Noble Kinsmen . We look at two broad generic categories – tragedies and tragicomedies or ‘late plays’ – and we will reflect on the connections and the distinctions between these genres. Amongst the issues we will be considering are: the representation of familial and generational conflict, the possibility of redemption, the conditions of production for plays at this time, and the forms of production of dramatic texts in Shakespeare’s day (both in the theatre and in the print shop). Students’ understanding of the plays in performance will be enhanced by drawing on plays currently in production in London and by the use of videos.
The module can be taken to complement Elizabethan Shakespeare but can also be taken on its own. Each module is assessed separately.
We recommend that you acquire either the Oxford Shakespeare, 2nd edition (gen. eds. Wells and Taylor) or the Norton Shakespeare, 2nd edition (gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt). If you want to buy single-volume editions of the plays, we list our recommended editions after the play title:
Othello (Arden, ed. Ernst Honigmann, 1996)
King Lear (we encourage you to read this in its two versions in Oxford/Norton)
Coriolanus (Cambridge, ed. Lee Bliss, 2000)
The Winter’s Tale (Oxford, ed. Stephen Orgel, 1996)
The Tempest (Arden, ed. Alden T. and Virginia Mason Vaughan, 1999)
Shakespeare and Fletcher, Henry VIII (Arden, ed. Gordon McMullan, 2000)
Shakespeare and Fletcher, The Two Noble Kinsmen (Arden, ed. Lois Potter, 1997)