English 416 Shakespeare: The Problem Plays and Romances

Dr. Michael Bryson
Sierra Tower 832
818-677-5695
michael.bryson@csun.edu

 

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will explore seven of Shakespeare's later plays (along with one earlier play that resembles them in many ways), often referred to, in shorthand, as the "problem" and "romance" plays. These are among Shakespeare's more cynical plays, works that come either to uncomfortable resolutions or no resolutions at all. They feature lies and manipulation, disguise and hypocrisy, and are quite nearly misanthropic in their view of human nature—perfect springtime reading.

EVALUATION METHOD: Midterm essay, final essay.

ASSIGNMENTS:

Midterm: in the range of 1500 words, this will be comprised of responses to essay questions, and will require you to present an analysis of characters from the plays we will have read to that point. These essays will not require secondary sources, but will require you to read the plays closely, and cite evidence from the plays (using MLA citation...see this site for a fairly useful set of examples about how to handle quotations) to back up your arguments. The midterm will be due at the beginning of class on 3/27. Staple everything together into one paper--do not hand in multiple, separate papers.

Final: also in the range 1500 words, this will be comprised of responses to essay questions, and will require you to present an analysis of characters from the blocks of plays we will have read to that point. These essays will not require secondary sources, but will require you to read the plays closely, and cite evidence from the plays (using MLA citation) to back up your arguments. The final essay will be due by 11:59:59 PM on Monday, 5/15. Finals must be submitted via email to the address listed above. Combine everything in one file/attachment--do not send multiple, separate attachments.

READING LIST: Complete Pelican Shakespeare

Statement on Academic Dishonesty: Plagiarism is a serious offense that will be treated seriously. Please read the CSUN policy here.


Weekly Preview

Week 1 (1/23): Introductions
Week 2 (1/30): Sonnets 1-3, 15, 18, 55, 94, 116, 130, 138
Week 3 (2/6): Measure for Measure
Week 4 (2/13): Measure for Measure
Week 5 (2/20): All's Well that Ends Well
Week 6 (2/27): All's Well that Ends Well
Week 7 (3/6): The Merchant of Venice
Week 8 (3/13): The Merchant of Venice (Midterm assigned) 
3/20: Off for Spring Break
Week 9 (3/27): Troilus and Cressida (Midterm Due)
Week 10 (4/3): Troilus and Cressida
Week 11 (4/10): Timon of Athens
Week 12 (4/17): Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Week 13 (4/24): The Winter's Tale

Week 14 (5/1): The Tempest
Week 15 (5/8): Off. Work on final essays

Final due 11:59:59 PM on 5/15