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English 417 Shakespeare: Fathers and Children

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

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will explore the sonnets and ten of Shakespeare's plays, drawn from early, middle, and late periods of his writing career.

In Shakespeare’s time, daughters (and often sons) are regarded as the property of their fathers, to be disposed of sexually/maritally as the fathers see fit. (To be specific, daughters are the sexual property of their fathers.) This course will explore the father/daughter (and occasionally father/son) dynamic over the course of Shakesepeares career.

EVALUATION METHOD: Midterm essay, final essay.

ASSIGNMENTS:

Midterm: in the range of 2000 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 (though the judicious use thereof--if it helps your argument--is not discouraged), but will require you to read the plays closely, and cite (and quote) evidence from the plays (using MLA citation) to back up your arguments. Print and staple everything together before turning it in.

Final: Final: also in the range of 2000 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. As before, these essays will not require secondary sources (though the judicious use thereof--if it helps your argument--is not discouraged), but will require you to read the plays closely, and cite (and quote) evidence from the plays (using MLA citation) to back up your arguments. If you do decide to use secondary sources, I will not prescribe the number thereof (so don't ask--no more than is useful to you in making your argument). To start looking for what you might need, have a look at the CSUN library's page outlining electronic resources for English. The final essay will be due by 11:59:59 PM on 12/15 by email (no physical submissions of finals). In your email subject line, put English 417 final, and make sure your name is on your paper, especially if using a non-CSUN address.

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


Final due by email attachment on 12/21 at 11:59:59 PM—no physical submissions, and send one (and only one) attachment.

Week 1 (8/28)—Introductions, Shakespeare, Sonnets (1-20, 94, 116, 130, 138)
Week 2 (9/4)—Two Gentlemen of Verona; also, see Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (ebook accessible through the library's website), especially pages 178-194 for a description of parentally-arranged and -controlled marriages of the period. (Click here for a typical story .) (And see here for the first known use of the world "Valentine" as a term of endearment in English.)
Week 3 (9/11)—A Midsummer Night's Dream
Week 4 (9/18)—Much Ado About Nothing
Week 5 (9/25)—Henry IV part 1.
Week 6 (10/2)—Romeo and Juliet 
Week 7 (
10/9)—Romeo and Juliet  (Midterm assigned)
Week 8 (10/16)—Othello

Week 9 (
10/23)—Othello (Midterm due)  
Week 10 (10/30
)—Hamlet
Week 11
(11/6)—Hamlet

Week 12
(11/13)—King Lear
Week 13
(11/20)—King Lear
Week 14 (11/27)
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Week 15 (12/4)—The Merchant of Venice
(Final essay due by 11:59:59 PM on 12/21 by email).