EN301 Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists Module Guide 2008-09 Contact Lectures

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EN301 Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists

Module Guide 2008-09

1. Contact
Lectures: Mondays 2-3pm and Wednesdays 1-2pm in the Arts Centre Conference Room (ACCR)

Attendance at lectures is compulsory and is vital to participation in and enjoyment of the module.

Weekly Seminars: Various times throughout the week.
CAPITAL Workshops for all students: In Week 8 of both Autumn and Spring Terms, your seminar will be replaced by a practical workshop with Jonny Heron in the CAPITAL Centre. As with seminars, attendance is compulsory. These workshops are designed to give all students a substantial experience of working practically and creatively with Shakespeare’s texts. Those of a retiring disposition should be assured that these workshops require no acting experience or thespian inclination. Whatsoever. They are, rather, an excellent opportunity to view Shakespeare’s plays from a different perspective and to put your critical interpretations on their feet and into three dimensions.

Nb. Workshops will take place throughout the week. Times will be announced soon and you will be invited to sign up for one of the slots.

One of the great benefits of doing Shakespeare at Warwick is the wide array of theatre trips, play-readings, ad hoc workshops and events that take place throughout the year. Please regularly check your email and the CAPITAL Centre website (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/capital/) for news of these.
2. Set Texts
These are the only editions you will be allowed in the open-book exam so it pays to get them now. We have decided to give students the choice as to which edition of the Complete Works they buy. Both the Norton and the RSC will be used in lectures and seminars.
William Shakespeare, The RSC Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen (London: Palgrave, 2007).


William Shakespeare, The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York and London: Norton and Co, 1997).

Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus and Other Plays, ed. David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen (Oxford: OUP, 1995). 

Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women, and Other Plays, ed.Richard Dutton (Oxford: OUP, 1999).


Week 1

W 1 Oct

Introduction /

Shakespeare in his Time 1

Paul Prescott and Jonathan Bate

Week 2

M 6 Oct
W 8 Oct

Shakespeare’s Multiple Texts
Theatre Speech and Social Dialogue

Carol Rutter
Carol Rutter

Week 3

M 13 Oct
W 15 Oct
W 15 Oct Eve
Th 16 Oct,

12 – 1pm

Love’s Labour’s Lost
Love’s Labour’s Lost in performance
Trip to see Love’s Labour’s at RSC
Optional Lecture: Love’s Labour’s and Pastoral Performances

(Rehearsal Room, CAPITAL; limited space)

Jonathan Bate
Tony Howard

Stuart Sillars (University of Bergen)

Week 4

M 20 Oct
W 22 Oct

Shakespeare in his Time 2
Shakespearean Metatheatre (Hamlet)

Jonathan Bate
Paul Prescott

Week 5

M 27 Oct
W 29 Oct

Shakespeare’s Endings
Shakespeare and the Actor: Oliver Ford Davies

Tony Howard
Paul Prescott

Week 6


Week 7

M 10 Nov
W 12 Nov

The Jew of Malta
The Merchant of Venice

Jonathan Bate
Paul Prescott

Week 8

M 17 Nov
W 19 Nov

Edward II
Richard II

Jonathan Bate
Tony Howard

Week 9

M 24 Nov
W 26 Nov

Chaste Maid / Much Ado /
Winter’s Tale

Carol Rutter
Carol Rutter

Week 10

M 1 Dec
W 3 Dec

Chaste Maid / Much Ado /
Winter’s Tale

Carol Rutter
Carol Rutter

4. Spring Term Syllabus
Weeks 1, 2: Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida

Weeks 3 – 5: The Changeling, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra

Weeks 7, 8: King Lear (Week 8 workshops with Jonny Heron)

Weeks 9, 10: Coriolanus, The Winter’s Tale, Tempest

A note on the syllabus: Tutors and students should feel free at any time to introduce a second (or even third!) text in any given week. However, play-specific questions on the exam will only address the plays covered by the lecture series. A shortlist of 15 play titles for revision will be published in March. The exam will also include more general, non-play-specific questions about early modern texts; in answering these, the student is free to refer to plays both on and off the syllabus.
5. Assessment

i) 1 x 5000 word essay (50%) to be submitted by 3pm on Monday 16th March, 2009, Week 11 (the week after the end of Spring Term)

ii) 1 x 3h 15min exam in May (50%). Students must answer one question from both Section A and Section B.
5a) Important: Assessed Essay:

  1. All students will be required, in consultation with their tutor, to create their own title for the essay. You may wish to develop your own title from scratch; you may also look to last year’s titles for inspiration (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/undergraduate/current/modules/fulllist/third/en301/essaytitles07-08/). It is permissible to use or adapt one of these titles. Either way, the title, scope and content of your essay should be discussed with your tutor before you submit.

  2. You are welcome to submit a Creative Project (accompanied by a Reflective Essay of 1,500 words). Examples from last year included: a re-write of scenes from Othello from Lodovico’s point of view; lyrics for a new Romeo and Juliet composition, including scoring and demo tape; a re-write of Hamlet with 15 min film of treatment; a creative analysis of workshop/open space teaching.

  3. Your essay should make substantive reference to at least ONE early modern text outside the syllabus. Substantive = at least two pages of an analysis which displays good knowledge of the text and intelligently applies that knowledge to the overall argument of the essay. If submitting a Creative Project, at least one page of your reflective essay should discuss a text outside the syllabus.

  4. Given the consultation process, it is clear that tutors will not, in effect, be marking anonymously. Your assessed essay will therefore be first marked by someone other than your seminar tutor.

  5. Please observe the word limit. Students will be penalized for excessive length. You are permitted, however, to submit an essay of fewer than 5000 words provided it is above 4000 words in length.

5b) The Exam

The Basics:

The exam lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes. During the first 15 minutes you may read and write notes on the question paper, but may not begin your answers in the exam booklet.


The exam is open book. That is, you may bring copies of the set texts into the exam with you and consult them during the exam. The editions should be those stipulated at the beginning of the module – for Shakespeare, either the RSC or Norton edition, and for both Marlowe and Middleton, the Oxford Classics editions. Your books can be annotated, but you should avoid excessive annotation. By ‘excessive’ we mean consecutive sentences or paragraphs of prose which might gain you an unfair advantage in the exam. You should also avoid elaborate colour-coded sticker systems. If you are concerned about the extent of your annotations, you should see the module convenor in the week before the exam.

The exam is divided into two parts, Section A and Section B. You must answer ONE question from each section. In Section A, you will see five extracts each between 80-100 lines in length. You will choose ONE of these extracts and write a theatrical commentary. Section B will consist of roughly 20 essay questions. You will choose ONE of these and write a response.

Section A Rubric

‘Comment on the following as a theatrical text. You should consider at least some of the following: the relationship between verbal imagery and stage spectacle; the range and interplay of styles; the dramatic contours of the sequence as a whole; and the use made of the physical resources of the stage.’


What is a theatrical commentary?

You will discuss approaches to Section A with your seminar tutor throughout the module, but it may be helpful to start by thinking of a theatrical commentary as a piece of writing that considers some of the following:

The transitions between scenes; shifts in tone and style; stage directions (both explicit and implicit); interpretative options for actors; the movement and interrelation of bodies in theatrical space; the use of the resources of the stage; use of props and costumes; the presence of non-speaking characters; the deployment of silence and pauses; shifts of tempo as the action unfolds; the actor-audience relationship; how the passage might originally have been staged; how it has been staged since Shakespeare’s time (i.e. stage history); how it might be staged today or in the future; how textual variants (if any) might affect performance choices and effects; the architecture of the stage space (mainstage, balcony [‘above’], trap, columns, discovery space, downstage/upstage); speech acts (tone, verse/prose, line/speech lengths, tempo and power, soliloquy and asides); music and song; sound effects.
Nb. Films can be referenced in passing, but the emphasis should be on theatrical interpretation.
For more advice on Section A of the exam, see the online advice to last year’s cohort: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/undergraduate/current/modules/fulllist/third/en301/exam2008adviceandfaqs/

5c) Assessment – Shakespeare with and without chairs

Assessment remains the same for both traditional and practical modes of taking the module. It is important to state that the assessment is not in any way weighted in favour of either mode of learning. EN301 essay titles and exam questions have always sought to elicit the widest variety of creative and critical responses. In theory and in practice, any learning experience – whether seminar- or workshop-based or even extra-curricular – might form the basis for Assessed Work.

6. Formative Assessment

By the end of Spring Term, every student on the module will have submitted / presented and received tutor feedback on:

i) 1 x practice Section A response

ii) 1 x 1500 word passage or detailed plan of their Assessed Essay. (Important note: your tutor is not permitted to comment on a complete draft of the essay, so please do not ask him or her to do so.)

iii) At least 1 review (book, film, theatre, etc) and/or class presentation and/or a student-led seminar
7. Resources
There are many Shakespeare-related DVDS and videos in the Short Loan Collection in the Library and in the CAPITAL Centre’s own collection.
Major online resources include: World Shakespeare Bibliography, Shakespeare Survey, Early English Books Online (EEBO) – Access these via E-Resources > Databases on the Library website. Shakespeare Quarterly (via JSTOR); Shakespeare Bulletin (Project Muse)
8. Aims

By the end of the module, students should (be able to):

Have consolidated their skills in reading narrative, poetry and drama

Comment illuminatingly on a passage of dramatic poetry

Analyse the dramatic structure, appearance and effect of a scene

Comment on the ideas in a play and the way they are presented

Know enough about Elizabethan and Jacobean conditions of performance to think about how the dramatists use the resources of the stage and how the ensemble nature of theatrical companies influenced play composition and production

Have sufficient experience of live and film performances of the plays to be able to talk about the impact of particular scenes today

Have some familiarity with problems of textual transmission and editing in the plays

Know a group of plays well enough to understand how the separate scenes and speeches of the play contribute to the whole

Know a range of plays such that they can begin to ask questions about Shakespeare’s development

Know some plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson/Webster/Middleton so that they can address the issue of connections and dependencies between them

Have some critical awareness of the traditions of Shakespeare criticism

Use their knowledge of Shakespeare to think about problems which concern them

Understand how some of the major issues and themes dramatised in Shakespeare’s plays – love, war, sexuality, religion, law, civilization, race, etc – function in an early modern context while continuing to challenge readers and spectators today.

EN301 Module Guide 08-09

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