The students in my Shakespeare in Context course have just embarked on Part 3 of their semester-long Adopt-A-Book Assignment. This third—and final—installment asks them to engage with a very short passage of the playtext as it appears in their adopted edition and in the relevant Folger Shakespeare Library edition we've been using in class. This part of the assignment builds off of Part 1 and Part 2, which invited students to describe the material features of their adopted book before contextualizing one of those features via original research.Read More
As a wrote about a few weeks ago, I have asked the students in my Shakespeare in Context course to adopt an edition of one of the plays on the syllabus and write about it. The only stipulation is that the book be a "used" book (and, yes, library books count). I've come to think about my students' individual efforts to acquire their books together as a process of building a special collection unique to this class. When they hand in the third and final part of the assignment in November, I'll have 32 different editions of Shakespeare on my desk, many of which I will be seeing in person for the first time.
I have just finished reading my students' descriptions of their books and wanted to share a few observations:Read More
I teach a course called "Shakespeare in Context." Part of my mandate as the professor for this course—and as its title suggests—is to put Shakespeare "in context." This entails situating Shakespeare's plays and poems in their early modern cultural, political, economic, theatrical, textual, and/or historical contexts. Such contextualization provides a framework for both understanding Shakespeare's language as well as the conflicts—be they familial, political, or otherwise—that animate the plays and poems. But, as I tell my students on day one, this course should probably be called "'Shakespeare' in Context," because it is concerned as much with how early modern England shaped Shakespeare's poetry and drama as it is with how the past 400 years have shaped and reshaped "Shakespeare." Here is the course description:Read More