In 1592, William
Shakespeare (of Stratford, aged 28, married and father of three
children) was a successful actor on London stages and an aspiring
playwright; his fortunes were tied to the theatre, and they were looking
good. And then the plague struck and London went into partial lockdown:
the theatres were closed for two years, from June 1592 to June 1594.
Some fellow actors tried their luck touring the provinces; Shakespeare
aimed for high cultural prestige and aristocratic patronage and turned
to writing poetry, publishing Venus and Adonis in 1593 and Lucrece
in 1594. In this seminar, we will focus on Shakespeare’s non-dramatic
poetry, discussing the two narrative poems just mentioned, the enigmatic
”The Phoenix and Turtle”, and, of course, the Sonnets (1609),
which we will read in the context of the sonnet craze of the 1590s that
left its traces in some of Shakespeare’s plays. (To avoid
disappointments please note: the poetry is not concerned with the plague
Requirements: Active participation, term paper (BA/LA c. 15 p.; MA c. 20 p.)
Texts: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series); Shakespeare’s Poems: Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece and the Shorter Poems, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones & H.R. Woudhuysen (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series); additional texts will be placed on GRIPS.
In the 1980s, Canadian critic Linda
Hutcheon coined the term ‘historiographic metafiction’ for a trend she
perceived in novels of the second half of the 20th century,
novels usually categorized as ‘postmodern’: they are concerned with
history and the writing of history (historiography), and they also
foreground their own fictionality (metafiction). In this seminar, we
will read three novels that fit this description, and we will analyse
and discuss their strategies of presenting ‘the past’ as well as their
experiments with the form of the novel.
Requirements: Active participation, term paper (c. 10 p.)
Texts: Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters; Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry; David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.
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