English 431B: Advanced Shakespeare

A survey of the works from the second half of William Shakespeare's career

Welcome back!

Welcome back students. We hope you had a great break and are ready to get back in the Shakespearean spirit. The course this semester will cover the following texts:

1. All’s Well That Ends Well

2. Othello

3. King Lear

4. Macbeth

5. Antony & Cleopatra

6. The Winter’s Tale

7. The Tempest

This semester will provide new opportunities for students to become familiar with and better appreciate the texts of one of the greatest dramatists in history. Prof. Frederick Kiefer will have a teaching assistant this semester – Matt Lewis – helping with clerical duties.

You can learn more about him at this site: http://matt20hew.wordpress.com/

Lewis will also form study groups for the exams as well as research and discussion sections for the required essay. He will also ensure an online presence of the class both on this site and by utilizing social media such as Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare.

Prof. Kiefer has stressed the importance of a close-reading approach to the texts. “The close readings of texts has declined in recent decades (in academia),” Kiefer said. His philosophical interpretation is that close reading of texts improves understanding and enhances enjoyment. This course will also cover the theater and staging in more detail. Biographical background of Shakespeare has been significantly reduced in response to the highly speculative nature of the “facts” that exist. Kiefer asserts that it is hard to prove much of Shakespeare’s background, such as the claim that he was a secret Catholic.

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