Summer Shakespeare I

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2015: Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
June 17 - Aug. 19

June 17:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Conventions

June 24:
Romeo and Juliet
Language

July 8:
The Taming of the Shrew
Themes

July 15:
Richard II
History

July 22:
As You Like It
Comedy

July 29:
Julius Caesar
Tragedy

August 5:
The Merchant of Venice
Structure

August 12:
King Lear
Symbolism

August 19:
Twelfth Night
Ambiguity

Course Overview

Throughout five years of course offerings in English, the Scholars Online program covers a fair amount of Shakespeare. A student who has taken World Literature, English Literature, and AP English will have read:

I have not yet figured out a legitimate way of incorporating Shakespeare into either Western Literature to Dante or American Literature. Failing some major historical upheaval, I suspect that this will not change.

Accordingly, a student can read eight or nine plays. While this certainly represents a good deal more Shakespeare than the average high school student will study formally, still, as Harold Bloom argues, Shakespeare has a unique place at the center of the Western literary canon, and it is nearly impossible to get too much of him.

Accordingly, this course, being offered for the fifth time in 2009, is designed to fill in some of the larger gaps in our Shakespeare offerings. We will cover, at the rate of one per week, nine more major plays, thus doubling the number a student has before college. Of course, at this pace, we cannot even pretend to be exhaustive — it’s intended to be a fun course in any case. But I am hoping that it will foster a cheerful familiarity with Shakespeare, and an awareness of the shape of his corpus as a whole. Taken together with the nine above, this will bring the student’s coverage to eighteen plays — more than half of Shakespeare’s total production. (Summer Shakespeare II is available to provide another ten plays, bringing the total to twenty-eight. Summer Shakespeare III completes the canon.)

Accordingly, this course will include:

Because time is at a premium during the summer, and we would like to accomplish as much as we possibly can, I’d like to hit the ground running with a play discussion the first week. Therefore, do not delay to enroll, and get the books as soon as possible.