Summer Shakespeare II

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2016: Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
June 15 - Aug. 10

June 15:
The Comedy of Errors
Shakespeare's Sources

June 22:
Coriolanus
Rhetoric

June 29:
NONE

July 6:
The Winter’s Tale
Dramatic Unities

July 13:
Antony and Cleopatra
Characterization and Time

July 20:
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Shared Characters

July 27:
Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3
History and Politics

August 3:
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Theatricality

August 10:
All’s Well That Ends Well
The Problem Comedies

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 is designed to follow Summer Shakespeare I in filling in some of the larger gaps in our Shakespeare offerings. We will cover, at the rate of one per week (and three one week), a total of ten more plays, thus considerably augmenting 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 I provides another nine plays, bringing the total to twenty-eight, while 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.