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seminars > fall 2013 schedule > seminar: Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature: Shakespeare's Monsters: Marvels, Wonders, Villains


Honors Seminars Fall 2013

Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature: Shakespeare's Monsters: Marvels, Wonders, Villains

HON 202 Sec:003  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Tompkins Hall 0G126  
Dr. Christopher J. Crosbie
Assistant Professor
Restrictions: Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen  

Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen.

As Patricia Parker, following Janis Pallister, has observed, early modern authors understood the monstrous in multiple registers, noting "the derivation of monster both from the root of warnings or signs (monere + -strum) and from a sense of bringing forth to show (monstrare)." Taking as our organizing rubric this broad spectrum of possibility, this course will examine not only some of Shakespeare's most notable villains but also the signs and wonders that emerge at crucial moments throughout his drama. At stake will be an examination of Shakespeare's use of the singular, unusual, grotesque, or troubling as a means of directing audience attention to the assumptions undergirding early modern taxonomies of the natural and unnatural, noble and ignoble, civilized and barbaric.

We will read six plays: Titus Andronicus, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Coriolanus, and The Tempest. Ancillary readings will include excerpts of the plays' source material, selections providing cultural context from the early modern period, and one or two foundational essays from contemporary criticism. Course requirements will include two exams, a short paper, and active on-line and in-class discussion.